New Trends in Political Campaigns: Realness and Authenticity Wins Elections

Dr. Louis Perron
blog post louis

Donald Trump brought reality television to politics. The president’s “shithole” remark a few weeks ago is just the latest illustration for that. In the age of reality tv (or reality politics for that matter), voters are willing to forgive a lot. They forgive their leaders character flaws and they are willing to forgive policy disagreements if they feel that they are being given the real deal. That’s one thing Donald Trump has going for himself: Everybody feels that in front of the camera he acts and speaks more or less the same as behind the camera. As different as they may be in other aspects, I think the same is true for Jeremy Corbyn in Britain or Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines. In fact, during the 2016 presidential election in the Philippines, there was an important televised debate. What made the event very special was that one of the candidates was quarreling with the moderator behind the stage. Since the tv station was already broadcasting live, as a result, the viewers would just see the other candidates standing on the podium. For one hour, the entire country watched the presidential candidates just stand there and wait. It’s almost like a social experiment. Think about it: If we were to see our politicians just stand there for one hour not doing anything and not playing any role, we would all learn a whole lot about them. I think this was the first time when the hour before a debate decided the outcome of the election.

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