Thursday, April 21, 2016

By Definition

Having been born on election day may have had an influence on me being interested in politics. When entering Marietta College in Ohio in 1972 during the time of the Nixon/McGovern election cycle; I was going to major in "political science". I ended up transferring to the University of Connecticut  and majoring in economics.


I do find it interesting to see how campaigns evolve over each presidential cycle and delving into how the campaigns are run as well as what makes a voter decide which candidate to vote for versus the other candidate.


Some people grow up in families that "always vote Republican or Democrat." Probably one of the determinants on voter choice hinges on the central questions of "What is the role of government in society"; "Is more government expansion into the lives of people a good thing or something that should be curtailed? (big government versus limited government).


Over time certain voting trends have evolved. Up until about the time of President Johnson, black American voters had strong support for the Republican party with notable black Americans such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Jackie Robinson for example being registered Republicans. The Republican party under President Lincoln fought during the "Civil War" to abolish slavery. The Southern Democrats were the "slave holders" and founders of the "Ku Klux Klan" as they briefly tried to secede from the Union and form "The Confederate States of America".  Today however, the Democrat party seems to garner the majority of black American support while many southern states vote for the Republican candidates.


Some people are swayed by the television and news media and their "biases" toward one candidate or the other. Some election campaigns are based on the candidates position on the "issues" while at the same time trying to "define" their political opponent with a negative image. In other words, you as a candidate either try to run on your record, qualifications, and stand on the issues of the day; Or you try to run on painting a negative picture of the opposing candidate as far as their personality, their qualifications, and their stand on the issues.


By definition, each candidate will try to burnish their qualifications and appeal while trying to define  their political opponent. In the battles for the hearts and minds of the voting electorate it will be interesting to see which candidate makes the best case.   Which labels will "stick" will be interesting to see and may define the outcome.