Home > BLOG 3 > Blog 3: Continuance and Major shifts in Political campaign, 1968-nowadays

Blog 3: Continuance and Major shifts in Political campaign, 1968-nowadays

I believe that The Selling of the President is very interesting for its explanation of the way a political campaign is led through the media. Almost each chapter of the book shows how much the campaign is staged. For example: 

One of the valuable things about this idea, from a political standpoint, was that each show would be seen only by the people who lived in that particular state or region.[…] So Nixon could get through the campaign with a dozen or so carefully worded responses that would cover all the problems of America in 1968″ (McGiniss, p.62-63)

Going public was also already carefully organized. And it included, as precised in pages 73 to 75:

  • the look
  • the Questions and Answer
  • the General Staging.

Another interesting part of the campaign that drew my attention was Nixon’s staff appeal to artists support. It just made me think about the massive impact of “Yes We Can“, the music video created on the singer Will.I.Am’s initiative to support Barack Obama during the Presidential election in February 2008. It proves that the implication of artists in favor of a political candidate is not a recent political tool.

I finally think that one of the huge differences between the political campaigns in 1960/1968 and now is how candidates’ privacy is reported in media. I really believe that Nixon himself has played a big role in this shift. Not thanks to (or because of) his campaigns but through the Watergate affair. After the scandal, Journalism experienced a boom in the United States:

  • J-schools were created across the country,
  • Journalism became a very popular profession
  • Journalists became more and more intrusive

Since that, candidates’ personal life became an electoral element almost as important as their program. For instance we can think about the issue of George W. Bush’s alcoholism (related on this article published on November 6th, 2000) but also about the polemic of the candidate (and then President) Barack Obama’s religion (illustrated in this video and detailed in this article published in the Washington Times on September 7th, 2008).

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