Joe Trippi

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Joe Trippi
Trippi relaxing.jpg
Born (1956-06-10) June 10, 1956 (age 63)
OccupationPolitical strategist

Joseph Paul Trippi (born June 10, 1956) is a longtime Democratic strategist who has worked on several Gubernatorial, United States Senate and Congressional campaigns, including Jerry Brown for Governor of California and Doug Jones for U.S. Senate in Alabama. [1] [2] He has worked for several Democratic presidential campaigns, most notably as manager of Howard Dean's groundbreaking 2004 campaign. [3] He currently serves as a political commentator for CNN. [4]

Democratic Party (United States) Major political party in the United States

The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with its rival, the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party.

United States Senate Upper house of the United States Congress

The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress which, along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol Building, in Washington, D.C.

Jerry Brown 34th and 39th Governor of California

Edmund Gerald Brown Jr. is an American politician who served as the 34th and 39th governor of California from 1975 to 1983 and from 2011 to 2019. A member of the Democratic Party, Brown served as California Attorney General from 2007 to 2011. He was both the oldest and sixth-youngest governor of California as a consequence of the 28-year gap between his second and third terms. Upon completing his fourth term in office, Brown became the third longest-serving governor in United States history, serving 16 years and 7 days in office.


Early career

Trippi began his career in the mid-1970s working on several local elections in San Jose, California, [5] before leaving college a few credits shy of graduation to join Ted Kennedy's presidential campaign in 1980. [6] Trippi served as Deputy Campaign Manager for Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley's successful reelection bid in 1981 and again when Bradley ran for governor in 1982. [5] [7] [8] During Bradley's gubernatorial campaign, Trippi installed one of the first in-house computers for a political campaign: the DEC-PDP11. [5] [9] Trippi used it for fundraising and targeting. [10]

Digital Equipment Corporation, using the trademark Digital, was a major American company in the computer industry from the 1950s to the 1990s.

Example device using the PDP-11/40 model (pictured at bottom) Pdp-11-40.jpg
Example device using the PDP-11/40 model (pictured at bottom)

Political campaigns

1984 presidential election

Trippi remained in California to hold his first and only government position as Lieutenant Governor Leo McCarthy's Deputy Chief of Staff, [8] before overseeing several successes in Vice President Walter Mondale’s 1984 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. Starting with a come-from-behind victory at the Maine State Convention, [8] Trippi eventually managed operations as the state director in Iowa and Pennsylvania, where Mondale won by 30 and 14 points respectively. [11]

Walter Mondale 42nd Vice President of the United States

Walter Frederick "Fritz" Mondale is an American politician, diplomat and lawyer who served as the 42nd vice president of the United States from 1977 to 1981. A United States senator from Minnesota (1964–1976), he was the Democratic Party's nominee in the United States presidential election of 1984, but lost to Ronald Reagan in an Electoral College landslide. Reagan won 49 states while Mondale carried his home state of Minnesota and District of Columbia. He became the oldest-living former U.S. vice president after the death of George H. W. Bush in 2018.

Various campaigns, 1984-88

Following the Mondale campaign, Trippi joined Senator Ted Kennedy’s PAC, the Fund for a Democratic Majority, as Deputy Director under Paul Tully. At the time, Bob Shrum was chairman of the committee, but he soon resigned to start the media firm Caddell, Doak and Shrum, taking Trippi with him to be Vice President of the firm. [12] [13] During Trippi’s tenure at what became Doak and Shrum, the firm worked on several media campaigns for gubernatorial and senatorial candidates including those of Virginia Governor Jerry Baliles, Senator Alan Cranston of California, Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, and Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey. [14] Shrum has attributed Trippi with conceiving and producing the famous spot on Cranston’s campaign, "Zschau’s Greatest Hits". [13]

Robert M. Shrum is the Director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics and the Carmen H. and Louis Warschaw Chair in Practical Politics at the University of Southern California, where he is a Professor of the Practice of Political Science in the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. He is a former American political consultant, who has worked on numerous Democratic campaigns, including as senior advisor to the Kerry-Edwards campaign in 2004 and to the Gore-Lieberman campaign in 2000. Shrum wrote the famous speech Ted Kennedy gave at the 1980 Democratic National Convention conceding to and supporting President Jimmy Carter. The Atlantic Monthly described him as "the most sought-after consultant in the Democratic Party." Shrum served as speechwriter to New York Mayor John V. Lindsay from 1970 to 1971, speechwriter to Senator George McGovern's 1972 Presidential campaign and speechwriter and press secretary to Senator Edward M. Kennedy from 1980 to 1984 and political consultant until 2009.

