A Different Kind Of Campaign: A Scientific Campaign
No secret I think consistenly about Dean 2008. I keep having thoughts. Some of my recent ones are as follows.
Nobody else has the democracy message, Dean is the only one. 2008 is the year when America the republic becomes America the democracy. You can not imagine saying something like that with any other candidate. That is why. It really is about the concept of democracy. He just also happens to be the best possible vehicle for it.
Dean is made for the internet. He is so made for the internet, he is a TV failure, and he need not change, he dare not change. 2008 is to be the first internet campaign. If you learn the Newtonian theory of gravitation too well, that actually limits your abilities to understand the Einstein version.
Progressive power truly is about public service. It really is about the average person, the average family out there. Power has a purpose.
November 2006. The Dems take back the House and the Senate with a 10 point program. Dean goes on a listening tour across the country. He asks DFA chapters across the country about his possible candidacy. There is much enthusiasm which he cites as the reason to revisit his decision from a few years earlier to not seek the presidency in 2008. The tour lasts to the middle of December. Then there is a Christmas and a New Year break when he huddles with his family, mentally prepares them for what might lie ahead.
January 29, 2007. Dean gives a speech announcing his candidacy. It has been a month of policy and politics work. A lot of brainstorming sessions. Basic outlines are drawn. The speech goes through many drafts. The basic theme is people power. But that is not all there is to it. A lot of policy thinking has gone into the speech.
Then the first internet campaign in US presidential history is launched. It is webcast.
(1) Face Time: That is the center piece of the campaign. It is just that we realize video blogging is an option we are going to use to the max. New technology puts primary focus not on screen time, but face time. Many people wrongly think it is the other way round.
(2) Screen Time: That is the backbone of the campaign.
(3) Old Media: That is still there, and is to be used to the hilt.
February 2007 - November 2007:
- One major policy speech a month.
- Major emphasis on fundraising.
- Do not spend more than 5% of the money raised before December 2007.
- Meet as many voters as possible across the country.
Money Talks. We know it. We will play it. We will raise numerous small sums. We would rather two million people donate $10 a month more than anything.
Frugality. We will spend the money $10 at a time. We will spend it like we raised it. No money on TV ads before December 2007, perhaps. Before December, the only thing we do not scrimp on is Dean may travel as much as he wants. And everything is to be video blogged and more. Other than that we will be on a strict diet. If they beat us, they are going to have to beat us on something other than money.
Meeting Voters. This is the most important thing the candidate does, and noone else can do it for him. There are going to be several layers to it. And this aspect is to use the internet and commmon sense technologies to the hilt. The idea is that no voter who meets Dean should feel the need to bring their camera along. The campaign will take the pictures and put them online for them. We do still pictures, we also video blog everything. We make it possible for people to embed the pictures and segments of the video clips at their personal blogs, websites. This done to the hilt is the only way to truly try and reach out to 300 million Americans. I know someone who knows someone who has a picture with Dean. Will it be a two degrees of separation or will it be three?
This is the photo opportunity part. It does ask for physical stamina and good humor and great planning on the part of the campaign.
- Pose for group pictures.
- One on one pictures.
Then there is honing in, listening. What do you do for a living? What is your family like? Do you have health insurance? Are you anxious about your job? If you could make one policy change, what would it be? You ask the questions, and then you just listen. Unless you really really feel the urge, you don't start offering policy prescriptions. For all that you have your monthly policy speech, media interviews, stump speeches.
And then there is really listening. We are going to find 100 sample Americans. And Dean is going to really get to know these people, spend hours with them, pay them repeat visits throughout the campaign. And of course all that will get video blogged.
There are going to be these five basic themes that we are going to keep repeating. More than five is too many. Stump speechs are about raising morale. They are about using the simplest language. Those who attend should get this jamboree feeling. It should feel good. I don't exactly know what those five are yet. But here is a first draft.
- People power. You have the power. The democracy message.
- Universal, lifelong education.
- Health care for everyone through reform, creativity and the guts to fight the fight.
- Strong on defense: better management of military operations, better management of Iraq and Afghanistan, better manage the hunt for Bin Laden, better manage troop withdrawals, not using threat of terror to unleash terror on civil rights, to not harass ethnic minorities just to say you are doing something about terror, instead use immigrants from those countries as the cutting edge soldiers for democracy in those respective countries, to spread democracy the progressive way, offer spreading democrac the progressive way as the true victory for the war on terror.
