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‘That Mexican Thing’ Took on a Life of Its Own Online

October 5, 2016

Vice Presidential Debate Between Gov. Mike Pence And Sen. Tim KaineVice Presidential Debate Between Gov. Mike Pence And Sen. Tim Kaine
Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence (L) and Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine (R) debate as moderator Elaine Quijano (C) listens during the Vice Presidential Debate at Longwood University on October 4, 2016 in Farmville, Virginia.Photograph by Joe Raedle Getty Images

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Once again, a poorly worded phrase at a debate took on a life of its own online.

At Tuesday’s vice presidential debate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine had again referenced Donald Trump’s campaign launch, in which he said that Mexico was sending rapists to the U.S.

“You whipped out that Mexican thing again,” Pence replied, peevishly.

Reaction on Twitter was quick, especially among Latinos. The hashtag #thatmexicanthing soon filled with Clinton supporters and Trump critics.

By the end of the debate, some anonymous wag had registered the website and redirected it to Hillary Clinton’s website.

The moment was the third most tweeted moment on Twitter, behind the two vice presidential nominees discussing Russian President Vladimir Putin and the global use of nuclear weapons.

Overall, the Republican ticket far outstripped the two Democrats in share of the conversation online, on both Facebook and Twitter—meaning more people were talking about them, negative or positive.