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Why Sarah Palin & Joe Biden? The Real Reason Behind the VP Picks: Marketing

Sarah Palin & Joe Biden

When we’re deciding whether we like the person delivering a message, tone of voice accounts for 38% of our opinion, body language for 55% and the actual words for just 7%. This is a fact.

The presidential election is not about issues. It hasn’t been about actual issues for a very long time. I’d argue since Thomas Jefferson. The vast majority of Americans don’t understand or care about real issues. They just don’t matter. So what is it about then?


Image is the single most important factor in a presidential election.
This article from the Wall Street Journal explains why candidates with deeper voices almost always do better than ones with higher voices. According to the psychometricians, a tall man with a deep voice is a shoe-in for president. I guess nobody told Fred Thompson.

Despite Fred’s height – the taller candidate has won 27 times and the shorter has only won 17 times out of all the past presidential elections. The height of one or more candidate wasn’t known in 9 elections and they were equal in 2 elections. That’s a pretty significant statistic.

Politicians know this, that’s why both major candidates picked VPs that add something to their image. You want to do an interesting thought experiment…take all the image ‘weaknesses’ of a candidate, and write down the opposites. That’ll give you their ideal VP.

For instance; McCain is a disagreeable, unattractive, short-tempered old war vet with ties to the Bush administration. Who would be his ideal VP? Firstly, a woman: studies show that women are far more likely to try to compromise during a disagreement, whereas men are more likely to reject compromise. Women are less disagreeable and less short-tempered on average. So, a woman to counter his anger, but what kind of woman? A young and attractive one to offset McCain’s age and ugliness. But, it can’t just be any good looking young woman, she has to be a Republican without ties to Bush. Every Republican in politics these days has ties to Bush.
How about Alaska? It’s a rough and ready frontier land, as far from Washington as you can get while still being in these United States. It gives her the image of being a Washington outsider, no matter what her issues are. It’s a perfect pick from the image point of view.

As for Obama, he’s certainly not immune to these political machinations either. There were a whole slew of possible VPs that would have been a better fit for Obama’s socialist politics, but he picks Joe Biden. Why?

What are Obama’s weaknesses? He’s relatively young, seen as inexperienced, had that “problem” with his pastor, and he’s black, which unfortunately is an image weakness in our society.
Flip them all around, and you get an ultra mainstream politician: a catholic white male in his mid-60s who supported the Iraq war and doesn’t rock the boat: Joe Biden. Obama is different, but Biden is the same; the same as every politician you’ve ever seen, every fake TV and movie president and imagined political leader.

That’s just the way it is, like it or not. Our politicians are pandering freaks driven almost solely by ambition. Issues are meaningless, and advertising is paramount. In the future, with more and more real time news and 24 hour coverage, politics and marketing will become even more entangled than they are now. The more people know about human nature, the more people will try to exploit it for their own gain. Blame the human brain.

Disagree? Think I got it all wrong? Let us know in the comments, tell us what you really think.