The Christina Nolan campaign is treading dangerously close to self-parody.
Last Wednesday, Team Nolan posted a brief video on social media showing the candidate in front of literally hundreds of mayonnaise jars talking about a mayo shortage.
It was probably her most viral campaign vid to date, but the attention was all negative. Condiment jokes flew around Twitter. The scorn was well-earned; this was bad, really bad. Downright embarrassing, in fact, for a major-party campaign for a seat in the U.S. Senate. Setting, lighting, text, delivery, sound, were all barely acceptable by community access TV standards. It’s something you might have expected from Nolan’s low-wattage Republican opponents.
This video was only 27 seconds long; to enumerate its offenses against politics will take far longer.
Let’s start at the top. Nolan, dressed to make her seem human and relatable. But they went a little too far with it. Lumpy sweatshirt, oddly bulgy tan shorts and flip flops? It’s possible to dress casually without looking like, well, a slob. Also, the colors make her fade into the background.
She stands, rather awkwardly, in front of a nearly-packed supermarket display to talk about supply chain issues. Whose idea was that? Couldn’t they find a display that was actually empty?
And why mayonnaise? (Team Nolan later posted a much better video of her in front of a nearly-empty display of baby formula, which is the supply chain issue of the day. Not mayo.)
The video was shot, it seems, on a smartphone with no additional lighting or audio. The camera is too far away to capture Nolan’s voice with clarity.
And then she starts to talk. If this was scripted, she didn’t spend enough time practicing. Stilted, halting delivery. Still, they thought it was good enough to upload.
Fellow Vermonters, I know you’ve felt the pain from the soaring prices of condiments, like mayonnaise…
Really? Soaring condiment prices are causing the pain? First I’ve heard of it. Why not a gas pump? Nolan filling her tank, tsk-tsking at the prices. Slam dunk. Why mayonnaise?
I’m sorry I keep repeating myself, but it’s just so weird.
…mayonnaise, meats. uh, over Memorial Day weekend.
Meat, perhaps. Mayonnaise???
And I know that sometimes you can’t even find [pointing at the one empty shelf] products you’re looking for on the shelf due to the supply chain crisis.
I dunno, there seems to be an abundance of mayo. But now we move to the pitch!
But take heart and have hope.
At this point, a loud announcement comes over the PA system, making it almost impossible to hear the go-home message. Why not shoot it all over again? Slipshod, careless, amateurish.
We’re going to elect a new generation of leadership to Washington, ah, and we’re going to have change.
Nolan for Senate! Mayonnaise for all!
Also, “We’re going to have change”? That’s an awfully limp close. You gotta hit hard with the first and last lines.
It was poorly planned and poorly executed. The fact that it saw the light of day ought to result in heads rolling at Nolan H.Q. That is, if there are any heads to roll.
Aside from all the errors in execution, the fundamental premise of the video is off. Some candidates naturally come across as human and relatable. Phil Scott for one. Peter Welch for another, despite his significant wealth and long tenure in the Beltway.
Christina Nolan does not, and no amount of amateur videos in everyday settings will change that. It’s a consultant’s move, right out of the playbook and without any connection to the person who’s running. Nolan is an accomplished professional. You may disagree with her drug policies, as do I, but being a respected lawyer and serving as a U.S. Attorney is a big deal.
If her campaign had a clue, they’d be presenting her as a smart, capable professional with a no-nonsense approach to her career and the issues. At least then, the campaign would be true to the candidate and would play to her strengths, not her weaknesses.
But, as is becoming tragically apparent, the Nolan campaign doesn’t have a clue.