Refeudalisation in 2016 American Presidential Elections: A Habermasian Perspective

Elections are a vital component of democratic systems wherein the collective electoral decisions of individuals significantly influence the final outcome. The exercise of the right to vote is safeguarded by the principle of anonymity, ensuring that no external parties are privy to the individual choices made by voters. Election is not a single day affair. It begins even before it is declared as the fundamental task of the contestants would be to influence the voters. Political candidates and the parties they represent utilize various conventional strategies to influence public opinion during electoral campaigns. These methods encompass a broad range of tactics such as posters and paintings displayed on public thoroughfares, advertisements disseminated through various media platforms, election rallies, news broadcasts featuring debates and discussions, video promotions, and others. Additionally, a new method of campaigning has emerged in contemporary times, which operates surreptitiously, yet with considerable force. Such tactics, which operate as undercurrents, function in a manner that makes it difficult for the targeted subjects to realize that they are being influenced. This paper is an attempt to study the effect of these invisible influences in elections, with focus on the 2016 American presidential elections. The paper uses insights of Jurgen Habermas, a German philosopher and sociologist.

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