From the Washington Post an editorial by Vijay Ravindran on how the Republicans are overlooking the tools that got the Democratic Party in control of the House and Senate and a President to boot.
The White House is in the hands of the opposition party. The Senate and House are also firmly in its hands, to the point that regaining either chamber in next year’s midterm elections seems like a complete fantasy. And there’s no clear candidate for the next presidential election who can both excite the base and appeal to the center. Today’s Republican situation? Well, yes, but this is also what it was like to be a Democrat four years ago, when I left the technology world and went to work for a tech start-up on the Democratic side…….
In the 2005 Virginia race for governor, new campaign tactics were used to identify potential supporters of then-Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine and maximize every dollar of time spent campaigning. Because Virginia does not include party identification with voter registration, more sophisticated techniques, including the use of microtargeting, were needed to find likely supporters. And Kaine used these techniques so effectively that they became a staple of Democratic races by 2008. In fact, this success helped make the business case for Catalist, the company founded by Harold Ickes that I joined in 2005. Catalist commoditized sophisticated data aggregation and data mining for progressive interest groups and campaigns large and small….
As documented in Matt Bai’s excellent book, “The Argument: Billionaires, Bloggers, and the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics,” wealthy Democrats began coalescing around building an organization that would not only funnel large donations but would also build the apparatus to evaluate the health of organizations before such donations were disbursed. That this organization, the Democracy Alliance, then went on to sponsor a number of groups that played an important role in the 2008 election and the transition went almost completely unreported in daily coverage of the election.
As Bai writes, the left finally developed a counterbalance to right-wing talk radio in the form of blogs, which allowed partisans to develop and refine views from a set of opinion leaders. This movement fed into organizational abilities not only within the Democratic Party but also in groups such as MoveOn.org.
This is just three paragraphs out of a lengthy article which shows how conservatives (and Republicans) are underusing the internet. Read it all and try to understand why we need this blog and a lot of interaction with it.