Social Media & Presidential Campaigning

by Cathy Nirschl on March 31, 2016

As the years tick away and technology evolves, it has molded and changed presidential elections. In the 30’s and 40’s FDR held “Fireside chats” via radio, giving ‘We the People’ a chance to really hear what the President and candidates were like as real people. Television has long been given credit for giving rise to the image based side of modern politics. The 1960 televised debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon changed the way people viewed the candidates. Those who watched thought Nixon looked ill and Kennedy’s good looks and demeanor they deemed him the winner of the debate. Those who listened via the radio said they thought Nixon was the winner.

The ability to hear and see what the candidates are like, as people, has been revolutionary to presidential races. Now in 21st there is unprecedented access to candidates, in 2008 the soon to be President Obama gave a speech that was viewed more than 7 million times on YouTube. The Candidates have and can give 24 hour access to the public to talk about issues.

social media presidentialWith Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube all accessible in the palm of our hands, we are inundated with our political candidates. The difficult step our society faces is determining what is truth and what is fiction. Just because Donald Trump says it on Twitter doesn’t make it true. On the same note, just because you saw a story about Hillary Clinton’s policies on Fox News doesn’t make it entirely true either.

News media today is especially conflict and fear driven. If it’s without drama or unlikely to stir up a heated debate drawing viewers or readers, than it doesn’t get published or aired. Long gone are the days when someone should believe that all journalists are writing a story to inform the public instead of pushing their ideologies and agendas.

Does the voting public take the time to inform themselves of candidates position these days? Social media platforms have brought us closer together and in many ways drives us apart as a society. Sure the ability to access all the information that has been published regarding a candidate is out there, how many people seek it out and form their decision based on those facts? How many form their decision based on tweets, bits of the televised debates they caught while trying to get their kids to sleep and shared Huff Post compilations of quotes from a potential candidate? Good or bad, true and false information is brought to our attention every day through social media channels.

With this world of information literally at our fingertips, in the coming months as the candidates are determined and the “real” campaigns begin, I encourage, hope, beg that you take time to use the technology we’ve created and use constantly, do actual research. Don’t forget to research members of Congress and Senators running for election , after all in Article II of our Constitution it’s written that the President’s job is to implement and enforce the laws made by Congress. With 34 of the 100 Senate seats up for election this year Control of the Senate is at stake. Learn about your choices so you can make an informed, educated vote when you step into the polls November 4, 2016. Check out these sites for help in your decisions.

https://ballotpedia.org/United_States_Congress_elections,_2016

http://presidential-candidates.insidegov.com

https://www.whitehouse.gov

Albert Einstein once said, ““The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”

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