The P.R. Business of Elections
Once upon a time, presidential elections consisted of candidates giving riveting speeches about improving the everyday lives of the American people. Today, riveting speeches come and go, but the only thing that seems to matter is how the candidate looks, what the candidate is wearing, and most importantly, how to take down your opponent by humiliating them. Instead of just looking at the candidates’ views on certain issues and making our decision based on which candidate stands up for the principles and beliefs we have, we look to see who comes out first in the catfight. To illustrate, Clinton vs. Obama, his spiritual advisor is a loose cannon, she won’t release her tax returns,. His wife said she was proud to be an American for the first time, her husband had a scandalous affair during his days in the White House. She says the media is friendlier to him then they are to her. Politics is supposed to be about a fight; but this has turned into a cat fight. The claws are out and have been out for quite some time; all the while, Americans have to put up with hours of coverage of this never ending saga. What happened to the simplicity of the electoral process? Why do we have to be subjected to seeing ad after ad on the television, the billboards, flyers, etc. The election no doubt is a popularity contest, but this is not about electing the prom king and queen for a night. We are voting for the leader of the free world; we are fighting for our rights. Popularity should have nothing to do with the electoral process. It is time that the candidates and their campaigns stop insulting the intelligence of the American people and forego this public relations aspect of the election. Keep it simple; let the candidates say what they need to say and move on.
We should ban election coverage from the infotainment networks: CNN and FOX, etc. Put it all on PBS and CSPAN and have it all conducted by the League of Women Voters. Fund all candidates equally at the public expense and ban private contributions. Equalize the playing field.
The only thing wrong with such a sensible solution, barranca, would be that no one would watch it. Without the drama and the catfights and such, how is politics going to compete with reality television?
Until we get the money out of the system -- government money as well as private money -- we'll have cat fights and sound bites. You are not likely to learn anything about the candidates' positions on issues by watching television because campaigns understand that every time they speak out boldly on any issue they lose votes. If you speak out in favor of abortion, you lose all those voters who oppose it. At the same time, if you come out strongly against abortion you lose all those voters who favor abortion. While everyone criticizes attack ads, they are the most effective means of influencing votes under the current system. Voters need to make their positions known to the politicians if we're to change the way we run primaries and elections.
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