The Obama for America campaign assembled the largest activist and volunteer network in history: 13 million email addresses, 4 million donors, 2 million registered members of my.BarackObama.com, tens of thousands of trained activists, five thousand paid staff, and countless local volunteers. The campaign connected supporters at the grassroots level, gave them access to cutting edge technologies, and empowered them to organize on their own initiative. These individuals constituted Obama’s core group, and their dedication to the candidate was palpable. Obama credited them with his victory.
But the morning after the election, the million dollar question was what would happen to this massive, diverse group, now that victory was achieved? Clearly, Obama couldn’t just tuck his database away for four years and expect it to be ready to go again in 2012. Something had to be done to keep the network active, nurture it, and perhaps even grow it. After all, this organizational juggernaut offered more than a head-start on the reelection campaign: it was also a potentially useful resource for governing – it represented a new kind of “power tool” for the president in his effort to turn the promise of his campaign into a reality. (more…)