Thursday, February 26, 2009

Improve the Message, Not the Messenger

After the Republican defeats in 2006 and 2008, the GOP came to the realization that it lagged far behind the Democratic party when it came to circulating its message. The Democrats had a well-organized network of online activists and an active blogosphere, which combined to spread Democrat talking points. The Republicans had…not much—a few blogs that had half the audience that the liberal ones had, and that spent as much time attacking Republicans as Democrats.

So Democrats had a clear online advantage. This translated into a powerful edge in the election—Barack Obama got millions more from online donations than John McCain did. Obama’s website was a useful networking site for his supporters, while McCain’s was a typical campaign site.

After the election, Republicans looked at the online situation and decided that things needed to change. So Republican and conservative strategists started planning for online domination—Facebook groups, strategy blogs, protest websites. The idea is that conservatives and Republicans (the two aren’t always mutually inclusive) will have an efficient online network in the Democrat model, making organization and party-building much easier. An added bonus is an expected increase in support from young people.

There are two problems with this strategy. The first: it follows the liberal model too closely. True, the liberal blogosphere has been extremely valuable to the Democratic party (though I think that perhaps its import has been exaggerated), and it’s obvious that the Internet will play an increasingly important role in politics.

But the Internet is constantly changing, constantly evolving. What is cool on the Internet now may be utterly passé in a year. Just four years ago, Republicans had the upper hand in the blogosphere—in well under a year, the balance of power utterly changed. A year ago, the Daily Kos was getting presidential candidates at its yearly convention—now, Time magazine has declared the Daily Kos nothing more than a collection of DNC talking points. Just two years ago, MySpace was the online place to be—now everyone who’s anyone has a Facebook.

So given the rapid pace of change on the Internet, the model the GOP is trying to follow may be totally outdated in just months. Republicans should look to the future for inspiration, instead of the past; they should be trying to adopt the Internet 2.0 as their model, instead of doing what has already been done.

The second reason the Republican online effort is misguided: they are putting the messengers before the message. Imagine that the RNC’s website was just as attractive and useful as the DNC’s is; pretend that Redstate and The Next Right were as attractive and interesting as the Daily Kos; say that there were an abundance of opportunities for Republicans to volunteer and network.

It would all still be totally worthless without a good, strong message. Building a great communications network without a strong message is like sticking a wonderful luxury hotel in Wyoming—there’s just not much you can do with it. And even if Republicans have the best network in the world, the party would be just as moribund as it is now if there isn’t an equally strong message to go with it.

If the message is good, if people respond to it, it will get out somehow. It’s possible to extend the reach of that message through technology, and doing so is important (as the success of the Democratic party has shown). But the strength of the message is the most important factor. As I think it’s hard to say that the decade-old, recycled bromides the Republicans have been spouting since Obama’s election constitutes a good message. And neither does constantly mentioning Joe Plumber. If Republicans want to be taken seriously, they will have to improve the message before enhancing the messenger.


At February 27, 2009 at 5:57 AM , Blogger Name: Soapboxgod said...

I've long since held that indeed this is the problem within the Republican party; that is that they are not speaking with ONE voice.

On the one hand, you've got Republicans like Mike Pence, Bobby Jindal, Ron Paul, et al.

And then on the other hand you've got wayward Republicans like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Charlie Crist, and of course Snow, Specter and Collins.

This is why I don't support the party. It is in my opinion much more logical to support candidates.

At February 27, 2009 at 11:36 AM , Blogger Allen said...

Nice post Dan... Sean Hannity was talking about this very point the other day on the radio...

At February 27, 2009 at 12:35 PM , Blogger Beth said...

Yes, we need to distinguish ourselves from the left, but of course when the right is adding pork just like the left, how can anyone see the difference between the two parties?

At February 27, 2009 at 2:00 PM , Anonymous SteveB said...

