Super Tuesday marks one of the busiest days on the presidential campaign. Gone are the days of individual contests like Iowa and New Hampshire. The campaign is now fully in multi-state mode with lots of delegates in play. In fact, Tuesday is the biggest single-day haul of the nomination period, which means campaigns have scaled up and spread out.
The process is similar to trying to suddenly scale a business.
“At the early days, when it’s a small group, everyone knows everyone, lines of communication are clear,” said Stewart Thornhill, a professor of entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. “As it scales and goes from 10 to 50 to 100 to 1,000 people, it becomes like that broken telephone game and managing the complexity of that is just as difficult for a retailer or service provider as it is for a political operator.”
“You really have to think, ‘Where is our opportunity, what’s going to be cost efficient, where can we get voters?’” said Tobe Berkovitz, a professor at Boston University who spent three decades as a political media consultant.
As campaigns expand, they also have to watch and react to their competitors.
“Sometimes, campaigns aren’t both going after the exact same territory,” said Berkovitz.
Even as they’re scaling up, candidates may need to scale back to better use resources elsewhere.