In the wake of the 2008 election, after four years of aloofness from most of our party’s leaders about the role of new media and technology in electoral politics, we took a break from the day to day of campaigns and thought seriously about how to help our party move forward.
We outlined a strategy; it had a lot to do with technology, but it wasn’t just about social networking, e-mail list management or YouTube. We talked about decentralizing the GOP and running a candidate in all 435 congressional districts. That got us some bewildered reactions: I thought this was about the Internet — what’s this about running in every district?
Such responses revealed a mind-set that for too long has prevented the party from innovating: wedded to the status quo and out of touch with the American experience. (One could draw parallels to the policy front as well.)
The Internet isn’t a line item in a campaign budget anymore. It’s not just something you have to pay for, underneath catering and radio ads. It has reorganized the way Americans do everything — including elect their leaders. Candidates who would have had no chance before the Internet can now overcome huge odds, with the people they energize serving as the backbone of their campaign.