Update 5:51 pm EDT: I just woke up from my nap and there are a lot more responses than I expected, so thank you for that. I hope people remained civil. I did see someone question why Markos should "back off" on his support for Hillary Clinton. I thought the diary was clear as to reasons why it is too early to be making that decision in this election cycle, but regardless, I did not demand he "back off" I only asked him to consider doing that in light of those reasons. He is of course free to do as he pleases.
However, Markos wields a great deal of influence now. Despite what he claims, because of this site, and its growth and significance, he has a "seat at the table" among the Democratic Party political establishment. At the very least, they have to take his phone call, yes? So, what he says and does matters more than it did in 2004 and 2008. I do not recall him making a decision to openly support a candidate for the nomination this early in the cycle in 2007-2008.
In fact I don't think he fully and openly announced his unequivocal support for Obama over Clinton until he wrote this in March, 2008 after it was clear Obama was the frontrunner for the nomination in terms of delegates won in the primaries. It makes interesting reading, especially his justification for not supporting Clinton over Obama.
Now I'm willing to stipulate that on the consultant front, there's likely not much difference between the Obama and Clinton campaigns (I don't know if it's true, but I assume it is). But on everything else, Clinton fails the test of the guiding principles of this site, and of my first book, Crashing the Gate.
Clinton isn't just a member of the DLC, she's in their leadership. Obama, by the way, repudiated the organization three times (it's a great story, which I tell in my forthcoming book).
Clinton hasn't just rejected a 50-state strategy, she has openly attacked it. [...]
And if we want to talk about which party is the most grassroots-oriented, it's no contest. We've seen it in the caucuses, we've seen it in the netroots, and we saw it in the Iowa county convention this Saturday. The party's activists are busting their butts for Obama, while Clinton's campaign is counting on low-information Democratic voters selecting Clinton based on little more than name ID.
But I could deal with all of that, really, if Clinton was headed toward victory. I see this as a long-term movement, and I've always expected setbacks along the way. Clinton isn't the most horrible person in the world. She's actually quite nice, despite all her flaws, and would make a fine enough president.
If she was winning.
But she's not, and that's the rub.
Well, until we have some actual primaries, no one is winning
, yet. The voters have not spoken. For myself, I am only asking Markos to re-consider the choice he made to support Clinton now, before any debates have been held and any primaries have been contested. There is no special reason he has to announce his support for her now. That of course, is my opinion.
Do I think he will change his mind and reconsider? Who knows. Stranger things have happened.
Original text begins of diary here:
Hi everyone. I just got an email from Markos. I'd like to think I'm special and he really cares about my ideas and opinions, but I'll bet a lot of you received one from him, also. In fact, I'll bet other than the name, it is identical to mine. Here's an excerpt from it:
Steve, Daily Kos is a small organization running a very big website. We’ve broken traffic records every month this year. June was our biggest month ever, with an incredible 13.5 million unique readers. From our third-party Quantcast stats:
In the past, our traffic was driven by the news cycle: Higher in election seasons, lower in the summer when people (and Congress) were on vacation.
Now? Just look at that chart! The surge on the right is this year. There are no more cycles. And I'll say it again: 13.5 million unique readers in June! To put that into context, that is bigger than the websites of NBC, MSNBC, Wall Street Journal, ABC News, CBS News, and many other major media organizations.
This is crazy. And it’s crazier that we run the site—including our editorial staff and tech team—along with our activism and social media teams on an annual budget that’s less than $5 million. I’m not sure any news site or activist organization anywhere gets the bang for its buck that we’re getting now.
Wow, how great is that! But then I read the rest of the email, and I saw it was just a solicitation for money to help pay for the new version of Daily Kos that we will all have to get used to whenever it gets rolled out. Now let me be clear: I have no problem with Markos soliciting money for this website. A lot of people do a lot of good things, and it provides a platform for people like me to get a larger audience for our writing, to become aware of grass roots activists and help them, to learn more about Democratic candidates, read in depth essays and personal stories and news coverage I can get nowhere else (or very few other places).
Most importantly it gives me a place where I can go and not feel so alone. For a disabled person and a "flaming liberal" (i.e., what used to pass for a moderate back in 1980), that means a lot.
So I can understand Markos tooting his own horn about how great it is that so many people are coming here to visit this website. However, let me offer an alternative explanation for why readership and/or whatever it is that Quantcast statistics measure is up. I think there are three significant factors that have resulted in these larger than previous years number of "unique readers."
One is the new emphasis, as demonstrated by the hiring of Shaun King, placed on reporting about police violence toward people of color and the racism inherent in our unjust justice system. And of course, it's not just Shaun. There are any number of writers here, including Frank Vyan Walton, Denise Oliver-Velez, JoanMar, and a host of others too numerous to name, who focus on these issues. The decision after the killing of Michael Brown, the Ferguson protests and the rise of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, to dramatically increase coverage of these issues, especially on the Front Page, is certainly one of the factors driving increased readership numbers.
