Campaigning Online: The Internet in U.S. Elections

By Bruce Bimber; Richard Davis | Go to book overview

The Question: Reinforcement or Renewal?

[The Internet] was our ultimate means of communication with people. Jonah Baker, Webmaster, Nader Campaign for President, 2000

Not only is [the Internet] a message tool but…itisa coordination tool. It allows you to coordinate a nationwide campaign from headquarters. Cliff Angelo, E-Campaign Coordinator, Bush Campaign for President, 2000

The rules of campaigning since the beginning of the TV era are still in play. Lynn Reed, Internet Director, Bradley Campaign for President, 2000

In the realm of American democracy, the year 2000 ushered in the twenty-first century with the most uncommon of presidential elections. It had been 88 years since a minor-party candidate showed strongly enough to tip the election, and 112 years since the winner of the popular vote lost in the electoral college. That these events occurred together, in the same election in which the Supreme Court ultimately settled the contest, made it a rare political year indeed.

The 2000 election stands out for another reason also. It was the year in which campaigning through the Internet became de rigeur, opening up a new mode of candidate-voter interaction. Candidates had experimented with the Internet for several electoral cycles, going as far back as 1994, but the 2000 elections represented a leap forward by candidates in the degree of effort, money, and innovation dedicated to the Internet. In 1995, Representative Charlie Rose, Democrat from North Carolina, predicted that “by the year 2000 [the Internet] is going to be an indispensable campaign tool.” 1 At least on the face of things, his prediction seemed correct as the races unfolded. For the major presidential candidates, the Internet became

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Campaigning Online: The Internet in U.S. Elections
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Figures and Tables ix
  • Campaigning Online *
  • The Question: Reinforcement or Renewal? 3
  • The Evolution of Candidate Communication 13
  • Candidate Approaches to Election Web Sites 43
  • The Audiences for Election Web Sites 101
  • Consequences of Election Web Sites 125
  • Reinforcement 143
  • Appendix 173
  • Notes 191
  • Acknowledgments 211
  • Index 213
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