One thing that we’ve definitely learned in the aftermath of the election is that the expertise of the Obama campaign really wasn’t just a bunch of hype. Their get-out-the-vote and ground-game efforts, e-mail lists, persuasive messaging, social media campaigns, technological innovations, etcetera came together to formulate quite the formidable and cutting-edge operation — and it’s a network that, apparently, they don’t intend to let go to waste.
The NYT reports that the White House is looking for ways to keep Obama’s supporters animated and feeling involved in the political process, using some of the same tactics they used during the campaign:
With lawmakers scheduled to return to work on Monday to begin intense discussions before a looming fiscal deadline, Mr. Obama’s aides are trying to harness the passions that returned him to the White House, hoping to pressure Republicans in Congress to accept tax increases on the wealthy. The president’s strategists are turning first to the millions of e-mail addresses assembled by the campaign and the White House. …
The president is planning rallies in influential states to remind supporters of the need to keep the pressure on lawmakers during the fiscal talks. And should negotiations break down, Mr. Obama’s team is arranging for Republican lawmakers to hear from of tens of thousands of riled-up activists through angry Twitter posts, e-mails and Facebook messages.
“If Republicans refuse to move, if they refuse to cooperate, then you’ve got to be willing to engage the American public,” said Representative Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat and important Obama ally. The campaign machinery, he said, “will respond to the president calling upon it to get engaged.”
Will it, though? Getting supporters to mobilize to get your champion through a tough election is one thing; inspiring long-term critical attention to the wonky everyday hum-drum of governing and maintaining time-consuming activist-interest is another. But, it looks like Team O has already thought of those concerns, too:
In the survey e-mail that came from Mr. Messina shortly after the election, supporters were asked to identify issues they would be willing to volunteer on, including the economy, education, immigration, jobs and trade, tax fairness, urban community issues and climate change.
Among the questions on the survey: Would supporters like to continue to volunteer in their community as part of an Obama organization? And if so, the survey asked, how many hours a week could they work?
Looks like the Obama campaign is hoping that, if they can keep supporters engaged on the tax-hike fight and churn out another success, they can keep the army of minions intact and maintain the interest in fighting for Obama’s continuing agenda against those blasted hostage-taking Republicans. I’m betting we’re going to see the White House publicly pushing their case more along the lines of what we saw earlier this morning, and even if the thrust of keeping Obama’s campaign machinery going only amounts to a social-media supplement to the traditional activism of calling/writing to Congresspeople’s offices, I for one will not be underestimating their prowess for motivating people again.