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The MoveOn EffectThe Unexpected Transformation of American Political Advocacy$
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David Karpf

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199898367

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199898367.001.0001

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Don’t Think of an Online Elephant

Don’t Think of an Online Elephant

(p.125) 6 Don’t Think of an Online Elephant
The MoveOn Effect

David Karpf

Oxford University Press

The first 5 chapters of the book are primarily concerned with left-wing interest groups. This is for the simple reason that there is no right-wing analogue to MoveOn, Democracy for America, or DailyKos. Chapter 6 turns attention to the surprising dearth of conservative parallel organizations. After discussing ongoing conservative attempts to build an answer to MoveOn, DailyKos, and ActBlue, including the rise of the Tea Party movement, it introduces the theory of “outparty innovation incentives” as an explanation of the partisan adoption of technological innovations. At the interest group, candidate, and party network levels, the party out of power has strong incentives to invest in new technologies and seek to “change the rules of the game.” The chapter details two competing theses—“ideological congruence” and “merry pranksters”—and presents evidence in favor of the outparty model. In so doing, it also challenges technologically deterministic simplified claims that often plague the discourse and suggests a novel insight about the history of partisan technological adoption.

Keywords:   internet, Tea Party, conservatives, netroots, social movements, counter-mobilization, American political development

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