All About Elections

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Friday, October 12, 2012

This week On the Media focuses on elections, including why voters make the decisions they do, and how campaigns try to influence them.

This Is Your Brain on Politics

We may think we know all about how we make decisions, but when it comes to political choices, they can hinge on a number of factors that we rarely notice. Brooke speaks with political psychologists and scientists to get to the bottom of why we make the choices we do at election time.

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Young Man, Big Money

When John Ramsey came into his substantial inheritance, he was still a college student. But he didn't use the money to party - instead he became an angel investor in Liberty for All, a libertarian Super Pac. Bob spoke with Ramsey about putting up his own money to support down-ticket libertarian candidates.

Phillip Roebuck - Rattleback Blues

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Ad Nauseam

Voters in swing states are enduring a gauntlet of campaign advertising this election season. Reporter Seth Stevenson, who lives in New York City, decided to fly to one of those states (Ohio) and subjected himself to 45 hours of campaign advertising. It wasn't pleasant. Bob spoke with Stevenson, who wrote about the experiment for The New Republic.

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Covering the Modern Campaign

The way campaigns are run is changing rapidly and it's up to reporters to catch up. OTM producers PJ Vogt and Chris Neary talk about what the modern campaign looks like from the inside with Sasha Issenberg, author of the book Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns. You'll also hear from political consultant Hal Malchow and Columbia Professor Don Green - each of whom helped change the way campaigns are run.

Bert Jansch - High Days

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The World's First Political Consulting Firm

In the 1930's, married couple Clem Whitaker and Leone Baxter founded Campaigns, Inc., the world's first political consulting firm. In the ensuing 30 years, Campaigns Inc. pioneered tactics like the out-of-context quote, relentless pamphleteering, and what we now call opposition research, all techniques that are part of the modern campaign playbook. Bob talks to Jill Lepore, New Yorker contributor and author of The Story of America: Essays on Origins about Whitaker and Baxter's political legacy.

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The Dirty South

Lee Atwater became one of the most complicated and successful Republican political operatives in history by employing a triple threat: spin when you can, change the subject when you can’t, and if all else fails, appeal to the voters’ resentment and fear, usually of African-Americans. In this conversation from 2008, Brooke talks to Stefan Forbes, director of "Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story", about the dark legacy of Atwater’s Southern strategy.

Kenneth Sandford - When All Night Long a Chap Remains

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