If you ever take a political science course in your life, chances are at some point your teacher will bore you with a theory that Kennedy stomped Nixon in the first ever television debate by virtue of being more handsome on his way to winning the White House. Nobody will ever be able to say whether or not it is really true, but permanently underscored is the need to appear photogenic, reasonably dressed, and to use deliberate rhetoric, cadence, inflection, physical movement, and tone.
Which brings us to Republican candidate Donald Trump. The man is looking good on television. His perfectly crafted character as a tough-talking, no-nonsense business shark, which he groomed quite nicely on his reality television show The Apprentice, is gaffe-proof. The lamest definition of the political gaffe is “when a politician actually tells the truth”, but that explanation no longer fits. The gaffe has become the most irrelevant piece of nonsense seized up by mainstream media to be used as smear ammo. Time after time again, mainstream rags and network outlets hunt the gaffe with palpable avarice at the expense of voters, producing pitiful and misinformative coverage in the process (NOTE: This is why people have turned to alternative media, such as Breitbart). On the other hand, it also results in politicians exclusively getting away with being incredulously elusive and vague in their speeches so as to not fall into the gaffe-trap. Ironically, the effect of the gaffe has recently shifted from affecting viewers to alienating them. Americans are sick of the media’s great gaffe hunt, and Donald Trump has answered them by successfully becoming America’s first gaffe-proof politician. There is nothing the man can’t say well.
And then there’s Hillary Clinton. Don’t worry, I’m not going to focus on the coughing fits or the bizarre bobble-head video, but I will point out that the cringe factor is off the charts with the idiotic pickle-jar stunt on Jimmy Kimmel. This brings me to my thesis. It might merely be that Hillary’s handlers have kept too tight of a lid on her campaign so as to avoid gaffes, but there doesn’t appear to be an ounce of life in the Clinton Campaign. The energy is low, clearly reflected in her small-venue rallies. Her cadence and tone sound thin and warbly compared to the feistiness of her 2008 campaign. She appears to be moving a bit stiffer, and genuinely just looking substantially more aged. At her recent speech at a small community college in Reno, she delivered her atrocious “Alt Right” speech, which was typical Clintonian race-baiting by association (she pulled the same trick on then-Senator Obama in ’08 by linking him to Luis Farrakhan…this time, it was Donald Trump to David Duke). In that anti-Alt Right speech, she looked and sounded like a shell of her former self, and her voice could be heard creaking with strain.
I can easily tell for myself what kind of visual appeal the Clinton Campaign is striving to achieve in front of the cameras. Sarcastically, I’m going to suggest they are shamelessly shooting for “GILF appeal”. It’s not working though, because the long years of campaigning are visibly taking their toll on Hillary Clinton, and she appears to be visibly lacking in vitality. She has been perpetually campaigning for a long, long, time now. The Clintons have an insatiable appetite for political power as evidenced by their relentless pursuit of powerful posts in prime-time politics. The rapid acceleration of both the news cycle and the election cycle to the point of being perpetual has demanded that prime time politicians keep up, and the presidential campaign trail has become a brutal IronMan Triatholon-like warpath. Between Clinton’s failed 2008 presidential bid, her duties as Secretary of State, her plethora of fundraisers, her “work” with the Clinton Foundation, and the long list of other engagements that require jet-setting, coordination, a staff, and long preparation have all seemingly caught up with Hillary Clinton. Just as any President is bound to leave the White House looking more haggard and worn than when they were elected, so too has Hillary’s appearance and vitality drooped in response to her never-ending political campaigning.
Anyone that recalls her appearance at the Benghazi hearing will also recall Hillary sporting a somewhat worn appearance and demeanor. Naturally, that look has been corrected with shock-blonde hair coloring treatment, and copious amounts of make-up are used to give her aged skin some shine. However, the lines around her famous cheeks and forehead appear very much to have been smoothed out, probably the result of a minor cosmetic rejuvenation procedure in preparation for her 2016 run. And she sounds incredibly tired, repeating the same old boring Clinton talking points that don’t sound like they mean a thing at all. This time around, her tired tone gives one the impression that even her own sense of self-conviction has faded, and that neither her nor her small, lifeless audiences are enjoying this election season. Quite frankly, she looks sick to death of campaigning, and of being a part of the absurdity and the madness that accompanies twenty-first century American politics. She looks sick to death of the cameras, the reporters, and even the voters.
Now we turn our fixed eye to Trump’s campaign, and we see who is putting the “party” in political party. The packed-house crowds are having a good time with Donald as he swaggers tall and tough-talks with no fear of the lethal gaffe. Knowing he’s going to be sound-bitten no matter what he says, he puts on a show of bravado and we love him for it. The tough-guy talk not only appeals to red-blooded American swagger, but also gives people the impression of honesty because it is so radically different from the usual drivel we’ve come to expect from our generally accepted scumbag politicians like the Clintons. What we really love about Donald Trump is his fearless campaign since it bears zero resemblance to the no-fun and severely micromanaged campaigns Americans have come to expect from their irresponsible media journalists. Hillary Clinton may not have one foot in the grave just yet, but her inability to match the excitement and the veracity of Trumps’ campaign is causing her to look more like Nixon, and Trump to look like Kennedy.