The battle for the 2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination is already well underway. As a candidate, you may be wondering how you can appeal to a voter like me. Now, I can’t speak for everyone, but winning me over is not as hard as you’d think. To be completely honest, if one of your campaign ads contain an uplifting swell of vaguely patriotic music near the end, I will absolutely vote for you. That’s it. No need to risk making promises you can’t keep or guarantee sweeping policy reform that is realistically unattainable in the short term. If you have even a modicum of production value in your video in the form of stirring music, I will be instantly swayed by your cause and consider you a clear front runner based on no substantive qualities. Believe me, I want to be a more discerning voter. But I’m not.
If I’m being totally transparent, I’m pretty dumb and easily influenced. Years of consuming cookie cutter content that is straight shoveled into my face at every conceivable opportunity has classically conditioned me to immediately jump on board with anything that has a remotely compelling musical score. It’s that easy. Seriously, I’m so easily tricked. I once got goosebumps from a Zyrtec commercial because the music was mildly inspiring. I don’t even have allergies. Just throw some ProTools on your ad and my allegiance is yours. I might even tear up a little, because my emotions can and should be exploited.
I can’t stress this enough, I am simple minded. I consistently respond to repeatable patterns of stimuli like a lab rat. Yes, I know things like affordable healthcare, climate change, and corporate corruption are important, and I do really care about our nation’s future. But the moment I hear music that implies a sense of hope and grandeur, all that goes out the window. I know that’s shitty, but it’s a physical reaction; I can’t stop it. But you can abuse it.
You know, now that I think about it, it doesn’t even have to be the music. I can easily be manipulated in a variety of ways. My ignorance is flexible. Throw in pictures of you as a baby, a quote from your parents, and definitely examples of you speaking in front of large groups of people. Any loose thread of life events that could be distorted into a predestined and messiah like narrative is fine by me! All of that will instantly position you as presidential material in my malleable mind. I will also accept B-roll of you shaking hands with and thoughtfully listening to people that look just like me! Like me!
Oh fuck, now I’m really onto something. Add some drone footage of varying landscapes. Amber waves of grain. Purple mountains majesty. That kind of crap. I’ll eat that shit up. Oh and a train! Fuck yeah, hit me with that industrial rust belt garbage again and again. But then, right when I’m feeling comfortable and at ease, quickly cut to shots of scary oil rigs and a ‘Wall Street’ street sign just as the tone of the music becomes grim. Finally, cue up that patriotic music you know I love as you restate your candidacy while talking directly into camera. I will literally think you just saved me from oil and banks or whatever. If you do that, I’ll lose my goddamn mind and cry out for you by name. I’ll probably retweet the video too. And you’ll certainly get my vote, provided another candidate doesn’t release an identical video after you, forever replacing you in my mind as our future president.