Joe Trippi

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Joe Trippi (born June 10, 1956) is an American Democratic campaign worker and consultant. Trippi has worked on the presidential campaigns of Ted Kennedy, Walter Mondale, Gary Hart, Dick Gephardt, Jerry Brown and John Edwards. He served as campaign manager for presidential candidate and former Vermont governor Howard Dean. He currently serves as a Fox News contributor.

Early career[edit]

Trippi began his career in the mid-1970s working on several local elections in San Jose, California,[1] before leaving college a few credits shy of graduation to join Ted Kennedy’s presidential campaign in 1980.[2] 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.[1][3][4] During Bradley’s gubernatorial campaign, Trippi installed one of the first in-house computers for a political campaign: the DEC-PDP11.[1][5] Trippi used it for fundraising and targeting.[6]

Example of the PDP-11 series
Example device using the PDP-11/40 model (pictured at bottom)

Political campaigns[edit]

1984 presidential campaign[edit]

Trippi remained in California to hold his first and only government position as Lieutenant Governor Leo McCarthy’s Deputy Chief of Staff,[4] 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,[4] Trippi eventually managed operations as the state director in Iowa and Pennsylvania, where Mondale won by 30 and 14 points respectively.[7]

Various campaigns, 1984-88[edit]

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.[8][9] 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.[10] Shrum has attributed Trippi with conceiving and producing the famous spot on Cranston’s campaign, “Zschau’s Greatest Hits”.[9]

1988 presidential campaign[edit]

External video
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.[11] 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.[12][13]

1992 presidential campaign[edit]

During the 1992 election cycle, Trippi consulted on the Presidential campaigns of Governor Douglas Wilder of Virginia and Jerry Brown of California.[14] 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.[1][15]

Various campaigns, 1992-2004[edit]

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.[16][17][18]

In 2002, when five Democratic congressmen were redistricted into Republican majority districts and forced in contests against Republican incumbents,[19] Trippi worked as a strategist and media consultant for Congressman Tim Holden, the only one of the five to win.[20]

2004 presidential campaign[edit]

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.[21] One of these methods included the blog entitled Blog for America where the campaign could communicate directly with supporters.[22] Another was DeanTV, an online steaming platform playing videos and clips from the campaign trail.[23] The campaign also developed technology for a social media site that enabled supporters to connect and campaign for Dean together.[24] 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.[22]

Various campaigns, 2004-2008[edit]

Trippi joined Jerry Brown again in 2006 serving as media consultant and strategist for his successful bid for California Attorney General.[25] During this cycle he also produced the media for John Hall’s winning campaign for New York’s 19th district congressional seat.[26] John Edwards hired Trippi in 2007 as his Senior Advisor for his 2008 presidential campaign.[27]

Recent work[edit]

In 2010, Trippi was a senior strategist and media consultant in Jerry Brown’s successful run for reelection as California Governor.[25] 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.[28][29] 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.[30]

Trippi worked on a number of recent House victories for Representatives Tulsi Gabbard, Janice Hahn, Mark Takano, and Seth Moulton.[31] Moulton, a former Marine from Massachusetts, won in a shocking come-from-behind upset.[32] 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.[33] 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.[34]

International work[edit]

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.[16] Trippi advised former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2005.[35] In 2006, he worked for Romano Prodi on his winning race for Prime Minister of Italy.[36]

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.[37] 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.[37] 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.[38] Tsvangirai’s party reported that Bennett was being denied food in prison.[39] Trippi led an international campaign to put pressure on Mugabe to release Bennett,[40] and days after his release on March 12, Bennett thanked Trippi for his efforts.[41]

Trippi was hired by the Libertas political party to work on their European Parliament election, 2009 campaign.[42]

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.[43] A day later, Hastings also reported that 20 of Ahrar’s candidates had been struck from the ballot.[44]

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,[45][46] saying he "had no problem working for them" because they were "one of the progressive countries in the Middle Eastern Gulf."[47] The commission released a 500-page report which criticized security forces and provided various conclusions, observations, and recommendations to the government.[48] Trippi ended his work in Bahrain in April 2012.[49]

Also in 2011, Trippi provided strategic support for the campaign of Goodluck Jonathan in the Nigerian presidential election.[50]

Other work and advocacy[edit]

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,[51] and at the New Politics Institute, a Think Tank of the New Democratic Network.[52] He also serves on the advisory board to nonpartisan organization Why Tuesday? that encourages increased voter participation.[53] He founded the consultancies Trippi & Associates and Trippi International in 2004.[54] He has had roles on various cable and broadcast networks, previously as a contributor on MSNBC and a political analyst on CBS News, and currently as a contributor on Fox News.[55][56]

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.[56]

Personal life[edit]

Trippi is a resident of the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Published work[edit]

  • Joe Trippi (2004-07-06). The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Democracy, the Internet, and the Overthrow of Everything. William Morrow. ISBN 978-0-06-076155-4. 


