Obama’s Presidential Campaigning Using the Internet
As decades have passed and technology has evolved, campaign methods have evolved as well. The invention of the Internet has opened up windows for several different aspects of politics. One of the most recent changes in politics that the Internet has revolutionized would be campaigning. The Internet, and technology as a whole, had a vital rolein the marketing efforts of the Obama campaign. “One of the many ways that the election of Barack Obama as president has echoed that of John F. Kennedy is his use of a new medium that will forever change politics. For Mr. Kennedy, it was television. For Mr. Obama, it is the internet” (Miller 1). Through the advancements of technology and capabilities to run a viral campaign, the 2008 ObamaCampaign fully utilized technology to aid in fundraising, social networking/gaining supporters, and increasing voter participation.
Although Howard Dean first started Internet fundraising in the 2004 Presidential election, it was Barack Obama who truly revolutionized Internet fundraising. Obama started from scratch and needed funds; name recognition and much more that could only be obtained through theInternet. “The internet has been moving to the mainstream of political life in the US for some years. But in this presidential cycle it has been particularly important for the Obama campaign, which was starting from scratch with few resources and little name recognition. The Internet favors the outsider, and gives them the ability to quickly mobilize supporters and money online” (Schifferes). The2008 Obama Presidential campaign broke records through Internet fundraising and exceeded expectations. The Obama campaign used the Internet as a tool to reach hundreds of thousands of donators through the Internet. “No campaign has been more aggressive in taping into social networking and leveraging the financial power of hundreds of thousands of small donors” (Tumulty 1). Through thousands ofsmall donors, Obama raised over $745 million dollars throughout his presidential campaign. The campaign fundraising efforts started with basic e-mail networking, and from supporters who visited any of his campaign websites. From the beginning of the campaign, Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, knew how vital the Internet would be in the 2008 Presidential Campaign. “Technology, like thegrassroots of focus, would be at the core of our campaign from the start. In order to build a grassroots movement, it was clear that the only way to get the scale quickly enough was to use the power of the Internet to sign people up and ask them to get involved”(Plouffe 21). Obama’s campaign needed to double McCain’s funds, and the only way to successfully do so would be to use the most important toolthey had, the Internet. The Internet definitely was Obama’s most important weapon in overcoming any financial barrier. It helped him target donors that he could have not otherwise approached. “Good online fundraising requires not just the technology, and not just the candidate, but also a message that resonates with online audiences. And what that means is that the insurgent candidates, generallyspeaking, gave a better chance of raising money” (Nash 1). Obama used all the tools he possibly could in order to raise as much money as possible. The Internet helped Mr. Obama achieve early success. Famous supporters, such as Oprah Winfrey, publicly announced their support for Obama through their websites, and made their contributions public as well. This lead to contributions from the start,that only increased as the campaign progressed. He raised so much money that he even had $30 million leftover after his campaigning was over. The Internet not only revolutionized fundraising through opening new ideals, it also revolutionized networking for the entire Obama campaign.
The Internet, in terms of fundraising, played an important role in Obama’s campaign; such enormous funds could have...
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