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Software Eating Democracy
European Straits #3
How Big Business learned to buy influence and push its agenda
With the emergence of mass media in the 1960s, all the intermediary bodies and political machines that used to structure our democracies lost their political sway. The rise of individualism inspired tremendous fear in business leaders who sought ways to make do with the situation. They soon learned that in the age of mass media they could frame the debate with a lot of money. Thus Big Business used media and ideology to defeat the embedded liberalism of the past.
How the networked democracy is changing the game
In the 1990s liberals learned to fight back: the pro-business agenda of the New Democrats and the New Labour was designed to neutralize the power of the conservative machine. But the advent of networks changed the rules. A multitude of connected voters is regaining influence at the expense of business interests. A misalignment between donors and voters is now harder to sustain. In the Entrepreneurial age, there is a new playbook to ‘scale up’ a campaign to victory.
Why liberals can reclaim the upper hand with cloud communities
In a networked democracy, candidates must connect directly with voters. Obama and Trump both followed the playbook of the new age. The old political machines anchored in the day-to-day reality of voters could gain a new foothold. Collectively organized networks formed around specific issues will impose new opportunistic coalitions. With increasing returns at scale, cloud communities could form the base that liberals need to retake the advantage.
All related readings
The Politics of 1948 (Clark Clifford, 1947). Link
Attack on the American Free Enterprise System (Lewis F. Powell, 1971). Link
How Can the Democrats Win? The Stock Ticker and the Superjumbo (Rick Perlstein, 2004). Link
Software Is Reorganizing the World (Balaji S. Srinivasan, 2013). Link
The 1993 Kristol Memo on Defeating Health Care Reform (Josh Marshall, 2013). Link
Republican Billionaires Just Can’t Seem to Buy This Election (Gabriel Sherman, 2015). Link
Valley Politics: The Democratic Party’s Love Story With Entrepreneurs (with Laetitia Vitaud, 2015). Link
Why, Exactly, Is Trump Driving Conservatives So Crazy? (Jonathan Chait, 2016). Link
Hillary’s Problem, Explained by Technology (2016). Link
The Republican Party Blew It (Laura Reston & Alex Shepard, 2016). Link
The Soul of a New Machine (Kevin Baker, 2016). Link