I didn't want to vote yesterday. I watched CNN last night, not raptly, but with a sense of knowing what was coming. As a sort of passive observer of the political process this year, it has been interesting to see all of the work finally play out, but I can't help but notice that while, as usual, the election is not really about the issues, it's also no longer about whatever nonsense it happened to be about before.
At a session I attended BlogOrlando this year, a presenter discussed his role in helping change the image of Fiskars, the scissor people, by bringing social interaction to the table to sit beside marketing and branding. In a very compelling part of his talk, he said that the challenge and success was in creating a movement. And yes, apparently, even if delicacy is required, movements can be engineered.
So I'm amused by what I see on TV and in the paper today. I don't necessarily disagree with Obama's policies or ideas for change, but what I do see is a movement for change where perhaps the prescribed change itself isn't the instrument of its creation. I see an engineering of politics that the world has yet to endure - one where social media, an engineered movement, has led people to make decisions that are very large.
It's been obvious to me that McCain's campaign has been a typically haphazard misapplication of social media. For whatever reason (and I have my conspiracy theories), his campaign just did not get it. His people have obviously never touched the web in curiosity, or looked to its huge yet experimentally small pool of users for insight into how social engineering could have been applied to this election. In that, and in many other areas that would be key to becoming elected that have nothing to do with whether he was fit for office, his campaign completely and utterly failed.
There are also tales every year about how the electoral system is no longer efficient for selecting a president; how the electoral vote could easily not reflect the popular vote. I think if you look carefully at the campaigns this year, you'll see some of the most efficient application of this "electoral math" that we've ever seen.
The actual popular vote race was pretty close. But the electoral votes are very skewed in Obama's favor. Even if the movement did not do so well as they had hoped, they still targeted the populous centers of states with high electoral votes so well that they would have won those states regardless.
I'm no so persuaded by the rhetoric. Every year we are promised things by newly elected politicians, and every year things fail to deliver. Sure, some promises are fulfilled, but I think that such a large agenda as Obama's, while certainly ambitious and perhaps even worthy of making happen in full, is not something we'll see come to fruition. I have imagined a scene of Obama's first day in office as one where he realizes that the weight of the country - economically, militarily, socially - is all on him, and that his proposed change is something that requires not just a (in relative terms) simple change in what's being done, but a more significant change in the process of doing things.
Well, at least we see and have evidence that the stumping process has changed as a result of his ideas. Woe be Obama in 2012 if his change isn't in the upswing, because by then the Republicans will have figured out social media, and a different kind of change will be in store for the White House.