Taking Advantage of the Politics of Chipolte

In what was, thus far, the stupidest story of the 2016 Presidential cycle, former Secretary Hillary Clinton was spotted anonymously grabbing a bite at Chipolte while driving to Iowa for the first stop of her 2016 Presidential campaign.  It started out as a relatively small human interest story before becoming even bigger: She didn’t tip, which turned into a controversy.  Then other candidates stopped at Chipolte and made sure to tip.  Then some made fun of the former Secretary, because they cook their own Mexican food.

A Google News search for “Hillary Clinton Chipolte” reveals way, way, way too many stories.

COULD THIS POSSIBLY BE LESS IMPORTANT?  Seriously.  This is ridiculous.  There are so many real issues facing 2016 Presidential candidates, and we are talking about a burrito bowl.  What a distraction.


Anyway, here’s the point: The Chipolte story has turned into an actual thing that people are using to judge Hillary Clinton.  Sadly, this is the political world that we live in: When small stories become much larger than we ever deserve.  So, the question becomes this: How can elected officials use these small stories to discuss who they are, and then leverage those kind of stories on social media?

It is possible, and more importantly, you can do so in a manner that advances the interests of your district and constituents.  Some thoughts:

  • Patronage local businesses: When you are at a local business, post a pic on Facebook.  Talk about your order.  Talk about how nice the staff is.  Make sure to make the focus on them, not you.  Soon enough, you’ll be recognized in other local businesses, and they may ask for the same treatment!
  • Be human – get specific: As this idiot Chipolte story showed, people like the little human details about elected officials.  Almost all of these stories discuss what the former Secretary ordered for lunch.  So, when you are shopping at your local businesses, get specific and talk about what you are purchasing, and how you are going to use it.  This will remind people that you, as an elected official, are a human being.  You take care of your kids.  You mow your lawn.  You are a normal person, like anyone else.  That is always an effective point for an elected official to be making.
  • Tip: Someone should have tipped.  You are an elected official, and you have to care for the average worker.  Tip.  That being said, don’t go running around on social media, screaming “I TIPPED BECAUSE I CARE!”

Any other thoughts to add?  Let us know in the comments!

Tweets and Consequences

Like the blog?  Get the book!  Tweets and Consequences: 60 Social Media Disasters in Politics and How You Can Avoid A Career-Ending Mistake is now available on Amazon for purchase or download.

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