In elections, the way an idea is presented is absolutely crucial in receiving support. Candidates discuss strategy for months on end and depend heavily on surveys, polls, and experts to tell them what to say and how to say it. There is a vast variety of application of this decided strategy. What has become apparent in the past couple months is what I’m going to call Obama’s “heartstring strategy.”
In all of the previous debates, Obama has brought in at least one story relating to his own personal life and if not, definitely the story of someone else in order to provoke emotion. The answers to many of his questions are presented in “story-telling” style, incorporating real life-stories to transform distant political jargon into a language that any viewer can understand. In the first debate this series, for example, Obama began not by giving a general introduction, but by giving a shout-out to Michelle Obama on their anniversary:
In the second debate, Obama answered one question with a short summary of his grandmother’s life, allowing the viewer to connect once again to Obama’s position on policy by translating his answer to actual English. Although I missed much of the third debate, the part I walked in on was Obama’s anecdote about a young girl whose father passed away on 9/11 and for whom bin Laden’s death provided closure. What is obvious is Obama’s particular skill with telling stories, a skill that is extremely beneficial in politics. His speeches tend to involve more anecdotes than Romney’s and the stories he tells have a direct effect on the listeners. It is even, in fact, one of the reasons people believe Obama won the second debate.
It will be interesting to see if this story-telling will be able to carry him through to victory this term.