As Election Day nears, there is no better time to teach young ones the importance of critical thinking. The Lodi News-Sentinel is a member of the National Newspaper In Education Institute and they have created an array of resources for our readers to educate themselves and others about this process. This is a great time to begin teaching youngsters about determining facts before they form opinions. Here are some important things to know about campaign techniques that sometimes cloud the truth:
Understanding Campaign Techniques
Before each election voters are bombarded with word and images hoping to persuade them to support one candidate while rejecting another. Citizens should understand the tricks used by candidates, campaign staff members and the media to take advantage of a voter’s emotions. Some techniques include:
• Baiting: Badgering or intimidating an opponent to make him/her look weak or
out of control.
• Bandwagon: Claiming, “everyone else is doing it,” is an effective technique used
to help people make up their minds on issues.
• Cardstacking: Presenting only one side of an issue. “Cardstacking” gives only the
facts that support the candidate’s claims.
• Evading Real Issues: Talking around a subject or changing the subject so as to
avoid having to give direct answers or details.
• Generalities: Generalities are phrases that promise a lot but don’t explain how
the promise will be kept.
• Guilt by Association: Criticizing an opponent for the views or actions of their
supporters or friends.
• Loaded Statements: Using half-truths and distorted facts to make an opponent
• Name Calling: Referring to someone using a negative name or symbol.
• Passing the Blame: Unfairly accusing another candidate or party of being the
cause of a problem beyond their control.
• Plain Folks: Pretending to be “one of the regular folks” is an attempt to get people
to relate to a candidate.
• Promising the Sky: Making election promises that are unrealistic.
• Rumormongering: Sharing negative statements about an opponent’s character or views without backing up the statements with facts.
• Testimonials: Having some important person endorse a candidate.
For more lessons on the upcoming election, go to lodinews.com/learning_link and click on “the teacher, student and parent’s resources page” link.