Alan Cranston American politician

Alan MacGregor Cranston was an American politician and journalist who served as a United States Senator from California, from 1969 to 1993, and as President of the World Federalist Association from 1949 to 1952.

Barbara Mikulski American politician

Barbara Ann Mikulski is an American politician who served as a United States Senator from Maryland from 1987 to 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, she also served in the United States House of Representatives from 1977 to 1987. Mikulski is the longest-serving woman in the history of the United States Congress and the longest-serving U.S. Senator in Maryland history.

1988 presidential election

External video
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg Gephart "Hyundai" TV Spot, YouTube video

In 1987, Trippi left Doak and Shrum to work on Gary Hart’s 1988 presidential bid with former colleague Paul Tully as deputy political director, later joining Dick Gephardt's team as deputy campaign manager after Hart withdrew from the race. [15] There, Trippi was instrumental in the creation of the "Hyundai" ad, a television spot which received praise for launching Gephardt from last place in the polls to winning the Iowa caucuses. [16] [17]

Gary Hart American politician

Gary Warren Hart is an American politician, diplomat, and lawyer. He was the front-runner for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination until he dropped out over allegations of an extramarital affair. He represented Colorado in the United States Senate from 1975 to 1987.

1992 presidential election

During the 1992 election cycle, Trippi consulted on the Presidential campaigns of Governor Douglas Wilder of Virginia and Jerry Brown of California. [18] For Brown's campaign, Trippi and colleague Joe Costello orchestrated the first successful use of an 800 number in politics, raising $8 million by advertising the number on television and during debates. [5] [19]

Douglas Wilder American politician

Lawrence Douglas Wilder is an American lawyer and politician who served as the 66th Governor of Virginia, from 1990 to 1994. He was the first African American to serve as governor of a U.S. state since Reconstruction, and the first elected African-American governor.

Various campaigns, 1992-2004

Throughout the rest of the 1990s, Trippi worked as a media consultant and producer for multiple successful congressional races, including Ron Wyden’s run for Oregon's Senate seat, Jim Moran's in Virginia’s 8th district, and Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky's in Pennsylvania’s 13th district, which had been held by a Republican for almost 90 years. [20] [21] [22]

In 2002, when five Democratic congressmen were redistricted into Republican majority districts and forced in contests against Republican incumbents, [23] Trippi worked as a strategist and media consultant for Congressman Tim Holden, the only one of the five to win. [24]

2004 presidential election

As national campaign manager for Vermont Governor Howard Dean’s presidential campaign in 2004, Trippi used online technology to organize what he envisioned would become "the largest grassroots movement" in presidential politics at the time. [25] One of these methods included the blog entitled Blog for America where the campaign could communicate directly with supporters. [26] Another was DeanTV, an online streaming platform playing videos and clips from the campaign trail. [27] The campaign also developed technology for a social media site that enabled supporters to connect and campaign for Dean together. [28] Through this innovative use of the Internet for small-donor fundraising, "Dean for America" raised more money than any Democratic presidential campaign to that point – all with donations averaging less than $100. [26]

Various campaigns, 2004-2017

Trippi joined Jerry Brown again in 2006 serving as media consultant and strategist for his successful bid for California Attorney General. [29] During this cycle he also produced the media for John Hall’s winning campaign for New York’s 19th district congressional seat. [30] John Edwards hired Trippi in 2007 as a senior adviser for his 2008 presidential campaign. [31] He also worked as media strategist and a senior adviser [32] for Doug Jones' successful campaign in the 2017 U.S. Senate special election in Alabama, running for the seat left open when Jeff Sessions was appointed as Attorney General.

