Anyone who knows me, knows that I’ve been working with Vincent Morgan and his campaign to become the next Congressman for the 15th District of New York, a seat currently occupied by Charles Rangel.
In 2010, we ran an unsuccessful bid to unseat Rangel, who was in the midst of an ethics investigation, and perhaps more vulnerable than he had ever been in his 40 years on office.
Although we ran a smart race, we did things the traditional way, and were very careful not to say anything too polarizing or controversial about Mr. Rangel.
We wanted Vince to be the focus of our efforts and not Mr. Rangel, who everyone else seemed to be gunning for.
We are now, once again, in an election cycle, and with an election under our belt, we feel confident that the results will be different, this time around.
Well for one, it’s a presidential election year. People typically turn out to vote in greater numbers when the president is on the bill. In the last primary election, Rangel won with less than 20,000 votes. In a District with over 200,000 registered Democrats, that screams apathy. It says that folks weren’t particularly interested in the race OR that they weren’t interested enough to vote for Rangel OR that they believed that Rangel’s re-election was a foregone conclusion. Whatever the case the last time around, this year, it’s a whole new ballgame.
Second, we know what we’re up against. In the last election, we were green. We had no idea what we were doing or what to expect. Although we were very passionate about getting Vince elected, our strategy for how we’d accomplish that was untested. This time around, we’ve got a game plan. We’ve got a great (and growing) team of experts. Our message is tight and our candidate is out early, raising awareness about his campaign.
Third, we are raising money. Everyone in this politics game knows that you need money to run a campaign. Nearly everyone in the race last time raised and spent more money than we did. This time around, raising money is of paramount importance to our efforts. Even though folks aren’t pouring boatloads of money into our coffers (yet), we’re focused on fundraising. What’s interesting is that it seems that everyone else is finding fundraising challenging too.
Fourth, our street game is bananas. Unlike anyone else in the race or planning on running, Vince has young legs and is ready to walk the entire district. We’re actively recruiting young college students, who have unbridled energy and a real desire to participate in the political process to add to our street team. Keep your eyes on the streets in Harlem, in the coming days, and you’ll see what I mean.
Fifth, we are masters of all things digital. There is no other candidate in this race with the internet, social media and general online savvy of Team Morgan. Vince is fond of telling the story of how he taught Mr. Rangel how to turn on his computer. And while the story is genuinely funny, it underscores the point that Mr. Rangel is out of touch with so much more than just the District he purports to represent.
Unlike other candidates, Vince is particularly savvy with all things digital. Vince regularly blogs, tweets, FourSquares, updates his Facebook and other social media profiles himself. He’s equally comfortable on his iPhone, iPad2 or Mac. In an increasingly technological age, it is of critical importance that our officials that aren’t technologically out of touch.
Sixth, we’re going guerrilla. If you’ve ever read The Art of War by Sun Tzu, you know that any successful campaign starts with a plan. But rather than being focused on some rigid, fixed strategy, Sun Tzu emphasized the need for flexibility and fluidity, the ability to quickly adapt to changed(ing) situations.
Finally, folks recognize that enough is enough. One of the central themes (and campaign slogan) for this election cycle is that “It’s Time.” It’s time for Rangel to step down. It’s time for cronyism to end. It’s time to re-establish confidence in our elected officials. It’s time that big business did it’s fair share for the people, and not at the expense of the people.
Every once in a while, you’ll notice that I post up about Vince, share a story or link, or ask you to donate to the M4C campaign. I’m going to keep doing that. But I’m also going to write about what’s going on in the campaign, from behind-the-scenes.
Hopefully, you’ll be excited about what we’re doing, and join us…or give us money…or share it with your friends…or give us money…or volunteer to work with the campaign…or give us money.
And if you’re at a total loss for how to get involved, you can just give us money.
So stay tuned for my daily updates and welcome to Team Morgan!
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. But it will be on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
I just finished reading The Revolution Will Not Be Televised by Joe Trippi on the Nook app on my iPad.
Great read for 21st century political consultants.
