Interview with Andrew Rasiej: Founder of the Personal Democracy Forum and

Founder of the Personal Democracy Forum and, former Dean consultant

Andrew Rasiej: Essentially, open-source politics is the acknowledgement that the citizens of a city, county, state, or country can solve far more problems for themselves than any single elected official. The thing is, the Internet is really a reflection of what exists in the real world but with certain facilities that are more efficient and easier. In political life, an organized minority is always stronger than a disorganized majority. And organizing is easier on the Internet.

Mother Jones: What should candidates be doing that they’re not, and why?

AR: They’re not making authentic video. They think every time a video camera’s pointed at their face it’s television. They still think that the technology department is a separate department in their organization; they don’t realize that technology isn’t a slice of the pie —it’s the pan. Technology affects everything. The pollsters should be using the Internet to do polling, and getting more nuanced information than just calling up people on the phone. I could go on and on. With Internet advertising, political candidates generally rely on consultants who get paid a percentage for recommendations of television buys, and there’s no mechanism for them to get any of their royalties for making recommendations on Internet buys. Therefore they’re pretty much missing an opportunity to use Google, banner ads, blog ads, and other kinds of Internet ad tools to get their message heard.

MJ: Are they also failing to embrace the web due to their fears?

AR: Big ones. They’re terrified.

MJ: Are those fears justified?

AR: Sure, if you’re not transparent.


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