Since the 2008 presidential election, the Obama campaign has displayed a remarkable understanding and mastery of the revolutionary potential of new media. From video games and social media networks like Facebook and Twitter to the crowd-funding collaboration site, Kickstarter, team Obama has effectively demonstrated a more current world outlook than many politicians on today’s national scene. At the center of the “Yes We Can” and “Forward” presidential election campaigns, is a unique combination of a grassroots movement that connects with working-class folks and celebrities alike.
President Obama’s image as designed – because all political candidates are constructed tactically (even graphically) – is founded on a platform of change and old school values simultaneously. The Obama campaign’s use of new media technology reflects this approach moving way beyond traditional fireside chats through technology, yet connecting with millions of people through a story of grit and glory. In an article by Jim Stein for the Huffington Post, President Obama’s campaign manager Jim Messina stated, “This [technological innovation] is light-years ahead of where we were in 2008. We are going to make 2008, on the ground, look like ‘Jurassic Park.’” Messina added that the campaign intends to surpass its record-breaking records set four years ago because through “trial and error,” they have learned how to run a better campaign.
Take one charismatic president with popular appeal, add an opposition seemingly out of touch with regular folks and an aggressive digital marketing strategy and digital success is imminent. This is not to say the Romney campaign does not have a formidable digital presence; Romney lacks President Obama’s star quality and is targeting an older demographic that uses social media, but not to the same extent as President Obama’s supporters, whichskew younger and are the most active users of social media networks. Messina understands the need to explore new technological developments and to develop custom products, which is why the Obama campaign currently dominates the Internet battleground.
In line with Messina’s predictions, the campaign is finding new means of connecting with the masses, and incorporating all identifiable methods to combat America’s shrinking attention span. Although Romney and the Republican Party are catching on, they are dwarfed by the web savvy of the Obama campaign. For instance, President Obama has over 28 million Facebook fans while Romney has 6.3 million.
Reddit is based on a democratic model allowing users to vote for or against a topic. The democratic element lends itself to similar social media networks like Twitter, where anyone can steal the show at any given time, which President Obama did, during the RNC.
In the past, the President has held town hall style chats on Twitter and LinkedIn to great success, but his ‘Ask Me Anything’ initiative on Reddit was groundbreaking. Reddit received record visitation at over 5 million visitors on that day, and 2.9 million page views during the ‘Ask Me Anything’ initiative. President Obama’s DNC speech garnered 52,757 tweets per minute, which is a Twitter record. Social media is still in its infancy so it is hard to determine how it influences presidential outcomes, but if President Obama’s campaign continues exploring and developing social media strategies, then social media as a political tool may turn out to be the key to winning four more years.
During the Democratic National Convention, Democrats spent the majority of the week making their case to the American electorate, more specifically to independent voters, that the future their platform offers America is more inclusive and more in line with the principles in which this country were founded. The DNC proved to be a case study on political marketing. The convention started with First Lady Michelle Obama serving as the character reference for the President, giving America a glimpse of what truly motivates the man and a clear sense of his moral fabric. Then President Clinton provided the detailed job performance evaluation, with the unique perspective that only a former president could provide, that afforded America real insight into just how difficult things were when President Obama was elected and how successful he truly was given those circumstances. Between these two amazing speeches were a number of enthusiastic, passionate speeches that proved powerful in their own right, which leads me to President Obama’s speech.
As with any big sales pitch, after the case has been made, a closer is brought in to give the decision-maker a sense of comfort that it is okay to say “yes, I’m sold”. A closer is a combination of smooth energy, inspiration, integrity, confidence and competence. On day three of the DNC, Barack Obama proved to be the Closer-In-Chief. Instead of employing the oratorical gifts and flair that we have seen from him during his previous speeches at the 2004 and 2008 conventions where he was a candidate, President Obama made a stately speech that clearly delineated the differences between him and his opponent, Mitt Romney. The President laid out his goals matter-of-factly while showing enough confidence in what he was offering to even acknowledge his “failings” without fear of how his opponent may try to use his words against him.
The Democratic Party seemingly has had an unbelievably successful three days in the spotlight. They have offered voters a beautifully choreographed sales pitch concluded with the voice of the President. In the coming days, we will get an idea of how successful the convention really was when we see how large of a “bump” the President gets in the polls. Ultimately, we will see how effective our country’s Closer-In-Chief was in making his case for another four years.
A contributor (nycsouthpaw) for Buzzfeed visually demonstrates why former president Bill Clinton is considered to be one of the best public speakers in modern history. The wildly popular, former president’s prepared speech for the 2012 Democratic National Convention (DNC) ran twice as long as scheduled, making multiple additions and deletions in the process. Clinton’s ability to explain what President Barack Obama has been doing in a way that even President Obama has not been able to, may make the difference in the minds of voters. Check out this transcript against former President Clinton’s remarks and see how the nation’s 42nd president switched it up on the fly to create yet another historical moment at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Click here for the full transcript.
In 48 minutes, former president Bill Clinton reminded the country of why he is considered by many to be one of the greatest speakers in American history. Clinton showed that he is still very capable of connecting to an audience and telling an amazing story that highlights his political beliefs and what he thinks is best for the country. The former president touched on many themes including the power of constructive cooperation and compromise, shared prosperity and equal opportunity. Clinton may be the one person capable of energizing a crowd like a successful coach of a sports team before the big game while educating them like a college professor before the tough exam.
The former president’s speech and nomination of President Barack Obama was substantive, detailed, personable and charismatic all while destroying the Republican platform issue by issue. Clinton succinctly framed the prevailing theme from the recent Republican National Convention. “In Tampa, the Republican argument against the President’s re-election was actually pretty simple, pretty snappy… We left him a total mess, he hadn’t cleaned it up fast enough…so fire him and put us back in.” From saving the auto industry, to lowering taxes for 95% of Americans, to creating a policy that provides affordable health care to all Americans, Clinton detailed President Obama’s accomplishments while explaining the challenges of his presidency. “No president, not me, not any of my predecessors… no one could have fully repaired all the damage that he found in just four years.”
Most importantly, Clinton, in his eloquence, moved the conversation squarely to contrasting the platforms of each party as they relate to the middle class. His message was clearly designed to resonate with independent voters and to energize those voters from four years ago who are frustrated with the slower than expected recovery of our economy. He painted a vision for our country’s future by paralleling the success of his presidency with that of the next four years of President Obama’s. Former President Clinton has spoken and there is little doubt that America has listened — and America will be better off for it in November.
Jasper Alexander is a contributing writer to The Burton Wire.