Presidential campaigns have found a way to use every part of the internet to spread extremely-carefully-scripted-but-totally-relatable content about their candidates. The final frontier: their campaign websites’ 404 messages—that is, the error page that pops up when you click on a broken link or try to navigate to a URL within the site that doesn’t exist.
While every 2020 contender’s 404 page feels forced, they range from somewhat charming to utterly embarrassing. We’ve ranked them from least to most cringey.
If there’s one thing this country loves, it’s presidents who aren’t very good at painting. On his 404 page, Washington governor Jay Inslee shares a portrait he made of a surfing bear to show that he fits into this proud, American tradition. It’s weird, but kind of sweet.
Playing it safe
Eric Swalwell, a congressman from California, is not afraid to take risks—and given that his poll numbers don’t even register on Real Clear Politics averages, what does he have to lose? He once got into a Twitter fight and kinda-sorta insinuated that the federal government could nuke gun owners who refused to give up their weapons. And in keeping with this persona, his 404 page is utterly strange, complete with a floating dog head that follows your cursor around.
Voters don’t know much about John Delaney, a low-profile congressman from Maryland’s 6th district. But after visiting his 404 page, we do know one thing: Delaney loves The Boss.
Seriously, Dad, stop it!
At 37, South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg is young enough that if he had kids, he could conceivably still be a hip dad. But age is just a number and, judging by Buttigieg’s oh-you-kids pout on his 404 page, he is decidedly not hip.
Fortunately, New Jersey senator Cory Booker is single and childless, so no kid out there has to be mortified by this extremely embarrassing 404 page. Unfortunately for America, that means no one was there to stop his campaign from doing this.
Is Beto okay?
Former Texas representative Beto O’Rourke probably did not rear-end this visibly dented car, ask the driver not to get the police involved, and then cover up a scratch he left on the rear bumper with his own campaign sticker. But his 404 page raises a lot of questions: Why does he look so jumpy? Does he always buff out car bumpers with the elbow of his suit jackets? Is he okay??
Our petty president
As he campaigns for reelection, the president is still taunting his 2016 opponent.
Former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld refuses to entertain this silly, silly trend.