Surfing the late night Tube last evening, I paused at Tavis Smiley, who was in the midst of an onscreen interview with one of my favorite Americans, the inimitable and articulate Marian Wright Edelman, head of the Children’s Defense Fund, or as I like to call her, “the smartest woman in Washington”. Not only is the CDF behind the children’s health insurance initiative, I discovered they are running their own candidate for President. Her name is Susie Flynn, a bright young woman who is running on the issue of universal health care for children. However, her name will never make it to the ballot. Presidential candidate Susie Flynn is 10-years-old.
This doesn’t stop me from giving her my vote–for the Best Campaign Website and, most importantly, Best Use of New Media in the 2008 presidential campaign, so far. Candidates, take notes.
I don’t know who is responsible for the creation and execution of this brilliant idea, but you have to hand it to the CDF team for getting it all right. At this point, it is clear that the 2008 campaign will be made on the Internet, and may the best web developers win. Political TV commercials are so last century.
Here’s what they’re up to on the electsusie.com website:
As they say in their campaign slogan, there are 9 million uninsured children in this country, so they are trying to collect 9 million signatures on their petition. The platform is laid out simply on the Home page, where you sign and click your name onto the petition. The petition counter is right there, so you see that your name has been added and counted. The left hand column is a blog where you can leave a comment, and you also see Susie’s latest campaign videos, posted on YouTube.
Click on “GET INVOLVED” and you see a map with icon push pins of how many have signed the petition where. On “Supporter Pics” you get two options: 1) download the PDF of Susie’s campaign yard sign and 2) upload photos of you and your clan with your campaign yard sign to Susie’s–you guessed it–Flickr page. “My Banners” gives you the html code to paste the campaign banners on your website or blog. “Tell A Friend” sends a message to your contacts with all the appropriate links. And that’s just the beginning.
See below my favorite campaign video called “My attempt to get a Susie Flynn yard sign at the White House”. Then directly after that watch part two in that series called, “Susie Flynn takes her campaign to the White House”.
The mystery remains, who is this charming gap-toothed girl. Talk about fresh faces in Washington. Finally, candidates might also be wise to take some cues from Hollywood: cute kids will always upstage you.