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Mandate Media: Digital Strategy for People Changing the World
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Are Republicans beating us at technology, again?

Republicans won big in the 1980s and early 1990s because of their dominance in direct mail fundraising technology. Over at the Personal Democracy Forum, GOP consultant Matt Lewis is arguing that Republicans are winning the internet race, too.

We used technology to enhance the serious and time-tested work of traditional campaigns: to identify, persuade, and turn-out voters on Election Day. In short, it’s not about having the most interesting site – it’s about winning.

On the other hand, he argues, Democrats are using the net to build virtual communities - that don't work to turn out voters.

These very creative activists put a lot of effort into blogging in the hopes of, "creating an Internet community." ... many liberal activists have focused too much on the “fun” activities that allow one to be creative, express his opinions, and most important -- never have to do the “dirty work” of campaigning (like knocking on a stranger’s door or calling someone on the phone). But these activities are really just preaching to the converted. How many undecided voters read blogs?

Here at Mandate Media, however, we've argued many times that campaign websites, blogs, and the like are not about reaching undecided voters or about doing turnout. Rather, they're precisely about preaching to the choir. And that's a good thing.

After all, it's preaching to the choir that helps you build buzz, find volunteers, raise money, and generate excitement. Since most people hang out with people who are just like themselves, preaching to the choir can also help you find more committed supporters.

Of course, Matt Lewis is picking a fight where there isn't one. Of course, we should use database technologies to identify, segment, target, and turnout voters. But we should also use the net to build communities of excited supporters. Those two goals are not mutually exclusive.

Get to work.

Previously on P&T:
The Republicans are coming!
GOP Voter Vault outsourced to India
"Go to sleep, liberals, go to sleep"
Building community through blogs