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“Chum” is campaign gear such as bumper stickers, lawn signs, and campaign buttons.

The concept of chum draws its metaphorical origins from the practice of using fish bait, also known as chum, to attract larger fish.

Similarly, in political campaigns, chum is strategically deployed to create a frenzy of media coverage or public reaction, diverting attention from unfavorable issues, or amplifying particular messages or narratives that benefit the campaign.

The use of chum in political campaigns often involves releasing information or making provocative statements that are intended to generate controversy, spark debate, or capture media attention.

These carefully timed revelations or provocative actions are designed to dominate news cycles and shift the focus away from potentially damaging or unfavorable stories about the candidate or their campaign.

Chum can take various forms depending on the specific circumstances and objectives of the campaign.

It can involve releasing damaging or scandalous information about an opponent, leaking internal documents or communications that paint a negative picture of the opposition, or even making intentionally inflammatory or polarizing statements to energize the base or attract media attention.

The effectiveness of chum as a campaign strategy hinges on its ability to create a media firestorm, generating headlines, news coverage, and public discourse that aligns with the desired narrative or diverts attention from unfavorable issues.

By strategically deploying chum, campaign operatives aim to control the media agenda and shape public opinion in favor of their candidate.

The distribution of chum is organized by a candidate’s advance man.

Time notes that during the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama’s campaign “set up little tabletop trinket shops, known as ‘chum stores’ because all those little Obama-branded doodads aren’t only keepsakes; they are also bait. Every person who buys a button or hat is recorded as a campaign donor. But the real goal of the chum operations was building a list of workers, supporters and their e-mail addresses.”

Use of “Chum” in a sentence

  • In a strategic move, the campaign manager decided to chum the media waters by leaking a scandalous document about the opposing candidate, creating a frenzy of headlines and distracting from their own candidate’s recent missteps.
  • The candidate’s controversial statement was seen as a deliberate attempt to chum the public discourse, generating heated debates and dominating news coverage for days.
  • Recognizing the need for a media breakthrough, the campaign team devised a plan to chum the waters by organizing a high-profile endorsement from a well-known celebrity, grabbing the attention of voters and reshaping the narrative surrounding their candidate.