Political candidates always argue over who makes more money, who pays more taxes, who’s telling the truth and who follows the rules. This is done to attempt to hurt the opponents’ reputation and sometimes to even get that candidate to drop out of the race. Most of these attacks occur during the beginning of primaries when there are a lot of candidates. Usually the first punch thrown by candidates is pressuring other candidates to release their tax returns. The next punch is usually consists of accusations and uncovered scandals brought to the light. After these initial attacks are launched and a few candidates have dropped out, the attacks focus more on the actual political decisions of the candidates. Every word, action and decision a candidate has ever made in his life is analyzed, criticized and bent around until no one knows what is true anymore. I understood why candidates did this, but what I did not understand was why does this work so well? By studying Government AND economics I have come to understand how social media blows everything up, how important the tax brackets are especially during a rescission and how impactful political primaries and debates are on a candidates future.
More and more in recent elections candidates have prioritized their time in making opponents look bad rather than make them selves look good. During this recent Republican primary, Mitt Romney was pressured by the other candidates to release his tax returns. The other candidates wanted to use this as ammunition in an attempt to defeat Romney. Romney eventually folded and released his tax returns, which showed that he had only paid a tax rate of less than 15% on $42 million dollars of income. He was able to get away with this because of loopholes he had found; the tax rate is far less on investments than actual income that has come from a job. It was also found that he had bank accounts in other countries to avoid U.S. taxes. The other candidates did this in order to make Romney look bad, but he’s not the only millionaire candidate avoiding taxes. Nearly all politicians pay about a 15% tax rate, because it requires wealth to run for office and is too time consuming to hold a job. These means that the other candidates are most likely doing the same thing, but Romney is the only one who has released this detailed of a tax return. By studying government and economics I have been able to look deeper than what the media tells me and form my own opinion that all of the candidates are hypocritical because they all find tax loop holes.
Another major punch that candidates throw at each other usually involves scandals and lies. Candidates spend an enormous amount of money on private investigators to dig up the opponents past. In this recent primary Herman Cain was forced to drop out due to accusations of him sexually harassing women in the 1990’s and having an affair. This is just one example of how valuable these “one hit knock outs” can be to opposing candidates.
All candidates strategize and spend a great deal of time trying to get “dirt” on the other Candidates wit private investigators because it can drastically change the results of an election. The ironic thing about this is that all of the candidates have secrets and no one is perfect. So it all comes down to who can dig up dirt on the others the best… this is a prime example of the pot calling the kettle black.
An interesting thing that I have learned in government this trimester is how much work goes into a political race, but what caught my attention even more was how much time a candidate and his or her team spend on trying to accumulate resources. I have learned that the major resources that candidates go for is money, advertisements, Internet traffic, endorsements, volunteers and support from notable people. These resources will eventually win equate to votes in the election. There are way too many people in the United States for a candidate to reach out to by him or herself and win their vote. As technology improves more and more candidates are gaining more resources at their disposal.
All of these resources are all centered around Candidates getting their image and beliefs out to the public. TV ads are very expensive but are also very effective because they can display all of their policies and have images to help sway voters. Candidates also go for “free” advertisements on the Internet and by famous people or companies. Even though the Internet is free candidates spend thousands on good-looking websites, but the free aspect comes from social media buzz. Social media buzz can also be categorized as volunteers, because individuals create this by making facebook pages, amateur youtube videos and show support for their candidate on blogs. I’ve come to learn that although it seems like these social media buzzes are random and spontaneous; they are actually carefully planned by candidates in order to get free advertising. An example of this is when, “Mitt Romney stuck out his hand and challenged Rick Perry to a $10,000 bet at a Republican presidential debate Saturday night, prompting Perry to decline because he is not in the betting business.” Romney did this because he knew that such an unorthodox thing to do at a debate would raise a lot of talk in the news and on the web. His hope was to get people talking about how certain he is on his facts, but the majority of the Internet talk shifted towards how “snobby” it was of him to throw around such big amounts of money. This is the gamble candidates take when they attempt to create free advertising through the Internet, but if successful it can have a huge payoff.
After the initial projects we did on political campaigning sparked my interest, we started on a bigger project of working on a mock campaign team. In doing this I have learned the importance of appearance. Our main strategy is to make everything as eye catching and unique as possible in order to stand out. On a much smaller scale we are have the same though process as political candidates. By making that $10,000 bet, weather it created negative or positive media for Mitt Romney, it allowed him to stand out. Without his big gamble I would not have mentioned him in my post and he would not of received the free advertising on my behalf weather I support him or not.