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Hillary Clinton’s UFO buffs and other obscure voting blocs


A candidate as cautious as Hillary Clinton doesn’t delve lightly into an issue as offbeat as UFOs.

As The New York Times documented last week, the Democratic presidential front-runner has been strangely vocal about Area 51, the Nevada military site that ET buffs have long connected with purported government cover-ups. Maybe Clinton is just indulging campaign chairman John Podesta, a devotee of the ’90s-era sci-fi series “The X-Files.” Or maybe she’s adjusting to the scrambled-up dynamics of the 2016 race by seeking out neglected voters.

Suddenly, UFO buffs other groups long ignored by the political mainstream are worth courting. Meanwhile, millions of voters now fall into cultural and occupational categories that barely existed in 2008 or 2012. Here are just some of the obscure voting blocs that could come into play in November:



UFO buffs

Why them? If Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders can target alienated voters, so can Clinton.

Key demands: Federal records on Area 51; photographs of Roswell crash victims

Republican opportunity: Broad suspicion of government

Democratic opportunity: Intense suspicion of military, law enforcement

Data points: Despite mixed reviews from critics, an “X-Files” revival earlier this year drew excellent ratings.

Shutterstock/Prathan Chorruang

Ride-hailing drivers

Why them? New, potentially vast category of workers. Bonus: People who own cars and have flexible schedules can easily get to the polls.

Key demands: Higher base rates; continued peak pricing

Republican opportunity: Vanguard of emerging “gig economy” may like traditional GOP themes of entrepreneurship, self-reliance

Democratic opportunity: Many “gig economy” workers would prefer steady paychecks

Data points: Very limited. According to an analysis of Federal Election Commission data by Verdant Labs, taxi drivers donate overwhelmingly to Democrats; truck drivers give mainly to Republicans.

Shutterstock/Kaspars Grinvalds

Hoverboard purchasers

Why them? Tech-savvy parents who bought self-balancing scooters before a February crackdown by the Consumer Product Safety Commission may be primed for philosophical discussion about proper exercise of federal power.


Key demands: More innovation, less spontaneous combustion

Republican opportunity: Potential for backlash against nanny-state micromanagement of kids’ fun new hobby

Democratic opportunity: Fires caused by shoddy scooters offer a bracing argument for the regulatory state

Data points: Hoverboards frequently designed for riders 12 and up. Actual users may not reach voting age for years.

Courtesy of HBO

‘Game of Thrones’ fans

Why them? HBO series about fictional, blood-soaked Westeros has fervent following among young men, whose future political allegiances are up for grabs.

Key demand: No spoilers

Republican opportunity: Unvarnished portrayal of human nature discourages doe-eyed idealism. Liberal nudity and liberal politics are two different things.

Democratic opportunity: Novelist George R. R. Martin, whose books inspired the series, has criticized Trump’s stance on Syrian refugees.

Data point: Google search on phrase “Make Westeros Great Again” yields 689,000 results.

Dante Ramos can be reached at dante.ramos@globe.com. Follow him on Facebook: facebook.com/danteramos or on Twitter: @danteramos.