The U.S. presidential election won’t happen until November 2016 and yet the campaign is already in full swing. Since it’s hard to avoid hearing news about it you may have decided to make the election the focus of your next research paper. To get a start on the topic, check out the new film, Our Brand Is Crisis, starring Sandra Bullock and Billy Bob Thornton.
It’s a political satire of a Bolivian presidential campaign that is fueled by competing American campaign strategists. While the story is fiction, it may spark your interest in learning more about the rough and tumble process of winning an election.
Our Brand Is Crisis
Our Brand Is Crisis is based on Rachel Boynton’s 2006 documentary of the same name which told the story of how American political campaign marketing tactics were employed in the 2002 Bolivian presidential election. The key figure in Boynton’s documentary was James Carville of the firm Greenberg Carville and Shrum.
Scott Mendelson outlined the story arc of the film adaptation in his October 19, 2015, post for Forbes.com, “‘Our Brand Is Crisis’ Review: Sandra Bullock’s Biting Political Comedy Deserves Your Vote.”
In the film, Sandra Bullock and Billy Bob Thornton play competing campaign strategists working to elect the next Bolivian president. Thornton’s character is based on James Carville. Bullock’s character, “Calamity Jane” Bodine, has been hired to help a candidate who is trying to regain an office that he once held and lost. His comeback bid is complicated by an opponent who has more media appeal.
Bodine decides that her candidate should base his campaign on the idea that only he can save his country from an impending crisis.
“As Bodine correctly states, voters elect the newbie when they are hopeful, but fall back on the familiar when they are afraid. And that’s pretty much the movie in a nutshell.” Mendelson said.
Political science resources
You can get grounded in politics and government topics at Questia where you’ll find millions of articles and books to fuel your research papers. Use the topic finder tool to help you narrow the focus of your research.
Topics within the category of politics include:
Resources about political elections include the book, Mudslingers: The Top 25 Negative Political Campaigns of All Time : Countdown from No. 25 To No. 1, by Kerwin C. Swint.
According to Swint, the two Golden Ages of negative campaigning were 1864 to 1892 and 1988 to the present. In his book, he gathered the top 25 and ranked them in descending order. The list includes presidential, senatorial, gubernatorial and mayoral races and chronicles the dirtiest, most low-down campaign tactics of all time.
“This book covers more than two hundred years of American politics, beginning in 1800 with the bitter feud between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, and ending with the 2004 blowout between George W. Bush and John Kerry. In between, there are rascals, patriots, robber barons, soldiers, and TV stars. And that’s just among the presidential candidates,” Swint stated.
Presidential election resources
You’ll find more data on U.S. presidential elections on the Internet. Some sites to explore include:
- History.com Presidential Elections: This is a list that outlines each election starting with that of George Washington who ran unopposed in 1789.
- Ballotpedia.org: Maintained by the non-partisan, non-profit Lucy Burns Institute, the site includes information on the top potential and declared presidential candidates for 2016, primary dates and polling data.
- Presidency Project: Maintained by University of California, Santa Barbara, this site contains an archive of documents that includes inaugural addresses, executive orders and convention speeches.
- How to Run a Political Campaign: Campaign Strategy: This YouTube video by political consultant Jay Townsend lays out the key rules that define a winning campaign.
Who do you think will get the nomination to run for each party next November? Tell us in the comments.