Maybe in a top-down campaign, it is hard to scale up friend-to-friend contacts. But, this is exactly the problem the facebook idea is trying to address. If you can engage the grassroots in doing the contacts for you, then you have a very efficient campaign.
All campaigns have some of this, as neighbors ask each other what they think of the candidate for city council. One of Obama's strengths has been in his ability to inspire grass-roots attention, as we see in the large turn-out to his campaign appearances.
Your proposed Facebook to All-Voters is a big audience, a big set of "friends", indeed. It may be difficult to penetrate very far into the universe of all democrats. How about trying to get higher involvement rates by applying your ideas to communities defined by a narrower focus?
For example, create many "VFNCs" (Voter-Facebook Niche Communities), like the Daily Kos VFNC (Big Orange) or the MyDD VFNC (Big Blue) or the MoveOn VFNC, or the SEIU VFNC, or the North Baptist Church VFNC. Marketing, i.e. persuasion, is much easier when you are talking friend to friend. It feels so much better if "your" community is there supporting you.
Then we can have contests between Big Blue and Big Orange. Or we can run reports on percentage of Move Oners who voted, organized by demographics and geography.
Community is important. In particular, alienation from the political process is greatest when people have a perceived lack of influence, or perceived lack of fellow-travelers, like when our work community is full of right-wing yahoos we can't talk politics with.
The economic balance sheet is much more ambiguous than the specific concept of labor supply & demand, as immigrants contribute to the local economy, paying taxes, renting houses, buying cars, shoes, food.
If some narrow sectors of the workforce are affected negatively, others are affected positively.
Look at the economic sectors with the greatest numerical impact from immigrants: Farms, Restaurants, Hotels, Meat Packing. Working conditions in these areas have more to do with desperation for jobs and ability to exploit rather than competition to Americans.
The construction trades get more concerned because wages have traditionally been pretty good. But even here, immigration opens up supervisory and business opportunities.
More than supply and demand, the lack of documentation and ease of firing leads to exploitation, poor work conditions and low wages. Unionization and legal status (papers) would do more to help workers in these sectors than immigration by itself.
Here in Colorado, the immigrants that I see working in construction work damn hard and do damn good work. Maybe New Jersey is different?
But, in an economic sense I also disaggree. Immigrants spin off opportunities, even as they compete with present workers. It is a net gain for the economy, even if the work force changes character in different sectors.
If the lower-rung workers are newer immigrants, the supervisors and contractors are children of prior generations of immigrants. The son of a tradesman becomes the owner of a construction firm. It is the American story in myth and fact.
Far from "taking away jobs from Americans", the economic history of the 20th century shows an upward flow in income, education, and skills as immigrants have families and generations follow generations.
As to insurance and working conditions. Yes, we need better protection for workers. Illegal allows businesses to take advantage of the workers' lack of documentation.
The lowest income voters are 66% Democratic, so your main thesis is just plain wrong. You are contending that that the Republican base consists of low-income laborers affected by immigrants taking their jobs? Nope.
Second, racism and racist language permeates the anti-immigration movement. Tom Tancredo, Michelle Malkin and all the others whipping up this hysteria repeatedly use overt or coded racist messaging, for example insulting "Miami as a third world city", or "Losing 'our' culture to 'them'". Tancredo is from the whitest, richest district in Colorado, with the least number of Immigrants. He is not personally threatened by immigration, and he doesn't give a hoot about working Americans.
Third, if the issue were truly about jobs, wages, working conditions and health care, then these anti-immigration voices would be talking about unionization, training programs, education funding, cheaper access to college, health-care reform, job programs. Instead they just rail against immigrants, instead of proposing anything that will help the jobs situation.
Polls show that anti-immigration feelings run highest in zipcodes with very few immigrants, and immigration support is highest in zipcodes with lots of immigrants.
The present cautious, establishmentarianism in the Democrats has been around for a long-time. Over the last 20, maybe even 40 years there has been a career path within the Party for the cautious middle. The Dem activists-with-fire have ceded the career track to the Dem establishment.
How many real activists do you know who are running for state representatives, local city councils, school boards, dog catchers?
In the other thread about blog-activism, Chris preens about the right-wingers inability to generate real activism on the internet. Well, they are still way ahead of us when it comes to Political careerism, whether that means blogger-for-hire or their deep bench in local and state politics.
We are lacking in the area of media presence, and it's not like we have a couple billion dollars to buy a media empire. Media control certainly allows you to directly influence the day-to-day mind-share. Let's not bemoan our poverty; our media influence does exist, but it is more indirect.
Our netroots have two audiences.
