Category Archives: Politics USA

Super “Choose” Day

Tomorrow is Super Tuesday, the day on which more than a dozen states and territories will hold primaries and caucuses. Here are a few useful links and videos for use in class.

In “Super Tuesday: Everything you need to know” US news anchor Katie Couric explains what Super Tuesday is and what’s at stake for the candidates in this two-minute video.

The BBC also has a good two-minute video “What makes Super Tuesday so super?” that focuses on what the day means for the candidates in terms of time and money. Katty Kay describes it as being like “a series of final exams all held on the same day. A candidate has to perform well across enough of them to graduate to the next phase of the campaign”.

“What’s the deal with Super Tuesday” a two-and-a-half minute video by the Guardian focuses more on what Super Tuesday actually means for each of the delegates, describing Super Tuesday as being “jackpot time”.

For the Star Wars fans amongst your students, the following cartoon provides a light-hearted look at what’s facing the Republican Party (published at the end of 2015, it is still very topical).

And by the way, today is “Leap Day”, the day on which women traditionally ask men to marry them. This cartoon by Christian Adams, a political cartoonist for The Daily Telegraph, puts a rather nice spin on this, showing Hillary Clinton proposing to the Democratic voters ahead of Super “Choose” Day.

Now all we have to do is wait and see what happens …

 

The US President stars in an advert with a difference

In this tongue-in-cheek video “Things everybody does but doesn’t talk about” President Obama is waiting for an interviewer to arrive. The video shows the interviewer and the President preparing for the interview (in similar ways but different places). To pass the time, the President gets out a selfie stick, plays air basketball, makes doodles of his wife, practises delivering his pitch in which he tells people to sign up for his health care plan and even uses current slang at the end, saying “Yolo” (you only live once) …

The video was created by BuzzFeed, the American Internet news media company. It was conceived as a way of connecting with millennials and getting them to sign up for the President’s health care plan (there is a link to the website at the end). As interviews using traditional media, such as newspapers would probably not have reached this target group, the President took to social media. The video was posted on Facebook on 12 February 2015, and within an hour of being online, it had been viewed over 1.5 million times.

It is not the first time that President Obama has embraced different media as a way of reaching out to people, especially young people. JFK is often said to be the first president who really understood television, Obama is the first social media president: he was the first US presidential candidate to effectively use social media (Facebook and Twitter) as a major campaign strategy way back in 2008, fine-tuned this strategy for his run in 2012, was interviewed by three young YouTube stars after his State of the Union, and was also the first president to appear on a late-night comedy show while in office.

Critics have claimed that the video is disrespectful to the office of president and that such tongue-in-cheek behaviour is unpresidential. The cartoonist Michael Ramirez commented in this cartoon and Mark W. Davis, a White House speechwriter for President George Bush, wrote, “The same face that mugs in the mirror and sticks out a tongue may have to go on television to announce the beginning of a war. The same hand that holds a selfie stick will certainly have to sign condolence letters.”

To joke around or not to joke around – what do your students think?