Political and Physical Tools: Workers as a Voting Bloc in Political Advertisements

This is the first part of a series of research excerpts from a short essay, by myself, for my internship at the Political Communication Center, on the topic of Unions, Workers, and the representations a politician chooses to bring out to obtain the support of this constructed voting bloc. This essay is a reflection of my research into the portrayal of the working class through the 60’s and 70’s, and its role as a tool of political gain.  Part one focuses on a political ad by Edward Mezvinsky, and his attempt to capture votes from his area’s workers.

“Whenever we have policy that discriminates against the worker, the common man, well, we better have someone go to bat for them.” Edward Mezvinsky’s terse statement during a political ad for his 1970 campaign for congress holds little substance in its wording, with “worker,” and “common man,” being thrown out like bricks devoid of weight.1 These featherweight statements have an importance though, in who they signal towards, Edward Mezvinsky, a two-time congressman and convicted on 31 out of 69 felony fraud charges of fraud, signaled in his first run for congress that he was a candidate that appealed to the “worker.”2 Mezvinsky’s evocation of the working class is narrowed down to the contents of his ad; he speaks, surrounded by white, middle-aged men, who look like they hold jobs that a politician would categorize into the moniker of Blue Collar, and espouses his support for those who represent the working-class in the eyes of politicians across the country in the 70’s, white Blue Collar workers.

Mezvinsky is certainly not the only politician to bring out this particular image of the American worker, but his example, a nearly empty set of words, seemingly thrown out to appeal to a voting group and not to dictate a policy position, represent a bigger effort by American politicians, on both parties, to captivate this formed voting bloc and drag them clearly to one side of the aisle.

 

https://youtu.be/Uca4ZlPZW3Y

 

Sources:

  1. Mezvinsky, Edward, with Kevin McCormally and John Greenya. A Term to Remember. New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, Inc., 1977. http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=M000686
  2. "Iowa ex-congressman to leave prison". The Gazette. April 9, 2008.