Here, for example, is what people asked Google when Marco Rubio made his announcement Monday.
I pay closer attention to this stuff than most, so I know that he is 43 and was born in Florida (although his family moved to Nevada for a bit). How tall is he? If you Google "how tall Rubio," you are told that he is 6-foot-4 -- although it assumes you're talking about NBA player Ricky Rubio. Florida political blog "The Shark Tank" (no relation) says Marco is "5-9ish." His speech was in the early evening. And, yes, he is a Republican.
I actually can't decide which question is stupider, the third or the fifth. But we will come back to that.
Here's what people wanted to know about Hillary Clinton:
Why are you Googling "Hillary Clinton" right after she announces her candidacy and then asking in three different ways whether she is running? Anyway, she is 67 and she is a Democrat, yes, good job.
And, Rand Paul.
There is one good trivia question here. Rand Paul is an ophthalmologist, and a rebellious one, at that.
To answer the other questions: Rand Paul is 52 and he is apparently 5-foot-8. Who is his father? His father is Darth Vader.
Why would you ask who his father is if you didn't already know who his father was? Like, was someone going around to people and saying, "I will give you $100 if you can tell me within the next 10 minutes who Rand Paul's father is"? Or were people thinking, "Hmm, I wonder if this Rand Paul fellow is related to Tony Paul from the Elks Club?" I seriously don't understand that.
But none of the other 14 questions can compare to this one: "What does Rand Paul stand for?"
Google, what is love?
Google, will we ever know what lies beyond the stars?
Google, where is melancholy located in the human heart?
I get that people don't expect Google to answer their questions but, rather, to point them to resources to answer those questions -- however much Google would prefer to be able to perform the former task. But I am enamored with the idea that there may exist people who are so impressed with Google's and the Web's apparent omniscience that they confuse it with actual omniscience.
What's important, though, is this: That is the only question in the entire set that is remotely concerned with the actual question at hand, which is, presumably: Should I vote for this person? The phrasing of it is terrible and all but guaranteed to yield no response, but at least those people were asking the question.
We here at Mainstream Media Inc. get a lot of grief for not focusing on the issues. It's a lament we hear all the time, usually as a form of concern-trolling: Why are you focused on what Hillary Clinton had for lunch and not her position on [whatever thing the person cares about]? There are often times when the complaint is warranted. But in general, we often cover the most interesting aspects of political campaigns because 1) Hillary Clinton's/Rand Paul's/Marco Rubio's week-old campaigns haven't exactly drawn a hard line on policy issues yet (Clinton has a plan for her plan) and 2) readers almost always don't care, as these questions make clear. (Editor's note: Why the attention/interest on the heights of candidates?)
Incidentally, here is a graph of searches for "Obama" on Google compared to searches for "Google" on Google, via Google Trends.
I am not saying that Americans on the whole are dumb! The end.