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A common theme among successful advertisements was those that had the candidate interacting and speaking in public. Lots of commercials that are demeaning towards the flaws of the opposite party give of a negative vibe whereas commercials as these come off as positive. Nominees do not go wrong with political negativity; they simply go wrong when they neglect positivity in general. Take for instance the successful campaigns that were made by former presidents like James Carter, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. Each of these leaders encompassed great charisma and was shown delivering speeches to their many supporters. In my opinion, the alacrity of these commercials draws attention to undecided voters, or even decided voters. It gives encouragement to vote for the party of that candidate or it reassures them that their decision is right. In his 1976 campaign, Jimmy Carter made an advertisement that strictly focused on his personal life in relation to his goal for presidency. I believe this displayed more of an emotional attachment that Carter had running for president. A good president is not someone who just makes the best possible executive decisions, but who takes pride and care in their work. A few decades later, with the campaign slogan, “Building a bride to the twenty-first century”, Bill Clinton put one of the most effective campaigns together. He along with his running mate, Al Gore, were both shown in an add talking to the political supports, smiling and in a cheerful manner. Although I value a president who handles national situations maturely and seriously, so too do I value someone who can enjoy being in the presence of people.
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In contrast, the some runner-ups in presidential elections suffer due to a lack of information. In my opinion, advertisements are unsuccessful when the candidate simply states what they will change but not how they will do it. Preaching necessary reforms does not always cut it. Voters whom use the political commercials to influence his or her opinion want more of an effect. By this statement, I mean they desire to know how this reform that will benefit them will be improved. For instance, in the 1996 election, republican candidate Robert Dole failed to capture many votes simply off of his political advertisements. He exclaimed how he would recover all of the debt Clinton had put the nation into in his previous term. Dole would craft statements such as “I will cut taxes and I will fix the hole Clinton has left us in.” The issue I found with this is he would just stop there. There would be no evidence to back up his statements, no statistical evidence or ideology. He never demonstrated this to the public even if he did have specific plans to cure the reoccurring problems America had. Personally, when a candidate fails to support his promises with evidence of how he is planning to reform it, I lose trust in them. Another candidate who performed similarly in his advertisements was Michael Dukakis in 1988. Dukakis’ ads lacked any personal image of himself. His ads consisted of a statement about what he would; that is why you should vote for him. On top of a lack of any supporting information, he truly never spoke himself in the ads. Although I do understand there are certain tactics used when others are speaking about the candidate, for me, I want the actual nominee himself speaking to me occasionally. No positive personality was developed of him in the ads. The messages that were delivered were also absent in diversity. They all fell along the same lines.
In general, from my research on presidential campaigns, I believe political commercials have an effect on the elections. Not every registered voter has decided whom they want for president because it is always so hard and complex to choose. People who participate in prospective voting look at the candidates and make their decision on who has similar viewpoints on certain issues. These advertisements may aid them in choosing who they feel is the superior candidate for their standards. While campaign commercials are known to not affect some voter’s decisions, they obviously have contributed to the victory of some candidates.