The American campaign has evolved over time from radios to TVs. The advent of technology has seen politicians change the way they campaign and embraced technology. Almost all the candidates nowadays use the internet from YouTube to Facebook to Twitter to advance their message.
The internet has had a significant contribution in the way politicians campaign and raise their funds.
The use of the internet is useful for distributing power to the people. Ron Paul took advantage and used the website to connect with his supporters. His website was essential and made people feel like they belong. The mistake that most candidates do is making complex and very managerial sites. When a person visits such a site, he/ she gets a feeling that there is nothing he can contribute and feels out of place. Ron Paul’s site, however, was very basic, and it allowed people to post messages and videos on his behalf. Traditionally, the more money that was raised, the more adverts a candidate was going to get and as result more votes. Most voters at the age of 18-20yrs are tech savvy, and it will be substantial for politicians to tap into technology (Cornfield 3)
The role of Internet in fundraising for current presidential candidates
Ron Paul raised more money than any candidate during his campaign. The people loved his policies His supporters loved his ideas of getting rid of the federal government and reducing income tax. Ron Paul used the internet to raise 4.2 million dollars in a single day. The amount is the single most donation that any candidate had ever made in any single day ("Video: Ron Paul And Internet Politics. NOW | PBS”) The Ron Paul campaign was purely funded by the internet supporters rather than the conventional method of raising funds. The politicians can get support from their supports by appealing to them through social media. The internet has made it easy for people to donate and support their candidates (Smith)
Digital advertising can increase the chances of a candidate winning the elections. It is important to understand the target group and then use the knowledge to reach them. With the advancement of technology, online polling has become more accurate and reliable; a candidate can use the numbers to determine how people feel about his policies. Once this information is available, it will be easy to frame the message so as to reach the supporters better. Electronic advertisement is also wide and can arrive at a large number of people (Krueger 6)
Culture of the population being targeted by internet campaigns
The population that is being targeted by the politicians while doing online campaign is the young generation. Since technology has evolved at a high rate, teenagers and youth find the internet more favorable than conventional media. Most people between the age of 18-28 are tech savvy and spend a lot of their time online. From social media sites to entertainment sites, the young generation has embraced technology in a big way. If a politician wants to get to the young voters, he will need to come to their level and meet them where they spend their time. Embracing technology will, therefore, ensure a candidate gets an audience with the young people (Howard 16)
I believe that the tactics used by politicians in blogs, chats and other interactive interaction are effective. The reason is that once a candidate has identified his or her target group, he can reach them through the various social platform. The message sent out there can be tailored to address his supporters depending on their preferred media of communication (Krueger 11)
I believe the internet has added the responsibility of leaders in performing their duties. As the saying goes, the internet never forgets. The campaigns and promises given to the candidates several years back are still available on the internet. Since a good number of people use the internet to get information, it will be a bad move for a politician if he or she doesn’t fulfill his promises. The internet can, therefore, be said to be a tool that has led to more accountability (Farnsworth)
Costs and dangers and using technology as a means of campaigning
The internet has opened up the way candidates can collect fundraising money. There is, however, risk such as phishing and hacking that can take place. Campaign managers have a data base of their donors, and this can be a target for hackers to get the information. Another threat is the possibility of hackers getting access to campaign strategies and selling it to the opposition. Although the online campaign is welcomed, it has its unique challenges. Before the 2016 presidential election, the Democratic National Committee accused Russia of hacking into Hillary Clinton's colleague email accounts so as to influence the election. The trump campaign denied the allegations that they were helped by the Russians to win the elections. None the less, the hacking scandal caused the Democrats the election. The controversy was the use of private servers by Clinton in dealing with issues that deal with national security. Some people could have felt that Clinton was careless and this could have led to her defeat. (“2016 Elections Hacking Fast Facts-CNN,”)
During the time when TV was popular, candidates spent a lot of money on commercials. For one to win, you had to appear in talk shows and debates looking polished. Just like 1900 when TV was popular, times have changed, and now everyone is looking at the internet and social media in their campaigns. At the moment, however, politicians cannot ignore the mainstream media since voting involves everyone. The young tech savvy is the primary target of internet campaigns while the mainstream media focuses the rest of the population. There is a lot of potential on the web and a few years’ time internet will play significant roles in election period (Hill &John 40)
The internet has brought a lot of benefits for candidates vying for different seats. However, care should be taken when using the technology to advance one’s policies. Although the benefits are many in using the internet, the chances of a slip-up and losing the elections are also high. The candidates should invest in technological savvy individuals to advise them on the best use of the internet.
Cornfield, Michael. "The Internet and campaign 2004: A look back at the campaigners." (2005).
Farnsworth, S., & Owen, D. (2004). Internet use and the 2000 presidential election. Electoral Studies, 23, 415-429
Howard, Philip N. Routledge handbook of Internet politics. Taylor & Francis, 2010.
Hill, Kevin A., and John E. Hughes. Cyberpolitics: Citizen activism in the age of the Internet. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 1999.
Krueger, Brian S. "A comparison of conventional and Internet political mobilization." American Politics Research 34.6 (2006): 759-776.
Smith, Aaron. "Internet and Campaign 2010, The." (2011).
Wilcox, Clyde. "Internet fundraising in 2008: A new model?." The Forum. Vol. 6. No. 1. bepress, 2008.
"Video: Ron Paul And Internet Politics . NOW | PBS". Pbs.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 8 Apr. 2017.
2016 Election Hacking Fast Facts - CNN.com. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://edition.cnn.com/2016/12/26/us/2016-presidential-campaign-hacking-fast-facts/
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