September 29, 2003
Where Are The Republican Netroots?

As long as I’m on the subject, I just thought I’d pass along some figures from Figures are aggregates of all registered attendees worldwide for the October Meetup for a given candidate or party. (Figures current as of 11PM EDT, Sep. 29.)

Take a look at those numbers — they’re pretty striking. Assuming that the overlap between Meetups is marginal (and you’d expect it to be, since people are unlikely to be working for many candidates at the same time), the Democrats have approximately 175,000 people across the country who are coming out to at least one meeting a month to do some work for one candidate or another. (Remarkably, a full 2/3 of those people are going to a Dean Meetup, with the other 9 candidates scratching over the remaining third.)

To meet that 175,000, the Bushies have a little more than 1,000. Now, much of that is due to incumbency — it’s easier to turn people out to Throw The Bums Out than it is to Keep The Bums In — and the popularity hit Bush has taken as Iraq has failed to wind down as predicted can’t have helped matters either. But, I mean, even with all that, you’re still talking about the other guys beating you by a factor of 175! That’s unheard of. And even when you just look at party-level Meetups, divorced from a particular candidate (which you’d expect to be much closer to each other and less sensitive to the political trend of the moment), you’re still looking at a gap of seven to one. Amazing.

To give you some sense of how thin Bush’s netroots are, have a look at some other Meetups:

  • Join Arnold for Governor: 5,924. California can produce five times as many people for Arnold as America can produce for Bush.
  • International Magickal Meetup Day: 1,800. Is there anything more annoying than people who insist on spelling “magic” with a “k”? How about if you’re Karl Rove and you notice that there are 700 more of those people than there are supporters of your guy?
  • International Chihuahua Lovers Meetup: 1,677. You know anybody who likes Chihuahuas? Me neither. But apparently there are 500 more people who like Chihuahuas than who like Bush.
  • International Dumpster Diving Meetup Day: 609. Finally, something people like doing less than talking about George W. Bush!

In all seriousness, though, this points up an incredible disparity. Where are the Republican online activists? I know there are plenty of conservative bloggers out there, but I’m not seeing the same evidence that the GOP has been able to make the connection between online and offline organizing that the Dems have. Am I just missing something, or is it really as bad as it looks?

Posted by Jason Lefkowitz at September 29, 2003

Dude, you have got the least scientific study in maybe the entirety of recorded history.

A) Meetup is a private organization. Why should every political activist have to sign-up with them to be counted?

B) If you check out factual campaign data (all available on-line) you could count the gross # of campaign contributions and get a closer to accurate #. (We won't even go into Bush's current war chest vs. any other candidate's)

C) The Bush campaign counts the "footsoldiers" in it "Leaders" campaign which has over 350,000 currently registered.

D) Every Demo campaign has been on the campaign trail for months stumping away and stirring up its grassroots while Bush has been battling Congress for Medicare reform, maintaining vigilence on the war and a littany of other initiatives you can read about in any newspaper. When Bush kicks off his stumping in full force (as the Demos are doing currently), you will have a much better basis for comparison. But even before then, as I have factually illustrated, the Bush campaign already is doing quite well with its on-line campaigning.

Feel free to check out any of the conservative sites like mine or:

And do know that this is just the tip of the iceberg . . .

Posted by: Kevin Patrick on October 1, 2003 8:08 PM

For those on the left this is a natural process, that is not really extraordinary. I suggest the delay in reporting this activity by the Post is due to lack of recognition by journalist insiders, being gatekeepers.

Conservatives don't write for the net, they indoctrinate existing traditional literature. They like to be lead by authority, a strong voice or a catchy text, say the Bible, or a leader defending all that is worthy.

The lack of interest in political weblogs by the right, shows how behind the times conservatives really are. The support for Dean and the development of his blog is evidence of good collaboration and the use of information technology, for what I consider is progress.

Posted by: ABliss on November 17, 2003 2:28 AM
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