Presidential Campaign Primer

Steve Fisher16. listopadu 2012 • 06:00


Last week I wrote about the presidential election in my country, so this week let's talk about yours.


First of all, welcome to the world of direct presidential elections, in which you, the people, will now choose your head of state all by yourselves, rather than having him (or her) chosen for you by your members of Parliament.


That seems like a good idea. It's a little more complicated to buy the votes of 3,000,000 voters than it is of 101 MPs. You'd really have to go to the ATM a lot.


Czech voters already have more than 20 years of experience in choosing their democratically elected leaders. So, the question that's most likely on your minds now is: How long will it be before it becomes clear that our new president – who seemed like a terrific guy when we voted for him – is in reality an incompetent nincompoop and/or megalomaniacal bastard who is rapidly leading the country towards irreversible economic and social ruin?


Hey, don't be so pessimistic, people!


Okay, admittedly, the answer to that question is probably two to three weeks after the election. But, what a joyous and exciting two to three weeks those will be – full of great hopes and expectations, similar to the hopes and expectations everyone had for the Czech Republic's first elected government, until it turned out that its ruling party had a secret Swiss bank account and a political campaign funded by contributors who turned out to be dead.


But never mind that. You got rid of those bad guys. Why, I can't even remember who the head of that disappointing first Czech government was. I think it was some guy named Klaus. I wonder whatever happened to him.


Anyway, the point is that you already know what you're doing when it comes to voting. The same cannot be said, however, for the would-be candidates for the first direct Czech presidential election. They've never done this before. So, perhaps I can be of assistance to them with some advice based on my many years of U.S. presidential campaign observation. Here are some basic rules:

It does not matter how big of a jerk you are, as long as you make your opponent look like a bigger jerk. Useful epithets for your opponent include: coward, sissy, traitor, appeaser, dreamer, lightweight, Muslim-lover, Jew-lover, Euro-lover, radical, drunk, moron, pervert, etc.

Promise the impossible. Everyone wants lower taxes, less government debt, and more and better public services. Promise them all of that! When your opponent calls your promises "unrealistic" during a debate, you call him "a defeatist who doesn't believe in our country's greatness and doesn't want it to succeed." It doesn't matter that it's not true! What matters is that you respected rule #1 above. Besides, by the time voters realize that your promises were impossible, you'll be happily retired at your villa in Tahiti.

If your opponent has ever changed his position on any issue, brand him as a "flip-flopper." Make a TV commercial about your opponent's changed positions, showing his face flipping back and forth, faster and faster, until the viewer wants to throw up. This is called subliminal advertising.

Constantly repeat your inspiring key messages. Prosperity, success, equal opportunity, reform, justice, building a solid foundation, securing our future, blah, blah, blah. You know the drill.

Spend what it takes to win! Your campaign will require vast sums of cash for TV, radio, print, internet, billboards, posters, flyers, video production, polling services, image consultants, transportation, accommodation, campaign staff, etc. Who do you think is going to give all that money to you? Average citizens? No, it's time for you to meet your new best friends and most ardent supporters – the rich! They look so good, and dress so well, and throw great fund-raising parties. And all they ask for in return is your complete and total loyalty to their interests. It's touching, really.


Finally, back to you, voters. Remember that, while your single vote may seem insignificant, so is everyone else's. Thus, although your individual participation in this presidential election doesn't really matter, at the same time it's extremely important. If that seems confusing, then it's clear that your mind is working well.


So, by all means, go vote. It's your responsibility as a citizen. And if you think that there's no one worth voting for, that all politicians are either corrupt or incompetent… well, okay, maybe you have a point. But don't give up. There really are some honest, decent and intelligent potential leaders out there.


The only problem is that, by "out there", I of course mean in Sweden.

Klíčová slova: rxrx, stevefisher

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