If there’s one thing no-one wants in a presidential race, it’s a shit-show of undesirables to choose from. The same could be said for buying a new crossover. In the Venn diagram of quick-to-settle individuals who are genuinely enthused by the current candidates and vehicle options available to them, the overlap might be described as left-leaning voters who are probably debating the merits of the 2020 Kia Telluride vs 2020 Subaru Ascent. And in that regard, things are about to get even more interesting.
Ever since the Kennedy / Nixon debates back in 1960, Presidential races have become less-and-less about substance and more about the cult of personality. On the Democratic side of the aisle, the impact of such icons as Clinton and Obama have served to raise voter expectations. Simply put, image matters – as does charisma and (in the absence of actual substance) the illusion of earnestness. The problem currently faced by the DNC is that current options are either (i) camera-friendly and vapid, or (ii) credible but unpleasant to the senses. In turn, progressive voters are unknowingly adjusting their expectations, settling for the options that have been presented to them.
It’s kind of like crossovers. No-one actually likes them, but we’ve been collectively told that we do, just so that automakers trim down their lineups to explore greater economies.
But this is not the only overlap between the political and automotive landscapes. Having mentioned the need of today’s candidates to appear accessible, appealing, and embrace every one of the promotional and marketing opportunities available to them, it would appear that one of the Democratic underdogs is about to get his time in the spotlight. Even if it’s a little too late.
Some of you might remember Seth Moulton, the Massachusetts Congressmen and Iraq War Veteran whose face was tragically locked in a perpetual state of having to smile while wondering if he – or someone near him – had stepped in dog shit. The most awkward visage since a toddler first thought to turn the smile upside down on Mr. Potato Head, Moulton opted to withdraw from the presidential race in August. And while he communicated his intent to focus on re-election to the House and relaunch of his military veteran-focused political action committee, ‘Serve America’, it appears that he might have a new gig as an automotive spokesperson.
According to industry insiders, both Kia and Subaru have expressed interest in forming attachments to the DNC, since the majority of their customers cast votes left of the aisle. With Elizabeth Warren having used her Cherokee roots to seal a deal with Jeep / FCA, Bernie Sanders inking a partnership with Lyft, and Uncle Joe Biden being the ‘New Face of New Car Smell’ it seems like automakers everywhere are choosing their proverbial ponies. Based on their shared Mexican ties, it would appear that Beto O’Rourke and GM are finalizing plans to work together. Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and Mazda are poised to do battle over Andrew Yang like some sort of multi-clan fight scene from a seventies Kung Fu movie. And while Kia and Subaru would clearly prefer to have a Gabbard, Buttigieg, Booker, or Harris in their pocket, both have expressed an interest in thinking ‘outside the box.’
“Kia has always been an outsider, “ explains James Bell, Kia’s Director of Corporate Communications. “To have a recognizable election outsider on our side through 2020 would inevitably help with brand-relevance. Plus, Seth Moulton’s mouth looks uncannily like our iconic tiger-nose grille.”
But Subaru’s not going to roll over and let Moulton go without a fight. According to Alan Bethke, Subaru’s Senior VP of Marketing, “We can appreciate the perceived resemblance between Congressman Moulton’s mouth and the aesthetic of Kia’s front fascia, but we feel that we have an even stronger synergy. Look at the 2020 Subaru Ascent. Like Kia, we offer an awkward and contorted grille design. But the angry slope of our headlamp gives the Ascent a shifty, untrustworthy quality that we feel really gels with the way Mr. Moulton comes across. Plus, when he wears flannel, he really appeals to some of our same-sex consumer markets in Western Mass and Colorado.”
So who will be the victor in this battle? And what kind of world do we live in where Seth Moulton is a prize, Kia sales are up, and our next Presidential Race will probably come down to Donald Trump and Elizabeth Warren, both of whom fail to realize that they basically have the same hairstyle?
Ugh. Shoot us now.