Mindy Meyer is by no means your typical State Senate candidate. Her wardrobe - which includes hot pink suits - is atypical. Her website is covered in hot pink, with a loop of LMFAO's "I'm Sexy and I Know It" looping in the background. Her slogan, "I'm Senator and I Know It," is written not in the typical red, white and blue, but instead in sparkling silver, and is overlaid on top of a pink tinted American flag.
By the way, did we mention Ms. Meyer is a conservative Republican who got involved in politics because of a meeting with Rudy Giuliani, and also an Orthodox Jew who openly professes to having her religious values guide her decisions? Because, based on her self-description, she is:
A lifelong Flatbush resident, Mindy is the first young woman in the history of New York to run for New York State Senate. The Orthodox Jewish woman, aged 22, is the candidate for both the Republican and Conservative party lines. Mindy intends to utilize her religious values and moral compass as her guide. "I can tell you one thing, I have no experience in corruption," said Meyer. "This is how politics has to change. There is always corruption, but I have the intention to follow my values and ensure that none of what happens in my district is corrupt."
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the first viral candidate of 2012.
True, like Basil Marceaux and Alvin Greene before her, Ms. Meyer probably stands about as much chance of winning her race as a snowball does of winning a fight with a blowtorch. However, that hasn't stopped her extremely unconventional candidacy from getting oodles of media attention. Since her website first gained the attention of the internet earlier this week, Ms. Meyer has been profiled by numerous people, including the New York Post and Tablet Magazine. And based on their profiles, Ms. Meyer is a rare bird indeed. From the Post report:
The clearly fun-loving, Orthodox Jewish law-school student cites Rudy Giuliani as her political idol and hails Reese Witherspoon’s character in the comic movie “Legally Blonde” for showing her that “you can take pink and make it sophisticated."[...]
Meyer, who works for a Flatbush real-estate lawyer, said her Web site “was 100 percent my own. We need to get young people involved in politics. The Senate doesn’t have to be a senior citizens home.”
She said she “fell asleep” looking at other state senators’ Web sites. She called hers “substantive — the only difference is it’s actually exciting.”
At the risk of discouraging budding political talent, having looked at Ms. Meyer's website, "substantive" might be a bit of a strong word. Here's Meyer on the law enforcement tactic of "Stop and Frisk":
Stop-and-frisk is when a police officer who is suspicious of an individual detains the person and runs his hands lightly over the suspect's outer garments to determine if the person is carrying a concealed weapon. As long as an officer has reasonable suspicion, a stop and frisk is constitutional under the Fourth Amendment. The NYPD's stop-and-frisk practices raise serious concerns over racial profiling, illegal stops and privacy rights. However, when used appropriately a stop and frisk can help to protect the public against potential harm.
Are you clear on what her stance is on the practice after reading that? Hopefully you are, because the companion image shows Ms. Meyer holding the Constitution up as though she's an expert on it:
Mindy believes women today have choices. When faced with the prospect of an unwanted pregnancy, women can get the help they need, no matter what their economic status, race, religion and education. There are many support groups available to help women through their pregnancies, along with providing the proper medical attention they need. In addition, there are many couples who are longing to provide a warm and loving home for these children through adoption.
Again, do you have any idea what her stance is after reading that? It seems to make noises in a pro-Life direction, but again stops just short of taking an actual position on the issue. This is "substantive?" Also, not to nitpick, but Ms. Meyer's choice of illustration for this particular issue may strike a few Americans as insulting:
But let's stop picking on Meyer for being indecisive. Instead, let's take a look at one issue where Meyer does show a strong opinion - namely, state-sponsored job training for at-risk youth. First, here's her stance on the issue:
No more "Hunger Games" in our District! Mindy believes that summer youth employment programs should be restored to receive the full funding that they had received in the past. In doing so, this will provide jobs during the summer months for teens and young adults who would be at home or in the streets doing nothing substantial otherwise. This will help them develop their resumes and job skills for the future. Mindy feels that career fairs and unemployment seminars should be more transparent and implemented throughout our district.
So she takes a position this time, and to many people, it probably looks like a reasonable one - get kids off the street by putting them in programs that give them marketable skills. All fine. In fact, the "Hunger Games" reference is arguably kind of clever in a wry, pop culturally literate sort of way. Now let's see if she can push it too far:
Still, setting aside Ms. Meyer's growing pains as a serious candidate, her outlandish style has obviously contributed to her ability to attract attention. New York's conservative party is backing her candidacy enthusiastically precisely because she's such a media magnet, and also because her legal knowledge marks her as a sharp thinker, if not necessarily one who knows how to package herself just yet. Moreover, the Post notes that Meyer's opponent is taking her challenge seriously, even if she might not be taking herself that way:
[Democrat Kevin] Parker didn’t return calls from The Post but told the Web site City & State he’s taking her campaign seriously.
“Every challenge is a credible challenge,” he said. “This is the American democratic process, but I don’t know Ms. Meyer at all. She is rather young.”
Even if she loses in November (which seems likely), one gets the sense that this is by no means the last we've heard of Mindy Meyer. Though presumably, next time she'll wear something more appropriate.