Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer may have drawn as much ridicule as anything else for the video of him dancing to a rap song at a campaign event, but at least he’s in good company.
The Bay Area billionaire had yet to collect a delegate ahead of the South Carolina primary and was polling around 2% nationally at press time. Results from South Carolina put him in third place there, with about 11% of the vote, and Steyer dropped out of the race Saturday evening.
But Friday night at a rally at historically black Allen University in Columbia, hopes still high, Steyer was joined onstage by Juvenile for a rendition of the rapper’s 1999 hit, “Back That Azz Up.” Though the candidate did wield a mic, he largely left the verses to the pro (Steyer’s wife and daughter served as backup dancers). Footage of the spectacle was suddenly everywhere, in tweets, retweets, social media and news stories.
The jokes at the candidate’s expense flew. While there was no Eminem-style battle-rap beatdown, Steyer may have suffered some bruises.
Some predicted (jokingly) that the stunt would radically shift Steyer’s fortunes.
The exit poll I commissioned showed something different. 32% of voters said they switched to Tom Steyer after seeing this video of him dancing to "Back dat Azz Up"— Rainbow Jeremy (@PredictIt 🐋) (@rainbow_jeremy_) February 29, 2020
CC @McGeeReport https://t.co/oVwpDs8lBM pic.twitter.com/HCDZ88Ndqm
One Twitter wag created an account simply to dub in various song choices to Steyer’s moves. Here, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Cut to the Feeling” gets the honors:
Even James Woods, a Trump supporter and prominent conservative voice in Hollywood, chimed in.
I woke up with back pain this morning and thought nothing would cure it. Oddly enough this video of Tom Steyer in a tie, disco overbite and all, “getting down” with Juvenile in his pointless bid for the presidency took the pain away. It was a miracle. #MakeItStopDearLord https://t.co/58j7Rv5ay4— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) February 29, 2020
To be fair, Steyer is hardly the first presidential candidate to prove unlikely to win a season of “So You Think You Can Dance.”
Combat veteran and former mayor of South Bend, Ind., Pete Buttigieg may have raised $24.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, but he failed to raise the roof.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has been known to cut a rug — even giving 23 different female partners a twirl just months after a heart attack. That wasn’t his only turn on the floor: In other, undated footage, Sanders trips the light fantastic.
But Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) probably wins this contest based on rhythm and energy.
Though if the Democratic primary were a dance-off, it seems clear Andrew Yang would never have dropped out ...
I posted a GIF OF @AndrewYang dancing (reposted GIF). That certainly wasn’t meant as an attack. 🇺🇸🖖❤️You do you, I am #StillVotingYang since he is on my primary ballot in my home state and the candidate I believe in. Why would I compromise when none of the others appeal to me?🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/VFmpN3SCyq— Jenni 🧢 (@jenjen_8675309) February 21, 2020
... and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) might be measuring the drapes in the Oval Office.
Whether Steyer’s turn in the barrel as “dancing fool” cost him votes is questionable. It’s hard to imagine President Trump ever won a contest on “Dance Fever.”
And though he gets marks for enthusiasm, former President George W. Bush didn’t have such sharp moves, either.