It was a self-imposed homework assignment, for the work that I’ve been doing with Vincent Morgan, the Democratic candidate for Congress I’ve been working with for the past two years.
If you haven’t read it (why would you?) it’s a good read.
It was especially informative for me because in it, Joe talks about the various online and social media strategies Howard Dean’s campaign employed to build it’s base, push Dean’s message and raise money.
To make a long story short, the Dean campaign was really responsible for the both the use and proliferation of the web and social media by political candidates.
Without Howard Dean, there would have been no Obama. Period.
What Howard Dean’s campaign did with the internet and social media, completely bucked traditional notions of what online communities meant, how to galvanize supporters and raise money.
Trippi’s title, an homage to Gil Scott-Heron’s poem and song of the same title, refers to the fact that TV is no longer the dominant medium, especially as it relates to the manner and methods of running a political campaign.
Gil clearly didn't know about iReporting back in the day!
Where campaigns used to pour millions of dollars for television spots, in an effort to frame the issues and influence voters, Trippi posits that online forums, blogs, social media and the web generally, will have greater impact in future races.
As I sit here, thinking about how to apply Trippi’s strategies to Vince’s campaign, I’m brimming with excitement.
Last year, when Vince ran against Rangel, we knew out the gate, that we were in for an uphill battle.
For one, Vince was a relative unknown. Rangel’s name carried all the weight in the world – even in the middle of his ethics controversy.
Vince had no political experience, save a stint working with Rangel several years prior.
The M4C team was pretty inexperienced. It was the first political campaign for most of us.
He hadn’t raised a lot of money, which effectively meant that media buys (and virtually anything else that cost money) were out of the question. Even with Rangel’s ethical issues, he was still sitting on a (relative) war-chest.
This year, it’s a different story.
For one, Vince is no longer an unknown. While he may not evoke the same level of name recognition as Rangel, he is regularly featured in both local and national press.
He’s a frequent political commentator on CNBC, having most recently offered is perspective after the GOP Iowa caucus.
Although Vince still has no formal political experience, his previous run gave him political credibility and experience running a political campaign.
Even though he’s never held formal office, he is being discussed as a viable Democratic candidate, in the same breath as, and alongside other established politicians.
Team Morgan is staffed with experience. From his PR agency, Dash PR, to his finance manager, to his interim campaign manager, the team he’s assembled know their respective charges, and are ready, willing and able to execute accordingly.
But the most important thing, is the impact that social media and online, are having on the strategies we’re developing.
Unlike Charles Rangel, and the rest of the other candidates running (or planning on running) in the next election, Vince is truly technologically savvy.
While other candidates have third parties blogging, tweeting, FourSquaring, updating their Facebook status and generally leaving social media to someone else, Vince is actively engaged in the management of his online personae.
He actively posts articles, videos and pictures he finds to his website, personal and political profiles, and responds to comments he receives.
If you haven't 'Liked" the page, do so now!
And he makes it a point to ‘check-in’ with FourSquare, when he visits any of the restaurants, barbershops, cafes, stores and venues in his daily travels, staying engaged virtually with his growing constituency.
More importantly, he knows how important it is to get the formula, of online and offline activities, right.
As Joe Trippi noted in his book, virtually every political campaign, candidate and politician, has a website, Facebook page, etc. They would be remiss, in the post-Obama era, not to.
But having an online presence, and utilizing it effectively, are two drastically different things.
Our goal, in 2012, is to master the use of online and social media tools and put Vince in office.
That means we’ve got to raise his profile, raise money, get people off their butts and into voting booths on election day.
I’m confident that we’re going to do just that.
But don’t take my word for it.
Check in on the campaign from time to time and see how we’re doing.
Filed under branding, opinion, social media, Uncategorized
Tagged as app, blogging, campaign, Charles Rangel, comment, Congress, Dash PR, Democratic candidate, Facebook, Foursquare, Gil Scott-Heron, GOP, Howard Dean, internet, iPad, Joe Trippi, MSNBCIowa caucus, Nook, Obama, online communities, political commentator, social media, tech savvy, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, tweet, Twitter, web