This presidential election cycle has lagged on and on seemingly forever, and we’re still months away from both parties’ conventions. With such poor candidates on both sides, each vote is extremely important.
In this cycle more than others, the candidates have seemingly no floor too low to stoop to for votes. The pandering being done is even more cringeworthy than usual because you have candidates so far removed from reality they don’t realize how ridiculous they look.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is probably the best at this awkward pandering. Every time she’s on a talk show to prove to her hip young friends how cool she is, she butchers a modern dance move. On the Ellen DeGeneres show, she dabbed and made many people shudder at the sight of a woman old enough to be a lot of voters’ grandmother trying so desperately to seem relevant.
There was also the “nae nae” incident where she made a fool of herself and not in the endearing-Jennifer-Lawrence way, but in the calculating-old-politician way. The list goes on: the inability to simply swipe a MetroCard or her joke at a fundraiser, with New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, about “colored people time.” This is Clinton’s glaring flaw as a politician — she doesn’t come across as human; she’s robotic and alien to the young voter.
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is no less guilty of indulging the public, although he does so in a less painful way than the former Secretary of State. In the clearest form of age pandering possible, Sanders is the only candidate remaining in either party that has openly supported the decriminalization of marijuana, leaving it up to the individual states. This elder senator has forged his strongest constituency with younger voters, making promises about the future. Sanders has led the “free public university” charge, constantly talks about climate change and is promising a revolution.
Over on the Grand Old Party side of things, the pandering is appealing to the opposite end of the spectrum. Donald Trump is appealing to the “silent majority” of yesteryear by walking a fine line with racism. He’s catering to the millions of lower class white people who feel that the progressives have left them behind and who don’t recognize their country anymore. Strangely enough, Trump is also appealing to younger white men who feel that social justice spreading through universities across the country is alienating them. This demagoguery is pandering. He’s satisfying those on the Christian right who fear a country without morals (even though Trump doesn’t have them). Trump has said “the Bible is his favorite book,” but when pressed to name a favorite passage, he said “it was too personal to share.” Then during a speech at Liberty University, he quoted the Bible, mentioning something about “Two Corinthians,” which caused the audience to chuckle because the passage is properly known as Second Corinthians to those who are familiar with it.
Ted Cruz, the (Zodiac Killer) senator from Texas has done the same by flip-flopping on certain issues. From state to state, Cruz has changed his tune. In Iowa, he switched on ethanol subsidies, first supporting them, then saying they need to be phased out. Cruz has appealed to the Tea Party contingent by burning down every bridge he can in Washington. He engineered the government shutdown in 2013 and has no friends in the Senate. Cruz feels that destroying the establishment endears him to the Tea Party supporters, who feel the government doesn’t represent them.
Out of obligation, even though he’s so far behind Trump and Cruz, John Kasich, the governor of Ohio, is a panderer too. As the only candidate on the Republican side who hasn’t delved into absolute stupidity, he’s tried to appeal to the “Average Joe.” He talks about his mailman father and coal miner grandfather and his years of experience in both Washington and as a state executive. He tried appealing to New Yorkers by eating a slice of pizza, which he proceeded to do with a fork and knife. Kasich also made an appearance on the Dan Patrick radio show this week and suggested making the day after the Super Bowl a national holiday, because it is already the most called-in sick day of the year. Kasich has also mentioned he would try to help “Pink Floyd get back together,” even though two of the four members have passed away.
As voters, and as a population at large, we need to recognize these desperate attempts by candidates vying for the highest office in the land. They are an embarrassment. When you’re making people cringe from how uncomfortable your actions are, you should probably stop.