The Collegian
Thursday, February 29, 2024

Candidates reposition issues for Fall campaign

Party conventions are held in order to energize and unify the party and frame the issues for the general election campaign. So, it is not surprising that both major party candidates have repositioned their messages to strengthen their case with voters. Change. Change is the driving issue in this campaign. Obama has always been about change, but "change" for Obama used to be about changing our politics, i.e. moving beyond partisanship, AND changing party control of the White House from Republican to Democratic. Now, he is focused almost exclusively on the latter message. Gone is the inspiring vision of post-partisan politics; the focus now is to attach McCain to Bush and advance a traditionally Democratic agenda. The appointment of Joe Biden as his running mate is further evidence that he wants to mobilize his base and appeal to the lower income, union voters who supported Hillary Clinton. McCain, on the other hand, whose pre-convention message essentially boiled down to experience, i.e. Obama is "not ready to lead," has shifted to a new message of change, i.e. reforming Washington. By selecting Palin, he has essentially conceded the issue of experience, and his campaign speech was decidedly focused on changing the politics in Washington ... post-partisanship. This theme might ring a bill to Obama supporters who voted for him over the more "partisan" Hillary Clinton.

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