The Corner

Scottish Independence Campaign Borrowed Heavily from Obama Tactics

Ewen MacAskill, a former political editor of the Scotsman and now correspondent for Britain’s Guardian newspaper, reports that the pro-independence campaign in Scotland has borrowed many of its tactics from Barack Obama’s operation.

“Watching the final rally in Perth on Wednesday night was like a scaled-down version of the early Obama ones,” he writes. The pro-independence crowd chanted “Yes We Can,” the Obama campaign slogan. Also borrowed was the idea of hundreds of “yes” cards being distributed so they could be waved at critical points for the cameras. So too was the constant references to “hope” and “change” that are echoes of Obama slogans.

But MacAskill reports that “the most important import from the Obama campaign is the grassroots mobilization. The yes campaign has a myriad of groups: Africans for Scottish Independence, Cabbies for Independence, Women for Independence, groups for pensioners, and groups for the young. The Obama campaign began this way, too, building up a formidable network.”

MacAskill asked Alex Salmond, the head of the Scottish National Party, if the idea of the grassroots groups had been borrowed from the Obama team. “Yes and no” was his answer, adding that some had been formed spontaneously. Which means some were not. If the “Yes” campaign pulls off a narrow upset it may mean their Obama-style campaign made the difference. 

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