The 2016 US presidential candidates in Second Life

We have got less than two weeks before the final primary elections for both the Democratic and the Republican parties, and it is worth taking a look at the reflection of this very much significant event of the year 2016 in Second Life.

About a week ago I have published my thoughts on the presence of the US 2016 Presidential elections influence in Second Life and the highlight of it in the Second Life Destination Guide. Today, I would like to take a closer look on the locations themselves, as well as other possible forms of the political views representations.

Let us begin with the observation that the Politics category in the Second Life Destination Guide features locations related to Bernie Sanders (2 in total) and Donald Trump (2 as well). A quick search within Second life shows that Hillary Clinton, the other Democratic candidate still running, fans have got themselves a group, Hillary Clinton 2016, which consists of 38 members to date, created by one of the Second Life active residents, evidently not affiliated with the Hillary Clinton campaign directly. Also, there actually is an interesting venue dedicated to Hillary Clinton, but it hardly looks like something in her support…
20160527 Hillary Clinton
Onwards to the other two candidates. Bernie Sanders is alphabetically first.

Our progressive candidate has got himself no less than two venues, as well as a number of support groups. The biggest of them, Vote Bernie Sanders 2016 has 205 members to date and had been created by an obvious avid Bernie supporter, although not an alt – the resident is 9 years old in Second Life, the selection of groups also confirms her active Second Life, but the profile is filled with various expressions of support to Bernie Sanders. Regarding her affiliation with Bernie Sanders’ campaign, there is no information about it in her profile – only a statement that she is a “Staunch Bernie supporter”.

Also she is the creator of the venue called Bernie Sanders SL Headquarters, one of the two aforementioned locations. We will have a look at this location right now.

20160527 Bernie Sanders hall

It turns out to be a pretty modest spot at the mainland. In the center of the exposition is the Bernie Sanders hall, where a visitor may take a seat in one of the lounges, seemingly placed there for heated conversations about the politics, and treat oneself with some related to the campaign merchandise, as well as leave a donation for the campaign. The walls around the hall are covered with Bernie Sanders posters – quotes, photographs, trivia, it is all there. An interesting addition is the model of the Oval Ofice with Bernie Sanders and his most prominent supporters in it – very nice touch! Another reason to visit this part of the exposition is because there is also an information stand, where one can learn some more about the issues Bernie Sanders is planning to resolve.

20160527 Bernie Sanders Oval Office

The other venue is actually less official and more of a hippie hangout, and is decorated accordingly. The other day I was visiting it and had ran into an active discussion between a number of residents – I cannot recall what the discussion was about, but it shows that this place is relatively popular. Here, there are not any information stands, or a collection of posters – it seems that the creator’s idea was to create a hangout in spirit of Bernie Sanders, rather than the infohub. The place is ran by another genuine resident who has happened to be the supporter of Bernie Sanders and evidently does not have any affiliation with the campaign, too.

20160527 Bernie Sanders hangout

Now let us talk the only Republican candidate still running, who, to everyone’s surprise, was not joking about possibly becoming the POTUS.

Speaking of my own surprise, there is quite a number of groups dedicated to Donald Trump, both in and against his support, one group in his support even has a joining fee of L$50. The biggest group, Trump 2016 Supporters & Volunteers, gathers 164 members and is founded by J.P.Trump (jp.laszlo) the avid supporter who has no affiliation with the Trump campaign per se, but desires to provide the proper representation of the Trump campaign in SL. The location he has created in spirit of Donald Trump, The Trump Mansion, is gone from the Grid by now, unfortunately, but it had been very carefully covered by a number of Internet resources, including Kotaku and SL Newser – Places – one can check it out there to get the idea. It also still lingers in the Politics category in the Destination Guide.

20160527 Donald Trump mansion

However, he is building a brand new location now, called Trump Headquarters. This time, it takes not a parcel at the mainland, but the full region. Evidently, this is the HQ the owner was talking about in his future plans. I have managed to teleport there through the hole in the security system, but the owner will patch it, so I would advice against poking through – rather wait until the Grand Opening. That way, I have managed to get in touch with J.P. himself and get acquainted with the man behind such a grand project. Without getting into details, the location, though incomplete, looks very promising – the buildings are all made exclusively for the place, the owner himself plans it to be a community rather than the raw infohub. For now, it is closed to the public, but the grand opening may be very soon, J.P. himself hopes for the opening to take place before the California primary, or at least within two-three weeks.

20160527 Donald Trump HQ

The other location featured in the Destination Guide, simply called Donald Trump Campaign, is much more compact and serves mainly as an infohub, with clickable posters taking most of the space. Some Trump merchandise is also provided. This place is run by somebody who is not only a genuine Second Life resident, but actually has a career here as a DJ, and again, there is no statement in her profile about any affiliation with the Trump campaign.

20160527 Donald Trump infohub

Finally, there is one more location, not featured in the Destination Guide, but found through the Search. It solely features a podium for Trump and a lawn sign dispenser. Again, the spot has been provided by the resident (though with an empty profile) of many years in Second Life, and without any sign of affiliation with the campaign.

20160527 Donald Trump podium

That’s it, folks! As you can see, all the representation of the candidates in Second Life had been done by mere enthusiasts, like you and yours truly, without the political parties being directly involved. Though an intriguing initiative – judging by the number of people involved, it does not appear to reach the level of the gridwide event.

Stay digitized and be safe!

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