John McCain’s uphill presidential campaign relied extensively on the web, and the model outlined by Jesse Ventura and as early as 1998. McCain sent Wes Gullet to Minnesota to study Ventura’s gubernatorial campaign and afterwards used it. McCain in 2000 was an online hero and he was among the first politicians to go on line for fund raising whereby he successfully used the internet and set a record of fundraising of one million dollars in forty eight hours in 2000, during the nomination phase and that kept him alive in his campaigns, he also went online to chart with his supporters who had donated $ 100 to the campaign.
(Mayer W. G) in 2008 too, McCain used the internet to raise funds for campaigns and to link with ideological and interest groups in order to secure individual and group contribution. He used the web to gather supporters and present his views. He could send mails to different groups of supporters, each group representing a geographical region, and the group could further disseminate the mail to other smaller groups and individuals and McCain could get back the groups’ feedback.
McCain used the internet to reach most people within the shortest time possible, it was through the internet that he fought Obama’s obstacle of vast network of support. He held discussions and interviews through the internet and this ensured that he connected with people who were far. Via the e-mail McCain did debate and exchanged with voters who got political information via the web. About 18 % of his supporters gave original commentary and analysis of McCain’s campaign proceedings via the internet.
John McCain used the internet to campaign whereby he could give speech to his supporters through the web videos. He also used the internet in mobilization of supporters, the main campaigners, and he linked with volunteers, friends and family members. Political campaigns do advertise online. Among the first responsibilities of any campaign is to develop a master plan that should include a section on the expected advertising and the need to go online is indispensable (Trent, J. S and Friedenberg, R. V.
2007) McCain used the web for campaign advertisement, and sent his supporters to the websites to spread his message themselves. McCain used the internet to a create a loyal following among his supporters and that marketing strategy added value to his campaigns thereby replacing the traditional media mostly comprising newspapers, television and the radio, he constantly updated himself with information from voters, political organizations and other stakeholders through the web. The internet became a choice of interaction between the republicans, government officials and the public.
Internet users voted in large numbers for republican candidates than non- users in 1998 and internet users are attracted more to the Republican Party than the non-users. John McCain hired web consultants and met with bloggers twice a week for updating and further consultations on the campaign trends and strategy, and it was primarily through the internet that McCain responded immediately to political bloggers. McCain heavily relied on the e- campaign team that hired tech -savvy to liaise with bloggers online like blogger Patrick Hynes, and to get campaign’s key message online. (Stirland, 2008)
Despite the importance of town hall meetings, McCain prominently campaigned on the web in 2008 than any other year. To keep up with Obama’s online tempo, McCain began focusing on direct communication through the internet. He addressed bloggers and other members of the internet, as a way of spreading his information. He released information about his party and his candidacy to the supporters; his policies were also got via the internet. He used the web facility to reach his advisors, political analyst and he used the internet as a medium of answering questions to his supporters.
McCain used the internet as a medium for grassroots organizations and other functions concerning his campaign for example it was through the internet that he sent an appeal over alleged claims in the New York Times’ article that he had a romantic relationship with a female lobbyist eight years ago, he took the advantage of that article and through the web he sent a financial assistance appeal decrying the article’s attack message and urged his followers to donate to the campaign kit.
A research by Pew Research Centre for the people and press show that in battleground states 58 % of McCain supporters as compared to 47 % of Obama, received mail and pre- recorded phone calls. A survey, unsurprisingly found that 56% of McCain’s supporters got political news and information on the internet during the 2008 election campaigns. (Stirland S. R 2008) McCain’s online campaign staff argues that the web strategy brought him back to campaigning track when he was completely out of the way in 2007.
The internet helped McCain in advancing past the stages of campaigning until he became the republicans’ nominee. The republicans used the YouTube in getting their campaign message out, and they liked the in-house produced video that covered McCain’s past events in service. The republicans agree that it is through the internet that they raised a third of all money raised in primary. McCain campaign team published a side by side comparison of Obama’s Iraq war policy web using an online service called Versionista, a subscription service that allows people to track minute, detailed changes on the websites.
The McCain’s team used the online Versionista, service to illustrate the Obama campaign’s edits of its Iraq policy page in an attempt to demonstrate the democrat’s shifting policy stance. (Stirland S. R 2008) and McCain in his campaigns, started to spider the Obama’s campaign website. The republican campaign team, in the last few weeks of the campaign further added features like social networking to boost their communication via the web.
The McCain team re-launched its social network, that is, the McCain Space, which was timely before his acceptance of the nomination and the space had a vital potential that poured for the campaign. The site involved standard social networking features like forums. All video users uploaded were embedded; they could be spread through blogs and social networks. The new site was easy to use and had plenty of social networking practices like allowing users to sort videos (Robert, 2005).
McCain, unlike Obama, fully integrated his vice presidential pick, Sarah Palin into the website’s home page. In August 2008, McCain increased the stake on web expenditure on advertisement. The web traffic to McCain. com increased to 242 % following his decision to name Sarah Palin as his vice president. McCain further increased online advertising expenditure across image-based impressions and sponsored search advertising. McCain placed his banners in the internet, those who saw his adverts clicked to them and by that he marketed himself.
He used the web to effect political change, internet acted as a force to change; his purpose of the internet was to drive an e-mail spike into the hearts of voters in America (Sarah, Diana & Rachel, 2006). The internet was used to recruit supporters from different states and register them, further the internet was used to link and organize supporters from different states for meetings and campaign rallies. For example, he sent e-mail messages to leaders of each state informing them the state he could visit so that they could organize and send representatives there.
The internet established sections for each state and provided online locations for each group and individuals. He used the web to have different state organizations to have cyber locations to list meetings and coordinate efforts to maximize campaign resources. McCain team established e-mail lists of contacts in every state and it allowed direct contacts. His supporters relied on an e-mail campaign through which individuals created their own campaign signs which they shared with each other as e-mail attachments.
McCain developed direct mail or telemarketing, this web use was seen as the quickest and cost effective to seek contributions. In conclusion, McCain remarkably used the internet and it was fruitful, he managed to reach a vast number of supporters and they exchanged information without the physical face to face component. Although he did not win the presidency, McCain made a mark within the Republican Party file and rank by becoming the first candidate to embrace extensively the use of modern technology to boost his campaigns.
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