Impacts of the Progressive Netroots
Chris Bowers has written an interesting new piece about the progressive netroots:
As someone known not only as a prominent figure within the progressive netroots, but also as someone with a tendency to base much of my writing on quantitative research, I have often been asked to try and measure the positive impact of the netroots on the Democratic Party and the 2006 elections in order to counter these arguments. This is not an easy thing to do, but I believe there are a number of more or less objective ways in which the contribution of the progressive netroots to the Democratic victories in 2006 can be documented. Taken together, these contributions reveal just how mature a political force the progressive netroots have become, and how indispensable they are to continued Democratic success in the future.
The areas of netroots that Chris discusses are:
1. Closing the fundraising gap
2. Campaigning on Iraq
3. Keeping the base motivated
4. Influencing establishment media coverage
5. Stretching Republicans' resources thin
6. New infrastructure, new ideas
These are exciting times. Let's hope the major political donor community begins to recognize more generously the efforts of individual progressive bloggers, who are a not-insubstantial part of the netroots community. Many individual bloggers are living a hand-to-mouth existence. Think how much more these dedicated activists might be able to accomplish if they didn't have to worry about paying the rent and their lack of health insurance.
The contemporary progressive movement is evolving as a networked phenomenon, rather than a hierarchical stack of major institutions. Good ideas can originate anywhere within the matrix and be amplified by other parts. The netroots are a prime example of how effective this type of entity can be. Forward-thinking donors will recognize that support for the progressive network implies support for its component nodes, including small organizations and even individuals.