Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis infamous tank picture …
… or incumbent President George HW Bush checking his watch in this 1992 debate while Ross Perot and Bill Clinton had been coached to look interested, but relaxed.
Trivia question: Where was the 1992 debate held in which Bush checked his watch? Be specific.
Political lessons for pols? Don’t wear hats or watches.
Basically, anything you do or say can be held against you in the court of public opinion. Suck it up, buttercup…
Given all the various/constant sources of information these days, we ALL don’t see the same images or absorb the same news. Back in the day, it was ABC, CBS, NBC, and maybe PBS. Newspapers were widely read and editorial boards respected.
They changed public opinion and it was far less partisan than it is today.
SO how do political candidates communicate these days? Well, first and foremost to keep their base agitated. The first step in any election, in our binary construct, is qualifying for the ballot and that means … winning the nomination.
If you aren’t on the general election ballot, you cannot get elected. Yes, you can still run a write in campaign a la U.S. Senate bids by Lisa Murkowski in 2010 or Winsome Earle-Sears in 2018, but they are very far and few between. Murkowksi won, Earle-Sears not so much.
At this stage of the election cycle, if you see things in the media that are intentionally arranged, scripted, and delivered – it’s for a reason. If it makes you mad, it is usually designed either to motivate you to vote and always based on very specific polling data.
Here’s the recent Harvard/Harris poll  on the top two concerns of this election:
Here’s that issue set break down according to Harvard Harris among the two main parties:
Why did Joe Biden give the speech in Philadelphia? MAGA Republicans are the #2 issue among Democrats. Why are Governor Abbot and DeSantis transporting illegal immigrants to other localities? Base moves for ‘22 and maybe ‘24.
So … Democrats need to turn Registered Voters (RVs) into Likely Voters (LVs) per Real Clear Politics and Republicans need to get their base to show up. #Advantage GOP
Dems are going after their base to turnout because their own polls show the same softness and look at what Independents thought of the Philly speech:
Watch to see if Democrats make much use out of the Student Debt Relief plan by Biden. Polling suggests that this will not be a closing argument per Harvard/Harris:
That plan is a Net Negative with those Strongly Supporting (22) v. Strongly Opposing (31) or -9. No wonder some Democratic candidates immediately came out against it.
With Biden’s numbers seeming to have stalled a bit after Labor Day, Democrats are going to need a strong closing argument. Their VERY good summer vacation from negative polling looks more and more to have been fueled by lower fuel prices …
… and the recent bad inflation numbers will no doubt be pounced on by the Republicans in order to get some of these Independents who don’t appear to be enthusiastic about the “Inflation Reduction Act” (-10) with Indies per Harvard/Harris:
Here are the top issues you are likely to hear about in the next 7 weeks and 3.5 days until Election Day – early voting notwithstanding.
IF the Q3 GDP numbers show a third consecutive quarter of negative growth, the GOP will likely see much better Election Results in November than was being suggested in August polling.
Timing is everything in this business and pictures like this are set up for a reason – to motivate. This one was aimed at the Democratic base.
Which begs the question: Have you seen Donald Trump lately? Think you’re going to over the next 7 weeks? If he didn’t take this Biden bait it means The Donald might just be following the polling and that he’s running in ‘24.
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