Those of us who pay close attention to presidential politics are blessed in a way that the average American is not. Most Americans goofing around on social media on Wednesday probably came across one or two stupid marketing ploys linked to the 30th anniversary of a randomly selected date from an '80s movie.
But those of us who are paid to goof around on social media (lest we not be up to speed on whatever dumb fight Donald Trump and Jeb Bush are in) received a larger-than-average dose of "Back to the Future" dopiness, thanks to the deep and unquenchable thirst of the presidential candidates. As surely as if it had been plutonium, that extra dose caused us great physical pain.
Ben Carson outsourced his "Back to the Future" joke to a parody Twitter account representing his bus. It's like Michael Corleone leaving the dirty work to Clemenza.
It is also a pretty weak joke? But at least it constrains its joke about the future to a world in which Carson is the president. One can see how a presidential candidate might take the idea way too far and start riffing on what the future could look like, issuing goofy predictions and so on.
One could especially see that if one follows Martin O'Malley on Twitter.
This is the Twitter equivalent of walking by someone at a coffee shop and hearing that they're talking about how a parent is in hospice in Maine and then interrupting to tell all about your summer vacation in Maine and how beautiful it was on the coast and what you had to eat at the little bed-and-breakfast where you stayed. No one clicking on the #BackToTheFuture hashtag is doing so in order to learn about energy independence, dude.
Ted Cruz did a little better?
Mind you, the analogy here is pretty easy to turn around in President Obama's favor. Doc Brown tricked the Libyans, taking away their plutonium and giving them a dud. Wouldn't Obama argue that he, too, took away nearly all of Iran's fissile material without giving them a bomb? And besides, the Libyans stuff was mostly in the first movie, not the second one, which is the one where they went to 2015.
But at least it was a good GIF, and not Ted Cruz standing in a field near a barn, which is a bad thing to include in your "Back to the Future" tweet. (Martin.)
Chris Christie didn't really try, but he gets huge amounts of credit for rooting for the Mets in his tweet, however incongruous it might have been.
Marco Rubio, on the other hand, tried very hard.
It would be easy to see how this could be the most over-the-top attempt to leverage the day on behalf of a presidential candidate. I mean, he made a little video and stuff. It dings Joe Biden, which proved unnecessary, but look at the "special effects!" That flying car, man.
But Marco Rubio will not win the prize for the most exhaustive attempt to leverage the pseudo-holiday into votes. That award goes to CARLY for America, the super PAC that does not share its name with Carly Fiorina in any legally binding sense.
Like, multiple videos.
Combined, the six videos have been watched fewer than 1,000 times. The Twitter account has 43 followers.
(We do, however, endorse the idea that there will be not one but two print newspapers in existence 30 years from now. That's good news, anyway.)
Brands, and politicians acting as brands, are enthusiasm leeches. If and when they spot something about which people are expressing any enthusiasm, they zero in on the source and attach themselves, draining out the energy. They are the uncool kids who copy what the cool kids are wearing and doing.
The only funny part of "Back to the Future" day was that Tumblr that made fake versions of the time machine's control panel to trick people online. What would be funny is if a politician tweeted one of those next week, just to troll folks.
That's a freebie, O'Malley.