Former Dean Campaign Manager Joe Trippi at Etech:
The press that didn't understand what the campaign was, now sees itself qualified to judge if its a success or not. Broadcast politics has failed us miserably. No debate about the Patriot Act. DMCA isn't being discussed during the mainstream media. Its all on the Internet.
Changing a system thats broken. Back in the 1960s we had the Nixon Kennedy debate, and it took about 5 years to realize that TV was going to change everything. Nobody could guess that it would be race for money, to buy a one-way communications tool that took people out of the process.
The campaign ran into trying to change a system that is locked in place. To believe you can overthrow that system within a 13 month cycle. Dean still has a chance. We have the ability now, there is only one tool, platform and medium that allows people It will not happen on CNN or the LA Times. It will happen when millions of Americans decide to change it together. We don't have health care because of lobbyists.
This is not a dot-com crash, it was a dot-com miracle. Started from nothing to $45m in record fundraising. Previous records set by an sitting president. Dean didn't do it, I didn't do it, you did. No one is going to change America for you, you have to change it yourself. Finally, after being held hostage for 45 years, we now have the beginning of the tools and the platform to take it back yourself.
So many things that went right. Discovered by blog. Meetup.com was discovered by him happening to read a blog (Jerome was blogging that Joe was an idiot) 2 years before Dean was thinking of running. Blog pointed out how the self-organized use. They decided to embrace it.
This was the Internet getting people to do something offline. Its not just the online tools, its the tools online that help people to fulfill that energy offline. The press never understood where the campaign was happening, not on the Tim Russert show, it was at the water cooler.
MoveOn.org taught us quite a bit, best practices. We have a communications problem, the political press has no clue what the Internet is, the put it in their old context. The Internet community doesn't understand the hard cold realities of the political process. This is the problem/disconnect. The media ran the 933 times the scream tape. The out of context portrail.
The Dean thing did work. Because of the people in this room and across the country which brought people into the process. Dean took it on, people responded to him and then competitors followed suit. Dean taught the party how to be an opposition party. Suddenly there was a debate about WMD, a debate that started because of the Internet, which make everyone realize the direction needed. The four remaining candidates are against the war, taking on foriegn policy, regardless of how they previously voted. Populism co-opted. All directly attributable to the campaign. It doesn't matter if the Kerry campaign has taken more lobby money or Dean's grass roots fundraising. Now everybody in the party says we need to end the way money rules our politics.
We have energized (record turnouts, young voters) the democratic party that is taking on the president. What would have happened without Dean? There is a reason Bush is vulerable, its the blogs. Which let the debate happen, which made the other candidates partiticipate, blog, copy tools.
Broadcast politics isn't going to wane. The media jumped the shark on the war, then on the campaign. Democracy is threatened in ways the American people haven't really grasped yet. You cannot have a system that's all about the big money.
Look at the reciepts at the FCC, its the Republican party raises more money by every measure except $1M and above its the Democrats. The Dean Campaign turned this on its head. It is about the money.
We had revolution 1.0 on the 1700s, we are in the beta stage of the 2.0. We finally have the tools to let them say its enough. The people who will give them the tools are in this room. But its still going to be the money.
It only takes a couple of million of Americans to change the entire thing. If 2M Americans decide.
The tools were not there before. It all got built up over time and in 2003 they were finally there. It took coruption to react against. Now everyone is after small dollars. The rest of the campaigns are in wallpaper land, but getting there.
What we need to understand about the political system
Right after Carter became president, the Hunt Commission was formed to happen it would never happen again. Carter got there without the system. So the system was made to prevent that. The cycle of primaries happening faster and faster, retooled every time to prevent an insurgent from getting the nomination. The only hope or best hope was to win Iowa or New Hampshire or both. An establishment candidate would be rolling right hafter . The only way you could stop that from happening was to win early. Gary Hart stumbled into Iowa and then started them on the path. This time the cycle was moved up so even that couldn't happen.
We got Dean to a place that according to the party rules was impossible to get to. There was no institution, only people using tools and the Internet. Now what happened was that we used new and different ways to get there and then we ran into broadcast politics.
Al Gore's endoresment is what happened. Gore is great, but alarm bells went off in newsrooms and campaign headquarters to say kill Howard Dean right now. Because if we don't kill the son of the B right now he will beat us. The media thinking that its their responsibility to beat up on him. Gephart saying he has to win in Iowa, a murder suicide pact, wrecked the Dean campaign with TV ads scaring elder Americans.
Now there is a need to say its failed. Why do they want it to fail? What's so scary about participatory democracy. The dot com crash story is easy, which is what the press does. Unlike a dot com, the Dean campaign made money (shaky analogy itself, campaigns make votes and raise money). What Dean made must survive regardless. The Internet is the most powerful tool put in the hands of the average american. The system has taught them that they don't count. That working in a precinct for four hours is a waste of time. The bigggest hurdle is that the system is so corrupted people don't know they can make a difference. $25 by itself is nothing, but with enough people in concert for the common good its huge. The common good of our country is what makes us powerful. We are at the first stages, if we continue to fight, to make the tools.
I sold my bike for Democracy, an email story. Campaign had nothing to do with it.
