The Editor of PolicyByBlog and Emily Metzgar, a political columnist, just published (November 03, 2005) in the Christian Science Monitor an essay that deals with the prospect of the blogosphere becoming a “space” for running for President: COULD BLOGS TRUMP STUMPING IN IOWA?
Like all newspaper pieces, we needed to be short and we were edited. To expand the context, for over a generation political scientists have noted that there was a campaign for president before the ostensible running season began with the Iowa Caucuses. The journalist Arthur Hadley called this period the “invisible primary.” Would-be presidents underwent a series of “tests.” (Think Labors of Hercules!) As articulated by political scientist Rhodes Cook, these trails included:
1. psychological test: that the candidate seems to be balanced and normal, someone one you could picture as being president as well as someone who has the vigor and “fire in the belly” to ride out and succeed in an election campaign.
2. staff test: is the candidate able to build an effective campaign organization, putting together people who will work well for him?
3. strategy test: how does the candidate put together a winning number of delegates from the states that will gain him the nomination; by what combination of victories?
4. fundraising test: can he gain enough support for his candidacy from big money-donating constituencies such as labor or Hollywood within Democratic party or religious groups and businesses within the Republican party, and a wide range of contributions from a potentially larger group of voters? The money game is particularly important not just in itself because, in politics money follow money. A candidate may not be able to announce victories in primaries a year before the Iowa caucus but they may be able to herald large cash donations to their campaigns. Other donors will now want to bet on a winner. So building up the war chest is one way to gain a higher profile for further contributions.
5. press test: How does the candidate fare in press conferences and in interviews with reporters? Do he seem like he could undergo the rigor of scrutiny by local and national media once the greater official campaign begins?
6. constituency test: Trying to create a coalition of constituencies that will propel the candidate not only to nomination as party candidate but also can realistically put together a majority vote for ultimate election.
We wanted to suggest that blogs are a new factor, a new test for the candidate–right now.
Originally posted November 3, 2005 at PolicyByBlog