It is time for today’s Mid-Day Blog…lots of fun things!
There are some new articles posted today:
News-Observer.com: Under The Dome – A snapshot from Clay Aiken’s campaign trail
On the campaign trail, Clay Aiken is taking more than a typical politician’s share of selfie photos with fans.
“I’ve learned it’s a lot easier to do it myself than wait for someone to figure out how to operate the camera,” Aiken said, after grabbing the camera and taking a dozen-some photos with admirers (or the curious) at a recent Wake County Democratic Party fundraiser.
The former American Idol contestant plans to file his official candidacy papers at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in Raleigh and launch what one of the most interesting campaigns for Congress in America. He’s fighting an uphill battle in a district that leans strongly to the Republican side and first must win a Democratic primary against Keith Crisco, a former state commerce secretary.
The campaign of U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers, the Republican incumbent, attacked Aiken from the start, suggesting he represented “San Francisco values.” But in an interview Aiken dismissed it, calling it “a little bit of a swipe from a clawless cat.”
In his speech to Wake Democrats, Aiken declared 2014 “a change year in North Carolina” and pressed the issue of education.
Asked after the speech how he would turn selfie photos into votes, he suggested his celebrity status would help his campaign. “I think a big issue for this campaign is making sure people pay attention to it,” he said. “And as we’ve had people pay attention to it, we’ve gotten a chance to talk about the issues important to me and things important to this district, and we’ve gotten a chance to talk about the record of the person who is in this seat now.”
Aiken said he is still adjusting to the shift to politics – “a different kind of busy” – and the Republican trackers following his every move, including at the Wake Democratic fundraising event.
At this point, an another admirer interrupted to greet him. His campaign trail will include more selfies to come.
…You can draw your own conclusions about whether the second district is better off keeping Ellmers as their representative or replacing her. Either way, the large splash that Aiken has made in such a small amount of time is indicative of a climate that ought to have the “real” politicians worried.
Of course, most of them probably won’t worry. Aiken has an uphill battle. He’s running as a Democrat in a very conservative district — a district that voted for Mitt Romney by a margin of 18 points over Barack Obama in 2012. On top of that, it can be hard for an openly gay politician to win electoral support. Not to mention he still has a primary to compete in. Aiken’s low chances will more than likely keep the politicians calm, despite his initial burst of popularity.
The issue is, though, that it doesn’t matter whether Aiken wins or loses. The fact that a former “American Idol” candidate can be taken seriously as a congressional candidate should be grabbing the attention of every politician in the state. If this is the way politics are evolving in our state, our leaders have an extremely foreign world to adapt to.
“I’m not a politician; I don’t ever want to be one,” Aiken says in his ad. While some might think these are campaign words without much substance, not being a politician used to be a bad thing to bring up in a political campaign. Even though politicians have continually been disliked, the shift to electorates preferring outsiders is relatively new in our history.
Aiken is the most recent entry in that shift. His candidacy represents a new political arena in our state, just as Schwarzenegger’s election represented a new political arena in California.
NC POLITICS: Don’t sleep on AikenIronically, while mocking Aiken’s bid, Ellmers managed to mock herself and point out the issue that modern day politicians are facing.
“I guess we don’t have a very high approval rating, so I guess the bar has been lowered for him,” said Ellmers in a recent radio interview on a Washington-based station. The implication she didn’t explicitly acknowledge, of course, is that she and her colleagues — on both sides of the aisle — are the ones that lowered the bar.
Ellmers can continue to mock Aiken, but while her best criticism of him so far is that he was the runner up on “American Idol,” Aiken manages to present a litany of reasons why Ellmers’s voting record has been bad for North Carolinians. Without agreeing or disagreeing with him, it’s obvious that Ellmers needs to take this a bit more seriously.
We live in a world where a lot of people get their news from entertainment programs and Facebook, while news programs adopt the standards of entertainment programs. Politicians act like Hollywood celebrities to remain relevant in the digital era and celebrities get involved in politics, forcing politicians to act more like them.
You can love it or hate it, but there it is. Politics and entertainment are not as separate as they once were. As Aiken’s campaign gets more attention and respect, NC politicians need to keep that in mind. They might laugh at Aiken. Aiken may very well lose. Even so, there’s a lesson here for our leaders. If they’re smart, they’ll stop laughing and start paying attention…
Save The Date! – 2014 Champions Gala
September 19-20, 2014
This year’s Gala will include dinner, honoree presentations and a special performance by Co-Founder Clay Aiken.
All events will be held at the Marriott City Center
As soon as more details are available (including hotel groups rate info) the information will be posted
on the Gala website and shared through Facebook and Twitter.
It is always good to have enough news to post in the middle of the day.
Please check back for more information about both Clay’s political path
and The National Inclusion Project!