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From Net-Roots to Grassroots Campaigning

Last week, I posted the Ned Lamont TV ads and praised them for being "pretty darn creative."

I received a lot of flak for that. Some people felt they weren’t serious enough. Others felt they did not utilize emotion. The critics were right … Sort of.

Regardless of how you feel about Lamont’s challenge to Senator Joe Lieberman, at the end of the day, the ads worked (as is evidenced by the fact that Sen. Lieberman will have to face Ned Lamont on August 8).

The bottom line is that the ads were effective at generating interest in Lamont. It got people talking about him, posting the ads, and forwarding them to their friends. And when it comes to raising money nationally from the net-roots — that matters.

But the critics of the ads are correct, too.

The ads were dangerously reminiscent of Howard Dean’s campaign (in the sense that they are about "process" rather than selling the "benefits" of his candidacy).

Lamont’s ads were creative enough to catch our attention. That’s a good start. But to win, Lamont must now do what Dean never did … pivot into a more traditional campaign.

That will require money, grassroots (not just net-roots) support, and a message that resonates with average Democrat voters.

The odds are long. But it will be fun to watch.

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Written By

Mr. Lewis has managed political campaigns and served as director of grassroots for the Leadership Institute, as well as political director for GOPAC. In 2002, Campaigns & Elections magazine selected him as a "Rising Star of Politics." He is the author of "Teaching Elephants to Talk." His blog can be read at MattLewis.org.

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