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Daily Digest: To Endorse Or Not To Endorse

BY Joshua Levy | Monday, February 25 2008

The Web on the Candidates

  • OpenLeft’s resident Googlebomber Chris Bowers is at it again, asking readers to help manipulate Google’s search results for John McCain so that negative articles about McCain appear high on the page. While Bowers has led successful g-bomb campaigns in the past, Shai Sachs, writing at Planting Liberally (and also a core developer behind our site), thinks that such a campaign won't work on such a known quantity as McCain, and progressives need to go beyond them “to incorporate a grassroots messaging campaign” among activists to inform them of McCain's positions. It's a radical thought: nuanced communication vs. search engine results. There's probably a place for both.

  • Blue Majority, a project of DailyKos, OpenLeft, and Swing State Project that raises money for progressive Congressional candidates using online fundraising site ActBlue, -- they've raised over $300,000 so far -- has yet to endorse a presidential candidate. But Chris Bowers is asking OpenLeft readers if it’s time to pick someone, especially since the earlier they can start raising money, the better (it's clear that they'll endorse Barack Obama). It seems a tad late for Blue Majority to weigh in, but it’s indicative of how the netroots has in some ways trailed (or simply just reflected) rather than led the discussion among online Democratic activists about who to support in the presidential race. At the moment about two-thirds of those polled on OpenLeft and DailyKos, and about 60% at Swing State Project, think it's time to support Obama.

  • “Big things come in small packages”: if you’re still not convinced that Twitter will change your life, read this piece from Jeff Jarvis, the most recent techno-journalist to peddle and drink the Kool-Aid. His piece follows the now-familiar road-to-Damascus narrative of skeptics who have twitted the light: at first Twitter seemed “silly”; then he used it and founded it partical and fun; then real journalists started using it, making it legitimate and a veritable phenomenon. For Jarvis, Twitter’s popularity speaks to one of the web’s greatest strengths: “create a platform, make it open, and people will do things with it that you never could have imagined.”

  • techPresident contributor Colin Delany relates a story about his sister-in-law who, after watcing Lawrence Lessig’s video announcing that he’s thinking of running for Congress, decided to support… Barack Obama, based on her respect for Lessig. For Delany, the anecdote illustrates the strength of viral video. For every “Yes We Can” there are thousands of smaller, less-viewed videos that collectively inspire large groups of people. “The genius of a technology that turns the passionate and creative among us loose is that each of those different niches is likely to have a message aimed right at it,” he writes.

  • A belated shoutout: congrats to Josh Marshall for winning a George Polk award last week and for bagging a New York Times profile today. Marshall is a liberal blogger/journalist, but his success and awards are emboldening bloggers of all stripes and is the clearest example yet of how online journalism can not only be relevant, but groundbreaking.

The Candidates on the Web

  • In light of her campaign’s need for delegates, super and otherwise, Hillary Clinton has launched Delegate Hub, a vertical that maintains an updated list of “facts and myths about the race for delegates in the Democratic nomination.” Just as Hillary Hub focuses on press offensives and rapid response, this site makes it clear that Clinton campaign values the web when it comes to controlling information, but is still at sea when it comes to voter participation (at least some of her supporters are getting into the act).
  • McCain watch: no increase in YouTube views, flatlining blog mentions, decreasing web traffic share, plunging Yahoo! Buzz… at least he’s seeing an increase in Facebook supporters! The continuing lack of voter-generated content on behalf of the presumptive Republican nominee stumps us. What are we missing?

In Case You Missed It…

Trolling the Internets in an attempt to make some sense of last night’s perplexing Lost episode, Nancy Scola came across an idea that made her think, naturally, of a new way of understanding the tremendous amount of voter-generated content swirling around the presidential campaigns right now. Her idea builds on how TV shows like Lost relate to all the user-generated content around them -- she's on to something.

For those of you attending (or thinking of attending) the upcoming Politics Online Conference, consider attending a panel Alan Roseblatt has assembled: Social Networking/Media Strategy of the Presidential Campaigns.

Watching the Obama campaign message, “Yes we can,” morph into a music video and then once again into a user-generated participatory project, Gene Koo thinks we’re (finally?) witnessing the beginnings of Web Politics 2.0.

Yours truly and former Mitt Romney director of e-strategy (and past and future ontributor to techPresident) Mindy Finn were interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition yesterday, in which we chatted about the way the web is helping young people get involved in the election. Check it.