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Changes Everything. Really.

Jan
28
2004

There’s a weird and scary process involved in predicting elections and everyone has their own prejudices and biases when it comes to making those calls. It’s as much magic as science and as much gut as logic and some guys are much better at it than others. I’m so-so, like the blind pig and the acorn.
The blogosphere moans and groans about how mass media has brainwashed people and made cruel fun of their darling Howard Dean but there’s a solid chance that the ‘net’s reach and the disenchantment that many people feel with Washington insiders is working in ways Big Media – and many bloggers – don’t yet quite appreciate.
Eyeballing the month of primaries to come, it seems as though we really are headed to some kind of brokered Democratic convention. This will make former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown and a host of other backroom guys happier than pigs in oh, pigs in high cotton. Brown hasn’t had the potential for this much fun since he helped George McGovern get the nomination in 1972.
The potential for a brokered Democratic convention is the product of a couple of things. One, great turn-out. Since Total Recall – where two-thirds of California’s registered voters showed up to shoo the bum out of Sacramento – voters have been flocking to the polls. New Hampshire and Iowa were mob-fests by previous election year standards.
Something’s going on and uh, partly it’s the Internet. Yeah, I know, it changes everything. Sure. Take a number, kid.
But reflect on Amy Harmon’s Sunday story about web sites that reinforce how supporters think, feel and argue. And well, you can see how the web’s ability to connect people who are of the same mind convinces them that they’re right and that they’re going to win. Call it the Deaneffect because, right now, it looks like this is what he’s going to be best-known for. The Internet allows one candidate to reach thousands of people he (or, eventually, she) might not normally be able to reach via television ads or what’s quaintly known as earned (as opposed to paid) media. Candidate aren’t out until their web page hits fall off the map. Add to that changes in how the Dems are adding up their delegates along with the lightening fast primary schedule – California is barely a month away and it’s still a crown jewel – and you have some kind of stalemate in the works.
And talk about your law of unintended consequences. It’ll be some kind of fun to see what happens if the convention is indeed brokered. It’ll be a hoot to see a guy like Willie Brown – an expert at the political deal – come up against the idealism of the electronically organized. Reporters are going to have to work and word hard at the convention. In fact, the convention itself could generate the first real news – as opposed to those showcase dog-and-pony shows the networks have rightly begun ignore – in a good long time. Some reality checks are going to be in order. Fast.

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 11:58 AM | Permalink

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