Street Fight is a documentary film that covers a mayoral campaign in Newark by Cory Booker. He was a Council member who stood up to a powerful politician James Sharpe. At first, Sharpe underestimated his competitor due to Booker’s young age and inexperience. However then, Sharpe had to make large investments in his pre-election campaign. The confrontation between two politicians got out of hand and turned into a real fight.
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Both candidates used similar leadership and power techniques to manipulate people’s opinions. However, Sharpe was more successful and won the election, though his opponent was very close to him. The main goal of this paper is to discuss the concepts of leadership and power, using examples that are presented in a film Street Fight.
Leadership is a system that is based on several concepts, and it starts with the articulating a vision. It is necessary to specify goals. Cory Booker’s main aim was to transform urban communities. His slogans emphasized the importance of changes in the leadership of the city. On the other hand, Booker’s opponent insisted on the idea that the current city’s policy was well-designed and must not have been altered. Sharpe supported his opinion by presented statistics.
It is the second concept of leadership, defining reality. He stated a significant reduction in crime rates and the increased number of new residential units. However, Booker mentioned other figures. These statistics aimed to prove that Sharpe’s policy had not had great success. Booker highlighted high unemployment and school dropout rates, noticing that Newark residents’ deserved the better quality of life. Thereby, Booker created a conflict, making people angry about his opponent’s incompetence.
It is the third technique of leadership. In addition, Booker constantly blamed Sharpe for being inflexible and corrupt. Sharpe adopted the same strategy and stated that Booker had support from outside the city, thus, he pursued his own interests, not the city’s. Also, Sharpe underlined Booker’s hypocrisy because Booker was a famous Republican, though he tried to present himself as a Democrat. Applying these techniques, Sharpe aimed to gain the solidarity among older persons.
In order to get more voters on their sides, these politicians employed the specific technique that implies power. A person gets power when the dependency of a certain resource takes place. Leaders can use a reward power technique to influence people’s behavior by promising them things they need. For example, Booker set safety as the major priority. He promised to reconstruct the Police Department and handle gangs in schools. He assured voters that more police officers would patrol the streets to stop the chaos that citizens are exposed to every day. Booker emphasized the lack of competent policemen and the importance of this non-substitutable resource.
On the other hand, Booker’s opponent promised to revive the city’s downtown. Sharpe underlined the necessity of modernizing the infrastructure as it is a basic need of the city. He stated that Newark could not develop without well-established essential systems.
In conclusion, this film revealed the real nature of the political interests of two politicians. The methods of the implementation of their plans can be scrutinized and systematized. This work demonstrates the complexity of political relationships and their influence on the life of regular people. However, manipulation does not always bring desirable outcomes. Hence, it is highly important to increase the awareness of manipulation techniques among the general public.