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The Personality Traits And Private Lives Of Politicians Should Have No Bearing In Democratic Political Discourse

1539 words - 7 pages

Social media can also be used as a method to appear more connected to the citizens and as a platform to share personal images from the private lives of politicians. This has been a rather successful approach as many politicians have taken to using social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. An example of this is Barack Obama’s most retweeted Twitter post, that contained a photograph of the President and the First Lady in a warm embrace with the caption ‘four more years’. This photo was successful in portraying the presidents personal life - his loving relationship with his wife - and positive personality traits (Harding, 2012, The Guardian). This helped to show Barack Obama as the right leader for the country for the next four years. It also made the citizens feel involved in a personal moment in the presidents life, through social media. This was really effective as the whole campaign was relied heavily on social media to connect with the voters. These methods of presenting ones private life in the media should not be excluded from political discourse as it helps to show the electorate more and help them feel more connected to the politicians.

Lee, (2013) states, in Britain “...the area of political debate has become smaller and parties have become more similar, certainly in the area of policy” (Lee, 2013:281). The lack of differences between political parties may make it harder for the citizens to decide who to vote for. The increased attention on the personality traits and personal lives of politician may be an alternative method for the electorate to decide who to vote for. Kuhn, (2004) mentions that the personal qualities of politicians can help citizens distinguish candidates when the there is little difference between the political parties. Candidates can then use their charm to engage the voters for votes. Even though the personality traits of a politician is not the only thing that wins votes, this can be used as an unorthodox approach for engaging voters into political discussion as voters are becoming less interested in politics. This can lead to an increased interest and increased political knowledge even if it is through passive learning. Therefore, even though there are more important aspects of political life that can engage citizens. However due to the lack of differences between the major political parties being observed in many democracies, the personalisation of politics can help engage the those that may feel detached from their political identity.

This increase in the insight that the public has into the personal lives of politicians and the emphasis placed on leadership qualities and personality traits may not be such a negative thing for political discourse. As mentioned before, politicians who share more about their personal lives and decide to let the voters see the person behind the politician, have the advantage of using the ‘humanisation’ strategy and appearing like the citizens. This lets the citizens...

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