For most of the past two decades, the Republican Party has seen a significant amount of electoral success, 2006 not withstanding. The Grand Old Party simply beat the Democrats in honing in and staying on message, in building a united (and fairly homogeneous) base of support, and by having the far better grass roots organization.
But there is one area where the Democrats are beating Republicans handily: Online. The “net roots” movement and the sheer number of liberals, progressives, and other Democrats online has the potential to undermine everything the Republican Party has built.
Consider this note from the Florida Progressive Coalition Blog:
There are some exciting events coming up where the bloggers and net activists of Florida are going to get to interact directly with the state Democratic Party. We are planning events at both the big Jefferson-Jackson Dinner (keynote speaker: Nancy Pelosi) and the state convention (where all of the presidential candidates are scheduled to appear). I’ll have the details for you as soon as I get them, but it appears that we will have the opportunity to be credentialed “media” at these events.
As a new media guy (guru?) I think it’s great for a political party to recognize the importance of bloggers and other “citizen journalists.” Too bad it’s not my party.
The Republican Party of Florida needs to recognize the growing importance of the blogosphere, encourage Republicans who are already blogging, and find ways to build its own “net roots” program.
In 2006, one out of every six voters used the Internet to find information about candidates. That number will grow substantially in 2008, maybe as much as double. Why would the Republican Party basically ignore the chance to communicate with one-third of the electorate?
Of course, some people are trying — with a GOP straw poll on TownHall.com after the possible June GOP Debate in Tampa. But we need more conservative bloggers out here!!
Come on Republicans! Let’s turn the net red!! (or at least purple)