Business, Politics & Society

Parting Words

David Axelrod and Karl Rove

Lesson time 3:01 min

David and Karl offer a call to action, encouraging you to get involved in politics and start making a difference.

David Axelrod and Karl Rove
Teach Campaign Strategy and Messaging
Renowned presidential campaign strategists David Axelrod and Karl Rove reveal what goes into effective political strategy and messaging.
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It's been great to spend this time with you, to share the lessons of our careers in politics. Some of the nuances and details of campaigning. Most of all, what I hope is you'll get a sense of how exciting, and energizing, and challenging, and stimulating campaigns can be. You may not want to run one. You may not want to be a candidate. But you should be an engaged citizen. We need you. This project of democracy needs you. And so we hope you'll take the lessons that you've learned here and apply them in coming elections and in your communities. - I'd say two things. One is, don't just take what we've said here today, read. There's so many wonderful books out there about great campaigns in American history that are well worth reading. And not just the campaigns of today, but the campaigns of yesterday. That if you read them and you've got an interest in politics, it might further some of that interest and encourage you even more to be involved as a candidate, a volunteer, or a campaign operative, or a party member. And the second thing I'd say is this. We've talked a lot about change in technology and about ways to go about planning and executing campaigns. But in reality, if you look at it, the more advanced we get with technology, the more we're returning back to the place that we were in the 1840s. When a lanky lawyer from Sangamon County, Illinois, wrote a letter to his campaign committee-- he was chairman of the Whig campaign committee that year in his county. He said make a perfect list of the voters. Ascertain with certainty for whom they will vote. Have the undecideds talked to you by someone they hold in confidence. And on election day, make certain that every Whig is brought to the polls. Now, Abraham Lincoln was a great president. He was also a pretty good practical politician. And all of this technology and all this hubbub about campaigns is bringing us back to the point that he made in his letter-- the third point. Have the undecideds talked to by someone they hold in confidence. And for a lot of people, even if you decide never to be a candidate and never manage a campaign, there are a lot of people who will rely upon your word if they're undecided. So please, regardless of whether you're Republican, Democrat, libertarian, vegetarian, whatever-- our great experiment is one generation away from extinction, as Ronald Reagan said, unless the American people continue to remain involved in our democracy, and our campaigns, and our elections. And in the choice of those people that we have to lead our country and our government. Thanks, again, for having us. - That's fucking fantastic. - Like Carl said.

What it takes to win elections

David Axelrod and Karl Rove reach across the aisle to offer an inside look at winning campaign strategies. The respective architects of Barack Obama’s and George W. Bush’s historic election victories teach how to develop a campaign platform and reach an audience with consistent messaging. Find the inspiration and tools to get involved at any level, or simply become a more informed, engaged citizen.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Loved the different perspectives from both and most importantly the message of standing for something to win.

The only place I have seen and/or heard a high-level Democrat and a high-level Republican talk together with civility, generosity, mutual respect and admiration. Kudos to David and Karl and thanks to Masterclass.

I am a political junkie. Even with my daily consumption of news and politics, this was great. I have a greater respect for both Rove and Axlerod.

Good anecdotes and stories. Good to lay campaigning out in chronological order.


Scenaristi M.

Wow. Very interesting and useful. It will be really useful if they could share some readings.


Very interesting, practical, hand-on, informative classes. Fun and engaging talk. Surely, very useful and helpful advises for the one who is involved or planning to get involved in a campaign, even as a volunteer. Thank you .


Learned so much. It would be great if Karl could give a fews names of the books he recommends we read.

Maximilian K.

I am really satisfied with the class content. It is hilarious to watch how both of them are trying not to fight with each other about whether Republicans or Democrats are wrong or right. I really appreciate the "neutral" viewpoint on politics without any biased and partisan views. My favorite quote of today's lecture was definitely the one of Karl: "In social media, political opinions are affirmed, not informed."


This class gave me a relief that 'Masterclass' is neutral in its political angle that I do not need to worry about keeping my political hygiene intact after watching any of the episodes i.e. free from unsolicited political bias and brainwashing by the media outlets or platforms. This is a great discussion between the two opposite parties, although there were some awkward and uncomfortable moments made me wonder if they prepared the course agenda together and run through each other's script + talking points. The discussion was raw and real, so I appreciated their technical analysis of the political campaign.

Catherine T.

I've loved every Masterclass I've taken so far but this is absolutely the best one. I loved these two guys, their friendship in spite of their disagreements, which they weren't afraid to voice. I'm not interested in working in campaigns in a formal capacity but I'm politically involved and this was really enlightening. I know David Axelrod fairly well as a political personality, but the special surprise here was Karl Rove. I told a friend - a fellow liberal - about this who said she saw Rove speak at DePauw about in depth advanced political strategy when she was in school there and said he was utterly brilliant. I am going to keep an eye on any future things like this that he may do because he is a riveting speaker with fascinating things to say.

Margaret N.

I enjoyed this class very much. It was great hearing two of the best talk about their successes and failures. It gives me so much more to watch while following this year's elections. I learned a lot!


A class that every American should watch instead of Keeping up with the Kartrashians.

A fellow student

Loved the content and the dynamic between two savvy political operatives from ‘opposing’ parties. The areas of difference were authentic yet their ability to communicate with respect for the listener and each other is the very model of what we need to amplify in today’s campaigns and governance. Bravo!

Cesar M.

Excellent! Great idea to have these both guys who can be civil and opposing parties. I'd not seek Karl much but admire his skills from grassroots to high falutin' elite R speak...both will want to be Power users on my upcoming platform...stay tuned for MOXY in Spring 2020!!