Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have a new competitor. A natural gas industry group recently launched a spoof website promoting “Fracking for President,” with the goal of engaging Millennial voters on energy issues.
The site is the brainchild of North Texans for Natural Gas. Courtney Loper, spokeswoman for Fracking for President, said in an email that fracking ( or hydraulic fracturing) “is a national story that deserves to be told. It’s a presidential year, so we thought we would try to integrate ourselves into that conversation. If we can use the broader presidential debate to help people learn about fracking, and maybe even laugh along the way, then it’ll be a huge success.”
Fracking the candidate is all about her “proven record” of creating jobs, lowering consumer prices, strengthening energy security, reducing air pollution, and providing funding for critical public services, according to the campaign’s press release.
“In 2016, America doesn’t just need a leader who can reenergize our country, but one who has a record of actually doing so,” said Fracking, 59, and born near Hugoton, Kansas, where the first hydraulic fracturing experiment was conducted on a natural gas well.
“For nearly 70 years, I have been giving power to the people in states all across the country, from Pennsylvania and Ohio to Texas, Colorado, and California. This is the most important election of our lifetimes, and I ask for your support in this great campaign for our future.”
Loper says the intent of Fracking for President is to reach all audiences.
“People in the Northeast or Florida may not know that their power bills are lower because of the fracking revolution, even though fracking is not occurring in their states,” she said.
“People in California who care deeply about climate change may not realize that natural gas is the biggest contributor to carbon dioxide emissions reductions in the United States. There are new, multi-billion dollar manufacturing investments in the United States thanks to low-cost shale gas, unlocked by fracking.”
One feature of the Fracking for President campaign that’s garnering plenty of media attention, says Loper, is the exclusive focus on social media. While officially aimed at everyone, using only Twitter and Facebook is a tip off that younger voters, especially Millennials in the 18 to 30 age group, are the most important demographic.
“They don’t have the New York Times or their local newspaper as their home page; they often have Facebook, where they can see trending stories and digest the news while also learning about their community,” said Loper.
Loper acknowledges that the oil and gas industry is late to the social media game, saying environmental groups recognized years ago the value of digital platforms.
“Why can’t the millions of pro-drilling advocates do the same thing?” she asks.
“Judging by the reception thus far, we think we’re off to a great start: We launched Monday, and our introductory YouTube video already has over 35,000 views. On Facebook, the video has over 560,000 views. We’ve had significant media coverage focused on both the political and digital aspects of the campaign.”
In the coming weeks, Fracking will launch a virtual bus tour that will take her across the United States and culminate with the selection of a vice presidential candidate, the campaign said in the press release.
Fracking says she “looks forward to the fall debates where she can compare her record of improving the economy against the rhetoric of her opponents.”