Bob Schwartz

Barack and Mitt: The Most Unpopular Candidates in American History

This is an unprecedented Presidential campaign. Just ask the Social Security Administration.

The SSA keeps track of baby names, a database that goes back to 1879. It just released its list of the 1000 most popular male and female names for 2011—Jacob to Armani to Ethen (sic), Sophia to Francesca to Damaris. None of that necessarily matters for the Presidential race.

What does matter is this: Never in American history have both major party candidates for the Presidency had names that were not among the 1000 most popular—ever.

In 2008 it was easy to surmise that one name (not John) had never made it to the Top 1000, and Barack still hasn’t. But this year’s race includes two overwhelmingly unpopular names.

Romney’s real first name Willard has made appearances on the chart: the last time in 1989 when it was #966, and it reached its highest position in 1915 (#58). But that isn’t the name he has ever used. The name Mitt is nowhere to be found.

The Presidential names (including candidates) you think might not make the list do. Woodrow, last seen in 1983 (#954), went from #234 in 1911 to #44 in 1913, Wilson’s first year in office. Ike bounced around the middle to bottom of the pack from the 19th century on, but at least it is on the list, finally falling off the Top 1000 in 1957 (while Ike was still in office). Rutherford always struggled, giving up in 1905 at #910. Even Newt had its day (though not much of one), appearing near the bottom between 1880 and 1907.

But no Barack. And no Mitt.

Does this have any consequence? As for any correlation between electoral success and relative name popularity—at the time of election or at some significant life stage for voters—there is no consistent pattern, no seeming name advantage.

All we know is this: There has never been an election between two candidates with such unusual and unpopular names. Just one more element in an election unlike any other.


Sometimes you stumble upon an item that perfectly embodies America, the 21st century, and America in the 21st century. All in a good way. This is from a company called Crave:

Our first product – DUET – was submitted for pre-release funding on international design funding platform in August 2011 where it raised $104,000 from over 950 backers – 694% of the original target. Word of DUET consequently spread across the web, which has effectively raised the profile of the product even before its official release, while also providing a springboard for further CRAVE products and developments.

Crowdfunding. Check. Design. Check.

But what exactly is Duet?

In a world where high technology and luxury design seem to touch every corner of our lives, the most intimate experiences should be no exception. The dominating culture in adult products often feels cheap and sleazy. We were craving something better: something beautiful, something discreet, something environmentally friendly, and something sophisticated. After all, if anything deserves good design, it’s the things we bring to bed with us.

Design, again. Check. Sex. Check.

But what exactly is Duet?

With dual motors and a V-shaped angle, DUET delivers powerful and precise vibration for external clitoral stimulation. The tip, inside edges, and outside edges provide slightly different intensities, while the flat surface is ideal for massaging the area around and on the clitoris. The dual motors’ unique ‘split at the tip’ combines with the four vibration patterns to enable a variety of sensations for you to explore…

Duet will let you how much charge remains when you turn it on. It will pulse one to four times – one pulse meaning 25% full, and four pulses indicating your DUET is 100% charged. When plugged into a USB port, a light indicator will blink to let you know your DUET is charging. The intensity of blinking will change depending on how close to being fully charged. With four vibration modes and four power levels, DUET gives you flexibility to find the perfect intensity and pattern. The settings have been designed to be easily altered at whim, but won’t accidentally change on you in the heat of the moment. Vibration modes include steady, dual pulsing, circular pulse, and wave.

Sex, again. Check. USB port??

Yes, this is Duet. A vibrator and a USB flash drive.

This is, without irony, the sort of creativity that makes America great. Purse-sized vibrators have long been around, as have flash drives. But this story that combines cutting-edge financing through crowdfunding, high-level design, digital capability, and, of course, sex goes well beyond bringing together chocolate and peanut butter. This is American genius.