Monday, October 27, 2008

Lessons From the 2008 campaign

America has come a long way on the road to equality with gender and race

Government funding of elections is on life-support, if not terminal, as Senator McCain was hoisted on his own petard

Organization is the key

Organization in caucuses trumps name recognition

A disciplined, focused campaign can beat an unfocused, undisciplined campaign (Clinton 1992 v. George H. W. Bush)

Do not bypass Iowa or New Hampshire (Giuliani)

As usual, the pre-primary frontrunners failed to win the nominations

A tsunami drowns out all other issues

External events, the totally unexpected, often control campaigns

October surprises may have increasingly less significance in light of early voting

The mainstream media is still more powerful than talk radio, but talk radio can level the playing field

The New York Times does what it does because it can

Money doesn’t always buy electoral success (Giuliani, Connally, Forbes)

Open primaries can give a party a nominee unwanted by the party faithful

Polls are still bunk

Anger trumps reason

Snake oil sells, and voters may be seduced, even for relatively few dollars

Never underestimate the power of a free lunch offered voters in taxing economic times

Vice Presidential candidates can make a difference

It’s difficult to run with the aura of an unpopular incumbent draped around your neck (Gore 2000, McCain 2008, and partially Ford 1976)

Whether McCain or Obama wins, Governor Sarah Palin is the future of the Republican Party, just as Ronald Reagan emerged from the ashes of the 1964 Goldwater campaign

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