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BLOG 3 Changes in Political Campaigns

Since 1960’s election, the game of politics campaigns have changed forever. There is no doubt when Nixon and Kennedy had their first live televised debate, they were the catalyst to a new era of political campaigning. After reading the McGinniss book, I have noted similarities ad differences in Nixon’s campaign and the recent presidential campaigns.

Since 1960 election, television and controlling media became an essential part of political campaigning. This is one similarity one can find in common from both Nixon’s campaign and recent campaigns. Media is the most crucial element in order to win the election, because candidates can sell themselves through media such as television or radio by creating a public friendly presidential candidate, and ever since the invention of new type of campaigning, public image is everything in election.

In the past, presidential candidates would make a few visits to cities and then ride the policy of the party in order to be elected. Starting with John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon in 1960, less emphasis was put on party policies and more was put directly on the candidate as an individual.For the first time, American publics had the opportunity to become acquaintance with the candidates through television. Therefore people were no longer voting for a person they thought had a good platform but a person they thought a good person.  This is still true in present, or more emphasized than ever before.

As for President Obama’s campaign, there was a lot of focus on his personality and temperance that try to make the public see him as a friendly and caring person, as well as a person who could get a great job done as a president.

However, there have been changes since Nixon. The creation of the internet, following with blogging and social networking has been a very important part of modern political campaigns. Like Television did, Internet brought new dimensions to how people perceive political campaigns. In 2008 election, President Obama’s utilization of internet highlighted and played a huge role bringing him a victory.

“The Internet has changed the game in this year’s US presidential election Campaign” – Former Democratic candidate John Edwards told New York Times after 2008 election.

The New York Times also has an article which compares Obama to Kennedy and shows the similarity between the two.

“One of the Many ways that the election of Barack Obama as a president has echoed that of John. F. Kennedy is his use of a new medium that will forever change politics. For Mr. Kennedy, it was Television. For Mr. Obama, it was the Internet”

Obama’s strategy of using the internet was especially effective to eliciting the younger generation’s attention. With majority of younger American generations, it was pleasing to see a young presidential candidate communicating to them via a medium which has become their everyday life.

What came across in my mind while I was reading the book and working on this post was that the modern era of political campaigning has become increasingly fast-paced, convenient and dynamic. It may seem as we are living in the height of the political campaign, but we certainly should expect for  more innovations of political campaigns in the future election.

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  1. March 1, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    Good job. The comparison between Obama and JFK is apt. Also, you are correct that the Internet brought new dimension to recent campaigns. How much the Internet has fundamentally changes campaigns is up for debate, but certainly there are new considerations related to modern campaigns that result from the popularity of the Internet.

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