“Politics is no longer a spectator sport.”
That’s the message for all of us who care about the country from Dick Morris and Eileen McGann in their new book, “2010 Take Back America.”
“Those in the grandstands must leave their seats and come down on the playing field to help their side score,” they write.
“The Internet has made each of us the center of our own political campaign. We ARE the campaign. The days when the candidate and a small group of professionals ran things – and the rest of us chipped in money, showed up at rallies, and voted – are over. Now each of us must conduct our own campaign within our own circle of acquaintances, until the circle spreads to include thousands of voters.
“Too many of us still labor under the illusion that politics is a top-down game, driven by the manager and candidate whose initiatives filter down to the lowly campaign workers – the foot soldiers on the ground. We wait for our phones to ring or emails to arrive telling us what to do to help win the election.”
Why this is so is because “political advertising, like all advertising, is losing its effectiveness – for two key reasons.”
Number one is because the internet is replacing television. You can’t reach a great number of people at one time anymore, they argue, since you can access hundreds of channels, tape them, watch when you want and zip out the ads.
But, more importantly, they say is the second reason. “The conventional top-down media driven political campaign isn’t working anymore because we don’t believe what we hear from strangers.” Doubt it? Just think of Rathergate. Bloggers and other Americans suspected the letters about Bush getting a pass on serving in Vietnam were false documents and revealed them for the frauds they were.
It follows, then, that “the more we disbelieve those we don’t know, the more we DO believe and rely upon those we do know,” they claim.
And that’s where we come in.
“If you want to make a difference in 2010, now’s the time to start reaching out to all those people to spread the word. They are your constituents – your electronic precinct.” No longer are wards and precincts geographical areas to be canvassed, the electronic precinct consists of people you know: colleagues, neighbors, friends, family, acquaintances.
“Make a list of your ‘constituents’ and go talk to each of them by email, by Twitter, by YouTube, by Facebook, even by phone,” they suggest. “Remember to think of yourself as a publisher,” they say and send them articles, information on a good candidate, notice of meetings, shows to watch, etc.
“But canvassing your own electronic precinct is only part of your assignment. You must also get your friends to join you as precinct captains, bringing their own list of friends, family, colleagues and associates.
“One pebble cast into the water will generate its share of ripples. But only when many are thrown at once can we build a wave.”
Let’s hope we build a tidal wave.