A new look for outreach
I learned a lot during my time on the 2014 campaign trail. I learned how to “cut a walk book” for a block walk, and organize a phone bank, and juggle 15 reporters, 25 volunteers, and one candidate with one hand tied behind my back; but most importantly, I learned how to create a digital campaign that talks to people, as opposed to talking at them.
People hate being talked at. It’s condescending and boring and there’s no hope of making a connection. You’re wasting your time, money, and most importantly, your face time with a potential voter.
That’s why I was surprised and excited to see one of our already-declared presidential candidates taking a new approach to voter outreach. Yesterday, Team Rubio posted a different kind of video to their Facebook page. Watch it:
This is fantastic. From the music, to the setting, to the tone, everything about this screams “honest and approachable”—which is important in the context of a political campaign, when you have accusations and recriminations firing at you from all sides.
I love this video, and my reasoning has nothing to do with Marco Rubio. (I like Marco, but I’m not ready to hop in the tank for anyone yet. The day is young, friends.) I think that 2016 is going to be a fantastic year for Republicans on a digital front, but content like this is what will keep our candidates and consultants grounded in reality.
What Americans want—and I’m talking about the Americans who don’t normally read Legal Insurrection, or soak in the 24 hour news cycle—is a candidate they can identify with. Obviously, there’s a world of difference between the life, say, my parents live (they’re a teacher and a small business owner, FWIW) and the life that a United States Senator and presidential candidate lives; but identifying with a candidate doesn’t necessarily mean identifying with his lifestyle or career.
The spark we’re looking for happens right at the beginning of this video, when Rubio makes it clear that people are Googling personal stuff about his life. Race? Religion? Twin status? Some people even assume he’s a Democrat. That’s a raw realization; voters may not understand what it’s like to be a candidate, but they do understand what it means to have your privacy violated, or to feel exposed in front of strangers (even if you’re “asking for it” in one way or another.)
The internet asked, and Marco answered—and that’s why this video is important. It draws a stark contrast between himself, and candidates like Hillary Clinton, who never seem to answer anything, and who couldn’t pull off “approachable” if her life depended on it.
Love him or hate him, Marco Rubio is on to something with this. What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear what you think of this tactic, and if you think it speaks to you, your family, and the people in your community.
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