‘A political tool’: The recent TikTok ban could still help Democrats in the 2024 presidential election

News & Politics

The New York Post reported that the bipartisan effort to get TikTok to divest from its Chinese-owned parent company ByteDance contained something that could help Democrats in the 2024 presidential election.

The bill, which passed last week as part of a $95 billion foreign-aid package, has given TikTok nine months to break away from Chinese-owned ByteDance or face a complete ban in the United States. However, the timeframe can be extended by up to a year from the president.

Though the bill was a bipartisan one, it appears that Democrats will be able to use TikTok to leverage voters throughout the 2024 presidential election. The social media juggernaut has long been used by Democrats to reach out to young voters.

President Biden’s team has actively engaged with a large contingent of TikTok users to spread their political messaging. And the Biden-Harris campaign TikTok account, called Biden-Harris HQ, has more than 300,000 followers.

It appears Democrats wanted the possibility for extending TikTok’s use beyond the presidential election, given that an earlier bill that suggested banning TikTok was shot down that only allowed the president a six-month extension.

Republicans have now insisted that the Democrats will take advantage of the change leading up to the election.

“They will utilize it as a political tool. it is very helpful to [Democrats],” Rep. Jeff Van Drew said. “There are millions of young people who go on it and are very faithful to it.”

“They wanted to get that extra bite at the apple. There is no reason they couldn’t divest within six months.”

The Post mentioned that a second Republican congressman suggested “a theory that some may call conspiracy . . . that Joe Biden wants his Chinese friends who influence ByteDance to have a November opportunity to help him out.”

Other House insiders suggested that the real issue was in the Senate. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer — who supported a TikTok ban — faced steep pushback from Senator Maria Cantwell, a fellow Democrat.

Cantwell stated: “I’m very happy that Speaker Johnson and House leaders incorporated my recommendation to extend the ByteDance divestment period from six months to a year. As I’ve said, extending the divestment period is necessary to ensure there is enough time for a new buyer to get a deal done. I support this updated legislation.”

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