Over 400,000 people tuned in to watch Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez play Among Us yesterday

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
(Image credit: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Twitch)

Yesterday, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez unexpectedly sparked one of the biggest Twitch moments of 2020 as she streamed Among Us. The US Representative took the opportunity to encourage the public to vote, while teaming up with fellow representative Ilhan Omar and popular Twitch personalities including Imane "Pokimane" Anys and Hasan "HasanAbi" Piker.

Focusing on a topic as important as voting and coupling it with a game as popular as Among Us drew a big audience. AOC managed to maintain an average of 325,000 viewers throughout her three-and-a-half-hour stream, attracting more than 420,000 concurrent viewers, according to TwitchTracker. To put this into perspective, this puts AOC comfortably in the top 20 streamers on Twitch as far as peak viewership is concerned. Considering that the stream placed AOC amongst the likes of shroud (516K) and Ninja (617K), it was one hell of a debut.

Despite having never streamed before, AOC was quick to get her streaming setup in order. After tweeting about her interest on October 19, she spent the next day preparing her channel and assigning mods. The panels in her Twitch About section pointed to iwillvote.com to remind viewers the importance of registering to vote, as well as providing information on important dates and deadlines.

The overall tone of the stream was friendly and easygoing, and it was clear that the other streamers were very excited to be playing Among Us with AOC. After opening the stream by sharing some information on how to vote in the US election, Ocasio-Cortez joined the group's Discord and was keen to get to hop into their first match. As they were setting up for their first game, one of the streamers asked whether it was appropriate for them to call Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez 'AOC', to which she replied "you guys can call me AOC. Mike Pence can't call me AOC, but you guys [can]."

While Twitch chat can be far from friendly—even on the most popular streamers' channels—it looks as though the community was very pleased to see Ocasio-Cortez branching into live streaming. The Among Us shenanigans were off to a good start in AOC's opening game, too, where she worked with Jeremy "Disguised Toast" Wang as the Imposter. She managed to take out several Crewmates, and even managed to outlive Disguised Toast, before getting caught by the four remaining players. During one of the rounds, AOC managed to corner and eliminate Pokimane while she was working on a task. Pokimane exclaimed, "it was an honor to serve you" before bursting into giggles.

More serious discussions cropped up between games, though. At one point, AOC and Harris "Hbomberguy" Brewis discussed healthcare and how the systems differ between the UK and US. AOC wanted to hear what happens when someone visits a doctor in the UK: "I can't even imagine that interaction without a credit card or some sort of cash payment," she said. Hbomberguy explained how straightforward taking a trip to see your GP is in the UK, and how picking up a prescription is much cheaper.

Twitch viewers are always keen to learn about streamers' PC specs, and Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar didn't disappoint. As it turns out, the rig she was borrowing belonged to her deputy communications director, Isi Baehr-Breen, and it was quite an impressive build, rocking an Intel Core i7-10700K CPU, RTX 2060 Super, and a whopping 32GB of RGB RAM. While this monstrous rig is a bit overkill for playing a game like Among Us, its 1TB M.2 NVMe and 6TB SSD is certainly what many of us would like to be running at home.

We've seen more US politicians turning to the streaming platform to spread their messages over the past year. Take a look at Donald Trump's broadcasts and you'll see feeds from his recent rallies across the US. Similarly, Bernie Sanders has previously posted virtual rallies on Twitch. More recently, we even saw US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden appeal to voters by opening up his own Animal Crossing island. The success of Ocasio-Cortez's stream will likely encourage more politicians to branch into gaming and livestreaming to reach out to a different demographic of voters.

Emma Matthews

As PC Gamer's guides writer, Emma is usually juggling several games at once. She loves competitive first-person shooters like CS:GO and Call of Duty, but she always has time for a few rounds of Hearthstone. She's happiest when she's rescuing pugs in Spelunky 2.