Just as television reshaped political campaigning strategy with the Kennedy-Nixon debate in 1960, computers are playing a bigger and more decisive role in political campaigns in the 21st century. The future of political races will become increasingly driven by computers.
Computers – through the media – can deliver information anywhere almost instantaneously. When a candidate speaks, voters can know what was said almost as fast as it was spoken. That is the power of computers.
With computers, direct mailings to voters can be done on line quicker and at a fraction of the cost using a database of voter email addresses – a neccesity for fundraising. Campaign data can be organized in ways that improve the efficiency and responsiveness of a campaign. Sophisticated statistical programs can analyze voter trends and determine demographic areas of a candidate’s strength and weakness.
Politics and the computer is a concept that works both ways. While politicians and campaign managers use computers to get their message out to voters, voters an use the same medium to get their views to politicians. Voters now have the ability to contact their local, state and national representatives using email – that is potential power. Social media like Facebook and Twitter gives politicians and individual citizens a means of expressing their political views to a wide audience. No longer is the public limited to websites like http://www.direct.tv and the like, as social media is now more interactive. That is part of what politics is all about.
Computers have the potential to revolutionize politics. Much of Barack Obama’s successful 2008 campaign was driven by access to computers and the Internet. It is not unreasonable to think that elections could someday be conducted using the Internet. That would be a new format for democracy in action.