When elections become more crucial than ever, then political strategies raise the awareness of citizens even hundred miles away from the US. Who is going to be the “World President” is a matter of hard discussion as things are getting more complicated day by day. The successor of Barack Obama will definitely be the one with the most precise, concrete and absolutely perfect manipulated campaign. Until then, 2 main figures with big discrepancies between each other are undoubtedly dividing the American public opinion.
The American electoral system is distinguished by its intense person-character, which justifies the programming discontinuity between candidates of the same party, over time, in various electoral contests. Specifically, each candidate has the right to voluntarily embrace a large or small amount of the party’s political line. Furthermore, in the context of the communication strategy, political campaign feeds and is fed by the American people (double causal relationship). Therefore, it is appropriate to analyze the existing sociopolitical US data to the general presentation of the picture, according to which the campaign the two candidates is structured.
First of all, Americans, with a great sense of nation, cannot expect less than an increase in the strategic expenditure owning to the ongoing threat posed by ISIS. Actually, this opinion is strongly supported by the Republican voters. At the same time, 57% of the Americans declare in favor of state involvement into domestic policy, as there are other issues like the welfare or healthcare system, which need to be managed, as well. On the other hand, Democratic voters express concerns about other matters, not of less importance, for instance, climate change. Therefore, analyzing the voters’ needs in order to be able to either understand what they need or understand how they make them need what they want, is of paramount importance. On the top of that, we cannot neglect the fact that we talk about an ethnically divided society with the foreign population representing the 15% of the total. Family structures, which are differentiated owning to the increase of divorces, the involvement of women into workforce, income inequalities, and significant aging population have become a pain in the neck for the 2 candidates making things even more complex than they used to be.
After having analyzed in a few words the current situation of the American society, now it is time to take an inside look at the strategies of the 2 political figures.
The 2016 presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton was announced in a YouTube video, on April 12, 2015. Social distinctions have become the very first target of Miss Clinton as Spanish-speakers, as well as women, the African-American and the LGBT community became part of her rhetoric very soon. Equity and equality are values that are mostly presented to the public. With expressed opinions in favor of the LGBT community, as well as for contraception, bet to rally younger audiences, while the struggle for racial equality mobilizes the southern States, where there is a significant population growth of Hispanic populations, immigrants and blacks. That is exactly the reason why she introduces herself as the first woman President, successor of the first black President, Barack Obama. Her whole political project is based on the political continuity of Obama’s policy, given the fact the people are more or less satisfied from how policies were implemented through the previous period during the Obama Presidency.
And of course, we should refer to the support Hillary enjoys from Obama and Bernie Sanders. As far as the first political personality is concerned, it has become well-known the “I’m with her” slogan, which exerts a significant influence onto people who are in favor of Obama and those who remain undecided, but still they were satisfied from the Obama policy.
Therefore, a support like this can attract a variety of voters that otherwise would stay at home. We could name this strategy as part of the “Get out the vote” tactic. Concerning the latter political personality, Bernie Sanders, it is Hillary’s choice to openly state in favor of him in spite of being rival in the past. In this way it is not only the unity of the party with is maintained through the partial adoption of Sander’s programmatic statements (fight against income inequality, gradual elimination of future sponsorship during the campaign), but also the amount of Sander’s supporters, which are gained.
In the camp of the Republicans, Trump personifies the businessman with ‘clean hands’, and until recently did not actively engage in politics, although he tried several times in the past to engage (dating back to 1988, when he tried to take positions corresponding to the position of vice president in the George Bush government). Radicalization was from the first moment the very special element that he had to present to the public and that is why he got so quickly popular. Some people say negative advertisement finally leads to the exact opposite, so this idea could partly explain his popularity in the American society. His arrogant, authoritarian and controversial speech attracted very quickly the attention of social media, in which he actually wanted to enter.
We should also keep in mind that Trump spent at the beginning only a modest amount on advertising- $10 million through February 2016- but his campaign strategy was so well organized that we could finally say that one or the other way he took control of the media coverage and attention. From that perspective, it is undoubtedly a very successful involvement in the media world that Trump has achieved. Concerning his target groups, blue-collar voters, as well as uneducated people tend to be his most passionate supporters, the vast majority of which state in favor of his anti-immigration rhetoric and border security plans. Following the strategy of triangulation, he adopts a political program moved to the ” center ” to attract voters with low political preferences and non-politicized, who are pinning their hopes on the ” new ”. Specifically, the temporary closure of borders, the positive attitude towards Hispanics, and the recruitment of women to senior positions, with respect to the campaign design, form part of this strategy. “Make America great again” is what he states.
Trump, because of his conservative views, motivates and attracts the Romance population and Christians Protestants (who are 55% and 89% of the population, respectively). Therefore, the election result seems to penetrate the ethnic and the religious factor. However, according to the latest developments regarding Hurricane Mathew recently erupted in Florida, added to them and the factor of effective management and crisis response. Nevertheless, Florida falls in the category of «swing states», which increases strategic interest around this state. Sometimes racistic, some other times misogynic comments and some other times his own, pure populism have contributed to his high-rate preference Americans express for him. Historically, in times of crisis- as the US could be characterized as being in a tough situation- politicians with very strong, touching-the-edges ideological position tend to get even broader acceptance by the worried public. And this is a situation, of which Trump has taken advantage.
How could someone oversee his exaggerate proposals focused on the creation of a Mexico-US wall at Mexican expense, the immediate deportation of all the illegal immigrants, the banning of Muslims entering the US because they are “potential terrorists”? His so-called “extreme” positions initially upset public opinion and highlighted the marginal lead of Hillary in the polls. At the same time, the suspicion of non-steady state of health of Hillary, which fits strategically in the degradation of political opponents by the attack on candidate issues (attack on staff), was convenient enough to attract voters from the ranks of the Democrats. The suspected unstable health shall immediately, in the minds of citizens, lead to general weakness and leading incapacity.
Victory seems to be really controversial and everyone is expecting the final outcome. Until then, let’s wish the best for the US, let’s wish the best for the world.
Master in Political Marketing