Some Insights into Electoral Campaigning in the Age of Trump and Beyond

Some Insights into Electoral Campaigning in the Age of Trump and Beyond

By A Wuffle, University of California, Irvine

Political contestation is treated by many economists as the choice by voters between two competing platforms, with voters choosing the platform to which they are closest and candidates/parties seeking to offer a platform that will appeal to the pivotal voter. In one-dimensional competition, the pivotal voter is the voter who holds the median position on that dimension. We propose a quite different view of what elections in the 21st century are all about. We argue that the struggle between conservatives and liberals and between Republicans and Democrats has become a “holy war”— perceived by both sides as a war for the soul of America.  In that struggle, the first casualty of that war is “truth”  and the second casualty is restraints on the lengths it is appropriate to go in order to win. Politics is no longer just about elections, the holy war is fought on many battlefields, especially across different media platforms: before, during and after the actual election,  with both pre-and post-election conflicts coming in the form of election litigation and post-elections battles hinging on claims about who really won, with accusations of vote fraud being weaponized even before the election takes place.

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