by Matt Stoller, Mon Apr 19, 2004 at 08:08:27 PM EDT
Zack Exley of Moveon.org joined the Kerry campaign earlier this month, and the results are already showing. Moveon.org is a fabulous direct email organization dedicated to the nuts and bolts of political activity - fundraising and mobilization. The Kerry campaign is now using their tactics.
Rather than repetitive email appeals for money, the internet division is on top of the news cycle and using it to help the campaign. In response to the Saudi-Bush oil connection, they created a petition to tap into the generated anger and get more email addresses. They are finally tapping the energy from free media by capturing data, something Dean did very well.
More substantially, the Kerry campaign is now running TV ads in blue states, on channels like Lifetime, CNN, and Bravo. The ads are directed towards getting interested people to give their email addresses and money. This is the strategy Joe Trippi pursued when the Dean campaign ran $100,000 of ads in Austin nine months before Iowa, and raised $1,000,000 off of that ad buy.
The ads won't convince anyone to vote for Kerry - but they aren't meant to. This is a new way of doing political communications - beginning a conversation on TV, and continuing it on the internet. Too bad the conversation just involves giving money to one Presidential campaign, but then, that's how Moveon.org and John Kerry see as the essential short-term levers of political power. And it's hard to disagree.