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The Lessons of Election 2012

February 7, 2013 — With the 2012 elections now a part of history, what lessons have political campaign managers learned? For one thing, while getting the message out with social media is important, it’s still critical to knock on doors.

 “Even with a gigantic influx of money, the really basic fundamental elements of campaigns still very much matter,” said Anne Caprara, deputy political director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee at a February 1 event here covered live by C-SPAN. "The more television commercials we have, the more media that gets thrown at people, the more important it becomes to really adhere to the basics and remember that you have to come to the race with the right candidate for the right state for the right time.” 

Another lesson is that there is no longer such a thing as “down time” for incumbent members of Congress. “Everything [is] moving a little bit earlier to prepare in different ways to get your message out,” said Marlon Marshall, who recently served as the deputy national field director for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.

The Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (holding that the federal government could not prohibit corporations or labor unions from making independent expenditures in support of candidates) met with criticism from some panelists, which included members of interest groups. “For working people,” said Brandon Davis, National Political Director for the Service Employees International Union, “there is no value in Citizens United whatsoever.” 

The event was moderated by Visiting Professor Dakota Rudesill and co-sponsored by the Federal Legislation and Administrative Clinic, the new Center for Congressional Studies at Georgetown Law and the Georgetown Project on Law and Politics. 

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