DataPoint: Disruptive Technology

For all who though that Dean was somehow a one-shot deal: Internet Injects Sweeping Change Into U.S. Politics

This means, aides said, rethinking every assumption about running a campaign: how to reach different segments of voters, how to get voters to the polls, how to raise money, and the best way to have a candidate interact with the public. In 2004, John Edwards, a former Democratic senator from North Carolina and his party’s vice presidential candidate, spent much of his time talking to voters in living rooms in New Hampshire and Iowa; now he is putting aside hours every week to videotape responses to videotaped questions, the entire exchange posted on his blog.

“The effect of the Internet on politics will be every bit as transformational as television was,” said Ken Mehlman, the Republican national chairman. “If you want to get your message out, the old way of paying someone to make a TV ad is insufficient: You need your message out through the Internet, through e-mail, through talk radio.”

Michael Cornfield, a political science professor at George Washington University who studies politics and the Internet, said campaigns were actually late in coming to the game. “Politicians are having a hard time reconciling themselves to a medium where they can’t control the message,” Professor Cornfield said. “Politics is lagging, but politics is not going to be immune to the digital revolution.”

If there was any resistance, it is rapidly melting away.