By Marykate Guilfoyle
Being a student at Hofstra University, I’ve gotten wonderful opportunities to advance my education with personal experiences. In February, I had the chance to attend the New Hampshire Primary with Hofstra’s Political Science Department. This was an experience of a lifetime, in which I was immersed in the media and political culture of New Hampshire.
Being a public relations and political science major, the primary gave me a look into the world in which I want to be a part. I got to experience the middle of a media frenzy while also listening to candidates speak in intimate settings. I was able to attend small events for Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Jim Gilmore, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Being a New Yorker, this is something I would have never been able to experience.
New Hampshire is all about retail politics and authenticity; the candidates had to relate to everyday people. It was their job to make as much of a personal connection as they could to make sure their message was heard. If the people didn’t feel that the candidate’s message was genuine and authentic, the candidate has failed.
This is what PR is all about; you have to connect with people and deliver your message in a way that your constituents will understand it. At all of the different candidate’s events, staffers were handing out posters, flyers, pamphlets, stickers and more. Everyone that worked on the campaign did whatever they could to keep potential voters and guests of the event happy.
Marco Rubio was late to an event and as we waited the staffers ordered pizza to keep everyone upbeat. At a Hillary Clinton event people got shut out of the event due to the gymnasium reaching capacity, so the staffers made it their job to give everyone waiting in line priority seating at the next Clinton event. This was all done to maintain the candidate’s image and reaffirm the importance of the guest at the event to the candidate.
Public Relations and politics go hand and hand, and I had the opportunity to experience it firsthand.