The state of campaign 2016 is reaching fever pitch. That is partly due to the heated rhetoric and partly due to mid-summer heated conventions in the sweltering heat of Cleveland and Philadelphia.
The two baby boomer candidates, Trump and Clinton, map out strategy for battleground states, employ the use of newly minted vice presidential nominees Pence and Kaine, and attempt to maximize messaging for political advantage. The state of the race is, by all accounts, a toss-up.
These two are the least popular candidates to have ever run for president. But then again, all things are relative and we do live in a new political landscape. The paradigm has shifted over time from attacks mediated through newspapers and television, to political wars waged in real-time on social media.
Online news, and immediate online reaction is now the new normal.
Twitter is the new press release; news outlets watch for the tweet and then put it on the screen for television viewers to see. Hillary’s announcement of Tim Kaine as her vice presidential choice was a striking example of this. Major news outlets such as CNN reported that her choice was imminent, then waited for the announcement, which came on the campaign’s Twitter feed. The dramatic opening of the curtain with the VP choice stepping on stage is now yesterday’s format.
Yes, the rollout of the VP nominee is now systematic: First there is the tweet, then the joint appearance, followed by the "60 Minutes" interview. But it all begins on social media — the medium of the 2016 campaign.
The question now becomes: Have baby boomers adjusted to the campaign media of 2016?
Do they even recognize the campaigns of 2016, which are so different in format than what they witnessed back when Carter was running against Reagan?
And have the two candidates adjusted to campaigning on social media?
The answers to these questions may surprise you. Baby boomers are more social media savvy and online savvy than they are perceived to be. A baby boomer in Ohio recently told me that he gets most of his news online now. Baby boomers are as engaged as ever in campaign 2016, maybe in part because two baby boomers are running, but perhaps even more importantly because they like getting the campaign news from multiple sources.
As for candidates, a historical perspective may help illustrate how well they have adjusted to the new campaign media for 2016.
If FDR was the best suited candidate when radio was the media of time, and JFK was the candidate for his time when television ruled as the campaign media, then certainly Donald Trump, with his prolific use of Twitter, could be considered the candidate for the media of his time.
It can be said that Trump uses Twitter for immediate gain, keeping his name in the news with his counter-punching strategy via Twitter. It also can be said that Clinton uses the social media tools of the times. Most would agree, however, that Trump seems to have a striking advantage over Hillary on the social media circuit.
One advantage to being a baby boomer as it relates to following the 2016 campaigns is that you have already experienced some of the very memorable campaigns of the past.
You were a young pup when Kennedy debated Nixon. In fact for many of you baby boomers, your memory of that campaign is sketched in your childhood, much like when you recall the first taste of a Popsicle. Thinking back to your adolescent years, you may recall the chaos that broke out at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
You may also remember the phenomenon of the silent majority that propelled Nixon over Humphrey in that same year. Of course most baby boomers can tell you about the tired feeling they had going to work in November of 2000, when the campaign did not end on election night, and Bush versus Gore needed to go into overtime to have the Supreme Court determine the results.
So now we are in the home stretch of the 2016 campaign, with much yet to play out. Some say the debates between Trump and Clinton will be such big events that they can almost be sold on pay-per-view. Baby boomers will be watching all the steps between now and the debates. They will be closely tuned in to the closing arguments that will lead to a November decision. It all comes down to two baby boomers running for the highest office, using the technology of the day, and with the results in the balance.
As of now, the race is too close to call.
Rick Bava founded and was CEO of the Bava Group, which became the premier communications consulting firm serving the Fortune 500 community. Bava became known for his popular blog columns “Rick Bava on the Baby Boomer Generation.” He is the author of "In Search of the Baby Boomer Generation." For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.