Ron Paul, a Republican candidate for US president, made $4.3 million from a fundraising campaign organised bottom up through blogs and social networks. While the metrics of political fundraising don’t translate into most European politics (in Norway, for instance, political television advertising is illegal so the immense amounts of money needed in the US are completely irrelevant here), it’s an interesting measure of the kind of support that can be generated by a decentralised system.

TechPresident has an interesting analysis of the fundraising campaign. It’s the first time that fundraising through blogs and distributed, supporter-run websites has raised more money than the more centralised strategy of sending out mass emails from the campaign headquarters. This may make a difference to campaign strategies. For instance, TechPresident continues, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama do not encourage supporters to blog independently as Ron Paul does. They prefer controlled emails. This is in part due to the perception that Howard Dean lost because of his immense internet support, as, it has been suggested, did SÈgolËne Royale in France this spring.

2 thoughts on “campaigning by centralised emails or letting grassroot bloggers dominate?

  1. Matthew

    Hi. I found your website searching for posts about Ron Paul on Technorati.

    Just from reading the sidebar, your research sounds interesting. I did a _very_ small project for a linguistics course in college on the way people communicate differently in the MMORPG Ultima Online.

    I think part of the reason why Ron Paul is gaining so much support is that, like myself, many of his supporters have just been waiting for a candidate almost exactly like him. I already knew who he was years before he announced the creation of his exploratory committee — he’s practically a legend amongst libertarians. So what we’re seeing now is in part the frustrations of decades spilling forth all at once, and in another part the younger generation — which also includes myself, actually — seeing how miserable their lives are going to be if the government continues to be so out of control, continues to increase in cost, and especially if it continues to strip away our civil liberties. That’s not all, of course. There’s the war, too.

    I think campaigns that are more issue-based will tend to be more distributed — hey, there’s something to talk about: the issues. In Ron Paul’s case, the candidate could be anyone that held close to austro-libertarian views and had a similar voting record that, like Paul’s, shows he means what he says. To be honest though, you might have a hard time finding someone as well-versed in economics and history as Paul.

    On the other hand, a campaign that’s more centered around the personality of the candidate in question will lean towards a more centralized model. In the cases of Hillary and Obama (Hillary in particular), they might prefer the centralized model because it allows them to craft their public fronts from carefully selected soundbites, so as not to reveal any of their less desirable (read: outright disturbing) qualities.

  2. […] The Decline of the PC Market and its Impact on Communication: Microblogging to the Fore? Ron Paul’s fundraising success November 9th, 2007 One of my favorite Norwegian bloggers, Jill/txt, led me to an interesting postover at TechPresident today about Ron Paul’s recent successful fundraising campaign organized through blogs and social networks. Paul’s supporters raised over 4 million dollar in one day, and according to TechPresident, “this is the first successful application of a fundraising tactic that beats email or an online-exclusive announcement”. […]

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