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Internet site may change politics forever, says UNI professor

June 24, 2003
Contact: 

Chris Martin, associate professor of communication studies, (319) 277-2991; Christopher.Martin@uni.edu
Gwenne Culpepper, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761

The advent of television changed American politics forever, allowing politicians expanded access to their constituents, and giving Americans opportunity to view their candidates in action. Chris Martin, associate professor of communication studies at UNI, thinks the Internet may create the next big change in politics.

He cites MoveOn.org, a Web site set up by progressive Democrats that is hosting its own Democratic primary. The site claims a base of more than 2 million people; even more may vote in the primary. The results will be announced on Friday, June 27. 'It's good for democracy in that it allows regular people to have a voice in the primary selection process. Increasingly, the regular primary process is influenced by early polling and the candidates who have the most money and can advertise. MoveOn.org's process is not influenced by those factors.'

Martin said it's hard to ignore the site's success. 'They've been very effective in bringing petitions to the White House and to members of Congress. But what really makes politicians pay attention to MoveOn.org is that its organizers have raised about $3.5 million through the MoveOn Political Action Committee.'