Children have a special place in our hearts…and our campaigns. They are so sweet and innocent that it is easy to underestimate how much power a cute kid can have. Beyond melting our hearts and making us laugh, these kids remind us that they can influence presidential elections!
1. The kid who blasted Goldwater’s campaign
Imagine the whole world blowing up into nuclear chaos before a child even learns how to count to 10. “Daisy Girl,” from Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1964 campaign, makes the top of this list because Daisy is just so adorable! The little girl, played by 2-year-old Monique M. Corzilius, perfectly embodies childhood innocence as she picks petals from a daisy and struggles to count to 10. The setting swiftly changes as the narrator counts down and the camera focuses in on the little girl’s pupil. The scene then transitions to footage of giant mushroom cloud explosions! Gasp! The implication was that a vote for Johnson’s opponent, Barry Goldwater, would mean death to Daisy Girl and also to the rest of the country. The ad was so powerful that it is still discussed today even though it was removed from television after just one airing. Coincidentally, Corzilius ended up settling down only two miles away from the retired Goldwater in Phoenix, Arizona.
Check out more about Daisy Girl here!
2. The kids who stole the show from Reagan
What did Reagan say? I could barely catch a word of his — not because he was mumbling or anything — but because these kids were just too adorable! This 1984 ad features children blowing bubbles, eating apples and running with dogs. We couldn’t help but chuckle as the ad shows footage of kids, one by one, changing their stern expressions into smiles. And did you see those kids waving their hands at us near the end? Super cute.
3. The kids who just wanted to change the world
One of the reasons why kids are so special is because they give us hope. They are the future and, heck, they deserve the best. That’s why this montage of kids stating their aspirations in a 1996 ad for Bill Clinton’s reelection is enough to make even the Grinch choke up. A lot of kids want to be singers or movie stars, but these kids want to be civil engineers and orthopedic surgeons. For some reason, these unusual but extremely impressive goals give us hope that the next generation will be able to do great things. How could anyone not root for a kid on a mission to cure cancer?
4. The kids who made us think about the future of America
Speaking of kids’ aspirations, sometimes they are not all that cute. This ad from Green Party candidate Ralph Nader’s 2000 bid for President also features children telling the audience what they want for the future. “When I grow up, I want the government to have the same problems it has today,” one kid bleakly states as the ad begins. A montage of kids continue, using words such as “disillusioned” and “disenfranchised” to describe their dreams of the future. While at first glance, one might be impressed with these kids’ large vocabulary, it doesn’t take long to recognize the irony in their aspirations. The scary part however, is that while this is not actually what these kids want, it could very well be their reality in the future. While this prospect only gained Nader 2% of the popular vote in the 2000 election, many argue that its impact in Florida (where Nader received almost 100,000 votes) stopped Al Gore from obtaining the necessary amount of electoral votes to win the election.
5. The kid who brought out our inner helicopter parent
Is this 2000 ad for George W. Bush’s Campaign a little over-dramatic? Maybe. But heck, the juxtaposition of missiles and a child fixing her hair in front of the camera sure is powerful! This ad brings out our inner protective parent, making us see aggressive measures to boost the military as rational and warranted to protect our kids. But can someone please explain to us what that rock symbolizes!
6. The kid who jumped into Bush’s arms
Don’t mess with a family man! This ad from George Bush Sr’s 1988 campaign features a little girl running into her grandpa’s arms with the slow piano in the background. It just so happens that the little girl’s grandpa is Bush and the ad continues with Bush’s wife praising his character. The ad might not give any details about his agenda, but it sure does make Bush seem like a great guy with an adorable family.
7. The kid named Ian Malone
Ian Malone is a kid who had medical errors at his birth. As a result, he needed constant medical care, something that was put into jeopardy when the HMO broke doctors’ orders and began cutting his family off. This ad from Al Gore’s campaign for President in 2000 features footage of Ian sleeping in his crib as well as clips of his mother explaining the situation. Fortunately for Ian, Gore came in time to save the day, fighting the insurance company to get the Malone family their necessary medical assistance. We think this deserves a slow clap.