It is hard to imagine now that four years ago George Bush was reelected in the midst of a climate of fear and suspicion. Democrats were on the defensive, the long term relevancy of their party being questioned by the media. Today’s election may render the Republicans a minority party, completely out of tune with the mood of the country. What happened?
The easy answer would be to say “Iraq and Lehman Bros.”. Those two tragedies expose the fallacy of the neoconservative philosophy of preemptive war and radical deregulation. But I would argue for two different phrases–”Bottom-up and Broadband”. In 2004 Democrats were overpowered by two forces: the Republican Top Down money/organizing machine and the power of right wing talk radio. There were many states that will vote Democratic today (Montana, Virginia, North Carolina, Indiana) that in 2004 had neither organization or media that reflected a Democratic message.
When after the 2004 defeat Howard Dean came to LA to campaign for the DNC Chairman spot, he said he would build a Democratic organization in all 50 states. And he did. But what Barack Obama realized from the start was that he was building a movement, not just a political campaign and he seized upon the bottom-up power of the Internet that Dean had pioneered and took it to a new level. And while the Clintons didn’t run a 50 state campaign, Obama did and it really paid off in the final month of the general campaign with the extraordinary organization And that’s where Broadband came in to the picture. Think about the effect of the will.i.am “Yes We Can” video, viewed more than 18 million times on the net. Continue reading