In Virginia, Clinton delivered a speech to prospective voters by referencing the app of the moment: Pokémon Go, the augmented reality app from Niantic and Nintendo where smartphone users can catch virtual Pokémon in parks, churches, and landmarks around the world. It’s taken Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S. by storm since its launch last week, with a launch this week in Germany and the U.K. But more importantly, the app has the crucial 18-24 year-old voting bloc so hopped up on nostalgia they’re willing to actually leave their house to socialize (and catch Pokémon). The Clinton campaign sees this as an opportunity and is actively trying to lure them in — but in typical Hillary fashion, her attempts to relate to youth voters is mostly just painfully awkward.
“I don’t know who created Pokémon Go,” she said with a grin on stage in Virginia, “but I’d try to figure out how we get them to have Pokémon Go to the Polls.” Cue rapturous applause. (The creator of Pokémon was Satoshi Tajiri.)
You can watch the whole thing on video here, if you’re a fan of adults desperately trying to stay relevant with things an intern 45 years their senior said were “hip” and “cool” in a speechwriting meeting that morning.
In so few words, the 2016 presidential election entered its next level, where the deciding votes will be cast by aging millennials reliving a time when, it just so happens, another Clinton was in the Oval Office.
Clinton is currently neck and neck with Republican candidate Donald Trump in the battleground state of Ohio, and her volunteers have taken to using Pokéstops — places where Pokémon Go players visit to restock supplies and maybe capture rare Pokemon — as canvassing areas. All of this is coming to a head at Clinton’s next campaign event on Saturday, in Lakewood, Ohio.
And they’re doing the same thing in Cincinnati, where Clinton will make a stop next week.
In Pokémon Go, players drop Lures, a tool to attract Pokémon to the area, which inevitably also attracts people. The Clinton campaign has said they’ll be dropping a lure (in the game) at the campaign event in Lakewood’s Madison Park (which has both a Pokéstop and a gym) to lure in voters in real life.
Not to be outdone, Trump retaliated with his own Pokémon Go-themed attack ad. In it, Trump captures a “Crooked Hillary,” whose next evolution is listed as “Unemployed.”
It’s not very effective.