Fifty signs went up and the first comment on the blog forgot Puerto Rico, put one up, then someone from London wants one, put one up, a thank you from a woman from Spain. Most everybody in the states on prior campaigns would have a clue how to get a sign. This all happened in 10 minutes it took what would have been 2 months to figure out that there was even a problem with signage.
For a rally in a Park, the idea on the blog was for Dean to carry a red bat if they raised their target. Poor staffer goes and gets a red bat, gets it to him at the last minute, 45 minutes later. Ownership of the campaign by the grassroots. Now we need to build a movement thats owned by the people.
So many people in this room helped us develop tools that helped us (awe, shucks).
He ran Iowa in 2004 for Mondale, orange hat story is rediculous.
The one frustration was given what they were trying to do, we didn't have the luxury of being in different camps. It drove me crazy, but that's the way it was. There has to be a way to get a Unity Movement going.
Ed Cone: What Worked? Got people to the polls?
We need to focus on connecting with people. Meetup worked. Deanlink: the top person to get people to sign up was a 14 year old kid in Alaska, 74 year old retired union worker in Illinois. An 89 year old guy decided the live again by buying a PC, becoming the leader of his Meetup.
How do we use the Net to let people take the tools into their community. The other problem is that its so transparent. Letter writing campaign mechanism was co-opted because its so transparent. What would have prevented Rove from having people sign up to go to Iowa through Dean and then go rob a bank and get caught. How do you know that it was really Dean that wrote that email. Need authentication and identity. All the problems inherent in the net are also true in real politics.
The mistake of the media is thinking that its Internet related.
Ed: Analogy to e-Commerce of incorporating Bricks and Mortar. How well were you able to mesh your organization with traditional ones?
It will be important. Slating delegates. Gore embraced the new and different, but there is another group that doesn't want to give up power. Broadcast media is the only thing that stays no matter what. Hopefully this movement stays.
Ed: What about the stories about your pay?
Reference's Jeff's post. The campaign will put on a million dollar dinner, $2k a plate. You blew $350 to do it. In the Dean campaign we did crazy things, went for $100k in Austin to make bold moves. We don't waste money with galas, at 10% cost we did different things.
I don't know whats offensive, claiming I am a thief or a bad thief. I made $165k in 2003. The LA Times headline was Trippi's firm was paid $7m...to stop the fundraising part of the movement is to claim its corrupted waste. Its how to disintermediate me from the campaign. I didn't have the authority for budget and spending (this is true, Ed Rogan signs the contracts). He and his partner had been managing is media for 7 years and his partner would have been managing it regardless. This is not about getting me, its about how to stop the movement.
How well was the campaign able to incorporate ideas from the grassroots?
One of our biggest problems was making sure you see it all and acting on the best stuff. The idea of having a $3 turkey sandwich (instead of a $2k dinner), Meetup, etc. Doc, David and Brit would help alert to good ideas. Lessig helping Dean guest blog. People thought Dean's blog comments were so inane, but if ghost written they would have done it better. David said this was one of the most authentic moments of politics.
How applicable to local politics?
Already happening with Meetup. Make this into a movement. Where the local organizer is helping on both the national and local levels. Could be difficult to execute, but if we don't do it, it may not be possible.
Ed: What happened after November?
It was hard to communicate to people that there was a holy shit moment. Internet supporters complacent. Went from people not going out to dinner to have money to donate to a perception of success that kept people from donating. Disconnect between the body politic of the Internet and what was happening after Gore's endorsement and how to communicate to them when things have changed. We had a hard time conveying that we were in trouble, because the press reads the blog too. Transparency problem. How to have honest (and private) communication with your support base. How do you maintain the openness and free spirit while doing this? Especially when people don't know the difference in real politics.
Glen Tenny: learned that all politics ain't local, its global. You used the national Internet to incite some local people. When can you have a constituency running a local campaign that isn't pushed down by the national?
Can't do it yet. Its still at the point where a national base where opinion leaders and financial backing drives it. Local contributors and volunteers alone will not win broadcast politics, which has to be addressed as well.
Ed Cone: Dick Rowe said that eventually you would be seen as the McCain of wireless.
Dan Gillmor: lets say the press screwed it for you. What will it take for people in this room to create a different kind of journalism and how long will it take?
Already happening with Trent Lott. Dean in the early days was hotter on the Internet and it took the media until June to figure it out. The only way the press wrote about the Internet campaign was the money. Its the money, stupid. It has to be how do you get 2-3M americans to give $100. Its the special interest money against us.
Some idiot plugging his documentary
Micha Sifry: Contrast with Perot who owned the list. Who owns the lists at Dean Campaign?
Honestly, I don't know. I'm not there. We tried opening up the list to local orgs, but it created a spam problem.
Joe is going to do something related to a movement. The organization has a chance to keep going. Apprehensive about giving to the party.
Change vs. the Status Quo is what got Dean to the lead, then it was voting for the Nominee, the moment of choice got moved up before there isn't a vote. Now with Kerry people are voting Virginia and Tennesse for leader. In Wisconson, the vote will be Kerry as the decision point and at every time in history voters say no, and move away from the front runner. There is a chance for the movement to build through Dean. If Kerry wins Wisconson, its over. Then does Kerry bring Dean closer?