June 16th, 2010
Interesting little tidbit from Nevada: a group calling itself the Patriot Majority is running ads against Sharron Angle on conservative websites, describing her as “‘Nevada’s WORST legislator!’ and a ‘professional politician’ who is in the pocket of Wall Street.” Who are they? Democrats, of course — and their goal is to push back against the Tea Party crowd.
In the Nevada case, they’re trying to help Harry Reid break up Republican Angle’s support among the fringe Right, in part by pointing out the fact that this “political newcomer” has been in the Nevada Legislature since the late ’90s and (I assume) has taken campaign donations from financial services firms. Will it work? The Tea Partiers are a purist and fractious bunch, liable to split along ideological and personal fault lines at the drop of a hat, so perhaps there’s some chance that it might. But conservatives were quick to catch on, and the advertising could backfire in the end.
Regardless, it’s a great example of how the internet can deliver targeted messages to people deemed likely to respond to them; whether they do or not is a different question. And the Patriot Majority’s overall outreach campaign (over 3000 fans on Facebook) once again reminds us that we should ALWAYS ask who’s behind an online campaign — the internet can lift high the small and silent, but it can also provide a grassroots facade for someone else’s money.