They will be, in order of power, the Republican Party, the Washington Democratic party, and the Netroots Democratic Party.
While Democrats are currently united and Republicans seem fractured, the opposite is going to happen once Democrats seize Congress. The Democratic party has been papering over its differences. Power will unmask them.
Many of these differences occur on issue relating to the Internet. The Washington party is in bed with the copyright industries. I’ve seen a large number of Washington-approved ads this year, by Democrats, attacking the Internet as a haven for child predators and terrorists, demanding “protection from” it.
Those of us who have been on the Internet for a time know this is ridiculous. Hiding from the bad actors on the Net does not cause them to go away. It actually makes them stronger. Imagine how much worse the problems of spam and adware would be if we didn’t confront those people.
In addition to basic Internet ignorance we still face the problem of over-reaching copyright and patents. Both are antithetical to the way the Internet works. The Internet is a great Commons that allows people to create new works from old. Deny them access to the old works, or allow those who created them a veto, and you don’t get the new ones. Other people, who are given this freedom to create, will deliver them to the market.
Then there’s broadband. The current duopoly must be challenged in the market, but market conditions must be set allowing that challenge.
In all these cases Washington Democrats are looking for big money handouts from the industries impacted. And they’re getting them. The vaunted K Street project is coming apart, becoming once again bipartisan.
And it is this move that the Internet Party must oppose most forcefully. Issues like campaign finance reform, even state financing of elections (the only true reform allowed under Buckley vs. Vallejo) are in the Internet Party’s interests.
There is a fairly narrow window here, in which reform might be
attempted. It will last only as long as the current crisis lasts. It is
up to those who believe in the Internet, and in Open Source Politics,
then, to make this a two-part movement:
- Get rid of the corrupt Republicans.
- Make common cause with Internet-savvy Republicans to shift out the Washington Democrats.
Most will say this is impossible. Those people don’t know
their history. In the last crisis of this kind, from 1966-1972,
Goldwater Republicans did precisely this. The 1966 victory was a win
for Eisenhower-Rockefeller Republicans. Only after the birth of Nixon’s
Southern Strategy was an alliance forged that would hold power for a
Something much like that is in the offing this time, but only
if the Internet Party can seize the day. The Democratic Party can be
reformed, and is being reformed. There are Internet-savvy Republicans.
When presented with an Open Source Thesis, emphasizing Internet values,
this coalition can be made.
History is in our hands.