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Indonesian Voters Want DILDO This Presidential Election

Ignore all the drama about this being a two horse race because DILDO is pulling ahead for a stunning upset.

by Titah AW
09 January 2019, 8:02am

Illustration by Farraz Tandjoeng

The political climate in Indonesia right now is, in a word, nauseating. It's been a campaign season characterized by pointless controversies, racist dogwhistles, and just straight up hoaxes. And all of this drama is over an election where a lot of Indonesians see two choices that are so unappealing that the idea of just going golput, or not voting at all, seems like the only smart choice.

But in this toxic environment, a new candidate pair is pulling ahead in the race, dominating the headlines, and reigniting Indonesians' interest in electoral politics. Who, you're asking, are these saviors of democracy that everyone keeps talking about? Nurhadi and Aldo—or DILDO for short.

That's right. DILDO.

"DILDO makes my days brighter," said I Putu Rizky Marandika, an active supporter of the pair online. "The candidates from DILDO are smart, down to Earth, and equipped with solutions . I think more people are going to vote for Nurhadi-Aldo. I mean, who could resist their charming smile?"

DILDO is skyrocketing in popularity in Indonesia thanks to the pair's penchant for totally absurd quotes, funny religious advice, and easy-to-remember hashtags like #SmackQueenYaQueen, which can be read as "semakin yakin," or "more assured." The pair, who are campaigning on the Need for Faith Party (PUKI) ticket, just might be running the best social media campaign of the election. There's even a pretty good chance that DILDO will win the election this April—or at least they could... if they actually existed.

DILDO is the creation of Indonesian shitposters, a crowdsourced meme that keeps on growing with people all over the country throwing themselves in the race as supporters of DILDO and their #MahaAsyik (or "divine fun") coalition. All you need is follow the meme's template, think up a few bullshit work programs, a suggestive slogan, and a random academic title and you're good to go.

What does it all mean? When a fake candidate pair who goes by the name DILDO is more effective online than the two actual presidential candidates—one of whom is the current president—is it a sign that Indonesian democracy is dying or stronger than ever?

VICE's Titah AW spoke to a few of DILDO's staunchest supporters to find out.

Bayu Pratomo, Audio Visual Sound Designer, 32, Jakarta

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VICE: Why DILDO?
Bayu Pratomo: Aside from already knowing the two from the shitposting world, it's because it's all so funny, mischievous, and absurd, just like my sense of humor.

Did you care about politics before?
Yeah, I cared and I participated too. In the 2014 election, I joined a politician's social movement and played a very active role in supporting a presidential candidate. But this time, I chose DILDO because I was just sick of the attacks, the defamation, and the shit-talking that goes on in politics today. Now we have an outlet that's funny to remedy this anger.

What makes DILDO so appealing?
It's like I found an oasis in the middle of a desert. Presidential candidates and their teams should take notes from DILDO. Blasting work programs everywhere—even though they’re all fictional—is better than indulging every insult and wallowing in stuff like Quran recitation competitions or arguing over who is supported by the most religious leaders.

Brian Fadli Fahmi, Entrepreneur, 28, Padang

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VICE: Why DILDO?
Brian Fadli: All of us consider this a movement to save our nation from the increasing number of irrational people out there. The climate on social media isn't beneficial or healthy anymore. Supporter are now using social media to compare issues instead of sharing ideas. This needs to end. DILDO is the solution. Politics should be interesting and fun.

Did DILDO make you care about politics?
I took politics seriously before joining as a DILDO candidate. I would even forget to sleep when I was arguing online with supporters from different parties. But thanks to DILDO, I feel more at ease now and have even become smarter politically.

Ismi Rinjani, Entrepreneur, 26, Yogyakarta

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VICE: Why DILDO?
Ismi Rinjani: I’m a massage therapist and jamu vendor just like Nurhadi-Aldo, so I feel represented. I'm supporting them because I’m sick of the original presidential candidates and their supporters who tend to cause so much commotion. DILDO seems progressive to me, so I decided to join this campaign. They talk about weed, smashing the patriarchy, and a farmers' program for food security. I’ve never thought of being a legislative candidate before, but their vision and mission changed my mind [Laughs].

With all the drama and turmoil in the election cycle right now, what attracted you to DILDO?
Right now, it’s like we’re all stuck in a traffic jam during a 50-degree day, just honking and yelling at each other. DILDO is like that es cendol vendor you see set up roadside, under a shady tree. I would rather just sit back, enjoy that cendol, and wait for the traffic to die down.

What do you think the 2019 presidential election is going to be like?
It's going to be filled with lots of drama, just like FTV.

What do you think about people who don't want to vote this time around?
Well, Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro won the elections because swing voters were tired of politics. They both won not because people voted for the, but because people didn't want to vote for the opposition. That might happen here too.

I think I'm going to abstain because Jokowi didn't address any human rights and agrarian issues. I'm sick of both politicians. I'm just going to support DILDO.