Days of Change

A Tale of Two Obamas

November 9, 2014
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Republicans have made the somewhat contradictory claims that Obama won election in 2008 because he was an unknown quantity but also managed to win the election in 2012 when he was a known quantity and the American people had expressed their displeasure. Can both be true? Barring the fact that the GOP ran two boring, status quo candidates, the reason why Obama won twice is that his handlers ran two very different campaigns.

Election 2008 was a wave election, designed so that Obama would be the light bringer and shine on all the other Democratic candidates. In practice, it meant that most of the money going to the DNC went to Campaign Obama, rather than 57 states worth of races. The message was that war was bad, McCain is Bush, Hope and Change and New Tone in government. Obama himself had no passion for any issues, just policy stances. That meant that he believed in things without the real world getting in the way. It was a cake walk because McCain had already set up an anti-Hillary campaign.

Election 2012 was another matter. This was a bunker election. It might as well been using Richard Nixon’s 1972 playbook. Obama was terrible, secretive, a flop in one debate and poor in the others. However, with a trillion dollars with of walking around “Stimulus” money and this new thing called early voting, Democrats could manufacture a win in any state they needed. The plan worked like this. Any battleground state that was running a few points behind picked one or more heavily populated (and therefore heavily Democratic) cities and used them as a vote well. They targeted registration drives there. Then they looked at who¬†voted in 2008 and direct mailed them. In early voting, they called everyone who was likely to vote (voted in 2008) and then anyone who could vote (registered Democrats) and contacted them around a half-dozen times asking if they voted or not until they said yes. It was the hard sell of a lifetime.

The GOP is working to counter these systems. They’re catching up in early voting and are putting more effort into online advertising, something that doesn’t require walking large distances in sparsely populated Republican towns.The Democrats used up all their good will in 2008, sucked it dry in 2012 and wondered why they died in 2014. Adapt or die.


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