Despite the fact East Baton Rouge Parish will elect its first new mayor-president in 12 years, the race is barely on most voters’ radar screen just a couple of weeks away from Election Day. Hell, even a political junkie like me has hardly paid attention to the campaign to replace term-limited Kip Holden.
It’s not that hard to understand why the race isn’t exactly on the front of everyone’s mind. It’s 2016 in Baton Rouge, for crying out loud. We’ve had — and still have — a lot on our minds: the Alton Sterling shooting, three cops killed in an ambush, historic flooding, Les Miles’ firing, Mike the Tiger’s death, and a presidential race some believe will usher in the demise of our republic.
Sorry, candidates. We’ve been a little distracted.
Be sure to have your volume cranked all the way up to enjoy the 30-second, politifunkified campaign song that automatically plays every time the homepage loads.
That’s why, thanks to The Advocate’s Andrea Gallo, I’m so delighted I finally came across something even remotely interesting to talk about regarding this mayoral election. Namely, state Rep. C. Denise Marcelle’s campaign website.
— Andrea Gallo (@aegallo) October 20, 2016
SPOILER ALERT: If you visit Marcelle’s site, be sure to have your volume cranked all the way up to enjoy the 30-second, politifunkified campaign song (courtesy of Baton Rouge’s own Kenny Neal and Ms. Pat) that automatically plays every time the homepage loads.
I, for one, am thrilled to see someone trying to bring back the American political tradition of custom-made campaign songs. Outside of will.i.am’s “Yes We Can” for then-Senator Barack Obama in 2008, not one presidential candidate since 1972 has had a personalized campaign song. What happened to the days of “Nixon’s the One,” “Nixon Now,” “Hello Lyndon,” and “Go With Goldwater”? Like Bernie Casey in I’m Gonna Git You Sucka said about theme music: “Every good hero should have some.”
Plus, we’re in Louisiana, where governors have written campaign songs like “You Are My Sunshine” and “Every Man a King,” which have been covered by too many damn people to list. Of course, Huey Long wrote the latter tune just a few months before he was assassinated, but I’m pretty confident he would have used that song during his 1936 run for the White House.
I soon discovered Facebook wasn’t so fond of Marcelle’s site. In fact, they thought it was downright sketchy.
I also appreciate the song for a couple of other reasons. One, it reminds me of when I was a kid and listened to music by Shalamar. I used to dream of “Dancing in the Sheets” with someone other than just myself.
And two, they turned “mayor” into a monosyllabic word. The lyric “Denise for mare” gives a whole new meaning to the expression “political horse race.”
After reloading the homepage a few times to relisten to the single-verse song, I clicked on the “Volunteer” link. On that page, I found a few ways one could help Marcelle’s mayoral bid, including hosting a “house party.”
After hearing her ’80s R&B-esque campaign tune a couple of times, I wondered if Kid ‘n Play would be available to participate in such a house party. Then I realized: Of course they’re available. What else do they have going on?
Enraptured by such a fantastic web experience — on a politician’s website, no less — I immediately wanted to share it on Facebook. However, I soon discovered Facebook wasn’t so fond of Marcelle’s site. In fact, they thought it was downright sketchy.
Seriously, Facebook? You think the official website of a candidate – who happens to be a sitting state legislator with the endorsement of the East Baton Rouge Parish Democratic Party Executive Committee — for mayor of Louisiana’s second-largest city is “unsafe”? I had heard through an unsolicited massive Facebook message thread that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is using the social media site to damage Donald Trump’s chances at becoming president, but apparently he also is trying to destroy Marcelle’s chances at becoming mayor! How dare he!
Facebook will cast suspicion about Marcelle and her web designers in the mind of potential visitors by essentially saying “You sure you want to go there?”
And even if you complete the CAPTCHA text challenge and share the link to Marcelle’s site on Facebook, when your friends click on your post, Facebook will cast suspicion about Marcelle and her web designers in the mind of potential visitors by essentially saying “You sure you want to go there?”
Given all of these seeds of doubt about the trustworthiness of Marcelle’s site, I can’t help but wonder how many people will actually click on the link to “Donate” and willingly submit their credit card information.
Finally, there’s Marcelle’s hashtag of choice. You know, the thing politicians and companies use to help their supporters and customers find each other among the hundreds of millions of daily posts on the internet’s social media platforms? Think Trump’s #MakeAmericaGreatAgain, or Hillary Clinton’s #BetterTogether. Any serious candidate who wants to have a legitimate online presence has to have a unique, descriptive, catchy hashtag. Any good marketer knows this.
That’s why I can only assume Marcelle, as well as all her friends, family, and political consultants, have not watched NBC for more than two minutes in the past five years.
Of all the literally innumerable possible terms and phrases drawn from any combination of letters and numbers she could have gone with, Marcelle chose #TheVoice as her campaign’s hashtag, as in the exact same hashtag used by the ridiculously popular singing competition show The Voice. I know it’s only in its 11th season and draws merely millions of primetime viewers two or three nights a week, but one might think someone by now would have told Marcelle to go with a slightly different hashtag.
So a seasoned, local politician voluntarily chose for her campaign the exact same hashtag used and promoted by an extremely highly rated TV show with over 4 million followers on Twitter and over 15 million likes on Facebook. In other words: Needle, meet haystack.
Then again, perhaps I’m overstating how many people on social media employ the hashtag #TheVoice in their posts about the show. Maybe Marcelle-related posts tagged with #TheVoice aren’t utterly drowned out by posts about the show. I don’t know. See for yourself on Twitter and Facebook.
A seasoned, local politician voluntarily chose for her campaign the exact same hashtag used and promoted by an extremely highly rated TV show with over 4 million followers on Twitter and over 15 million likes on Facebook. In other words: Needle, meet haystack.
Incidentally, I would say you could click on the links provided in the social media box on Marcelle’s homepage to like/follow/see/check out #TheVoice on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, except for a couple of problems.
One, you don’t “like” hashtags on Facebook, neither do you “follow” them on Twitter, unless you consider keeping your web browser open and repeatedly refreshing your search for a hashtag “following.” But that’s less following than it is spending all day pretending to be an internet bot.
And two, the links provided lead to the social profiles of Wix, the DIY website builder, on each respective platform. I guess someone was too busy jamming out to Kenny Neal and Ms. Pat, and forgot to insert the proper links to Marcelle’s campaign’s social media pages in the Wix template.
But hey, I’m sure all these issues with her website are not indicative of the administration she would run as mayor.