I think we need to keep things in perspective too. Obama won with 52%. A solid victory, but not a Regan/Mondale trouncing. The Democrats won this cycle not because of their internet organization- though that did not hurt. They won because the country was tired of Bush, and because Obama was an historic candidate. And even with all that, if the economy hadn't tanked at precisely the right moment we might be talking about President McCain right now.

So David is right in saying that we need to focus on the message. Which of course begs the question...What is our message?

At November 5, 2014 at 5:34 PM , Blogger oakleyses said...

louis vuitton outlet, coach purses, prada outlet, tiffany and co jewelry, nike shoes, red bottom shoes, longchamp handbags, oakley sunglasses, longchamp outlet, christian louboutin outlet, oakley vault, kate spade handbags, louis vuitton handbags, true religion outlet, louis vuitton outlet online, coach outlet, ray ban outlet, nike air max, burberry outlet online, polo ralph lauren outlet, kate spade outlet online, polo ralph lauren, coach outlet store online, nike air max, tiffany jewelry, cheap oakley sunglasses, coach outlet, true religion, christian louboutin, longchamp outlet online, burberry outlet online, michael kors outlet online, michael kors outlet store, michael kors outlet online, tory burch outlet, michael kors outlet, chanel handbags, gucci handbags, michael kors outlet online, nike free, louis vuitton outlet, michael kors outlet online, ray ban sunglasses, christian louboutin shoes, louis vuitton, jordan shoes, prada handbags

At November 5, 2014 at 5:41 PM , Blogger oakleyses said...

nike blazer pas cher, lacoste pas cher, timberland, north face, air max, guess pas cher, nike free, air jordan, sac louis vuitton, air max pas cher, hollister, michael kors canada, lululemon, barbour, abercrombie and fitch, burberry pas cher, hermes pas cher, vans pas cher, north face pas cher, nike air max, sac vanessa bruno, chaussure louboutin, mulberry, nike roshe run, ralph lauren pas cher, louis vuitton, louis vuitton pas cher, sac michael kors, converse pas cher, nike free pas cher, oakley pas cher, ralph lauren, longchamp, new balance pas cher, hollister, nike roshe, louis vuitton uk, tn pas cher, scarpe hogan, true religion jeans, nike air force, longchamp pas cher, michael kors uk, ray ban pas cher, ray ban uk, true religion outlet, nike air max

At November 5, 2014 at 5:45 PM , Blogger oakleyses said...

marc jacobs outlet, beats headphones, canada goose, rolex watches, abercrombie and fitch, celine handbags, new balance outlet, instyler ionic styler, ugg boots, reebok shoes, roshe run, uggs on sale, ghd, north face jackets, nike huarache, valentino shoes, vans outlet, ugg outlet, p90x workout, ugg soldes, mont blanc pens, chi flat iron, canada goose outlet, lululemon outlet, ferragamo shoes, longchamp, nfl jerseys, asics shoes, mac cosmetics, bottega veneta, north face outlet, herve leger, birkin bag, wedding dresses, insanity workout, soccer shoes, soccer jerseys, giuseppe zanotti, nike trainers, canada goose outlet, babyliss pro, canada goose outlet, hollister, jimmy choo shoes, uggs outlet, ugg, mcm handbags

At November 5, 2014 at 5:48 PM , Blogger oakleyses said...

moncler, moncler outlet, hollister, juicy couture outlet, ralph lauren, moncler, louis vuitton canada, montre femme, moncler, canada goose pas cher, pandora uk, parajumpers outlet, thomas sabo uk, iphone 6 case, ray ban, lancel, oakley, swarovski jewelry, supra shoes, moncler, louboutin, uggs canada, coach outlet, swarovski uk, wedding dress, ugg, canada goose, baseball bats, canada goose, timberland shoes, replica watches, pandora jewelry, gucci, moncler, converse shoes, air max, karen millen, hollister clothing, juicy couture outlet, pandora charms, hollister canada, vans, converse, links of london uk, nike air max, moncler, toms outlet, canada goose uk


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home