How to Win an Election from The New York Times - Video on Vimeo.
A leading political strategist explains how candidates use the art of storytelling to help swing elections.
Produced by: SARAH KLEIN and TOM MASON
Every election cycle, we’re asked to make monumental decisions about which people and policies should control our country, and we have to sort through a barrage of information to arrive at our selections. Often, we pick the candidate who breaks through the noise with a message that resonates with us. The politicians that prevail politicians are excellent storytellers.
Candidates running for office work hard to reduce the complexities of the modern world into simple, soundbite-friendly stories. They invoke heroes and villains, fear and hope. As filmmakers, we understand the power of story to inspire, persuade and even manipulate people in ways that can be hard to recognize. So in this particularly story-rich election cycle, we set out to make a film that looks past the latest debate zingers and campaign-trail gaffes that dominate political coverage and focuses on how storytelling serves as the foundation of successful modern campaigns. The result is this Op-Doc, in which one of the most influential American political strategists in recent history, Mark McKinnon, explains how it works.
Mr. McKinnon has had a long career working for politicians from both parties. As the lead media strategist for George W. Bush’s 2000 and 2004 campaigns as well as John McCain’s winning 2008 primary campaign, he was instrumental in shaping the way we perceived his candidates and their opponents. Remember the 2004 windsurfing ad that branded John Kerry a flip-flopper? That’s his work.