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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Partners: The DLCC Online

Editor’s Note: The Democratic Strategist welcomes submissions on the activities of “partners” who share similar goals on the political or intellectual battle-fronts. This piece from longtime TDS contributor Matt Compton is about the new online project of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which works to support Democratic state legislative candidates around the country.
Contributors to the The Democratic Strategist wear a lot of hats. By day, I’m the communications director for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee.
Today, we are launching a redesign of DLCC.org.
I bring this up on the Strategist because I want to note how our new online presence reflects an evolution in the way we approach political messaging and a reaction to the changing way that voters consume media.
A recent study for the Pew Project for the Internet and American Life found that fully 46 percent of all Americans have used the web to get news about the 2008 campaigns, share their views, and mobilize others.
That point is significant. The Internet has become an important resource for voters because it allows them to access candidates and campaigns directly without the filters of the media or the scripted distance imposed by television.
There are 7,382 legislators across the country, and they represent every conceivable kind of district. Most have been using radio, television, and mail for years, but for many, the Internet remains unfamiliar. They see its potential but have reservations about its complexity and challenges.
This cycle, our committee has partnered with Wired for Change to introduce a resource that reduces the barriers for campaigning online. We call it DLCCWeb.
Our goal is to make the Internet simple and affordable enough that all of our legislative candidates can build and update their own websites. They can choose from a range of templates and color schemes to create the best design for their campaigns. Blog publishing is built right into DLCCWeb, along with advocacy tools, online fundraising, and social network integration.
This cycle, more than 200 Democrats in 30 states (with a whole range of technology comfort levels) are using the Internet in a way that they haven’t before because of this service. To me, that represents a major step forward in participatory democracy and a big advantage for our party at the state level.
For our committee, a new website is the next logical step.
DLCC.org will be a clearinghouse for news about statehouses and legislative elections. The centerpiece will be a blog, hosted right on the front page, which will be updated multiple times a day, at least five days a week. Most posts will be short and quick, though each will include some sort of commentary and context. Most content will be written by our staff, but as we move forward, we plan to encourage contributions from our elected leaders and allies.
We want to start a conversation about our nation’s statehouses. We want to engage readers online to help us identify the next generation of leaders, to set real Democratic agendas in the legislatures, and to build new majorities before the next round Congressional redistricting.
I hope you’ll take a moment to visit the site and let me know what you think. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment here or there or send me an email — compton@dlcc.org.
Update: Check out a little marketing video that Wired for Change put together about DLCCWeb here.

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