With a Handshake and a Smile: The Human Aspect of Political Campaigns

Pundits, news anchors and John Centipede Citizen, to borrow a phrase, will all tell you that this is an historic election year for a variety of reasons. For the second time, a presidential nominee has selected a woman as his running mate. We, the voting public, came very close to nominating the first female candidate for president of the United States, and we did nominate the first African American to be the presidential candidate from a major political party. Meanwhile, our military continues to fight two wars abroad, and we are wading through some of the worst economic times since the early 80s and potentially since the Great Depression. This election will chart our course for the next century. If the challenges posed by current issues did not suffice as complications to the election process, consider the mechanics of conducting a campaign. On the one hand, you have people that are intensely motivated by particular issues or candidates, and they want to fight for those issues and support those candidates. Then, on the other hand, you have a somewhat complicated apparatus for capturing and weighing political sentiment. The public reacts to images of Barack Obama or John McCain at their political conventions by saying, “Well, they obviously have the support of their party.” But for these two candidates to reach their party conventions, they depend upon the tireless efforts...

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