Obviously, one audience is all of us local activist & high-information politically-interested people.
Less obviously, we are beginning to influence the national media, which indirectly gets our ideas into circulation. While I appreciate Glenn Greenwald's critique of media failure, once we get beyond the Washington insider-game most working journalists are trying to get the story right, and they need to know that if they get it wrong we'll be on top of them, and if they get it right, they'll be rewarded.
Independent blog journalism breaks stories like the US Attorney scandal, and Indepentent blogs can turn up the heat on media failures. Or, we can highlight the good journalists.
As another Colorado person in CO-01 (De Gette), not CO-02, em dash correctly points out that Udall probably has to run more toward the middle because the state is pretty different from his safe 2nd-most-liberal district in Colorado.
Like em dash, I don't pretend to know the facts on this specific vote, but Udall is normally pretty liberal; good on the environment and social issues. He is certainly no Ken Salazar. Salazar is a genuine rural moderate (Conservative) Democrat in the Broder mold, who would vote half the time with the Republicans if they weren't so dominated by the religious right, and an admirer of Lieberman.
Also, keep in mind that the good ol' liberal Dems in Colorado are more libertarian than your Eastern Dems. They'll probably support some kind of Universal Health Care, but they'll be weak on labor, and the DLC isn't a curse word in the Colorado Democratic Party establishment.
Upfront, I'm an Edwards - Obama supporter and I really don't like Clinton.
Look, none of the dems are raving socialists. So it is hard to say which ones are more big business than the others. For my money, Edwards talks the populist line with most clarity, and Clinton strikes me as the most establishment. Richardson in my mind (I don't have the evidence) is a bit less corporate than Clinton.
Richardson has a couple other features that are intriguing:
- International experience... Real credentials for dealing with the world.
- Speaks Spanish natively... multilateral re-opening to Latin America?
- Governor experience is more useful for a presidential campaign than Senatorial experience.
I've noticed that name recognition is so critical.
Yeah, politics turns me on, and hot-buttons turn on the religious right, but the average, lower-information candidate is often motivated by much more basic things. Is the candidate good-looking, would I feel comfortable with him or her in my house, etc?
But, it seems to me that something as simple as name recognition is much more fundamental to the decisions people make.
So, how does a media campain ensure the simplest fact of name recognition.
Even if a sports channel (for example) leans male (35% as a guess) and Republican (45% maybe), it still has some of your target audience, so wouldn't you need to have at least some presence there? In keeping with your theme of optimizing bang-for-the-buck, you might run a couple ads system-wide, but run multiple ads in the target audience.
Also, I imagine there is some enthusiastic slop in the system. It does help your candidate a bit to see ads for the hot Democrat in the next district over. Helps you feel part of something bigger. Or, the national Dems, or Vote Vets or whomever should run some brand-positive ads.
Finally, I've noticed that the quality of the ad may be more important than placement. You get a brilliant ad idea, and it makes all the difference. Here in Denver, Mayor Hickenlooper's Olde West Meter Maid Showdown was so f-ing memorable. Even if that costs more money, it's worth it. Or you have to do more re-shoots or maybe you have to cancel altogether because the ad doesn't pop.
The Republican Party has spent a huge amount of time and resources figuring out where to get base support. Polling, focus groups, demographics, psychographics, subscription lists. They are so confident of the foundation of their support, that when they do launch ideological campaigns, they are willing to go deep with, intense, even over-the-top rhetoric. They don't seem to care if the ideological rhetoric might drive away the already-committed or if it offends the opposite ideological side, because they know they already have the base hooked in psychologically.
Look at the immigration issue or gays. Those issues have been focus-group tested out the wazoo, and are then harnessed to pull with the rest of the cultural pageantry of the Republican Party.
Look how carefully they painted George Bush as a good ol' boy and Kerry as an elitist. They know that people vote on gut instinct and a sense that they share cultural roots with the candidate. They use ideology all the time, but the real horse is psychological and cultural.
The economics of immigration are at worst neutral.
Look at it this way, 10 million immigrants, $20,000 each means that our GDP is $200 billion bigger. What does that mean to the rest of us? 10 million people renting 5 million houses, buying plumbing fixtures and paint to fix up those houses, eating in restaurants, paying taxes (sales, property, income and SS).
Who owns the businesses that immigrants shop at? Previous generations of Americans, or the kids of previous generations. Immigration feeds a growing economy. You want a job as a house framer, or do you want to run a small contracting firm?
Imagine you wave a magic wand and make 10 million or 2 million suddenly leave, concentrated in five or ten states. Watch small businesses fail and local housing markets collapse.