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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Don't just watch the votes. Watch the voters.

I have waited a while before submitting this particular entry, for one reason: Remarks in either direction could have been seen as political. But I offer this posting as a matter of simple observation in the way elections are evolving. Note that both matters come to us from California.

First, in case you missed, Carly Fiorina won her primary in the race for the senate. And Meg Whitman won her primary in the race for governor. (For more information, see this primary coverage from the LA Times.) Worth noting, in my opinion not because these were both GOP races, or because they are both highly successful women from the technology field (Fiorina is the former CEO of Compaq/Hewlett Packard, and Whitman is the former leader at eBay). These candidates are important for what they both are not: Life-long politicians.

Secondly, with the passage of Proposition 14, voters in California have signaled a fundamental change in their state’s primary process. Instead of having two parties pick candidates that voters must then choose from, the top two vote-getters of any kind (party or no) will be placed on the ballot for fall elections. Political pundits don’t know whether this is a change for the better or a change for the worse: But everyone agrees this measure represents a fundamental change to politics. Read more on the matter in this story from The New York Times.

Implications: In advance of recent primaries, much commentary focused on the challenges facing incumbents at a time when the voting public is growing tired of the status quo.

Perhaps this frustration will not only impact longtime office-holders… but the system itself.
Think about consumers who have been frustrated buying in your category. Are they likely to change providers… or could they go so far as to change categories, completely?

Mike Anderson

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