Presidential Candidates Media Efforts
Senator John McCain, a Republican from Arizona, has had a long and distinguished career in both the military and in politics. A United States Naval Pilot and Captain who received the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, and Purple Heart, McCain then moved onto the House of Representatives and Senate (“Biographical Data for John S. McCain”). In April of 1999, McCain announced his candidacy for President, stating his mission to “restore integrity into the office, reform government, and renew the American dream”(“The John McCain Story”). Senator McCain’s platform is “classic GOP conservatism…a strong defense, less government regulation, tax reductions, local oversight of education…”(“The Issue: Senator John McCain “). McCain has endeavored to fulfill his dream by creating a web site devoted to his campaign, giving numerous speeches, running many television ads and appearing on various television programs. An integral part of his campaign has been to reach the less reliable, harder to attract youth vote.
America’s youth today is disenchanted with the political system. Two-thirds of young Americans don’t vote, primarily because they don’t feel candidates are addressing issues important to them (Cox, Finklestein). According to a Youth Survey conducted by Project Vote Smart, voters aged 18-24 think school shootings and kids with guns, crime and violence, poverty and unemployment, corrupt government and illicit drug sales are the five most important problems facing America today (“General Population”). Meanwhile, candidates spend the majority of time discussing issues such as Social Security, taxes and abortion, which are not of as much concern to young voters.
John McCain has actively sought out 18-24 year olds, the group collectively known as “Generation Y.” The Arizona Senator reached out to young voters with a message of personal honesty and government reform, drawing large crowds on college campuses in New Hampshire and South Carolina (Sullivan, “McCain Gets”). McCain has addressed some of the issues that concern America’s youth today. The Senator does not support gun bans but does promote “effective measures that keep firearms out of the hands of criminals, children, and the mentally incompetent”(Cox, Finklestein). Corruption in government, particularly the role that money plays in politics, is a main issue of McCain’s campaign and is being addressed through his strategy to ameliorate campaign finance. McCain has led the fight in Congress to reform campaign finance, especially “soft” money contributions which are large donations to national parties from individuals, corporations and labor unions that are not susceptible to regulation. McCain, along with Democratic candidate Bill Bradley, is credited as being the first to discuss reforming the campaign finance system (Cox, Finklestein).
In the Youth Survey conducted by Project Vote Smart, respondents aged 18-24 chose the World Wide Web...