Elitist Politicians Pretending To Be 'Everyday People' Is The Cringiest Thing Society Never Needed

Politicians…they’re just like us! Except in all of the ways that they’re not, which renders their desperate appeals to ordinary people rather tasteless.

By Andrea Mew5 min read
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Sometimes I’m just minding my own business, perusing the internet, and I see yet another politician doing something that triggers my internal alarm clock to mercilessly wake me up and remind me of how cringey the political elite can be when they’re pretending to be “just like us.”

When celebs get papped paying for parking or walking out of the gym all sweaty, they suddenly seem a lot more “like us” than their glitzy media presence may have us believing. But when high-ranking politicians make concerted efforts to prove just how relatable they are, their attempts to appeal to a mainstream audience really just feel like they’re begging for votes. 

Digital media appears to be enabling this cringey behavior where platforms like Instagram or Twitch allow politicians to “candidly” livestream themselves to broad audiences while radio and podcast appearances further lift the veil, but luckily for us, digital media also allows us to keep record of all these uncomfortable moments. Want to take a trip down memory lane?

Remember When Dr. Oz Pretended To Grocery Shop?

A video of Dr. Oz, candidate for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, recently went viral for being particularly out-of-touch. In the video, Dr. Oz is filmed at a grocery store, sans shopping cart or basket, supposedly picking up raw vegetables and dips for a crudité platter his wife was putting together. He filled his arms up with vegetables – since I guess us normal folk don’t use individual bags for produce or something – and then totaled up the cost of the platter to make a statement about inflation.

Look, I’m all here for calling out our nation’s skyrocketing cost of living, but it’s tacky to show off your grocery bill when your net worth is well over $100 million.

Remember Just How Much Trudeau Loves To Dance?

In 2018, a video of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau doing a traditional Indian folk dance called Bhangra in front of a large crowd caught a lot of heat. Trudeau has made his love for Indian culture publicly known many times, but a lot of Indians online called him out for “peacocking” and trying to pander for votes.

“Can someone tell him Indians don’t live like they are in a Bollywood set 24x7” said one Indian Twitter user in response. Well, Trudeau apparently loves South Asian culture so much that he felt the need to paint his face brown for an “Arabian Nights” party back in 2001 too…yikes!

Remember When AOC Livestreamed Playing “Among Us” on Twitch?

“Yes, I’m a girl, yes, I play video games…don’t hit on me, you silly boys!” thought Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez…maybe. In 2020, AOC decided to livestream herself playing the popular video game “Among Us” on Twitch as an effort to get out the vote. Her stream hit 430,000 viewers, rated third-highest individual gaming stream at the time, and she preached her Democrat message as a first-time “Among Us” player.

Given the fact she admitted it was her first time playing, it’s really easy to see how this publicity stunt was anything but organic. Luckily for us, now she’s a Twitch streaming regular, and I’m about ready to hit the pause button on the 2020s.

Remember When Hillary Told Us to “Pokémon Go to the Polls?”

Politicians tapping into the gamer crowd isn’t anything new. I’d be irresponsible if I didn’t remind everyone about 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton telling rally attendees to “Pokémon Go to the polls.”

This bizarre attempt at what I can only assume is stand-up comedy must’ve come from her bright-eyed and bushy-tailed campaign staff that swiftly capitalized on the meme’s momentum and decided to host a campaign event at a Pokéstop to snag the gamer vote.

Remember When Biden Was in Animal Crossing: New Horizons?

When then-candidate Joe Biden was running for president, he took a page straight out of Clinton’s book by trying to once again appeal to the gamers. You’ve heard of Epstein Island… but have you heard of Biden Island?

Yep, when we were all shuttered inside, being told to go on unemployment, not work, and just play Animal Crossing: New Horizons all day, then-candidate Biden thought it was appropriate to create a campaign HQ island where you could get recruited to phonebank and text for the Biden campaign and be inundated with messaging to vote on Election Day. This particular election cycle was surreal for more than one reason, but Biden canonically existing in the same game as Tom Nook was one simulation too far.

Remember When Kamala Tried To Flex Her Hip-Hop Knowledge?

In 2019, then-Senator Kamala Harris appeared on “The Breakfast Club” radio show with hosts Charlamagne tha God and DJ Envy. During her interview, she reminisced on her late 1980s college days when she listened to rap artists Tupac and Snoop Dogg and smoked weed, making a point of insisting that she inhaled.

I don’t doubt that Kamala made some questionable choices in her past, but online users started connecting the dots that she couldn’t have possibly listened to Tupac or Snoop Dogg in college since their first albums came out in 1991 and 1993 respectively.

