How not to run for US President

Following the stunning campaign trail of Mitt Romney in the current US presidential election, Opinion writer Philippa Ako gives a brief guide on how to ruin your popularity ratings, in case any of our readers ever run for US President.

Every four years, we are graced with some amazing clangers that come with the US Presidential Election campaigns. This year, we’ve seen some particularly amusing/enraging moves from a particular hopeful, so why not learn from these awful moments and take notes on how to run a gaffe-filled campaign?

Alienate almost half of the country’s population

Elections are a popularity contest, right? We all know it’s meant to be about the issues, but let’s be honest; if the guy is unlikeable, you are never going to cross his box. So as a candidate, surely you’ve got to seem appealing to everybody, and want (or pretend convincingly that you want) votes from all walks of life, no? Of course not! You’re only after the votes of privileged people just like you. Announce this at a benefit with other people just like you, so you can all laugh at the unfortunate. Failing this, make sure that the country knows that your interests lie with the middle class. Who needs the lower classes when they represent all that’s wrong with the country in your eyes? Are they even able to hold a vote?

Throw the fact that you are wealthy in everyone’s face

Money has never been an issue to you. Therefore, money shouldn’t be an issue to anybody else. Make bets worth ridiculous amounts of money on national television to show just how confident you are in your views. Also, it’s a good idea to claim that the middle class earn between $200,000-250,000 a year. That’s a way to make people believe that you really understand the people.

Change your family history to make yourself to look good

Somebody lets you know that your strategy of capturing the nation’s heart by disregarding half of them hasn’t put you in the best light, so you attempt to curry favour with a little doctoring of your past. Place family members at important events in national history when they were never there, and claim to be really into a controversial sport you’ve only tried twice. Ignore the fact that you’ve fabricated these stories when your campaign team tell the truth, because everyone expects politicians to lie, right?

Call your political opponent a liar

This is a particularly useful tactic if you wish to make your campaign as widely spoken about as possible. Being a candidate who sips from the cup of make-believe quite often, the best way to deflect attention from yourself is to show up your rival. You might not be perfect, but you’ll be damned if you fail to let everyone know that he isn’t either.

Insult the nation you are visiting

Special relationships are only useful when entering a war. Forget the fact that you could be offending some useful allies, making it known that you’re worried about what you perceive to be their lack of planning, shows that you’re a compassionate candidate. Mention in the international press that you had a meeting with a top secret security organisation, because the only thing that they really need is publicity. Also refer to the opposition party leader as ‘Mr. Leader’, because not knowing who the Prime Minister is will surely turn heads.

Other memorable stunts could include:

  • Dubious caretaking of your family pets. PETA don’t have a clue what they’re talking about.
  • Having your wife become more popular and well known than your actual political views.
  • Say a lot of silly things, creating a new first name should be top of your list.

It takes a lot of work to come across as an out-of-touch politician, but candidates seem to do it with ease. It isn’t like they’re rallying to be the leader of the free world or anything.