Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I haven't received a flyer for the Presidential primaries since I lived in Iowa, but yesterday I received two: from the Clinton and Obama campaigns. The contrast is fascinating.

Clinton's has a large picture of her smiling, with her hand (her left hand, for some reason) over her heart, reminding us in large yellow letters that early voting starts February 19. On the reverse, the message on early voting is repeated -- in four different ways. The three photos on this side prominently feature seniors.

Obama's is larger and glossier, a folded piece whose cover features a large Texas flag. Unlike Clinton's, it explains Texas' bizarre hybrid primary-caucus system. The headline: "To change America, do the Texas Two-Step: First you vote. Then you caucus." The interior repeats this message with a clear numbered list, explaining that two-thirds of the delegates are chosen by the primary while the remaining third are chosen by the caucus ("a neighborhood town meeting"). And we are told that "It's simple and easy to do the Texas Two-Step."

Fascinating. Why the difference? Some possibilities:
  • The Clinton camp wants to lock in early votes now, and will follow up with a second piece explaining the caucuses.
  • The Clinton camp wants to emphasize early voting as the most important step for general voters, relying on party faithful alone to go to the caucus.
  • The Clinton camp is ceding the caucuses, where Obama traditionally does well.
  • The Clinton camp really doesn't understand the primary-caucus system.
An additional difference, of course, is that the Obama flyer appears customized for Texas from the ground up, while the Clinton flyer seems more generic.

I'll watch for follow-up flyers, because I want to see how this plays out.

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