Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Quick Query

A recent article in a political magazine read "Do political campaigns even matter anymore?"

It is a complex question filled with ambiguity. I decided to respond here.

Americans function largely on self-interest. The economic climate and an individual's personal financial state are the primary factors for the majority of voters. If a person's stocks are in a windfall and he has gainful employment, he will see no need to shake up the status quo. If his portfolio is in a tailspin and he finds his wallet a great deal lighter, he will seek new leadership.

A campaign is not so much about finding the right message as it is avoiding the wrong one. In 1984 Walter Mondale explicitly told the voters he would raise their taxes during a televised debate. This struck a nerve with America and resulted in a landslide win for President Reagan.

In September 2008 Senator McCain was quoted during a press conference saying "The fundamentals of our economy are still strong". Obama and the DNC were relentless in airing this clip repeatedly and in post-election polls, is a major reason for the Senator's defeat.

So yes, the campaign still matters.


Anonymous said...

FYI Ronald Reagan raised taxes four times between 1982-84. In the midst of a major recession.

Trent said...

I think you missed the entire point of his post.