Which Presidential Candidate Is Most Excited To See You?

Ranking politicians by how much emotion they manage to stuff into the humble wave

If you’re going to run for president, you’d better be acquainted with a catalogue of stock candidate moves that make greeting thousands of people on a regular basis as efficient as possible. We’ve already covered the dependable finger point, so now let’s turn to another trusty standard: the wave. Perhaps the most overused move in the election handbook — and one that looks familiar to people who don’t run for office for a living — the wave is an essential, if easy way to make every single one of your fans feel special. Even Donald Trump, the most unorthodox candidate in the race, feels that a wave every now and then is prudent.

However, it isn’t enough just to wave. You have to look like you mean it with every fiber of your being, a surprisingly complex maneuver that requires much practice to perfect.

Let us rank each of the remaining candidates — and two who have already departed — by how well they convince us that they are overwhelmingly excited to see us.

Hillary Clinton

You will never meet anyone anyone more excited to meet you than Hillary Clinton. Her eyes widen when she sees you in the distance, and her mouth falls open in shock. Life is a surprise party, and you are all her friends, hiding behind the couch with a huge sheet cake with rainbow sprinkles that has the White House rendered in frosting on top, with a gingerbread Hillary Clinton standing at the door, waving at you to come on in.

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Even if you are being creepy, standing outside of Hillary’s window, she is still going to be incandescently happy to see you.

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Hillary Clinton is one of the most experienced endurance wavers in history. Her form has improved markedly over the years. During the 2008 presidential primary, she hadn’t perfected her wave yet — the shock at seeing you overpowered the elation.

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Practice makes perfect, though. Eight years later, a 15-year-old finding out that everyone in One Direction is an emotional vampire in love with them would have a hard time looking more excited than Hillary.


Her wave is executed with great consistency, too. Waving at you is her Blue Steel.


The Food and Drug Administration recommends that Americans limit themselves to one greeting from Hillary a day, as extended exposure can be the same as drinking 12 cups of coffee a day — which is probably what Clinton needs to make sure she can still pretend to be a fount of enthusiasm after months of campaigning.

Marco Rubio

The Florida senator was so happy to see you.

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Everything was going great!

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And then you didn’t vote for him, and the Truffula Tree–esque buoyancy of the Rubio wave died.

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Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, picks Rubio at the convention, and stirs up the pot.

John Kasich

The Ohio governor is pretty pleased to see you’re still following him around! How great is it that he’s managed to outlast Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush?

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He may not be terribly good at emoting, but when Kasich waves at you, his hearty, loyal supporter, this is how much happiness he is trying to convey.

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Ted Cruz

The Texas senator is sort of happy to see you. But waving at you also makes him wistful.

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He’s nostalgic for a long-ago time in the ’90s when people named Michael or Martin became president and were always certain that every speech they gave would be soundtracked to strings. That past, while not technically real, because movies and TV shows are fiction, feels so close that Cruz could almost reach it.

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So when Cruz waves at you, he isn’t actually saying hi. He is trying to find the rift in the space-time continuum that would allow him to become the next movie president.

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This is why Cruz only references culture from the ’90s; it was the golden age of fictional presidents. Maybe it will bring him closer to his goal.

He knows he’s close.

Travis Long/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS via Getty Images

Bernie Sanders

The Vermont senator always looks a little distracted when waving at fans.

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Probably because he is busy thinking about how much fun it would be to take money from the 1 percent and make a giant leaf pile out of it and let all of the young people at his next rally jump into it.

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Maybe he is thinking about how much fun it would be -- after he fixes income inequality -- of course, to take the remains of the abandoned Keystone XL pipeline and use it to transport melted Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to our friends in Canada. Or maybe he is just wondering if he forgot to lock the door.


Donald Trump

Unlike Clinton, who has a signature wave, Trump has several different greetings that he has been cycling through over the course of the campaign.

There is the "Hehehe, I can’t believe I’m getting away with this." (Trump is definitely a hehehe, not a hahaha.)


And then there is the "Let me distract you from staring at my long and slender fingers too intently by looking extra-presidential."


And then there is the "I’m glad I don’t have to shake hands with all of these people."


Jeb Bush

The former Florida governor doesn’t have it in his heart to lie to you. He doesn’t want to see you, because it doesn’t look like there are too many people in the audience, and, ugh, this campaign sucks. He might not even be waving at you; he might have heard that myth that mosquitoes always fly to the highest point on your body, and is just trying to get flies away from his face.

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Here, he looks like he just finished The Heart of Darkness and wants to tell you about how it made him feel but can’t find the words to do that, so he’s just going to leave.

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Most of the time, however, Jeb Bush makes the same exact face. He’s been doing it forever, and it is particularly joyless.

Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/MCT via Getty Images

It looks like he watched America’s Next Top Model in a gym with closed captioning and thought smize was a portmanteau of "smile" and "misery."

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