A frequent conversation topic in the diner has been the role of the internet and the affect on campaigns. While discussing the impacts, we have often remarked about the Republicans’ failure to communicate and connect on the internet. The Washington Post took a closer look yesterday.
Michael Turk, a Vice President at NCTA, stated that “Republicans are losing the web.” I think Michael was being judicious in his assessment. The problem for the party is that its hard to lose the game when the Repulicans are not even on the same playing field as the Democrats. Using a baseball analogy, I would say the Democrats are in the majors and the Republicans are in the minor leagues. It is not even close.
Yes, Minority Leader John Boehner is twittering but he is an exception. Most candidates put a page up on MySpace.com and throw some videos on YouTube. However, it just looks like window dressing. Accordingly, I don’t think this will be an effective tool for connecting with voters until the medium is actually embraced(for instance, engaging before you are actually running for office). For some lawmakers in Congress, how can you embrace social networking in campaigns when you voted to put restrictions on it in the 109th Congress?
Analogous to companies that are looking to the internet to connect with consumers, politicians must do more than just dip their foot in the water. I share Mr. Turk’s view that it will probably take another cycle for the Republican establishment to realize the power of community building on the internet.