France was in a shambles after 1789.
What with the Terror and pretty much every other country in Europe invading them things did not look good at all.
And yet, in only a few short years, Napoleon, a virtual unknown took France from the precipice of disaster to conquering almost all of Europe.
How did he pull that one off?
Napoleon, it is true, was a great general, but there were lots of great generals in Europe.
Napoleon did something very radical at the time, but something that has an enormous message for us today, particularly if you want to win, say, a Presidential election in 2020.
What Napoleon did was to 'weaponize' the general population, the citizenry.
He drafted them into his massive Grande Armee.
Until Napoleon came along, armies were small, highly trained and highly professional, but with an emphasis on small. The Prussian Army, for example, only had 30,000 men. The British about the same size, as were the Austrians and the Russians. They dressed in bright colors, marched around in circles in great precision and looked great. But they were small.
Napoleon, on the other hand, inspired the entire population of France and, so inspired, they all wanted to join in the fight. Napolenon not only invited them in, but trained them - in the simplest way - and put them in the field.
At its height, the Grand Armee of France had more than 600,000 soldiers. Well, when you show up with that many people, it's hard to lose. (Waterloo was later).
Now, what in the world does this have to do with us?
Up until now, the 'media' has been controlled by a very small number of very wealthy companies. Think NBC. Think Prussia. Highly organized, highjy trained, highly paid.
We all know that Donald Trump weaponized Twitter. He was able to bypass conventional media by tweeting to the public. Good for him. But that was just him.
Now, Bernie Sanders, just as an example, has 9.5 million twitter followers. They are pretty passive. I mean, they are there, but they are unorganized. Think of them as French peasants who love Napoleon and 'want' to help.
What Bernie Sanders (or anyone else) could do would be to 'organize' his loyal followers and march them into social media with planning - just like Austerlitz, for example.
Organize them and then unleash them. 9.5 million people flooding social media with a single message (I like video myself) and you can overwhelm social media. You can turn the tide of public opinion.
In the 1930's, Chairman Mao famously said that 'power flows from the barrel of a gun'. That was the 1930's. Today, power flows from the screen of a smart phone.
No one has done this yet, but it's only a matter of time.
A 'People's Army'.
Good enough for Napoleon, good enough for Bernie*, I say.
*or anyone else. Nike, with 74,000 employees could also use this to sell sneakers!