Author Archive

Niamh Cashell (University of Manchester)

Niamh Cashell is a Politics PhD student at the University of Manchester working on the project Digital Campaigning in Electoral Democracies.

Visual campaigning is not new to the social media era. In the US, the first political cartoon was published by Benjamin Franklin in political pamphlets in 1747. Visual symbols such as the bald eagle, stars and stripes, and the colours of red, white and blue have been used in campaign posters going back to 1828. Visual campaigning only intensified from the 1960s onwards with the proliferation of television, with the first televised debate between Nixon and Kennedy in 1964 widely hailed as being a turning point. A young and charismatic Kennedy contrasted sharply with an older Nixon, who appeared sweaty and pale (Messaris 2019), and the appearance and personalities of party leaders has played an increasingly important role in political …