Saturday, September 6, 2008

Can My Candidate Relate to Me?

Every political candidate wants to be perceived as being able to relate to you. Phrases like "I understand what you're going through," and "I feel your pain," are not uncommon.

Notice: I'm going to pick on the Republicans here for a second because I just watched three nights of speeches at the RNC so they're a fresh and easy target -- and it should trigger some conversation.

Item: Senator McCain was raised in a military family, went to a military academy, spent twenty some years in the military, and since then has been in elected office.

Item: For her speech at the RNC, Cindy McCain wore an outfit onto stage that was valued at around $300,000. (

How do these two items impact your tinking on the question of "Can My Candidate Relate to Me?" Is is necessary to share at least some common experiences or circumstances in order to be able to "relate" or "identify with" the candidates.

What are you thinking about this?

Considerations for discussion:
  • How important is the candidate's personal background and current situation to their ability to relate to you?
  • Does the candidate's background and current situation influence your support for them?
  • Given the complexity of our American culture, how important is the candidate's background to their ability to empathize with the American condtion?
  • What kind of background is valuable in dealing with the wide range of cultures around the world?

Thanks for wrestling with these questions. Feel free to suggest items for discussion through the comments area.

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