February 1, 2004

Pruning needed...

Richard Bennett who's done a lot of Internet political organizing, writes tellingly about the Dean campaign...

...Briefly put, Dean's problem is the Deaniacs. The Internet-driven campaign has enabled him to amass a large following, but they're primarily unbalanced people, fanatical followers, extremists, and wackos. In my experience with Internet-enabled activism, these are the kind of people most attracted to online chat and email wars, so an organization that's going to use these tools to recruit has to prune the weirdos before they run off the mainstream people...

...So politics, even in the age of the Internet, is still about people, not about technology, gimmickry, or gadgets, and most of the people are moderate, deliberate, and fairly sensible. Dean learned this the hard way, and the only thing that can save his campaign now is the fact that few people are paying attention to what's happening in Burlington or on the Stupid Network.

A telling fact in all this was Dean and Trippi's failure to believe their own campaign rhetoric. They said the campaign was energizing new voters and bringing in new volunteers to work the campaign, but they obviously didn't provide them with the kind of training and direction that's appropriate for political neophytes...

"Training and direction?" That's so 2002...

I suspect we have all had the experience of moving away from some Internet forum or comment-list rather than try to reason with or out-shout some coarse creature.

Posted by John Weidner at February 1, 2004 9:40 AM
Weblog by John Weidner