HOW TO WIN A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
By Richard Nathan
A PROFESSOR on the history of U.S. Presidential Elections addresses his class.
Today, class, we will discuss how to win a U.S.
Presidential Election. Many people believe
these elections are decided based on the
issues - but nothing could be further from the
truth. Issues - tissues!!! Yes, there are many
Americans who do care about issues. Guess
what? They don't decide elections!!! The
people who decide elections are the swing voters,
and they don't give a damn about issues. If they
cared about issues, they wouldn't be swing voters.
What these people care about is who seems like a
nice guy, who seems warm and friendly and folksy.
And the swing voters hate intellectuals worse than
anything. I will demonstrate. Eisenhower was more
folksy than Stevenson. And Stevenson was an intellectual.
Goodbye to Stevenson. You may think Kennedy was
an intellectual, but he said his favorite author was
Ian Fleming, who wrote the James Bond novels.
Kennedy went to Harvard, but he was about as
intellectual as Frank Sinatra. And Kennedy was
much more warm and friendly than Nixon. LBJ
was very folksy in a Texas sort of way, and Goldwater
by comparison was an intellectual, with those nerdy
glasses of his. Without the nerdy glasses, Goldwater
might have been President! Nixon wasn't warm or
friendly, but he seemed so compared with Hubert
Humphrey, who reminded everyone of the fat kid
who the bullies used to beat up at school.
And McGovern was another intellectual. Jimmy
Carter was much folksier than Ford, but Carter
wasn't folksier than Reagan. No one was folksier
than Reagan. A Norman Rockwell painting wasn't
folksier than Reagan. Mondale never had a chance.
Neither George Herbert Walker Bush nor
Michael Dukakis was the slightest bit warm, folksy
or friendly, but Regan was so folksy that enough
rubbed off on Bush to get him elected for one term.
Stop and think about that for a moment. Do you
realize how folksy Reagan must have been for ANY
of it to rub off on George H. W. Bush. Clinton .
was almost as folksy as Regan. Bye bye to Bush
and bye bye to Dole. In 2000, we had a tie.
That's because Bush was folksier than Gore, but Gore
was warmer than Bush, and Clinton was so folksy, a
little bit rubbed off on Gore, but not enough. If
Clinton had been as folksy as Reagan, Gore would
been President. In 2004, Kerry seemed like an intellectual.
Intellectuals never have a chance. If you are an
intellectual, don't waste your time running for
President. Next time around, if the parties are
smart, they won't have political conventions.
They'll forget all about issues. They'll hire a casting
director from Hollywood to find someone who
seems warm, folksy and friendly - AND NOT
© 2004 by Richard Nathan. All rights reserved
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