Returning Power to the American People

A politician is framed either positively or negatively by reporters (Crouse, 997, p. 37). Televison and newspapers do not foster debate or dialogue, they were one way communication. This changed with the Internet. Power shifted from media conglomerates, and for the first time, people were able to “share their own opinions” (Graff, 2007, p. 24).

Howard Dean’s campaign took advantage of the Internet’s power and showed how the American people could use it to their advantage. Trippi, Dean’s Campaign manager, understood the power of connecting people on the Internet. He wanted to make Dean the Internet candidate. Trippi states, “When you looked at him [Howard Dean], you were going to think Internet and personal empowerment” (Tripp, 2004, p. 100). Eventually this message of empowerment was used at the end of Dean’s speeches. He would say, “You have the power!” (Trippi, p. 123).

Obama has used the lesson learned by Dean—empower the people. The headliner on all of Obama’s Internet pages asks people to believe in their ability to produce change. Obama’s headliner asks people not only believe in him but to believe in themselves.

The Average American Person Will Give to Your Campaign

The Dean campaign successfully ran an unprecedented online fundraising campaign. One of the tactics was to use a baseball bat as gauge to communicate to citizens the needs and successes.   Trippi (2004) wrote, “A baseball bat went up in the corner of the Dean for American Web site announcing our fund-raising goal of $4.5 million” (p. 130).

Dean Campaign Baseball Bat Example

Obama has successful utilized the Internet to communicate their financial goals and solicit funds from the American Citizen.  On June 30th they ran this campaign:

Citizens Come Together and Unite for a Cause

The Dean campaign took advantage of This Web site connected people within a geographical location with common interests to come together. By the end of the campaign Dean had over 190,000 members (Trippi, 2004, p. 86). The Dean members would meet once a month to talk about issues and to do whatever it took to grow the campaign.  For example, the Dean campaign launched a major letter writing campaign to get the message out in states like Iowa and New Hampshire (Teachout & Streeter, 2008, p. 118).

Dean Campaign Meet-up


Obama has developed an effective recruiting video that is placed on his website to encourage people to “belong to something larger than ourselves” (Bedbury, 2003, p. 92) and this begins when people come together in small groups. He asks people to unite for change and attend or host a house party.


Howard Dean’s campaign used the Internet to explore new ways to communicate with the American citizen, and Obama has learned from his discoveries.  Obama is empowering the citizens, fundraising, and uniting people to further his bid for the presidency.



Bedbury, S. (2003). A new brand world. Penguin Books: New York.

Teachout, Z. & Streeter, T. (2008). Mousepads, shoe leather, and hope.  Paradigm: Boulder, CO.

Trippi, J. (2004). The revolution will not be televised. Regan Books: New York.