Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Day 2

We started the day with an 8:30 lecture by Professor Thomas Cronin and Michael A. Genovese, Ph.D.  Professor Cronin was the first to speak. He spoke of what Sen. Barack Obama needed to accomplish to make this convention a success. He had three main points; unifying the party, making sure everyone knew that Sen. Obama is still indeed the candidate of change, and reintroducing him to the undecided voters. It was all very straightforward facts of the campaign up until now. 
The next speaker was Michael A. Genovese, Ph.D. He focused less on the campaign and more on presidential elections in general. He first referred to James Burns when he was quoted as saying that we as Americans have the worst top leader recruitment system in the world. Today the "entry fee", referring to needed campaign funds, is 100 million dollars, contradicting that age old  belief that anyone can be president if they just work hard enough. Mr. Genovese, who has been interviewed numerous times on CNN, began explaining his point further with examples of Great Britain's selection process which, among other things, is considerably shorter than ours (six weeks to be exact). He continued about the American selection process by rightfully calling a "horse race" and "media driven". Recently we've heard a lot about the media being slanted towards Sen. Obama. It seems they have made themselves out to be a central issue in the presidential race which gives some general idea as to the extent of how influential the media actually is in campaigns. 
Two campaign strategies were introduced. One strategy, which was used by Sen. Hillary Clinton, involves going after the independent vote and then solidifying her base without too much concentration on the far right. Contrasting this strategy was the one used by President Bush which focused on going after the "true believers" of the Republican party. This strategy is based on the belief that the number of independent voters is shrinking. 
Something that has become an important factor in the American selection process is branding. This is what the voting public sees in a candidate. For example, Sen John McCain is known for his war and foreign policy experience and as a republican maverick. It is the qualities in a candidate that sticks out to voters.
Another topic Mr. Genovese touched on was the new technology used. For example, Barack Obama is much younger than John McCain, and also has much of the youth vote. He takes advantage of this fact by utilizing the internet which is not always they easiest tool for older generations to keep up with. The use of the internet as a communication tool between Sen. Obama and voters has led to 750,00 volunteers and 8,000 infinity groups behind him. 
It's been fascinating to hear these well known and respected speakers talk to us. It's so insightful and inspiring. 
Later in the night we were able to go into downtown Denver for the first time. It's a beautiful city and the weather is still amazing.  I will try to load pictures a little later.

-Matt Shelton

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