Three Lessons U.S. Politicians Teach on How to Win an Election-Xinhua

Three Lessons U.S. Politicians Teach on How to Win an Election

Source: Xinhuanet

Editor: huaxia

2022-12-13 13:10:12

by Xin Ping

In his short story Running for Governor published in 1870, Mark Twain told the tale of his fictional run for New York Governor. Although a man of good character and reputation, due to the slandering of his rivals, he ended up with a variety of monikers including “the Infamous Perjurer, the Montana Thief, the Body Snatcher, the Delirium Tremens, the Filthy Corruptionist and the Loathsome Embracer” and had to withdraw from the election. Now that 150 years have passed, Mr. Twain would be surprised that his fable is all the less untrue in today’s America.

When the U.S. economy is on the verge of recession with record-high inflation, an increasingly tense partisan fight gets underway. As the U.S. media called the midterm election a “chaotic election” and cried that “democracy is at stake”, candidates from both parties showed their ability to get ahead of the race in every possible way. Here are three lessons they have taught the world on how to win an election:

Don’t bother to solve problems; shift the blame onto your opponent.

American politicians are having a heated debate over whether to accept more migrants stranded at the southern border. Democrats believe that they represent the liberal and human rights stance of the United States on the issue of immigrants. Republicans insist that accepting more Latin American immigrants will sooner or later make white Americans a minority, and the rights and status of white people will be endangered. Both sides believe that they are the “patriots” who are defending America’s fundamental interests.

In mid-September, right in front of the house of Vice President Harris in Washington, D.C., around 100 immigrants from the southern border gathered. For months, Republican governors in Texas, Arizona, Florida and other states have transported tens of thousands of illegal immigrants to Democrat-led cities in the Northeast in an effort to attack Democrats and boost Republican support by hyping the immigrant issue.

Therefore, you don’t have to be good enough to win the ballots. Instead, all you need to do is to make the other side look bad enough.

Running for your opponents could be even better than running for yourself.

After winning his party’s gubernatorial nomination earlier this year, Doug Mastriano, a right-leaning Republican in Pennsylvania, publicly thanked Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro for volunteering to run ads for him. That is a strange thing about this year’s U.S. midterm election campaign: Democrats are spending heavily on advertising for Republican candidates. According to The Washington Post, Democrats in at least nine states, including Colorado, Illinois and Maryland, have spent more than $53 million to support Republican candidates with more radical positions, a trick to win by avoiding contesting with more moderate Republicans who are considered more electable by Democrats.

So sometimes, if you can’t make your opponents look bad, perhaps the other way around—helping your opponents’ campaigning—could give you unexpected results.

If voters don’t choose you, go choose the voters.

The U.S. redraws congressional districts based on the census every 10 years, and the power to do so generally rests with state legislatures. As a result, the political party with the most seats can manipulate the results by drawing districts in its favor.

The midterm election this year is the first national election after redistricting based on the results of the 2020 population census. To get a head start, the two political parties are maneuvering to get hold of redistricting. In Tennessee, for example, Republican lawmakers “split” Davidson County, “redrawing” Democratic voters into three different districts to increase the likelihood of a Republican victory; while in Illinois, Democratic lawmakers combined four districts previously held by Republicans into two. In Alabama, where African Americans make up about 27 percent of the population, 60 percent of them were assigned to one congressional district after the 2020 census, leaving other districts with a lower percentage of African Americans and making it difficult for their votes to effectively influence elections in those districts.

At the end of the day, whether it is a red wave or a blue riptide, the saddening truth is that democracy has never been a story of the American people but a game for politicians and their parties.

(The author is a commentator on international affairs, writing regularly for Xinhua News Agency, CGTN, Global Times, etc. He can be reached at