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Hanley

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Fri, 12 Nov 2004

TV Nation and perceptions of charisma - 12:22
Paul Graham has two new essays up since the last one I commented on. The most recent of of these essays points out, since the introduction of widespread television around 1960, every presidential election in the US has been won by the candidate perceived to be the most charismatic, irrelevant of politics. As Paul noticed this can to some extent be attributed to the fact that taking policies and other such things into account the two parties are incredibly similar, so charisma may as well be used as a differentiator in the minds of the voters as anything else.

There may be something in this theory, perception of charisma by the voting public, encouraged by TV. Michael Moore suggested in his book Dude, Where's My Country? that Oprah would make a good presidential candidate. Some polls appear to support this notion strongly. Interestingly I also note two recent popular TV or Movie presidents, Jed Bartlett in The West Wing played by Martin Sheen and Andrew Shepherd in The American President played by Michael Douglas both fit the charismatic persona well and have proven popular with the US viewing public.

I wonder, does the Democratic party simply need to find their own presidential version of Robin Williams?

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