Saturday, October 20, 2007

How to use the Internet to get elected.

Ron Paul knows it, John Edwards is learning - nobody else seems to have a clue.

According to a remarkably inarticulate press release from an online polling firm, there are indications that Edwards has ditched a number of his consultants in favor of an internet-centered push on real issues.

“They want me to shut up,” Mr. Edwards said to listeners in Creston, Iowa — comments that were recorded by an Edwards’s campaign employee and posted both on YouTube and the admired open-minded Web site “Let’s distract from people who don’t have health care coverage. Let’s distract from people who can’t feed their children. Let’s talk about this frivolous, nothing stuff.”

“They will never silence me,” he sustained.

“The Internet is the principal way we are communicating with voters right now,” Mrs. Edwards said in an interview.

Indeed it is. It's a nationwide - nay, world-wide forum. And it's free. So there's no MSM - based limitation on what points you can address or how many words you can use. This contest will be about substance - if for no other reason than this campaign will be so long and so grueling that we are going to tune out those who say the same things all the time.

But there's still more to the "Ron Paul Phenomenon," as these YouTube videos clearly demonstrate.

Views: 600,861
Comments: 10,057 Favorited: 4,327 times Honors: 3 Links: 5

Views: 77,525
Comments: 1,495 Favorited: 1,350 times Honors: 1 Links: 5

People - just ordinary people - are now reaching out and touching people in the wholesale amounts usually reserved for newspapers and televison.

How much do you think videos like that are worth to a campaign? Not how much they paid - they probably didn't pay a cent. There would be a disclosure if they had. But in terms of dollar value - I'm sure this has as much impact as a thirty second radio spot. Conservatively. If it's compared to a thity

It's not enough to just have some ideas. You have to somehow inspire people. Nerd Arts puts a finger squarely on this point.

Nerd Arts » Blog Archive » Ron Paul, The Internet, and getting people to do stuff:
Part of my daily routine is that I go to the YouTube news section, and watch the videos I find interesting. Then I skip on over to Digg and see if anything catches my eye. One thing that anyone who frequents either of these sites knows is that Ron Paul dominates the political posts by about 20 to 1. The mainstream media has called them RonPaulaholics, people who live in this mysterious land of the internet, and email networks to have him on their shows, record and then upload not only every Ron Paul appearance on television, but record and then upload anytime anyone mentions Ron Paul’s name. Now, why is this at all important, and why am I currently writing another post about Ron Paul? The answer is that Ron Paul for some reason gets people to do stuff. The idea is so strong that it has changed peoples daily schedules, peoples views on wars, and even got them to use their time uploading, blogging and spreading a political message.

Why is this so important? Currently only about 50 percent of eligible voters get off their asses and vote. One thing we’ve seen already with Ron Paul continuously showing extremely well at straw polls is that Ron Paul supporters will leave their house to attend a straw poll. They will spend 15 cents to send a text message after a debate. They will blog about him. They will take out their credit cards and donate money. They will make their own videos about him and post them on youtube. In short, Ron Paul supporters make the leap from thought into action. It takes very little effort to say who you support during a phone poll (which is how most of these presidential polls are done, not to mention the fact that they also call people who will are “most likely vote” in the upcoming election).

One thing that the mainstream media has forgot time and time again. It is that people who make elections are highly organized groups, these are the people who will actually get out there and vote. The republicans have the Christian Fundies, the democrats have the Unions and minorities. Both sides have a “get out the vote” campaign. Now, with Ron Paul, we see the first internet candidate. We are also seeing an anarchic synergy which has propelled an otherwise unknown candidate into the mainstream. Make no mistake, Ron Paul didn’t find the internet, the internet found Ron Paul.

If our numbers remain strong, we will be a force that will wake up the mainstream media. The idea I would like to spread is that Ron Paul motivates people into action, and that this should become part of the campaign. We are the people on Digg, and YouTube that make stories stick and others languish. We have the power to directly alter and help form a political candidate, let’s not lose this opportunity. Digg this story up, and watch how your participation on the internet can change a presidential campaign. My message is simple. If you agree with it, then start spreading it. Ron Paul makes people do stuff, and people who do stuff, will also get off their asses and vote. :)

And a lot of people are starting to see profit in motivating and "viralizing" messages - such as this one.

The problem the internet presents for the "old campaigners" of Left and Right is that it's a medium that provokes questions, rather than providing answers. Television does that remarkably well, and the mastery of the "sound bite," the provision of simple answers to complex questions is the explanation - in my humble opinion - for the rise of Neoconservatism - which is all about simple answers for complex questions and of course, emotional, rather than intellectual appeals.

Ron Paul's answers to complex questions are blunt and short - but that's because understanding them requires an understanding where they come from; a solid foundation in the Constitution. If you respect the Constitution, you respect his answers, even if you don't always like them.

For instance - his position on abortion manages to displease everyone about equally. He's anti-abortion - personally, as a physician and from an ethical and libertarian standpoint. But he does not feel that it's the business of the Federal Government; He's come to the conclusion that it's either a state or an individual choice. And it's a conclusion he states with some visible reluctance.

In other words, he's the only candidate out there operating from a solid, verifiable foundation of principle, and who has stuck by those principles in a context where abandoning them would have been both normal and profitable.

That's a clear challenge for the other campaigns. Well, for the Democratic contenders, really, since the only option for candidates is to do what Ron Paul is doing - tell the truth. Given the things he's telling the truth about, he's the only one who won't have to eat a great deal of crow pie to get to that point.

Dr. No is vulnerable on only one front - he doesn't seem to have a "yes" bone in his body. I don't have a problem with that, given the office he's running for, but it's an obvious point Democrats should address - and they had better start addressing it before long.

The other factor in this is that it's becoming increasingly obvious to anyone paying attention that this process is about as random and honest as a game of Three-Card Monte. The MSM have already picked Clinton or Obama as the "front-runners;" and I'm suspicious that's due to them being the most vulnerable to a credible Republican, considering the nature of the people that own and control the major media outlets.

I note that the two "front-runners" are both equivocating on the war in Iraq and the various unconstitutional "necessities" of the War on Terror. That tells me that both are "acceptable" to the Powers That Be. That is a damn good reason to vote against them right there.

Image developed from the Ron Paul Flickr Feed; Photomanipulation by Bob King. Yard signs available - speaking of getting people to "do stuff."

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, you really summed it up properly there! Ron Paul is clearly the President of the internet. People don't want to be spoon fed by MSM. Your so right, content can now prevail. Its an amazing time right now.


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