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#PR: 2016 Presidential Campaigns Begin Now
By: Gerard E. Mayers
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On the heels of what some observers are terming an “historic” win for the Republican Party in both houses of the United States Congress, the stark reality is that the 2016 presidential campaigns begin… drumroll… now. Never mind that some potential candidates are saying they will wait until January to announce whether or not they will seek the nomination of their political party. The reality is… the 2016 election cycle has begun as of last night.
 
From a PR standpoint, what did last night prove to the Democrats as well as to the Republicans?
 
I spent some time today (November 5th) thinking about what Election Day means. Here is what I came up with and invite you to share your thoughts as well…
 
If you alienate your customer base, you do so at your peril.
To win in both 2008 and 2012, the Democratic Party built an impressive coalition including minorities, women, and others. This time around, because of what the Obama Administration has done (the various scandals on the Democratic Administration’s watch, the gridlock in the US Senate largely caused by the Majority Leader, etc.), many of the same voters who cast ballots for Team Obama went to the Republican side this time around. Many of those voters were independents who are not registered, “card carrying” members of either party. It was those independents who made the difference between victory and defeat for Republican challengers in many of the US Senate races.
 
If you are going to be successful in your campaign, you have to give your potential customers something worthwhile to get them to join you.
From what I recall hearing on the news media last night, many of the Republican challengers were able to offer reasonable and workable alternatives to get Washington functioning again as it should. The Democrats apparently offered nothing but negative, negative, negative about their opponents and failed to persuasively convince the electorate otherwise.
 
What works previously may not work the next time around.
Previous election cycles appeared to be dominated by negiative campaigning on both sides against each other. But this time, by and large, voters — including independent voters — were tired of all the negative mud slinging ads in the media. Perhaps this election cycle can show that issues do matter when it comes to casting ballots.
 
Issues do matter and connecting on a personal level with customers is where it’s at.
Enough said… I think this point is pretty obvious.
 
I would welcome thoughts and comments from my fellow flacks. If the election cycle just completed promises, as the GOP is now saying, to “shake up Washington” and the 2016 presidential cycle is now surely to heat up, what may we see from a PR standpoint in the coming weeks and months?


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About the Author
Gerard E. "Gerry" Mayers writes about PR and other relevant topics for PR professionals. A former PR manager for Sensor Products, Inc. (currently based in Madison, NJ), he lives in Milford, NJ.
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