Monday, October 05, 2009

Street-Level Campaigning

It may seem strange to most except Daniel Hannan that there is a huge debate raging in the US about free health care. The anti campaign is talking about this as if it will bring on the end of civilisation, it is talked of as a threat to civil liberty. Obama is of course leading the campaign for free health care and it is an uphill struggle all the way. The communication strategy, as would be expected, is multi-layered including appearances on every primetime television channel (except Fox of course). But the most interesting is conducted beneath the media radar and is at the ground level. The communication is from members of his movement, or so we are told, people like Nicola Aro. The email via the community begins with the campaign message "I was lucky enough to be one of the thousands of people who heard President Obama speak about health reform recently at the University of Maryland. As he told the fired up crowd, "Change starts with people -- especially young people -- who are determined to take this nation's destiny into their own hands.""; it then moves on to ask for volunteers to support the campaign and lobby their representative. The Campus Phone Booth idea is about people calling other people and getting them to do the lobbying for them.

Basically it is an attempt to maintain the power of the movement that supported Obama's campaign for the Presidency. More importantly it is about citizen advocacy, people convincing their peers to get involved and back the President's initiative. It is an attempt to counter the public debate that centres on the negatives. It could be a highly persuasive tool if enough students and young people can be mobilised to run a booth and second can then mobilise others to lobby Senators. It is risky, but if it can tap into support for the initiative, and those being asked to give their time believe that they can make a difference by doing so, it could be a highly successful way of putting pressure on Senate.

No comments: