In a 2003 column (“Who Can Beat President Doofus?”), Molly Ivins wrote about John Kerry’s lack of Elvis:
My early take on Kerry was that he has gravitas–sumbitch about bent over double with gravitas–but that he has no Elvis. Minus-zero on the Elvis Scale was my first read. No point in nominating some good and worthy candidate, like Fritz Mondale or Michael Dukakis, if they got no Elvis. The object is to get these people elected. Can’t get elected without a soupçon of Elvis.
Ivins noted that Kerry seemed to be working on his Elvis, which gave her some hope, though as we now know, her initial judgment was unfortunately correct.
I imagine some will dismiss this as a silly way of evaluating candidates, but I think the Elvis Factor is to be taken seriously. We can parse the candidates’ utterances until the cows come home, but the fact remains that elections are largely irrational. I’m assuming a certain level of wonkery among readers of this cartoon. (You’re welcome!) Imagine for a moment that everything you know about politics vanishes except for what you’ve heard on cable news. All the book learnin’ and well-reported articles, gone in a puff. This is the starting point for many voters. And they value certain personality traits, for better or worse. Mostly worse.
Honestly, I’m a little worried that both Hillary and Bernie are low on Elvis. Those who feel Sanders is a Hunka Hunka Bernin’ Love are free to disagree.