- You fill it up.
The campaign basically moves to Iowa. All the key people move to Iowa. We live there for two months. It is to be 3-2-1. 3/6ths in Iowa, 2/6ths in New Hampshire, 1/6ths in New York City and elsewhere in the country.
We let the Iowa Deaniacs decide if they wish to invite people from outside to help them. Mostly we use the locals. We treat the state with utmost respect. I worked for an Iowa company for over a year: Heartland Express. Iowa is a field of dreams. Kevin Costner said that? I second that.
We win both Iowa and New Hampshire. I intend to brave the cold, although in my hometown in Nepal it never snows.
She is the only Democrat I am "worried" about. Others are easy. I am a huge fan of the Clintons. The 1990s were glory years. 1992 was a magic campaign, it was a classic. I get the impression Bill Clinton wants Hillary to run more than Hillary wants to run, if she wants to run at all: she has a more realistic measure of gender than the guy. The guy is in love. I don't blame him. And Hillary would be a great candidate and a great president.
At this point I don't even know for sure Dean will run. He may not bring this up before 2007. That's just the discipline required.
I have an idea. How about we hold a "secret" meeting with the Clintons right afte our Iowa and New Hampshire victories? We make Hillary an offer she can not refuse. And this is assuming she has not been in the ring, because if she is, you are looking at Bill Clinton as her Campaign Manager. That guy just so happens to be Pele.
The offer is we can not officially make this offer until months later, but it is you for us. Let it be a Dean-Hillary presidency for the first term, and then a Hillary-Dean one for the second term.
This is so out of the box, a lot of people will be like, wait a minute. But this public offer might be a way to reduce her chances of making our Iowa winter worse, and also dangle the White House to the Man from Hope. Here, a White House for your wife.
We are so progressive, we really have a running mate who will literally become the president. It will be a co-presidency for both during the two terms. Both will have a lot of powers. And I can't think of a grander way of breaking the white male glass ceiling at the very top, a more progressive way. Don't you think?
We tackle health care reform all over again with Hillary taking the lead. This time we do it right. We start in 2009, and we work on it for three years, we keep it utmost transparent, we keep the DFA superstructure super involved. We make Hillary blog! ("I can't think in front of a computer." Hillary Rodham Clinton) Success after three years becomes the center piece of our reelection effort.
The Campaign, Part I
This is after New Hampshire when we unofficially sew the nomination, to when we officially do it. We use this period to really build the party, really build our message, really get a lot of policy details worked out, really get the DFA superstructure in place, because we will need it more after we are in the White House.
The Campaign, Part II
We informally sew the nomination. Enter Hillary. We send off Bill Clinton to the South where the white boy belongs! Bill Clinton and Jesse Jackson. They have been transplants in Chicago and New York City. I am for Hillary shaking many fewer hands than Dean. Hillary works better on the stump.
New Orleans. I was thinking Atlanta, but after Katrina, do we have a choice? We don't even have to work to show the failure of the government. Katrina did that for us.
We will blog this convention like no convention has been blogged before. The scalable media concept will be used to the hilt. People will intimately participate even if they are not there in person.
The Campaign, Part III
We want to beat them on policy, we want to beat them by better executing our campaign. We want to beat them with respect. But if they get dirty, they will get hit like they never have been before. Never underestimate people power.
Me showing up in social settings where the political work gets done is like Amitabh Bachchan showing up at his movie sets. I am at the core of it a loner. I prefer listening to talking. I am not big on shaking hands although I do enjoy meeting people, greatly. I like to get most of my "info" through reading. I am allergic to racist comments like Bill Clinton is allergic to pollen grains. For me even fighting has to be a concept, not a shouting session.
I do blog, I do video blog, but I can't get myself excited about media interviews. The candidate meets the voters, the campaign manager deals primarily with the Deaniacs, the campaign staff, and the candidate. I see myself reading a lot of books on the campaign trail. Every staffer will have a laptop with wireless broadband, a cellphone with the in-calling feature.
I look forward to meeting the celebs. Like Hillary, for instance!
It has to be a fun experience. The candidate getting physically tired is not a good but a bad campaign, an inefficient campaign.
Maybe we will have him on the Republican ticket.
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