Trippis Two Americas
Former Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi used his O'Reilly Emerging Technology keynote to explain how social software is becoming a political tool.SAN DIEGOListening to former Howard Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi, I kept hearing the echoes of John Edwards "Two Americas" theme. The occasion was the Digital Democracy Teach-In, a conference track appended to the third OReilly Emerging Technology Conference here. Trippis keynote was a free-form post-mortem on the fading Dean campaign, but the audience of technologists treated it more like a call for renewed action than a wake. In this political season, technology keeps cutting both ways. Productivity is up, keeping the market moving forward, corporate profits up and interest rates down. But that same efficiency also maintains the jobless recovery. So too does broadband, virtualization and outsourcing.
Where Edwards Two Americas are classic Democratic haves and have-nots, Trippis are The Onlines and The Offlines. And the same dynamics that brought Dean to prominence also served to accelerate his decline. The transparency of the network that allowed rapid fundraising and bubble-up communications within the campaign also allowed Kerry, Edwards and Clark to cherry-pick voter lists and redirect them to their own volunteer corps of handwritten letter authors.