Competition in Political Campaigns
by Ron Kurtus (8 December 2016)
A political campaign for public office is typically a form of competition where each candidate tries to show the judging public that he or she is the best choice for the job.
Typically, the campaign is a type of performance competition where the candidates give speeches and advertise their capabilities. In some occasions, a run for office turns into a head-to-head competition, where candidates are not only on the offensive but also try to deflect or dispute arguments of the opponent. This is usually done in a debate.
Sometimes underhanded tactics are used to try to disrupt the opponent's plans or activities.
Questions you may have include:
- What are examples of performance tactics in a campaign?
- What are examples of head-to-head tactics in a campaign?
- What are examples of underhanded tactics?
This lesson will answer those questions.
In a performance competition, judges determine the winner. In a campaign for a political office, the judges are the voting public.
Typically, each candidate will present his or her views and give promises of what will happen if elected. This is usually done in speeches and in advertisements. Seldom do candidates mention the opponents.
Many elections include debates between candidates. In this way, each can present his or her views, as well as to repudiate the views of the opponent.
But also during the campaign, each may keep an eye on what the opponent is doing or saying, so as to counter or respond to the view.
Being on the offensive in a political campaign means to advertise views and benefits to the public and perhaps comparing with the opponent's views. Being on the defensive includes trying to deflect criticisms from the opponent.
Underhanded campaigning includes trying to sabotage the opponent's efforts, slandering the opponent, and other such actions.
In the 1972 U.S presidential campaign, members of President Richard Nixon's campaign staff illegally broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate complex as a way to get information on their strategies. Although Nixon won the election but was later removed from office, because of these activities.
In the 2016 U.S presidential campaign, Donald Trump insulted his opponents as a way to win the Republican primaries. He then insulted and spread rumors about opponent Hillary Clinton to not only try to win the presidency but to basically destroy her reputation. Trump was successful in his tactics.
Underhanded campaigning can be successful, but it also exposes flaws in the character of the candidate.
In a political campaign for public office, each candidate tries to show the judging public that he or she is the best choice for the job.
Typically, the campaign is a type of performance competition where the candidates give speeches and advertise their capabilities. In some occasions, a run for office turns into a head-to-head competition, where candidates try to deflect or dispute arguments of the opponent, as in a debate. Sometimes underhanded tactics are used to try to disrupt the opponent's plans or activities.
Vote for the best person
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Competition in Political Campaigns