1976–“Accomplishments” Ad–Emily Petz
1976 was an interesting election. There was a resurgence of the presidential debate, in earlier elections there wasn’t much of a need for them. However in this election there wasn’t a clear winner, so the overall campaigning increased from years prior. A rocky climate in American history in the years leading up to the election the people were faced with a high inflation rate paired with a high number of unemployed. However terrible the economy had seemed at 1974 this was what Ford uses to his benefit.
With his ad campaign entitled “Accomplishment” President Gerald Ford makes the claims about how he is a good president. Ford was serving as President after Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974 and announced that Ford would take over as the former vice president. Nixon’s approval ratings had plummeted after getting reelected for the second term following the Watergate scandal. As well during this time there was heavy inflation on the economy, at about 6 percent, all of these effects took a toll on Nixon’s Presidency, and allowed Ford to take over for the remaining two years.
Playing off of these issues Ford’s campaign ad seeks to remind the audience of the differences he has made in office. By making the scandal and the economic issues seem as awful as possible they make Ford appear as a saving grace to nation in every aspect. The ad constantly displays images of Ford hard at work or pictures of monuments around DC. The over arching idea of the video is that Ford is doing great things since the crises and should be allowed to continue that work. There is heavy influx of patriotic images being flashed; this gives Ford a more nationalistic view. As well he almost never has a smile on his face, making him seem as tough as possible. This gives the image that he is tough on the current problems Americans were facing. The ad features pictures of Ford in strong leadership pictures, to give the audience a sense of how strong Ford was. By highlighting Ford’s strength and power in his current role as President, the ad is trying to convince the audience the importance of keeping him. In fact that is the catch line at the end of his ads, “President Ford is your President…Keep him.”Ford’s campaign team is trying to highlight all of the changes he has made since being in office, and how that shows he is qualified for the job.
t is also interesting to note how Ford is only speaking of himself; in fact most of the ads from this campaign were only discussing the positives about the candidate they were representing. However this method is not as innocent as it may seem. While the candidates are highlighting their positive attributes, this is a passive way of putting down their opposition. Since both candidates used opposite ends of the political socialization in their favor by doing so they are inevitably putting the other candidate down.
With several factors playing a part, Ford was not reelected that year. It was a very close race of 50 percent Carter and 48 percent Ford. Some people would argue it was that fact that Ford pardoned, Nixon for all of his crimes. However, there is not one single point that turns an election. I would argue that people wanted a change after Nixon and Ford. As well the idea of a Washington outsider was surely appealing after all of the scandal and corruption, prior to Ford. So even though it was clear Ford could do the job, and well given his circumstances, people wanted something different.
Nixon Information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Nixon#Resignation