Democratic bloggers outpace Republicans
Monday, January 19th, 2004
“I haven’t done a survey, but it seems as if BlogAds has more penetration on the lefty side of the blogosphere. If so, I wonder why? UPDATE: Henry Copeland emails: ‘God knows I’ve tried to get more centrists, libertarians and Republicans aboard. :)’ Hmm. I guess for non-lefties it’s all about the love, not the money! Actually, Henry’s been after me to join blogads for quite a while. I’m not sure why I’ve been slow to do it, actually. I just have been.”
Love or money?… Or does $50 or $2000 a month make a bigger difference to leftie-blogger households? Funnily enough, many of the first folks to sign on to blogads —Matt Welch, DailyPundit, Tacitus, Jane Galt— had libertarian or right-of-center audiences. As I’ve noted before, it does seem a little odd that Andrew Sullivan, avid partisan of the grand-ol’-party-of-the-market-place, sticks so loyally to PBS-style pledge drives. (BTW, Sullivan made $80,000 in last year’s pledge drive. When are we going to hear the results of this year’s drive… have I missed something?)
Meanwhile, there’s some of interesting theorizing about on why the left has been more vigorous in its blogging recently. Republican blogger Tacitus looks at DailyKos and says “Hands-down, in terms of efficacy, reach, influence, and intelligence, it simply has no match.” He asks, “Why are the explicitly pro-Republican weblogs so anemic?”He continues:
some of this may simply be a function of the partisan power dynamic: Democrats are hip-deep in the internal debate period known as the primaries, abetted by the lack of a single standard-bearer attendant to the party out of power; Republicans have a President to rally ’round, and hence less incentive to thrash out issues. But some of it is also, I think, a function of the differing approaches to organization and the internet taken by the national parties. I can’t speak for the DNC, but I am fairly sure that the RNC is a top-down, strictly hierarchical organization. They’ll rely on their own devices; certainly not Meetup, certainly not blog-based fundraising, and they certainly won’t allow comments on their candidate’s official weblog.
Tacitus suggests that Republican political operatives may not be ready to cede autonomy to the bloggers: “what, after all, is their incentive to surrender even a small amount of control and decentralize? Conversely, what is the incentive for the independent Republican blogger to make the effort to help his party and his candidates if the formal hierarchy is going to be lukewarm at best.”
Here’s my view: being out of office makes a big difference. First, the primaries fuel the D-blogosphere. Horse races are more exciting to report/comment on, particularly when the feedback loop closes and the bloggers become participants in the race they’re reporting on. Also, David is usually the innovator; David grabs the cheapest tool at hand while Goliath sticks to the traditional heavy armor and expensive sword.
Tacitus rightly concludes, “Almost without realizing it, the Democrats will emerge from this election cycle with a seriously good and adaptable internet machine.”