I had a copy of Ed Lasky's article at American Thinker on Barack Obama's Goldmine, in which there is a positing that the sub-$200 support that is widespread will become a veritable goldmine and contributors list for those that support Mr. Obama. Thus these individuals are looking to tie themselves to the Obama database of small contributors so that they, too, can garner support from same. There is, however, on thing I find odd when he looks at this:
The Obama campaign has compiled a giant database of supporters that can be tapped by superdelegates who need help -- and of course money -- in their own future campaigns. The Senator has developed the campaign equivalent of a gold mine that has many years of production ahead.
The reason this has problems is even given a bit later on, although I don't think Mr. Lasky realizes it:
The Obama campaign has risen on a wave of support from young people. A substantial share of his base is composed of those under the age of twenty-five. In Ohio, 70 percent of those under the age of 25 voted for him; in Pennsylvania, he garnered 65 percent of this vote. This children's crusade has also been instrumental in helping him in other caucus and primary states. This is the Generation Next cohort: millions of people who are very adept at making the internet part of their lives.
As part of the generation after the Baby Boomers but before the Gen-X/Y, post-2001 ones, I will say that there is one thing that the internet does that has been heretofore difficult to do: make personal filters to remove unwanted messages. In this era of Mass Customization and marketing to One Person and generally making it all about individualism, the two party system in which a party actually represents a coherent ideology is falling by the wayside. There is one pertinent fact that defines Barack Obama supporters: they support Sen. Obama. They become Democrats to show that support but their actual affiliation with the party, itself, is suspect. If, as he has styled himself, he is running on 'Change and Hope' that means that the party itself may be the obstacle to actually keeping his following together.
Consider that you are an ardent supporter signing up to give $50 or $75 to the campaign, getting a MySpace link, and even getting out to vote for him. You are enthused!
You even registered with the Democratic Party!
Then comes the e-mail soliciting more money... ahhhh... no matter how 'verified' a donor is, there is one thing that a superdelegate is lacking: he or she is NOT Barack Obama. And didn't you give to his campaign and do your party, anyway? What's up with this bothering me with e-mails and even, the audacity, PHONING me on my cell phone and interrupting me while I'm talking with a good friend?
Hey! Get this party out of my life... and just how the HELL did they get my e-mail and phone number?
And now comes the SPAM filters for what are unwanted messages looking for money from you? Yes! SPAM!
What Barack Obama has done is gained the following for Barack Obama that *is* 'net savvy, integrate their networking into their lives, expect individualism from companies (even if it is just via scripting, the effort is made) and in keeping unwanted scams, beggers, and petty thieves out of their lives online.
These are *not* committed 'party loyalists' but are individuals who cater to the party of one: THEMSELVES.
The 'net generation, encompassing parts of Gen-X/Y and all of the post-2001 generation are incredibly savvy compared to their older counterparts and 'viral marketing' is a two-way street: get a whiff that the pure and sainted Obama campaign is selling THEIR personal information to PARTY HACKS looking for donations and what you have is not a lovely, easy path to riches outside of the big donor base. No, you get something else: no money, bad word of mouth, and people pointing out how petty you are to use their dedication to a special cause to try and weasel money from them.
I know I have a lovely suite of SPAM filters on Thunderbird, and most online systems have an easy 'check box and hit SPAM button' to teach them what to weed out.
This is, indeed, a generation unlike any other.
The two party system has been reeling from the hits it has already taken from liberalized voting rules in primaries, cross-overs between parties, State organizations not adhering to National party wishes, and to individuals doing this thing known as 'ending future donations' to people that do not support their views. The Republican party has that in spades with the illegal immigration problem, and had to shut down calling phone banks because individuals were no longer interested in donating to the party. By crossing a coherent section of the party that follows the Traditionalist Conservative views of Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln, the party's elected members of Congress (who, if the Republican party had a superdelegate system would be those very same ones) crossed a part and near majority of what holds the party together and suffered and continues to suffer from that. The Democratic party, by pushing the individual's charisma to the greatest extent has no found that the loyalty to the party is diminishing: being registered Democrat means you support an individual or two, but not the party and, really, can't the party get its act together and quit bothering them for donations?
Unfortunately the politicians are, generally, not 'net savvy and are thinking in the 'old unchanged, unhopeful' ways on the Democratic side of the house, hoping they can still get *something* from those who support Barack Obama. Mind you, this is with the DNC still at only 50% or so of the funds necessary to HOLD its summer convention while the Republicans had that funding wrapped up months ago.
The competitive advantage is not, as Mr. Lasky looks at, to the holder of this database of individually motivated people supporting one candidate. At some point that mass of individuals will realize that opening their wallets to one person they like has gotten them a raft of e-mails and pestering from people they have never heard of asking for money for something they DON'T support and start to do the only sane thing available.
Train the SPAM filter to weed them out, and put call blocking on to certain numbers and groups.