Presidential Source Code

What’s hiding behind the websites of the 2016 Republican and Democratic candidates for President? What secret (or not so secret) messages are hidden in the source code?

I was curious to see which of the presidential candidates were using WordPress for their official sites. Almost all were. Hillary Clinton used Greenhouse, which advertises itself as “talent-based recruitment software.” I checked each site using BuiltWith.com to see how they were built. In some cases, I checked the source code by using View — Developer — View Source in Chrome. What I found was much more interesting than my WordPress usage research.

Not-So-Secret Code

Most of the websites’ source code was the basic, well, source code. Nothing to see here, folks. But, there were five interesting exceptions. In the code for Clinton, O’Malley, Christie, Paul and Walker there is some interesting instances of text-art.

Scott Walker had is Walker16 logo created in big text-art.

paul

Rand Paul has his Rand/Flame logo and his developer has embedded some advertising, too: “Proudly designed and engineered by cando.com.” It also solicits for volunteers and denigrates the other candidates. Not really cool.

omalley

Martin O’Malley has a giant O’Malley.

christie

Chris Christie is “telling it like it is” in big, giant, Christie-sized text-art.

clinton

Hillary Clinton has the stylized H with the arrow logo. It also has some interesting text next to. “Git out the vote!” Is she harkening back to her days in Arkansas? “Join the only 18 month, nationally televised hackathon.” Ummm, OK. Was this from her email server? I don’t get it. And, then there is a URL that goes to a site listing job openings with the Clinton campaign. OK, that sorta makes sense. Since her site is built with Greenhouse (the “talent-based recruitment software” guys) maybe this is really a job site?

It’s interesting to look behind the scenes on these candidates to see how they manage and present information that is hidden from a vast majority of people. I think it’s clever of them to do it, though. There are probably other geeky people like me who have seen one, or all, of these and thought it was cool.

What else will I find on my lunch-hour investigation of campaign sites for the 2016 presidential candidates? Stay tuned to this website for the next exciting episode!

The next exciting episode comes from Canada!

I was excited to see that source code messages aren’t just an American thing, but our friends to the north are just as nerdy (or bored). I checked out some campaign websites from the recent election and found the New Democratic Party had some super-secret messages hidden in their source code. Their main guy, Thomas Mulcair, was running for Ruler of All Canada or something and his source code is seen here. They put their initials in the source code in giant letters — in two languages! Of the five parties that were running (I guess that’s what’s going on here, I’m an American so I’m ignorant of other people’s ways), the NDP was the only one brave enough to insert a type-graphic into their source code. If I were Canadian I would have voted for Ole Tom!

Now, I gotta go see what’s happening in Myanmar and Zambia. Boy, this is so cool, ain’t it?

For more about cool Canada stuff, check out my post on Canadian TV.


Originally published at Jeff Macharyas.

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