Thoughts On the Netroots Primary

Relevant to Adam's post below on Obama kicking some Facebook butt, over at Personal Democracy Forum Micah Sifry has a great post up where he shows how, by every conceivable metric that is available to the public, Republican presidential candidates lag far, far behind Democratic candidates in terms of online, grassroots support (aka, the "netroots"). Social networking sites, incoming hyperlinks, Flickr, You Tube--you name it, Democrats are ahead. I wouldn't be surprised if Democrats also led in every non-public metric, including email list size, email open and action rates, and online donations. While this is good news, it isn't exactly a surprise that Democrats are far ahead of Republicans in terms of the "netroots primary."It has been clear for about two years that the progressive netroots have developed to a point far beyond our conservative counterparts.

Still, I have two words of caution. First, while Democrats are ahead, we could be doing even better online. I am pointing out the current gap not so much to congratulate our side, but to mock theirs. After all, there once was a time when the right-wing blogosphere and netroots were far larger, more visible, and more effective than the progressive blogosphere and netroots. However, they stagnated, kept trying to repeat their past successes, and stopped innovating. We can't let that happen to us.

Second, no matter which side you are on, it isn't just about how many online supporters you have--it is just as important to have supporters who are engaged, hardcore, active and effective. The key for Dean in 2003-4 was that his campaign excelled in both categories. Just because a given candidate might be doing well in online straw polls now does not mean that candidate has the same type of online support as Dean. Quantity and quality both matter.

This last point brings me to a different kind of straw poll. In the extended entry, I ask you not only which Democrat you currently support in 2008, but if you are a strong enough supporter to currently become an activist for his or her campaign. For example, I currently am voting for Edwards in Dailykos straw polls, but I am not a strong enough supporter at this stage to actually take action on behalf of his campaign. That is an important distinction, and one I would like to explore with MyDD readers.

Now, because of the nature of this poll, I was forced to reduce the candidate options to include only the top three straw poll recipients by name: Edwards, Obama and Clark. Everyone else is grouped into "other." Please forgive me for doing this. Still, I think a poll such as this should help provide more insight into who is actually winning the "netroots primary." Take the poll.

Tags: netroots, President 2008 (all tags)

Comments

23 Comments

Thyis is an important distinction Chris.

I like Edwards and Obama, and I really hope Clark does run, because I really like him.

However, i'm not DEVOTED like i was in the '04 primary.

at least not yet.

It's not SOFT support, but it's not especially deep yet either.

-C.

by neutron 2007-01-25 12:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts On the Netroots Primary

I was a little too young to know how to go about volunteering effectively for Dean in 2003 but I was a strong supporter and tried to do what I could.

Now I have much more experience and my political views have matured and I am ready to help out in whatever way I can for the John Edwards campaign.

I suspect a lot of former Dean supporters are in the same position that I am. John Edwards is a more electable and I dare say, more progressive candidate than Howard Dean was.

by adamterando 2007-01-25 01:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts On the Netroots Primary

I was a little too young to know how to go about volunteering effectively for Dean in 2003...

I feel so old!

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-01-27 10:39AM | 0 recs
Edwards seems to be the one with

the issues more for working americans.  He was there with Universal health care (and including mental health), he was leading in his statements to withdraw from Iraq, and now the others are following with both.

Also - keeping the all volunteer military, and for net neutrality.

Thease are all really important to me.

by dk2 2007-01-25 02:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards seems to be the one with

Why did Edwards vote for the IWR in the first place?

Was he 'duped'?

I don't personally want a "dupable" prez in the Oval Office, but that's just me.

I find it regrettable that Edwards didn't listen to Wes Clark's testimony, advising before both houses ASC's, against bush's Iraq invasion. Wellstone did. Kennedy did. Both attribute, at least in part, their decision to vote against it to Wes Clark. We do actually pay our congressionals to listen to and consider seriously, the expert testimony given in the committees.

As for the Poll Q: I was an activist for Clark in '04 and I'm chomping at the bit to do it again.

by sybil disobedience 2007-01-25 03:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards seems to be the one with

You know, I remember having an internal debate with myself at the time during the leadup to the vote on the war.  I remember being very suspicious and dubious about Bush, who I thought was dumb, but it was the "mushroom cloud as smoking gun" phrase that got me reluctantly convinced that perhaps it is the right thing to do.  Sure, I thought, even this president isn't craven enough to play games with American lives unless he really knows something that I don't.  Little did I know then that he was exactly evil enough to lie about something this serious.  If I had been in the Senate, I might have voted for the war, even if very reluctantly.  

