Jim Denison on Unknown Presidential Candidates and How Anonymous People Can Change the World

Joe Biden formally announced his candidacy for president this morning. He becomes the twentieth Democrat to join the 2020 campaign. And one of the few you had probably heard of before making such an announcement.

This is not a criticism or partisan statement. America’s political history shows that notoriety is not essential for success.


Jimmy Carter’s name recognition was at 2 percent when he launched his presidential campaign. Congressman Gerald Ford was largely unknown outside his Michigan district before he became vice president and then president.

Few believed first-term senator Barack Obama stood a chance against Hillary Clinton in 2008. When Donald Trump announced he was running for president in 2015, how many people thought he would win?

Notoriety is not always essential to success in other areas of life as well.

When Manuel Franco stepped forward Tuesday to claim a $768 million Powerball prize, the twenty-four-year-old Wisconsin resident went from anonymity to national headlines. I had not heard of diver Josh Bratchley before he helped rescue Thai cave schoolboys last summer. I had not heard of Edd Sorenson before he rescued Josh Bratchley from an underwater cave in Tennessee last week.


We may never be household names, but we all want to be special to someone special.

God made us social creatures: from Adam to today, “it is not good that man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18 NKJV). The human story is a long narrative centered on interaction, from spouses to families to tribes to cities to city-states to nations to multinational alliances. Across our history, we have connected with each other through speaking, art, music, writing, printing, radio, movies, television, and now social media.

Our sedentary lives are evidence of the digital nature of contemporary connectivity. Unsurprisingly, researchers have discovered that we are spending more time sitting in front of screens than ever. This is problematic since sitting too long has been linked to numerous chronic diseases that can lead to an early death.

But it is also indicative of our need for community.

Adult Americans spend more than eleven hours a day watching, reading, listening, or otherwise interacting with mediaNearly 80 percent of the US population has a social media profile. Streaming services have brought Hollywood to our devices (the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences decided this week that such services should be eligible for the Oscars).

We long to be connected with other people, even if we experience them vicariously or digitally.

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Source: Christian Headlines