How will you use the Net to follow the 2006 U.S. elections?

    by Mark Glaser
    March 17, 2006

    With each election cycle in the United States, more and more people use the Internet to do research on candidates, give money to candidates, and discuss issues that are important to them. In 2004, Howard Dean used a group blog to help organize grassroots support, and political bloggers received press passes to the big national conventions. So I’m wondering how you plan to use the Internet in this year’s mid-term elections. Will you research candidates? Follow local political bloggers? Use personalized news alerts or sites to check the latest news? Share your thoughts and I’ll quote the best ones in next week’s Your Take Roundup.

    • Mark,

      I’m looking forward to your readers’ replies. We’re trying to expand our politics section on washingtonpost.com this year in hopes of luring in those readers who want to know more details about the candidates.

      Our first offering is the Congressional Votes Database, built by our own Adrian Holovaty. http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/

      We also plan to roll out more information on candidates’ fundraising and links to their Web sites for more information.

      What matters more to readers: horse-race journalism focusing on the ins-and-outs of campaigning, or the granular analysis of voting records, issue positions and fundraising?


      Russ Walker

    • tom rogers

      Since I retired, I’ve filled my RSS reader with all the political blogs that I follow, and check’em @ once a day. I plan to spend my time for good (Dems), never evil!
      The Wapo link above will be an excellent tool before and, I’m sure, during the elections.

    • We are covering our Senate election here in RI, which is a hot race with a very viable Democrat, Sheldon Whitehouse, and a right-wing Republican primary challenger, Laffey, who looks like he might be able to take the incumbent, Lincoln Chafee, out in the primary. Some have their doubts on this, but Steve Laffey is the mayor of my city, and knowing him first-hand, it seems entirely likely to me that he can pull of an insurgent campaign to get the Republican nomination.

      Blogging about this race has been invigorating so far, and will likely prove to get even moreso as the election season progresses. One caveat — blogging about campaigns brings in the campaign trolls, some of whom are aggressive propagandists. It’s best to screen comments and ask people to back up their assertions with links to verifiable information.

      I was invited to introduce Sheldon Whitehouse at a community dinner in Cranston, and I talked about blogging in my introduction — how Whitehouse’s campaign blog impressed me as a social worker and a member of his constituency.

      This occurrence, to me, signals a sea change in how politicians are running campaigns. They are inviting bloggers to the table.

      It’s great to feel like my voice matters, and that political leaders value the time I put into researching and writing my blog.

    • Charles Clark

      The blogs give us a lot more information, and propaganda to digest and analyze. Facts are very difficult to find in political activities. I think the blogs tend to bring more out, but also to distort what is known. Those of us with time on our hands will have something to do as the time draws near. With very little ‘Freedom of Information’ you won’t get much even if you ask.

    • Cao Kun (from Shanghai, China)

      It, in fact, is none of my business when it comes to the 2006 U.S. elections as they only reach out to U.S. citizens whod like to enjoy the political right and interest that U.S. constitution promises and grants.

      I, though, take this opportunity here to have my say on how pervasive the Internet has a influence on reporting, commenting and polling of most-anticipated and -watched rounds of political showdowns, especially, U.S. presidential elections.

      The Internet acts as a telescope for me who witness whats going along both within and beyond the boundary of my nation China. Whats been incredible to me over the Internet is taking a first and initial outline of what U.S. political game looks like and functions.

      For the first time, Ive been taken by the Internet to make sense of:

      The White Houses web site with then-president Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton in 2000.

      The campaign web site for then-presidential candidate George W. Bush and his pal Dick Cheney in 2000.

      George W. Bushs Presidential Inaugural Address in January 2001 in the form of online listening and downloadable RM-format audio file. (There was the downloading service of RM-format audio files on the Voice of America at that time.)

      Cheering and tearing of the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election via TIME, Newsweek, New York Times, C-span, NPR and Voice of America; the profiles of John Kerry and John Edwards; several rounds of debates between George W. Bush and John Kerry; ups and downs in Presidential Election Night through C-spans live coverage.

      Controversial issue of vote counting plagued by the reporting of intimidation, threatening, fraud and irregularity, which is facing not only the United States, but also other corners of the world.

      In a nutshell, the Internet helps keep track of every trail of elections, which an ordinary guy, I think, get a rare glimpse of the philosophy, born from how a political player mounts both a defensive war for himself and a offensive war against his competitor in the realm of electioneering arena, which serves as the best case study for how to capture a position and protect ourselves in the society of perpetual and sometimes cruel competitions.

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