Presidential Campaign Ads Of 1968, 1984 And 1996: The Evolution Of Campaigns

1279 words - 5 pages

During the presidential campaigns of 1968, 1984 and 1996, democrat campaign themes have become increasingly simplistic giving rise to the importance of image. In 1968, a great deal of time and energy is given to the various issues from Social Security, Medicare and family values. In the 1984 campaign the primary focus was to attack Reagan's deficit spending. In 1996 the democratic campaign no longer emphasized issues, instead they used big flashy figures and dramatized the image of the President. Over time, the roles of presidential candidates have become increasingly centered on what the public perceives their characters to be and less on the actual issues.In 1968, the democratic candidate Hubert Humphrey ran against RepublicanCandidate Richard Nixon. Much of the strategy behind Humphrey's ad campaign revolved around building a sense that he could be trusted and displaying Humphrey's extensive knowledge on the issues. In nearly half the campaign ads we see Hubert Humphrey talking to Americans about issues like family values and other domestic policies. Throughout the campaign, Humphrey is visible to audiences, which becomes increasingly rare in future democratic candidates. In what appears to be a Question and Answer forum, in "Law and Order," the announcer poses a direct question asking how Humphrey will gain the trust of Americans. Humphrey's response attacks Nixon and then explains his own stance on fighting poverty and crime. We see Humphrey sharing with the audience his own personal opinion on a domestic issue. However, throughout Humphrey's campaign ads he was careful not to boast about his successes because of the unpopular Johnson Administration. Therefore it was important that Humphrey's ads separate him from the Johnson administration, which had been marred by the Vietnam quagmire, and try to gain the trust of Americans.On foreign policy issues, the "Bomb (Nuclear Treaty)" ad shows a nuclear explosion with the narration that 80countries have already signed a UN treaty but Nixon has not. It then goes on to say that Humphrey supports the UN treaty to prevent other countries from obtaining the nuclear bomb. Once again, the ad reveals in clear language where Humphrey stands on a foreign policy issue. Humphrey is displaying his breadth of knowledge in foreign policy issues and therefore gaining the trust of concerned Americans. The overarching campaign theme, "Humphrey-Muskie, Two You Can Trust," portrayed Humphrey as a man committed to many of the issues that were facing the nation such as civil rights, education, social security, and foreign policy issues. Overall, the Humphrey campaign ads devote more airtime showing the presidential candidate and his knowledge of the issues than future presidential candidates.In Walter Mondale's 1984 campaign, we not only begin to see less and less of the presidential candidate but nearly all the ads concentrate on one issue, and that is attacking Reagan's deficit spending. It is in the 1984 election...

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