Download Groundbreakers: How Obama's 2.2 Million Volunteers by Elizabeth McKenna PDF

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By Elizabeth McKenna

A lot has been written in regards to the historical nature of the Obama crusade. The multi-year, multi-billion greenback operation elected the nation's first black president, raised and spent extra money than the other election attempt in heritage, and outfitted the main refined voter concentrating on know-how ever earlier than used on a countrywide crusade. what's lacking from so much bills of the crusade is an knowing of the way Obama for the United States recruited, influenced, built, and controlled its bold military of 2.2 million volunteers. in contrast to past box campaigns that drew their energy from employees, specialists, and paid canvassers, the Obama campaign's capability got here from unpaid neighborhood voters who took accountability for organizing their very own neighborhoods months--and even years--in improve of election day. In so doing, Groundbreakers argues, the crusade engaged voters within the paintings of training democracy. How did they arrange such a lot of volunteers to supply rather a lot important paintings for the crusade? This booklet describes how.

Elizabeth McKenna and Hahrie Han argue that the legacy of Obama for the US extends past gigantic information and micro-targeting; it additionally reinvigorated and extended conventional versions of box campaigning. Groundbreakers makes the case that the Obama crusade altered conventional flooring video games by way of adopting the foundations and practices of neighborhood organizing. Drawing on in-depth interviews with OFA box employees and volunteers, this booklet additionally argues key success of the OFA's box organizing used to be its transformative impression on those that have been part of it. Obama the candidate may have encouraged volunteers to hitch the crusade, however it used to be the enjoyable relationships that volunteers had with different people--and their deep trust that their paintings mattered for the paintings of democracy--that stored them lively.

Groundbreakers documents how the Obama crusade has encouraged a brand new approach of working box campaigns, with classes for nationwide and foreign political and civic hobbies.

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Additional info for Groundbreakers: How Obama's 2.2 Million Volunteers Transformed Campaigning in America

Example text

54 As Berman recounts, however, it was not just Dean’s Meetups and his use of the Internet to fundraise that signaled a sea change in American presidential campaigns. ”56 A lesser-known innovation of the Dean campaign can be traced back to its New Hampshire field operation. ”57 36 | The Historical Roots of the Obama Field Operation Bird, who would later be one of the main conduits through which the neighborhood team model was introduced to the Obama campaign, worked under Dean’s New Hampshire director Karen Hicks in 2004.

Naturally, relying on one case raises the possibility that our findings are dependent on features exceptional to that case, such as the unique background and reputation of Barack Obama and the coalition he was seeking to build. We discuss these limitations and implications for other citizen-based organizations in our conclusion. Our data consist of in-depth interviews with staff and volunteers, historical research, 10 months of participant-observation during both the 2008 and 2012 campaigns, and analysis of nearly 100 internal campaign documents.

We put aside the question of the net effect of field activity on campaign outcomes. Instead, our book takes as its starting point the degree of commitment that OFA generated from ordinary citizens and, according to our data, the transformative effect it had on both those who got involved and the way in which people-powered campaigns can be executed. The felt experience of power among millions of volunteers is, we argue, an important outcome worth understanding. By describing the substance of the field operation, our book thus tries to unpack how the campaign developed and scaled an approach to field campaigning that engaged so many people with such depth.

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