Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Trump, Carson, and the Art of Campaigning

There are two reasons for doubting what is to follow; 1) it hasn’t been brought up by anyone else, 2) my interest in the process of politics is almost non-existent, and 3) I’m not a political pro of any kind. That’s already three reasons, and doubtless there are many more.
That said, I think an overlooked aspect of what has happened in the nomination races to date is that it is telling us something about campaigning. I take it that campaigning is akin to an art form, and that all art forms by their very familiarity eventually wear themselves out. The conventions of the political campaign haven’t really changed over my adult life, if not longer, and the familiarity of this process has resulted in a certain disdain on the part of voters.

When I look at political campaigns I’m reminded of the James Bond film franchise which began at roughly the same time as the modern campaign (???).  The political form is now somewhere in the For Your Eyes Only to Pierce Brosnan stage. Trump and Ben Carson are succeeding for many reasons, but one part of their success is that they aren’t slavishly following the typical political script. In their very different ways each is presenting a more authentic—such as it is in Trump’s case—politician. There is a Daniel Craigish refashioning of the political campaign in this.  The opportunity to do much more along these lines, to use the web and other non-traditional media more is still out there. At some point, a politician like Rick Perry, who isn’t well served by the current form, will figure this out.

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