Posts tagged Twitter

The Key to Winning the 2012 Election

The problem with losing a political campaign is that everyone points to the winners as being smarter, that every single detail (latest technology) of their campaign was perfect, and those who executed the winning plan are geniuses.   On the other hand, pundits cast the losers as dumb, behind the times and totally worthless.  Nobody calls you up, if you lose.

Garrett M. Graff

Neither one is true.  There is no one magic formula for winning.  Running a political campaign is like setting up a medium sized business for a short time, hoping to make a profit (winning) and closing it after the election ends.  It’s the campaign that makes the fewest mistakes that wins.

Campaign tools/ electronic gadgets are available to all sides.  You only have to go down to the corner pub on Capitol Hill to find out what your opponent is doing. 

What wins – organization and implementing your plan?  At 5:45 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2008, at a grade school in Ladue, Mo, an affluent suburb of St. Louis which votes heavily Republican, three Obama workers were already there with yard signs in place handing out literature.  Republicans had one worker and no yard signs.  Although McCain ended up barely winning Missouri after a two-week recount, Obama won in heavily Republican areas of St. Louis County.

As Michael Silberman writes in “Welcome to the New Media campaign of 2012,” the Obama campaign was very good at mobilizing and communicating with their volunteers through text messaging as well as online messages to recruit and funnel volunteers. 

Social media served them well, but in the end it was the old fashioned person-to-person, standing at the polls, going door-to-door that grassroots “get-out-the-vote” that wins.  Those poll workers in Missouri were part of the campaign’s “Project Houdini,” described by Silberman.

So how will globalization and technology change the landscape of future campaigns?

Dick Morris talks about the “Electronic Precinct” where any individual can influence an election. In his new book, “2010-Take Back America,” Morris writes that each person should be their own campaign media guru, strategist and manager.  “Make a list of your constituents and go talk to each of them by e-mail, by Twitter, by YouTube, by Facebook and by phone.   Craft a strategy for each person on your list. Send a video about a candidate or one of his speeches. Be your own publisher and spread the word. To win in 2010, we need to have hundreds of thousands of electronic precincts across the U. S.”  Already the Democratic National Committee has released a campaign video of President Obama urging his supporters to vote for Democrats in November.

 What about the “gotcha” politics online?  Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal writes about how, “the veil was ripped from the true cost of government” by the internet.  “Before the Internet in Washington, California, New York, New Jersey—who knew what the pols were spending? The Democrats (and their Republican pilot fish) could get away with this. Not now. Email lists, 24/7 newspapers, blogs, TV and talk radio—the spending beast is running naked.”

A new kind of political campaign

It’s pretty obvious that the new technologies, Facebook, YouTube, e-mail, Twitter, will play a big part in the 2012 election.  But in the end, it takes people showing up at the polls, just like the Obama campaign of 2008 proved.  The electronic tools communicated to the volunteers and voters to show up. When they got to the polls, it’s that gut feeling people have about a candidate that translates into a yes vote. The image of Obama, young, energetic and using the latest technology was a powerful image of change. As Garrett Graff wrote for a cover story in Infonomics.  “Even the candidate himself was a techie: Obama famously cherishes his BlackBerry, and on the campaign trail he regularly zoned out with his iPod

Michael Lind talks about “The Boring Age” in Time Magazine’s March 22, 2010 claiming the “times they aren’t a-changin’ and though we want to believe technological innovation is proceeding at a rate with no parallel in all of human history, the truth is we are living in a period of stagnation.”  He asks, “Is the combination of a phone, video screen and keyboard really as revolutionary as the original telephone, the original television set or the original typewriter was?”

In the end, will people be too busy running their lives to know what’s going on?  Or, will social media cure that?

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