Tag Archives: Elections

Clip from the Past: McCormack for President

In 1976, a housewife from New York, Ellen McCormack ran for President.  In 18 states, her name appeared on primary election ballots as a Democrat.  Her platform was strictly based on a pro-life approach to the issue of abortion.  Even though she did not win any primaries, McCormack’s campaign was successful enough to have raised money for federal matching funds and for Secret Service protection.  The extra campaign dollars also allowed for the creation of television spots that would promote McCormack’s pro-life beliefs.

Would a commercial, such as this one, work in today’s political climate?

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Choosing a VP

When Paul Ryan was named as the Vice-Presidential nominee by Republican Mitt Romney, I was asked about his impact on the Presidential race.  I said many times that the Ryan pick would finally energize the conservative base of the Republican Party who were skeptical of their nominee in Ryan.  Ryan’s youthful enthusiasm coupled with his wonkish policy appeal was just what the Romney campaign needed.  The bland Romney campaign searched for its voice throughout the primary season and through the early stages of the general campaign.  Ryan would be that shot in the arm.  For a short time, the Ryan pick did help pull even with President Barack Obama in the polls.  That momentum seems to have been lost in the last week, as recent reports from the Romney front have stated that Ryan has been muzzled by his Romney’s staffers.  Romney’s team wants Ryan to speak less on his “bread and butter” topic, the budget, and more on how badly Obama has run the country.  Conservative pundits and grassroots supporters wonder why this is so?  Without Ryan’s budget appeal, the Romney campaign was back to where it started, in search of a voice.

How much of a factor should a Vice Presidential pick be for a Presidential ticket? What criteria would you look for when choosing a VP nominee?

 

 

The Politics of Celebrity

At the Republican National Convention in 2012, it was Clint Eastwood who made a splash with his speech regarding President Obama.  At the Democratic National Convention in that same year, Kal Penn of Harold and Kumar fame, made a veiled reference to Eastwood’s speech and made overtures toward younger Americans to vote.  In 1964, actor Raymond Massey made a campaign commercial for Republican Barry Goldwater.  Actor E.G. Marshall filmed a spot for Hubert Humphrey in 1968.  Paul Newman campaigned for another Democrat in 1968, Eugene McCarthy.  Sammy Davis Jr. endorsed President Nixon.  Singer Pearl Bailey in 1976 for President Ford.    Even Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon endorsed Ralph Nader in 2000.   The list of celebrities endorsing and campaigning for Presidents and presidential candidates is almost endless.  I once watched a PBS documentary entitled, “Vote For Me”, where the then head of the Oklahoma Democratic Party referred to politics as “show business for ugly people.”  He was alluding to the entertainment value of political campaigns and how the political process had become superficial over the years.  This documentary was filmed in the mid-1990s.

Today, it seems as if politics and entertainment industry have come together as one.  Entertainers of all political stripes are now engaged in the political process by adding their opinions to the issues, events, and candidates of the day through social media and traditional media outlets alike.  Has the separation between politics and entertainment become blurred over the years?  Do you believe that entertainers have any influence on the political process?

The Path to Victory

From the 1964 Ralph G. Martin book, Ballots and Bandwagons, a compilation of events from five political conventions in the early half of the twentieth century:

“Political Axiom Number One says that the brighter the presidential prospect of victory, the greater the crop of available candidates.”

It is a pretty simple rule, but do you agree with such an axiom?

Off-Year Elections

Message Approved

The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) of 2002, also known as the McCain-Feingold Act, includes a provision where political candidates, running for public office at the federal level, must identify their own political advertisements with the phrase, “I approve this message.”  This idea was intended to discourage candidates from running negative ads on television or radio.  However, when ads are produced and aired by outside organizations, such as interest groups or political parties, they acknowledge that their ads are not affiliated with any candidates or campaign committees.  In effect, the interest group or political party is letting the audience know that the ads are independent of any candidate.  Candidates for state office are not required to have an “approval” message included in their ads.

Does it matter to you if an ad is run by a candidate or by an outside political organization?  Did you even know there was a difference between the two?

This Week’s Memorabilia

This piece of Presidential memorabilia was from the 1964 campaign of Republican nominee, Barry Goldwater.  Goldwater lost the election to President Lyndon Johnson in a landslide.  However, Goldwater’s candidacy shifted the Republican Party to the conservative right.   Your thoughts on the slogan/bumper sticker?