538ing in the United States

Many people in the United States political interest scene are well aware of the 538 website. Originally independent, then part of the New York Times, it is now owned by ESPN, of cable TV bundle infamy.

The new version of the site has an animated background for political Presidential candidates showing what campaigns are about. You can see an example here (Republican) and here (blue).

Let’s take a look at the animated icons, from LTR:

  • First, and most notoriously, kissing babys, a stupid trick that is still practiced by some persons. I suspect that within living memory it will become so ill advised that people will think you are a child molester if you try it.

  • Next, a (Republican) elephant blowing its trunk. Unfortunately this looks pornographic.

  • A campaign button. Oddly the colors for the two parties are the same as the colors of the country. White is not used by either party because it’s just too hard.

  • Getting photographed. Bonus points if you get photographed by a camera so old that it has a one shot flashbulb and get that photograph circulated without anyone accusing you of being too old to run, or a poser.

  • Flag waving. Every country (I think) has this.

  • Campaign buses. These candidates used to travel around and appear at events. Oddly they avoid the usual stigma of being a bus. Everyone has these, except completely excluded third party types that are never going to win.

  • Money. Money in politics is like poverty in policy: it will always be there.

  • The destination itself, metaphorically: The Executive Mansion, alias the White House.

  • Hand shaking. This could be cutting deals with donors and high level supporters, or just room working.

  • Holding up campaign signs. This gets tiring after a while so people let their signs down. Oddly enough the importantistic lawn sign isn’t shown here, probably because you can’t animate it, except by having someone steal it. Full disclosure: I knew someone who claimed he would steal election signs, but then actually did so, contrary to my expectation.

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