In American politics there is always a figure who acts as the ‘gate-keeper’ of the White House, the influential chief-of-staff, call him The Mastermind,The Spin-doctor, The Spider-man. He is second only to the President in his inner circle. By influence- as the Vice President is No 2 according to the American constitution. This man is always next to the most powerful man in the world, through the ups and the downs. Sometimes he even made him in the hard journey into Pennsylvania Avenue 1600. First, election-maker, master-winner and later AAA-advisor.
Personalities like David Axelrod attracted global attention when Barack Obama became President of the United States. He meticulously led Obama’s presidential campaign and helped make history when he clinched the prized seat at the White House.
To date, Axelrod ensures that no one undercuts Obama’s political credibility. To illustrate, here’s what Axelrod tweeted in reply to Hillary Clinton’s jibe directed at Obama’s foreign policy: “Just to clarify: “Don’t do stupid stuff” means stuff like occupying Iraq in the first place, which was a tragically bad decision.”
Axelrod’s ability to nimbly manage any ups and downs in Obama’s presidential potential is now world renowned. However, with the new elections approaching, can any other campaign lead give Axelrod a run for his money? Let’s take a look at the promising campaign managers or leaders for different presidential candidates, and see if they have the capability to go down in the annals of history.
Here are the 8 strategists who could become the White House superstar in 2017:
This man has the best chance so far to become The Spider-man in 2017:
Robby Mook leads Hillary Clinton’s campaign since the announcement of her campaign in April 2015.
Having worked for the Democrats’ campaign since 2002, Mook managed Martin O’Malley’s campaigns at the Maryland gubernatorial election in 2006, which O’Malley won. Mook had earlier helped Clinton achieve success in the 2008 presidential campaign, when he was the campaign’s state director for Nevada, Indiana and Ohio – all the states where Clinton won the popular vote. It was probably then, when Clinton was convinced of Mook’s potential.
Mook is the first publicly gay campaign manager of an important presidential race. That already gives him a confident, courageous edge over the others. Besides this inconsequential point, what sets Mook apart, is that he can work his way through the different factions within Clinton’s campaign, apparently by handling big egos. Additionally, Mook will have to re-construct or airbrush Clinton’s political image for this new campaign, ensuring that she appears as a flawless candidate to lead America for the next four years. Gauging his own confidence as fearlessly portraying his true personality to the world, it is highly possible that Robby Mook successfully lead Clinton to victory too.
If Bernie Sanders’ rising popularity at Iowa and New Hampshire is giving Hillary Clinton a run for her money, then Jeff Weavers is the man to blame. Working as Sanders’ campaign manager, Weaver is a forthright, no-nonsense man who is doing everything he can to ensure Sanders gives his opponent a good fight.
Announced as manager on May 15, 2015, Weaver has been with Sanders since the very beginning of his own political career. While attending law school, Weaver began as a legislative assistant to Sanders in his House office. He worked as Sanders’ House Chief of staff after 2000, eventually becoming Sanders’ campaign manager for the first time in 2006.
As Sanders is possibly becoming a tangible threat to Clinton’s political ambitions, Clinton’s campaign attacked Sanders’ allegedly inconsistent stand of gun control in America. Weaver was nimble to brush of the allegations he believed were baseless. He said, “What is happening is you’re seeing the polls and I think that Clinton campaign is getting very nervous,” referring to Sanders’ stronghold in Iowa and New Hampshire. After a staffer from the Sanders’ campaign was accused of wrongly accessing digital data from an opponent’s campaign, Weaver issued a strong statement, slamming the Democratic National Committee for not fixing the firewall issue the digital database had in the first place. He also rebuked the DNC for not allowing the Sanders’ campaign to access their own campaign data as a result, explaining how the staffer’s gaffe was due to a glitch that the DNC had caused in the first place.
With Weaver leading Sanders’ campaign, it is no wonder that Clinton is forced to reconsider an opponent whom she had earlier dismissed as harmless.
Donald Trump is an unconventional politician and seems to have chosen a campaign manager who is equally offbeat. Corey Lewandowski studied at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, where he graduated with a BA in Political Science in 1995. In 2001, he worked as campaign manager for Republican U.S. Senator Robert C. Smith of New Hampshire. After a stint with Americans for Prosperity from 2011-15, he was invited by Donald Trump to manage his Republican nomination bid. Evidently, Trump made this choice based not on Lewandowski’s political experience, but instead by gauging the fire in his personality.
Lewandowski has had quite an interesting past. He has been arrested for bringing a gun to work while serving as a congressional aide, and then even sued when he did not receive the gun back. Trump thinks that he makes a good campaign manager, because he knows how to give Trump his space. As Trump himself said, “He knows when to speak up. He leaves me alone, but he knows when to make his presence felt.” Trump also explained why he liked Lewandowski, “he doesn’t get emotional.” As published by Politico, Lewandowski had a reputation “for getting things done, even if it means ruffling feathers.”
Well, Trump probably has a soft corner for his campaign manager because they both nurture an anti-establishment image. At any rate, it seems like Trump’s whole presidential campaign is about doing things differently, like the outrageous Islamophobic statements he recently made. Lewandowski seems like a docile as campaign leader for the outspoken Trump, and will have to buck up his damage control skills if he wants Trump to emerge victorious.
