Being out of the loop for the last couple of months, I tried in a limited fashion to keep up with things on the home front. Being a consultant type guy that dreams of big things, that means continuing to be a consumer of information about the large Senate race taking place. I’ve not minced any words on this – I’m a big Karen Handel supporter – so naturally I look at the race from that perspective, too.
In meeting a good friend last night, he asked me my thoughts on the Senate race. One thing that I made a comment on was that I thought Handel’s method of campaigning was pretty interesting and effective. She’s constantly asking for input from people, making them stakeholders in what the campaign does as a level unseen by other campaigns. It may not seem like much to some folks, but I think asking for public input on a billboard is a brilliant campaign tactic. People get engaged and the inquiry gives them some ownership of decision-making. In an era where consultants and politicos like to banter back and forth about who has the most money, it’s often overlooked that successful candidates ask the most important question first – who best communicates with the most people?
I’m not on the inside of Handel’s campaign, but I certainly feel like it at some level. These aren’t big decisions, and this one billboard doesn’t mean that all billboards, radio ads, television spots, mail pieces, etc. etc. are going to be “focus grouped.” That said, this draws people in. Besides the obvious benefits of getting an opportunity to make a fundraising pitch and identify volunteers, the campaign gets to actually involve people. After all, it’s what the grassroots of the Republican Party has been clamoring for – involvement in the decision-making of Washington.
To be sure, Paul Broun’s got a legion of diehards (some of which follow him like a cult leader – not all, but some) and that doesn’t always mean a winning team is put together. There is a far and wide difference between movement and progress. Paul Broun can make hundreds of people swoon for his libertarian leanings, and that’s fine. I haven’t once heard him ask people, “Here are some options, what do you think?” Communication is as much listening as it is speaking.
That’s all anecodotal, and one billboard a victorious campaign does not make. That said, it’s a subtle, but still very profound, way to build a network of support for a woman that is already a strong name in Georgia.