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This blog offers an international look at the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. Indeed, campaigners worldwide are fascinated with American election campaigns. We observe relentless paid television advertising, straight-forward attack spots, sophisticated targeting and record-breaking fundraising. One cannot – and should not – simply copy paste American campaign techniques. However, campaigners out there in Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia can get a lot of inspiration and specific takeaways from the most professional campaign in the world. This is the purpose of this blog.

The debates I

On Monday night, the first presidential debate will take place. The situation couldn’t be more exciting as surveys basically show Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump running even. Voters generally like debates because it’s the only opportunity for them to compare the candidates directly and next to each other. People watch debates, the media covers them and people watch the media coverage about them. This being said, it is much easier to lose a debate than to win it. At the beginning of the debate preparation, it is important to decide as a campaign team what you want to strategically achieve with the debate. Indeed, if you don’t know what your goal is, how can you assess afterwards if you won the debate? For Hillary Clinton, the goal is to change the dynamics of the race. If the election were held today, she would probably still win, but her lead has narrowed considerably within a short amount of time. She needs to put an end to this. As for Donald Trump, he needs to convince the American people that he has the temper and the knowledge to be president of the United States. There are voters who want to vote for change, but they need to be reassured that Trump can do the job. With all of this, how a candidate says something is as important as what he actually says. Therefore, it is important that a candidate looks like he wants to be there. In that sense, a generic advice for probably each and every candidate participating in a debate is this: stay cool, smile.

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