Will We Elect The Candidate Who Shouts the Loudest?

I read an utterly self-serving byliner by a guy who said that "executing [presidential] campaigns in real time is crucial. The ability to buy and distribute advertising in a matter of milliseconds opens opportunities for candidates to engage voters with the immediacy required for campaigns of this magnitude. Real-time bidding allows candidates [to] get in front of voters, almost instantaneously, with their point of view on the latest pressing topic."

I have a couple of issues with this concept:

1) I think that social media (instead of display advertising) does a better job of enabling candidates to "react" quickly to changing campaign momentum. At most, all they want (and get) is a national TV platform to dismiss the latest idiocy from Trump, or score a minor point that will evaporate within minutes anyway.

Think of it more as hashtag wars rather than campaigning. Candidates seem to react on an hourly basis to some perceived slight, or the chance to lob a stink bomb into the other camp. I don't see online advertising as the best way to do this.



2) The whole notion of "real time" reinforces the ADHD mindset that has developed around the proliferation of attention-demanding electronics devices. We are in constant movement — from social platforms to Web sites to texts and emails (remember them?) — in a frenetic attempt to keep up with what everyone else is talking about.  

Applied to campaigning, this only encourages candidates (who are professional sound-bite generators anyway) to further reduce their ideology to sentence fragments, at the expense of actually completing a thought so voters have SOME idea if candidates’ policies and plans stand even a chance of ever being implemented.

I don't think I have heard a complete sentence come out of The Donald's mouth — only proclamations that incite the less-educated to huzzah in agreement of something that will never happen in the real world.

And while some of the other candidates can at least speak in complete sentences, they tend to throw out sound bites that, once scrutinized, don't hold much promise as real-world policy.

To me the idea of using programmatically driven, real-time advertising to reinforce these campaign exclamations doesn't add any value to the process of figuring out who to vote for among the sorry line-up of potential candidates for next Most Powerful Person in the World. You might argue that advertising in a good counterbalance to the sound bite/hashtag frenzy, providing more space to articulate real policy, but good luck getting anyone to read a long-form ad (in any medium these days).

It is disheartening to see that most of what our candidates say qualifies as "pants on fire" exaggerations or outright lies. The real tragedy will be if the American electorate puts someone in office based on tempestuous exclamations that will never translate into effective policy.

1 comment about "Will We Elect The Candidate Who Shouts the Loudest?".
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  1. Don Mitchell from Freelance Media Professional, April 21, 2016 at 4:11 p.m.

    Mark Twain defined a patriot as "The person who can holler loudest without knowing what they are hollering about." By that measure, both the candidates and the media are exceptionally patriotic. 

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