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The Midterm Elections Mashup: Smile! You're On Candid Camera

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Wonder what New Jersey Congressional hopeful John Runyan was up to before the election? Or which one of hip-hop's New York City moguls is getting out the vote? Or which area incumbent used to spend his free time making rock 'n' roll? Just in time for the midterm elections, WNYC's Culture team has scoured the Internet for some answers. Read on to check out seven of the campaign's zaniest videos—wrestling, bare chests, McDonald's coffee and all.

1. Turns out music was an early pastime of Democratic Rep. John Hall, the New York politician and activist who wants to hold onto his 19th district seat: Long before he became the Congressman for the Hudson Valley's 19th district, John Hall (pictured right, in muscle T) was the lead singer for "Orleans." The band is probably best known for its 1975 hit “Dance With Me.”  Hall later left Orleans to crank out hits solo like “Crazy (Keep on Fallin’)." Now, the liberal Democrat who was voted into office in 2006 faces a fraught election against Nan Hayworth. At press time, projections put Hayworth slightly ahead.

2. G.O.P. Connecticut Senatorial hopeful (and wrestling magnate) Linda McMahon was slapped by her daughter on national television: Linda McMahon kept herself out of the ring for most of her 29-year tenure managing World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). But in this fantastic skit, McMahon was apparently called a “bitch” and slapped to the ground by her daughter Stephanie, a (fake) champion wrestler herself. But don’t worry. Lest the incident mar Linda’s family values cred, Stephanie filmed a heart-melting spot on behalf of her mom--just in time for election season. At press time, McMahon was trailing in the polls behind the state's Democratic Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

3. Former offensive tackle-turned-politician Jon Runyan digs cheap coffee: The midterm election in New Jersey's third Congressional district has all the makings of a high drama sports story. And this McDonald's commercial, with its big-guy-little-guy chest bump, might be a friendly allegory of one of the Garden State's most contested political match-ups. Human-sized John Adler is the first Dem to represent South Jersey's traditionally Republican district in decades, and he is up against Jon Runyan, a 330-pound San Diego Chargers offensive tackle turned super-sized politician. (Runyan has said Congress will be easier on the body than the football field.) In the Golden Arches ad, Runyan's not pushing for lower taxes or job creation, but rather, putting a good word in for cheap McDonald's coffee. At the very least, it's as American as (McDonald's) apple pie.

4. Cynthia Nixon makes a sexy pitch for Working Families Party candidates: For better or for worse, "Sex and the City" girls in their $500 stilettos and miraculous disposable income have come to represent New York. But do they represent…working families? Cynthia Nixon, who plays Miranda on the show, has used her fame in the past to support causes like gay rights and quality public education. Now the Nixon political machine, in an effort to represent the porous party lines of the WFP, turns Mr. Big and other male characters on "Sex and the City" into a superhero voting task force à la the Fantastic Four or the Planeteers. But will Miranda's call for action work? Last time we checked, the ladies who lunch around a table of cosmopolitans may have been creative in their, ahem, locations, but they certainly weren't getting their "Sex in the City" on in a polling booth.

5. Fans pay homage to Vietnam vet and Rent Is 2 Damn High Gubernatorial Candidate Jimmy McMillan: Jimmy McMillan’s zany appearance at the New York gubernatorial debates as a third-party candidate has inspired blog chatter and a plethora of auto-tuned YouTube remixes, most of which are fairly mediocre by auto-tuned YouTube remix standards. Our favorite cover is this stripped-down acoustic rendition, performed by a serious McMillan fan, Janet, a.k.a. onewomanandsomesongs, on her ukulele.

6. From the Marcy projects to Bonaroo, Jay-Z asks nicely that you cast your ballot on Tuesday: From P. Diddy's "Rock the Vote" campaign to Will.I.am and Ludacris' Obama anthems, there are plenty of rappers who aren't afraid to mix a little policy with the Bentleys and bling. (The election of the first black President of the United States was about as sexy a pop culture reference as you could get.) Cut to the midterm elections when the stakes are lower, the politics are less of a binary and getting the kids to put down the Wii remote and head to a polling station is much more difficult. Nonetheless, footage of Brooklyn's own Jay-Z addressing a crowd at the Bonaroo music festival is being used in a campaign to get young people voting. He says it's "never happened before, we changed the world, young people changed the world," by which we assume he means that more young people got out to vote for Barack Obama than in any election in history (and not that young people never changed the world; we wouldn't want Baby Boomers to get wind of that.)

7. Country fans celebrate New York Republican gubernatorial hopeful Carl Paladino: Last (and certainly least), this clip depicts a performance of the only easily searchable country ballad expressly composed for Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino. For a genre that historically has drawn inspiration from mavericks, gunslingers, and folk heroes, an Italian real-estate mogul from Buffalo may seem like a strange fit. But then again, the band is called "Country Express."

 

 

Got any classic Election 2010 moments that were captured on film? Please let us know by posting a comment below.

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