From Perception To Reality: How to Win the Presidential Race
September 10, 2012 Leave a comment
The Republicans had Akin, a hurricane, and Eastwood’s empty chair performance to distract them from their core message. Initially the Democrats seemed to have smooth sailing. The general consensus is that the Democrats held a more successful, on-point convention, buoyed by President Clinton who raised the bar and delivered the most effective speech of either convention. He did a credible job of explaining how Obama inherited a mess that took years to create and that no president could have effectively cleaned up in four years. The convention ended on a high note, but a high that was short lived. Soon after the convention wrapped up and the last of the confetti hit the floor, the employment report was released, letting the air out of all of the collective balloons in the auditorium. The news was not good.
So whereas the Republicans were hit hard on the front end of their campaign with the Akins story and the hurricane taking away much of the media’s coverage, the Democrats had basically smooth sailing until the campaign wrapped and the unemployment figures were released.
Obama is once again having to run delivering a message of hope and faith that a change is coming. It’s a message that tries to move our attention from the present to the future. That’s a great message for a candidate, but a much harder message for an incumbent. Just as the Republicans have done their best to steer clear of memories of the George W. Bush administration and keep the focus away from the mess that the administration left the country in, the Obama administration is going to have a tough time running on future promises as opposed to past performance and present conditions. Again, Clinton best articulated Obama’s strongest talking points, but the current administration needs to be the one to deliver that message if it’s to resonate with the voting public.
Both parties are choosing to steer clear from how they’ve either brought on the problem or have ineffectively dealt with it. They are also both choosing to avoid specifics as to what concrete steps they’d take to effect change. Both are big on generalities and grand pronouncements. Both are offering vague platforms leaving it to the voters to fill in the gaps. That is certainly an approach that has worked in the past, but in a race that is this close, it could be a mistake.
Voters are weary. It’s been a rough few years. People don’t want platitudes and general concepts, they want concrete plans. They want bold moves. It very well could be that the candidate who steps out of the political comfort zone, takes on some of the controversial issues and clearly outlines what he intends to do to help the country change course, will be the candidate who wins.
It is not only in the worlds of PR and media relations that perception becomes reality. Life works that way as well. That’s precisely why Barak Obama is the president today. The public perceived him as the agent of change following a low point in our history. In this current presidential race, perception may well be what will tip the scales. The presidential candidate that chooses to get in front of the issues and who outlines his plan in a concrete and compelling manner could well be the candidate that will be perceived as the best choice and will be sitting in the White House come 2013.
Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012