And there's no reason, strictly speaking, that a strong social network has to have socially regressive features.
That's the difference between correlation and causation. From the sociological perspective, tight social networks correlate negatively with Democrats. That doesn't mean every one of them is anathema, just that this is the general trend.
I would also say in response to your initial post, that the contrast often isn't between "ad-hoc" social networks and "traditional" ones, but rather between historical social networks, and no networks at all.
Why this correlates with diversity is something that's not really addressed in the existing research, so folks read all sorts of assumptions inot it. But we know that people without a good array of social ties are generally less happy, more subject to anomie.
I hope this is coming. It takes time and resources and expertise to produce good video, but I do think someone could do a daily online piece that could go toe-to-toe w/O'Reilly. The issue is how to sustain that over time. It would really take a whole team, and a fair amount of funding, to make it work.
I like the tactics of pushing EDR for low-income and progressive millennial voters, but I like even more that, uhhh, in a "democracy" every "citizen" should be allowed to "vote" without having to jump through a bunch of BS red tape.
Many bureaucratic issues which confound and muck-up our political systems are problems of information that would pose no challenge to any qualified group of professionals, let alone a "best and brightest" type of program.
Bringing governance (which means first and foremost the mechanics of voting) into the information age feels like a required first-step for most bigger-picture goals and policies. It's an important part of reviving the notion that, hey, Public Services can solve Public problems.
I think the ROI of putting the ~$10M from youth back into youth would be much greater than being an eddy in the river of the presidentials, but I don't think we've got the kind of organization or consciousness to direct even a fraction our financial resources as a generation towards self-development. Yet.
And it's too bad. From a strategic remove, it seems apparent that the leverage of Millennials (both to see our ends achieved and to elect the people we want) would be greater if we were to invest in bootstrapping rather than joining up with candidate X, but campaigns are where the action is, and that's not going to change.
I'm a believer that the Millennial edge is key to securing a governing Progressive consensus, but I do feel compelled to point out that in tight races every demographic slice or trend can be claimed as a deciding factor.
That being said, this is important stuff, and I especially appreciate the example of Charlie Crist, because it goes to show that young voters are by no means a Democratic lock.
The other point that can't be stressed enough is tone. I remember a frustrating late-night conversation at the 2004 DNC trying to convince Sam Seder of all people that there were such things as "youth issues." He was more right than I was, and what I've realized since then is that even though the issues are largely the same, the stance young people look for -- even if the policy position is roughly equivalent -- is very different.
I think younger voters are more passionate about their politics on average, and they're also much less vested in the status quo. This makes the equivocating, centrist tone of many establishment Democrats a real turn-off. Young people are also vastly more media/marketing savvy than their parent's generation, and all the notes on language and commuication from the original cluetrain apply too: if you sound like a press release it will be hard to generate excitement even if you promise free college, gay marriage, and legalized pot.
The really annoying thing is that I don't know any adults who really get a charge out of mealy-mouthed corporate-speak either. It just seems to be the way our people are trained to talk, like a human powerpoint. Sad, really.
Other than some event producing this wedge (ala Foley, but it would probably have to be worse) the way to drive this would be to have someone on the left act as a worthwhile standard-bearer.
There are plenty of spokespeople and activists who could fill this role -- e.g. look at what Jessica Valenti did without (really) trying -- but my guess is that most electeds are too risk-averse to back anyone's play; although, after watching the last debate, it seems that Democrats have realized that hatred for teh gay is not going to kill them. Maybe I'm wrong on this.
I think you're correct here, but we've got to figure out how to tune-up the language, because throwing yourself into the frame of "we're big-government Liberals" might not be a great strategy.
On the other hand, reclaiming the word...
For me, I think it's much more about "Getting things done" as you said. It's about effective government. It's also about transparent government too. I think we've got a real chance to break the Econ 101 stranglehold (The Market Is God) and drive the idea of Public Services and the Public Good.
Content is king, but the emerging paradigm is less about "A Roosavelt" or "An Elvis" -- that being a singular figure or message which 50%+ of the population is tuned into -- and more about the long tail.
Emotionally resonant messaging is critical, and having some leadership is a requirement to push anything nationally, but it's most effective to reach people in their own ways in their own words. Also, decentralizing the cogeneration of message is a nice check against fascism.
The key for campaigns and content is creating a coherent core of ideas (a kernel, if you will) which can support any number of internally supportive policy planks, each of which can be explained (without being false) to different people in different ways.
This is a huge departure from the current gold-standard of message consistency, which is currently on display vis the Bush administration: stick to the talking points whether they're true, or make sense, or neither.
The 21st Century Roosavelt will be the one who:
A) Provides real political leadership by getting ahead of the public and the conventional wisdom, and by, you know, having the right ideas.
B) Communicates effectively through mass media channels, which is still important.
C) Is able to run a campaign that embraces a decentralized approach to communication rather than attempting to enforce "message discipline."
The real question, of course, is how someone runs the game once they're in-office. FDR started a trend of mass-media usage with the Fireside chats. Who will be the first president to embrace the internet as a part of governing? I hope it's a progressive, because this whole thing could go very wrong in a 1984 kind of way.
I'm in exactly the same boat as you. Still waiting for someone to break out of the back, or for any of the leaders to show some real leadership.
I think it's important to recognize that many of us are still undecided. I've gotten many replies to my comments suggesting I have a hidden agenda. Nope!
And, apropops icebergslim, I don't feel excited about this crop of candidates. They all look great on paper, and they've all got great chances for victory, but none of them are demonstrating much propensity for leadership, or much of a sense of urgency.
Sorry I couldn't make it to this year's conference in person, but the prepared text is a nice speech.
In terms of performance, I would suggest rehearsal as being as imporant as preparing the right text. Just running all the way through something a few times, letting it sink into your body, finding out where your favorite moments are, can really take something to the next level when you get in front of an audience and the energy shoots through the roof.
Anyway, good words, and cheers to getting more accurate with your bomb-throwing.