James Forsyth

If you want to win big, you’ve got to think big

If you want to win big, you've got to think big
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The post-mortems are already beginning on the Clinton campaign as everyone here is expecting a big Obama win tonight; the spin from her side is that if they can keep the margin in single figures then it will be a good night for them. In trying to understand why Hillary’s star has fallen so far so fast, it is worth considering why she was running in the first place, the essential essence of their candidacy is what a politician can return to when things gets tough. But as Chuck Todd, the political director of NBC News, points out, Hillary never really laid out why she was running. Her slogan was “In it, to win it”, which raises the question of why she is in it now that she’s not winning.

Another lesson to be learnt from the Clinton campaign woes is that the big idea still matters. Mark Penn, Hillary’s chief strategist who is getting most of the blame for her problems, is an expert at spotting so-called micro-trends, read this interview that Matt did with him on the subject. He thought that Hillary could stitch together a winning coalition. But what Obama is proving is that there is nothing more powerful than tapping into a macro-trend, in this case the desire for a restoration of hope. Indeed, the whole Obama wave can be seen as a rejection of the slicing and dicing of the electorate that has been seen as the key to political success since the 1990s.  

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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