Recent work

In 2010, Trippi was a senior strategist and media consultant in Jerry Brown’s successful run for reelection as California Governor. [29] The Brown ads Trippi & Associates produced received four Pollie awards for excellence in political media and TIME magazine named one ad, "Echo," the best ad of 2010. [33] [34] Andrew Romanoff, who challenged the incumbent Senator Michael Bennet in the 2010 Colorado Senate election, announced his campaign had hired Trippi as one of its four new consultants. [35]

Trippi worked on a number of recent House victories for Representatives Tulsi Gabbard, Janice Hahn, Mark Takano, and Seth Moulton. [36] Moulton, a former Marine from Massachusetts, won in a shocking come-from-behind upset. [37] The campaign overcame millions in outside spending to beat 18-year incumbent John Tierney in the primary and Richard Tisei in the targeted general election. [38] In a recent article from The Boston Globe, Moulton recalls nationally renowned pollster Mark Mellman telling him to quit the race because it would be "statistically impossible" to win. [39]

In 2017, Trippi worked on the special election to fill the Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions on behalf of former US Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama Doug Jones. [1] In his victory speech, Jones referred to Trippi as the "greatest political consultant in the world". [40]

After the historic come from behind victory in Alabama, Trippi worked for Democratic candidates in both of the 2018 U.S. Senate campaigns in Mississippi. Trippi worked with Howard Sherman for seat currently held by incumbent Roger Wicker, [41] and with former Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy in the special election for the Senate seat vacated by Thad Cochran who decided to resign for health reasons. [42] In 2018, Trippi worked on the campaign of Janet Garrett, a retired schoolteacher and union leader running to unseat the conservative founder of the Freedom Caucus, U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, in Ohio's 4th congressional district. [43]

Trippi currently serves as senior adviser to Senator Doug Jones and Senate candidate Teresa Tomlinson.

International work

Trippi has also worked on international political campaigns over the years. In 1993, Trippi worked for then-PASOK leader Andreas Papandreou’s successful campaign of Prime Minister of Greece, as well as for his son, George Papandreou in 2007. [20] Trippi advised former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2005. [44] In 2006, he worked for Romano Prodi on his winning race for Prime Minister of Italy. [45]

In 2008, Trippi helped Morgan Tsvangirai and Zimbabwe’s opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change receive the most votes over Robert Mugabe in elections marred by violence. [46] He also brought media attention to Mugabe’s democratic subversion and violence which led to a unity government and Tsvangarai becoming the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe. [46] As part of the unity government, Tsvangirai designated Roy Bennett as Deputy Minister of Agriculture on February 10, 2009. But Mugabe refused to swear Bennett into office, and three days later Bennett was arrested and charged with treason. [47] Tsvangirai’s party reported that Bennett was being denied food in prison. [48] Trippi led an international campaign to put pressure on Mugabe to release Bennett, [49] and days after his release on March 12, Bennett thanked Trippi for his efforts. [50]

Trippi was hired by the Libertas political party to work on their campaign for the 2009 European Parliament election. [51]

In January 2010, Michael Hastings reported that Joe Trippi was working in Iraq to help launch a secular moderate Shiite party: the Ahrar party headed by Iyad Jamal Al-Din. [52] A day later, Hastings also reported that 20 of Ahrar’s candidates had been struck from the ballot. [53]

Beginning in October 2011, Trippi advised on the implementation of the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, which was tasked with looking into the incidents that occurred during the period of unrest in Bahrain in February and March 2011, [54] [55] saying he "had no problem working for them" because they were "one of the progressive countries in the Middle Eastern Gulf." [56] The commission released a 500-page report which criticized security forces and provided various conclusions, observations, and recommendations to the government. [57] Trippi ended his work in Bahrain in April 2012. [58]

In 2011, Trippi provided strategic support for the campaign of Goodluck Jonathan in the Nigerian presidential election. [59] In 2015, Trippi helped guide the new media strategy for the election of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, helping him build a following of over 800,000 Nigerians and leading CNN to declare Jonathan the “Facebook President.”

Trippi served as a senior strategist for Cyril Ramaphosa’s successful bid for ANC President in 2017, leading to Ramaphosa becoming the President of South Africa.

Other work and advocacy

Apart from campaign politics, Trippi has been involved in many other facets of the political world. He was named a fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, [60] and at the New Politics Institute, a Think Tank of the New Democratic Network. [61] He also serves on the advisory board to nonpartisan organization Why Tuesday? that encourages increased voter participation. [62] He founded the consultancies Trippi & Associates and Trippi International in 2004. [63] He has had roles on various cable and broadcast networks, previously as a contributor on MSNBC and Fox News, and a political analyst on CBS News.

Trippi has consulted with a number of leading non-profits and corporations including the Humane Society of the United States, the American Cancer Society, Best Friends Animal Society,, Toyota, DaimlerChrysler, SES Americom, Corning, LabCorp, IBM, Lionsgate Films, BestBuy, and Wave Systems. [64]

Personal life

Trippi is a resident of the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Published work

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