After what feels like decades the US election campaign is down to the last four days. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are picking up the pace as they crisscross the country in a last effort to secure votes.
Perhaps the only group more fatigued than the candidates are the umpteen surrogates who continue to pop up on television screens to shill for their man or woman. Personally I will be pleased when I can turn on my television and not hear one of these spokespeople use the word ‘pivot’. No longer do candidates change their opinion, or modify their stance. Nope, they pivot.
I hereby nominate the word pivot as the most used during the campaign.
To my mind pivoting is what a basketball player does, or a second baseman trying to turn a double play. When candidates or their supporters pivot it is anything but athletic or smooth, it is annoying. To pivot for these folks means to talk about whatever you want, instead of answering the posed question. As one analyst put it, if asked about the weather talk about baseball. It’s cute but when you are running for president of the United States it is also unacceptable.
CNN’s Chris Cuomo had two surrogates on yesterday and told them they could not mention, or allude to, their opponent when answering questions. It was a breath of fresh air. Too often responses to questions put to a Trump spokesperson about Trump begin with What’s really important is Hillary’s lack of … Pivoting at its worst.
On a constant basis CNN’s Carol Costello tries to rein in candidate surrogates when they pivot from the question she asked to a safer, if totally unrelated, topic. Sometimes she is successful, other times the speaker just blabs on over her requests to answer the question. But at least she tries. It would seem the use of the word pivot has become pivotal to describing replies to questions.
Do these surrogates think the electorate is stupid? If your candidate’s spokesperson always evaded questions might you not get the impression something is being hidden?