[Air-l] democracy and culture

Jennifer Stromer-Galley jstromer at albany.edu
Tue Jul 1 09:04:56 PDT 2003

The question in 1996, 1998, 2000, and 2002 was "did the Internet make a
difference in the campaign?" Now, what "make a difference is" depends.
The bottom line for a candidate is, did she win? If she did, did the
campaign's use of the Internet contribute to that win?

When McCain made his $2million dollars online after he won the New
Hampshire primary, there was serious speculation that McCain's was the
first successful Internet campaign. He successfully used the Internet,
particularly his website with its secure server connection, to raise a
ton of cash in a short period of time. But, McCain didn't win. More
importantly, the website served as a mailbox for people to send money
after McCain's surprising, exciting win in New Hampshire. If he didn't
have a website it would have been harder, I think, for people to have
contributed. But, the people contributed because they saw that he might
be able to beat Bush and went to the website as a logical place to learn
about him and contribute. But, they didn't contribute because they had
learned about McCain through the Internet, through their friends sending
email messages or forwarding announcements. They weren't mobilized
because McCain successfully used the Internet. 

Now, Howard Dean. I have watched in amazement at the level of use he and
his campaign staff and volunteers have made of the Internet--not just a
website, not just an email list, but using MeetUp, MoveOn, and a blog to
bolster support, get the word out about his positions, rally the troops,
organize events, and raise money. 

I am going to go a little crazy here and declare that Howard Dean's use
of the Internet will make a difference to his chance at winning the
election. Put another way, the Internet will make a difference this
time. I'll also declare (now I'm really out on a limb . . . .) that the
Internet could have made a difference in the 2000 election, but none of
the presidential candidates were ready or willing to use the Internet to
its full organizing potential. Dean and his volunteers and staff are
fully utilizing the many channels and reaching multiple audiences on the
Internet. It's exciting to watch. (And, it helps that Dean seems to
offer a message to which people are really responding.)

~Jenny Stromer-Galley

> -----Original Message-----
> From: air-l-admin at aoir.org [mailto:air-l-admin at aoir.org] On 
> Behalf Of Aldon Hynes
> Sent: Tuesday, July 01, 2003 10:47 AM
> To: air-l at aoir.org
> Subject: Re: [Air-l] democracy and culture
> (Full Disclosure:  I am an active volunteer in the
> Dean Campaign)


> Personally, I would love to hear any comments or
> insights about the Dean's campaign on the Internet
> from people who have spent more time studying
> Democracy and Culture.
> Aldon

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