Sunday, November 25, 2012

The 2012 Campaign; Impressions and Lessons

         On September 12, 2012 I had to skip my social media class and head for a four days long Fulbright Gateway Orientation at Austin, Texas. As I boarded the plane at 6:00 am that morning, the CNN inside the plane was breaking the news regarding Ben Ghazi incident in Libya. In the next connecting flight, I learnt that Mitt Romney has come out and spoken against the response of Obama administration. I landed on the Republican heartland at noon and our airport shuttle guy turned out to be, Guess What? a devoted conservative. He was listening to a "radio station" that was acting as an (un)official Republican campaign channel. However uncalled for the Romney response to Ben Ghazi might be, it did resonate with them. In the end, the broadcaster failed to even mince his words when he said, "We need to take out Obama instead of him taking out our candidate". This was as much partisan as one can be. Nonetheless, it also gave some first hand information on how deeply devoted and motivated conservative base was. It seemed that Romney had his 47 percent and Obama had his 47 percent. Then the game was about that 6 percent who will and did count in the end.

       So "in comes the social media". I believe that this was the one area that Romney and the Republicans just couldn't match Obama team. Brad Fitch and his Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) had put up some data that actually reflected an edge for the Republican lawmakers but they didn't seem to match where it actually mattered the most, the Presidential Election. No matter how well they were doing on other fronts they were just losing in the social media battle. The lesson is simple for the Republicans, First, they had "liberal media" (call it mainstream media) against them, but now they have another, "Social Media". Until and unless they find out the mechanism to embrace and campaign effectively on the social media, they are bound to lose more Presidential and Senate races. The Radio Stations no longer deliver White House these days.

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