Archive for October, 2008

Halloween 2008: Obama, Witches and the Slow Death of Joe McCarthy

So here we are at the end: of campaign 2008 certainly, and of the modern conservative movement perhaps.

Boo! That’s all McCain and his supporters have left. Obama is a “Marxist,” a “socialist” and a “terrorist,” all fascinating words to see applied to a center-left senator from a Midwestern city embedded in a relatively conservative state. Not that most of the folks spouting the word “Marxist” would know a dialectical theory of history if it bit them in the ass, but that’s not the point: when used by right-wing activists, the actual meaning of words like “socialist” is irrelevant. They’re really just another way of saying “bad,” “scary” and “wrong,” and they’re what you use when you’re out of ideas. He’s a witch! Burn him!

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4 comments October 31st, 2008 Trackback Bookmark on del.icio.us

Tracking Political Robocalls via Crowdsourcing and Google Maps

Check out this great use of Google Maps for advocacy, sent in by anti-political-robocall activist and social media enthusiast Shaun Dakin — it takes the contents of his organization’s robocall database and displays them visually through a Maps interface, making them easy to browse through and to take in at a glance.

Political Robocall Map

And because the database consists of calls recorded and sent in by members of Shaun’s list from around the country, the whole project has a serious social media backbone. Nice work! And congrats also on getting picked up by Ari Melber in The Nation today.

cpd

2 comments October 30th, 2008 Trackback Bookmark on del.icio.us

November 6th Discussion: Best Practices in Online Communications

Hi folks, e.politics will be participating in a OneWorld-sponsored discussion next week about the tools and tactics of online advocacy, looking specifically at best practices based on what we’ve seen in the past year. Bet the presidential campaigns will come up, just between you and me. Want to check it out? You can attend either live her in D.C. or over the phone, and it’s free to OneWorld members ($50 for everyone else). Other participants include Alan Rosenblatt, Qui Diaz, Allyson Kapin, Heather Mansfield, Matt Stempeck and Michael Whitney. Sign up and check out the details on the OneWorld site.

Farther out on the horizon: the next Online Advocacy Roundtable session will turn a spotlight on the 2008 online presidential campaign. Sign up now — this one’s gonna fill up fast.

cpd

Add comment October 30th, 2008 Trackback Bookmark on del.icio.us

Illuminating the Presidential Campaigns’ Internet-Driven Ground Game

In politics, what’s important isn’t always what you can see. And compared with television ads and campaign events, field organizing is invisible — reporters on the campaign bus can only see the end result, which is the crowd that turns out. Today’s Wall Street Journal illuminates this critical corner of the campaign less than a week before it could help swing traditionally Red states to Obama. Here’s the core takeaway: the internet has revived the art of voter-to-voter contact, which had atrophied during the broadcast television era of politics. Let’s hear it from a guy who knows:

“Ironically, it took the Internet to get us back to the old-fashioned way of doing politics,” says Mark Sullivan, the founder of a start-up called Voter Activation Network Inc., or VAN, which runs the Web-based database for the Democratic National Committee

The Journal’s Christopher Rhoads profiles the competing turnout operations, providing great details about how volunteers are trained and coordinated by paid staff, as well as how political databases play into the entire process. Note that the ‘net plays into all kinds of traditional campaign activities — from phone-banking to block-walking — and that it’s usually sitting there in the background. The internet FACILITATES face-to-face connection rather than replaces it, getting each volunteer the information he or she needs to be effective and then collecting the data they gather as they go door-to-door or dial-for-support. As my friend Nate Wilcox has been pointing out for years, welcome to the new world of machine politics.

cpd

1 comment October 29th, 2008 Trackback Bookmark on del.icio.us

Webinar Resources: Promoting your Issues and Organization through Blogs

Ready for a blogger relations refresher course? I’m presenting a webinar this afternoon for a group of foreign policy organizations on the tools and tactics used for promoting issues through blogs. You know what that means: time to gather up relevant articles and expand on the basic points in the presentation (which you can download here as a PDF). And of course, e.politics is happy to prepare similar workshops for other campaigns and groups.

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Add comment October 28th, 2008 Trackback Bookmark on del.icio.us

Quick Hits — October 28, 2008

cpd

Add comment October 28th, 2008 Trackback Bookmark on del.icio.us

At This Point, The Internet is Pretty Much Done

Cross-posted on techPresident

Got your attention with that headline, eh? No, I’m not saying the ‘net has jumped the shark or otherwise taken a stock market-like plunge as a political tool, but I AM saying that in the last weeks of a political campaign, the internet team’s job is mostly over. There’ll be plenty of Get-Out-The-Vote messages to send, plus last-minute candidate videos and fundraising appeals to promote, but by now the real work should be done — if the systems aren’t in place and the databases largely complete by now, somebody’d better be sweating.

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1 comment October 27th, 2008 Trackback Bookmark on del.icio.us

Quick Hits — October 26, 2008

cpd

Add comment October 26th, 2008 Trackback Bookmark on del.icio.us

Online Politics is Usually Trench Warfare, Not Blitzkrieg

Talking with several different groups lately, I’ve ended up using the analogy that online politics has more in common with trench warfare than it does with blitzkrieg (hmmm, maybe not bring that up with the Poles next time). What I mean is that it’s usually incremental, the communications equivalent of a battle of attrition. An effective online political campaign is most often the cumulative result of many, many individual connections over a long period of time — rarely do you get the kind of sudden, overwhelming breakthrough that catapults you far along toward your goals all at once.

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5 comments October 22nd, 2008 Trackback Bookmark on del.icio.us

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