If you tuned into the fourth debate among Democratic presidential candidates on Sunday night, you may have noticed a few new faces. And it’s no coincidence that they’re as young, fresh, and enthusiastic as they are: This time around, YouTube, the co-host of the debate, is letting four of the channel’s popular creators ask pre-recorded questions during the debate between Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley. But just who are these lucky YouTubers turned political debate moderators?
The first YouTube creator debate question came from Franchesca Ramsey, whose channel has over 219,000 subscribers. Ramsey isn’t just another YouTube personality unboxing gadgets or doling out fashion advice. Her videos, a blend of real talk and comedy, frequently touch on social issues like LGBT rights and racism. She first made a name for herself with the 2012 parody video (seen above) titled “Shit White Girls Say… To Black Girls” and has since gone on to host an MTV web series called Decoded and make a guest appearance on Broad City.
Connor Franta is a popular YouTube personality with over 5 million subscribers (a number that impressed Hillary Clinton, who congratulated him). The 23-year-old lifestyle vlogger has already published a New York Times bestselling book, his memoir titled A Work In Progress. In 2014, Franta famously came out as gay–how else?–in a YouTube video.
As a YouTube channel focused on natural science and environmental issues, MinuteEarth has an obvious reason to chime in to a presidential debate: Climate change. Indeed, the channel’s creators used the opportunity to ask Sanders, Clinton, and O’Malley about exactly that. The channel, which has more 1.2 million subscribers, features short, explanatory animated videos about the planet we all inhabit.
If you turn to YouTube for tech product reviews and gadget unboxings, there’s a good chance you’ve come across Marques Brownlee. The self-described “gear head” boasts over 3.1 million followers (and was also named one of Fast Company‘s Most Creative People in 2015. Quite naturally, he used that YouTube notoriety as an opportunity to ask the Democratic candidates about technology and privacy.