Now, it could be argued that perhaps the Senate should've been in a position to have more insight into the true state of intelligence, but then again, I don't know that anybody at that time could fathom just how foul, evil, unceasing, and pervasive this president's lies could be.  I mean, there's ordinary lying that all politicians do, and even we do at times, for that matter, and then there's the corrosive, incessant, sly, liars that lie even when there's no need to.  (If you've ever read M. Scott Peck's "People of the Lie" then you know what I mean.  That's what Bush is.)  Most people can't fathom that such people exist.  

So I don't necessarily hold someone's vote for the war AT THAT TIME against them.  I do, however, pay attention to who finally wised up to the games this administration is playing, and how soon it took them to wise up, and who's still clueless.

by grapeshot 2007-01-25 04:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards seems to be the one with

You know why he voted yes. It was a cya vote.  

Politicians do that, especially when running for president.  Is he permitted to learn his lesson? Other than Kucinich, he has taken the clearest position on withdrawal.

by jayackroyd 2007-01-25 04:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards seems to be the one with

Not only a 'cya vote' but also the co-sponsor (with Lieberman) of bush's IWR authorizing bogus prez to take us into an ill-conceived war?

...3,000 plus dead troops, 25,000 plus maimed, as many as 35,000 Iraqi civilians dead, probably way more? With an apology two years after the fact?
"oops"

no, sorry, je doesn't get a 'do-over' from me, especially since he currently seems to be rattling the saber at Iran. That seem unreasonable to you? If you haven't watched Jim Webb's speech in response to bush's SOTU, you might want to catch it. He says it all about the responsibility we owe our troops before recklessly waging war.

by sybil disobedience 2007-01-25 06:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards seems to be the one with

It is important to remember that one of the ways that the Bush regime lied its way into this war was to do their best to politicize the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq.

Of course, we know that they based their policy on fantasy and faith rather than intelligence, in part because the NIE was only prepared on Congressional insistence, but we also now know that the NIE was both rushed and severely flawed. Different people will have different arguments on how successful the Bush regime was in directly influencing the report, how many of the flaws were deliberately injected and how many were due to the time pressure facing the report ... but it is clear today that the Bush regime were doing their best to bias the report, and that a careful estimate under pressure to get the facts right, instead of pressure to get "the right facts", would have reached substantially different conclusions.

And that is a level of reckless disregard for national security that Congress had not been faced with from a President in quite some time.

So we know that when the Bush regime played their game of "if you know what we knew, you'd agree with us" ... those on the Intelligence committee who thought they had the inside story had reason to believe it was not complete horsesh*t ... even though that is precisely what it was.

Now, of course it was a mistake. Of course John Edwards should have known better than to trust this regime with the power to make the determination on its own whether to go to war, especially with a Congress so spooked by 9-11 that a fight against funding a war would be a forlorn, lonely affair.

It was, after all, a lesson he would have learned as a lawyer fighting corporate legal teams: don't ever assume the SOB's won't go that low, because if they realize you are, that's exactly how low they will go.

So the factors that seem likely to have gone into making the decision are not to excuse the mistake. Rather, they are to think about what is the lesson that he learned from the mistake.

And I would not be surprised if that is exactly the lesson he learned: its a mistake to assume that those SOB's won't go that low, because if they detect that assumption, they will use it against you.

by BruceMcF 2007-01-26 01:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts On the Netroots Primary

As someone who was involved in the local Clark campaign and who gave him a lot of money it ius difficult not to be behind him this time around, but I think that Obama may be the better candidate because of his ability to draw more folks in.  He seems to have the charisma and the touch to unite more of the country.  Given that all three of the candidates are so far ahead of the field in consistency and policy, I have to go with the one that has the potential to deliver the message the best.  I am a little concerned with Edwards vote on the war.  Neither Clark nor Obama were suckered by the Smirker in Chief.

by waldem 2007-01-25 02:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts On the Netroots Primary

Also for Edwards, but Democratic Luntz did a post on DK a couple of days ago that sapped some of my enthusiasm.  I wouldn't be an activist.

In fact, the only guy who I would become an activist for (if he declared himself a candidate) is Al Gore.  

by bosdcla14 2007-01-25 02:53PM | 0 recs
Just so you're informed

Democratic Luntz is an Obama supporter who while talking about Edwards' votes in 2001 did not talk about Obama's votes in the State Senate at the same time.

