Micha Sifry was the eCampaign manager for Andrew Rasiej bid to become the number two man in New York politics: Public Advocate. They run an open source political campaign:
We had three over-arching goals for this campaign:
1) that we could push into the public debate some big new ideas about reinventing municipal government, fostering civic engagement, and the value of getting everyone an affordable highspeed Internet connection;
2) that the right way to run for office is to be as open, transparent, people-centered, small-donor-based and network-driven as possible (building on the experiences of various 2004 campaigns); and
3) that reform-minded individuals, groups, writers, editorialists, bloggers, and institutions, along with locally-focused civic activists, would find all of this refreshing and inspiring and they would rally to our banner and help amplify our message.
This is where the potential of new technology lies and where also some of my hopes for positive change are rooted. Unfortunately they didn't manifest this time and Micha Sifry has an excellent post mortem sharing his perspective.
* Tech “community” a fiction?
But the fabled tech community turned out to be mostly a fable when it came to actually embracing Andrew’s campaign and setting aside time to spread its message. Yes, about 100 local and national bloggers linked to the campaign. But few made an extended commitment to pitch in. To give one telling example, when I asked a core group of about 30 tech supporters to help us “kick the tires” on our WeFixNYC.com site by sending in a picture of a pothole before we announced the project to the public, at most 3 or 4 responded.
This is where we techies have to wake up, pay more attention. Politics matter and we should do our little part so that the great potential that our new tools offer (See: Extreme Democracy) come to fruition. It is possible, but as this example shows a lot harder than we think. (The comments are worth reading too)