Barack Obama has finally arrived. He’s inspiring a new generation of hot Canadian operatives. According to John Ibbitson, Trudeau’s team is “Taking a page out of Obama’s playbook”:
“Justin Trudeau's leadership team is attempting to bypass Liberal Party elites and allegiances, according to sources close to the campaign, using the same methods that Barack Obama's campaign used to do an end-run around the Democratic Party and make him president.
“If Team Trudeau pulls it off, a new generation of young and minority voters – many who have never cast ballots before – could transform the political landscape. But it remains a very big if.”
Go ahead: comb Obama’s playbook. Get inspiration wherever you can. But please don’t rely on Obama’s last chapter to dress up Pierre Trudeau’s son as a transformative leader.
Obama didn’t beat Hillary Clinton, John McCain, or Mitt Romney with a superior website and Election Day volunteers. He didn’t “end-run” any one of them simply with technique and cool. His campaign against Hillary Clinton was a long, bitter affair that was sustained by a gutsy policy record that set him apart from the Washington Democratic establishment—crafted by him, well before he had a crack team of advisors. This year, his dangerous, clear choices on taxes, immigration, health insurance, and marriage divided Americans, but they also gave his ground game something urgent to sell.
It’s suspicious, but not impossible, for Justin Trudeau and fellow lifelong Liberal insiders to “end-run” their elders. However, they’ll need more than the favorable clicks of thousands of website surfers to beat any serious opponent in a national election, let alone transform Canada’s politics.