From the Vox coverage, written by Jonathan Allen:
Tellingly absent from the [launch] video is a staple of campaign ads: Any hint of a testimonial for Clinton. The people in it talked about themselves, not about her. Perhaps this is the feminine version of the male-dominated enterprise of running for president: As a listener, an organizer of principles, and a fighter for her constituents. All done without calling attention to herself.
Wrong. I will tell you why in two words:
Ever heard of Pete Peterson, who almost won the California Secretary of State seat last year? Or Craig Fifer, who is running in a field of five for the Democratic nomination in the VA-25th? Well, get familiar with candidates like them because they’re what the future looks like. It’s not a male thing – it’s a citizen engagement thing. And voters like it. A lot. It speaks to the 21st century advances in how citizens can demand and get more by engaging, and electeds or wannabe electeds who recognize this and know how to tap into it to make government responsive and good, would be smart to do so.
This isn’t new or unique to politics. Journalism, non-profit fundraising and retail customer service all require now that the professional be where the reader, the donor or the customer is – figuratively and literally. This saying, most commonly associated with the practice of mental health intervention and social work, is now used regularly in many other sectors because there simply are too many sources of feedback that we can use to draw attention when we feel we’re not getting the attention we believe we deserve, whether for ourselves, our issues or both. Trace this back even further to the erosion of the “need to know basis” of information provision, long over except for those who are trying to hang on to it (including even Hillary Clinton courtesy of the email server matter). People have tools for discovering information and getting the attention of others, and this lets them be the driver in numerous situations where before, we were powerless.
Clinton’s people know that if people feel that they haven’t had a hand in carving policy planks, in this age of easy or at least easier citizen engagement, then she will be endangered as a candidate. The campaign launch video sends the message that she is willing to acknowledge, from her start, this power that people have at their disposal. Now, it will be up to us to grasp and use that nod as best we can to make sure that whatever shape her policy planks take, we’ve had a hand in carving them. Because if the electorate feels that they didn’t have a hand in shaping them, that will not be pretty.
If it just so happens that males won’t be able to make these adjustments, that would be an unfortunate thing for male presidential wannabees. But the truth is, any candidate who cuts out the voters these days is at great risk of losing. And their gender has nothing to do with it. Unless we come to determine that men who seek to be president suck at 21st century citizen engagement. And I’m certainly not going to be the one to suggest that.