POLITICS

Move Over, Katy Perry. This Nerdy Professor Has His Own Closing Argument To Make For Clinton.

An academic cult hero says the Democratic nominee "gets way too little credit.”

The Clinton campaign has put together its “closing” advertisement ― a high-budget, smoothly produced montage of voters and Hillary clips set to Katy Perry music.

Now a nerdy professor from the Midwest is trying to get in on the action, by producing his own closing video about the election and why he is supporting Clinton. 

It’s a low-budget, single-camera sequence, featuring the professor speaking directly to voters from inside a coffee shop. And with nearly 25,000 views already between YouTube and Facebook, there are signs it’s going viral.

The scholar is Harold Pollack, the Helen Ross professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. Pollack is an expert in public health and poverty, and over the years has done fieldwork on everything from violence prevention to anti-tobacco strategies.

Pollack is widely respected in academia and well-known to fellow nerds in journalism because he’s an unfailingly civil, intellectually honest authority on such a variety of policy subjects. But he’s also something of a cult hero, thanks to some homegrown videos he’s produced previously ― including a pair of spots he did in 2012, spotlighting the importance of Medicaid, particularly for people who have disabilities.

For Pollack, that issue is personal. He is a primary caregiver for a close relative with severe disabilities. And that may help explain why he decided to get back in front of the camera this year. One of the most unfortunately iconic moments of this campaign was Donald Trump’s mocking of a journalist with a physical disability.

“I find it unsurprising that a man who speaks with such disparaging vulgarity about women and many minorities would bring the same mentality to issues of disability,” Pollack, emailing from what he jokingly calls his super PAC headquarters, told The Huffington Post.

The video is a little more subtle, at least when it comes to Trump. It refers to the Republican nominee mostly by implication, like when Pollack says, “America needs leaders who bring us together, who embrace rather than resent the growing diversity of our country, who do their homework.”

But the video isn’t primarily an attack on Trump. Mostly it’s a disquisition on Clinton, and the skills Pollack thinks she would bring to the Oval Office.

“She leads by listening, by building bridges with people who are very different from herself,” Pollack says, before telling viewers about Clinton’s history of trying to help people with disabilities and to expand health insurance coverage ― and to fight for gender equality at home and around the world.

Pollack also notes that independent fact-checking organizations rated Clinton’s campaign statements the most truthful of this election cycle. “She gets way too little credit for that,” he says.

Pollack ends the video by encouraging people to get involved on behalf of a cause or candidate they support, but to do so with the same commitment to civility he tries to show: “Be positive and respectful, but communicate what’s at stake this time.”

CONVERSATIONS