The Old Man of TikTok could become Colombia's next president

Bogotá, Colombia - Former mayor and TikTok influencer Rodolfo Hernandez is running for president of Colombia.

Former mayor and TikTok influencer Rodolfo Hernandez is running for president of Colombia.
Former mayor and TikTok influencer Rodolfo Hernandez is running for president of Colombia.  © Raul ARBOLEDA / AFP

On Sunday, voters in Colombia will head to the polls to elect their new president.

On one hand, voters have Gustavo Petro (62), the former mayor of Colombia's capitol city Bogotá. He would be the first leftist president the country has seen in years.

On the other is Rodolpho Hernandez (77), a real estate mogul turned politician who is known for his "tough on corruption" stance and awkward social flubs.

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Hernandez has a seemingly affable nature that he expertly exploits on social media.

The self-proclaimed "king" and "old man" of TikTok has garnered over half a million followers by persuading undecided and apathetic voters to rally behind him – a move that continues to help him at the polls.

Many did not take Hernandez's campaign seriously in the beginning. But now, he stands a decent chance at becoming Colombia's new leader.

While the idea of a TikTok influencer running for president is entertaining, there is a darker side to Hernandez that his social media presence cleverly hides.

Rodolpho Hernandez: The Colombian Donald Trump?

Rodolfo Hernandez masterfully uses social media to reach undecided and apathetic voters online.
Rodolfo Hernandez masterfully uses social media to reach undecided and apathetic voters online.  © Juan BARRETO / AFP

Earlier this month, Hernandez told CNN, "What I will do is defeat corruption. If they call me 'the Colombian Trump' for that, it's magnificent."

There are major differences between Hernandez and Trump. For one, Hernandez has political experience as the former mayor of Bucaramanga. Secondly, he lacks the political backing Trump found with the Republican Party.

Yet, the two candidates share some striking similarities, such as their bold comb overs and shameless crassness.

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Hernandez once infamously stated that "women should devote themselves to raising children."

He even went as far as to slap councillor John Claro back in 2018 after he lost his temper.

Both use their crassness to appeal to the common man, presenting themselves as the non-traditional politician, or the anti-elitist.

Social media and marketing are their most powerful tools, which they respectively use to craft and maintain orchestrated narratives that will always flatter their image.

It will be interesting to see the results of the race, and if Hernandez will be the world's first TikTok star to become president.

Cover photo: Raul ARBOLEDA / AFP

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