Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A real national netroots primary

An offhand post title and an odd claim by Senator Clinton really got me thinking this evening. There really should be an honest to goodness Netroots Primary. Not just a straw poll. Something with a real day. Advertising. Campaigning. An outcome and perhaps some accompanying positive consequences.

I posted my thoughts on this over at DKos and include them here as well. Should ever the odd commenter make their way over here, I'd love to hear what you think about it.

From DKos comment

Perhaps I've missed a diary on this, but seriously, how about a real netroots primary? Something coordinated across many multiple netroots sites. One could set it up so there would be a real consequence to the primary too (perhaps in coordination with ActBlue's new presidential campaign funds). People could cast a tiered vote (where they indicate ranked choices). Each vote costs say a $1 (some/most of which is used to defray costs). The winner of the primary (determined by eliminating sequentially those with the fewest vote totals) gets the remaining proceeds. Or no money but the winner gets two weeks free ads at participating sites. Or a front page write up of their positive qualities. Or a full-page ad in the NYTimes, the Washington Post, Time, and/or Newsweek. Lots of possibilities beyond those. The obvious barrier is the security of the vote. However, there are so many good reasons to at least consider it:

  1. Quality candidates will pay attention to it and respond accordingly - thus we will have an opportunity to help shape and hone their message. Good for us as we get politicians more attuned to what we want and good for them because they'll get potentially useful feedback that won't be coming from a bunch of media consultants telling them to buy lots of commercial time so they can get their fat cut of the buy.
  2. The netroots could have a go at really making a difference pre-New Hampshire - framing the debate, establishing the front-runners. It would be like a preliminary National Primary.
  3. With a little support from technologically-minded members, one could set it up as an early trial run for real internet voting something that will soon be upon us. And anyone who set up a prototype of a real, working, secure system would have a real inside track for big contracts down the road.
  4. The free media aspect of things could potentially help a Democratic candidate get tons and tons of airtime and coverage (and potentially early volunteers and donations as well).
Obviously, the coordination of such a primary would be an incredible challenge so perhaps one might have to think a bit smaller than one would like this time around. But a real national, netroots primary seems like an idea whose time has come.


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