Eight years ago, if someone would have asked me if a front runner candidate running for President could use the Internet as a tool to help him win, I would have said no. But things are different now thanks to Howard Dean who helped pave the way for Barack Obama. I don’t think Obama could have won the presidency without the Internet.
In The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, Joe Trippi said, “I believe the 2008 election will be the first national contest waged and won primarily over the Internet. We are, right now, in the midst of sweeping aside shallow, cynical broadcast politics of ideas and issues that will define the Internet age.” Well, Trippi was right, and I don’t think 2008 will be the last.
During the 2000 election, George W. Bush raised $125 million. Almost half of his money came from 59, 279 donors who donated the maximum amount at that time of $1,000. Obama managed to raise about $640 million–that’s more than five times the amount of Bush. Obama raised that much money because of the small donors. The average donation Obama received was under $100–that’s incredible. He did all of that without the help of public financing. This could cause more candidates to opt out of public financing in 2012.
The American people found a voice and they used the Internet to get people to listen. Now Obama has to answer to the people, not lobbyists, because the people are the ones responsible for getting him elected.
Republicans lag behind Democrats in terms of using technology and the Internet, but a group of young prominent ideologically diverse Republicans are trying to change that. They started a new website called “rebuild the party”in an effort to try to bring the Republicans together and change the direction of the party. They have asked RNC chairman candidates to support their platform where they are placing more importance on Internet organizing and technology.
I think the red team is starting to catch on, but just in case I’ll close on some advice to the Republicans out there who are interested in running for President in 2012:
“Now there are only two paths: Recognize this new technology as the redefining structure of our lives…or continue to believe that it’s only another gadget. Join the ranks…or hunker down behind the gates. And in the end, it doesn’t really matter what you do. The revolution began yesterday.” –Joe Trippi