If I wanted to do a hit piece on Obama I could come up with all the controversial issues obama took a "present" votes on and probably wouldn't seem so great.

I vote and support people based on their platform not meatpacking amendment votes in 2001.

the bottom line.. Edwards and obama people may face the day that they need to unite to stop the Hillary coronation

by TarHeel 2007-01-25 03:39PM | 0 recs
Interesting.

I imagine there are a number of votes Al Gore cast when he represented Tennessee in Congress that he also would no longer make today.

by MeanBoneII 2007-01-25 04:32PM | 0 recs
That's my position precisely.

I supported Edwards '04 because Gore wasn't running, and nobody else was willing to talk about the relegation of four fifths of American society to economic second class status.

But I was certainly not an activist by any stretch of the imagination. I just supported him and told others that I supported him.

On the other hand, the Edwards that suffered through the Kerry/Edwards campaign, the failure to hammer George Bush in the Convention, the failure to respond decisively to the Swift Boat, the failure to contest the rigged election in my state of Ohio ... the Edwards that has seen a slum in India and a refugee camp in Uganda ... the Edwards that adopted the poverty issue to work on when his wife was being treated for cancer and there was no certainty that he would be in a position to run for President, let alone before Katrina made it a "hot" issue ...

... well, obviously I have a different position on that Edwards.

When I moved to Tennessee, Gore was my Senator ... and some of his votes were more cautious than I would have liked, but I was still happy to have Gore. And if I had lived in NC in 2001, some of Edwards votes would be cautious than I would have liked, but I would still have been happy to Senator whose votes have been assessed as an economically populist and moderately liberal.

by BruceMcF 2007-01-26 01:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts On the Netroots Primary

I'm very motivated to do something, but I really don't feel strongly enough about any particular candidate to support them against the others.  Put me in the Obama, but not motivated enough category.

The problem is that I want to do something for the Democrats, but the main focus of politics for the next year will be for the Democrats against each other.

by Baldrick 2007-01-25 03:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts On the Netroots Primary

I got into politics for only one reason....to draft Wes Clark.

So far, I haven't seen anyone that could woo me away.

I think Clark will get in the race...end of Feb/beginning of March.....and then it's full steam ahead.

by pelican 2007-01-25 04:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts On the Netroots Primary

While I can appreciate just how strong the lineup of Democratic contenders for the Presidency are, none of the announce or unannounced candidates currently excite me.  If forced to chose right now I would back Edwards because of his anti-poverty work and his Two America's theme.  I won't support Hillary now given her recent statements about her vote on the Iraq war resolution, nothing she can say now will change that.  Obama and Richardson are still interesting to me but I have not liked Biden since his run in 1988.  Gravel just doesn't seem to be a serious candidate but if he is included in the early debates with the other candidates maybe he will show something.  Clark still has the liabilities he had when he first declared he was a Democrat and messed up his announcement in 2004.  Kucinich is just too dour.  Should the new Gore run he might be able to generate some excitement or Dean even though I didn't support either in 2004.  In the end, at least our potential nominees don't suck like the Republican ones do.

by msstaley 2007-01-25 04:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts On the Netroots Primary

Anybody who criticizes a viable Democratic Presidential candidate in harsh terms is a Republican troll. You want to crack on somebody? Crack on Bayh. Crack on Vilsack or Kucinich. You've got a whole year, the main people have to keep their powder dry and their faces fresh. As long as Congress is in session as well, let's keep the focus on the business of Congress, and let's not blow off the poll numbers Pelosi is racking up. The nation had been diddled and blown off so many times in the last 6 years that I think it is just sinking in that democracy did still operate, that many of the rascals are in fact gone, and even the Repubs left in the Senate are acting in a completely different manner, voting with Dems to produce nice fat margins on the 100 Hours issues. People thought Bush would annul the election I think.

Eleventh Commandment, Democratic version. Party loyalty should count for as much as jockeying for position until the primary season at least. And even then, no swift-boat type commercials will be tolerated against Democrats.

There's no reason for Democratic candidates to hack on each other until next year. Failure to see this, in my mind, puts the attacker in a very bad light. I have nothing bad to say about Edwards or Mrs. Clinton. I think Al Gore should not just say he's not running, but explain to us what exactly he proposes to do instead of running. Because we are ready to cut him a position as a sort of Ambassador to the World in a Democratic administration, and I hope his movie wins a hat full of Oscars.

I have nothing bad to say about the rest of them, but I don't consider it as big a deal.

