If Obama wins the election in November this year, he’ll prove once more that the internet can bring new supporters (voters) in the election race. But that’s actually nothing special, because we already know that from the US presidential elections in 2004. Howard Dean and Joe Trippi already proved it four years ago. The real question behind his quest for change is this: can he take the thing a step further?
As I write these lines Obama has raised more than 400 million US$ from more than 1.5 million donors. Some eagar optimists predict that he will raise as much as 1 billion US$ by the end of the campaign. And that he’ll raise that money from 5 million donors. Regardless if he wins or not, we can already comfortably say he will beat Howard Dean’s result from the 2004 election by more than 10 times. Howard had managed to raise a little over 50 million US$ from 650.000 donors before he dropped out of the campaign.
So, the tool that was – ironically – first used in the presidential election in 2000 by John McCain (yes, the John McCain) is in fact producing very fine results. So what now?
… Obama wins
Let us now travel in time and stop somewhere in the summer of 2009. Barack’s been in office for a few months now and Hillary is still campaigning – OK, let’s be serious for a while longer. At that moment the only thing I want to know is this:
Is Barack Obama using the internet to give at least some of the governing power back to the people or not?
I think that IF he wins and it turns out that he used it all just to win the campaign, it will have a significantly negative impact on the future of (online) politics. The real change that (at least some of) his supporters are waiting for is not about the power that the internet gave him during the campaign. I believe they want to support someone who will let them use the power of the internet to participate in the next government.
They expect it will change the way the politics is done.
They want it to last throughout the whole presidency.