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your revolution is just another revenue stream

Howard Dean and now Ron Paul are the names people bandy about when the want to talk about the impact of the net on politics. The contention is that they’d have never gotten as far as they did (or even out of the gate at all) without the support of their communities online.

Watching this most recent primary season kick off, the rhetoric being exchanged in Iowa and New Hampshire has me feeling like the internet hasn’t brought the candidates or their campaigns any closer to the people. I’m left with the cynical impression that what the net is good for is doing a superlative job of bringing the people’s money to the candidates. Anil nails this sentiment better than I could:

Worse, as much as people like to talk about the Internet revolutionizing politics, the measure they’re still using is the ability of the web to improve the efficiency with which candidates can funnel money from supporters to traditional media advertising purchases. This is progress?

The Hitchens article on the Iowa caucus system that Anil references is pretty much a must-read. People get fired up about the inadequacy of the electoral college – what does it say about our democracy when such a significant amount of power is invested in such a small population that has little resemblance (statistically speaking) to the rest of American society?

Categories: politics
  1. January 10, 2008 at 9:44 am

    Thanks for the excellent Hitchens reference. [I used to be an avid Slate reader but I’ve slacked, so it was good to return.] I’m exhausted by the system we have. I don’t want to be negative, but considering the interests of power and media and money, how can we ever get to a place where the run-up to elections and the voting process makes any sense at all? or results in a qualified candidate?

  2. January 10, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    I’m fond of the idea of universal primaries, basically “one giant Super Tuesday.” All states have their primaries (all of them secret ballot – I really don’t think “tradition” is a good excuse to keep anything similar to the caucus system) on the same day. Alternately, whole regions could have theirs on the same day, with maybe a week in between. It would absolutely destroy the way contemporary media strategies are built – which I don’t think would actually be a bad thing.

    Come to think of it, media becomes even more important when a candidate simply make appearances in all of the places where activity is happening. Grass- and net-roots efforts become even more important… Maybe?

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