It’s a common story line that politicians generally are fake and people want authentic ones. I don’t think I could give a good definition of a fake politician, but I can give at least two examples.
On New Year’s Day, with the Iowa caucuses a month away, Carly Fiorina, then in the running to be the Republican presidential candidate, tweeted: “Love my alma mater, but rooting for a Hawkeyes win today.” Fiorina attended Stanford; Stanford was playing the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Rose Bowl, one of the most prestigious college football bowl games. This showed the same strategic thinking Fiorina demonstrated at HP. Actual sports fans have much more respect for a loyal fan of a rival than a disloyal fan of their team. Disloyal fans, also often called bandwagon fans, are pariahs of the sports world. Trying to win political favor by being one of them is not a smart move. It turned out as well as an actual sports fan might imagine it would. She was blasted online for her ridiculous position and then received less than 2% of the votes in the Iowa Republican caucuses. She dropped out of the race shortly afterwards.
Just this week, Ted Cruz attempted to pander to Indiana voters by holding an event in the gym where the classic movie Hoosiers was filmed. While at the rally, Cruz said, “The amazing thing is, that basketball ring in Indiana, it’s the same height as it is New York City and every other place in this country.” The amazing thing is that someone could be raised, though not born, in the United States and reference a “basketball ring” rather than a “hoop.” Anyone with any familiarity with basketball would call it a hoop. Unsurprisingly, Twitter had as much fun with Cruz as it did with Trump.
This is why politicians are often thought of as fake. It’s not a crime not to be a basketball fan, but it comes off as inauthentic if you pretend to care about basketball and apparently know nothing about it.
These faux paus are not a big deal, but they do indicate the disconnect between politicians (and their staffs) and normal people. It’s not all bad news for these two, though. Cruz is still in the race and today he named Fiorina as his vice presidential running mate. I don’t think it’s a home-run pick, and I bet if I told them that they wouldn’t be insulted because they wouldn’t understand the reference.