Uncategorized

1-2016 Election Quake I: Five Expected Surprises in Cultural Trends and the Media

This essay first appeared in the Huffington Post, November 22, 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-j-croce/2016-election-quake-i-fiv_b_13144442.html

Huh?—a year and half of campaigning, two leading candidates with the highest disapproval ratings in American history, a Republican Tsunami—how’d that happen?  Get ready, America, for four years of Donald J. Trump’s reverse smile. 

Few anticipated the results.  Even Republicans and Trump himself seemed surprised on election night.  Although commentators have been wringing their hands for not anticipating the way voters actually voted, observers from major media stars to people at diners and around water coolers were already calling the campaign unprecedented.  And yet, contemporary history and the current state of the media provide clues about how we have arrived at this surprising election.

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Uncategorized

What’s DAT?—Deficit Attention Tweets

Brief comments on paying attention—the role it has played in American history and culture.  What do we pay attention to, and what do we ignore—what attracts, and what do we overlook?  If you have a story about attention in the world around you, send it in!—at Leave a Comment….

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Campaign 2004, Uncategorized

Bush Achieves Goal In Spite of Criticism

President George W. Bush has received an unprecedented amount of criticism, and yet he won re-election handily.  How’d that happen?

A majority of Americans do not share his application of Christian traditions to a millennial vision of US mission; a majority of Americans believe that, while government cannot solve all social problems, it can give important direction, which contrasts sharply with Bush’s strong anti-government stance.

The Bush campaign put less emphasis on reasons to vote for him than on attempts to stimulate feelings based on his tough talk and reputation for decisiveness.  As a result, many voters for Bush will likely get four years of policies they don’t want….  Read whole essay here….

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Campaign 2000, Uncategorized

The Personal Is Now Political: Let’s Decide If It’s Presidential

“The Personal Is Political” was a slogan from the 1960s.  Women maintained that choices about their private lives were shot through with political consequences; African Americans presented the raw force of political power in every private act of segregation; and environmentalism became popular from awareness that private acts of consumption and waste have large public consequences.

Ever since the 1960s, there has been increased media attention on the private lives of public figures.  Democrat Jimmy Carter was the first president to appeal based on his folksiness, and Republican Ronald Reagan was even more adept in the arts of the personable leader.

In this campaign, the “compassionate conservatism” of Republican George W. Bush is a combination of conservative policies and a personable promise that he is a nice person.  By contrast, Democrat Al Gore has a lot of expertise and experience, but little personal flair.

Back to you, Dear Voters: the personal has become political.  Now is it presidential?…  Read whole essay here….

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Campaign 2000, Uncategorized

VP Candidates Set the Tone: Bush, Gore Should Listen to Dad and Uncle Joe

The Vice Presidential debates between Republican Dick Cheney and Democrat Joe Lieberman presented opposition with civility.  Central casting could not have picked better characters than Cheney as dad and Lieberman as uncle.

By contrast, Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush presents himself as the “bad boy” in class, chopping down his rival and trying to be king of the hill, while Democrat Al Gore is the “good boy” who knows all the answers, but makes his classmates’ eyes roll.  By acting more their shoe size than their age, Bush and Gore have been tiresome squabblers.

Can Mr. Bush and Mr. Gore learn something from their elders?…  Read whole essay here….

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