Print Politics

Full Color Printing: Political From Way Back in the Day

If you want to throw your voice into the political ring, low cost printing can be the best way to take the word to the street, at a cost suited to the independent activist.

In what's shaping up as the most voter-driven election race in recent history, low cost printing may prove to be as influential as the internet in spreading the ideas and positions of the average person. After all, we can't all be computer geniuses just yet. Sometimes shouting from the rooftops and rousing the masses requires the services of a low cost printer.

Over the last couple of weeks, the eyes and blogs of pundits have been semi-languidly fixed on the kafuffle surrounding the “anti-Hillary” video circulating on Youtube. All various and sundry political camps denied having anything to do with it, and as per the dictates of Youtube etiquette, a similar, albeit less well-constructed, video featuring Barrack Obama quickly found its way into the realm of Most Viewed this week.

The videos have drawn criticism from campaign traditionalists for three main reasons:

The videos are definitely counter to the whole “let's keep this campaign trail clean” vibe being lauded by the democratic candidates.

Obviously, campaign managers aren't what you'd call sweet on the idea of private citizens swaying campaign politics with people politics (the Hillary video has more than a million views).

Any reason to create a fuss is a good reason.

But! you might object, this whole news story is so four days ago. That was true until it was revealed on the venerable Huffington Post that the independent video was created by Phil de Vellis, a (now former) employee of Blue State Digital, the company that manages Obama's campaign website.

Predictably, all parties involved insist that Obama's team knew nothing about the video, and that the video represents the completely independent effort of de Vellis, all of which is certainly true. Interestingly, however, the importance of this being true is far more relevant to the average person than it is to the lofty machinations of the election machine.

If de Vellis made and distributed the video independently, it means that anyone can have their opinion about who should be the next President heard by large audiences; that opinion can effect that way that we're all thinking about the election, and that anyone has the potential to affect its outcome.

Obviously, we're not all as technically skilled as de Vellis. I certainly couldn't edit together a slick, professional video, and distribute it to all the right people in the blogosphere so that it gets watched by hundreds of thousands in a week's time. But there are other ways to support your favorite candidates, at the federal level and locally.

Just as campaigning online has evolved dramatically over the last decade, so too has print campaigning (as we're always pointing out around here!). But we point it out all the time because it's true. As the industry has developed increasingly accessible and low cost solutions, professional printing has become a tool that anyone can use. Individuals print posters for parties, cards for special occasions, hang tags to advertise their yard sales – there's no reason why individuals can't print to support the politics that are important to them.

For example, here at Hotcards you can get full color, custom sized posters for $0.28 each! Flyers to go under car windshields are only $90.00 for 1000. And postcards are $108.00 for 1000 – that's for two-sided, full color postcards that look great in mailboxes, stacked on counters, or left on tables at restaurants and bars.

Does this sound like a lot of work? Or does it sound like a revolution in how we, as a country, approach politics and the electoral process? For de Vellis, the time it took to put together his video, and the loss of his job, had to be about something more than a waste of time. Actually getting involved, putting part of yourself on the line and making the statement that it's not good enough to just get out and vote, we've got to do something to make other people think and react. To me, it's the future of democracy, as well as a return to the old election fervor that once greased the wheels of this nation.

On that note, I'll leave the last word to a personal favorite of mine this campaign season. Barrack Obama was in Burlington a few days ago, and he had this to say about the impact of those who choose to get involved. “This is an election you can't afford to sit out. I want everybody here to get engaged and to get involved. It's not that often where you get a chance to put your shoulder against the wheel and move history along a little bit, that's pretty rare, and we're in one of those moments right now.”


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