What Makes a Political Campaign Effective?

Although not for a huge part, the lack of knowledge of today’s political arena is large enough to be a cause for concern. One of the major questions would be how our political leaders gain the attention and favors of the public? In today’s world where advertisements play such a huge role in persuading the people, TV has become an invaluable tool to bring these advertisements to the uninformed. In other words, political campaigning on the air waves is the perfect method for getting people’s attention. However, just putting one's face or name on a poster does not ensure the political success of that candidate. There are a multitude of different techniques that can and need to be employed in order for an advertisement to be effective.
Political campaigning has been described as to be like “sports," meaning that winning is not everything, it’s the only thing! Therefore the saying that there should be truth in advertising, does not necessarily apply to political advertisements. “Mudslinging” is a common tactic employed by most politicians. Candidates are free to say whatever they want and as they please. They do not need to worry about many consequences except the ones that their opponents throw back at them. A vivid example of this is the name calling that often goes on especially between the Republican and the Democratic parties. The “Lanzing Zoo” has been a common name for the Democrats by the Republicans, accusing them of being lazy and only caring about themselves. “Mud-slinging” often has no evidence as proof or merit behind the insults. And that is exactly all they are, insults to make the opponents look bad.
Another common tactic is to play on an opponent changing attitudes. This is more commonly known as “flip-flopping." Politicians would often refer back to what a candidate has said in the past and brings it up again in a same or different context. What a candidate has said in the past can come back to haunt them through hypocrisy. Barry Goldwater was quoted to saying that he would be willing to drop a nuclear weapon on Vietnam. Then opponents would point out that Goldwater has also said that he is opposed to nuclear weapons. Or in the case of James A. Willders whom was a Democrat voting Republican, then “flip-flopping” back to a Democrat.
Many times, a candidate would ruin their opponents’ image by pointing out their associates. By exposing the candidates friends who have an unfavorable public image, a politician can undermine their opponents’ ability to chose and make decisions. This is certainly so with Joseph McCarthy. By taking events out of context and looking at the bad side of a candidate’s friends, a politician can undermine their opponents’ credibility.
Using celebrities as endorsements for ones political campaign as be a great boost. JFK employed this tactic well and people like Oswald Rabbit has many a times turned the tide in favor of their opponents. Especially for people who are not actively involved in politics but are so in show business (e.g. watching TV, being in a classic play, etc.), a celebrity can be used to associate to the candidate. This tactic is great for publicity.
In the years following World War II, the utilization of the fear towards nuclear weapons, has become another weapon to be added to the candidates’ repertoire. LBJ has called Barry Goldwater as being dangerous for his support of the atomic bomb. By making his opponent look dangerous, LBJ, and like candidates has made themselves safe to vote on.
Kids are probably the ultimate sell of the candidates image. Children are so innocent, most people associate them with truth and innocence. How can any advertisement with children in it be bad. Therefore by showing how a candidate can hurt the country’s children, a politician has scored big with the people. Barry Goldwater being another, but effective example, has been accused of killing children and their innocence little lives.
So for the most part, telling lies, but being careful what the lie is and appealing to the publics’ emotional and sensitive side, a candidate can move the odds in favor of him to win.