Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Participatory campaigning

I've noticed an interesting development in the relationship between campaigning and the internet in the early 2008 presidential campaigning. (Have I just been out of it? Let me know if you've seen this in earlier campaigns.) Both John Edwards and Hillary Clinton are reaching out to the netroots to make their campaign about more than just fundraising and doorknocking and explaining why they're the right candidate. Hillary Clinton's campaign is promoting an online petition calling for the resignation of Alberto Gonzalez. John Edwards' campaign provides a petition supporting better health care for veterans - and even has a fancy-schmancy video promoting his "Tomorrow begins today" effort, with the accompanying explanation:

This campaign is about each of us taking responsibility for our country's future — and ensuring America's greatness in the 21st century.

It is a campaign not just about what we can do in the White House — but what we can do on the way.

We all must take responsibility and take action now to:

  • Provide moral leadership in the world
  • Strengthen our middle class and end poverty
  • Guarantee universal health care for every American
  • Lead the fight against global warming
  • Get America and other countries off our addiction to oil
If we want to live in a moral and just America tomorrow, we cannot wait until the next President is elected to begin to take action.

This is an excellent way to tap into the energy of the netroots and really own a position on an issue. You might forget exactly what kind of voting record Barack Obama has on reproductive rights issues, but you'll probably remember if you and he "work together" in signing a petition showing support for one piece of legislation or another. Or, for that matter, you're going to remember Hillary Clinton's call for Gonzalez' resignation more than you might a news story from 6 months ago when she was praising the disgraceful AG. (To be clear, I'm speaking hypothetically here.)

I'm liking it. I think that Edwards is right that there's no time like the present for making things in this country work better - especially if he's going to be spending my (again, hypothetical) donation money this early in the race.

(Thanks to Scott for the Clinton link.)

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