Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Hot Dogs or Hot Topics: Which Wins Votes?

Last Saturday, I was feeling a little peckish, so I went down to J-Dawgs, the locally famous hot dog joint. Since the restaurant is fairly small and local, I didn't think I'd run into anyone I knew there. I certainly didn't think I'd run into Ted Cruz.

Yeah. This one.

To my chagrin, I was about two spaces back in line, watching a presidential candidate order a hot dog.

I was witnessing a fairly common campaign strategy. The presidential hopeful, dressed in an unassuming plaid shirt and slacks, trying the local specialty. Bonus points if the food is something as common as a hot dog. Ted Cruz was doing his best to appear as the common man.

The best part was that the tactic was unashamedly obvious. In fact,  as he was leaving the building, I heard his speech-writer say these exact words to him, "Remember, you love the Mormons, you love the people of Utah, it's a beautiful state with a rich heritage."

The problem is that it worked.

I knew full well that the "common man" act was just that: an act. I knew that the news van parked outside was not there by accident, and that he would have never stopped in the restaurant without an adviser's tip-off. Despite all this, I still felt a commonality with the candidate. We were held together with the strong bond that only fast food can provide. The reason candidates keep using these tricks is because they work. When we see them in such situations, we ignore the fact that the whole thing is staged, because our emotions kick in. We'd rather believe their appearance than the fact.

I know next to nothing about Cruz's policies, to be honest. I don't know if he's an honest guy. I'm not sure of his ethics. But I know that one time, he bought a hot dog at the same restaurant I was in. And sometimes that's enough to win a vote.

No comments:

Post a Comment