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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

The Dem New Media Advantage

[note: this is the second in a series of posts on the YearlyKos conference in Chicago] The second panel I attended at YearlyKos was entitled “Modern Campaigns,” and focused on how new media were transforming campaigns operations. Moderated by NDN’s Simon Rosenberg, the panel included Dean ’04 (and Edwards ’08) strategist Joe Trippi, Kerry ’04 communications director Stephanie Cutter, and MyDD co-founder and political consultant Jerome Armstrong.
Trippi’s rap mainly dealt with the vast growth of internet-based campaign organizing and fundraising in the current presidential cycle, and especially with the concentration of this growth on the Democratic side of the partisan
divide. The Democratic nominee in ’08, he argued, will enter the general election battle with an extraordinary advantage over the GOP nominee in terms of pre-mobilized citizens (including campaign contributors) and new media savvy.
Armstrong got into the nuts and bolts of how internet-based politics was affecting the internal organization of campaigns, beginning with small “internet-outreach” efforts and quickly changing the structure of most campaigns’ political, communications, and fundraising departments.
All the panelists agreed that the long era of domination of campaigns by paid broadcast media strategies was coming to an end.
In answering a question from a Texan about technology and Hispanic voter outreach, Rosenberg talked about last year’s monster pro-immigrant rallies as an example of where new media trends may go next. These rallies, said Rosenberg, were largely organized, almost overnight, via Spanish-language talk radio (the third largest radio format in the U.S. today) and text messaging. With the continued evolution of cell phone technology (e.g., the I-phone), it is increasingly likely that this will become the dominant medium for political communications in the near future.

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