chapter  1
10 Pages

The Modern Campaign

On election night in November 2008, Chicago’s Grant Park was brimming with excitement and electricity, as Barack Obama ascended the stage to acknowledge the hundreds of thousands of well-wishers and to give his fi rst speech as president-elect. The spectacle was beamed world wide as billions of television viewers caught a glimpse of the new president and his family. To many, the presidential election was a powerful sign of America’s strength as a democratic nation; many others undoubtedly were perplexed and perhaps bemused by the long, complicated, and expensive theatrics of electoral politics. For those who follow elections and professional consulting closely, the Obama campaign was the best fi nanced, best run, and most sophisticated combination of online technology, social networking and grassroots activism, and blending of new and old media. It was the envy of the campaign world, soon to be copied and emulated by Republicans and Democrats, other aspirants for high offi ce, and campaigns throughout the world.