Sorting It Out

By Chris Nolan  |  Posted 2004-11-17 Print this article Print

Besides, not everyone on the Democrats list necessarily voted the straight Democratic ticket. In Pennsylvania, for instance, voters supported Kerrys presidency but returned Specter, a Republican, to the Senate. So, the power of individual senators to reach voters they might not normally speak to is considerable. Now, Democrats are having a difficult time sorting out their response to the Republican victory. The party is split between its ambitious moderates—Kerry is the best example—and its star personalities such as Obama and Clinton. Theres also a split between the tech-savvy, led by former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, and the more centralized, corporate-style politicking that characterizes organizations such as the New Democratic Network and the Democratic National Committee.
Republicans will have a slightly easier time coming up with the best tech-savvy strategy simply because theyre the majority party. Their agenda isnt split between well-known politicians or personalities. The party agenda is the agenda of the Bush administration.
Nevertheless, there will be tactical choices to make. The questions on the Republican side are more about maintaining loyalty and party discipline in face of what could be—as the Specter fight illustrates—fierce disputes between conservatives and moderates. Can Republicans use e-mail and the Net to keep the pressure on those who disagree? Or will fissures among voters—Nevada, for instance, went for Bush, but its also represented by new Senate minority leader Sen. Harry Reid—bubble more quickly to the surface because voters can and do talk directly to their senators? The answer is a spectacularly unclear, "Who knows?" One thing does seem pretty obvious, however. The power of the Internet to reach voters directly—and let them reach back and talk directly to politicians and political insiders—is about to move off of the campaign trail and onto Capitol Hill. Technology and Politics columnist Chris Nolan spent years chronicling the excesses of the dot-com era with incisive analysis leavened with a dash of humor. Before that, she covered politics and technology in D.C. You can read her musings on politics and technology every day in her Politics from Left to Right Weblog. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis of technologys impact on government and politics.

Standalone journalist Chris Nolan runs 'Politics from Left to Right,' a political Web site at that focuses on the intersection of politics, technology and business issues in San Francisco, in California and on the national scene.

Nolan's work is well-known to tech-savvy readers. Her weekly syndicated column, 'Talk is Cheap,' appeared in The New York Post, Upside, and other publications. Debuting in 1997 at the beginnings of the Internet stock boom, it covered a wide variety of topics and was well regarded for its humor, insight and news value.

Nolan has led her peers in breaking important stories. Her reporting on Silicon Valley banker Frank Quattrone was the first to uncover the now infamous 'friend of Frank' accounts and led, eventually, to Quattrone's conviction on obstruction of justice charges.

In addition to columns and Weblogging, Nolan's work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New Republic, Fortune, Business 2.0 and Condé, Nast Traveler, and she has spoken frequently on the impact of Weblogging on politics and journalism.

Before moving to San Francisco, Nolan, who has more than 20 years of reporting experience, wrote about politics and technology in Washington, D.C., for a series of television trade magazines. She holds a B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University.


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