Green Imagination

Your Blog for Sharing Green Ideas.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Jason West & Green Party Celebrity

According to this Washington Post article from yesterday, Jason West is becoming the new symbol for the national Green Party. The Post notes that Jason was recently written about in People magazine, and is essentially challenging (in a non-confrontational way) Matt Gonzalez for being one of the most recognizable faces in the Green Party. Despite what any of us might think about People magazine, Jason's face and information about the Green Party reached 30 million people, plus those who read the article in the Post! That's not bad publicity. This makes getting Jason down here to Baltimore and Maryland to help us campaign all the more appealing.

How does this tie into the numerous campaigns running in and around Baltimore? What could someone who lives nearly 300 miles away possibly contribute to a bunch of races in a city and region that has little to do with central New York State? In one word: Celebrity.

In today's hyper-media world, celebrity can play a key factor in a campaign's success. At a social science conference I attended last year, a young poli-sci grad presented a paper on what he termed the "megacampaign." The megacampaign is briefly defined by celebrities using name recognition to garner widespread support for their campaigns, as well as conduct massive fundraising and spending. Schwarzenager's campaign is probably the best recent example of this; indeed, his campaign unfolded as though this paper was its playbook. (I have an electronic version of this paper, if anyone would like to read it. Just email me). And perhaps it is celebrity that helps Ralph Nader garner continued support from many Greens nationwide.

Of course, Greens are generally opposed to or, at the very least, mistrust such manic cash flows. However, I think there are political lessons to be learned from campaigning in the "celebrity" style. Having someone like Jason down would certainly attract a great deal of media attention, not only locally but potentially nationally as well. Despite the fact that all politics are allegedly to be local, much of our constituencies only pay attention to national media. Moreover, much of our local media wants national recognition; they want to have that super-savy, cutting-edge look of national media.

Interestingly, I think this approach may also support the full-slate campaign strategy being formulated at the state level, at least in some combination. Jason could do for both the Baltimore City and congressional campaigns what Matt Gonzalez did for the nominating convention: help to put us on the map and in people's minds.

If the media can stand up and take notice that there is an immense political change going on in this state, as indicated by the sheer number of candidates running this electoral season, and that this political change is part of a national trend, ALL of our candidates have a better shot of making waves.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Green synergy rocks!

Dave Goldsmith
Baltimore County Greens

6:19 AM  
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