Obama for America, the already-massive campaign organization dedicated to re-electing the 44th president, rolled out a fresh website on Friday, a seemingly trivial development that could actually play an outsized role in next year’s election. After all, this is the same Obama campaign — staffed by many of the same people — that radically and permanently altered the way American presidential campaigns are run, and how they make use of the internet.
While this president has not been transformational in office, failing to “change Washington” and reduce the influence of money in politics as promised, he has proved — and this website shows that he remains — a transformational presidential candidate.
Barack Obama was a different kind of presidential contender in 2008 for many reasons besides his race and his name. He was the first candidate in modern history to opt-out of the campaign finance system in the general election. And he raised hundreds of millions of dollars from millions of Americans via the most aggressive and complex internet, phone, and canvassing outreach programs ever, with thousands of volunteers who loved the social network his campaign built from scratch, My.BarackObama.com (or as it’s affectionately known to campaign vets, “MyBO”).
Not to mention that we can be reasonably confident the Obama reelect will raise even more than the $750 million they did in 2007 and 2008 this time around — and continue searching for innovative means to spend the money effectively on voter contact, persuasion, and attacks against his Republican counterpart.
According to an Obama campaign official close to the design process, the new site is “fully responsive, meaning it looks and functions as beautifully on any type of mobile device as it does on your computer at home. That’s a big deal for the millions of people who visit our site on smartphones and tablets — now they can donate, volunteer, watch videos, and anything else as quickly and easily as any other visitor.”
Which essentially means that even as many of those already actively engaged in American politics via the internet on a day-to-day basis won’t be lured in or incited to take action by a flashy new design, the base voters Obama needs to come out in bigger numbers than ever — African Americans, suburban women, college students, upwardly-mobile white professionals, and Latinos — could well be.