Daily Kos blog demonstrates rising power of internet on politics

Published 17 April 2006

Will George W Bush survive to be US President for a third term? Well, no, not allowed. Will his brother Jeb take over? Is there another young Bush readying for the job? Whether there’s a fresh Bush or not, will the Republicans continue to hold power?

And what does it matter down here? No matter whether it’s Republicans or Democrats in the White House, they’ll still hate us for having a No Nukes policy.

It does matter. They have different approaches to policies – and their political systems have lessons for New Zealanders.

Xtra’s Max Newmann this week points to a US blogsite, Daily Kos, created by Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, who supported Howard Dean in the 2004 presidential election Democratic primary. Dean lost, but that wasn’t the end of Zúniga, whose Daily Kos has become a huge blog success, and was also not the end of web influence on politics. As the New York Review of Books points out, the web campaigners have helped push the Democratic Party towards a 50-state strategy, encouraging campaigns in previous no-hope elections, supporting a shift to a broader populist economic platform, away from being a coalition of single-issue campaigners and away from the big-money campaigns which encourage corruption.

Assuming success on those scores, the Democrats might change dramatically into a new force akin to a more streamlined Labour-led coalition under MMP in New Zealand. That, in turn, is bound to influence change in the Republican Party, which reviewer Bill McKibben refers to as “prospering by ignoring ideological consistency.”

Mr McKibben wrote: “In its account of the political possibilities of the Internet, Crashing the gate seems to me the most ambitious, interesting & hopeful venture in progressive politics in decades.”

Contributors to the Daily Kos – starting with one writer who then organised dozens of others – came up with an energy policy, which was reshaped online and which Mr McKibben found “far more comprehensive & thoughtful than anything the think tanks have produced.”

Websites: Daily Kos

New York Review of Books, Crashing the Gate: Netroots, grassroots & the rise of people-powered politics


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Attribution: Max Newmann at Xtra, New York Review of Books, Daily Kos, various other US blogs, story written by Bob Dey for this website.

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