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Awesome book! Best Political Book Since Robert Caro!,
This review is from: The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies (Hardcover)
Although I closely watched the 2012 US Presidential Campaign (and in deed at one point I commented on it on BBC Radio 5), this book does an amazing job at giving you a behind the scenes look at what was really happening on both sides. The author shows you what the campaigns were thinking and doing behind the scenes; he gets inside the heads of the political advisers and getting past all the spin coming out from advisers.
He delves into the Obama's campaign massive electronic voter/consumer data algorithms that allowed them to micro-target their message to swing voters at a fraction of the cost -- all the while the Romney campaign was still using traditional media, such as TV commercials. For example, the Obama campaign was able to figure out exactly which bus stops that swing voters used in particular towns and they used adverts on buses and at bus stops to promote their message for pennies on the dollar.
The author also takes you through Obama's massive ground game, and he demonstrates that it was the ground game that made all the difference (holding back the tide of corporate money that was mostly going into TV ads). Moreover, their computer programs allowed the Obama campaign to figure out exactly who were swing voters and knock on those doors only, while avoiding houses they knew leaned Republicans. The detail is staggering!
That's only one aspect of the book. He also delves into the voter suppression efforts that Republicans tried to push. Even I didn't realize how massive and widespread it was.
He also discusses Obama's dismal first debate, and he explains how this awesome orator simply hates debating and sound-bytes and resists them (at his own peril).
I could go on and on, but this book REALLY is amazing. It's the most detailed and politically enjoyable book since Robert Caro's Master of the Senate (which is the best political biography of all time). This doesn't quite get to that level, but I did enjoy "The Center Holds" more than Caro's fourth book.
If you're interested in US politics, you get this book.
One final note... A lot of US Republicans have criticized this book, because the author's "biased." Well, that is definitely true. Alter leans left. The problem is that he's ACCURATE and uses lots of FACTS, and many of these unfortunate truths don't bode well for the American right-wingers. Moreover, he takes on Fox News and how they literally are the propaganda machine for the Republican party. So Fox is not exactly "fair and balanced." Fox gave a blanket condemnation of this book, but refused to point out one area where the author was inaccurate or said something false.