Consultant-based campaigns detract from political process

I first caught election fever in 2000 when my second grade class was given the opportunity to practice our future voting rights in’s online poll. Torn between the polarizing forces of peer pressure from the kids at my lunch table, I let my decision come down to a single deciding factor. It all came down to comparing the election posters in the cafeteria; George W. Bush posed with an infectious smile on his face, while Al Gore seemed completely unapproachable. This sealed the deal.

Understandably, eight-year-olds cannot be expected to make educated political decisions. However, I’ve noticed an increasing trend of adults making their decisions based on flashy campaigns rather than diving deeper into the positions that the candidates take.

This is a problem because it undermines the democratic process. You’re no longer electing candidates based on their ability to represent you in the legislative process, but rather, how well they can market themselves.

With all the glitz and glamour of consultant-based campaigns, it’s easy to get swept in a wave of speeches, advertisement, and hoodies with rhinestone-studded portrait of your candidate’s face on them.

Understand that campaigns are not accurate representations of any candidate. They only serve to provide a small piece of the picture, and can easily distort or simplify facts.

Let’s take a look at Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts who is competing against three other candidates for a place on the Republican presidential ticket. In order to reach out to far-right end of the spectrum, he is marketing himself as a man firmly against the policies of the Obama Administration.

He openly attacks the series of health care reform laws passed by the 111th Congress in 2010, contending that he has never advocated national implementation of the Massachusetts health insurance reform (which he both advocated and signed into law in 2006). However, looking further into his claims, one can see that he urged Congress to follow his plan’s example in his 2009 USA Today op-ed titled “Mr. President, What’s the Rush?”

I find no problem with Romney changing his stance on a position. After all, human beings and their opinions evolve over time. However, misrepresenting your past positions and trying to cover them up is inexcusable.

Your vote, believe it or not, is loaded with power. When you pull the trigger on the ballot, make sure you know exactly who you’re voting for first. Voting is symbolic speech. If you do not vote for the person who accurately represents many of your positions, you risk losing your voice in the process.

There are several ways to protect yourself from false advertisement and vote for the person who best represents you.