- Posted July 2, 2014 by
Politics and Persuasion
Consider the kind of tenacity, credibility and influence they have to cultivate and project just to become politicians. They solicit funds for campaigns, they peddle their agendas and sell their larger-than-life personalities for votes, and once in office they still have to bargain for budgets, advocate for bills, jostle for a place in the public consciousness, defend their decisions, debate with other lawmakers and pundits… the list of all the people they have to convince, persuade, dissuade and influence can be dizzying.
Politics is indeed the profession—perhaps calling – of persuasive people.
November 2014, marks the Midterm elections for the House and Senate and is also the Election Day for many other major positions. As always, the stakes are high. For example the Democrats, who currently have a majority in the Senate, will be defending 21 of 36 seats up for election.
When the stakes are high and/or the results too close to call, that’s when politicians really ramp up their persuasion tactics. They push their agenda harder, they seek positive attention for themselves, and all too often, some of them are willing to skip the high road and play dirty.
Negative advertising is one outlet of this less appealing side of politics. Mudslinging is part of the game, and no one ever said politics was for the faint of heart. But sometimes, certain campaigns really tread the line between what is still somewhat ethical and what is no longer acceptable.
In the 2000 presidential elections between Al Gore and George W. Bush, one anti-Gore ad came under fire for alleged use of subliminal messages linking Gore and his policy to the word “RATS.” Controversial ads in the presidential race between Obama and Romney also got down and dirty, with both sides using quotes out-of-context and making illogical conclusions about each other.
Persuasion comes in many forms. It can be positive, offensive, outright or subtle. It can be executed using words, intonation, action, body language. Politicians run the gamut of them day in and day out. People in everyday life do too, whether we know it or not. All of us practice and are subject to persuasion tactics.
Persuasion expert Michael Lee, author of the upcoming “Prepare, Persuade, Conquer” covers some of the ways by which the everyday Joe can be a masterful persuader at home and at work. While (thankfully!) only a precious few of us are likely politician-level persuaders, persuasion tricks are always handy to know in life in general.