I have no idea what timeline she lives in, since, when asked who the best rapper alive is, she had responded 2Pac before being corrected that he's dead and then awkwardly backtracking. Regardless of her obvious time-traveling, I’m unimpressed by now-VP Harris’s attempt at street cred as if listening to rap is some sort of prerequisite for being accepted into the black community.

Remember When Beto O’Rourke Skateboarded at Whataburger on Livestream? 

After ordering a triple meat burger to prove that he definitely shared Texas values, then-presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke – sorry, Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke – had the quintessential “How do you do, fellow kids?” moment skateboarding around a Whataburger parking lot.

This quirky move was called out as being bait for a “Gen X novelty campaign” that was beyond out-of-touch, but unsurprising considering he also dabbled in stunts like speeches on top of bar counters.

Remember When Nancy Pelosi Showed Off Her Freezer of Ice Cream? 

Nothing says perfectly ordinary, blue-collar Joe or Jane like being able to afford filling two sub-zero freezers with an all-American frozen dessert! House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appeared on James Corden’s Late Late Show where she shared that she was keeping her spirits up during lockdowns by binge-shopping ice cream. Apparently, she’s so “like us” that she actually eats ice cream for breakfast! Makes me wonder what she serves her husband for dinner and if it’s just straight alcohol…too soon?

Well, it wasn’t just conservatives who found this weird flex to be distasteful, her fellow Democrats further to the left of the political spectrum bemoaned her evident elitism as well.

Remember When Pete Buttigieg Staged His Biking Commute? 

On his way to his first Cabinet meeting, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was caught on camera riding his bike to the White House…except he didn’t. His security staffers brought his bike in their SUV, drove him much of the way, and then followed behind him while he “biked” to work.

Biking to reduce your environmental impact is just dandy if you’re not also flanked by two gas-guzzling SUVs. Don’t worry, Buttigieg, fighting climate change really will be “on par with winning World War II, maybe more challenging than that” if you’re doubling your own personal carbon footprint while proselytizing at us average Joes and Janes.

Just stop being poor and buy an electric vehicle if you’re so worried about high gas prices anyway, you fellow human, you! You can surely afford an EV (which averages at $56,000, making them $5k more expensive than low-end luxury vehicles), and I’m sure you can also afford to install an EV charging station at that home that you can definitely afford! 

Remember When Elizabeth Warren Poured One out on Camera?

In a move of utter authenticity, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren announced her campaign for President of the United States by hopping onto Instagram Live and drinking a Michelob Ultra.

“Hold on a second – I'm going to get me a beer,” Sen. Warren says in the video after asking her audience for questions. 

Reminder: Brett Kavanaugh was bashed for liking beer, in one of America’s most bitter witch hunts, but we were all supposed to get the warm fuzzies watching Liz wind down with a beer on Instagram Live as if she’s an influencer.

Remember When President Biden Danced to “Despacito”?

The writing on the wall shows that President Joe Biden is struggling when it comes to appealing to Hispanic voters. I guess the best way to do so – aside from his wife calling Latinos “breakfast tacos” – is by pulling his phone out at a Hispanic Heritage Month event and awkwardly playing “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi. 

Fonsi had introduced him, so I can understand why he’d make that connection, but bobbing about on stage to a tinny rendition of an overplayed reggaeton song is inauthentic. Perhaps these acts of insincerity will ultimately cost his party a major faction they used to champion!

Remember When Hillary Clinton Said She Had Hot Sauce in Her Bag… Swag?

Anyone listening to pop music in the mid-2010s heard the phrase “I got hot sauce in my bag” from Beyoncé’s chart-topping song “Formation,” so clearly, if someone were to quote it, it would go over really well, right? Wrong.

While campaigning for president, Hillary Clinton was accused of trying to appeal to black voters by sharing with “The Breakfast Club” radio show that she always carries hot sauce in her bag. She quoted the Beyoncé lyric and added in an uncomfortable “swag,” despite the hot sauce reference in Beyoncé’s song being meant as a “reference to a cultural connection, one that spans the diaspora of Black American identity,” according to Eater

The obvious pandering wasn’t lost on the media, or “The Breakfast Club” radio host Charlamagne, who said, "I just want you to know people are going to see this and say ‘okay, she’s pandering to black people.'"

Clinton’s response? "Okay, is it working?"

Case in point.

Closing Thoughts

Ah, elite politicians. They’re so far removed from us, but they insist they’re just like us! These oh-so believable stunts are patronizing and just go to demonstrate a class distinction between them and the average American.

So what do you think? Did I miss any particularly offensive moments?

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