Patrick Ruffini, one of the consultants who helped Scott Brown take back the people’s seat in Massachusetts, wrote an extensive wrap-up of the campaign’s online fundraising in the last month. The whole thing is a good read, but his assessment of the recent online innovations of each party at the very end is intriguing:
As we have written in the pages of the Washington Post, during the right’s online wilderness years (this “wildnerness” being the mirror image of being in power in Washington) many pundits wondered whether the right was at a permanent structural disadvantage online… [N]ow that the right has needed to use grassroots tools to break the Democratic lock-hold on Washington, they’ve done it in a big way. And it’s happened much faster, and with greater early electoral success, than the evolution of the liberal “netroots” which didn’t really take off until the end of Bush’s first term.
Much has been written about the Massachusetts race, and most of it is an exaggeration. But the studies of Brown and Virginia’s Gov. Bob McDonnell successful use of online tactics in winning campaigns underscores a running theme – like President Obama, their innovative campaigns were seeking to win an office held by the other party. All three were on the outside looking in.
As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. Political parties are made up of politicians, so of course they tend to be risk-averse – unless they have no office to risk.