Ever since his presidential campaign was launched in April 2015, Marco Rubio seems to be playing an interesting game. After garnering positive reviews after the first debate in August, Rubio retreated to collecting funds and organizing smaller events. This Republican is playing smart: he wants to stay away from the unnecessary media before it’s the right time, he is careful to wait for the right time for his campaign to peak, probably after many of his opponents have already fallen due to the mistakes they made too early, which were then blown out of proportion by the media.
For this original approach, Rubio’s campaign manager Terry Sullivan deserves applause. However, since Rubio’s campaign does not authorize staff profile stories, and since Sullivan remains tight-lipped about his strategy, it is difficult to analyze what the campaign manager has up his sleeve. Whatever it is, though – it seems to be a successful strategy anyway, since a poll showed that Rubio was ahead of other Republicans. Secondly, Sullivan is probably attempting to manage Rubio’s funds effectively, while saving it up to splash the money much later when it matters more. As Sullivan expressed this strategy in a subtle way, “Marco flies 95 percent commercial. We do it because we gotta — we want to spend our money where it matters.”
Can Sullivan be the next Axelrod? Well, this one will be interesting to answer. That’s because, Rubio’s campaign has not yet been unleashed in a big, loudly-stated manner. In other words, Sullivan’s show is yet to start, but when it does, gauging from the intriguing strategy used, it will be tremendously entertaining.
Ted Cruz has chosen an experienced political strategist to manage his 2016 presidential bid. Jeff Roe previously served as Chief of Staff, campaign manager and aide for U.S. Representative Sam Graves. He later founded Axiom Strategies, which is a political consulting firm in Kansas City, Missouri, with offices in Washington, D.C. and Dallas, Texas. His political clients include Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry and now, Ted Cruz.
Roe is known for his aggressive approach to campaigning, and is well appreciated by his politicians that he has consulted for, whether they won or lost. Becky Nace, a 2007 Kansas City mayoral candidate, had hired Roe for a campaign, and gushed about his abilities, “He was excellent. From the moment he started on my campaign, the momentum grew.” Though the campaign was eventually unsuccessful, it did not affect Roe’s credibility, whose excellent strategy design skills are hailed as one of the best in the industry.
While Ted Cruz candidacy has steadily been rising to the top of potential presidential candidates, it seems like Roe has been doing his job well, yet again. He definitely has the capability to strategize and lead a successful presidential campaign.
Did he mismange the Bush campaign? In 2015, Danny Diaz was working as a consultant to Jeb Bush’s Right to Rise PAC before he was offered the opportunity to become campaign manager. Sally Bradshaw, senior advisor for Bush, said about Diaz, “Danny’s skill at rapidly moving content and campaign organization makes him perfectly suited for running the day-to-day operations.” He is also praised for his ability to collect and assimilate large amounts of relevant information, in order to share deftly written articles with reporters, which Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza describes as “machine-gun pace.”
The decision to name Diaz as campaign manager in June 2015 came soon after Jeb Bush received flak for fumbling through questions about whether America was right to invade Iraq. Diaz was trusted to work around this glitch, which would be slightly tricky. However, Diaz has previously held leadership positions in the press, before working as deputy communications director for John McCain’s 2008 campaign. This makes him an appropriate campaign manager, especially for Jeb Bush.
Chris Christie recently landed himself in controversies, which could have an impact on his presidential campaign. Choosing the right campaign manager to lead his bid became of utmost importance, in order to dispel any negative buildup that Christie’ brash behavior had caused.
Christie chose Ken McKay to do the job. McKay is a renowned operative who has earlier served as chief of staff at the Republican National Committee and as political director of the Republican Governors Association. After he left this position in 2009, McCay hadn’t yet thought of getting back into politics. However, he was named as Chris Christie’s campaign manager in 2015. The Washington Post has released an exclusive article about Christie’ campaign staff, claiming that McKay will “overseeing the campaign’s nuts-and-bolts political operations from the national headquarters in Morristown, N.J.”
Though Christie is battling to stay on top of a number of competitors in the Republican field, many believe that McKay is his best shot at clinching victory. His friend Dr. Herbert Brennan said, “If anyone out there can give a candidate a shot, it is Ken McKay. I’ve known Ken since the beginning of the Carcieri administration, and he is one of the most conscientious and talented — yet unassuming and modest — people you will meet. His talent speaks for itself.”
Rand Paul had already decided that Chip Englander would run his presidential campaign when he decided to enter the race. Paul initially hired Englander as a senior adviser, after he managed the successful gubernatorial campaign of Illinois Republican Bruce Rauner. In 2015, Paul named Englander as his campaign manager, hopeful for a presidential victory.
Though Paul’s run has been sluggish ever since, Englander is doing his best to ensure that his client is portrayed as a successful politician, instead of publicly accepting that Paul’s presidential bid is flailing for a miracle. To illustrate, there is an interesting example. An October 2015 Fox News online poll left off Rand Paul altogether. However, Englander took this opportunity to praise Paul’s potential to win the elections. He tweeted, “Fox News’ online poll left @RandPaul out… so ‘none of the above’ has 52 percent of the vote!”
That was surely an innovative way to hail Paul, except for the fact that several other candidates were left out of the poll too, so that figure could have been for any of the other politicians. Englander, on his part, his doing his best as campaign manager, but it would be difficult for Paul’s presidential bid to survive, given the enthusiasm and deftness of his competitors.