Monday, December 15, 2008

Man Up: Kos and the New Movement

Blogger Markos Moulitsas Zuniga (known as Kos) has been an instrumental figure in transforming the Democratic party during the Bush administration's two terms.

He launched a Web site,, in May 2002 and it now boasts between two and four million visits per day.
Among luminaries posting diaries on the site are President Jimmy Carter, Sen. Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and dozens of other senators, congressmen, and governors.
But, even more exciting than that, tens of thousands of regular Americans have used Daily Kos to lend their voice to a political world once the domain of the rich, connected, and powerful.
Regardless of your party affiliation or viewpoints, the DailyKos community represents one of many new technology-driven forces emerging in contemporary politics. In 2006, Bill McKibben observed in The New York Times Book Review:
The Democratic Party organization has spent more than a generation coasting on the momentum it built up in the 1960s and early 1970s, and that momentum has been running out. But the Web sites linked to Daily Kos and their millions of users have been giving the Democrats a new charge.
It would be premature to ascribe strong electoral power on a national level to these new voices ... But what seems most striking about the ever-louder Internet voices associated with Kos is that they share a strong desire to win, and new means to make that desire matter.
In addition to contributing (however indirectly) to recent Democratic victories, founding SB Nation, a collection of sports blogs, and parenting two children, Kos has published two informative how-to books on changing the U.S political system.

Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics was co-authored with Jerome Armstrong and published in 2006. Peter Beinart remarked, "They have written an insightful guide to how the Democratic Party can retake power. Now all they need to do is figure out why it deserves to."

Taking on the System: Rules for Radical Change in the Digital Era arrived this year. Paul Hogarth describes it as "a compelling book that illustrates the democratizing impact that digital media has had on political activism, and offers sound advice for how to navigate this medium for your cause."

Reports that Republican contender John McCain considered himself tech illiterate probably had little influence on election day. But it's clear that President-elect Obama's team is already using technology--including YouTube--in innovative ways.

No comments: