Friday, September 24, 2004

What are we doing, anyway?

Okay. So now we’ve built up some content, and gained (just a few) readers. But this particular blog isn’t just dedicated to the rantings of a few guys from UNC. Lo and behold, it has a purpose. So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and talk about what we’re trying to do here at BlueNC.

George Entenman wrote a guest post at OrangePolitics about a month ago, in which he asked the question “What can progressives do locally to further our political causes?” In that piece he made a compelling argument for contributing to your local Democratic party (in this case, the Orange County Democratic Party) where money will help get-out-the-vote efforts instead of large TV buys. Mr. Entenman was focusing more specifically on how we can contribute to the state and national campaigns; those of Bowles, Kerry-Edwards, etc. But it gets to the point of what we hope to do with Blue North Carolina.

We’ve all seen the impact “web roots” politics can have. Joe Trippi assessed it pretty well in his book The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (which you should read if you haven’t yet): the Internet has the potential to build communities. Daily Kos has built a community around politics, as have others. Kos – or more accurately, the community built around Kos – has the ability to embrace causes and candidates and spark an excitement about campaigns that can propel a candidate into contention, and hopefully victory. That excitement can generate ideas, money and volunteers.

We want to do the same thing Kos is doing, but on a much more focused level: Democratic politics in N.C.

We’ve witnessed the blogosphere influence national elections, and we’ve seen the blogosphere influence local politics. Ed Cone and David Hoggard organized the Piedmont Blog Conference largely to explore the latter phenomenon.

But the online community has yet to turn its attention on the legislative arena. We hope to highlight those races and those candidates; particularly those few that are embracing the Internet in their campaigns.

Surprisingly N.C. Democrats are trailing Republicans in the web race on the legislative level. Our goal at BlueNC is to show that the online community can have a dramatic impact at all levels of politics. In attempting to do so, we will try to encourage more candidates to use the Web in the future. We can’t move the kind of money Kos can, but we can help out here and there. We can also help mobilize volunteers. A lot of our readers come from the UNC Young Democrats at UNC-Chapel Hill. If we can highlight legislative candidates who need help with door-to-door and other campaign work, hopefully we can build an audience of activists who want to contribute.

So that’s our goal. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting a few races where help is most needed; close races where the contributions (of time or money) of local progressives are most needed.

But BlueNC isn't just for us. If we want to work toward something like what Trippi describes and Kos has attained, we need a community.

This site won't just be the political diatribes of a few guys from Chapel Hill. If we want a statewide perspective, you're going to have to help us. If you see something we should know about, let us know. If you think we need to be called out, do it. So help us out.



At September 27, 2004 at 2:18 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

I'd like to see links to the official sites of NC legislative races you determine need attention. Or all of them, with "race of the week..." type highlights. This can go on after November, highlighting special legislation or bills introduced that need support. I would look to you to do the legwork in identifying state or local issues that fall through the cracks of traditional media.

And the less UNC focused (while retaining a "youthful edge", the better). That being said, go heels.

I appreciate what you've been doing.

At September 28, 2004 at 12:07 AM, Blogger Jeff Onamotapoe said...

I welcome the perspective from "some guys from Chapel Hill" to my daily readings. I just wish there were a way to relate the political situation here in the far weatern counties. Most of the public here leans heavy right, especially in Mitchell County, where I'm from. All local elections here are decided in the primaries, since there are rarely ever any Democrat candidates. However, I have seen (for the first time) some lifelong republicans displeased with King George" and planning to vote Kerry. I just hope they follow through. I also hope that some of that translates into a more favorable look at liberals who run for office.

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