Saturday, June 18, 2005

Seeking Your Advice

OK, so Sean Connaughton needed a lot of help to maximize the political power of the Internet. His homemade site screamed "I'm not ready for statewide!" and I have to assume it's one of the reasons his relatively moderate-minded campaign lost on Tuesday to the bastion of right-wing state senators, Bill Bolling.

I've been massaging some ideas about how to best take small-time Sean who has the heart of gold and the courage to fight for his country into a statewide success. My instinct told me to paint him as "everybody's neighbor." How about this idea?

The Connaughton site would host an online community meeting place where supporters can log in, sound off and organize outside the realms of the campaign. Ideally, these sites would encourage voters to tell their stories -- unedited, unscripted, unfiltered. These online meeting places would serve as the campaign’s service to the communities of Virginia as well as its opportunity to tie the physical campaign to the online campaign by posting events and volunteer opportunities. But, Susie Jones from Richmond could post an entry about her son's middle-school play; Jimmy Jackson could put up a good recipe for apple pie he found; and, Maria S., who just can't avoid being political, could post an announcement for an undecided voters' forum at a nearby coffeehouse. In essence, the campaign would play like a, but more personal and more preciously Virginian.

Not only would this bring in prospective voters who wouldn't already be coming to the site, but it would also allow supporters to feel "plugged in," give the campaign a much-needed feeling of motion and connectedness. Better yet, the candidate's scheduler can use the online events calendar to schedule surprise "drop-ins" from Sean or a friend of the campaign.

Is this too idealistic and hard to carry out for a lieutenant governor's race? Let's hear what you all got.


DesiPolitico said...

I definitely like your plan. Politics should be something that should be looked as innnovative and be always thinking outside of the box. Dean got to where he was b/c he broke norms and got people's attention b/c he was different. I definitely like taking ideas that have worked but tailoring them to fit your plans and goals. I think it would work or at least get your candidate more notice. I say go for it!

TNHegemon said...

The idea that made me think the most was the “drop in” on community events. Working on campaigns I have found that scheduling is on of the hardest parts to coordinate. Your post has me wondering if “drop in’s” from campaign workers would be good. I think it would, especially if you are playing up the “I’m one of you” angle. This is a good idea; I will use it.