If you were hoping to find insight and inspiration on the Internet from local Washington State grassroots Democrats for the August 21, 2007 Primary you were bound to be disappointed. A close look at the websites of the local Democratic County and Legislative District organizations right before the Primary was disappointing to say the least.
The local grassroots Democratic groups were looked at first for how well they alerted people visiting their websites about the Primary. A second point of comparison was whether the organizations were using their websites to gear up for the Feb. 2008 Caucus and Presidential Primary next year. These are just a little over 5 months away.
The first step in evaluating the Grassroots Democratic organizations was to check whether or not they even had a website. The list of websites used was taken from the list on the Washington State Democrats website . Out of 39 county Democratic organizations, 11 (28%) did not have a website. Out of 49 Democratic Legislative District organizations in the state, 19 (39%) did not have websites.
Here is a summary of what was found when looking at the Democratic websites.
Washington State County Democratic organizations:
Washington counties – 39
county Democratic organizations with websites – 28 (72%)
August 21 Primary date mentioned- 10 on first page + 2 more in calender = 12 (31%)
counties with primary endorsements posted – 5 (13%) King, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston, Whatcom
number including a link to endorsed candidates – 4 (10%)
counties listing Feb. 9, 2008 Caucus date – 3 (8%)
counties listing Feb. 19, 2008 Presidential Primary date – 3 (8%)
county Democratic websites with links to Presidential candidates – 6 (15%)
Washington State Legislative District organizations:
Legislative districts -49
Legislative district organizations with websites – 30 (61%)
August 21 Primary mentioned – 7 on first page + 6 more in calender = 13 (27%)
Legislative District organizations with Primary endorsements posted – 12 (24%)
number including a link to endorsed candidates – 4 (8%)
Legislative Districts listing Feb. 9, 2008 Caucus date – 6 (12%)
Legislative District organizations listing Feb. 19, 2008 Presidential Primary date – 2 (4%)
Legislative District websites with links to Presidential candidates – 4 (8%)
To be fair 5 counties did not hold a primary. Those counties are Asotin, Ferry, Garfield, San Juan, and Wahkiakum. But that still leaves 34 counties that did hold a primary election.
Why is website presence in a campaign important? Googling on “Democratic endorsements Washington August 21, 2007 Primary” yielded the following results on the first 2 pages:
47th Leg District Democrats
Lefty Blogs – Metropolitan Democratic Club
SEAMEC 2007 endorsements
47th District Democrats
King County Democrats
Wash Fed of State Employees
Googling on “Washington State Primary Endorsements” yielded:
Sierra Club (MajorityRulesBlog post)
36th Distrct Democrats
Washington State Women’s Political Caucus
Googling on “King County Democrats 2007 endorsements” yielded:
King County Democrats
34th District Democrats
47th District Democrats
Peter Sherman’s website
46th District Democrats
Gael Tartelton’s website
Jean Godden’s website
Having endorsements on the Democratic websites and candidates receiving endorsements and listing them on their website drove traffic to these sites. This gives additional exposure to the Democratic Party and their endorsed candidates.
By way of comparison, googling on “”Washington State Republicans 2007 Primary” produced one relevant Republican hit to a right wing blog at the bottom of the second page. Typing in “Washington State Republicans 2007 Primary Endorsements” yielded little of the Republicans but brought up the following in the first two pages:
Washington State Stonewall Democrats
Washington Federation of State Employees
47th District Democrats
Despite the lack of a strong internet effort by the Democrats in making and listing endorsements, where it was done it obviously had an impact on visibility of the Democrats.
There is a reason that the Republican presence is so minor in the google searches. Despite the untapped potential of the Democrats in using the web to get exposure and use the internet for organizing , they were far ahead of Republican Party efforts.
The Washington State Republican website has only county organizations. There are no Republican legislative district organizations listed.
The Republicans had only 15 county websites listed for the 39 counties in Washington State. And they seemed to be even less aware that a Primary was occurring. Only 4 listed the August 21, 2007 Primary date on their website and only 2 had endorsements. Regarding the Presidential Campaign only 2 had a link to the 2008 Republican Presidential candidates.
Just in terms of number of sites, the Democrat’s 58 grassroots organization sites outnumbered the Republicans by almost 4 to 1. Now if they can just get some web savy and get links up for the General Election in November with endorsements listed and links to endorsed candidates they can have a much stronger presence on the web.
And they also need to copy the Democratic State Party’s Road to the White House Presidential candidate’s links and add them to their webpages. Island County Democrats have links with pictures of the candidates which is a nice touch. So do the Spokane Democrats. and the Walla Walla County Democrats. Whitman County, Thurston County and Mason County are the only other counties that currently have links to the Democratic Presidential candidates.
And I could only find links available on the websites of the 1st , 6th, 44th and 45th District Democrats.
One additional element that the Democratic organizations should add to their websites is the free fundraising link for Democrats by ActBlue. ActBlue is set up to raise funds for all the Democratic Presidential candidates. John Edwards for President, for example, using the ActBlue website has raised $3,599,983 from 44,058 donors.
MajorityRulesBlog recently set up an ActBlue page for all the Presidential candidates. You can click on the link to see what one could look like for the Democratic organizations. Each organization would get exposure and credit for funds raised for the candidates.
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