“It’s a great time for parody accounts in Idaho politics,” says Boise State political scientist Jaclyn Kettler.
Americans have spent almost a year following the Twitter habits of President Donald Trump with close coverage from news outlets. Kettler says in Idaho, the social media platform could be providing some levity in serious discussions.
“Of course having the upcoming election with competitive primaries – [with] politicians being pretty active on Twitter I think helps," says the political scientist.
One of the competitive primaries she’s referring to is the GOP gubernatorial race. Each of the Republican candidates vying for the top state position has a parody account that mocks them (in the case of Congressman Raul Labrador, there are at least three separate parody accounts trolling him). Here’s a sampling:
— Brad Little (@LittleOtterID) March 23, 2017
— Tommy AltQuist (@TommyAltQuist) November 16, 2017
Enjoyed my interview for Interior Secretary, or, as I like to call it, Realtor in Chief.
— Raúl Labrador (@FakeRaulLab) December 13, 2016
A new poll paid for by my campaign shows that I am winning! So long as nobody asks me any real policy questions, I'm going to be the next Governor of Idaho. #idpol
— Raul Librador (@raullibrador) November 29, 2017
Kettler says the "inside baseball" nature of these kind of accounts can be confusing for people who don't follow every twist and turn of Idaho politics. But, she says that's part of their appeal.
“They know what’s going on, these are informed people ... and that’s why the snark is effective because people are like ‘oh yeah, that’s definitely happening.’ ”
It’s not just politicians who are the targets of these anonymous tweeps. One of the most well-known (and prolific) accounts pokes fun at an entire region in the state – with a signature “all caps” style.
— ANGRY NORTH IDAHO (@AngryNIdaho) September 2, 2017
POWER IS OUT HERE AT THE COMPOUND AND THE EMERGENCY BOOZE PLAN IS NOW BEING IMPLEMENTED
— ANGRY NORTH IDAHO (@AngryNIdaho) September 13, 2017
SOMEBODY HAS TO DO IT! https://t.co/5QeVS9UV5C
— ANGRY NORTH IDAHO (@AngryNIdaho) September 21, 2017
Kettler isn’t sure who’s behind any of the accounts, but she theorizes that the Angry North Idaho feed is run by a journalist.
There’s also “Weatherbytes,” which satirizes longtime Idaho pundit Jim Weatherby. The real Jim Weatherby says he’s learned to see the tweets as flattery, despite sometimes cringing at what they say. Case in point:
Ha ha, Raul gave me the wrong address for his announcement. Such a kidder. (On a related note, The Torch is NOT family friendly.)
— Almost Jim Weatherby (@Weatherbytes) May 31, 2017
So, have we hit peak parody in the Gem State? According to some, yes. But the Twittersphere has by no means reached a consensus on that point.
Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill
Copyright 2017 Boise State Public Radio