Many people both inside and outside of Washington and the national media have come to the conclusion that President Elect Barack Obama has ran one of the greatest and most comprehensive ground games in history. There are many forces that drove this campaign but today we’re going to take a quick look at the top 3.
1. Organization and Team Building - One of Barack Obama’s greatest talents is finding other people with top notch talent and a passion for their work, so it was no surprise that when it was time to pick a campaign manager Barack Obama chose David Plouffe. Plouffe had been working as a democratic party campaign consultant for Axelrod and associates. David Plouffe’s greatest strength came in the primaries when he along with chief strategist David Axelrod devised a game plan that would heavily rely on caucus states instead of primary states and work on extending the campaign far beyond “Super Tuesday”. This plan not only allowed them to tally more delegates than Hillary Clinton, it also allowed them to build their national campaign infrastructure from the ground up. By the time the general election came around the campaign had already competed, recruited, and gathered donors in all 50 states. This allowed the campaign to avoid one of the biggest road blocks politicians face when running for office, the dreaded “October surprise”. But since voters already knew Obama, there was little the McCain campaign could say to scare away voters.
2. Small Donors - Big campaigns require a large amount of cash to fuel the day to day operations and the Obama campaign was no exception. Barack Obama had only been a senator for 2 years when he decided to run for president and faced an uphill battle when it came to raising cash against the Clinton machine of the 1990’s. If he had the choice he probably would have relied on big donors but since that option wasn’t available the campaign had to rely on the small donors and the net-roots for support. Many view Barack Obama as generational shift not only because of his young age but because he is the first candidate to really run a 21st century campaign that took advantage of the internet and technology. Campaign volunteers were actually given the ability to phone-bank from home with pre-written scripts and even worked along side the Obama campaign to stomp out viral emails and message board postings that contained false or misleading information about the Senator.
3. Getting Out The Vote - This was the heart of the Obama campaign, it has been called one the greatest ground-game operation in United States history. It doesn’t matter how much airtime you buy, or how well you perform in the debates. If you can’t get your supporters out to the polls on election day that you will have absolutely no chance of winning. The Obama campaign understood this and during the primaries and in the general election it did everything possible to make sure voters got to the polls. Earlier we mentioned how Obama is the first 21st century President, and if you want more evidence of that checkout what he did to make sure voters got to the polls. The Barack Obama campaign hired a technology company to develop a voter database that updated in real-time as people voted, as voters came into their precincts to cast their ballot the Obama headquarters would send out the information to volunteers in the field. As soon as the information was received on the volunteers blackberry, the voter’s name would be crossed off a list and marked as “voted”. At 3:00 PM the volunteers would then go through the list and call everybody who has yet to vote and encourage them to make it to the precinct.