We’ve talked a lot about rebuilding the party. Let’s talk instead about rebuilding the movement.
Every day in Washington, there is some right-wing group somewhere bemoaning the efforts of the right online. Sadly, for them and the rest of the right, their first thought is “let’s do it ourselves”, instead of “let’s invest in the existing talent.”
It’s often bemoaned on our side that the left is much further ahead online than the right. This is true. The left has larger blogs than the right, though I still think the right has many more sites than the left. The left has a great online investigative journalism wing that gets picked up by the mainstream media. And the left has a stable of full time bloggers than is not matched on the right. I am a very rare breed on our side.
One area where the left has done a much better job than the right online is investing in blogs as a component of left-wing activism.
On the right, Heritage has its blog. Club for Growth has its blog. MRC has its blog. The GOP has its blog. The list goes on and on and on. When the right wants to get online, each organization does its own thing. That’s just the way its done.
To be sure, on the left, there’s a bit of the same thing going on, but then you’ve got groups like Media Matters that function more or less to subsidize left-wing bloggers. Oh sure, they say they are more important than that, but they aren’t really.
More importantly, though, is the advertising component. What is the online advertising budget for Heritage? What about for AEI? What about for Americans for Tax Reform? Family Research Council? Leadership Institute? NFIB? NTU? National Right to Work? Club for Growth? The list goes on.
In the past few years, SEIU, AFL-CIO, NEA, DCCC, and a host of other left-wing organizations have been buying ads on left of center blogs keeping those blogs going — allowing the bloggers on the left some financial incentive to keep blogging for the left.
In addition to all of that, you’ve got the Soros gang and SEIU engaging in a host of left-wing activities online that recruit and fund online writers — bloggers, journalists, etc.
The right has not made the investment. In fact, I dare say RedState is one of the very few places where real collaborative work and outreach goes on among right of center organizations. And even here there is no real investment in advertising, etc.
RedState has a lot more national clout than say Minnesota Democrats Exposed, but MDE plays a damn vital and necessary role. But, if you look at its ads, it’s got google ads up. You’d think the Minnesota Republican Party would have some big donor who’d want to sponsor that site via advertising.
And I don’t mean to single out MDE (but dammit there is one site that did the Lord’s work this year and I bet most conservatives in DC never heard of it). It happens everywhere. Look at Virginia: Virginia Conservative and Bearing Drift are two of my regular reads. You’d think the GOP would be falling all over itself to encourage these sites, fund them, and make sure they have the resources they need.
Hell, Republicans are supposed to be smart business people, so take a hint: Put up an ad on a right wing blog to promote your business and you get to deduct the costs of advertising1. If you were to make a cash contribution, there would be no taxable benefit to you. If you are a doctor and you put an ad in the yellow pages, you deduct the cost as the cost of doing business. Same with a blog in your state. Same here at RedState.
Every day in Washington, there is some right-wing group somewhere bemoaning the efforts of the right online. Sadly, for them and the rest of the right, their first thought is “let’s do it ourselves”, instead of “let’s invest in the existing talent.” Until the second becomes the first, the right will keep meeting in private to bemoan its (in)effectiveness online.
Meanwhile, the DailyKos has nine employees and a seven figure budget. Here at RedState, I have a volunteer list of two dozen contributors with full time jobs, me, and no budget.