I have a suggestion though: let's try to stimulate the major candidates to make speeches in the Senate, and let's compare those speeches. John Edwards will be making speeches in various prestigious or symbolic locales, I don't doubt. To be honest, after months of voting geekery, I'm jonesing heavy for some Robert's Rules of Order parliamentary fencing a la Gang of 14. I want to see Reid square off against McConnell. And I want my Presidential candidates to BE ON C-SPAN. Is that so damn much to ask.

Markos says Obama can "craft" speeches. But they're not satisfying somehow. I thought Barney Frank's colloquy with some little twerp was satisfying. I want to see the machinery of government be operated deftly by my Presidential candidates!!

I want to see them wield and handle the formality of Congressional procedure with ease. I want everybody to tune in, to see how disagreement is smoothed out a little by Senatorial collegiality. I want other Senators like Durbin to get in there and make sense like they were getting paid for it. And then I want to blogswarm the MSM until they report on it, since it's so much better than the SOTU.

This is the proper counterpart to all that Facebook stuff. The individual on Facebook is a pure icon, with different buttons lit up. The future President in the Senate is not just making history but giving a course in it. I mean Obama teaches Constitutional Law for God's sake.

Look how much cred Byrd gets when he pulls his little Constitution out. O how I want Byrd's endorsement for Obama. And he hands him his copy.

The Constitution can be explained. All the Bills of Rights can be explained. God, this country needs a civics course.

by frenchman 2007-01-25 06:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts On the Netroots Primary

Wholeheartedly disagree that criticizing candidates of either party, (harshly or otherwise), is the requisite for a troll.

Elst we wouldn't find it necessary to make such pretenses of conducting primaries for the past milennia or so, would we?

Spreading lies of course, is another matter entirely. So far I don't see anyone doing that.

by sybil disobedience 2007-01-26 12:32PM | 0 recs
I'll do what I can for Edwards

money, blogging, organizing. Family obligations and laziness permitting.

I'm glad that Edwards is getting (some) traction in the netroots and I expect his support to grow once people see the opportunity that he embodies. He's set, and has begun, to run the most progressive campaign of any serious Democratic contender since Ted Kennedy, unless you count Jesse Jackson, and unlike those two, Edwards would stand an excellent chance of winning the General. And winning big.

People here dislike it when you talk about electability, but for me his potential appeal is an integral reason for my support. The blend of personality  (likeable, articulate, down-to-earth) and politics (populist) make for a potential Democratic landslide. I want to win. I don't want to win enough to sacrifice core beliefs, and with Edwards I don't have to. His hatred of economic justice is heartfelt and deep-if you doubt that, then you'll never be a fan--and he's made big strides these last several years on civil liberties and foreign policy.

I don't think he's a saint or a moral titan. I don't know any saints or moral titans who're running for president. I think he's a decent man, with progressive instincts, who's seen an opening on the left, an opening created in part by the netroots, and he's filling it. The netroots has helped to create his campaign.

It's not that I'm baffled by the resistance to Edwards in some quarters. His pleasantness doesn't jibe well with this sphere's ethos of confrontation, and he voted for the IWR, and he flirted in the past with centrism. But, answering one by one, people like pleasantness, he's become an outpspoken opponent of the war, and he's fully and flamboyantly rejected corporate-sponsored, balanced budget-fetishsizing Rubinonics. Have I mentioned that Labor loves him?

So, okay, make him woo progressives. Keep him honest, by all means. Maybe Gore gets in. But right now, the choices are a centrist, a moderate, and a progressive. I'll take the progressive.

by david mizner 2007-01-25 06:47PM | 0 recs
Re: I'll do what I can for Edwards
His hatred of economic justice is heartfelt and deep

Heh. Typos are funny.
by taliesin 2007-01-25 08:56PM | 0 recs
Clark vs. Clinton

Both Obama and Edwards have equal numbers of supporters for the two categories ("lite" support and "pedal to the metal") Clark supporters seem ready to rumble.  I wonder if Clinton had been included in the poll if her numbers wouldn't have been the opposite of Clark's?  In other words most of her supporters would be non-activist!

by haypops 2007-01-26 06:49AM | 0 recs
Richardson

I voted for Richardson in the DKos Straw Poll because he's the candidate that is interesting me the most right now.  He has the best resume of any candidate, and his forign policy record is outstanding.

I am NO WHERE CLOSE to dedicating myself to him or being an activist for him, yet.  We have a stellar feild of candidates, and I'm determined to hear them all out before I make a choice.

by nhcollegedem 2007-01-26 07:43AM | 0 recs

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