Hillary Clinton’s press secretary tweeted a photo of her reacting to the Chicago Cubs, as they beat the Los Angeles Dodgers to make it to the World Series for the first time in 71 years. It included the “Fly the W” hashtag popular among Cubs fans and used when celebrating victories. However, behind the scenes, the Clinton campaign was worried for weeks the Cubs might still be cursed and tying the campaign to the team could be bad luck.
“The campaign thought sharing a selfie of her watching a postseason game or a video of staff chanting, ‘Go Cubs Go! Go Cubs Go! Hey, Chicago, whaddya say? Cubs are gonna win today,’ would be a good idea,” Clinton’s press secretary Nicholas Merrill said. “Hillary told us to first poll test this idea to make sure it would not negatively affect us in any swing states.”
Another concern, according to Merrill, was the campaign might show Clinton celebrating the Cubs while they were playing the San Francisco Giants. If the Giants won the series, the campaign would inevitably be asked by reporters about curses plaguing the Cubs and if they now thought this was a sign the campaign was cursed too.
The Dodgers presented a similar problem. Sure, the Cubs were back at Wrigley Field and in a position to clinch. But the Dodgers’s hot shot pitcher, Clayton Kershaw, was on the mound and shut the Cubs out at Wrigley in Game 2. Number-crunching wonderboy Nate Silver of Five Thirty-Eight privately advised the campaign against making any suggestion Clinton was following the postseason yet.
Last week, Clinton adviser Neera Tanden had a thought. Maybe showing Clinton cheering on the Cubs would help her generate some more enthusiasm among millennials. They could get her a postseason shirt and have her hold up a banner. Yet, hours later, Tanden changed her mind. Clinton’s “character problem” is not appearing authentic, and as with her use of other pop culture symbols during the campaign, millennials would know if this was done to score political points.
“We had a long email thread that lasted three or four days, longer than our discussions of some of our best hits against Bernie Sanders,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook shared. “What it came down to was being a campaign for winners and not losers. We had to be absolutely sure the Cubs were ready to be winners.”
Clinton was a devout Cubs fan when she was a child. However, when it came time for her political career, particularly her campaign for the United States Senate in New York, she did not want to only be known as a Cubs fan.
As Clinton said at the Economic Club of Chicago on October 8, 2014, “My personality was such that I couldn’t stay hitched only to a losing team and I couldn’t—with all due respect to my dear friends from my childhood who are rabid [White] Sox fans—I could not become a Sox fan.” She added, “So I had to search for a team that would counterbalance the experience of losing every single year.”
In other words, the struggle of being a Cubs fan was too real for Clinton. She touted her Yankees fandom because it seemed more appropriate for someone, who needed to fit in with the club of rich owners of this country. In fact, she soon learned the Yankees were a team with management that would take all manner of precautions to protect the rich from coming into contact with peasant Yankees fans during games.
During the last inning, up 5-0, the Cubs were certainly going to win. If something happened and the Cubs gave up five runs, sent the game to extra innings, lost the game, and then lost Game 7, the campaign’s team of surrogates could be deployed to talk to the press about how the Clinton campaign was protected from any Cubs curses. It would not impair Clinton’s ability to make the country stronger together. Whatever perils befell the nation would entirely be the fault of Russia because it is super easy to blame Russia for anything that goes wrong.
However, it would not come from Hillary Clinton’s personal Twitter account. The Cubs could still easily lose the World Series to a team with a wildly racist logo and what if America took that as some kind of sign that a wildly racist presidential candidate still could win the election? Clinton was not about to take any chances.