November 20th, 2008
08:02 AM ET

GOP needs to catch up to Obama's Web savvy

Editor’s Note: Leslie Sanchez is a former adviser to President Bush and CEO of Impacto Group, which specializes in market research about women and Hispanics for its corporate and nonprofit clients.

Leslie Sanchez | Bio
CNN Political Contributor
Republican Strategist

Ever since John McCain and Howard Dean in 2000 showed the Internet's potential for fundraising, the question was always whether the Web could be effective at "GOTV," or getting-out-the-vote.

Among young voters at least, Barack Obama has proven that it can - and, in the process, he's uncovered a major flaw that cuts to the core of the Republicans' approach to party organization and discipline.

Obama poured many of his campaign's millions into his social networking operations on the Web, which his campaign rightly saw as critical to building grassroots support and enthusiasm.

A community organizer by training, occupation and nature, Obama saw his databases for the potential they represented - an army of supportive voices, a legion of potential volunteers, and a division of precinct captains.

Such is the world not just of Chicago ward organizations, but of politics everywhere.

The McCain campaign, reflecting the broader skepticism I've seen in the GOP about the Web, doubted whether the Internet could get voters out of their Barcaloungers (or, in the case of younger voters, off their futons) and into the polling booth.


Filed under: Barack Obama • Internet • John McCain • Leslie Sanchez • Raw Politics
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Mary V., Salt Lake City, UT

    Not only catch up on Obama's web savvy, but stop with their .....

    Lies, hate, fear and division mongering! As long as the Republican party is held hostage by Limbaugh, Hannity, OReilly, Savage, Reagan..... 'Faux News" and the rest of the hate-mongers they will not win back the graces of the American people!

    The Republicans with Rove at the helm, gambled on hate, and lost. They do not get .... that the vast majority of Americans are moderate, fair-minded, thinking people, who detest the vitriolic politics of the far-right.

    November 20, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  2. Annie Kate

    As a computer analyst and web developer I was amazed at how well Obama leveraged the Internet for his campaign. Each piece tied to another piece to create a synergistic whole that helped organize and maintain his campaign while he and his advisers focused on issues. This change in how to conduct a successful campaign is on par with JFK's use of tv in his election; that was a game changer in the 60s and now Obama has redefined the game in the 2000s.

    Obama though didn't win because of the internet although it helped greatly – he won because he had a liberating message, an idea that appealed to voters of all ages. He had a cohesive message that he delivered in an inspirational way and a political tsunami was the result.

    The GOP can catch up on the Internet – with some savvy technicians and a good focus on what they want to achieve with their internet piece it can be built....but until the GOP figures out how to appeal to a broader base of voters and finds its own inspirational message, it's not going to do them much good.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    November 20, 2008 at 9:06 am |