Experimentation in the Internet Age
The 2000 campaigns focused on experimentation with 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 W. 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—the idea of more citizen-driven efforts in political campaigns was unthinkable.
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