In last week Monday Note, my co-writer Jean-Louis Gassée explained why Silicon Valley was about to vote for Barack Obama, “He’s one of us”, he said. Here is couple of interesting stories I’m submitting to your point and click acumen. Two are from the Atlantic Monthly. The first one, tilted “HisSpace” explains how the use of digital media by the democratic candidate was comparable to the irruption of radio in the Franklin Delano Roosevelt election. Or to John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s mastery of television. “Obama has truly set himself apart by his campaign’s use of the Internet to organize support, writes Marc Ambinder. No other candidate in this or any other election has ever built a support network like Obama’s. The campaign’s 8,000 Web-based affinity groups, 750,000 active volunteers, and 1,276,000 donors have provided him with an enormous financial and organizational advantage in the Democratic primary. Obama clearly intends to use the Web, if he is elected president, to transform governance just as he has transformed campaigning”. The article refers also to the so-called Netroots that describes a new kind of political activism entirely based on digital networks.
But it’s on the money side that Obama’s digital inclination was the most compelling. According to the last count by the New York Times, Barack Obama has raised so far $240m compared to slightly more hat $100m for the Republican nominee John Mc Cain. More interestingly, 94% of donations to the Obama campaign were $200 o less. In the month of February alone, his campaign raised a stunning $55m, $45m coming from internet donation alone! In his piece “The Amazing Money Machine”, Atlantic Monthly reporter Joshua Green wrote : “[Obama] built a fund-raising machine quite unlike anything seen before in national politics. Obama’s machine attracts large and small donors alike, those who want to give money and those who want to raise it, veteran activists and first-time contributors, and—especially—anyone who is wired to anything: computer, cell phone, PDA”. More broadly, “Obama’08″ relies a lot on mechanisms of social and collaborative networks seen in Silicon Valley, suggests Noam Cohen in The New York Times.Does it guarantee a victory in November. Certainly not. Far from it.