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Politics Is Entertainment

A number of years ago, I attempted to run for the US Congress against a Republican who had been there for a long time (and is still there today). My plan was to take advantage of the situation in which no one wanted to run against this Congressman and use it to test out some ideas I had about politics. Some of those ideas would be silly and some would be serious. The point was to mock the current political system and to use my opponent’s strengths against him. Last night, my good friend Shaun sent me a video from the Rachel Maddow Show which pointed out that Herman Cain is using at least some similar type methods/themes in his campaign.

Political campaigns are entertainment. The goal is to get people’s attention and to excite them into supporting you, donating money to you, and voting for you. However, most political campaigns are pretty standard and don’t really stand out. If they don’t stand out, they aren’t entertaining. If they aren’t entertaining, then they aren’t getting anyone’s attention. If they don’t get people’s attention, they aren’t exciting people to support, donate, and vote for the candidate.

Obama won the Presidential election in 2008 in large part because of his entertainment factor. He had cool posters and entertaining speeches, an interesting logo, and an exciting message of hope and change (which he has yet to deliver on).

Unfortunately, I was not able to make it to the general election because I didn’t have an experienced team behind me and the head of one of the county parties found a primary opponent to run against me which sucked all of my resources away. For the record, she has now lost the race three times because she ran boring campaigns that were politics as usual against an entrenched Republican in a largely Republican district. But don’t get me wrong, in certain situation there is nothing wrong with a boring campaign. If the district is a tightly contested race, it is better to be boring than to test out something that might not work and loss the entire district for a long time to come.

Herman Cain however is in the lead in the Republican primary because he is entertaining. Now it is true that he may even be a joke, but that only makes him more entertaining. In a general election, Obama may have a serious problem against Cain. Cain is more entertaining and people are skeptical about Obama’s messaging. In any case, here is the Rachel Maddow clip:

PS Tomorrow is Election Day, so I will be at the polls all day… or at the hospital if my wife decides to give birth. Either way, there won’t be a Dangerous Talk blog tomorrow. Don’t forget to vote even if it is for “None of the above” or to just write-in “Occupied!”

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