I give credit to Markos and whoever else among the editors recognized that this issue needed more attention at DKos. It undoubtedly helped the readership stats. Some of that readership has been an increase in conservative and racist trolls passing by to do what such people tend to do, but a lot more of it, I believe, has been an increase among existing readers and members of the site spending more time here because this issue, which is important to them and to an ever increasing number of Americans who previously ignored it, is literally front and center.
Another major factor - and despite the way it gets treated here at times, it's a serious matter - is the Republican Presidential Nomination race, and in particular the antics of one Donald Trump. The "Republican Clown Car," as we refer to it and the many outrageous things Republican candidates have said in order to pander to their base supporters is another significant reason why readership is up this summer.
Hey, everyone likes to watch a good train wreck, and this year's Re[publican candidates (again in particular the Donald) provides a tone of daily fodder for the outrage addicts, and let's be honest who hasn't been one at one time or another here. We all love our daily dose of GOP Craziness, and that insanity has reached new highs (or lows if you prefer) this year, thanks to the horde of Republican candidates desperate to raise their profile and poll numbers by one upping one another on who can say the most racist, offensive or stupid thing in order to win approval from their Fox News fueled base. For Markos and his DKos stats, it's just just sheer luck that the Republican Party has been so damned entertaining (even as the reality of what that means scares the crap out of me).
However, there is one other factor, perhaps the largest factor driving increased readership at the site this summer. In a year in which news about Democratic candidates for the presidency was expected to be rather boring, because of the assumption that the only viable candidate, and perhaps the only candidate in the race who mattered, would be Hillary Clinton, something completely unexpected and unpredictable happened: the candidacy of avowed socialist, Senator Bernie Sanders.
To say Sanders is a phenomenon would be an understatement. No one predicted that his campaign would have any significant impact on the Democratic nomination process, much less that he would garner the media attention and the grass roots following he did in such a short time. In effect, no one expected that the Democratic nomination would actually provide Democrats with two viable options, and that, at least for the present, the one who is energizing the base of the Democratic party's base is an old white leftist Jew from the state of Vermont.
And you don't have to take my word for the impact his candidacy has had on the readership at this blog. Just look at the recommended list every day for the past several months and you will usually find multiple diaries about Sanders' campaign filling it up. For a man written off the moment he announced his candidacy, a campaign with little funds and few resources, one everyone said had no hope of competing against the well funded, well oiled Clinton machine, I find his dramatic rise astounding.
Love him or hate him (or love or hate his followers here), there can be little question that Bernie Sanders is one of the main reasons so many spend so much of their time here. Indeed, the confluence of Bernie Sanders and the demonstration by Black Lives Matters at Netroots Nation this year dominated the "diary cycle" here at Daily Kos for almost a month. But even had that confrontation not occurred, Bernie's increasing prominence on the national stage, and particularly his appeal to the Democratic Party's base, as opposed to the Democratic Establishment's preferred candidate, Hillary Clinton, would still be responsible for the much of the increase in the readership stats Markos cites in his fundraising email. IN MY OPINION.
Which makes it all the more strange that Markos has made such an effort to announce so early in the nomination process his clear preference for Hillary, and his willingness to attack Bernie Sanders. The first primaries are six months away. What point does it serve to claim now that only one candidate can win the nomination, and only that candidate stands any chance of winning the election in 2016? Because in a political season that has already demonstrated that the conventional wisdom is misguided and simply dead wrong - whether we are talking about the Republican race or the the Democratic one - it sure doesn't make sense to me.
Now full disclosure. At present I support Bernie Sanders. I haven't posted any diaries about his candidacy. i have for the most part stayed out of the pie fights in the diaries by his supporters and those of Ms. Clinton, but Bernie's views, his record in office, his policy proposals and overall his general campaign style is far more appealing to me at this stage than that of Hillary. Maybe that will change. Maybe Hillary will show me that she is indeed firmly committed to the ideals and principles and policies I hold most dear. I'm willing to let the process play out and see what happens.
To be even more clear, I want to see Hillary and Bernie debate, and the sooner the better, and the oftener the better, too. I want the Democratic party to have this conversation about what it is they truly stand for, and what interests they will promote and advocate once their candidates are elected. The policy differences, as they stand today, between the Clinton candidacy and the Sanders' candidacy, are far more stark and significant than the differences ever were between Obama and Hillary back in 2008. Democratic voters should have the chance to make the choice as to which vision of the future they want their party to promote, not wealthy people, not corporate lobbyists and certainly not the ossified and the increasingly out of touch DNC establishment.
So Markos, I appreciate all that this website you created does for Democrats, liberals, progressives, activists, candidates and regular people like me. I'm considering sending you some money for your website.
But I'd like you to consider something, as well. Consider backing off your, in my view, premature decision to throw your full support behind Hillary Clinton. Let's wait a while longer and see how this election cycle plays out before announcing so definitively who we should support. That's all I'm asking. Just give it some further thought.
Thanks for your consideration,