Politics and Grassroots

Wow, 13 million emails!

The President’s re-election campaign sent out an email to supporters last week, linking to a video of campaign manager Jim Messina giving them a sneak peek at the plan for 2012.  With such ground-breaking strategy points as “get more votes than the other guy” and “keep track of our progress,” the video was clearly more about motivation than actual information, but it earned the campaign a round of earned media.

Politico got into the act early, chatting up the revived online effort – but like much of the coverage of the 2008 campaign, the real story isn’t what’s happening online but what’s happening offline:

The leadership of the field organization — with hundreds of employees, tens of thousands of volunteers and massive online assets (primarily, a giant email list) — is shifting from the Democratic National Committee to the new campaign in Chicago. And in mass emails and in a quiet series of one-on-one meetings with volunteer leaders, the group is resetting its relationship with its supporters.

Hundreds of employees?  Sooner rather than later, that number will grow even larger, and the field offices will multiply in critical states.  The real key is not the list of email addresses, but in the resources: with spending on the re-election campaign expected to top $1 billion, there will be plenty of people available to mobilize grassroots supporters.  And while there will likely be some folks turning away from the President, a well-funded field operation can help drag out the votes to put them over the top in the right states to get to 270 electoral votes.

At a time when much of the country is figuring out how to do more with less, the Obama campaign will have the opportunity to do less with more.

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