Name One Race the "netroots" has won?

Like many readers of blogs, I am fascinated by the ease of communication that the internet provides. It is cheap and capable of reaching millions of people at a fraction of the cost of other means of communication. Having said that, however, I have to ask this question: other than raising money for candidates, what has the netroots accomplished? More importantly, in the context of political campaigns, what campaign has it won?
Although internet activists fueled the Dean campaign, that campaign didn't win. Although it fueled the Hackett campaign, that campaign didn't win. Those are the two most prominent campaigns that netroots activists have engaged in, at least as far as I can recall, and neither one of them resulted in a victory.

Indeed are the netroots actually counterproductive when it comes to political organizing? Do internet activists spend all their time talking to each other instead of building alliances that will result in political victory? Or am I missing something?

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8 Comments

Just a quick comment, because I'm...
...procrastinating on a paper right now.

Both Hackett and Dean were longshots.  That has got to factor into your analysis.  The netroots helped lift both to prominence.  The netroots also helped the Hackett campaign with valuable research, which factored into their press releases and campaign strategy.

If you want success stories of netroots activism, perhaps the best examples are found where the netroots and the grassroots intersect.  For this, I'm thinking specifically of the DFA.  If I'm not mistaken I think their candidates have a 50% success rate, which is none too shabby!  

by HellofaSandwich 2005-12-07 05:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Just a quick comment, because I'm...
And have virtually all been challengers and not incumbents. I agree completely with your comment about the intersection of grassroots/netroots.

The internet is a tool. Websites are tools. Blogs and other organizing software and databases are tools. Communication tools, organizing tools, information compiling and sharing tools, research tools, outreach tools, training tools.

We have won all sorts of races all over the place. Widen your view and you will see amazing things happening.

by Andrew C White 2005-12-08 06:42AM | 0 recs
two words
social.

security.

by DanielUA 2005-12-07 05:46PM | 0 recs
It Takes Time
Nothing works perfectly at first, but we keep getting better and better.

We lost last cycle in PA 08 but if it wasn't for you guys our campaign wouldn't have had a chance.  You could argue too that we forced the R's to spend over a million slandering Ginny, which kept the fire away from other candidates who won.

by epv72 2005-12-08 06:34AM | 0 recs
I beg to differ. Scratch that, I don't beg.
The netroots won with Howard Dean when they helped get him elected as Chair of the Democratic National Committee.  Just in case you forgot about that one.

We wanted him to be President.  He felt this was the only chance to get America back on track.  So we supported him, backed him and did all we could to help get him there.  

The DLC and other inside the beltwayers that have been trying to pull the party over to the right (basically to try to squash the Democratic Party) joined forces with the Repubs to stop the Howard Dean Presidency.  Their propaganda machine went to work like the Repubs and the majority of the voters bought the electable crap.  All the activists joined forces even knowing it was still a slim chance to get Kerry elected.  But they refused to make the same mistakes again.  The real thing or forget it.

The Hackett campaign clearly showed the lessons learned and the netroots didn't jump ship.  They accomplished a great deal and no matter which way you slice it, the results were amazing.

Howard is correct.  The people have the power.  If you use it, you will win.  Just use it wisely!

by LindainCincinnati 2005-12-08 06:55AM | 0 recs
How do you define victory?
If the netroots did not exist .  .  .  where would the Democratic Party be? Has the progressive movement generated from the grass/netroots moved the party on any issues? Have candidates responded to the grass/netroots? Is the DLC feeling any heat from the grass/netroots? What would be the status of the anti-war movement without the grass/netroots?

Let's look at specific examples:

Where would Howard Dean be without the grass/netroots?

Would DFA exist without the grass/netroots?

How many votes would Steve Young have received without the support of the grass/netroots?

How many votes would Christine Cegalis have received without the support of the grass/netroots?

Some even more speculative questions:

Would the M$M have responded to Cindy Sheehan if the netroots did not exist?

Would there be eight Republicans being indicted if the grass/netroots had not kept the heat turned up on Repubican corruption?

Would Bush have been absolved from blame for the disastrous reaction of FEMA to Katrina without the focus of the grass/netroots?

by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-08 01:37PM | 0 recs
Good diary.
I've been wondering the same question.  The blogosphere is great for fundraising, but it seems that internet driven campaigns seem to think that it can take the place of a field program, as Dean thought in Iowa.

Personally, I think that the netroots are a fairly limited tool.  In terms of fundraising and rapid response, the netroots are probably the most effective weapon we have.  However, in terms of message discipline, unity, and organizing, there's a long way to go.  It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.  

If you're really interested in this, you should read Ezra Klein's American Prospect article on the netroots impact in the Hackett-Brown primary.  He offers a fairly good analysis of the blogosphere's strengths and shortcomings, and what needs to be done about them.

by ratdg1 2005-12-08 08:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Good diary.
Organizing isn't the best word, on second thought.  Mobilization is probably a better one.

The problem with the blogosphere is that it's part of the informational elite-members are already involved in politics, already vote, etc.  It doesn't attract Joe sixpack who's an undecided or uninterested voter, and I don't see how that can change.

by ratdg1 2005-12-08 08:48PM | 0 recs

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