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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.

Authenticity Wins Elections

The 2016 U.S. presidential election has ended with a big upset. One of my key take-aways is that authenticity wins elections. I really believe that Donald Trump is more or less the same behind the cameras compared to what we see in front of the cameras. Probably there is a little bit of a difference, but not much. How does Hillary Clinton speak once the cameras and the microphones are turned off? No clue. And voters can feel it.

The same is also true with respect to the Philippine presidential election earlier this year, which led to the election of President Rodrigo Duterte. The key moment of that campaign was the televised presidential debate, respectively the one-hour live coverage before the debate. Following situation: One of the presidential candidates, then Vice President Jojo Binay, argued with the moderators about the rules of the debate. While this was going on, the other candidates were just waiting on the podium. For about an hour, the entire nation was therefore watching the presidential candidates simply waiting, which was in fact very revealing. Then Mayor Duterte came across as very relaxed, chilled and completely aware of who he is and what he wanted to offer the Philippine people. It was the key moment of the entire race. Realness wins elections.

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