Inside a Political Campaign

There was an election in November of 2008, but you probably knew that already. You cast a vote for a presidential candidate, and if you were especially interested, put a bumper sticker on your car and a sign in your yard. If you’re a typical Minnesotan, somewhat more engaged in the process than is usual with Americans, statistically speaking, you also voted for a U.S. Senate candidate, and you remember who it was, even if your candidate didn’t win. That’s already quite a bit going on for one election cycle, but of course there was also an election for the U.S. House of Representatives in your district, and at least two candidates who wanted your attention, badly. Those candidates had plenty of help from staff, interns, and volunteers who wanted your interest and your vote. The technologies used by the campaigns to get your attention are changing rapidly, and so too are the effects of those technologies on a rational, responsible political discourse, or as 2008 often proved, a lack thereof.

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