A-list political operatives David Axelrod and Ed Gillespie appeared at the cable show to discuss the role of cable technology – both broadband and video – in the 2012 election cycle.
There is no doubt that technology will impact the election, as Americans are being empowered to participate through creation of content, mobile activism tools, and social networks that allow the sharing and dissemination of content.
Axelrod, former campaign consultant to Barack Obama, and former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie discussed the targeting that cable allows with Axelrod specifically mentioning the Bush-Cheney campaign’s ten month ad buy on The Golf Channel. The two parties have identified channels and programs that are more likely to be viewed by their partisans, and buy television to reach them effectively.
Axelrod noted, however, that the need to create compelling content has led cable news to become balkanized, and viewers, as a result, are self-selecting channels that reinforce their own views, without exposing themselves to conflicting views. He suggested that Republicans may turn to fox News while Democrats tune to MSNBC, and that adds to the partisan divide.
Gillespie said that in a short news cycle, creating web videos, and providing them to the media as content, helps shape the narrative.
Turning to social media, Gillespie suggested that the pace of technological advance is so rapid that the tool that ends up shaping election 2012 may not be in wide usage today.
The one question on everyone’s mind – who will face President Obama on the GOP side? – led Gillespie to suggest that the party’s primary may be a horse race until May. He suggested that the primary be allowed to play out to determine the nominee.
Axelrod agreed, noting that changes to the GOP primary rules would make the race more competitive than ever. He challenged Gillespie’s belief that the GOP nominee would emerge with strength.
Moderator Candy Crowley questioned whether the Tea Party would continue to play a major role in the election. Gillespie suggested that the Tea Party is a positive for the GOP, noting that most are new voters aligned with the party’s fiscal policies.
Michael Turk is a Partner in CRAFT | Media / Digital, a full-spectrum communications agency. Learn more about CRAFT at www.craftdc.com.