An unfamiliar place: Making sense of the current political landscape

Our political panel in Austin included Ted Jarrett, Josh Phoebus, and Major General Tom Carter.

Time and again the current presidential campaign has defied tradition, shedding any familiarity to previous election cycles. After a brutal primary season for candidates, the two presidential nominees and their running mates are ramping up the rhetoric.

The next 100 days are sure to mired in mudslinging, with more tweets, nicknames, and distractions from the real issues facing the nation.

Not all political discourse is petty. This weekend, I had the great opportunity to moderate a round table discussion in Austin, Texas. Three panelists with extensive backgrounds in politics and government provided a fascinating look at what is steering the national conversation into uncharted territory, including what one panelist called our “Kim Kardashian culture” that invents drama for entertainment.

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Voting is becoming big business for non-partisan companies

Can you measure the value of a vote? Does each one really count? Obviously in 2008, a person’s right to vote is held in high regard. With two days left until the election, early and absentee voting numbers have been staggering. This trend will probably carry over into the turnout numbers for the general election.

Do most people go to the polls because they recognize their civic duty or because they want to support ideas that will shape their futures? I would speculate that most have commendable motives for getting out the vote.

I voted early on Saturday mainly because it was an option. I know the lines on November 4th will probably be filled with men and women who only have an hour off of work to cast their vote. Continue reading

One State, Two State, Red State, Blue State

What will likely be remembered as one of the longest and most unpredictable presidential races in history is nearing an end. With absentee voting already underway, voter turnout could reach levels exceeding the record turnout in the 1960 presidential election between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon.

Until recently, this campaign cycle actually focused on issues, rather than mudslinging candidates and media mediation. For many of the candidates, campaigning started almost two years ago. It’s hard to believe we’ve been talking politics for this long. Issues like immigration, rebuilding the image of America abroad, social security, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Interestingly, both candidates were written off in the early stages of the race. Barack Obama was pounded by front-runner Hillary Clinton and John McCain’s campaign was disorganized and almost bowed-out altogether. Now the media refuses to hold the candidates to the issues and is pandering to their own wants by turning this into an extended episode of Entertainment Tonight. Continue reading

“…And I approve this message.”

Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and other new media have assumed a more prominent role in the 2008 Presidential election. Barack Obama is touting more than a million Facebook friends and John McCain is capitalizing on his “Original Maverick” brand of advertising.

This historic campaign is unlike any that we’ve seen in recent history, with a number of election “firsts.” Not only is the length of this campaign season notable, but the speed and intensity that has sustained is mind-boggling.

With the urgency and reach of the internet, there leaves no time for either side to take a quick breather. E-mail updates, social networking groups, YouTube, and countless other resources have the ability to influence millions of potential voters with a few carefully calculated keystrokes. The power of one medium, television, has not waned in the past 50 years. It continues to be the most effective and direct way to reach key voter demographics.  Continue reading

Day 13: And the winner is…

WFAA 3I’ve always been a huge history buff. Whether it’s the Articles of Confederation, the Lincoln presidency or World War II, I’m fascinated.  Being interested in history plays a huge role in why I’m studying to become a journalist.

Watching current events unfold before my eyes each day and being able to share this news with countless others is exactly what drives me.

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