Trump campaign launches controversial Snapchat filter before tonight’s Presidential debate

Reema Saad, Online Editor-in-Chief

As tonight’s Presidential Debate approaches, many have expressed concern regarding Republican nominee Donald Trump’s decision to launch a Snapchat filter calling Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton “Crooked Hillary.” The nationwide filter will be available for most of Monday before it is replaced with a “surprise” filter just before the debate.

Of the 57 million American Snapchat users, 60 percent are between the ages of 13 and 38. Recent polls suggest that this election season, Clinton has been unsuccessful in encouraging younger voters to the polls as they did in the past two elections. Many speculate that she is unable to gain full support from the followers of her main primary election competitor Bernie Sanders.

After seeing the Snapchat filter for himself, senior Jaideep Chakladar believes that Trump’s actions can have a lasting effect on future voters and elections.

“I think what Trump did was really childish in that the people who use Snapchat are people our age, like teens and kids, and those are the future voters. Not all of us are voting this year, but a lot of us will be voting in the future, and people will start thinking that’s normal,” Chakladar said. “That’s not good for the political climate; politics have already become aggressive as it is.”

On the other hand, senior Steven Barbee argues that targeting younger people through the Snapchat filter is actually “quite smart.”

“The millennial generation, ages 18-35, now makes up one of the largest voting blocks for this election. To be exact, that age group represents 69.2 million eligible voters, according to the Pew Research Center,” Barbee said. “As people who either support Trump or may simply think the filter is funny, the filter will be shared with others. Trump’s message will be spread to a large audience for very little cost and effort from his campaign team.”

Barbee added that younger children will be exposed more to various candidate reputations and what to expect from politics as they grow older.

“Seeing a grown man label someone as ‘crooked’ is not the best example for children, but this exposure allows the youth to ask questions either to their parents or potentially lead them to go out and research why exactly Donald Trump accuses Hillary Clinton to be ‘crooked,’” Barbee said.

While senior Matt Mercier does not necessarily support Trump’s use of the Snapchat filter as a tactic in his campaign, he believes it was a “very good political strategy.”

“He was able to reach a younger audience who had both positive and negative responses to this filter. Obviously it was a way to speak against Hillary and put her in bad light, which some might see as dirty politics, but it seems that all politics are dirty nowadays,” Mercier said.

Additionally, Mercier believes that these sorts of political moves are necessary for a successful campaign, no matter how immoral they seem.

“Behind some scenes of politics, there lies corruption and scandal; but at this point, it is seen as common,” Mercier said. “The race has turned into a mudslinging contest, and whoever has less mud on him or her will end up being our president.”

Senior Madison Bacon agrees that the Snapchat filter is only another way to progress Trump’s success in the race to the White House.

“I think the way he refers to her as ‘Crooked Hillary’ is a bit immature. The name calling is childish, but nonetheless this is a battle to be fought, and they’re gonna fight it however they think it’ll help them,” Bacon said.

Tonight’s Presidential Debate is expected to have an audience of around 100 million Americans ( and might be one of the most highly rated Presidential debates of all time.