We may have to wait until November 8 to find out who will be the next POTUS, but one of the nominee’s apps has already emerged as the winner.
Of the millions of apps out there, just two may decide the coming election — at least, if either of their creators have their way. Yes, teams Clinton and Trump have taken to the mobile realm to drum up popular support, having each launched an app that promotes the political goals, social views, and signature flair of their respective nominee.
While debate over each candidate’s merits has consumed the public consciousness in recent months, the fight over whose app is most presidential rages here, on this page. But unlike the presidential race, which may still be tight, one app appears to have already won by a landslide.
The Winner is “Truly Joyless”
According to this writer’s personal evaluation, Hillary Clinton’s app far outperforms Trump’s by most conceivable metrics. But in the name of journalistic objectivity, we’re going to talk about why.
“Hillary Clinton Just Released a Truly Joyless Mobile Game,” quipped Gizmodo after Team Clinton officially released Hillary 2016 in late July. If that doesn’t sound like a championship entrance, that’s because the app itself is somewhat milquetoast, if not boring:
The app puts the user in a virtual, cartoonish, gamified version of a Hillary for America field office — “Campaign HQ” — where ambitious supporters can perform tasks to earn “stars” and “points.” Sync your personal calendar to the campaign’s, take a quiz about Trump, commit to voting for Hillary, or even pet the virtual office dog, Winnie, and you’ll be well on your way to winning the app, and, presumably, the election.
That said, the overall design and aesthetics of the app are impressively smooth — a former pro at Dreamworks leads the dev team — and despite the apathy the app inspires, it feels like a well-fielded foray into the mobile, millennial-appealing jungle.
The Loser is a “Minimum Viable Product”
Hillary’s app can withstand damning headlines like Gizmodo’s and still crush the competition because Trump’s app looks, truly, “like a minimum viable product,” as Wired put it. According to the online mag, the app was assembled by tech startup uCampaign (which also built a nearly identical app for Ted Cruz during the primaries) in a mere four weeks, and it shows.
The app, called “America First,” follows a similar game-like model as Clinton’s, giving users points for RSVPing to campaign events, watching Trump ads, and the like. Users can even win awards like the “MAGA” badge, and the app offers yet another way to keep tabs on Trump’s social media stream. But the whole thing is pretty barebones, which comes across as a bare minimum effort.
It’s also worth noting that Trump’s app gains full access to a user’s contact list upon installation, reports Fortune. Any user who doesn’t scrupulously read the user agreement and actively block the app’s access could unknowingly expose their contacts’ information. While Clinton’s app will collect similar data, explicit permission must first be granted by the user.
As in the election, the outcome will come down to cold, hard numbers. According to Wired, as of late September, Trump’s app has seen roughly 50,000 downloads; Clinton’s has racked up over 100,000. If an app could swear itself into office, Clinton’s app would already be residing in the White House.
Of course, it’s ultimately up to the American people to decide whether Clinton or Trump made apps great again. And if they don’t like their options? Why, then it’s their civic duty to head to AppMakr and #makeanapp that fully realizes their unique political vision.
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