I like it.
Bringing new voters to the polls “is going to be a very big part of how we win,” said Obama’s deputy campaign manager, Steve Hildebrand, in an interview. “Barack’s appeal to independent voters is also going to be key.”
Hildebrand said the campaign is likely to turn its attention and the energy of its massive volunteer army this fall on registering African-American voters, and voters under 35 years old, in key states.
“Can it change the math in Ohio? Very much so,” he said. “If you look at the vote spread between Bush and Kerry in 2004 – we could potentially erase that.”
One of the things I learned about politics in my involvement in past campaigns was that it’s never a good idea to rely on people who have never voted. Though during the campaign, they might appear to be motivated, they tend not to show up; there’s a reason they haven’t voted before. Jerry Brown, Bill Bradley, and Howard Dean were all going to ride the wave of first-time voters to electoral victories.
We all know how those campaigns turned out.
But in this primary season, Obama has largely relied on young and first-time voters and he is on the brink of winning the Democratic nomination. There’s something different about Obama and I don’t know if that’s because of his message and compelling narrative or if it’s because his campaign is so adept at organizing and getting people to the polls. I imagine it’s a little bit of both.
What I like about this strategy is that given the campaign’s track record is that they can do it and possibly reshape the electoral map by increasing turnout and votes among under-represented communities. I think it’s very doable.