January 18, 2020

Elizabeth Warren's Selfless Selfies

“Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s “selfie line” may be a “political phenomenon,” according to CNN, but it’s also a misnomer, twice over: The photos that supporters end up with aren’t technically selfies—campaign aides snap them—and no one waits in a line, or at least they didn’t Monday evening at Warren’s rally in Manhattan’s Washington Square Park. It was more of a blob.

“We were told that that was the line,” a rally attendee named Alanna, a therapist, told me, nodding toward a large crowd of people to the east of the Washington Square Arch. “And then someone told me that wasn’t the line. And then someone told me that was the line. So I’m not sure where the line is. But it feels like just a clump.” (She preferred not to provide her last name for professional reasons.)

Most of the attendees were happy to join the clump regardless. “If she can go through all these people and take selfies, I can wait it out for at least 45 minutes,” said Bri Held, an executive assistant. The wait time turned out to be quite a bit longer than that.

Addressing a crowd of 20,000 earlier in the evening, Warren implied at one point that she might forgo selfie hour, which has quickly become a campaign signature (and which, again, does not involve actual selfies) that night. But she was just kidding. “Some things we just don’t mess with,” she said.

And they truly do not. Warren’s staff estimated that she’s taken 59,000 of the photos thus far. (If all 59,000 people posted them, just imagine the social media impressions.) The campaign is even trying to build on the selfie momentum. On Monday, a campaign surrogate said to the crowd, “I want you all to take a selfie with a new friend you just made.” Selfie-takers were then instructed to tag their pics on social media. Many obliged.”

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