ABC News’ Jennifer Hansler and Elizabeth McLaughlin report:
David Plouffe, the “architect” of Barack Obama’s two successful presidential campaigns, shared insights about the 2016 presidential election in an interview today with Politico’s Mike Allen. But first, he did some political prognosticating.
Plouffe said that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has the “rawest political skill” in the Republican Party, but may be too thin-skinned. “You can’t run for president constantly being agitated about what is being said about you,” he said.
He also gave a nod to Rand Paul, Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz. Cruz is in line with the “hard-core tea party voter,” Plouffe said, but noted that someone more moderate may have wider appeal. Underscoring the divide within the GOP, “A candidate like Christie or Paul would seem like Bernie Sanders compared to the tea party,” Plouffe said, referring to the progressive senator from Vermont.
As for the Democratic ticket, Plouffe sees Hillary Clinton as clear frontrunner. He said she is in “a much stronger position now than in 2012,” but that Biden would also be “a very strong candidate.”
Across the board, Plouffe said the 2016 field could be as “open as anything we’ve seen in modern times.” Here are five pieces of advice the former top White House adviser has for potential 2016 presidential hopefuls — Democrats and Republicans:
1. Technology — “The Old Rules Don’t Apply”
Politics needs to adapt at the same rapidly changing pace as technology, Plouffe said.
“You’ve got to be innovative,” said Plouffe, who is often credited for his strategic use of technology in the Obama campaigns.
He discussed the changes in tech platforms between a website and email-based campaign in 2008 to a Facebook-based one in 2012. Now, he believes that Instagram “has completely blown up,” and it will be up to campaigns to utilize these visual platforms. Plouffe added that “an organization is only as strong as its talent,” and that Silicon Valley professionals may not want to participate in Republican campaigns because the region is more “progressive” than the GOP.
2. Recognize the Importance of Grassroots Volunteers
Though cultivating a volunteer base requires a great deal of focus and trust, Plouffe emphasized that the investment pays off. He credited grassroots volunteers as a key component to the success of the Obama campaigns because they were able to connect with swing voters on a personal level. Candidates should be “running for president as if [they're] running for city council,” he said.
Volunteers in 2008 and 2012 were “under-appreciated,” he said, and urged future candidates that they “better respect what people are doing on [their] behalf.”
3. Understand Where to Get Your Votes
Plouffe believes that the Democratic Party has a strong foundation to gain the electoral votes they need in 2016 partly because they have won key states in the upper Midwest. If Republicans hope to win the White House, they will need to regain this “traditional battleground” region or build a stronger base within young people or Latino voters.
4. Know Why You’re Running
The number one piece of advice Plouffe gave to candidates looking to run in 2016 is to “spend time with themselves” and discover their motivations for running. It’s important for candidates to “understand [running] is a grueling process that destroys you.”
5. Stay True
Plouffe also urged candidates to remain true to their values. “The only way to win is being faithful to who they are,” Plouffe said. “If they abandon that to secure a nomination, it’s not a nomination worth having.”