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Presidential Campaigning in the Internet Age$
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Jennifer Stromer-Galley

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199731930

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199731930.001.0001

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2000: Experimentation in the Internet Age

2000: Experimentation in the Internet Age

(p.41) 3 2000: Experimentation in the Internet Age
Presidential Campaigning in the Internet Age

Jennifer Stromer-Galley

Oxford University Press

The 2000 campaigns focused on experimentation with digital communication technologies (DCTs). Changes in election laws made collecting contributions online feasible, which became a focus of campaigns. John McCain was savvy at capitalizing on fundraising, establishing the infrastructure to channel enthusiasm into money following key events. George Bush built a massive voter file for microtargeting. Steve Forbes constructed an image as the first “Internet candidate,” while Al Gore, who also should have done so, instead used DCTs conservatively. Bill Bradley developed a community involvement kit, a clear indication that campaigns began to see the potential of two-step flow. Yet campaigns were still generally distrustful of what might happen if they let their supporters genuinely engage with the campaign. As hierarchical organizations with professional and highly paid senior staff who at their gut level and through their experience know how to campaign, they found the idea of more citizen-driven efforts unthinkable.

Keywords:   2000 presidential campaign, Al Gore, George Bush, digital politics, political communication, Internet, World Wide Web, two-step flow, digital affordances, interactivity

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