Targeted Marketing and Long Campaigns

In her article targeted marketing, Keya Dannenbaum addresses how political campaigns continue to evolve and use new technologies. From television to social media and targeted advertising, the ways politicians are trying to communicate with potential voters continue to expand. However, As Dannenbaum highlights, while micro-targeting political messages can appeal to specific groups, the politician faces a serious problem with meeting everyone’s expectations once in office. This is one example of how being good at campaigning does not necessarily translate into any real skill at governing.

Neil Irwin looks at political campaigns from a different perspective, describing campaigns as one long hiring process. His opinion of this form of candidate evaluation is generally positive, but he does not address the problems of promising different things to different people (as addresses by Dannenbaum), or the downsides to the fundraising machine that is a presidential election campaign.

My point is not that either author is right or wrong–both make good arguments from where they are standing–but rather that, when it comes to our current campaign system, there are plenty of good and bad sides. Depending on which aspect of campaigns you are examining, your evaluations will look wildly different. But maybe that is part of the problem.

Going back to our discussion on presidential mandates, I think the layers of campaigns in a sense make it too difficult for the elected officials to discern why people chose to vote for them. If this is the case, taking the advise of Gary Gutting, and voting purely based on party might not be such a bad idea.



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