The emotions of politics: a reporting adventure

I guess I’ll just come out and say it: I’m not a supporter of Hillary Clinton. I don’t know everything about her policies and I don’t believe she’s the devil; I just don’t trust her to not cross a line any time she thinks she can get away with.

BUT. There’s always a “but,” isn’t there?

But, as a journalist, I was stoked to get the chance to attend her victory party at the Sheraton in Times Square on Tuesday. I was excited to chat with her supporters and thrilled that I might get the chance to see such an important person (because no matter how you feel about her you cannot deny that she is important) in the flesh.

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Cell phone photo quality: not great.

And that’s when I realized just how much politics relies on emotion. Yes, they’ll tell us that it’s about policy and experience and diplomacy and who has the better ideas and the better plan.

BUT.

But it’s really about who can be the most inspirational, whose music gets you the most excited and who is best at winning a popularity contest. It’s about whose endorsements have the highest celebrity power, whose friends are the best at riling up a crowd, whose family history is the closest to a dynasty.

How do I know this? Not because I’m super smart or a political analyst or anything along those lines. I know this because, despite being so far from a Hillary supporter, as I teetered on the steps to the media stage and “Empire State of Mind” pumped through the speakers and the crowds roared and Clinton’s head appeared at the podium…I nearly teared up.

That’s right. I got emotional and excited and caught up in the moment. My heart thundered as Alicia Keys and Jay-Z crooned about my favorite city, and I got fired up when Alicia, again, sang about how this girl is on fire.

I found myself thinking…you’re right, she is! I couldn’t help but consider just how far Hillary has come, to be possibly the first female president of the United States. Like…that’s friggin huge!

And as I was standing there getting emotional, I caught myself. I was nodding along to the speeches, even though I don’t even agree with half of what they were saying. I was losing my ability to stand apart.

And then I had my revelation that politics is all about emotion and attraction. That’s why it’s such a commonly held theory that Kennedy won his election because he looked better on TV than Nixon did. That’s why it doesn’t matter that Trump’s policies, ideas, statements have as many holes as Swiss cheese, because he’s got theatricality and popularity. He can make people feel, and that’s what really matters.

I don’t know if it was always like this. I just know what I experienced: even as a journalist who went to an event to provide unbiased reportage, I found myself getting swept up. It was…kind of scary.

But so you know what I’m talking about…here’s a video Lilly Maier and I produced.


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/163749925″>Hillary Clinton Celebrates New York Primary Win</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user46360248″>Lady Liberty Votes</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

 

 

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