The Candidate Is Fake; The Consultants Are Real | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

The Candidate Is Fake; The Consultants Are Real

Play associated audio

For more: See our fake candidate's real website.

When our series began yesterday, we brought together five economists from across the political spectrum and had them create a platform for their dream presidential candidate. It's a platform — Get rid of a tax deduction for homeowners! Raise the price of gas! — that would sink any real candidate.

But we aren't creating a real candidate. We're creating a fake candidate. And to help us, we talked to two veteran political consultants — Hank Sheinkopf and Kim Alfano.

"You have a radical plan which will bankrupt families," Alfano told us. "You're insane."

"I think you should move to another country," Sheinkopf said.

Canada, maybe?

"Not even Canada," he said. "Some of this won't fly in Canada."

And after they both finished laughing at the economists' ideas, the consultants agreed to help us create a campaign for our fake candidate.

Sheinkopf's first piece of advice: Don't be so brainy.

Take, for example, our economists' plan to eliminate the mortgage-interest tax deduction. We shouldn't mention that getting rid of the deduction would cost middle-class homeowners money, Sheinkopf said. Off the top of his head, he sketched out a possible TV ad:

"A bold economic plan to protect America's future," he said. "Get rid of deductions for the rich. ... Tax deduction for homeownership takes millions of dollars away from people in need, reduces services, takes money away from the places we need to spend it. From education. From health care. For our children, for our future ... reform the tax system."

You'll note the ad doesn't appeal to logic. It doesn't ask people to give up anything valuable. It says: Soak the other guy.

Alfano said the ad shouldn't get bogged down in the details. Because once you give specifics, your opponent can use them against you. Sell images, not specifics.

"I see a horse," she said. "I see a song."

One thing you should never see in any political ad, according to Alfano: an economist.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'Team America' Is Benched: Won't Return To Theaters, Reports Say

One day after some U.S. theaters vowed to screen Team America: World Police in the place of The Interview, whose release was canceled, word has emerged that Team America has also been pulled.
NPR

What The Change In U.S.-Cuba Relations Might Mean For Food

The decision to normalize relations is driving all kinds of speculation about American food companies opening up shop in Cuba. But analysts say: Don't expect to see McDonald's there anytime soon.
WAMU 88.5

Q&A: Rep. Chris Van Hollen On Alan Gross' Return From Cuba

The congressman from Maryland discusses his involvement in bringing the USAID contractor back to his home state after five years in a Cuban prison.
NPR

North Korea Has Invested Heavily In Cyberattacks

American officials have concluded that North Korea was behind the hack of Sony Pictures Company. Melissa Block talks to James Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.