The Ground Game in Presidential Politics
Suddenly, articles about the Obama campaign's vaunted ground game are everywhere. Most don't focus as heavily on the technology as we did, of course.
Washington Post: "They've invested in a civic infrastructure on a scale that has never happened," said Marshall Ganz, a labor organizer who worked with Cesar ChÃ¡vez's farmworker movement and has led training sessions for Obama staff members and volunteers.
New York Times: "Mr. Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, is seeking to capitalize on a grass-roots enthusiasm and an unprecedented investment of money to push the get-out-the-vote effort to a new level."
The "New Organizers" have succeeded in building what many netroots-oriented campaigners have been dreaming about for a decade. Other recent attempts have failed because they were either so "top-down" and/or poorly-managed that they choked volunteer leadership and enthusiasm; or because they were so dogmatically fixated on pure peer-to-peer or "bottom-up" organizing that they rejected basic management, accountability and planning. The architects and builders of the Obama field campaign, on the other hand, have undogmatically mixed timeless traditions and discipline of good organizing with new technologies of decentralization and self-organization.State and local publications are following the story, too.
I'm pleased that our article was at the head of this trend (thanks to the ability to publish on demand via this blog and our website, rather than waiting for the monthly mag to hit), and I think our work, with its focus on the tech and strategy aspects, hold up pretty well.
Meanwhile, a commenter says I was biased for the Democrats. I don't think so. I reported the story as the facts led me. If the McCain campaign was leading the way in using the net, I'd have said that, too -- but my reporting did not show that to be the case.