  1. ^ a b c d Fineman, Howard (2008). The Thirteen American Arguments: Enduring Debates that Define and Inspire Our Country. Random House Publishing Group. p. 239. ISBN 978-1-4000-6544-8. 
  2. ^ DePaulo, Lisa (October 19, 2012). "How Joe Trippi Found Happiness at Fox News". New Republic. Retrieved 2015-10-15. 
  3. ^ Decker, Cathleen (October 29, 2008). "Time Seen Overtaking Racial 'Bradley Effect'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2015-10-15. 
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  5. ^ Graff, Garrett M. (2007). The First Campaign: Globalization, the Web, and the Race for the White House. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. p. 43. ISBN 978-0-374-15503-2. 
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  21. ^ Lizza, Ryan (June 2, 2003). "". The New Republic. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  22. ^ a b Tischler, Linda (October 1, 2013). "Joe Trippi's Killer App". Fast Company. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  23. ^ Getlin, Josh (September 24, 2003). "Web-Savvy Staff Helps Dean Weave His Way Up". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  24. ^ Klein, Joe (2006). Politics Lost: How American Democracy Was Trivialized by People Who Think You’re Stupid. Random House. p. 177. ISBN 978-0739326145. 
  25. ^ a b Harmon, Steven (September 9, 2010). "Trippi a True Believer in Brown’s Cause". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  26. ^ Byrdson, Nicole (April 5, 2006). "Hall Hires Trippi". New York Observer. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  27. ^ Cillizza, Chris (October 23, 2007). "With Trippi's Rise, Some See a New John Edwards". Washington Post. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  28. ^ Sorensen, Adam (December 9, 2010). "Jerry Brown, "Echo" - The Top 10 of Everything of 2010". Time. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  29. ^ "20th Annual Pollie Awards & Conference" (PDF). The American Association of Political Consultants. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  30. ^ Axelrod, Ethan (January 29, 2010). "Joe Trippi, 3 Other Consultants Sign On With Romanoff". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2010-01-29. 
  31. ^ "Our Ads". Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  32. ^ Schreckinger, Ben (December 2, 2014). "Seth Moulton’s Mission". Politico. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  33. ^ Becker, Deborah (November 5, 2014). "Newcomer Moulton Cruises Past Tisei In 6th". WBUR. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  34. ^ O’Sullivan, Jim (May 26, 2015). "Congressman Recalls Pollster Told Him to Quit Race". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  35. ^ Balz, Dan (May 5, 2005). "Once Again, Americans Doing Their Bit for Blair". Washington Post. Retrieved 2015-10-23. 
  36. ^ Schrobsdorff, Susanna (May 18, 2006). "Trippi on Web Campaigning". Newsweek. Retrieved 2015-10-23. 
  37. ^ a b "Lobbying in Africa: Nightmare on K street". The Africa Report. November 28, 2014. Retrieved 2015-10-23. 
  38. ^ Howden, Daniel (February 14, 2009). "MDC Minister Charged with Treason after Airport Arrest". The Independent. Retrieved 2015-10-23. 
  39. ^ Latham, Brian (February 14, 2009). "Zimbabwe Police Deny Bennett Access to Food Following Arrest". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2015-10-23. 
  40. ^ "Zimbabwe Court Releases Roy Bennett on Bail". The Telegraph. March 12, 2009. Retrieved 2015-10-23. 
  41. ^ Bennett, Roy; Trippi, Joe (March 19, 2009). Online activism help frees Zimbabwe's Bennett. Interview with David Shuster. 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. MSNBC. Retrieved 2015-10-23. 
  42. ^ "Declan Ganley interview". McGurk on 4. 2009-03-16. 4fm. 
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  47. ^ U.S. not "standing idly by" in Bahrain -
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  54. ^ "Homepage". Retrieved 2015-10-23. 
  55. ^ "Joe Trippi - msnbc - Hardball with Chris Mathews". NBC News. Retrieved 2015-10-23. 
  56. ^ a b "Joe Trippi Biography". Fox News. Retrieved 2015-10-15. 

External links[edit]