Jeremy Goldberg '99
Jeremy Goldberg, BSFS ’99, is currently the National Co-Chairman of Generation Obama, the official young professionals’ arm of Barack Obama for President, and has been at the center of the action since the beginning of the campaign. In between cross-country trips, Jeremy offered up the following observations:
• Shades of Blue, Shades of Red: While only four years ago the country was divided into “red” and “blue” states, this time around more and more states are “purple”. Both parties are running a fifty-state strategy. If Obama secures the nomination, states like North Carolina and Mississippi—where Democrats usually have more trouble—may be put into play. Strong African-American turnout could diminish the relative importance of Florida and Pennsylvania in November. McCain will aggressively court Hispanic voters as he seeks to win his native Southwest and challenge the Democrats’ hold on that constituency.
• Money Still Talks: Much has been made of the unification challenge facing Democrats after this contentious and lengthy primary battle. The true measure of party unity will be quantified in dollars. The winning Democratic candidate will need to continue to fundraise through August 28th, as general election dollars can only be spent once the nomination is officially secured. Many Obama donors have yet to reach the contribution limit of $2300 for the primary season, but as the party's presumptive nominee, Obama will need to tap into Hillary’s large base of contributors—including her top supporters—to finance his campaign through the end of August. Successful summer fundraising will be the best indication that the party is coming together for the nominee.
• The Technology That Really Matters Is Not What You Think: Despite the headlines, it’s not touch-screen voting machines. The Obama campaign has effectively used social networking tools and YouTube to mobilize 750,000 volunteers and raise record dollars. Under Karl Rove, the Republican Party built a massive voter database which allows it to employ microtargeting for its candidates' benefit. The Democrats have spent four years trying to build a comparable capacity, and this election will show whether or not they have succeeded.
• Is it still the economy, stupid? As an SFS grad, I want this election to be about foreign policy. As an Obama supporter, I want this election to be about the economy. McCain, conversely, wants the debate to be about foreign policy, which lets him emphasize his experience. The same "change versus experience" debate will characterize the fall election, and it is the current state of the economy that provides Democrats with the greatest case for change (and against McCain).