Power And Dollar

Obama vs Clinton: A Lesson on Advocacy / Non-Profit

This 2008 election proves to be a textbook material for advocacy, fundraising and electioneering, even better than 2000 election.  Clinton’s victory will certainly encourage her to continue her race.  What Clinton shows this time in Pennsylvania is similar to what Obama showed when he was the underdog: money does not buy election victory all the time.  Clinton won by 10%, CNN reports.




An indecisive Obama Super Tuesday victory brought this “lengthening, torturous” race because, as always, an indecisive result invites the loser for a re-match.  And Clinton gladly took on the challenge of a re-match.


Obama out spent Clinton by 2 to 1.  Obama enjoyed the positive media attention.  And he had the momentum, the most important thing of all.  And he yet he was behind by 10%.  A lot of people may expect him to win and would not be surprised by a loss.  But 10% probably is the threshold for “failure”. 


The real loss of this race so far is Ralph Nader.  He and/or his party have not improved their platform, i.e. the product, much since 2000.  Neither did they improve their election techniques.  Ralph Nader does not have the charm Obama has.  However, the electioneering could have been improved when in fact Obama took the great leap.


Clinton won by canvassing, the most important virtue of a politician.  Politics is a service industry.  Responsiveness to voters, not leadership, is the virtue promoted by democracy.  She canvassed hard in every county, in every city hall.  And she mobilized her daughter and husband in the state.  The air war of TV and Radio ads rained down by Obama did not bring him a victory just like money did not the Iowa victory for Clinton.  Obama won Iowa by the activists.  Clinton won by her hard work and her organization’s (or Governor Ed Rendall’s organization) hard work.  


This race broadened the voter base of Democrats in Pennsylvania.  And this is what advocacy / non-profit groups want.  The organization itself need not lend its name in the campaign in order to reap the benefit of it.  It’s the board members responsibility to participate in individual campaigns in order to gain the political access to the politicians, even though they may be the city council politicians.  It is this type of occasion that the cause focused groups can cultivate the next group of volunteers, big ticket donors, board members, fundraisers.  A broadening base means a longer list of “concerned citizens”.


When an election gets voters excited, voters are more willing to increase their level of civic participation, be it scrutineer, dropping flyer for an advocacy group, phone bank caller for a fundraising campaign of MADD, or even better attendance for the local recycling organization.  Although this race is dragging on, this serves as an opportunity for all non-profit groups to enlarge their voice and base.  


Leadership is wanted when voters are unable to specify their needs.  When change is wanted without a laundry list is change for the sake of change.  A victory by promoting leadership shows people want to be led, people expect someone who knows better than they do.  


April 23, 2008 - Posted by | advocacy, clinton, Current Affairs, Democrats, election, Election 2008, environment, fundraising, nonprofits, obama, politics, wordpress-political-blogs

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