Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Good politics means sometimes you have to twist some arms...and break some legs.

So I have not been paying enough attention to the GOP race for AG here in Indiana lately. I knew their was a race and that I would be backing Jon Costas for two reasons:

1. He is from northern Indiana and being a big partisan from my part of our state I have to be with my people.
2. He is a former client and I would need a pretty good reason not to back someone I have help get elected in the past.

So what about Greg Zoeller? Greg is a great guy and would make a great AG but I can only choose one.

Now on to my subject. "arm twisting" and "strong arming"? Do we have a kerfuffle?

I know lots of friends and colleagues who are backing Zoeller and some are concerned about what the Governor's endorsement means and some supposed "heavy handed" activity by his surrogates. Let's all be grown ups for a bit.

Party discipline for Republicans has always been a fickle issue. We are all about it when we are getting our own way but cry foul when it goes against us. In all seriousness Indiana Republicans have been without any real party discipline for almost 20 years. Ask anyone over the age of 45 who has been active in GOP politics and it used to be a different political world we operated in. Anyone remember Keith Bulen? I mean come on guys. We used to draw blood on each other on a pretty regular basis.

In regards to the the Governor weighing in...is anyone really surprised? He is the leader of the party. I would be the first one to admit as a former County Chairman that there were times when I wished he was more partisan and skipped all that talk about "bipartisan cooperation". I backed Mike Delph for his Senate bid in 2005 despite some somewhat mixed signals from the Governor's corner. I laid my cards down for my friend and never regretted it (a lot easier when they win). My point is that those of us that are actively involved with politics, despite what we say, often respect and admire political authority and those who use it. I genuinely believe that we want and expect strong leadership from the top of our party (I am a veteran of the Bush Cheney operation know what loyalty to the family means).

In less than a week our party will nominate one of two great guys and to go on to kick the crap out of the Democrats in the fall. So then those of us on the inside of party politics will need to go out for drink, yell a little, trade some stories and move on.

Monday, May 26, 2008

What if we actaully gave activists the yard signs, t-shirts and stickers they wanted?

Yard signs, t-shirts and stickers.

There are few subjects that will invoke more anger, frustration and crazy stories from veteran campaign staff than these mundane items.

Mundane? Yes. Simple? No.

Anyone who has ever had the privilege of working on any campaign of any size is familiar with the sanity-testing exercise of keeping donors, activists and volunteers happy. Undoubtedly, these supporters of our candidate want a visual representation of their support for our candidate. It used to be we could give them a "Smith for Congress" yard sign or a "Jones for Governor" bumper sticker and call it a day. Not anymore. Welcome to a micro targeted, coalition driven, Long Tail world of campaign collateral.

C'mon Chris I thought this would be a substantive discussion on REAL campaign logistics. Trust me, it is. Just hang with me for a few minutes.

We are starting to see more segmentation of campaign collateral as our supporters ID themselves as "Veterans for Smith", "Viva la Bush!", "Sportsman for Kennedy" or even "Asian American Pacific Islanders for Bloomberg". I am not making that last one up, I have a button to prove it.

Enter the The Long Tail. Recently I finished reading the The Long Tail by Chris Anderson and was blown away by such a simple but powerful concept. People want more choice in everything they do...including their politics.

Now add Threadless. Read a great article in Inc. Magazine on the success of Threadless and how it uses its user driven community that cuts out all the advertising and marketing and just prints the shirts customers actually want. Free lance designers upload their art, community members vote on their favorites and then that same community buys them by the truck load.

So what if a big campaign that had some online store component actually asked it's online supporters (specifically the small dollar donors) what they wanted? How many "Frat boys for McCain", "Dentists for Coleman" or "Pet owners for Mitch" would want a t-shirt, bumper sticker or yard sign?

Even better than having to give it away at Campaign HQ all the time what if supporters actually pay for their own stuff. Allow them to "actively" participate in the campaign and engage on their own terms under their own label.

Now that would be a cool idea.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Republicans voting in the IN Dem Primary prefer Clinton by 8 points.

From the excellent blog at the Washington Post ...

More "Sincere" Crossover - Behind the Numbers: "First, Clinton edged Obama in Indiana's open primary among self-identified Democrats, 52 to 48 percent. And removing all GOP-identifiers from the voter pool does not budge the overall result. Perhaps the focus on non-Democrats is misplaced.
But the topline numbers are so intriguing.
Republicans made up 10 percent of all Democratic voters in Indiana last night, their highest share of the electorate in any Democratic primary this year other than Mississippi. Not only did Clinton win Republicans in Indiana by eight percentage points, but about six in 10 of those who supported her in the primary said they would vote for McCain over Clinton in a hypothetical general election match-up. (Most Republicans voting for Obama said they would stick with him in the fall.)"

So who is using Twitter?

Twitter Traffic Explosion: Who’s behind it all?: "The gender and age breakdowns indicate that users skew young and male. These two charts are indexed to the U.S internet average, where “100” is the average.
Twitter users are 10% more likely to be male than the average internet user. This skew is nearly identical across all three Usage groups.
Twitter skews heavily towards the college/twenty-something crowd. Twitter attracts 18-24 year-olds at nearly twice the rate of an average U.S website.
Splitting age demographics based on usage intensity shows that heavy users tend to skew older than visitors who only hit the site once a month. This could indicate that while the younger segments are more exploratory, the 25-44 year old segments have found more value in Twitter and started to ramp up usage.
Twitter may be growing like crazy but it’s yet to go mainstream. Interestingly, Twitter’s strategy of letting developers re-purpose its data may help the service reach the tipping point by making Twitter’s value more accessible. Check back next week to see how these twitter based sites (like twitterlocal and summize) are building a loyal base."

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Campaigns move on out of Indiana

South Bend Tribune: Campaign offices pack up: "'I'm not sure what I didn't do,' she said. 'I worked on the phones, I canvassed, I trained people how to work on the phone, I helped to manage the office, I did a lot of busy office work, and helped clean. Whatever they needed, I was here to do.'

She'll keep volunteering, too, working from her Mishawaka home to support Clinton in the states that have yet to vote, including West Virginia, Kentucky and Oregon."

I wonder if she will vote for McCain now?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Da' Region gets some national props.

The District That May Decide Indiana - TIME: "The district, in the northwest part of the state, in theory should be Obama's. It's almost entirely in the Chicago media orbit (part of it is actually in the city's metro area) and it has been exposed to Obama's political career as long as any part of the country. It is disproportionately weighted to groups that support him, with 87% of the population urban and 18% of it African-American. The mayor of Gary, the largest city in the district, has endorsed Obama. And various parts of the local Democratic machine are turning it on for him. Clinton's local surrogates just complained that Gary high schools have been using tax dollars to bus voting-aged kids to the polling places for early voting field trips over the last few weeks."

Obama pushes me to vote early thru Facebook


Nice ad targeted to me as an IN resident reminding me of the process and when it ends.