There is an eye-opening article by Joshua Green in this months Atlantic that gives some insight into how modern political campaigns work. The Front-Runner’s Fall is an analysis about the HRC presidential campaign and what they did right and wrong. What is revealed through reading it though is how politicians decide on which positions they will take on which issue, and while this article focuses on a specific campaign it is safe to presume that every other campaign runs in almost exactly the same fasion.
If you are not interested in reading the whole article, page 2 and the beginning of page 3 detail how some of the issues that the campaign followed and positions they took were decided. I hope it doesn’t crush anybody’s idealism to say that these positions were not determined by ethics, idealism or philosophy but rather by the prevailing sentiment, media noise and what would be considered to sell well to potential voters.
What it emphasised to me, and brings this back to a topic of tech interest, was how important it is to be vocal and engaged with the topics that interest us in the tech sector. Relying on logic or quiet determination will lose out to louder voices. It also shows that it does not really matter what the party of the politician is, it is likely they will be swayed to whatever they believe the popular sentiment to be. So when we want things like Net Neutrality, IP reform and upholding of fair use, making sure our collective voices are heard is important.
Consumer lobby groups life EFF and various political action committees (PACs) can hellp your one voice become many and get some of those important things happening like the appearance of your issue in opinion surveys, TV news and newspapers. During this presidential campaign and upcoming senate and reps elections consider joining EFF or a PAC and help drive some technology topics onto the agenda.