Posts Tagged ‘US Presidential Election’

Five lessons from the US election campaign

posted by Edward Jones


I was fortunate enough to attend a debate hosted by H+K last Monday on the US Presidential election, never ones to blow our own trumpet enough, it’s worth saying it was an excellent event. One of the panelists, Philip Stephens, a columnist for the FT hit upon the idea of Obama treating the first term of his Presidency as a delicate vase. Incidentally, the FT ran this cartoon (£) a few days later. The idea that Obama hadn’t been bold enough struck a chord with the audience. As I have sought the views of colleagues it is clear that in the UK at least, commentators think he could have been bolder, both in his Presidency and the campaign. That is the enduring hope for the second term.


The President’s response to Hurricane Sandy served him well. Not least because of the ringing endorsement of the Republican, New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie. This WSJ On Leadership article is an excellent summary of its impact.


It’s a simple enough concept and one we’re mostly familiar with. My colleague, Ted Robinson, who has followed developments more closely than most in the UK at least (I’ve asked him to write a post on this too), highlighted the confusion within the Republican camp with who they were targeting, asking:

“Are the GOP just communicating to whites or are they the party of social conservative hispanics? Lesson: decide who your audience is – does it surprise you?”

He had previously highlighted that…

“The Republicans have to win back California as they did under Nixon and Reagan – winning 49% of the pop vote and getting nailed in the electoral college sucks”

Quite. What drove this point on audience home for me though and brings me on to my fourth point is sophisticated use of digital…


The Obama camp, building on the success of their social media campaign and fundraising in 2008 have raised the bar. Again. They knew who they were targeting and they weren’t bashful about it, as this excellent piece from Will Foxton in the Telegraph attests.


Romney’s campaign started to derail in the UK. Whilst the cynics said that doesn’t actually matter, it was only a part of a catalogue of well documented errors. Celebrated today on the Times website (£). 

For a view on what Cameron might learn, I can’t recommend Matthew D’Ancona’s piece in the Evening Standard today, highly enough.

FPS’ Friday Fiver

Hello all and welcome to the second Financial & Professional Services Friday Fiver of the year. Apparently, Monday 16th January is set to be ‘Red Monday’ – the most depressing day of the year. With that in mind, this week’s Fiver at least attempts to lift the gloom a little with the return to blogging of our resident sharp-tongued Apprentice critic, Marie Cairney, who brings us her views on Scottish independence (as a Scot herself). We’ve also got thoughts on Tesco, Mitt Romney, cockney slang and an intriguing new report from Barclays Capital. Thanks to Ed, Jonathan and Ross for their contributions as well this week.

CAMERON THE BRAVE…..In a display of blunt brinkmanship combined with a lesson in ‘being careful of what you wish for’, the PM this week tried to push Alex Salmond into a corner on the future of the UK, most likely to the bewilderment of those around him. Perhaps buoyed by his new-found devil may care – we can go it alone – attitude recently honed in Europe, Cameron decided to raise an issue that didn’t really need to be raised right now. So much so that we were looking for some really bad news that needed to be hidden in the ensuing manufactured maelstrom.

There wasn’t any but then I guess the economic crisis can’t get much worse. Philip Clarke at Tesco might have been slightly relieved for five minutes although not even a divided kingdom could distract from those awful results yesterday (more on that below). While Marie can’t speak with any certainty or authority for a nation on how much they want to stay in the UK (being a deserter for 20 years now), she can say that if there is one thing that Scots don’t like; it is being told what to do by governments they don’t vote for, especially if they are predominantly English. Have the Conservatives learned nothing?  Instead of calling Salmond’s bluff Cameron played right into his tartan-mitted hands and raised the not inconsiderable heckles of 6 million people. Well done. Or as they say up there ‘Gaun yerself Big Man’!

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