The money is key. Fewer people are watching network TV, so the importance of fundraising to pay for those ads could well become less pronounced in the future. Good news for democracy if it happens.
If there's one overall trend we're seeing, it's that more candidates are learning to make effective use of non-traditional weapons like netroots activism and online fundraising and word-spreading. This was novel when Howard Dean did it in 2004 and worth noting when Obama improved on Dean's model in 2008. Now, these tools are starting to gain much wider use. They helped Paul, Sestak and Halter. Since they're inexpensive tools to use, they do tend to mitigate the greatest advantage incumbents of both parties have had over challengers in recent decades: money.
That, to me, is really the main thing these results tell us about the autumn. The advantages of incumbency, traditionally massive in American politics, are melting away. It's mostly because of technology, but the bad economy and resulting anger and impatience only intensify matters. Democrats of course have more to lose in the midterms. But the incumbents of both parties need to be on their toes.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
What yesterday means
Mike Tomasky has a typically astute take on the ultimate meaning of Anti-incumbent Tuesday:
The Man, The Myth, The Bio
- East Bay, California, United States
- Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.