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Confinements of Elections

Recently in government class we have studied the structures and organizations that compose our great Democracy. Among these organizations and structures are political parties, election events, congress, and the presidency. During our studies, I took a keen interest in the study of elections and more specifically the media’s effect on the candidates in the form of Campaign Commercials.

Before we learned about the structure of campaign commercials, I paid no attention to the messages that were being delivered to the audience. Most campaign commercial vary greatly from one another in the sense that some can promote positive messages and others can be negative attacks directed to harm the opposing candidates reputation. Negative messages have been the most prominent form of campaign commercials circulating in the media during the 2012 elections. One example of a negative campaign commercial would be, “Selling Access” an approved message by Ron Paul, which serves as a perfect example of a negative attack directed toward Newt Gingrich. According to cbsnews.com Gingrich promised to run a positive campaign early in the election process and even quoted, “We will run a positive campaign focused on our country’s future.” Unfortunately Gingrich had no other choice but to defend himself when the attacks struck him first. Gingrich began approving videos such as “The French Connection” to strike back against the offensive videos directed at him. This constant flow of attacks from candidate to candidate can do more than just shift the perspective of the audience, they can also create a system that excludes any candidate without the ability to produce and defend a media attack.

Each campaign commercial is designed to deliver a message that either promotes a candidate or tears a candidate down. At what cost do these messages come? Candidates such as Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and even President Obama all have sufficient resources to produce and defend vicious media attacks. On the other hand, Rick Santorum was an underdog candidate who did not posses the wealth and financial resources like the other candidates, therefore he couldn’t compete in the media war-taking place between each candidate. Santorum’s inability to fight back against harsh criticism prevented him from getting the necessary votes to stay in the race. On April 10, 2012, Rick Santorum dropped out of the presidential race, turning over his support to Mitt Romney.

The Campaign Commercials are in essence weapons that the candidates can use in the fight for the presidency. I think candidates loose focus the kind’s of messages they are delivering to ordinary citizens. Campaign commercials aren’t movie trailers or video games so enough with the dreadful effects. We need clear messages that are truthful and meant to deliver positive messages and solutions to current problems. In my opinion, the commercials that have positive messages rather than negative messages usually have more of a lasting effect. All in all, I am so tired of all the political finger pointing that takes in the media when there are people ready and willing to solve the problems in this nation.

Media has become the entity capable of uniting every person around the world together for a common purpose. The media coverage of elections has opened up new doors that people can access for political information. Campaign Commercials are widely viewed and serve as an important assets to the success of an election. A little information delivered through a commercial can have a lasting impact on the audience. It is our responsibility to keep these messages positive and to ensure a better future for the presidency and the nation.

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  1. dbshipper
    May 1, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Details are good about how each candidate used campaign ads for the Republican nomination this year. In the conclusion I think you should either delete or fix up the first sentence b/c it sounds awkward. You end up choosing in the end that positive ads should be done more than neg. ads. Talk more about why you think they are better along with effects of political ads that lead you to choose that way.

  2. May 5, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Thanks for your work – there’s plenty here to think about!

    Early in your piece, you suggest that the constant flow of attack ads “can shift the perpective of the audience.” In what ways? I’d be curious to hear you elaborate here: are you saying these ads are, in fact, effective? If so, who do attack ads help? Who do they harm? Later you say that positive messages have “more of a lasting effect.” Can both of these points be true? How do you reconcile them?

    I hear you loudly and clearly when you say you’d prefer campaigns that are entirely positive. Interesting, isn’t it, that candidate Gingrich had pledged just such a campaign… only to change his strategy after blistering attacks were directed his way…

    … and lastly, I’m curious about one other point: you write, “It is our responsibility to keep these messages positive…” Who do you mean? Voters? Candidates? Media? Election rule-makers?? I’d love to hear you develop this point more fully!!

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