Howard Dean and the Net
From Dan Gillmor
“I’m spending several days at the Vermont headquarters of the Howard Dean presidential campaign, studying a breakthrough in American politics. These folks are the first to truly grasp how to use the Net in a national political race.
How is the Dean campaign grasping the change? It’s no accident that the homepage headline says “The Great American Conversation” — because what’s happening here is fundamentally different from the politics of the last century, when “self-government” turned into little more than a television show where voters were nothing more than consumers.
The degree to which Dean’s staff is trusting people out at the edges of the system to be the campaign is remarkable. And people are responding, with money and hard work and passion and, for the most part, savvy.
There are serious risks in such a campaign — and everyone at the headquarters knows it. But the rewards, for the legions of supporters as well as the candidate, are huge if this works. It just may.