Hillary Clinton’s Prophetic Final Ad

While working on my chapter about election advertising narratives in the 2016 presidential campaign, I happened to play an ad the Clinton campaign posted on November 4. It is titled Rewind and still available on YouTube.


Using the image of screen static when a video tape rewinds, we see a series of CNN headlines emanating from a White House emblazoned with “Trump” over the portico. These include:

  • Muslim travel ban goes into effect
  • US defaults on debt
  • Mass deportations
  • More countries have nukes
  • US abandons NATO allies.

Then we see a New York Times headline on November 9: “Trump wins, barely.”

The final text reads “Reality has No Rewind.”

The ad received only 180,000 views, far fewer than the most popular Trump ads in the last week of the campaign.

The Clinton ad was prophetic. Trump did win, barely. The Trump Administration has tried to impose a travel ban that is now being litigated. The pace of deportations has increased. The US hasn’t abandoned its NATO allies militarily, but is on the verge of trade wars with them. Though incorrect on some details, the ad catches the overall thrust of Trump Administration policies. It didn’t predict the managerial chaos of the Trump Administration, though.

The nightmare continues. There is no rewind. We must look ahead and do what we can to end it.

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