Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

Behind the Tea Party Victories in Delaware & Alaska: A Big Fat Email List

BY Colin Delany | Wednesday, September 15 2010

Cross-posted from Epolitics.com

Hell of a political year so far, eh? The Tea Party Express just ran over its second establishment Republican in the past few weeks, and since Delaware's victorious Christine O'Donnell doesn't seem to stand much of a chance in the fall, this time the Democrats are likely to be the real beneficiaries. Meanwhile, former congressmember AND former governor Mike Castle gets to spend the rest of the election season kicking back with Alaska's Lisa Murkowski and trying to figure out what went wrong.

Here's one clue, buried in Justin Elliott's article on the Tea Party Express in today's War Room. It turns out that the organization is sitting on a big, fat email list of 400,000 Tea Party enthusiasts willing to cough up enough individual donations for the group to bankroll advertising for Joe Miller in Alaska and O'Donnell in Delaware to the tune of close to one million dollars. Sound familiar? A big email list of small donors was key to Obama's victory in 2008, and here again we see a tool often ignored in favor of flashy social media actually proving to be decisive. Email + a website that takes credit cards = still the most important technology in politics.

This emphasis on small donations is also an indication of the true grassroots nature of much of the Tea Party organizing, no matter how much establishment figures like Dick Armey and FreedomWorks might try to hijack the movement (note to Dick: REAL Tea Partiers don't compromise, not even in November). These folks are no happier with the Republican establishment than they are with Obama and the Democrats, and as they learn to turn their passion into political results, the Right looks to be suffering at least as much as the Left. Going rogue, indeed!

Already in 2008, it was obvious that Republican fear-mongering over Obama and designated whipping boys like ACORN risked waking up some very ugly strains in the American psyche, and we've seen them become virulent in the anti-Muslim backlash over the past couple of months. The craziness is likely to get worse before it gets better, but even if passions do fade a bit after the 9/11 anniversary, Republicans are still stuck with a gaggle of candidates (Miller, O'Donnell, Sharron Angle, Rand Paul) who may cost the party as many votes as they gain. Republican leaders may have opened the bottle back in 2008, but now that genie is far too powerful to be put back easily. And if Tea Party voters don't get what they want in November, the Republican establishment looks like it'll have to work some serious magic to avoid feeling their wrath for the next couple of years.

In other words: live by the crazies, die by the crazies...and a good omen for the Democrats in 2012?

cpd

News Briefs

RSS Feed friday >

First POST: Net Effects

Ballooning digital campaign teams; early registration deadlines kept millions of people from voting in 2012; love letters to Obamacare; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Data-Driven

Get to know Clinton's digital team even better; Ted Cruz election announcement-related fundraising offers peak into the coming data-driven campaign arms race; New York City launches online community engagement pilot program called IdeaScale; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Too Much Information

Will Facebook become the Walmart of News?; Hillary Clinton's digital team; how easy it is to get your hands on 4.6 million license plate scans; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

First POST: Firsts

Political reporters use Yik Yak to pep up stories about Ted Cruz's campaign announcement; The New York Times, Buzzfeed and National Geographic may agree to let Facebook host their news on its servers; Google fiber users to soon get targeted television ads; and much, much more. GO

monday >

First POST: Cowed

TedCruz.com for president; Meerkat fever; who does Facebook work for (probably not you); Medium, "the billionaire's typewriter"; and much, much more. GO

More