Kos has a post up arguing that political advertising in the big media has become less effective.
This ties in with one of my pet ideas: the Democrats’ media-heavy campaign strategy has been suicidal. To begin with, big media buys serve to fatten up big media, and big media showed in 2000 that it will ultimately support the Republicans. So we’re giving tons of money to some of our worst enemies.
Second, expensive media campaigns force the party to focus too much on fundraising. And the need to raise more and more money forces the Democrats to make more and more deals with the big potential donors, with the result that the less affluent of the traditional Democratic constituencies come to have less and less influence within the party (especially since the party seems to have resigned itself to a low rate of electoral participation).
I’m not an expert on all this, but I know that there have recently been successful candidates (Paul Wellstone was one) who primarily relied on feet on the ground and grass-roots campaigning. Perhaps the national party should think of moving in that direction.
P.S. Since this is just a blog, I think I can shoehorn in another pet idea of mine. My experience has been that the Democrats’ paid staff tends to be heavy with bright and shiny recent college grads (often from Ivy League schools) for whom the job is just an easy, low-paid break between college and their real career. For local outreach work in non-middle-class areas, at least, wouldn’t it be better to hire people from the community for whom the job might actually be a good job? Didn’t the Democrats use to work this way?