Americans rely on social media for news at increasing rates, despite censorship of conservatives. One in five Americans relies solely on social media for his political news.
Political news aside, Americans spend an average of 3 1/2 hours per day on their screens, with that number increasing as the “pandemic” spans over nine months to date.
So what does the El Paso County GOP do in the midst of total social media dependence?
They disappear from social media.
On November 7th, Chairwoman Vickie Tonkins sent an email to the El Paso County GOP list. The email stated that Facebook is censoring conservatives, so there’s no longer an El Paso County GOP Facebook page. However, the email states the party would have mewe and parler accounts in the near future. Neither of those accounts have been created as of today.
Tonkins’ statement regarding Facebook and social media coupled with her subsequent lack of action perfectly sums up her rocky tenure as El Paso County GOP Chairwoman. She’s ruffled party feathers several times this year. Tonkins previously called Coronavirus “a psy-op” on Facebook, which isn’t a problem per se; the issue arose from the fact that she solely operated the county Facebook page and often speaks for the entire party in her posts. When several members of the legislature called for her to apologize and/or resign, Tonkins called those officials “racist” in an email and later statement.
She sparred with Jefferson Thomas, Donald Trump’s state campaign leader, and she made a mess of the Spring virtual assemblies. In August, local officials and the Executive Committee stripped Tonkins of most of her powers, prohibiting her from spending over $250 without approval or sending communications on behalf of the El Paso County GOP.
Apparently the actions the party took to prohibit Tonkins from speaking for the party without permission have failed; she sends a party email every three to four days. While the emails come from “Vickie Tonkins,” they’re sent from the official chairman’s email address and proudly display the El Paso County GOP logo. Most of Tonkins’ emails ask for donations.
In a recent email dated October 15th, Tonkins told El Paso County voters to vote in person or via drop box. She stressed the idea, nineteen days pre-election, not to vote by mail. While the entire party was chasing ballots for weeks prior to the election, Tonkins played games with the ballots. The Colorado GOP stressed that mail in ballots are safe, and to return ballots via whatever means necessary.
Since the El Paso County GOP Facebook page experienced decent traffic, Tonkins once again speaks for the party without the party’s permission. The years of traffic, followers, and thousands of likes weren’t Tonkins’ to erase. She’s once again proven that she doesn’t operate within any parameters, she doesn’t work for the party; instead, the executive committee and the entire state GOP will have to deal with the fallout of her actions.
While questions surround the El Paso County Chair’s ability to lead an entire county, Tonkins’ recurring displays of incompetence and self- destruction represent the Republican Party in Colorado, a party that’s struggling to survive on a large scale while younger voters fail to identify with an organization that cannot convey information in meaningful and energizing ways at the state or local levels.
Neither the executive committee nor precinct leaders we asked were aware that Tonkins was still sending emails from El Paso County GOP. Several had questions about where the Facebook account went, and the committee would be wise to demand access to those accounts as soon as possible. In the future, said accounts should be accessible by more than one individual who doesn’t speak for the party.
Where is the El Paso County GOP? They’re not on Facebook, MeWe, or Parler. They’re also not on twitter or instagram. That’s all up to one woman, and she doesn’t want to do social media right now, despite that one in five Americans relies on social media for political news.