Howard Dean served as governor of Vermont for six terms and served as the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee during Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. While Obama is rare to thank anyone but himself for his success, he owes his current position to Dean.
As chair of the DNC, Dean launched two programs that were very instrumental in getting Obama and other Democrats elected in 2008.
First, he saw the value of using the Internet as a campaign tool for fundraising and information distribution. Even though the Internet was used in earlier elections, it was never used to the scope that Dean used it. He saturated the online waves with pro Democrat and pro Obama ads and articles so that you couldn’t open your browser without seeing something about the Democrats.
Secondly, and more importantly, he mobilized and trained Democratic leaders like never before. Instead of just concentrating on the states they controlled, Dean wanted strong campaign efforts in every state, blue or red. He started with hiring people from every state to become Party organizers. They were brought together to share successful ideas and plan a national strategy. Then they returned to their states and started training other leaders who trained other leaders until they had a working group in every county and precinct in the country.
One of the main jobs of these local groups was not only to encourage people to vote for Democrats, but they spent a great deal of effort getting people to register to vote and then to vote. In many areas, they would even provide transportation for those that needed it so they could register and vote.
They also worked hard in the states that have open absentee balloting. They urged people to vote via absentee ballot if they weren’t sure they would be able to make it to the polls on election day.
Getting people to register and to vote, especially in the inner cities and poorer areas had a great deal to do with Obama being elected in 2008. It will also have a great deal to do with getting him re-elected in 2012 unless the Republicans start doing the same thing.
If Romney and his fellow Republicans really want to win in November, they need to also mobilize and get trained people into every precinct and neighborhood in America. They need to help people to get them registered to vote. They need to help encourage absentee voting, especially for the elderly, poor and shut-ins so they can make their votes count as well. They need to organize transportation on election day for those that need it so they can vote.
Whether you like Howard Dean or not, his tactics in 2008 were very successful and there is a valuable lesson to learn by studying what he did to get Barack Obama elected. If the Republicans want to reclaim the White House and Senate and keep the House, they need to start reaching voters now to get them to register to vote and then to vote and to take advantage of the absentee ballots where possible. If they don’t, we just may be in for four more years of Obama socialism which could be the final straw that breaks America’s back.