WASHINGTON, April 18, 2015 – Back in the “old days,” all of four years ago, announcements by candidates that they were running for the highest office in the United States looked very similar to what they had for generations. It was common to see large venues, and sometimes there were whistle stops and maybe even balloons and confetti. Much has changed in just a few short years.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is universally known for his capacity to talk. In college he was ranked among the top competitive debaters around the country. Cruz, who got his undergraduate degree in public policy from Princeton, had an impressive reputation as a debater. He won the top speaker award at both the 1992 U.S. National Debating Championship and the 1992 North American Debating Championship.
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All of these accolades and others made him Princeton’s highest-ranked debater.
Cruz’s prowess as a debater will live on at Princeton, since the school has named its annual novice championship after him. In the Senate, that reputation as a speaker has persisted with his 21-hour filibuster, which included a rendition of the Dr. Seuss classic, “Green Eggs and Ham.”
Yet the senator with the gift of gab began his candidacy with only 140 characters (or less) on Twitter:
I’m running for President and I hope to earn your support! pic.twitter.com/0UTqaIoytP
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 23, 2015
Sure, he also had a huge celebration at Liberty, the country’s largest Baptist university, but he began his campaign in the most modest of words and with the most modern of technologies.
Fast forward to Sen. Rand Paul, who decided to take a chapter from Hollywood in making his formal announcement. Before giving his announcement in his home state of Kentucky, Rand released a feature film quality trailer, letting people know he is in the hunt for the country’s top job.
In the film, we see a great deal of the Kentucky senator, but hear not a word from him. Instead, the case is largely made by his very articulate and attractive wife, Kelley.
The announcement page, found on the senator’s presidential campaign site had only one really “political” statement in “print” about his candidacy, and it was almost as short as Cruz’s Twitter announcement, stating:
“I am running for president to return our country to the principles of liberty and limited government.”
The rest of Paul’s page includes the aforementioned video (which has temporarily been suspended by YouTube, but will surely return) and a very lengthy bio of Paul and a shorter one about his wife. It is not a very political announcement, which may not be unusual for a candidate working to refine a message that aligns with his values and yet attracts the largest number of voters.
The rest of the content of both the page and the video was about the “compassion” and the “important things” in life that motivate him.
In the end it appears that the campaign wants to position the senator as “Doctor President,” stating on the announcement page:
“Dr. Paul’s entrance into politics is indicative of his life’s work as a surgeon: a desire to diagnose problems and provide practical solutions, whether it be in Bowling Green, Kentucky or Washington, D.C.”
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy with a hybrid of old school (a “whistle stop” bus campaign) and new school events (with a two-minute video described by many as similar to a State Farm commercial).
A day later, the “next generation” candidacy of Marco Rubio. R-Fla., began in a very traditional speech in his home state, with little fanfare on social media. In spite of this, one of his competitors, Scott Walker, R-Wis., is being accused of trolling Rubio on Twitter.
So there are plenty of candidates left and the technology possibilities are fairly endless.
It would seem to make sense that some would do a formal announcement on LinkedIn, since that site has a huge career networking component.
“I am Scott Walker and I want the job of creating jobs throughout the country, like I have done in Wisconsin.”
There are also Pinterest and Instagram, making them perfect places for a presidential “selfie.” That idea has Donald Trump written all over it.