How Choice of Speakers at Political National Conventions Helps Reach Voters: A Lesson in PR Tactics

Every four years the atmosphere in the media takes a shift toward the impending presidential election. Two of the most anticipated events in politics are the Republican National Convention and Democratic National Convention. Whether you are a Democrat, Republican, Independent or have another party affiliation: Watching both national conventions is a perfect way to not only get informed on pressing issues of the election, but also to watch public relations practices in action. In order for candidates to get their constituents’ votes, candidates must know their constituents and be able to appeal to a vast range of needs. The speakers at both national conventions were key in attempting to reach as many different demographics of voters, and especially important in tallying up the Independent vote. The conventions allow both parties to highlight their accomplishments and generate support in weak areas, using PR strategies is an integral part of this process.

     According to an article on, Hispanic voters hold the key in this year’s election. This isn’t just a matter of opinion; an appeal to Hispanic voters was evident at both the RNC and DNC. With minorities (especially Hispanic) leaning toward Obama in the polls, the RNC had to reach this demographic.  The choice of Florida Senator Marco Rubio and New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez to speak at the RNC was a PR strategy by the GOP to identify with Hispanic voters, even more so after its anti-immigration stance in the primaries did not fare well with minorities.
     On the other hand: Since President Obama is up for re-election and under scrutiny from Republicans for not keeping his promise of change, it was in the Democrats best interest to showcase what he has accomplished during his four years in office. An example of this was Arizona mom Stacey Lihn speaking on how Obamacare is benefiting her daughter, who was born with a heart defect. She explained that the Affordable Care Act prevents insurance policies from placing a lifetime cap on most benefits, emphasizing that this will allow her daughter’s insurance to cover the surgeries she needs. She even stressed the fact that if Romney wins and repeals Obamacare, she doesn’t know how she will be able to pay off her daughter’s medical bills. This PR tactic appealed to mothers across the board (even those with healthy children), while it also appealed to people with hefty medical bills. Plus, it demonstrated Obama’s reliability against Romney’s criticism. It highlighted that he did what he promised in the healthcare sector, a huge platform point in his 2008 campaign.
       Both conventions gave plenty of examples that showcase the careful PR strategies behind political campaigns; choice of speakers was only an aspect of it. From camera cues and angles, to video montage filled with inspiring music and citizen testimonies, public relations continues to silently dominate the behind-the-scenes work in politics throughout this election.
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By: Ana Gomez, University of Florida PRSSA Online Strategy Committee