Every candidate this election cycle will target the middle class. Hillary Clinton is no exception. In fact, she has more reason than most to ask for their support. In part, it’s because this is a voting bloc that’s suffered these past several years and is looking for answers to their plight but also because in doing so she might somehow shake her image as an out of touch entitled wealthy woman.
So how are the first 48 hours going for her?
I’d say not so well. Her campaign video was okay. It set a tone that I’d expect from a Democrat candidate for president.
But the video was immediately followed by a road trip from her home in New York to Iowa in what she called the Scooby-Doo van.
That was her first mistake. Considering the fact that age is a bit of an issue for her, asking the public to relate her campaign to a 1960s cartoon was probably not the best way to begin. Also, word is that while she was indeed travelling in a minivan, it’s probably one of the nicest minivans imaginable.
Her journey started out the way you’d expect on a trip like this with a stop at a gas station and a few photos with the folks. That worked.
But then she disappeared. Reporters noted that while they knew she was on the road and there hadn’t been any reports of accidents involving armored minivans, no one seemed to quite know where she was. That was until last night when it was reported that she stopped for a meal at a Chipotle near Toledo, Ohio.
We only know this because a surveillance camera caught Hillary and an aide buying a burrito bowl with a side of guacamole. Only after she left the restaurant did the manager and his staff learn that they’d been in the presence of a contender for the highest office in the land.
She was unrecognizable because she entered and left incognito. As the manager noted, “The thing is, she has these dark sunglasses on. She just was another lady.”
Really? Is this any way to conduct a cross country meet the voters tour?
If you’re going to go to the trouble of riding in a minivan (no matter how nice it is) across several states, don’t you think you might want to meet a few actual voters, snap a few pictures, and shake a few hands?
Is it really wise instead to show up like you’re Jackie O not wanting to be bothered with anyone? I understand that she might not have wanted to attract too much attention for security reasons, but if that’s the case why did go to all that trouble in the first place? If all the evidence that exists that she undertook this endeavor is a grainy surveillance video that makes her look more like the Designer Pantsuit Bandit than a serious candidate for president, is that really a good thing?
Also, I’m sure a body language expert would tell you that wearing dark sunglasses indoors is a sign that you really don’t want strangers approaching you. It’s also a terrible idea if you actually want to be noticed.
I saw this phenomenon played out firsthand a few months ago when I spent two separate weekends in Los Angeles during the Golden Globes and the Oscars. It didn’t take too long to figure out that if you wanted to spot a celebrity you just had to look around for the people wearing sunglasses at breakfast. And trust me, they weren’t dressed that way because they were hoping to meet the Average Joe out there and listen to his thoughts on tax reform.
So this wasn’t so great for Hillary, but believe it or not, it gets worse.
We’ve also learned since the announcement video that she came to that ultimate historic moment when she decided to run for this office while vacationing in the Dominican Republic at the beachfront mansion of the late Oscar de la Renta.
Hopefully, she also contemplated ways to encourage fashion designers everywhere to develop more lines suitable for sale at Target. Otherwise, it’s hard to see exactly how she thinks this information furthers her campaign.
Then again, what difference does it make? In a world of doing whatever you want no matter how might it appear, why would we expect her to behave any differently?
Contrast all this with her husband. Whatever else you might think of Bill Clinton, you have to give him credit for one thing. He definitely knows how to campaign and mix with the common people. He just has a knack for winning people over.
I recognized this firsthand years ago when my husband and a group of his friends travelled to New Mexico to be part of what was called a Strike Force for the Bush campaign.
In between putting up yard signs and monitoring the size of crowds at rallies, they’d stopped at a convenience store for gas and a drink when in pulled the Secret Service detail of none other than Bill Clinton who stepped out of his vehicle and began chatting with my husband’s group.
Later that evening, my husband called me and excitedly shared with me his story of meeting Bill Clinton.
“Do you think he knew who you guys were and what you were doing there?” I asked.
“Oh sure,” he replied, “but he was still really nice.”
Notice the difference. Bill would hang out and chat with people he knows will never vote for him in a million years but still try to win them over while Hillary slinks around in dark sunglasses hoping no one will notice her.
So while Hillary’s way is certainly no way to run a campaign for the hearts and minds of middle America, she’s hoping that like everything else she does, it won’t make any difference at all but at least she’ll think she tried.