Millennial Makeover: Myspace, Youtube, and the Future of American Politics

By Morley Winograd; Michael D. Hais | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 10

Winning the Technology
Arms Race

THE HARDEST THING FOR those enjoying success is to abandon their perches on the mountain top and to go back down into the valley to look for new mountains to conquer. The rewards for doing so are neither certain nor easily obtained. The pressure to stay and collect the rewards for being on top is so intense that most organizations fail to embark upon the transition, let alone duplicate their successes on a different peak. The annals of corporate bankruptcy history are replete with former industry leaders such as the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad, Montgomery Ward, and the Packard Motor Car Co., who were unwilling and therefore unable to change to meet the demands of a new set of customers. Political history contains the names of extinct parties, such as the Federalists and the Whigs, who also failed to change with the times. Today, the challenge for both parties and their candidates is to find new ways to reach new voters with new messages, before their competitors beat them to the top of the next mountain and dominate the political landscape of the twenty-first century.

The challenge is made doubly difficult by the dynamic nature of American society. Immigrant populations are spreading throughout the country; families are moving out of traditional suburban and urban environments to find better schools and more open space in “ex-urban” communities and small towns; information technologies are creating a mosaic of “virtual communities,” populated by those who share an affinity for a music genre or a hobby or even a political point of view (Kotkin 2006). The notion of stable political outcomes in a given location, let alone an entire country, in such an environment is becoming rapidly obsolete. Instead, the changes America is experiencing look more like the behavior

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