I get a lot of e-mails from a lot of presidential candidates. It’s my own fault: I subscribed to all of them in hopes of getting some free or very cheap stuff. I’ve gotten a lot of stickers and two books, one physical one downloadable. I’ve also gotten a sense of each candidate’s style and what they are proud of about how their campaigns are going. Well, most of them aren’t too thrilled about how their campaigns are going. Only a few are getting real money, and even fewer are getting a lot of enthusiasm and support, which means some are getting a lot of the money without the enthusiasm or support.
Hillary Clinton seems to have a lot of support, that’s what the polls say, just not a ton of enthusiasm. Most people suggest that this is because people want her to be president, she’s just not inspiring.
I have an alternate theory based on nothing but personal experience: Hillary’s supporters are just as enthusiastic as Donald Trump’s or Bernie Sanders’s, they’re just a lot more low-key.
Relevant personal experience: I’ve seen her in person, albeit well before I could vote and before she was running for president, back when she was my Senator and visiting my town, and while I didn’t jump for joy and call her name as at a rally, that was because it was in a small room, and that’s not who I am. I thought she was really awesome and it was really awesome to be in her presence. I also thought the School of Rock musical was really awesome, but the only reason I stood up at the end was because everyone else was and I was in the front row and the kids on the stage were looking right at me.
When I see things from farther away, I typically don’t stand, no matter how much I love the performance. When I was an Obama supporter in 2008 (after being a Hillary supporter for a few months), I did not feel anymore enthusiasm than I had felt for Hillary before him or than I feel for her now. I just didn’t express it flashily, because that’s not me.
So I don’t think there’s an enthusiasm gap, I think Hillary supporters, like Hillary herself, express themselves differently.
I recently read an article that dissected Hillary’s lack of likability by someone who, like me, genuinely likes her as a person, and was trying to figure out why she is depicted as so unlikable by the media that it is generally accepted that she is not likable. I like her plenty, perhaps more than most, but I don’t see what’s wrong with her. It’s not some heroic feat liking Hillary Clinton: I read her books and books and articles about her, I watch her speak, I think about all she’s accomplished despite the odds, and I think she is brave and strong and the person I want to be president.
Polls go up and down, but she usually beats Republicans, including Trump, and she often beats Bernie, and those are the two most “enthusiasm inspiring” candidates there are in this race, but the majority of voters polled still seem to prefer Hillary Clinton. I refuse to believe that a majority of voters are simply sad and resigned to the inevitable. She may be a Clinton and she may not be Obama, but everything else aside, her very candidacy is enough to inspire enthusiasm.
I will admit that the odds of her being the first woman to be elected president were part of what first got my attention in 2006, and that’s not why she should be elected, but it is pretty cool, and I’m pretty sure her other supporters feel that coolness even if they don’t wave signs and jump for joy at her rallies (I don’t really know what happens at her rallies, I never see them on tv, only Bernie and Trump rallies; so what happened to that media bias?). Maybe her rallies aren’t interesting to watch. They’re probably great to listen to.
I have felt the Bern and the Trump, and while I’m pretty sure the latter was why I felt terribly ill the other night, the former was not enough to relax the pain away. I’m sure there are some coolheaded Bernie supporters, maybe even coolheaded Trump supporters, just like I’m sure there are rabid Hillary supporters. In elections, its not the type of supporters, it’s the quantity.
Maybe assuming and reporting that Hillary’s supporters aren’t as enthusiastic because she’s not inspiring is another way in which the media is being unfair to her.
I think Saturday Night Live does the best reporting on Hillary: Kate McKinnon’s impression has grown on me, and the key to it is how much Hillary wants to be president, something Hillary would never publically admit to, though everyone assumes it.
I think that a version of McKinnon’s Hillary lives inside the real Hillary, but it’s invisible. And I think that a similar madness probably exists in her supporters, but we don’t show it because even though we’re all mad here, we’d prefer the world see us another way, we’re more comfortable with that. Like Hillary.