Max Headroom was the first virtual character, back in the 1980’s. He lived in the screen of the computer. Everything about him was not real.
As the last few Democrat candidates for president have been thoroughly packaged and branded, so is Hillary. We are fed a media driven ad campaign where the actual candidate is almost irrelevant. In Hillary’s case that may be her only protection.
This ad hoc measure held up in the following election, as Dole was just a sacrificial candidate the GOP put up just so they could have someone on the ticket. In 2000, this metric really did not hold up as I saw many more Bush signs and his crowds were much bigger than Gore’s crowd, but it was a razor thin result. That said, it held up very well in 2004 as Bush clearly had the more enthusiastic voters. I recall seeing a clip of him at an event that looked like a rock concert. I knew he was going to win handily.
Like any seat of the pants observation, it is prone to your own bias. I think in 2000 I was probably fooled a little by where I lived at the time. I was in Virginia, which was strong Bush country. Even so, we all have our biases and that means we tend to see that which confirms our magical thinking. I think about that when I see the video from Trump events. The guy is playing to massive crowds that we last saw when Obama ran in 2008. Even the reporters covering these things admit they are yuge.
On the other hand, Clinton is playing high school gymnasiums where a few hundred people, at most, are herded into to hear her cackle at them. These are rare, as she spends most of her time at private fundraisers or sleeping. That’s the other thing that is so odd about this election. She takes weeks off, not having any public events. Right now, she has been under wraps for five days. Criminal Genius David Axelrod is now suggesting she skip the next debate entirely. Frankly, would that be shocking if she did skip it?
The disconnect in this election between what we are being told and what we are seeing is dizzying. The polls all show a tie or a slight Clinton lead. If that is true, it means Trump voters are willing to drop what they are doing, stand in line for hours, just to see their guy give a speech. Clinton voters are not all the interested in seeing her or even hearing her take questions. This is entirely possible. Unhappy people are more likely to go out and protest, while those satisfied with the status quo stay home. But, in an election?
The trouble is I can think of no example where this has been the case. Even poor old Bob Dole was out giving speeches in front of decent sized crowds. If I recall, he did a barnstorming thing at one point where he would show up at a few places every day and give a speech. People showed up and cheered. Clinton has become invisible to her own voters. I see her commercials, but she has not held a single public even within a three hour drive of me. Trump has done a few events and my state is a long shot for him.
To make this election even more bizarre is the way the press has ignored the biggest story in political history since Watergate. The Wikileaks stuff is explosive. It is what political reporters used to pray for, back when we had political reporters. The stuff in those e-mails is the sort of stuff that used to end careers and bring down governments. Despite the caterwauling from the stray moonbat, the media has ignored the story, preferring to spend all their time talking about the Trump bimbo hoax.
One of the things that was clear about the ’92 campaign is the Left studied Reagan. They were convinced Reagan won because of his ability to use modern media to reach voters. As a result, they had ready for 1992, Hollywood film makers to assist the Democratic nominee. The Clinton campaign was the first to use Hollywood to stage their events and produce their campaign videos. They even brought in costume people to help them select clothes for their events. Leni Riefenstahl would have been proud.
The result has been increasingly synthetic candidates on the Democratic side. Al Gore was so scripted people wondered if he was a robot. He was not allowed to pick out his own ties, he was so tightly controlled. Kerry’s campaign was actually packaged for him by the same people that created the Mark Warner campaign in Virginia. For instance, they recycled the hunting skits that Warner used to appease gun owners. Kerry’s job was to learn his lines and convincingly wear the costumes.
By the time Obama came along, the Democrats were fully prepared to run an actor hired to play the role designed by the party. Obama may as well be an actor, for as much as anyone knows about the guy. Even after all these years, his back story remains a mystery to most Americans. He’s simply the young version of Morgan Freeman playing President in Deep Impact. Staff write his speeches, prepare him for the fake interviews they stage for the public and otherwise direct every aspect of his public performance.
Now here we are with Hillary Clinton running as the virtual candidate. For all anyone knows, she could be a head in a jar and those old fat women we see waddling around from time to time are just body doubles. While Trump is running a real campaign in front of actual humans, Hillary is hidden away somewhere, a virtual presence on campaign videos, but otherwise detached from the physical world. The media plays along, focusing all of its attention on the weird flesh and blood guy talking to humans. This ad from 2008 is turning out to be disturbingly prescient.
Somehow we are led to believe that a campaign that can’t even fill high school gymnasiums is somehow making contact with the voters.
Then there are the ongoing health issues. This is a woman who, when most candidates would be out in the bus, on the stump, kissing those babies and pressing that flesh for all their worth, has decided to take break. The last thing a candidate for office should be doing right now is “resting.” Yet that’s what Hillary has done for the entire campaign.
The amount of literal baggage that Hillary drags around to every stop is incredible. Check out the motorcade here. Vans for the press and a bus of people brought in to fill out the crowds. And an ambulance, just in case.
The key word that defines the Clinton campaign is “boring.” I’ve never seen, in my life a campaign, even from the likes of Mondale, a campaign that has failed to have any life to it at all.
For whatever reasons, the campaign has been a more of going through the motions affair than anything that inspires anybody. This is a campaign in a bubble. A bubble created an sustained by a media that is slavishly in love, not with the real Hillary who is singularly unlovable, but by the idea of a Hillary presidency of their imaginations. The fact that the media cannot escape it’s middle school crush and grow up is telling.
Still the media can’t breathe life into a campaign that’s as sick as it’s primary. The only thing they can do is smear the opposition for inane trivialities that the Hillary campaign presents as major flaws and not pay much attention to the nonevent that is the Hillary campaign. A campaign that even the media has a problem staying awake for.
Meanwhile the Clinton campaign creates dummy supporters for social media, who mostly want to insult people. Nowhere is any of this telling anybody why they should vote for Hillary, only why they shouldn’t vote for Trump. This isn’t a campaign to make us like Hillary so much as it is a campaign to make dislike and fear Trump.
The problem with that is that at the bottom, Trump is a pretty likeable and not very scary guy. He’s been in the public eye for decades one way or another and for all his ups and downs, his many peccadillos, he hasn’t been tarred with the stench that surrounds so many successful people. If the worst that the opposition can up with is this stuff, they have a real problem.
Especially with Hillary’s negatives. Which are exploding by the day. The kind of life that Hillary has lead creates karma and that will come back to bite her. The media can ignore and downplay all this stuff, but eventually, unless the media has NO standards and NO sense of survival, something so bad that the media cannot ignore it is going to hit. And when it does, the rest of all the stuff that’s been ignored will come back to haunt the campaign and the media.
That’s because in order to have a Max Headroom candidate you have to have somebody like the current President, somebody who isn’t carrying so much baggage and so empty that people can impress themselves on that character. The Obama that has a 50% + approval rating isn’t the real Obama of the ACA, the sick economy and world in crisis due to the total incompetence of the Administration. The Obama of the 50% + approval is the Obama that people carry in their heads, the Obama that they have overlaid onto the almost empty reality.
Hillary isn’t empty. Far from it. Instead Hillary is full of resentment and anger, along with a terrible need to make things go her way. The real Hillary is summed up by the 50 points speech. This isn’t the sort of person that can resonate with anybody and also the kind of person that should never allowed power.
The DNC may finally have gotten their virtual candidate method perfected. Unfortunately the real person in the box is likely to overwhelm the presentation. There are reasons why the real thing is always better than the fake and why the Disney parks never seem to fulfill the spirit.