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The Performance of PoliticsObama's Victory and the Democratic Struggle for Power$
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Jeffrey C. Alexander

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199744466

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199744466.001.0001

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Spirit of the Ground Game

Spirit of the Ground Game

(p.39) Chapter Three Spirit of the Ground Game
The Performance of Politics


Oxford University Press

This chapter confronts the conventional wisdom that money and organization really decide what happens in politics. It begins with media observations that collective sentiment is critical to both finances and the ground game. The chapter follows with an ethnographic account of grassroots organizing by Barack Obama's political campaign. When political professionals, journalists, academic intellectuals, and everyday citizens think of themselves as realists, as being practical rather than idealistic with their heads in the clouds, they are inclined to emphasize the absolute centrality of money and organization to political campaigns. There are the proverbs about money being the mother's milk of politics, about paying the piper and calling the tune, about the purse strings controlling the campaign. There is also the folk wisdom that winning depends on political organization. It is not a matter of symbolic representation but numbers and planning. Staffing and rational knowledge are alleged to be the keys to political success.

Keywords:   money, organization, politics, media observations, finances, ground game, Barack Obama, political campaign

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