Communicator-in-Chief: How Barack Obama Used New Media Technology to Win the White House examines the fascinating and precedent-setting role new media technologies and the Internet played in the 2008 presidential campaign that allowed for the historic election of the nation's first African American president. It was the first presidential campaign in which the Internet, the electorate, and political campaign strategies for the White House successfully converged to propel a candidate to the highest elected office in the nation.
The contributors to this volume masterfully demonstrate how the Internet is to President Barack Obama what television was to President John Kennedy, thus making Obama a truly twenty-first century communicator and politician. Furthermore, Communicator-in-Chief argues that Obama's 2008 campaign strategies established a model that all future campaigns must follow to achieve any measure of success. The Barack Obama campaign team astutely discovered how to communicate and motivate not only the general electorate but also the technology-addicted Millennial Generation - a generational voting block that will be a juggernaut in future elections.
John Allen Hendricks —
John Allen Hendricks is the director of the division of communication and contemporary culture and professor of communication at Stephen F. Austin State University.
Communicator-in-chief: how Barack Obama used new media technology to win the White House, ed. by John Allen Hendricks and Robert E. Denton Jr. Lexington Books, 2010. 171p bibl index afp; ISBN 9780739141052. Reviewed in 2010sep CHOICE.
Hendricks (Stephen F. Austin State Univ.) and Denton (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ.) have edited a useful and informative book, gathering an array of essays from nine knowledgeable contributors that explore the political watershed resulting in Barack Obama's election. Hendricks and Denton present a comprehensive opening chapter; other contributors discuss ways the Internet and related electronic vehicles that constitute social media contributed mightily to President Obama's win. Not since John Kennedy adroitly used television in 1960 has a White House aspirant so successfully adapted media's potential to fashion a convincing victory. The contributors lucidly explain the new methodology, which now becomes a template for future campaigns. Selective means of communication is the key; Hispanic and African American group usages were specifically targeted through varied electronic means. This tactic increased the effectiveness and importance of the local caucuses for the Obama forces, and that proved to be the Achilles' heel of the formidable Clinton campaign. The unanswered question: will Obama's followers remain a cohesive, decisive force? An excellent primer. All would-be officeholders will ignore the lessons here at their peril.
Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels. -- S. L. Harrison, University of Miami