Business, Community & Government

Working on a Campaign

David Axelrod and Karl Rove

Lesson time 12:30 min

Both instructors teach you how to decide which candidate to work for, the different roles on a campaign team, and the role of key decision-maker.

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

Topics include: Choosing a Candidate to Work For • Ways to Get Involved • Staffing Considerations for Larger Campaigns • Determine the Decision Maker


If you're a younger person, and you're talking to candidates or watching candidates, there's no science to determining who you want to go to work for. And sometimes, it can become an easy choice, if you find yourself drawn to one party or the other, and a candidate is nominated. That alone may be an impetus to work for that candidate. But the only advice that I would give you is follow your instinct. What I learned in my years in politics is that your first instinct is probably the right instinct. If something strikes you as wrong, then you shouldn't do it. In 2004, I got a call telling me that John Edwards, who was thinking of running for president-- or was running for president-- had lost his media consultant and wanted to talk to me. I flew to Washington. Some of my friends, who, like I, had done presidentials before said, you know, don't sign up immediately. Spend time with him. Really understand who he is. It was really good advice, but I didn't follow it. I went and I had a two-hour meeting. I came back. I told my very wise wife, Susan, about the meeting, and she listened to it. And I won't go into the details of it. And she said, I don't think you should do the race. Something is amiss here. Something's not right. And it turned out to be-- John Edwards treated me fine. But it turned out to be not a good experience for me. I decided then that I was never going to do a presidential race again, unless it was with a candidate with whom I had an absolute bond of trust, because you can't go through an experience like that at a high level, unless there's a real bond of trust, because your bond is being tested all the time in a presidential race. You're going to have bad experiences, off-days, bad decisions. And you have to have a relationship with a candidate that goes deeper, so that the candidate says, you know, let's just fix this and move on. And so you never have to worry about your status. So I think it's really important to follow your instincts and not try and talk yourself into doing a race. If you want to get involved in campaigns, I would urge you to get involved in any capacity you can and really survey the different aspects of a campaign. There's the communications function, which, increasingly, is going to involve a major social media component. That's a really interesting place to be. It's obviously one that interests me, coming out of the news media and doing what I do. There is the field in voter contact aspect of campaigns-- how do you organize that volunteer corps in such a way that you're touching the voters you need to touch, getting the information you need to get them, and making sure that they vote? Interesting part of the campaign. There's the fundraising part of the campaign, without which none of the rest of it works. And how do you raise the money in small denominations? But also, how do you raise money in larger denominations? That's a specialty. Advance in setting up the candid...

About the Instructor

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.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

David Axelrod and Karl Rove

Renowned presidential campaign strategists David Axelrod and Karl Rove reveal what goes into effective political strategy and messaging.

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