Friday, April 17, 2015

A Presidential Campaign is for the Young and Hungry

If there is one thing that's obvious about Hillary Clinton's campaign for President of the United States and her recent trip to Iowa it is that it is old and tired.

It makes you think of a long-established corporation, headed by a CEO that's worked his way up, marketing yet another product. Or maybe a long established TV network pushing out a new sitcom on "Linear TV" in a world going Netflix.

The point is that Hillary Clinton is the head of a political machine that's at least 20 years old. The machine is full of lifers jockeying for position and backbiting and gaming the system just like the employees in any corporate or government bureaucracy. It's Clinton's job to keep the machine going, and keep the benefits going for the lifers.

That's not the way that politics works. A political campaign is more like a revolutionary movement or a business startup. A charismatic leader gathers young and energetic people around him. They work insane hours and come up with amazing new ideas and manage to achieve the impossible. Suddenly it all catches fire and takes the world by storm.

Think Barack Obama and 2008 and all the talk about Data. His campaign pushed way out in front on using the internet and Big Data to tailor its message and reach more voters. But you hear now that the GOP has caught up and reckons that one of the reasons it won the the US Senate last fall was Data.

Of course there are all kinds of other problems with the Clinton campaign. One of them is that the Democratic agenda over the last decade had been bad for the ordinary unorganized middle class. The whole Democratic and liberal politics revolves around organizing people into interest groups and servicing them as clients of the political system. If you are not an established interest, like a corporation or an interest or an approved victim group, then you don't have a seat at the table.

The whole point of politics down the ages has been to organize people into a political army to fight for political power and then reward them with the spoils of victory. The whole point of capitalism in the last 500 years has been to limit that predatory approach to human cooperation and governance and encourage and reward people to serve their fellow humans outside the force-field of government and politics.

The question is: can anyone persuade a majority of the American people to abandon the apparent safety of clientage and entitlement for the uncertainty of freedom and responsible individualism?

Who knows?

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