It’s Election Day Eve, and Joe Lhota is still trying very hard to be your mayor. The latest polls show that about 65 percent of likely voters are planning to fill in the bubble for Bill de Blasio, versus 24 percent for Lhota. Those polls are, incidentally, about the same as where they were three weeks ago. It’s not great.
But Lhota’s a fighter, and this past week, he’s gone into full-tilt attack mode: making a number of unkind suggestions about what Bill de Blasio should have been for Halloween (not a police officer, because “he thinks they are ‘lazy’;” maybe Silent Bob, because “he doesn’t really have a jobs plan”), and, over the weekend, attacking de Blasio supporter Harry Belafonte for “race-baiting.”
And now, in a bid to get down with the youth, he (or someone who works for him) has made a Buzzfeed listicle [Update: two of them!]. There are gifs.
Anybody can make a Buzzfeed Community post; the site is careful to point out that they’re not “vetted or endorsed by BuzzFeed’s editorial staff.” They’re becoming increasingly popular among conservative groups wanting to prove their hipness with the young bucks, or whatever slang 22-year-olds are using nowadays. Conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation made a fun one about how totes lame Obamacare is, while anti-abortion groups like Personhood USA and National Right to Life want to use Justin Bieber gifs to rap at you about your magical, sacred womb-occupant.
So it’s probably no surprise that in these waning, desperate days, Lhota has become part of the weird, overenthusiastic, please-please-please-like-me Buzzfeed Community, gracing us on Saturday with “22 Ways Bill de Blasio Is Outside of the NY Mainstream.”
The post makes some points that are true: De Blasio opposes charter schools, and he’s said that he supports the super popular, extremely well-liked Bloomberg soda ban. You’ll notice that we’re linking to articles to back up our points, something Lhota’s post also apparently tried to do: Each of his big numbered bullet points is followed by a bit of blue hypertext. It looks like it’s supposed to go to another article, but it doesn’t: It just links back to Lhota’s own post, an endless loop of confusion and frustrated hipness.
Some of the items are also of dubious quality, factually speaking. No. 13 claims that “the extreme left-wing group ACORN has been plotting to install de Blasio as mayor for years.” Although that does sound like something that would get your average Buzzfeed reader hot under the collar, the basis for that claim is pretty shaky. It comes from this New York Post article from September 24, which quotes an unnamed “Democratic insider” who told the paper, “De Blasio was a big ACORN project.” (The Democratic insider then presumably rubbed his or her hands together and cackled wildly.)
Hiccups aside, it’s still a valiant, desperate effort to capture the youth vote. It is, however, a bit awkward next to the actual reporting done by Buzzfeed staff, which hasn’t been very kind. Besides a couple of straightforward pieces from Ruby Cramer about Lhota on the campaign trail, Andrew Kaczynski has done a few that are best listened to with a soundtrack of a sad trombone behind them. He recently did an article pointing out that Lhota’s campaign committee address is in Connecticut (which isn’t illegal, but did look a little awkward). Earlier this month, he did a Q&A with the candidate, which he later mock-boasted on Twitter had gotten an exciting 96 pageviews. He also noticed that the New York State Republican Party managed to get Lhota’s birthday wrong on a mailer celebrating it.
The reaction to Lhota’s first listicle wasn’t very enthusiastic; only two users voted on it, and both agreed that it was a “Fail.” But that hasn’t stopped the man; while we were writing this very post, he came out with yet another one, “15 Reasons to Vote for Joe Lhota for Mayor of New York City.” It points out he “was a hipster before it was cool” and outlines his support for more beer and fewer laws making pot illegal. For some reason, it also mentions that he thinks Drunk Hulk is really funny.
Totes awesome, Joe Lhota. Totes.