The internet is in fact beginning to have a big impact in politics, my candidates preferences aside. In the VP debate last night, Cheny was trying to mention FactCheck.org to make some point that he wasn’t getting any money from Halliburton, so that can’t influence his current decisions, but instead said FactCheck.com. The site was owned by a small fry, who was getting deluged with traffic, so he pointed the traffic to a George Soros site. This article sums it up pretty well.
The important point is that the fact that a candidate can say the name of a website and drown it in – traffic means that people are logging on and going to a site almost immediately after it is mentioned on TV. This is making TV more interactive by association. Candidates don’t have to rely on just 30 second spots, or even 60 minute debates – they can say ‘to find out more, go here’. Thats a powerful force in getting our democracy to work better, people engaging themselves, not just passively listening. The internet has made the effort to get involved cheap enough to be worth their time. Maybe they won’t go walk precincts, but they will read a blog, or check some references, or register to vote online. I think this is an important trend to note, to try to explore how we can take advantage of that in order to reform our political system.