On one level, it was the ultimate example of a politician co-opting a popular phenomenon to make herself seem relatable. But on another, it was further evidence that Clinton is the only person in the Democratic primary race who can convey relatable-ness in a remotely believable way to a mass audience, which should be a welcome novelty for a candidate who has famously struggled to connect with voters.
What’s striking isn’t that Clinton dropped a Star Wars reference, but that her rivals didn’t. You know that if Barack Obama were running today, he would have already locked up the Star Wars vote. Even Ted Cruz, widely considered one of the most socially inept candidates, to the point of being viscerally disliked by members of his own party, has been all over Star Wars, albeit in a way that reeks of some nerdish overcompensation.
What viewers of the Democratic debate on Saturday night were treated to was a display of unique social weirdness. Bernie Sanders cannot stop yelling all the time, even when he’s telling people to take easy. (“CALM DOWN A LITTLE BIT, MARTIN.”) Martin O’Malley does this thing where he tries to break down the fourth wall with the laser-like intensity of his gaze, which would be at least one reason not to have a beer with him. Between the two, Clinton almost seems human.