Grading the online footprints of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Look, we all know that democracy is a sham and that the U.S. government has long conducted business according to the whims of the 1 percent. Our government, for all intents and purposes, is an oligarchy, or maybe even a plutocracy. Do our votes, especially in a presidential election, really matter? It’s becoming increasingly harder to tell.

In Texas, where I live, gerrymandering makes it nearly impossible for counties to vote for true electoral representation, especially in districts with strong Democratic voters. I still vote, even though Texas is solidly Republican, because I like to ensure that at the very least, Travis County remains staunchly blue. But since the Internet is the only place that really matters, I propose we evaluate our candidates (and soon-to-be candidates) for 2016 based solely on a very cursory and unprofessional evaluation of their Web presences.

Jeb Bush (R)

First up, we’ve got good ol’ Jeb. The electing of Another Bush feels so familiar and typical that it would come as absolutely no surprise if Jeb were our next commander-in-chief.

It should have been easier to find Jeb’s website. After his Facebook page, Jeb Bush for President is the next result, but it’s totally not Jeb’s site! This gay couple actually owns it:

CJ Phillips and Charlie Rainwater want to use the domain as a tool to create awareness about political issues affecting the LGBTQ community, and they have no plans to sell it.

The next domain that might have been Jeb’s is jebbushforpresident.net, but it’s maintained by “a loyal Republican in the hope of saving the Republican party from supporting Jeb Bush for president.” According to this patriot, Jeb is really (gasp) a social liberal!

Finally, I came to a Jeb Bush-approved site, jebemails.com/home. Below is the splash page, which quotes Bush on how important email is for a governor. Really important, apparently! This site purports to host all email exchanges Jeb had while governor of Florida. Of course, none of them have been censored or left off the website—he’s a transparent candidate you can trust. Jeb believes that sharing his 100 percent without-a-doubt uncensored governor correspondence is indicative of his honesty and leadership abilities. Interesting!

According to Jeb’s official Facebook page, a PAC (i.e., fundraising) page is his official site. I’m not sure I understand the strategy, but you do you, Another Bush.

Internet grade: D

Ted Cruz

Unlike with Jeb, I easily found Cruz’s official Web presence. Though he’s from Texas, I don’t know much about the guy aside from headlines about ignorant things he says, but early coverage of the candidate indicates that he won’t fare so well. I Cruzed over to the candidate’s Facebook page to see if I could find something halfway interesting about him, and here it is!

If you win this hunting trip with Ted Cruz, please contact me immediately.

Internet grade: C+

Rand Paul (R)

We’ve hit the treasure chest, dear readers, for Paul’s official campaign merchandise is True Innovation and the only thing that matters with regard to judging his Web presence.

Haha! My political opponent is a liar, and this joke is totally worth 100 of your dollars.

An fascinating display of loyalty and dedication.

Yes, pay me $15 for something you can fashion from literally any object around you.

An allusion to that Don’t Tase Me Bro incident from 2007! Way to stay in touch with current memes, bro! This would also make a great item to use to cover your computer’s camera and block the NSA.

A DOG WEARING A DOG TAG. Another great item you could use to cover the camera on your computer to block the NSA. Just saying.

Totally not a weird overpriced thing to buy. You could probably end up using it to cover the camera on your computer and block the NSA, if you’re into that sort of thing.

You could easily prop this in front of your computer to obstruct the camera and block the NSA.

This blanket is the perfect thing to drape over your computer’s camera, thereby blocking the NSA.

Internet grade: B-

Hillary Clinton (D)

Ah yes, the only Democratic candidate who has officially thrown their hat into the ring. As a progressive, I’m not exactly thrilled with my only viable option so far, but I guess I’m never all that thrilled about anything happening in national politics.

As we and others have reported, Clinton’s logo (below) is the aspect of her Internet presence currently causing the biggest stir.

Of course, the Internet ran with the design, which became the basis for a new font created by graphic designer Rick Wolff.

It’s pretty easy to make your own (via the Washington Post). Here’s mine:

So that’s fun. But if this interactive font doesn’t do it for you, then perhaps Clinton’s official  404 page, pictured below, will reassure you that Clinton is a totally fun and chill lady whom you would never guess actually loves war.

Internet grade: B

Marco Rubio (R)

Rubio, once a mystery to me, is now interesting in that he’s a Cuban-American born to an immigrant family and has a stricter immigration platform than his white Republican maybe-opponent, Jeb Bush. Marco also has a fraught history with Univision, the largest Spanish-language media company in the U.S., because the network investigated Marco’s familial connection to a drug-trafficking ring.

Other than that, Marco’s presence is a snoozefest. Here’s a screenshot of his website, quite possibly the most boring thing I’ve ever seen online:

Internet grade: F

There you have it, folks. Your 2016 presidential candidates (so far). Stay tuned to see who else emerges from the fray to declare that they’re qualified to be the leader of the free world—but never of the Internet.

Photo via Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0) | Bernard Pollack/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0) | Michael Vadon/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed

Jené Gutierrez

Jené Gutierrez

Jené Gutierrez is a reporter whose work focuses on feminism, politics, and internet culture.