Career politicians are acutely sensitive to taking wrong turns. So it’s no surprise that many of the 2016 U.S. presidential candidates are paying attention to where their campaign website visitors land when they veer off-course.
Instead of a simple error message, the 404 pages for the online headquarters of Marco Rubio, Hillary Clinton, Mike Huckabee, and others offer family photos, personal videos, and, of course, plenty of puns.
Below, we’ve ranked all of these novelty 404 pages with respect to creativity, technical prowess, and also arbitrariness. You probably should not base your vote in the upcoming election on this.
LAST PLACE: Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Lindsey Graham, Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina
If you don’t put any effort into making your 404 page fun at all, you make last place on our list. The candidates listed above feature standard “page not found” or “error” messages when visitors get lost on their campaign sites. In the case of Ted Cruz’s website, trying to access a page that doesn’t exist will simply spit you back out to the home page.
Thanks for not playing along, guys and gals!
10. Rick Santorum
We like 404s that are fun and lighthearted. So since former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum decided to use his as a nasty poke at the Hillary Clinton email scandal, we’ve pushed him down on our list. More demerits were calculated in for the Republican since his site ostensibly lifted the “mean Hillary Clinton joke 404″ idea from his party’s official website. (Also, the GOP’s Hillary 404 is way funnier.)
9. Marco Rubio
Nothing is more American than throwing a little pigskin, right Marco? The Florida Senator’s 404 page wants you to know that he’s a big fan of family and football. It’s a nice-looking and technically savvy landing page with an embedded video, but the charm of it all might be lost on its alignment with a sport that’s under fire for safety concerns.
8. Martin O’Malley
Martin O’Malley’s horse-mounted general 404 gives us too much of a Dukakis-on-a-tank feel to rank highly on our list. We get the joke, and it’s good to see that the Maryland governor knows how to poke a little fun at himself. But if the Democrat wants to upend favorite Hillary Clinton for the 2016 party nomination, he’ll want to bring something a little more relatable than looking regal on a horse.
7. Bobby Jindal
Stumbling over to a non-existent URL on Bobby Jindal’s website will get you a giant “404” with a message below that reads “Page not found. #ThanksObama.” A years-old viral Internet joke? Sure, that’s good enough for a middle-of-the-pack ranking.
We’d dock Jindal a lot more for being negative if the president himself hadn’t used this same gag to get laughs before.
6. Scott Walker
Scott Walker’s thinly veiled attempt to boost campaign donations with a punny 404 page is slightly off-putting. But, we can’t deny a good pirate pun so the governor will stay out of the basement of our list. Cute family, too.
5. Bernie Sanders
Senator Bernie Sanders’ 404 redirection video message is no-frills personified. (Go watch it.) And it’s helpful, even! We can appreciate those traits in and of themselves, but imagining the conversation Bernie had with some web designer intern just before filming the vid, that’s the part that makes us smile the most.
“What’s that?! You want me to point at the bottom of the screen?!”
4. Chris Christie
Though not especially clever (and hello, typo!), Governor Chris Christie’s “Dad Dancing” 404 is good. It features a video embed of his and Jimmy Fallon’s Father’s Day Tonight Show sketch from last year, captioned with “Dad Dancing and landing on this page. Only one of them was [a] mistake.”
Sure, Christie and his no-nonsense Jersey attitude could stand to benefit from a little likability-focused content. But if this campaign wants to look competent enough to dance all the way into the 2016 general election, we recommend hiring a proper copy editor.
3. Mike Huckabee
The fishing Mike shown in Governor Huckabee’s 404 page cleverly reinforces the Republican’s good ol’ boy persona. The bonus points added for incorporating a dog bring him to third on our list. Simple and appealing. And a dog!
2. Jeb Bush
For bringing us our favorite pun of the bunch – “… a little trouble with the Nets” – Jeb(!)’s retro tennis 404 bounces in at a respectful second place. Cool hair, too.
1. Hillary Clinton
Right now, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s cute and punny 404 gets our vote for number one. Hers, featuring a family picture at Disney with Bill and Chelsea, was the first we came across this election cycle and none of the other candidates have been able to dethrone the queen yet.
Of course, the party primaries leading up to the 2016 election are still a long way away, and plenty of candidates have yet to officially launch their campaign websites. So between now and then, we’ll be updating our ranking as other hopefuls launch their respective Internet campaign home pages.
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