Will voters turn out to watch a hologram deliver a stump speech?
Well, of course — who would turn down the chance to see something out of Star Trek? But once the initial novelty wears off, perhaps especially after the novelty wears off, some think the technology could become an essential part of future presidential campaigns.
Imagine a candidate stumping in Colorado, with his virtual doppelganger beamed live to Florida, Iowa, and Ohio. Campaign rallies will no longer be limited to a candidate’s travel schedule.
That’s the vision of Jeff Taylor, who has gone from campaign specialist to hologram advocate.
“If a candidate has to be in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and there’s also a very important event in Clairmont, you send a surrogate [today],” he said. (Taylor helped George H.W. Bush capture the Granite State in the 1988 primary.)
He doesn’t think that will be the case for long. Taylor is the point man in Washington for Hologram USA, a company that holds the North American license to a popular hologram technology. The worldwide patent-holder, Musion, helped Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi win that country’s election in May, holding more than 1,000 hologram rallies.
Of course, a hologram can’t press the flesh or kiss a baby. But what it lacks in retail campaign skills, it can nearly equal with its manyfold multiplication of candidates’ appearances. And watching a hologram won’t just be like like seeing a remote candidate on a screen, says Alki David, Hologram USA’s CEO. The technology will “create an image that is projected in such a way that is absolutely indistinguishable from a real person or object,” he said.
But bringing candidates “on stage” around the country won’t be holograms’ only use. Taylor envisions a GOP convention in which a hologram Ronald Reagan delivers his iconic “tear down this wall speech” or a Democratic rally that features John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address brought to life in virtual form.
Or a party’s nominee could beam into the first day of the convention to excite the crowd before his or her in-person acceptance speech later in the week.
It’s all but certain that the technology can do all this. But will voters see it as a sideshow or another way to hear from presidential wannabes?
In India, Modi’s hologram campaign stops were able to reach rural voters who would likely have never otherwise gotten a “visit” from a candidate. But even in the better-connected United States, David thinks holograms can connect with citizens. “The American mind is a very vivid-thinking culture,” he said. “More reserved cultures may or may not react as colorfully “¦ [but] the U.S. embraces this type of technology.”
What We're Following See More »
"In this election, and every election, it's about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives," Michelle Obama said. "There is only one person who I trust with that responsibility … and that is our friend Hillary Clinton." In a personal and emotional speech, Michelle Obama spoke about the effect that angry oppositional rhetoric had on her children and how she chose to raise them. "When they go low, we go high," Obama said she told her children about dealing with bullies. Obama stayed mostly positive, but still offered a firm rebuke of Donald Trump, despite never once uttering his name. "The issues a president faces cannot be boiled down to 140 characters," she said.
Many Bernie Sanders delegates have spent much of the first day of the Democratic National Convention resisting unity, booing at mentions of Hillary Clinton and often chanting "Bernie! Bernie!" Well, one of the most outspoken Bernie Sanders supporters just told them to take a seat. "To the Bernie-or-bust people: You're being ridiculous," said comedian Sarah Silverman in a brief appearance at the Convention, minutes after saying that she would proudly support Hillary Clinton for president.
The Democratic National Committee issued a formal apology to Bernie Sanders today, after leaked emails showed staffers trying to sabotage his presidential bid. "On behalf of everyone at the DNC, we want to offer a deep and sincere apology to Senator Sanders, his supporters, and the entire Democratic Party for the inexcusable remarks made over email," DNC officials said in the statement. "These comments do not reflect the values of the DNC or our steadfast commitment to neutrality during the nominating process. The DNC does not—and will not—tolerate disrespectful language exhibited toward our candidates."
The chairman of the DCCC said Debbie Wasserman Schultz won't be getting financial help from the organization this year, even as she faces a well-funded primary challenger. "Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) said the committee’s resources will be spent helping Democrats in tough races rather than those in seats that are strongholds for the party." Executive Director Kelly Ward added, “We never spend money in safe seats."
Debbie Wasserman Schultz has given up her last remaining duty at this week's convention. Now, she's told her hometown newspaper, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, that she will not gavel in the convention today. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will do the honors instead. "I have decided that in the interest of making sure that we can start the Democratic convention on a high note that I am not going to gavel in the convention," Wasserman Schultz said.