The Genius Behind ThatMexicanThing.com? It Wasn’t the Clinton Campaign
When the polite, double-Windsored dust from tonight’s vice-presidential debate settled and we headed back to our DVRs to watch Atlanta, we’d be lying if we said we didn’t feel a mild unease. The Thrilla in Vanilla had given us the battle of dads that we’d come for, and it had even given us some unsatisfactory live-tweeting from Donald Trump, but it had been virtually bereft of internetty goodness. And that was a problem. A vice-presidential debate without a dank meme is, as we like to imagine a time-traveling Oscar Wilde once quipped during one of his many nonexistent appearances on Hollywood Squares, like a day without sunshine.
Thanks to a bizarre Mike Pence rebuttal—”You whipped out that Mexican thing again,” he stuttered to Tim Kaine—#mexicanthing and #thatmexicanthing began burning up the Twitterhorn. There were a lot of terrible, predictable jokes, but just as many Mexican-Amerians saluting their parents’ struggle to provide a better life for them.
You know #thatmexicanthing is my dad working from picking onions to becoming a school administrator.
— Felisa Cardona (@felisacardona) October 5, 2016
#ThatMexicanThing is my Dad who came to US, worked the Red Line as brakeman, worked each day of his life & died of Lung Cancer from Asbestos
— C’estMoi! (@mostwiselatina) October 5, 2016
Where my dad could go from picking strawberries as a kid in California to serving in the U.S. Army for 28 years. 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 #thatmexicanthing
— Steve Garcia (@Sgarcia81) October 5, 2016
And in the midst of all the Tweeting, someone noticed something interesting:
— Laura Meckler (@laurameckler) October 5, 2016
Pretty dank, right? The Clinton campaign, which had already endeared the Secretary of State to Snapchat streakholders with unforgettable, not-at-all-pandering gems like The Indispensable Hot Sauce Admission and “Delete Your Account,” had done it again! That nutty social-media team gotten out in front of an emerging meme and pointed curious web-surfers to their boss’ campaign site. Brooklyn, it seems, was ON IT.
Except not so fast. According to the WHOIS record for thatmexicanthing.com, the site wasn’t registered to the Clinton campaign, but to someone in Portland, Oregon named Danilo Alfaro. So we emailed Mr. Alfaro to see if he had grabbed the domain on behalf of the campaign. “Nope,” he responded. “I registered the domain and pointed it at hillaryclinton.com on my own, without any contact with the campaign beforehand.” One of Clinton’s “digital people,” he added, had reached out to thank him for his quick thinking, though.
So here’s to you, Mr. Alfaro—while there may be 3,000 miles and probably just as many sleeve tattoos between Portland and Brooklyn, tonight you made them feel like they were one big, happy, meme-leveraging paradise.
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