In the mudslinging and shameless self promotion that is presidential campaign season, one silver lining has emerged — the custom 404 pages of the 2016 presidential candidates. Once considered a minor technical detail to be ignored, 404 pages — the page you see when you go to a broken link or nonexistent page — are now excellent opportunities for further customization, or in the case of some particularly Web savvy candidates, legitimately entertaining, punny, and generally giggle-inducing, light-hearted messages.
For example, there’s Hillary Clinton’s adorably nostalgic 404 page, which features an old photograph of the Clinton family with Donald Duck, and of course, a link to volunteer.
Then, there’s Rick Santorum’s 404 page, which in keeping with Santorum’s style, misses no opportunities to take a jab at Hillary. His error message features the famous photo of Hillary texting, with a message reading, “We’re sorry, but we couldn’t find that page. But we do have this search box. You know, ‘for convenience.'” This last part, of course, is in reference to Clinton’s excuse for using her personal email account while serving as Secretary of State.
Sanders certainly isn’t the only candidate to feature some multimedia, with fellow candidates Marco Rubio and Carly Fiorina adopting similar tactics. Rubio’s video delves into his background as a youth football coach, whereas Fiorina doesn’t beat around the bush, and simply asks visitors to “join the team” by way of volunteerism and monetary donations.
Naturally, despite the wealth of amusement to be found in these 404 pages, some politicians either missed the memo or were too cool to participate. Ted Cruz, for example, doesn’t even have a 404 message, and instead simply redirects visitors back to his home page if they visit a nonexistent link. Strategic? Sure. Fun? Not at all.
So be warned, future presidential candidates — not only will you need a great platform for a successful campaign, but you’ll also need a pretty stellar 404 page. Welcome to 21st century politics.