Sorting It Out
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 moderatesKerry is the best exampleand 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 beas the Specter fight illustratesfierce 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 votersNevada, for instance, went for Bush, but its also represented by new Senate minority leader Sen. Harry Reidbubble 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 directlyand let them reach back and talk directly to politicians and political insidersis about to move off of the campaign trail and onto Capitol Hill. eWEEK.com 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.