The Candidate is the Remix

The Hillary Clinton for President Campaign uses many forms of Remix Culture, taking different bits of of media (video, audio, photos, etc) and presenting them in a specific order or overlapping and mashing up to create a new context as a whole from individual things. The more straight forward version of this can be found on their Youtube page after events like a speech or a debate, when the campaign releases edited videos of the event, a highlight reel of sorts, as they did after Tim Kaine’s speech when he was chosen for the ticket.

The campaign has also used moments from the debates as a backbone for positive ads meant to inspire her supporters, as they did in the video below. By adding music, photos from the past and video snippets, these ads reinforce the moment from the debate and tug at heartstrings, emotionalizing and humanizing what many viewers at first pass may have experienced as a “politician’s response.”

As the Clinton communications strategy has been two pronged, inspire and attack, the campaign has used the same aspects of remix culture in it’s attack ads, most memorably in the “Role Models” video television ad published on YouTube on July 14th, 2016.

In the attack ad, the Clinton Campaign uses excerpts of Trump’s speeches and interviews as audio while young children of various ethnicities and both sexes watch a television. A somber piano track plays on the soundtrack as the children watch Candidate Trump insult a multitude of the American populace.

The effect is powerful. It also cleverly uses the candidate’s own words against him. The new context for Mr. Trump’s words in this ad asks the viewer to consider what effect they may have on our children.

In addition to using these very tangible and traditional examples of remix culture, the Clinton campaign goes a step further.  After having been in politics and the public eye for many decades, this campaign is itself a living embodiment of remix by presenting pieces and parts of Secretary Clinton’s life, experiences, and record to present them in the best light and make the argument for her presidency. This 2016 version of Hillary Clinton is a remix of various past Hillary Clintons.

The breadth of her experiences allows for a lot of “raw footage” or material for her supporters and campaign to highlight and order in a beneficial way.

Unfortunately, the same wealth of material is just as easily accessible for her detractors and the Trump Campaign to remix in ways that supports their narrative.

As the above video from YouTube user Hillary For Prison 2016 demonstrates, the effect of the video is greater than the sum of its parts. The video is edited to support the notion the Hillary Clinton is gleefully indifferent to human life and only platform is that she is a woman.

As the Trump Campaign continues to paint Hillary Clinton as a corrupt politician, it is not surprising that the majority of the videos released by the Clinton campaign on social media seem to have as their primary goal not to reinforce the qualifications of Secretary Clinton, but rather increase her identifiability. They are designed to present her as like-able, caring, and sometimes, even cool.

The video that perhaps best displays this was created in 2015 and not by the campaign, but rather two fans: Eric Wing and Stacey Sampo.  “Rebel Girl,” set to the Bikini Kill song of the same name, takes clips of Hillary Clinton throughout the decades and presents her as a cool person. The video’s history is covered in depth here by Amber Davisson.


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