The UK election campaign finally gained heat last week, with Labour’s attack on ‘non-doms’ prompting Conservative strategist Lynton Crosby to ‘go nuclear’. Defence secretary Michael Fallon’s attack on Ed Miliband (‘he will stab the country in the back’) was a clear tactic by Crosby to steer the agenda away from tax, on to defence. This in turn prompted the Labour machine to run an online campaign against Crosby, branding him ‘Dr Strangelove’.
But all this will look tepid in comparison with what is about to hit the United States in the coming months, as the battle-hardened Hillary Clinton launches her second assault on the US presidency.
Clinton will now target the famous Democrat primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire to help secure her nomination for the national election next November. It takes us back to 2008, when Clinton came within a whisker of being nominated instead of Barack Obama.
That primaries battle goes down as one of the fiercest campaigns in modern history. Indeed Obama’s run for the presidency itself seemed tame compared with his rivalry with Clinton. Back then Obama’s victory came down to his superior battle on the ground, using social media to mobilise grassroots support thanks to the advice of now-legendary advisers David Axelrod, David Plouffe and Joe Rospars. They outsmarted Clinton’s much-admired pollster at the time, Mark Penn. And Hillary’s former president husband, Bill proved to be more hindrance than help.
This time we can expect a very different Clinton campaign. It will likely be Clinton’s last drive for power, as she is now 67. Bill, who is suffering from poor health, will take a much lower profile, while a new set of advisers will hammer out an aggressive new online strategy. Even the announcement of her candidacy was made via social media.
In the 2008 election Obama, persisting with his online strategy, was able to steamroll Republican candidate John McCain on his way to the White House. But if Clinton wins the nomination as expected, she is likely to encounter much tougher opposition from another US politican clan, with Jeb Bush the likely Republican offering.
Danny Rogers is the group editor-in-chief of Brand Republic GroupReuse content