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Business - Written by on Wednesday, June 4, 2008 13:09 - 3 Comments

Hillary, leadership, and loyalty in Politics 2.0

Last night, Hillary Clinton asked supporters to go to her website to help her decide what to do next. The request and the results (over 2500 comments and counting, here, here, here, and here) pose interesting questions about the evolution of political leadership and loyalty in the web 2.0 world.

The supporters who have responded to Hill-Dog’s call are almost unanimous: they will never vote for Obama, and they want her to “keep fighting.” Some are calling on her to keep campaigning until the convention. But the more popular opinion seems to be that she should run as an independent.

Please run as an Independent… The democrats have not stood by you…Its the 18 million people that did.” -CKFL

“They have totally skrewed Hillary, lets get her on the ballot ourselves!!!We need each other not the DNC or Obama, I refuse to support him!” -bb in nola

Now these people may not represent the vast majority of Hillary’s supporters. And an independent run may be totally unrealistic (I have no idea). But they may be right about not needing the Democrats. The comment wall is already (in 12 hours) showing signs of turning into an organizational hub for an independent run. sarge02535 has posted a list of deadlines and signature requirements for getting on state ballots. Supporters are announcing that they have just made donations to the campaign.

In a web 2.0 world, what makes party loyalty so important? In fact, what makes even having a party so important?

Another question is, when political campaigns are defined by web 2.0 and mass collaboration, what are the roles and responsibilities of leaders? Lets assume that Clinton’s goals are more or less in line with the Democrats, and that they have a better chance of winning if they unify around Obama. It is great to engage supporters in decision making. But the comments being made on Hillary’s website today are divisive. As a leader, isn’t it her role to unify Democrats, even if her supporters don’t want her to?


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Jun 4, 2008 14:17

Welcome to self-selection. I am pretty darn sure the ones who plan to vote for Obama basically have written-off Hillary and didn’t respond to the call. In a dying business, you shouldn’t be listening to the customers who stay; you should be listening to the ones who leave. All of them will be saying, “be nice and help Obama”


Jun 6, 2008 10:22

Parties usually constitute an organization, communication, and fundraising base, something that can now be done online, in a completely decentralized way. If supporters can make their own petitions to get people on the ballot, then in web 2.0, why is active participation of the candidate even necessary anymore?

Wikinomics » Blog Archive » Obama vs. McCain Online
Oct 2, 2008 16:34

[...] Side note: for previous coverage of the role of wikinomics this race, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. [...]

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