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Hip, with-it grandma Hillary Clinton is jes’ “keepin’ it real” with the homeboys and flygirls out there on this thang we call the information cyberhighway. She knows these switched-on millennials aren’t down with dusty old books, charts, and the English language. Kids today talk in emojis when they’re on their iPad phones, Googly Androids, and what not. So why not ask the li’l shavers to dish on the bad trip they’re getting from those mean ol’ student loans. If they reply in emojis, it’ll be fun — not to mention viral, sticky and buzzworthy — at least that’s what Clinton’s Assistant Vice Chancellor of Youth Outreach and Popular Culture told her in that fax last month.
Hillary learned exactly the wrong lesson from her defeat in 2008: She wants to run a campaign identical to the one Barack Obama beat her with seven years ago. Obama had a one-letter, red and blue logo; so she needs a one-letter, red and blue logo:
Obama created a creepy secular icon; she needs a creepy secular icon:
Obama surrounded himself with Kardashians; she’ll surround herself with Kardashians:
And since Obama 2008 used social media to appeal to young voters, Hillary will follow his playbook there as well.
How does your student loan debt make you feel? Tell us in 3 emojis or less.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 12, 2015
How hip! How innovative! How counterproductive:
Clinton on Monday announced plans dubbed “the new college compact” to commit $350 billion over the next 10 years to make college more affordable, if elected president. Then, she took to Twitter to ask people to use emoji to describe their feelings about student loan debt…
[H]er tweet seems to have backfired among most people on Twitter. Some noted that using sad faces, cats with heart eyes and skulls may not be the most ideal way to communicate about a serious and complicated issue.
The few who responded in emoji often turned to NSFW arrangements referencing bodily waste and sexual acts impossible without the use of double-joints and a safety harness. The millennials responding in English were even less supportive.
.@HillaryClinton You know what people who went to college can use? Words.
— Louisa (@LouisatheLast) August 12, 2015
I love you but we don’t need you to do this. RT: @HillaryClinton How does your student loan debt make you feel? Tell us in 3 emojis or less.
— Mike Scollins (@mikescollins) August 12, 2015
— victoria berenstain (@victoriaramirez) August 12, 2015
It never crosses Hillary’s mind that she isn’t Barack Obama. That presidential candidate, especially when compared to John McCain and Clinton herself, was cool. A young, urbane, relaxed guy who millennials aspired to be. Hillary is the opposite of cool: secretive, brittle, and out-of-touch. Not only does no one aspire to be Ms. Clinton, they don’t even want to be around her.
A smart campaign plays to its candidate’s strengths. Obama couldn’t focus on his experience or ineffective policies, so he went with cool. Reagan stressed his optimism and conservatism. Nixon, his tough law-and-order history. To sell Hillary as cool is as foolish as selling Santorum as a libertarian or Rubio as a grizzled policy hand.
There is nothing less cool than desperately trying to act cool. So stop it, Hillary, and play to your strengths. Whatever those might be.