The Web and the 2008 Presidential Race

April 9th, 2010 admin Posted in obama healthcare forum 12 Comments »

A lot of people have expressed that there is too much buzz on the upcoming 2008 presidential race. They are saying that since the election is more than a year away, there is no need to be excited. However, it is clear that more and more people are starting to become involved in the election away because of the advances in modern technology.

Modern technology and the World-Wide-Web are changing the way presidential campaigns raise money, organize their networks of volunteers and engage in public debate. For instance, the candidates can now spread their campaign message and reach out to voters through their personal campaign websites. The candidates also have more opportunity to bypass the mass media and forge a deeper, more personal relationship through e-mail, Web video, online chats and podcasts. The wide-open forum of the Internet and related technologies create the potential for a more wide-ranging political dialogue.

More than 3,000 groups have formed on Barack Obama’s site a week after he announced his presidential campaign and the launching of his website. These groups ranged from the Iowa Union Members for Obama and New Hampshire Firefighters for Barack to the Hip Hop for Obama. More than 4,000 people have also started blogs on the site and more than 3,000 have set up personal fundraising web pages.

Of course, Obama’s site is just one of the brazen attempts to use the power of Web-based social networking to channel a surge of enthusiasm and a flood of money into a broad-based political movement. For instance, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton signaled the start of the new campaign era by announcing the launching of her presidential exploratory committees through a web video.

Clinton’s campaign staff then followed it up with a series of highly publicized video Web chats. She also used non-political Internet forums such as Yahoo! Answers to reach reached out to potential supporters. In fact, a question that solicited ideas to improve the health-care system has already has drawn more than 38,000 responses.

However, the Internet did always offer something positive for the candidates. Attacks on the candidates can come from many more directions because the mass media no longer an arbiter. For instance, the release of the Hillary 1984 video caused quite an uproar just a few weeks ago. The video has been viewed by more than three million people, illustrating the potential of using the Internet for political purposes.

However, many political professionals say Internet communications still have not shown much power to sway undecided voters. For example, the result of the recent election 2008 polls show that the Hillary 1984 video did make much of an impact. Nevertheless, the Web already has proven itself as a fundraising force and that capacity has only increased with the expansion of broadband access. For instance, Obama was able to raise $25 million largely through online contributions. The Internet also provides a powerful means to strengthen support once someone has taken an interest in a candidate.

Joem Hughes

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