The Tragedy of the Netroots

As a volunteer for the Howard Dean campaign, I guess I helped start the “Netroots” – the net-savvy people who put grassroots campaigning online, leading to Obama’s success. I’ve come to realize that, in many ways, the netroots is old wine in new bottles. It’s hard to know if it has had any greater effect, proportionately, than direct mail politics in the 1950s. A similar “revolution”, direct mail was the first way that campaigns could reach voters directly without the media filter. Both used new media to elect the same politicians, who then operate the same obsolete way.

Among those obsolescent patterns is politicians’ willful disregard of their constituents’ preferences. Every day we are urged to “tell your representative to …………….” But our pleas, if we even make them, never match a cause with a voter who matters to an Olivia Snowe or Max Baucus. These messages are as futile as yelling at the support tech that their web site sucks.

If you don’t feel impotent about effecting change, you don’t understand the real game in politics as well as Matt Taibbi does.

The iVote4U system is fundamentally different. It’s about governance, not politics. Using iVote4U, you don’t care much who your politician is. Instead, you “push” your interests to him/her and make it clear that how the politician votes in Congress will affect how you will vote in the next primary election.

The most valuable resource in politics is a voter who shows up at a primary election. Like diamonds, they’re valuable because they’re scarce. Primary voters matter so much because most elections are safely Democrat or Republican. All the nuttiness we see in Congress is about primary elections, not the general. iVote4U gives certified constituents a way to use their primary vote pledges to give political cover to politicians who act on principle, so they don’t have to pander to the zealots who show up for the primary.

Like those zealots, iVote4U primary voters are loyal to a cause but not a party, but their loyalty stems from rational curating of a politician’s actions for years, with real consequences for the incumbent or challenger in the next primary election.

Called “Super Voters,” they are 3rd-party certified constituents, pledged to vote in the next primary, who are watching the politician’s actions, and will vote accordingly.

There is no greater threat or benefit to a politician’s career.

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