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Viral Videos and the Election

By       Message Ross McNamara     Permalink
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Before the nominees were named and the respective parties pondered their candidates, a certain Mike Huckabee made an unlikely eight state surge, beating out big name rivals like McCain, Romney and Giuliani.  Some attributed this unlikely success to a unique political platform or even the pastoral flourishes he sprinkled throughout his speeches.  Yet, perhaps, an important and oft forgotten-about factor is the man who remains the closest thing our country has to a super hero: Chuck Norris.

While the Chuck Norris endorsement may not have helped win over elderly voters, or even middle-aged voters; it spoke to the new generation of political enthusiasts whose interest in the election and overwhelming registration numbers have been the talk of the last year.  Huckabee, like few politicians before him, successfully crafted an internet savvy and youth-based campaign that attracted unlikely supporters to his team.

Yet, the republican appreciation for comedy, self-critique and viral videos died with Mr. Huckabee's bid for the nomination.  Along with it died the republican's hopes of winning over the younger demographic.

As we enter the home stretch to ballot casting, the online surge of viral videos has never been stronger or more influential.  Even CNN's coverage has focused almost once a week on some Susy Q generated video ranging from Obama Girl to Paris Hilton to Matt Damon's scathing critique of the Alaskan Governor.  And, while some might argue that YouTube or video blogs are no place for real political insight, the millions of views each new viral video receives is hard to ignore.

From out of this camcorder cacophony has emerged one unshakeable truth: Democrats are a lot funnier than Republicans.

While Republican viral videos have produced such mega hits as "-Dear Mr. Obama," more oft than not elephant enthusiasts find themselves viewing clips from real Obama speeches, hoping to point out falsehoods or slips of the tongue.  The millions of viewers who tuned in to the aforementioned video letter to Mr. (Senator) Obama found themselves watching two minutes of monotone cue-card reading.

Even in the past week, the red persuasion may even have been excited to see a fresh, funny look at their party with "Why I'm Voting Republican" only to find a scathing satiric look at their beliefs put together by some iMovie loving donkey.

Yes, it's become increasingly clear that the left leaning contingent is where the humor lies.  From "-McCain gets Barack rolled" to "-John McCain vs John McCain" to Tina Fey's send-ups of Sarah Palin, the Democratic filmmaking contingent has found a way to get their ideas across in style (or at least stylishly pound the ideas of the opposition).

As we head into the final month of the 2008 presidential campaigns, it's impossible that at least one "-first' won't be ushered in come November.  Yet, as future elections come and go and women and African Americans become more of a White House staple, perhaps this year's political internet explosion will be remembered in an equally important light.  It's hard to imagine any future campaigns being run without an entire task force devoted to creating and responding to online content.

So while we can hope most of the newly registered voters are heading into the election with an open mind, it seems a certainty that the viral videos and mash-ups they're being treated to will have at least some effect on which lever they pull.  And, with the persuasive power of comedy at the reigns, the blue team can sleep well knowing they're responsible for the most and best of what's out there.

For the red team, they'll have to put there hopes in that enigmatic Chuck Norris.  Though it seems that cowboy rode into the sunset with Huckabee--leaving an old Maverick to fight for himself.

 

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Ross works and eats in Minnesota.

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