Then and Now: Change of Vote

Heather Choi, Staff Writer

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“Time flies when you having fun,” people say. Yes, they are right. Time flies really fast—before you know what hit you, next thing you know, you feel like whatever it was happened just yesterday. For real. Period. But, as time flies, how something changes during that time really matters. No matter what. It’s like you are unlocking the doors to the future. Of course, there were some changes within that time, such as fashion, technology, and so much more. What some people don’t even realize is that the presidential campaign is part of that evolution.

Voting is important during the presidential campaign. It is the way of electing the person we could rely on and trust for the next eight years, and it is the way of supporting our choice parties and our country for the greater good to come. Since “every vote counts,” there were a lot of ways the candidates had attracted their followers. When you look back to the old days—way back to the 18th-19th century—the presidential campaign was completely different from today. For instance, these early candidates weren’t as outspoken as they are today. They stayed home, rather than making a public scene. This practice was commonly used at that time because candidates wanted to prove to the people that they were not power hungry leaders; that they were instead modest candidates. More interestingly, they weren’t allowed to fight on their own behalf, and criticizing their opponent in front of the crowds was totally unacceptable. Additionally, the faces of the candidates were put onto sewing boxes and campaign buttons. These buttons were not the plastic buttons or badges we use today. They were actually made out of real tin or enamel. Other campaign objects were used, as well. Mirrors, ceramic tiles, etc. were among the products used to advertise the candidates. Now, zooming over to the 20th century. This was the time when technological inventions and media were heavily used by political candidates. For example, in the 1910s-1920s was the newspaper. Back then, newspaper articles were an effective and quick way to know how the world was doing. The 1930s-1940s were more all about the radio. During The Great Depression, FDR had used the radio for his “Fireside Chats.” The 1950s-1960s were when televisions had become an efficient tool for the presidential elections. Before his 1968 election, President Richard Nixon had used television for his political campaign when he was campaigning against Hubert Humphrey. Since the 1970s, campaigns and elections have been viewed on cable news.

However, since the late 20th century, American politicians have had computers and electronic devices to use for their platforms. Since computers and electronic devices have developed, social media and other apps have also come to be used in campaigns. YouTube and Twitter are two examples of apps that have been utilized in more recent years for political awareness and campaigning. Even though today’s campaign still uses tactics and tools from throughout history (things such as scandal, propaganda, and political cartoons), social media and apps are more recent ways of deciding what candidate to vote for. In the 2008 election, President Barack Obama used Youtube as part of his political campaign. On the other hand, the 2016 election was really interesting. During Donald Trump’s and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns, they used their political slogans and their faces to make merchandise: mugs, t- shirts, pens, caps, and miniature dolls. Plus, they used more ads for T.V., computers, and other devices. Both of them also visited other places to make themselves seem credible. They even donated to charity. These acts are supposed to make the people see them as trustworthy leaders that they could count on. Lastly (and very publicly), both of them used social media (notoriously) for their campaigns. Social media has the power of taking over the political world. Because of social media, more people were engaged with their candidates. Social media has the power to influence the people to vote for the candidate they view in the most positive light, and/or agree with the most.

The 2016 election had become one of the most intense, longest, and toughest elections that America has ever witnessed. What made it more fascinating was the way the candidates ran their campaign; they depended heavily on the internet and social media, and in the end, this may have been why the election ultimately ended the way it did. Times really have changed.