Hot take: This will end his presidential chances by turning his cult of personality into a total joke.
Hotter take: This will help get him elected president because in modern America the candidate with the weirdest personality cult wins.
Says Ken White, “Please, God, don’t let Beto get hemorrhoids.”
Beto is Instagramming his dental cleaning pic.twitter.com/BWyncSW3OK
— andrew kaczynski (@KFILE) January 10, 2019
I think my hot take is wrong, just because Beto’s cult was already a total joke. Coming next year: “Hey, it’s Beto, backstage here at the first Democratic presidential debate. I’m on the can, pinching one off. As you can see, the length is about…”
He did his best to turn this into a straightforward political photo op, interviewing his hygienist about what it was like growing up along the border with Mexico, but the content is beside the point. He and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez like the Instagram format instinctively because it communicates efficiently that they’re real people. They use the same social media apps you use and do the same mundane daily tasks you do, whether it’s cooking dinner or going to the dentist. In past eras a politician might alter his mode of speech to try to identify with an audience, whether that meant dropping the “g” at the end of words for a more working-class sound or lapsing into a fake regional accent a la Al Gore or Hillary Clinton. In 2019 livestreaming helps serve that purpose. O’Rourke’s speaking with a youthful accent by using Instagram as his pipeline to his fans, even in the absurd circumstance of a dental appointment.
Which is also why, incidentally, it seemed so forced and cringeworthy when Elizabeth Warren tried it. Coopting a youthful medium as an elderly person is one thing, but using it to show off your alleged relatability by grabbing a beer to unwind after work? It was fake authenticity on top of fake authenticity, like trying to affect a subtle British accent and lapsing into cartoon Cockney a la Dick Van Dyke in “Mary Poppins.” Too much. Too much.
I wish we could all agree with Cooke’s sentiment here, but in an age when the president leads the free world from his social-media account, we cannot:
I want a country in which the president is so quiet that we only see him if there’s a war. Now we have potential presidential candidates live-streaming their dental appointments. Things are not going in my direction.
— Charles C. W. Cooke (@charlescwcooke) January 10, 2019
God help us when Trump finds out that Instagram, not Twitter, is the happening political platform du jour. Here’s your exit quotation, courtesy of a man whom Beto doesn’t like and who doesn’t like him in return. This tweet was mysteriously deleted soon after it appeared. To be continued…