Just when you thought the 2016 campaign season had already hit peak cringeworthiness, avid Ted Cruz supporter and documentary filmmaker Joel Gilbert graced the interwebs with The Constitution Strikes Back: The Cruzade (see what they did there?). If Gilbert’s name sounds familiar, it’s probably due to the minor buzz he’s created in some conservative circles with a series of laughable Obama hit-pieces very serious, ground-breaking documentaries like Atomic Jihad and Dreams of My Real Father.
Not to spoil anything quite as … special … as The Constitution Strikes Back (scroll down to see it in all of its glory), the video features a Constitution-handled lightsaber that Ted Cruz brandishes as he marches a herd of elephants to Washington D.C. to confront the evil Darth Obama and his Rhino storm troopers. (Rhino sounds just like R.I.N.O when you say them both out loud, guise!)
Though they were more than happy to give it the ol’ Twitter signal boost, and the Cruz campaign released another, much less entertaining Jedi-themed video of its own a couple of days before The Cruzade’s debut, it seems that the animated short and its creator are unaffiliated with the Cruz campaign. In his own words, Gilbert just happens to be a really, really big fan of the Texas Senator, and thought that Cruz would look pretty good as a Jedi Master.
“When I saw movie trailers appear for the new Star Wars film, The Force Awakens, I felt Ted Cruz should star in the movie. Knowing Hollywood was unlikely to cast the Texas Senator, I produced my own Star Wars video starring Ted Cruz, The Constitution Strikes Back: Episode VIII, The Cruzade, a cutting edge 3D animation.”
In fairness, part of Cruz’s outreach strategy to younger voters has been a weird brand of geek pandering that has seen the self-professed “Han Solo guy” drop faux-deep pop-culture philosophy, re-enacting scenes from The Princess Bride, and “auditioning” for The Simpsons.
See, Senator Cruz doesn’t just want to be seen as your run-of-the-mill government-gutting, Planned Parenthood eradicating, Bible-thumping, liberty-defending, oh-so-much-more-Reagan-than-your-average-conservative candidate. No, sir. He’s also just a regular kinda nerd type dude who loves him some Homer Simpson, Spider-Man, and James T. Kirk, who happens to be able to swing a mean lightsaber when the Constitution calls for it.
In a campaign year when candidates on both sides have already outdone themselves racing to keep up with a certain gerbil-haired candidate, pandering has become the depressing norm (hola, Hillary). And yet, this animated Cruz video might just be the pinnacle of 2016 political whatthefuckery.
Debates on whether this joint qualifies as “cutting edge 3D animation” aside, you kind of have to wonder if Joel Gilbert’s help is … helping. It appears that both Gilbert and Cruz are seriously hoping the force will be with them when voters step into the booth in November. And while Cruz peeps are definitely digging the video now, but can (or more appropriately, should) “Elect the Jedi Master the Galaxy Deserves” be part of a campaign strategy to become the leader of the free world?