You don’t have to look further than Hamilton to know that political candidates have always been masters of insults. Digging up dirt or eviscerating your opponent’s credibility has always been a part of political theater, but in 2016, we’ve discovered a more subtle form of shade being thrown by the politicians at the center of this year’s election. If sub-tweets are too obvious for you, welcome to the 404 pages of this year’s candidates, which are a master class in how to get a dig in even when no one is looking.
We’ve all landed on a 404 page at one point or another, and while they’re usually just there to inform you that you’ve hit a dead end on a website with a “Page Not Found” message, some political candidates have realized that they’re also a great place to bury a message. Whether using them as a platform for self-deprecation or making jaw-dropping insults at Hillary Clinton (we’re looking at you, GOP.com), we’ve discovered some political Easter Eggs that justify landing on a broken link.
Hillary Clinton, Subway Rider
Hillary may well have started the art of the clever 404 page after taking an embarrassing MetroCard blunder and turning it into a self-deprecating joke. The joke was on her, of course, but some of her opponents have seized the 404 as a place for insults.
Republican candidate John Kasich used his 404 page to deliver a message. The message being, “You f—ed up by landing on a broken link, but don’t f—k up by voting for Hillary.” Even if you don’t agree, you have to respect him for staying on-brand to the very end.
Chris Christie, Embarrassing Dad (Republican Version)
The world cringed when Chris Christie danced with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show but you’ve got to give him credit for using an embarrassing moment and using it to make fun of himself on his error page. He didn’t have to do that. In fact, we wish he hadn’t.
Martin O’Malley, Embarrassing Dad (Democrat Version)
Did we know a lot about Democrat Martin O’Malley before we Googled him? Not much. Do we know much more now that we found this picture of him on a horse that literally says “Hold your horses”? Yes, we do. He is more of a dorky dad jokester than even Tim Kaine, and we’re sorry he didn’t make it further in the race, if only to see if he’d break out some puns or magic tricks at a debate.
In 2014, this real kid (not an actor) visited the White House with his parents and found the Oval Office insufferably boring so he face-planted into a couch. He is our hero, and clearly he’s the Dems’ hero, since he made it to their back page.
Bernie SandersEmbedded from www.youtube.com.
Bernie Sanders made an original video for his 404 page and out Larry David-ed Larry David with it. It borders on parody but Bernie’s earnest enough that we’re pretty sure it’s not a parody at all.
Bobby Jindal/Bobby Jindal’s Web Guy
Pardon us for thinking that there’s no way the Louisiana Governor would be clever enough to make a “Thanks, Obama” joke himself, and that a clever web designer sneaked this in. This is some solid work. Not directly insulting your opponents, understanding the zeitgeist, and remaining loyal to your party. It’s actually the perfect joke.
Ted Cruz, Bacon Lover
Ted Cruz’s 404 message was brought to you by the NRA and Big Pork. Click the link if you’d like to endure the actual video of him “cooking” bacon while shooting a semi-automatic weapon.
Yup, this is the actual, official website of the GOP. These are your leaders, America.
If you find yourself asking “Where’s Trump.com?” Here’s one amazing fact: If you type in Trump.com/404, the page redirects you to Trump.com. The website itself is completely incapable of acknowledging that it might not be able to find the page you’re looking for, and instead changes the subject back to, well, Trump. Talk about on-message.