Michael Hais first describes in Millennial Makeover: Myspace, Youtube and the Future of American Politics, the patterns of realignment we have seen in political history. Not associated with the specific elections, but more reliant on a shift in political alignment based on the ‘era’ following waves of one sided political majority. In the beginning of the 20th century we saw a swap from states that were primarily blue turn red, and red to blue. The foundation of this information sets up the book to describe the shift we that is occurring in the current state of the politics as we shift to political within an online arena. In the book we begin to see how waves of followers turn to the web, which influences their viewpoints on political issues.
In a section of the book called, “Technological + Generational Change = Realignment,” Hais begins to explain the political shift that is taking place in a more present time. A major point that stood out when reading this chapter was, “But without the emergence of new generations with new attitudes and beliefs, as well as a passion for using these new technologies, neither the telegraph and telephone of the nineteenth century, nor the broadcast media of radio and television in the twentieth century, nor even this century’s internet and mobile communication capabilities would be able to make any real difference in American politics. To understand why America’s political cycles exist and will persist, it is particularly important to understand the cycles of generational change that underpin and ultimately produce political realignments.” I believe this sets the framework for how we understand and identify the newly emerging viewpoints of a newer generation that is just now uncovered in recent elections and appears to be wielding the masses.
From multiple viewpoints realignments are viewed as occurring due to cycles of political alignment and birthrates, as well as towards political figures and their characteristics in regards to leadership and speechmaking. As we move through the eras, the media takes a greater role in disseminating information to the public, which largely had an impact on political opinion as we are seeing today with the Internet and how voters access information.
Following twelve years of Republican rule, Matt Bai followed the newly formed group of “progressives” who were tapping in to new technologies online from all over the country. They were breaking in to the age of blogging, which began a shift in politics to a more tech heavy environment, which everyone would have to adapt to. In his book, “The Argument; Billionaires, Bloggers and the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics” Bai dives into the political sea of these new progressives spreading across America.
The book opens with a look at Election Day in 2004, in which Bai describes the events of day from an insiders perspective, recounting the events that take place unheard of to outsiders. Known to few, the conversations that take place through this day were also shifting online. Bai introduces Jerome Armstrong, who was one of the first to start online political blogging. On election day, Armstrong received over 100,000 blog hits after receiving poll stats and knowing how to reach out and grasp an audience that would be looking for this information before media received the news and announced it through television.
Bai moves on to discuss the power of the list and knowing who to contact first when news hits, how having a list of respondents for mass e-mail can be key to spreading information quickly. He uses examples of MoveOn.org, a movement that began with the Clinton scandals, at a time when impeachment sounded like a good idea to a large conservative population. MoveOn just wanted everyone to get over the drama and move back to politics. He the moves on to discuss other ways in which we have moved into an online capacity for politic information gathering and dissemination. They key events, told in a tone that oddly resembles Malcolm Gladwell’s writing style (in my opinion). Bai recounts key events and the context in which they took place that moved us into the technological era we are in with online politics.