Splashed across social media and the airwaves, the photos are hard to miss.
Follow Hillary Clinton’s Instagram feed, and you’ll see her as a toddler in Park Ridge, Illinois, riding a tricycle. On Facebook, you’ll meet her as an almost unrecognizable young Arkansas mother with brown hair, big glasses and loafers, spotting her daughter on a pony ride; on the website Medium, she stares out at you, just another earnest face in a crowd posing for a 1965 high school class picture. In the first television ads of the campaign, she is seemingly from another era, pictured in grainy black and white, about 10 years old with a half-smile on her face, hair pulled back in a pollyanna, holding her mother’s hand.
Since launching her campaign last June, Clinton has flooded the Internet and filled her TV spots with surprising, little-known images of the candidate pulled from old family photo albums, all part of a larger campaign strategy to make Clinton more relatable to voters. The nostalgic pictures are designed to present her as an average person — rather than a global brand — and to neutralize the negative image Clinton can sometimes project as the untrustworthy political insider campaigning in a rich lady’s uniform of bold-colored pantsuits and a helmet of blonde hair.
Why is it that the party that portrays itself as the most caring about humans has such a difficult time making its presidential candidates seem…human? From Al Gore to John Kerry to Her Inevitable Madameship, they’re all about as personable as the stomach flu. Even Barack Obama, whose entire career is built on smirking, has been called cold and aloof by people close to him. The press calls him “professorial”, a code word for “cold and aloof”.
One reason is that they’re usually stinking rich, even though they have to pretend not to be. Hillary Clinton’s primary interaction with lower income Americans in recent years usually involved firing them for not making her bed correctly, now she has to pretend as if she truly cares about them. It’s a tough gig.
So out come the older pictures from a happier time, before the soul-selling deal she made with her philandering husband took its toll and made her sour and imperious.
Before she built up a huge bank of resentment for the American people for not giving her what she feels she’s entitled to.