87 long, dark nights for America: The faintly hypnotic quality of failed candidate’s B-roll footage

by awindram

Eighty-seven long, dark nights to go.

Trump’s Daily Twitter Highlight: “I am truly enjoying myself while running for president. The people of our country are amazing – great numbers on November 8th!”

Clinton’s Daily Twitter Highlight: “We need to make sure every American has high-speed internet access. And we will.”

Daily election article of interest: London Review of Books: Diary – Christian Lorentzen: “My father voted for Bernie Sanders in the spring and says he’ll vote for Donald Trump in November…”

And what are you doing before bed this Saturday evening, Windram? Watching the almost bizarre B-roll footage of failed Presidential candidates?

An oversimplified explanation of B-roll footage is that it is supplemental footage that a crew films, a more precise explanation can be found here.

In our current Super PAC-era of American politics, however, B-roll footage is something a little different, a cute circumvention of campaign finance laws. While a Super PAC can be set up to support a specific candidate by making and running expensive ads for them, they are prohibited from actively coordinating with the candidate or the candidate’s campaign team. But if a campaign team were to upload to the web hours of professionally shot B-roll footage of their candidate, well, there’s nothing wrong in the Super-PAC taking this footage and using it to make ads in support of that candidate. It’s democracy at its finest.

And it’s fascinating; being both clearly stage-managed and yet making everything so trivial and banal that you think you can almost catch a glimpse of the real person behind the spin and fabricated persona. It is mundanity under an ambient beat, and as such is embarrassingly hypnotic – a sort of wonk’s lava lamp. You could play these videos on a never-ending loop as a modern art installation. It almost, almost, makes you long for the days of Rubio, Cruz, and Kasich. Those days feel like they are from a whole different eon rather than a few months ago. Watching them you can’t help but feel that the unsuccessful candidates are the lucky ones as they have been freed from the purgatorial life of a national campaign.