The issue of vaccination is becoming a classic communications challenge for Republican presidential candidates. On the one hand, if they say yes, of course, everybody should immunize their children, the science is clear, it’s basic good parenting to give your child all immunizations, this makes a candidate seem reasonable to most of Americans, to the New York Times, and to scientists.
However, there is a large fraction of the Republican Party that does not believe in the science, they don’t believe in government telling them what to do, and they remain skeptical of scientific claims to the otherwise. Republican candidates are in a pickle either way. If they come out in favor of letting parents choose, then the candidates are ridiculed as anti-science demagogues who are putting public health at risk.
If, on the other hand, they come out in favor of universal vaccination, libertarians and antigovernment conservatives hate them. It is a tough, tough issue for Republicans, given the current state of the Republican Party. As a communications expert I can help people figure out how to communicate their messages clearly and as memorable as possible. Unfortunately, that doesn’t help when any message you choose is going to alienate a huge faction of your audience.
Chris Christie made comments suggesting he thought parents should have a choice on vaccination, but then quickly backpedaled earlier this week. Rand Paul said government shouldn’t impose vaccinations. Most other GOP Candidates have come out in favor of vaccinations. Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly has come down strongly in favor of vaccinations, calling them “Big Brother,” but essential. That may make it safer for all GOP candidates to ultimately endorse vaccinations.
If you would like to receive media training or public speaking training please contact Media Training Worldwide at 212-764-4955.