Margaret-Mulvihill1By Margaret Mulvihill

The Role of Public Relations in Politics is a monthly column written by WWPR member Margaret Mulvihill, examining the role of PR in politics.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Washington Women in Public Relations

Porter Novelli helps Indiana roll with the punches

PR’s role in politics is changing in step with global and domestic social and political changes. Who would have thought a year ago, that a state like Indiana would need PR help? Yet that is the case. After a disastrous series of misspoken missteps, the state of Indiana brought in a top PR group – Porter Novelli – to help improve its image.

As states become highlighted in the ongoing battles for equality, not to mention the 2016 Presidential onslaught, I suspect that this is just the beginning of a welcome trend. Welcome, because it’s so wrong to tar everyone in one state or region with the same brush. Welcome, because, come on now, everyone benefits from a good PR campaign!

President Hopeful

We are also seeing more and more Presidential hopefuls declare their candidacy. For some reason, the media is focused on the candidates much earlier this cycle than in any other I can remember. As mentioned in last month’s blog, the candidates have been carefully choosing their PR people, all of whom are big names, all people with excellent pedigrees in the world of PR.

Back in August of 2014, Bob Cusack wrote in The Hill about ‘The 65 people who might run for President in 2016.’ Where are they now? Certainly not declaring their candidacies, and many of them not even in the running anymore. In case nobody noticed, two years is a very long time in politics!

Rolling with the Most Punches

Hillary Clinton is, of course, running. She is the candidate who will have to roll with the most punches. She announced her candidacy on April 11. It is difficult to imagine Vice President Joe Biden running against her. It is even more difficult to see Al Gore making a return to the down and dirty of presidential politics. Joe Manchin, perhaps, of West Virginia, who is a centrist, would arguably make a good Commander in Chief.

Ticket Punched Already

Martin O’Malley, former two-term Governor of Maryland, stands little chance – he failed to earn the respect of his constituents, and the recent civil unrest in Baltimore following the police homicide of Freddy Gray is O’Malley’s legacy.

Deval Patrick has disappeared into the woodwork – is he honing a Presidential bid, quietly and out of the media glare?

538 days to the next Presidential election. In those 538 days, many of our colleagues will forge ahead and either add to the luster of their careers, or make their names known front and center. Long live Presidential politics and its necessary side-kick, Public Relations!