The megaphone of the insurgents

by Ekua Boateng // Published May 29, 2008

As the primary season for the Democratic Party draws ever closer to its final phase, no stone can be left unturned in order to garner support, to reach out to voters, the media and super delegates alike. Its interesting to watch the Clinton campaign reach out to the blogosphere, that army of professional and non-professional citizen journalists, who play a part in opinion forming for the masses, as traditional forms of journalism are seen to be slightly antiquated and too restrictive in form and conformity to traditional journalistic tradition. However, in these final stages of the primary season, the Clinton camp is appealing to Internet community. Is this a sign that the old campaign methods are becoming antiquated? Or perhaps just a sign of the times, that traditional methods alone won't win it. With handy online tools like Twitter, which enables senders to send out quick and short messages, social networking websites which are a multi-medium platform allowing for a diverse range of uses from organizing support groups to donating money to the campaign at the click of a finger. The Hillary Clinton campaign was initially slow to embrace technology as effectively as the Obama campaign. The irony is that what is propagated on the Internet lasts forever and is hard to get rid off. So what does the Clinton campaign do? It initiates a campaign first with the first blogger only call to 40 bloggers on the campaign trail in Oregon. Neither Obama nor McCain have indulged in a blogger only conference call. Not surprisingly the McCain campaign is not as tech savvy, but has also sought to embrace the blogging community.

The blogosphere can be both ally and foe and so Hillary Clinton sought to thank her blogging community for their support in a climate where there has been some quite viral and vehement anti-Hillary Clinton media. She also tried out a new campaign slogan, "It is the map, not the math". I would suggest that the Clinton campaign is doing some fuzzy math, as arguably the math doesn't lie. However that should be qualified by mentioning the thorny and controversial issue of the Michigan and Florida breaking the rules about when to hold their primaries and being punished accordingly by the party. As we wait to hear what the DNC Committee will decide in allocating these disqualified delegates from both states, we know that it will surely influence the outcome of the race.

So what is the most important kind of support, the popular vote or the delegate vote? Both candidates are claiming victory, with the Clinton campaign claiming they have captured the popular vote and the Obama campaign claiming the pledged/elected delegate vote. What kind of system would deny the will of the people and defer it to party insiders? I find this a slight irony, though in theory the super delegates should support the candidate with the popular vote, but that is not a certainty. Just like the outcome of the Democratic race to the nomination is not a certainty. There is still room yet for an anomalous result, but that is not really likely but ultimately possible.