At this point in the campaign, the voters have decided.They have made a personal commitment to go to the polls tomorrow at their predetermined time and pull the lever or tap the button for their candidate.The respective political bases have been rallied (or not) based upon the energy that has been carried throughout the campaign by the contestant and their party followers. Each candidate wears a personal brand that has been molded over months of the campaign through the media to the voters.The brand is defined by the adjectives that the majority of voters place next to the name of the candidate when prompted. This brand was either intentionally crafted through the emotional themes they promoted repetitiously through the fall or by the caricatures that the media formed for those candidates that chose a less intentional path.
Republican Scott Brown chose a consistent theme that supported the sound bite “Its’ the people’s seat”. His mastery of retail politics, borne of previous campaigns for state office, appealed to an electorate that wanted to develop trust through a personal relationship with their leaders. Democrat Martha Coakley was confident of an election victory following her primary success.Given the well known demographics of the Massachusetts political blue landscape, her assumption was also presumed by National Democratic party leadership until the 11th hour. That is when her lack of focus, energy and theme building was overtaken by the tipping point model that Scott Brown effectively executed.
As the candidates retreat this evening to their home base and prepare for an election day waiting game, they will no doubt reflect upon the moments of decision that represented the respective turning points for their campaign. The biggest personal lesson for both Brown and Coakley will likely come from their ability to adapt to the changes during the run and the decisive sprint to the finish.