In recent weeks, there have been a lot of arguments to why Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 US Presidential Election. Some say it was because Russia ‘hacked the election’ to help Trump. Some say it was because of ‘fake news’ misleading the public. It was racism. It was elites. It was populism. It was this and that and everything else you can think of.
The list goes on and on.
But I think this is all wrong. That there’s a much simpler reason Hillary Clinton really lost the US election:
Because the media and political machine was so desperately trying to push her to win. Because the ‘narrative’ was so pro Clinton and anti Trump.
In other words, she ended up as a real life ‘creator’s pet’.
So what’s a creator’s pet, you may be wondering?
Well in the simplest of terms, it’s an annoying character that the fans of a show or video game series despise yet the creators seem to be in love with. Basically, imagine your favourite show adds a super attractive, young female character with rainbow coloured hair and a sparkly pony called Mary Sue, and then basically tried to retool the whole thing into the Mary Sue Show. That’s a creator’s pet.
And notable examples of this include:
- Wesley Crusher in Star Trek
- Scrappy Doo in Scooby Doo
- Sparky and Chloe in The Fairly Odd Parents
Really, the last two kind of sum it up really:
As do Poochy from The Itchy and Scratchy Show in The Simpsons (he was a parody of this):
Either way, the result is always the same; people despise the characters being shoved in their faces at every turn. They despise the spotlight stealing squad that the creators are trying to play up as the coming of the Messiah. People hate being told ‘this is the person you should be rooting for’.
Heck, just look at the video dislike counts if you need proof of that. The new Fairly Odd Parents intro with Chloe has 40,000 dislikes compared to just 4,000 likes. Scrappy Doo became so unpopular he ended up as the villain in the first movie based on the franchise. Wesley Crusher was hated so badly that “shut up Wesley” became an early internet meme of sorts.
And the same went for Clinton. The press (or at least, a very large portion of it) really wanted her to win against Trump, and tried their very hardest to make her seem like a better person in every way. Almost every story about Trump was in regards to how this and that was ‘deplorable’ in his personal background. How he’d became a dictator if he took over, with as many references to World War 2 and Hitler to hammer the point home. References to all the ‘racists’ and ‘hate groups’ and whatever supporting his cause.
Meanwhile, the Clinton story was about her America needed a female president ‘for diversity’, talk of her as a ‘competent’ politician and as many attempts to hide the recent Democratic National Committee leaks as possible.
To some degree, you could even say it was like watching a reality TV show in progress. I mean, you’ve heard the stories about certain contestants getting ‘good’ and ‘bad’ edits, right? Where the producers try and cut the footage to show the designated villain as a nasty person so the audience can hiss and boo at them and the ‘hero’ as the paragon of decency and kindness, regardless of their personality.
Let Charlie Brooker show you what I mean in this Screenwipe clip:
That’s like what they did with the election too. They found the best lines and stories related to Clinton, the worst ones for Trump and run them to make the former look good and the latter look bad.
What’s more, they didn’t even this just to Trump in some cases. When Sanders was running against her, up popped the Bernie Bros story just to make him look bad by associating him with ‘GamerGate’. Which is a story in itself, but hey ho. That’s for another time.
It’s a pretty common technique in the media, and it’s how partisan publications (like say, the Daily Mail or Fox News) can make the other side look worse than they actually do. It’s also why I kind of started trying to be more neutral with my coverage of Nintendo on Gaming Reinvented, because I realised that mostly covering the negatives (attitudes on fan projects, Mario Run’s recent mobile misfortunes, the Wii U’s situation) was making the company (perhaps somewhat unfairly) look like Satan Incarnate.
But yeah, either way, people saw through it. And do you know what they often do when they see a narrative being manufactured and a certain character or contestant pushed in front of them?
It’s why Britain’s Got Talent and the X-Factor tend to have hilariously bad contestants survive week after week while the judges sob into the table in front of them. Why John Sergeant kept doing well in Strictly Come Dancing until he dropped out of his own accord. Why for many years, there was a whole website literally called ‘Vote for the Worst’ where the members tried to get useless reality TV contestants as far as possible.
People saw the choice between the heavily promoted career politician and the semi antagonist clown, and decided to have a bit of fun/completely screw over the system by picking the latter.
Or in Zelda terms, I guess Clinton was basically Fi and Trump was either Groose or Ghirahim.
This election was the audience vs the producers, and the producers lost.