As the race for the next occupant of the White House thickens, not minding the recent “drama” displayed by one of the aspirants, Hillary Rodham Clinton appears to be the main issue for now. Mrs Clinton means different things to different people. Irrespective of one’s deposition(s) towards her, there appears to be a sort of unanimity that she presently dominates every discourse concerning the United States’ 2016 Presidential election.
Like most people with keen interests in the US elections, I have relied much on information from the media and from a knowledge of theoretical politics, which could still be limited. Also, my views on US politics are surprisingly pro-Republican, except for 2008 when I joined the rest of the world to support Barrack Obama in the historic election of that year. My Republican persuasion lies from the fact that blacks were originally supporters of the Grand Old Party (GOP). Though many blacks tend to have forgotten this fact, the first sets of blacks in the US Congress were Republicans. It was Abraham Lincoln’s Republican government that freed black slaves during the American Civil War (1861-65).
Some months ago, Mrs. Clinton officially signalled her intention to take a shot at the US Presidency. No sooner had she done this than the Republicans started personal attacks on her, including digging deep into her past, in a bid to discredit her. I feel this jejune approach is rather counter-productive. This is because, first, Mrs Clinton is not yet the Democratic candidate, but is only an aspirant like every other. Second, the Republicans are revealing their cards too early. Third, GOP leaders are taking the same approach that just recently failed in the Nigerian presidential elections. Nothing good ever comes out of focusing your entire campaign on your opponent, by this you only end up campaigning freely for him or her. Sadly this appears to be what GOP handlers are doing.
For those who know, the 2015 Nigerian presidential election was won and lost due to the tactless and conversely tactful use of propaganda, depending on which side of the political divide one was. The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), rather than focus on campaigning for and promoting its own candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan, shot itself in the foot when it took to lies, insults and personal attacks on the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari. The disinformation the PDP sponsored against the General backfired in no small measure. It all started when the party’s presidential campaign spokesman, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, a loquacious fellow with little or no public relations background, told everyone who cared to listen that the Jonathan’s campaign will focus entirely on General Buhari, the party’s main rival.
My fear for the Republicans in this case is that they are failing to see the obvious. Can it be that the GOP handlers are scared of Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy? Are they finding it difficult to cope with her charisma? Again what has Mrs Clinton’s personal lifestyle got to do with the election? Will they personally attack her to the extent they will go for her pets? My unrequested opinion is for the GOP leaders to focus on the issues rather than quotidian issues like age, sex, race or family. I can only hope that Republican leaders who have lived long enough will remember how the attack on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s dog, Fala massively backfired in the 1940s!
Insults don’t win arguments, just as propaganda doesn’t win elections. Even if it appears to do so, it is at best temporal. Propaganda can win battles in some areas but it does not win the war. This was the lesson the German chief propagandist during the World War II, Joseph Goebbels will perpetually remember in his grave. If propaganda ever wins elections, President Goodluck Jonathan would have won the March 28 Nigerian presidential election. If propaganda ever wins a war the world would probably be under Nazi rule today.
It is true that the GOP is on course to win the 2016 election as a result of its recent success in the mid-term elections, though this is not in any way watertight. Failing to win the presidential election will be its greatest undoing. The tactless use of propaganda by its handlers to which Hillary Clinton, if her strategists are working properly, can take advantage of to become the first woman president of the United States.
To everything under the sun, there are limits, and this includes the use of propaganda.