Anyone looking for stances on immigration or college debt reforms from Hillary Clinton, candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, won’t find any piece of substantial information at TrillaryClinton.org.
Instead, page viewers will see a grid of repeating GIFs of Clinton dancing in-sync to Kanye West’s song “Power,” while a clock shows visitors how long they’ve “trilled” for.
While other “gag” websites such as tedcruzforamerica.com — which asks visitors to immigrate to Canada — seem to have more mocking intentions, TrillaryClinton.org was just a way to have some fun during an election season filled with “political fervor,” according to the website’s owner.
“The fact that we’ve been talking about this election for two years is kind of terrible,” said Max Parks, an astronomy and physics senior who co-owns the website with his friends. “We simultaneously want people to be involved in politics, but I just wish it wasn’t … such a reality show.”
Parks, who maintains his voter registration in his home state of Virginia, said he and some of his more politically active friends decided to design and launch the website on Dec. 27, when they were all discussing the election back home during winter break.
“We’re not making fun of Hillary Clinton, we’re not making fun of Kanye West, we’re not making fun of anyone,” Parks said. “We’re just entertaining and hopefully getting people thinking, at least.”
The sentiment shown by Parks is one of many in a generation that candidates are finally reaching out to as a crucial voting bloc in 2016.
Whether it’s former Texas Republican Ron Paul’s libertarian message in 2012 or Sen. Bernie Sanders’s “Feel The Bern” slogan in 2016, candidates have started realizing that student voters — a group that historically has stayed home on election day — can be mobilized with the right message and outreach.
“It’s so much easier to engage, but … it’s almost like a fight for who can create the most content that is appealing and gets people to their websites,” said College Republicans President Madison Yandell. “You can’t get on social media without seeing something about the presidential campaign, [and] it’s an extremely vital way for reaching youth voters.”
TrillaryClinton.org isn’t Clinton’s only brush with internet notoriety. After Clinton stepped down from her role as Secretary of State following President Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012, social media blew up with memes and T-shirts featuring photos of Clinton on an airplane as she peered down at her cell phone with a solemn expression.
“She was considered pretty generally to be an iconic badass,” said Plan II sophomore Charlie Bonner, chairman of UT Students for Hillary. “I don’t think that’s gone. I think there are a lot of us who still see her that way.”
If his website does anything other than getting a laugh out of someone, Parks said he hopes it at least makes students think more about their impact on presidential campaigns and other races around the country.
“I think this election in November will be unprecedented in a number of ways,” Parks said. “I think that the more the Internet gets involved … the more everyone will be involved.”