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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.

New Trends in Political Campaigns: Volatility

Another trend I currently observe about political campaigns is that the electorate is becoming increasingly volatile. I have long been experiencing this during my work in developing countries, but now we even see it in the Western world. Last year in Germany, the two big parties (the CDU and SPD) together lost a stunning 13.7 percent of their vote share. In France, the established parties basically collapsed. What are the consequences of this for campaigns? A campaign can no longer as reliably count on the support of loyal, regular voters. A party therefore has to continually re-invent itself, innovate and win the support of voters every day anew. Therefore, we should use every (local) election to try out new things. It also makes the development of a coherent and timely message even more important: A campaign has to give its target voters a reason why, this time, they should vote for their candidate or their party (and not one of the competing ones). This is also a challenge for new parties, which sometimes are very successful at the outset, but then find it challenging to sustain that success. Read more about this in an article I recently wrote for Campaigns & Elections Magazine Europe.

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