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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Monday, June 16, 2003


Tapped on Dean Meetup

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, June 16, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Nice little article in The American Prospect about the Dean campaign's relationship with Meetup. It's nice to see discussion of Meetup penetrate to the major political analysis magazines. It's unique in that it draws analogy to and EBay as a measure of the potential of the phenomenon, which is the real herald of the transformative power of the Net on politics:

To political reporters, the Meetup phenomenon seems brand-new. And to the extent that the Internet is involved, it is. But if you've ever spent any time in the political precincts of the left -- where issue-advocacy, community-service and identity-based groups have flourished while support for the Democratic Party has withered -- you can see that the Meetup phenomenon is in fact drawing on and replicating the social dynamics of nonprofit and movement-based organizations that have, over the past three decades, become the dominant means of civic participation by people on the left.

To the extent that any presidential candidate will be able to tap into the power of the Internet, I will hazard a prediction: None will be able to mobilize the kind of support that Dean has generated (and will continue to generate over the coming six months). The Internet, as a technology, is perfectly suited to the people who make up the "Democratic wing" of the Democratic Party and its Green and independent sympathizers. While such businesses as and eBay may have made Americans more comfortable with online donations and helped Dean become the first presidential candidate ever to raise more than $1 million online, in the end it is the group that more accurately gives a picture of the energy fueling Dean's online rise. Founded in 1998 via an e-mail sent to about 300 people by screen-saver millionaire Wes Boyd, the group today has 1.4 million people registered. Last fall and winter, it mobilized millions of people in thousands of anti-Iraq War protests throughout the world; it also sparked a massive online letter-writing campaign to Congress.

(The article is also cross-posted to Common Dreams)


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.