So, How did he do it?

If we can all spare a moment from blaming each other for McCain’s loss (Republicans are only too famous for standing in a circle, pointing their guns inward and shouting “Fire!”), perhaps we could spend some time doing some analysis of how Obama pulled this off, hmm?

The simple fact of the matter is, Obama went old-school–he ran a precinct campaign.  He used modern technology to make the whole engine purr, but under the flashy chrome it’s the same old internal compression driving the car.

First example, the Houdini Project:…

Everyone who worked at the polling location helped make what the Obama campaign dubbed the Houdini project (mentioned by Newsweek in its review of election day) happen. We took the real-time results of who actually showed up at the polls and fed it back to the campaign so that they could adjust their GOTV calls and canvassing as the day wore on.  Every time someone came in to vote, their names were entered into a computer system and their names disappeared or escaped, Houdini-like, from the call and walk lists.  

Look at that–real-time analysis and adjustment of the phone banks.  Can you imagine how much time and energy was saved by this system?  Of course, you needed people to cover the polls–all the polls, in real time.  You can’t buy coverage like that– and neither could Obama, which is why the author of the above Kos article was a volunteer, not a paid operative.

Did the Republican campaign have anything similar?

The second, the Obama iPhone app:

   * Call Friends: A great volunteering tool that lets you make a difference any time you want by talking to people you already know. Your contacts are prioritized by key battleground states, and you can make calls and organize results all in one place.

   * Call Stats: See nationwide Obama ’08 Call Friends totals and find out how your call totals compare to leading callers.

   * Get Involved: Do more. Find and contact your local Obama for America HQ.

   * Receive Updates: Receive the latest news and announcements via text messages or email.

   * News: Browse complete coverage of national and local campaign news.

   * Local Events: Find local events, share by email and get maps and directions.

   * Media: Browse videos and photos from the campaign

   * Issues: Get clear facts about Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s plan for essential issues facing Americans.

Can you imagine what the Republicans could have done with a similar program?

Tech aside, is this any different from the old precinct system?  Communication and networking was the heart of the precinct system–the very essence of the ground game.  It’s the ground game where Obama was strong, and a Republican ground game would have countered it.

Perhaps it’s time to get back to basics.

About Claude Rhaines