Hillary Clinton’s win over Barack Obama last night reflects many things but the one that most intrigues me is that it was the triumph of traditional network politics over modern network politics. What do I mean? Pennsylvania remains an old-style Democratic machine state, with strong state and local organizations that turn out the vote. Independents are not part of these networks and can’t vote. These organizations are the networks of 19th and 20th century politics and they turned out the vote. They are also the networks of older, poorer, more culturally “traditional” people.
Contrast that with the web-centric networking of Obama, a very different form of 21st century networking. It is the network of the young, the rich, the independents and more culturally “modern” people. This network system turned out lots of money for Obama and the votes of the young, but it wasn’t sufficient to win in Pennsylvania.
Going forward, it the battle of the networks will determine who gets to run as Democratic President candidate. We have a classic culture war going on inside the Democratic Party, pitting young against old, web networking against institutional networking.
Wouldn’t it be ironic if Super-Delegates, people who are not supposed to be tied to any network, determine the winner?
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