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"Politics on the Internet is here to stay"

...though we're only just scratching the surface, writes Richard Robbins of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He's got a great round-up on 2004 campaigns and the internet. Especially this bit...

The Internet's major innovation for politics is the power it puts into the hands of people who have traditionally stood outside the process, said Phil Noble. For instance, the person who has never contributed money to a political candidate is encouraged to contribute by the simplicity of giving over the Internet. The same person is encouraged to volunteer for a campaign.

"The use of technology develops in stages," Noble said. "First, you do the same things you've been doing, only you do them quicker. The next stage is you do new things. That's what began in 2004."

Noble predicted a further flowering of politics on the Internet in the next four years. He especially foresees more "peer to peer" communications: ordinary citizens talking to one another online about politics and public policy and an expansion of blogs, those Web pages devoted to opinion-molding by persons not necessarily associated with traditional media.

The rest is here.