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These 2018 Campaign Videos Are... Something

By Dan Hamamura | Politics | May 8, 2018 |

By Dan Hamamura | Politics | May 8, 2018 |


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With the 2018 midterms inching ever closer, there have been some great candidates to throw their hats in the ring, like, of course, everyone’s favorite Iron Stache. There have also been some absolutely terrible candidates, the kind who manage to be so racist it almost makes you consider feeling bad for Mitch McConnell.

But the truth is, most campaign videos are pretty average: throw in some nice, softly-lit shots of the candidate and their family, some examples of the people they’re hoping to represent, and some vague explanation of why they’re the right person for the job, and congratulations! You’ve got a campaign video.

Then there are these folks, who made some… interesting choices with their videos.

(Not Dan Helmer choices, but still.)

[NOTE: these videos are only being judged on their quality, not the positions therein.]

Dr. Rita Ramirez (CA08)

Dr. Ramirez, who previously ran for this seat in 2016, has decided that the best way to pitch herself to her constituents is via a stock footage nightmare paired with a “let’s go on an adventure” theme from a second-tier PlayStation-era RPG nobody played. We never see or hear from Dr. Ramirez, but we do get promises of BETTER JOBS over footage of freight trains and, inexplicably, a dirt bike race (are the jobs for the riders? Or the people who work at the track?) and the promise of BETTER HEALTHCARE paired with what looks like a town parade, and soldiers carrying one of their own to a plane.

By the way, this is still better than her other ad.

Joshua Garcia (OH09)

Look, I think it’s great that so many people want to run for office. It’s inspiring to see citizens who want to genuinely affect change in their community. And first-timer, grassroots candidates don’t always have the stock footage budget that those experienced campaigners have, so they make the best video they can afford.

That being said, maybe making this case from your La-Z-Boy in a single, uninterrupted, four minute take isn’t the best way to go:

Real talk: is Josh Gad Joshua Garcia being held hostage? Is his opponent making him run to make her look better by comparison? Why is the camera so close? Is it because the room isn’t dressed? Wouldn’t this be better if the room was properly dressed? Perhaps another candidate with ALL OF THE SET DRESSING can help us answer that.

Jo Rae Perkins (OR04)

TWO inspirational posters (AND a bonus inspirational water bottle)! A Bald Eagle with a flag! And for good measure, that globe was positioned JUST SO, showing us the good ol’ USA! Nope, Jo Rae knows set dressing.

Unfortunately, she doesn’t know that her sound levels are way too low and we can barely hear her confusing, vague message. She also doesn’t know that editing the video was an option, which you think you wouldn’t need in a single shot video, but that awkwardly long vacant stare up top and the jiggle of the frame just before the camera cuts out beg to differ.


Elaine DiMasi (NY01)

Alright, this one is definitely still on the lower-end in terms of production value, but at least we’re hearing from the candidate herself. And there’s still stock footage, but also shots of her being a scientist!

That’s great. Now all we have to do is get to the end without a gaffe-

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Agh, so close. Come on, DiMasi. Everyone knows you gotta check your footage for watermarks before you poach it.


Jana Lynne Sanchez (TX06)

A good campaign video gives a nice, positive vibe for who the candidate is. Jana Lynne Sanchez has one of these videos:

Lots of slow motion, words straight from the candidate herself, a little of her personal narrative, and brief messaging on her policies, mostly framed around being against “career politicians”. Sounds good!

Except she also has videos that feel vaguely like the video slideshow at every wedding reception, but made the night before by a guy who’s never seen one and assumed it needs to be dramatic and serious:

Seriously, I don’t think that VO guy takes a breath the entire time.


Craig Nordal (CA49)

Ahh, we’ve finally reached Mr. Nordal. This one is kind of long, so I’m going to take a break while you watch the three minute video.

*runs back*

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WHAT IS GOING ON WITH HIS FIRST SENTENCE IT SOUNDS LIKE HE’S SAYING

“I am Craig, a Nordal”

AND THAT’S JUST HIM TRYING TO SAY HIS NAME DOES HE HAVE A PROBLEM SAYING HIS NAME? IS HE SAYING THAT HE’S A NORDAL, LIKE HE’S ONE OF THE NORDALS, RATHER THAN HIS MIDDLE INITIAL, WHICH IS THE LETTER A? WHY ARE YOU MAKING ME OVERANALYZE YOUR MISPLACED GRAMMAR LIKE I’M ANGELICA SCHUYLER IN HAMILTON?

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OKAY WAIT YOU SAY TRUMP HAS GREAT PASSION FOR THIS COUNTRY AND LOOK I DISAGREE WITH YOU THERE BUT LET’S FORGET THAT FOR A SECOND IF YOU’RE GOING TO MAKE THAT ARGUMENT WHY ARE YOU SHOWING A PHOTO OF TRUMP SIGNING HIS NAME? THAT’S WHEN HE LOOKS THE LEAST INTERESTED SERIOUSLY LOOK AT THE PHOTO YOU CHOSE HIS EYES LOOK CLOSED I THINK HE MAY HAVE ACTUALLY FALLEN ASLEEP HALFWAY THROUGH HIS SIGNATURE COME ON NORDAL YOU HAD ONE JOB (BESIDES SAYING YOUR NAME CORRECTLY BUT THAT SHIP HAS SAILED) AND IT WAS TO PICK A PHOTO OF TRUMP LOOKING PASSIONATE LIKE HOW HE GETS ABOUT CAKE OR SHARKS OR WHATEVER

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WHY ARE YOU IN AN EMPTY VOID? SERIOUSLY WHERE ARE YOU? WHY’S IT SO DARK? WHAT DOES THIS REPRESENT? YOU LITERALLY HAVE STOCK FLAG WAVING FOOTAGE BEHIND YOUR POWERPOINT SLIDES

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THAT’S THE ONE. JUST USE THAT

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OH NO NOW YOU’RE OUTSIDE AND THE BACKGROUND IS SO MUCH BETTER LIT THAN YOU ARE IT BURNS MY EYES

I MISS THE VOID

WE HAVE TO GO BACK TO THE VOID


Whew, it’s over. Look, I’m sorry I subjected all of you to that. That was uncalled for.

As an apology, please enjoy this last congressional ad, which is much better despite being 100% less real:


If you find any worse 2018 campaign videos, please let me know. I promise I will watch them.



Dan is a Staff Contributor. You can listen to him scream into the void on Twitter.


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