How do you get The Youths interested in whoever's running for president? That's been a question since forever, but this year the answer seems to be, "Can't do it, don't bother."
Based on internal research into what young people like (hypercolor shirts and pogs, right?), MTV's election coverage is dropping its emphasis on the candidates, and focusing instead of individual issues. Executives seem to have figured out what the political parties haven't: politicians are ratings disasters. So fuck 'em.
Instead of focusing on Hillary and Donald, MTV will instead air some surreal programming that features animatronic robots reading tweets about important issues. It is some of the strangest nonsense I've ever seen.
They also have a series called "Infographica" that presents data in a sort of music video style. Is this what it takes to finally get MTV to show music videos again?
The slogan for "Elect This" is "what will you elect" instead of "who will you elect." A promotional video doesn't feature a single shot of anyone running for office. (Leonardo DiCaprio makes a brief appearance though.)
It makes sense that the network is going in this direction, since Hillary and Donald are both so loathed. (A new survey from Quinnipiac shows that large percentages of voters believe that neither one will fulfill their promises.) And even though Donald is an entertaining spectacle, his tactics don't exactly scream "millennial." On the other hand, youngsters are deeply invested in causes that are personally relevant to them, so they're far less likely to close the tab when they see programming about Black Lives Matter or climate change.
MTV's demographic seems to be totally comfortable voting for contestants on American Idol, but viscerally resistant to voting for president — which to be honest seems pretty appropriate. When it's an entertaining game show of little consequence, then yeah, a national vote is a fun exercise! Round up your friends, call in, whee! But selecting a country's head of government is kind of important, so it's a little horrifying that we leave it to a popular vote in a country that still hasn't managed to confront its racist and religious foundations.
Is there a lesson for the political parties here? It could be time for them to drop the focus on the candidates and instead focus on what the party itself can achieve. Voters may be "meh" to "ick" about Hillary, but her platform (campaign finance reform, early childhood education, gun control, racial justice, etc) is actually pretty awesome.
That could be the best bet for defeating Trump: let Hillary recede into the background, and remind voters what the party stands for. And maybe throw in a few animatronic robots.