The process of running for the United States presidency is no easy task. Like in almost any relationship, attraction is the key to provide the foundation for anticipation and expectations. In the beginning, one will always place his best foot forward, and contemplating on addressing issues which would appeal dramatically to other people. Running for the presidency is no less than different with pursuing a girl to have a relationship with you. It all starts with making her pay attention to what you have to say and to what you can offer despite many competitors.
Barack Obama came across the attraction stage with flying colors because he seemed to have captured the attention of most population in the American community, across varying groups and minorities (Martin, 2008, p.1). For one, he appeared to come prepared for what is known as a great battle to get Democratic nomination against Senator Hillary Clinton who is one tough competitor. Obama lacks the experience, and can be said as less popular than Clinton who has established her prominence during the presidency of her husband. However, the appeal in Obama’s candidacy defers the idea that he was only elected as Senator in 2005, and a very young player in the realm of politics.
This paper aims to explore the political propaganda used by Obama to ensure his future in the White House. For the purpose of the paper, we shall examine the different types of media used by Obama to gain votes and preferences, the manner by which he delivers his agendas, his target audience and supporters, and how this greatly affects his stance in the race to get the democratic nomination. It is certain that the race between Obama and Clinton’s nomination is very tight, but we shall take the time to assess how Obama’s political propaganda has delivered expected results in his leads on major polls and surveys worldwide as Democrats most preferred candidate.
“Change we can believe in”
It is a fact that most Americans are demanding change from future politicians in running the country. Many circumstances and events has led Americans hopeful for change and has been the pivotal driving force behind many political agendas. Obama is no exception. By using the ideology of “change” as a campaign slogan, he ignites the hope among idealistic men and women around the country to believe in what he regards as change (Obama 2008: Change we Believe In, 2008).
Obama has a great advantage in speaking with eloquence and sensitivity, with emotions that has words fulfilled with hope and change, gives many people the self-identity they want to see change in the future administration, or in this case, in a democratic candidate for the presidency. This is a note worthy to be taken beforehand, so as to provide a basis on how we can assess Obama’s political propaganda.
Even before the decisive voting held on February 5, 2008, there has been a pronounced shift in favor for Obama of Illinois from opinion polls, surveys, campaign contributions and political and media endorsements (Martin, 2008, p.1). Obama, being a new player in the realm of politics used significant intervention from different political representatives to endorse his candidacy.
For example, when Senator Edward Kennedy expressed his fervent support for Obama, it has generated significant contribution in uplifting Obama’s candidacy. As many critics saw it, Kennedy’s endorsement has become a signal of the Democratic Party’s consensus on his candidacy. Following this influential event led to many mass media endorsements of the event including newspapers published in California, Los Angeles Times and La Opinion, which the most widely-read Spanish-language daily.
After Kennedy’s endorsement, opinion polls showed Obama in strict ties with Senator Clinton for the democratic nomination (Associated Press, 2008). The strategy used governs many political advisers view to gain majority of delegates from key states to secure victory, and Obama did it with just one major political and highly-publicized endorsement.
The appeal of Obama’s political propaganda can be deemed into two significant standpoints. First, the on-going deep desire for social and political change is strongly used by the Obama campaign to hub an illusion, and to foster great support from the idealist (martin, 2008, p. 1).
This s highlighted by the mass media by emphasizing that this change will come from someone from the African American community, a fundamentally groundbreaking event in American history if and when Obama wins as the first black President. However, Obama is not a clear product of any acts against racial oppression and civil rights struggles. He is a politician groomed to be of appeal to massive voters in the coming elections.
Obama’s political propaganda seeks to disengage and disassociate itself from the struggle of the elite and ruling class in running the country. More so, the critiques on Obama has seemingly less impacts because of a well-organized activities from the media who supports his candidacy and owes their respective professions to corporate bosses and financial institutions which have their own candidate as preferences. Even Obama’s appeal has penetrated the right-wing group with endorsements from Rupert Murdoch for example.
Also significant of the character of Obama’s political propaganda is the shift in campaign contributions from major business firms. More money means more capability in a candidate’s political machinery. Obama has been endorsed by different military institutions, then national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Warren Buffett, the second richest man in the United States. Other known mass media executives and corporate executives have also pledged significant amounts for Obama to continue his aspiration on the America presidency. Through continuous efforts from the Obama campaign wagon to instill their dedication towards real change, the Los Angeles Times broke their tradition of not endorsing any candidate with the promotion of Obama’s candidacy in their editorial (Martin, 2008, p.1 ).
As an observation, although generally the political propaganda of Obama is sufficient for him to gather and maintain support, it is also clear with biases to achieve voters support. For one, it sometimes resorts to Ad Hominem or the attack to his primary opposition and her arguments. In many cases, through debates and news reports, Obama responds to what Clinton offers on a negative tone.
Although at times he emphasized their differences, he also had made several points of their similarities obvious to other people. By using change as a promotional concept and advocacy of his candidacy, he often appeals to authority which uses an ideal which is popular amongst people and grant their support for the ideology he used. He also often uses the appeal to prejudice on many public conventions and speaking engagements to evoke the sense of emotional value and goodness to benefit his character.
The Obama campaign has utilized effective marketing campaign strategies which efficiently used their connections and endorsements form media outlets and institutions. For the most part, Obama is following a political propaganda which is embedded to deny political differences and social classes but with emphasis on the economic differences between individuals in the society.
The Obama political propaganda strongly used news reports, radio, television and posters. It specifically and strategically used these media to indoctrinate various groups of audiences he wished to communicate with and to. Usually through this media, Obama used a directional method on how people can learn about more of his strategies, goals and principles. Through these methods, he intends to initiate individuals as information seekers, to recipients, to reinforcement and opinion leader in favor of his own.
Associated Press (2008). “Obama comes up short on union support.” Hemscott Group Limited. Retrieved on March 24, 2008, from http://www.hemscott.com/news/latest-news/item.do?newsId=56416543358904
Martin, Patrick (2008). “US political establishment lines up behind Barack Obama.” International Committee on the Fourth International (ICFI). Retrieved on March 24, 2008, from http://www.wsws.org/articles/2008/feb2008/obam-f04.shtml
Obama for America (2008). “Obama 2008: Change we Believe In”. The Official Site of Obama’s Campaign. Retrieved on March 24, 2008, from http://www.barackobama.com/