Friday, June 16, 2006

Negative Political Talk Toward 'Rank And File'

In some ways the 2006 off-year elections are turning into a big “get out the vote” rally for both Democrats and Republicans. This effort seems especially strong on the Republican side, probably, because they are in greater trouble with their base “rank and file” than the Democrats. However, I have seen signs of both parties acting differently than they do during non-election years. This proves to me that politicians will do almost anything to gain or keep their power and prestige in Washington.

How else could Hillary Clinton be described as a pro-war candidate and President Bush as an environmentalist. Some pundits don’t understand this reverse role playing, but if we expand our minds it does make perfect sense to folks who spend their entire lives winning political campaigns. I love to watch the game of politics and one thing I have learned about off-year elections is that winning or losing totally depends on getting your hard-line party faithful to the polls on election day. Everything else is secondary to this strategy. When President Bush becomes an environmentalist he is hoping to calm the base of the Democratic Party into thinking that he isn’t such a bad guy after all.

In this same vein, when Hillary Clinton is strong on national defense her strategy is designed to cause conservatives not to fear her as much and if she is successful, maybe they will just stay home on election-day rather than going out and voting for Republican candidates. The hard and sad truth is, that most Americans don’t vote for someone in an election, instead they head to the poll to make sure that someone else doesn’t get elected. Fear is the deciding factor for millions of American voters as to whether they exercise their right to vote on Election Day. Political strategist understand this fact very well and campaign managers will spend most of their time during an election year, trying to make their opponent look as bad as possible to encourage their supports to get to the polls in greater numbers.

When this summer finally draws to a close and the 2006 congressional election in November gets close, watch how the different candidates in your area advertise their various campaigns. Rather than a positive message of hope being promoted in their political ads, most candidates will run terrible commercials about their opponent in the hope of causing their own “rank and file” to head to the polls to prevent that opponent from election success. As I said earlier, this strategy is all about “firing up the base” to get out and vote on Election Day. These off-year elections are all about a parties base supporters and if for any reason even a small part of any candidates bases decides not to vote, their opponent will win.

In reality, most Republicans will not vote for Democrats in an off-year election and the same is true for Democrats. This is why so many of these campaigns turn negative so quickly in an election year. Political TV ads are not designed to win votes for a candidate as much as they are designed to get that candidates supporters to the polls by creating fear about what might happen if the “other guy” got elected. This scenario has been playing itself out since the being of the US and it will continue forever because smart political leaders understand their own supporters mentality and if they want to win elections, this is the way they must campaign to be successful.

Related: Bill Backs Hillary, 2008 Presidential Race, Presidential Horse Race

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