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The Race

Uploaded by Escada on Aug 13, 2001

If politics is the application of influence and authority then an election is the application of that influence to win the vote of the citizens. Many things from finances to current civic topics and from political background to political denomination determine the outcome and/or circumstances of elections, but the most influential election tool is, and has been, the media. The use and misuse of the media, political advertisements and televised debates has been known to win or lose an election. In the late 1990’s Patrick Kennedy decided to run for the House of Representatives, in Congress. After winning the primary, Kennedy would have only one opponent, Dr. Kevin Vigilante. At 39 years old Vigilante had an excellent background that included John Hopkins University and dozens of medical clinics. At 28 years old Patrick Kennedy was a typical political Kennedy with the drive to carry on the family legacy of public service. The media embraced this Kennedy-mania and Patrick Kennedy won the election 54-56, only 8 percentage points ahead. Kennedy won the election with money and influence in his left pocket and bulging out of his right pocket was the media. At first glance of this election it would seem as though Kennedy won because of name and money. At second glance that is not the complete story. Kennedy won the election through correct use of the media, through negative campaign ads and political influence.

For Vigilante, fundraising for the campaign started with spending 500 hours on the phone and raising a commendable $150,000. Kennedy, on the other hand was not on the phone, he was planning fundraising events, events that would win him media attention, and the citizens approval. Kennedy brought in family members such as Caroline Kennedy, John F. Kennedy Jr., and Hollywood icons such as Tony Bennett. In the end, the fundraising totals were close, Kennedy $1 million and Vigilante $800,000. The fact was, the media had embraced Patrick Kennedy with spotlights, interviews and editorials and the citizens embraced Kennedy because he had the influence to “bring home the bacon.”

During the campaign Kennedy furthered his use of the media through negative advertising. Kennedy launched several ad campaigns the attacked Vigilante on several subjects ranging from only voting 4 times in 20 years and exaggerating an insurance claim on an automobile accident. Holding a news conference, Vigilante proceeded to ask Kennedy to pull the negative ads. Sadly for...

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Uploaded by:   Escada

Date:   08/13/2001

Category:   Politics

Length:   3 pages (648 words)

Views:   2032

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