July 29, 2004

Joe Trippi

Joe Trippi just came up to visit with the bloggers, so I took the opportunity to ask him a little about his new book, and he took the opportunity to tell me about what else he was doing.

I asked him why someone who's looking to get active in liberal politics should pick up his book out of the dozens currently on offer. He said that many of them were, while interesting, variations of 10 reasons to beat George Bush. He wrote his not as an insider account, but to explain why, how, and what to do between now and November.

Trippi says the goal is to create a grassroots army that can not only win the election, but be a continuing force for democratic governance. Part of this is helping people understand how the internet and the blogworld can connect people into a more powerful force. He says he worked hard to get the book out while there was still some time left before the election.

Trippi thinks that our era is better described as an empowerment age, rather than an information age. He said this is why the FBI witheld information from the CIA, because of the power it represents. According to him, the "Internet is no longer distributing information, it's distributing power."

The first pioneer, Trippi says, was Napster. It wreaked havoc on an established and dysfunctional industry, just as blogging has wreaked havoc on dysfunctional politics. But he said that it will eventually reach into the way companies operate. A CEO used to get one letter when the company did something questionable, but what will happen when that becomes thousands of letters? He says the internet will eventually empower people across all three domains of culture, politics, and corporate governance.

McCain was the first internet pioneer, and Trippi says everyone was amazed by the forty thousand he signed up on his website. Dean signed up around six hundred thousand, and John Kerry has topped 1.6 million. Now, he says, there are bloggers at the convention.

Trippi believes that since Kerry is now on his way, blogs will be able to make the most difference working to take back the House. He says the races are small enough that $100-400 thousand could really swing a tight election. He says that "Senate races are so big, $300-400 thousand doesna't make that much difference... [the] hard part is going to be in the House."

Trippi says that's why he and others, including former Dean blogger Nicco, went to help the DCCC. He says that the most likely thing to happen is that Democrats will take the Senate. The real action is the marginal House races, which are usually also swing districts. He says that focusing on those could help the whole ticket.

Posted by nat in boston at July 29, 2004 10:08 PM | Elections | TrackBack(3) | Technorati links |