The Internet. The Present and Future of Politics

Nixon, Kennedy, JFK, 1960 Presidential Election, Richard M. Nixon, John F. Kennedy, Presidential debate 1960It was 1960 during the Presidential election between Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy. The polls were running neck and neck and there was no clear-cut winner until one event that changed politics forever.

It was the first ever televised presidential debate.  It was not so much the substance of the debate that had such a profound impact, but rather how each of them appeared on the new medium of television.

On one side you had Richard M. Nixon the sitting Vice President who sported a slight five o’clock shadow which, against the black and white picture, made him appear brooding. Along side was a young and photogenic JFK that the camera took too immediately. This event catapulted then Senator Kennedy into the White House and into history.

John Mccain, Barack Obama, Presidential election 2008Fast forward to the 2008 Presidential Election, again we had cross generational candidates. Both Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama were very adept at television so there was no real advantage there like in 1960, but what made the difference for Barack Obama was just as profound if not more than television was for Nixon and Kennedy. It was the internet, and it made all the difference in the world to who now occupies the White House.

Obama’s campaign took a page out of Howard Dean’s 2004 campaign and built up an army of supporters by using social networks, blogs, and websites to raise millions from small donations solicited on the Internet.

The Republican Party must learn from this and meet the Democrats internet advantage head on. The internet is the future of politics and the party that uses it most effectively will be the ones who raise the most money and win elections.

Right now we, as Republicans, are the scruffy faced Richard Nixon and the Democrats are the JFK. It need not be that way. Conservatives and Republicans dominated the Internet till around 2006. We can take it back, and must get it back to stop Barack Obama from making this country no longer the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.

Reposted from a blog article I wrote on the Emery County Republican Party website.

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  1. #1 by cav on April 23, 2010 - 8:29 am

    Not to put too partisan or racist an edge on this, but there were a great many of us who were altogether too tired of old white ‘leadership’ of a melted pot of a community – especially of the sort McCain / Palin were offering.

    • #2 by Glenden Brown on April 23, 2010 - 9:57 am

      cav – Your comment is resonating with me today.

      One of the lines Bill Clinton used in the early 90s was about creating an administration that looked like America. Ta-Nehisi Coates made an observation the other day about how whites working in the civil rights movement back in the day would feel as if they were damned if they do, damned if they don’t, but they just kept trying to get it right which is why so many blacks today identify with the political left – it’s not a matter of agreeing on every issue or program but of seeing people who are willing to at least try to do the hard work. The outcome hasn’t always been easy or ideal but it’s about trying to get it right, about including different voices at the table. I think the idea that America’s government should look like America’s people is a good one. We’re not going to get there overnight but we have to keep trying. That’s the key.

  2. #3 by Richard Warnick on April 23, 2010 - 2:33 pm

    I don’t have time to look for a reference, but I recall that when pollsters asked people who listened to the Nixon-Kennedy debate on radio who won, most said Nixon. You couldn’t see Kennedy’s confident smile on the radio.

    The disadvantage the right-wing has on the Internet is their “news” sites and blogs are almost all echoes of the right-wing noise machine, offering the same set of talking points you can get from Faux News.

    Progressive blogs produce a wide array of ideas. The ones I read most often have the integrity to frankly criticize the Obama administration’s transgressions against civil liberties, the environment, and candidate Obama’s own promises.

    As a matter of fact, Obama’s 2008 campaign website allowed blog posts and comments. They caught hell when Senator Obama reneged on his promise of a filibuster, and voted for the FISA amendments.

  3. #4 by Larry Bergan on April 23, 2010 - 5:18 pm

    The internet really should be the future of politics but no so much for the fund raising aspect as much as the information aspect. Money should be purged from the system, but it’s been locked in by the supreme court’s terrible ruling. Americans are strapped for cash now and the corporations are going to call the shots on television advertising. Not everybody can afford the internet or have the time to participate. I think we’re in a dangerous situation.

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