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Looking at the contested primary results so far, it seems to me that something interesting is happening in both parties.  The barbarians are storming the gates.  

Up to now, the criticism that the Netroots  and Tea Partiers really hadn’t accomplished much when opposed by traditional interests was not entirely unfair.  Sure the Netroots won the primary in CT, and but they were unable to defeat Joe in the general. Obama's triumph over Hillary was the start of something different.

A start that has only grown and spread to the other side.  In both parties the insurgent candidacies are winning.  If Blanche Lincoln loses the runoff, it will be two Senators taken out by the insurgents.  Charlie Crist had to leave the GOP (a sitting Gov for corn sake!)

This represents, I think, the profound change that the internet is working on politics.  In the days before the internet, some kind of large organization like a union, or a political party, or a corporation, was needed to organize people into contributors, concentrate money around a candidate, and establish a campaign.

With the rise of the internet, politics has moved downstream to the end user.  Anyone can raise money, attract a following, establish a group of supporters/volunteers.  

This is good, in that it shakes up the vested interests.

This is bad, in that the vested interests tended to temper who was selected to run for high office.  True believers with an emotional appeal of the moment, are now much more likely to be nominated, and therefore elected.

I think the internet is going to push politics even further in the directions started by earlier electronic media – away from the middle and towards the ends of the spectrum.  This is the dark side of the network effects.

Some may consider this a good thing.  I'm not so sure.  The genius and curse of the American system is checks and balances.  They inhibit government from swinging in wild extremes.  Of course it also sometimes inhibits effective action in the face of a crisis, see for example, global warming.  This genius is undermined, if at every level of government, people from the edges of the spectrum inhabit most of the positions of power.

Admittedly, this sounds a little alarmist, and it is early in the new history of politics to say anything definitive.  Still, it is interesting to think that the greater access to politics provided by the internet, also leads to greater extremes.

Originally posted to RickM NYC on Wed Jun 02, 2010 at 04:23 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Er . . . really? (0+ / 0-)

    Obama's triumph over Hillary was the start of something different.

    "With all the wit of a stunned trout, prodigal stumbled clumsily into the midst of a discussion . . . " -- droogie6655321

    by prodigal on Wed Jun 02, 2010 at 04:25:29 PM PDT

  •  Meh (0+ / 0-)

    I think both the Tea Partiers and the Netroots overstate their influence. Granted, tradmed doesn't report on the netroots, but still...

    If your thesis was correct Ron Paul would be president right now. Those fucking nutbag supporters of his nearly took over the whole tubes.

  •  Bennett of Utah (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tidalwave1, slksfca, pistolSO

    Finished 3rd in the GOP convention and therefore will not be on the ballot this year.

    The barbarians, to use your term, got him for certain. Crist and Lincoln may still hope, but Bennett is gone.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Wed Jun 02, 2010 at 04:30:03 PM PDT

  •  i blame the internets?!??!?! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    Life is full of disappointments; yes, and I am full of life. -- John Gorka

    by bubbanomics on Wed Jun 02, 2010 at 04:38:47 PM PDT

  •  Tea Party Shut Out In Ohio Primaries (0+ / 0-)

    The American system has swung to a radical extreme. You're soaking in it right now.

    The only extreme our system prevents is speed of radical shift.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Jun 02, 2010 at 04:42:41 PM PDT

  •  Breaking Power Centrism is Positive (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tidalwave1, irishwitch

    The domination of so-called centrists really has meant the unchallenged voice of corportist hegemony.  Spreading out the representation in Congress means that other voices get heard, perhaps for the first time in generations.  The Washington neocon/neoliberal consensus has failed America miserably, both in economics and in global geopolitics.  I see nothing to mourn if its hegemony were to be challenged or toppled.

    We who have been nothing shall be all. This is the final struggle. ~E. Pottier

    by ActivistGuy on Wed Jun 02, 2010 at 04:59:33 PM PDT

  •  I suspect that the increasingly wealthy (0+ / 0-)
    are moving further right the richer they get, and subsidizing new movements further and further to the right as a consequence.

    And of course it won't stop until the gap between rich and poor is brought back to, say, Eisenhower-era levels.

    "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

    by Bob Love on Wed Jun 02, 2010 at 05:30:35 PM PDT

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