Don’t Think of an Online Elephant

David Karpf

in The MoveOn Effect

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199898367
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949717 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Digital Politics

Don’t Think of an Online Elephant

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The first 5 chapters of the book are primarily concerned with left-wing interest groups. This is for the simple reason that there is no right-wing analogue to MoveOn, Democracy for America, or DailyKos. Chapter 6 turns attention to the surprising dearth of conservative parallel organizations. After discussing ongoing conservative attempts to build an answer to MoveOn, DailyKos, and ActBlue, including the rise of the Tea Party movement, it introduces the theory of “outparty innovation incentives” as an explanation of the partisan adoption of technological innovations. At the interest group, candidate, and party network levels, the party out of power has strong incentives to invest in new technologies and seek to “change the rules of the game.” The chapter details two competing theses—“ideological congruence” and “merry pranksters”—and presents evidence in favor of the outparty model. In so doing, it also challenges technologically deterministic simplified claims that often plague the discourse and suggests a novel insight about the history of partisan technological adoption.

Keywords: internet; Tea Party; conservatives; netroots; social movements; counter-mobilization; American political development

Chapter.  13525 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: US Politics

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