Check out Jose Antonio Vargas’s article in today’s Post for a quick snapshot of the relative power of the presidential campaigns online, which is already stirring up a good bit of discussion online. Nothing in it will be shocking to regular followers of online politics, but it does have some good quotes from some names that’ll be familar to the e.politics crowd, including David All, Daniel Glover and Kung Fu Quip’s Mike Turk. A relevant excerpt:
One reason for the disparity between the parties, political insiders say, is that the top Republican candidates are not exciting voters the way the Democratic front-runners are. Another is that it takes a certain level of technical skill and understanding to be an online strategist, and Republicans admit that “the pool of talent in the Democrats’ side is much bigger than ours.”
But an underlying cause may be the nature of the Republican Party and its traditional discipline the antithesis of the often chaotic, bottom-up, user-generated atmosphere of the Internet.
Judging from (beer-fueled) conversations I had with several Republican strategists at this weekend’s Personal Democracy Forum conference, the Post article hits the mark quite well the main sentiment I heard from that side of the partisan divide was frustration mixed with fatalism. Republicans may have to get the pants beaten off of them a couple of times before they start to build a lasting online infrastructure. But bear in mind that tactics have switched sides before: Democrats started the extensive use of political direct mail, for instance, but Republicans ended up turning it into a decisive tool. So let’s nobody get complacent here, either way.