Thursday, February 03, 2005

Net activism - still some way to go 

In the "Weekly Standard", blogger Dean Barnett profiles Markos Moulitsas (Zuniga), otherwise known as Kos, the force behind the Daily Kos, the most popular political blog in the world (hat tip: Stew):

"Many in the conservative blogosphere have been quick to label Kos a 'moon bat' because of his unforgiving left-wing politics and his strident tone. Kos in turn dismisses these critics as 'wing nuts.' (Who says dialogue in the blogosphere isn't edifying?) This kind of juvenile give and take, however, obscures the vital fact that Moulitsas leads an influential movement, a movement whose influence is likely to grow even larger."
Blog/Internet activism is still in its infancy, so it's too early to say whether one day it will rival, or even replace, the more traditional forms of campaigning. It is, though, safe to say that - at least in Kos's case - it has been far more successful at energizing the margins than influencing the mainstream. For all his hard work, Kos has been unable to get his man Howard Dean nominated as the presidential candidate and neither has he been successful in getting his other preferred candidates elected to political offices around the country. As a consolation, Kos is likely to see Dean become to the new DNC chairman, an insider-type job for the boy.

Having spent many years behind the scenes in politics I am struck by the similarity between Kos & Co and assorted party "powerbrokers". Their methods might be different, ranging from high-tech to low-tech and low-brow, but what they have in common is the ability to generate outcomes within the political party structure that is not automatically matched by the ability to generate outcomes in the "real world" of open politics.

The true test for net activism a la Kos will not be its success at stirring up the faithful or raising large amounts of money, but the ability to influence races and help elect candidates. As they say, in politics there are no prizes for coming second.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?