Tag Archives: Charles Rangel

How Do You Dethrone Charles Rangel? Guerilla Style. Welcome to Team Morgan!

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Vince Morgan looking dapper at our lunch meeting at Settepani.

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.

Why?

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.

Applying the Art of War to a campaign.

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!

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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.

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When Losing Is Winning.

Just got in from a celebration at Bier International on Frederick Douglas Blvd. in Harlem.

I was partying with Vincent Morgan and the M4C team, as we celebrated a well-executed dry run.

When I first spoke to Vince, he said, “even if I lose, I win.”

From the start of the race, he was aware that he faced an uphill battle running against Charlie.

Rangel was a 40 year incumbent.

Vince, a political upstart.

Rangel had a war chest.

Vince couldn’t rub two pennies together.

Rangel was the insider.

Vince was on the outside.

But he had to run.

Something inside him compelled him to throw his hat in the ring, in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

If you’ve ever met Vince, you realize early on, that the guy is serious.

He’s as passionate about his desire to improve Harlem, as he is his commitment to family, and his belief in community.

Shoot, he converted me, and I don’t even live in the damn District!

But I digress.

He ran because he understood that sometimes you’ve got to go for it.

Tonight (or last night, rather) we toasted a battle well fought.

We also toasted to the implicit knowledge that in 2012, Vince would be Harlem’s next Congressman.

We were all smiles as we collectively pondered “Who the heck is Ruben Vargas?”

Vincent Morgan for Congress!

M4C 2012 Holla!

Note: I had pictures to show you, but my camera is wigging out (I’ve been having real techology issues recently ya’ll) – I’ll post as soon as I work it out.

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I’ve been on hiatus (not really)

I haven’t made an entry to my blog in over a month.

Its not that I haven’t thought about it, or that I didn’t want to.

My issue was that I had so much to talk about, I didn’t know where to start.

And you know what they say about inertia…

But today I’ve resolved to just sit down and type, until I got it all out of me.

I’m thinking the best way to do it is to start with the most recent stuff, and work backwards.

All you’re getting are sound bites, and hopefully, at some point, I’ll get around to elaborating.

So, without further ado…

Midnite

Last night I attended the Midnite show at S.O.B.’s. If you’re not familiar with Midnite, you should be. They are one of the hottest Caribbean reggae artists out today.

They played some classic tunes and well as new music, and as they went through their set, I felt as if I were communing with the music, swaying back and forth (or side to side) as part of one large rhythmic body.

I totally forgot I was supposed to be checking out their performance (my first) and assessing how their brand could be further leveraged. But DAMN! their music was good!

Check out some video from their last S.O.B.’s visit.

Third World

For the past few months, I’ve been working with Third World band’s management to produce a number of different on and offline projects.

It started with the Third World simulcast of their rehearsal at Circle Studios in Miami. Over 7,700 people tuned into the live stream on iNation.tv, which featured special guests, such as the incomparable Tessanne Chin.

Currently, we’re working hard to get their digital store, the Third World Digistore, up and running in anticipation of the August 10th release of their 22nd studio album, Patriots.

We’re also working on the video for the remake of their classic, 96 Degrees in the Shade, featuring Stephen and Damian Marley.

Check out a live version of 96 Degrees in the Shade.

Global Boxing

My good friend, Michael Havaien, is the president of Global Boxing Gym, a state of the art facility for professional boxers and MMA fighters, located in North Bergen, New Jersey.

He recently invited me to two press conferences, preceding the Zab Judah (vs Jose Armando Santa Cruz) and Tomasz Adamek (vs Michael Grant) fights.

We’re working on enhancing the overall digital signature of the Global Boxing brand, focusing on their young up-and-coming fighters, which include 21 year old Brooklyn native Adam Kownacki (5-0, 5 KOs) and (potentially) Bronx native and newly crowned NABF champion Maureen Shea (15-2).

Check out a clip from the Adam Kownacki vs. Yohan Banks bout. Spoiler alert – someone gets knocked out!

Morgan4Congress

As many of you already know, we’ve been working tirelessly on the United States Congressional campaign of Vincent Morgan, who is in a historic race against the embattled Charles Rangel.

We’ve redefined Vincent’s online presence, and provided ongoing support to all of his digital efforts, including the development of branded video pods, the production of offline events and the creation, management and support of various social media and mobile initiatives.

With the primaries rapidly approaching September 14, I anticipate getting a tad busier.

Check out one of the RapidFire series pods:

A Restless Media Musical Showcase

We’re planning a musical showcase featuring Meta & The Cornerstones, Malik Work, Zing Experience and Radical Revolution, at one of the meccas of music in NYC, Sullivan Hall.

We’ve got DJ Twilite Tone on the ones-and-twos, and all kinds of special treats in store for our guests.

If you’re in town on August 15th, please stop in.

Oh yeah, its also summer, and the kids are home. So things have been hectic on the home front too.

I don’t want to blame my hiatus wholly on work. I’ve had a little bit of fun too.

My sister-in-law and her husband invited us to Martha’s Vineyard to stay with them in a lovely five bedroom, four bathroom house in Oak Bluffs, two blocks from the beach.

It was really nice to get away (even though I jumped on my laptop a time or two).

But I’m back to the grind!

So hopefully, you’re all caught up and I’ll be able to get back to writing on a schedule.

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Harlem Stand Up! Vince Morgan is coming!

I had an interesting call with Vincent Morgan last Friday, and I came away intrigued by the man who has recently thrown his hat into the ring to challenge incumbent New York Democratic House of Representative member Charlie Rangel.

This guy could be your next Congressman! He looks electable.

The call was interesting for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the fact that he was so cool. Not to say that someone running for office shouldn’t be, but the ease with which we spoke had me feeling like I was kicking it with one of my boys, and not having an in-depth discussion with a viable Congressional candidate.

Some background. I was introduced to Vince (as he likes to be called) by Kofi Bannerman, a partner is one of my many ventures (a brother gotta keep multiple hustles going – ya dig?), who suggested that I reach out to him because he was getting his house in order for this run for office, and might require my considerable experience (forgive my self-indulgent plug).

We were supposed to meet face-to-face, but since I wasn’t sure what this face-to-face would be about, I felt that an introductory call was in order. So I called him.

I was impressed that he picked up his phone (I figured a guy in his position would be screening everything). I was even more impressed when he said that he had time to talk, considering his admittedly hectic schedule.

After the compulsory introductions and ice-breakers, we went in on the purpose of my call – figuring out what (if anything) Morgan4Congress needed, and how I could fulfill those needs.

Nice logo huh?

In preparation of our call, I had done a preliminary search of Mr. Morgan and his fledgling campaign. It was readily apparent, however, that things were buttoned up quite nicely from the door.

His website http://morgan4congress.com was up and active, as were his various social media sites, including a Facebook fan page, Twitter, blog, and YouTube channel.

He’s been interviewed on CNN and Fox 5 regarding his run, and both the NY Times and Huffington Post have reported on his candidacy.

Vince talked about his background as a community banker, his wife and two children. We discussed his roots, growing up in Chicago, and getting chased home from school.

He broke down his stance on the issues of the upcoming election, and by the time we were done, I was left with the distinct impression that this guy was electable.

He’s spent the past three years putting together his team and readying himself for this run. I told him that I’d shoot some ideas his way for leveraging his social media assets and generating viral movement on and offline.

However it goes, this guy is the future of politics in New York. He’s young and smart with plenty of Obama-esque swagger. Did I say he was from Chicago?

All I’ve got to say is this: Harlem stand up! Vince Morgan is coming!

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