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It's an inescapable fact that a presidential nominee has to have a vice presidential nominee, though many would have been happy to do without. But there is no reason Kerry has to use the traditional selection method, which is only slightly more democratic than the British monarchy.

Win or lose, he could contribute to a lasting improvement in our political system by devising a better way.

Fourteen vice presidents have gone on to the presidency, including nine who ascended when a president died or resigned. As John Adams, the first person in the job, noticed, "In this I am nothing, but I may be everything."

We could wake up tomorrow to find President Dick Cheney taking the oath of office.

But the Constitution doesn't say we have to leave the choice entirely to the nominee. Kerry could offer a list of candidates he considers suitable and let the Democratic convention delegates take it from there. Or he could let the delegates nominate three or four possibilities and then make his choice from that list. Or he could announce that he'll turn it over to the convention and invite aspiring veeps to campaign for the job.

Any of these would give the voting public a vastly greater role than it normally has. It would also have some advantages for Kerry himself, such as attracting favorable attention--after all, who could possibly object? It would also allow him to contrast his open, inclusive approach with the secretive, Machiavellian style of the incumbent vice president. It could win strong public approval.


Adapted from Steve Chapman's article in the Chicago Tribune April 25, 2004

Crab Nebula

The future - long term future - of political ads on the net is very, very bright.

In the long run (15-20 years for good penetration?) we will have video on demand, and the currently fractured broadcast and cable audiences will be split even further.

Thus there will be a greater multiplicity of outlets through which you could reach targets with advertising. There will be many stations, and one-off producers of content - but also the ability get video ads to people through email via individuals' previously expressed interest in hearing about certain issues either directly from candidates or advocacy organizations. E.g. AARP members might get messages with little video teasers from a range of candidates on senior issues. There will be clutter - but content will be cheap to produce.

So many possibilities. Imagine a little window at the top of The Decembrists' page with a 15 second ad running in it. (Remember, in the future bandwidth will make this easy.) Click it and get longer versions. Then, customize your path to learn more. It will be easier than ever to inform (or dis-inform?) citizens with video.

mister jingo

I am not as hardcore punk as Mark is, so I dont have Mozilla, or even Firefox.

But I do have a Yahoo! toolbar, which blocks pop-up windows quite well. I believe Google has a similiar toolbar.

I think there are a lot of people who aren't seeing the mass advertising online.

There is spam, of course, but a solution would be had before too long, I would think. The internet works best for getting active dedicated people: mailing lists, blog reader, news junkies.

Scott Pauls

I see an interesting future for internet political ads. For example, the data on the targeted advertising the some internet firms do (e.g. Google ads that are related to the searches you do) seems to suggest that people do pay more attention to such ads. If, in the future, a person's web browsing becomes even more tracked, I suspect this can be used effectively by both parties. For example, if someone notices that I read a lot of articles on Medicare reform, read vaguely liberal/centrist blogs, etc, the party could target me with an issue specific ad or plug for money.

I think this would even work with the voter described as "may or may not vote". S/he would still browse the news and could again be targeted about issues they (seem to) care about. With enough data, one could even work out rough socio-economic status, geographical and other demographic data to further target message.

Alas, this requires heavy data-mining and a large loss of privacy. But, given corporations' desire to make a buck, I suspect it will happen anyway.


I think the real danger with internet ads in the 2004 election cycle is the corresponding press release.

Suppose Senate candidate Joe Smith releases an add on the internet, and couriers a videotape of the ad to every local news station in his state. Some number of them will run a story "Joe Smith, running for Senate, released a new internet ad today" and proceed to run the ad. This gives Smith free airing of "news" related to his campaign, which is probably worth hundreds if not thousands of dollars, and allows him to get a hit-and-run ad in that is. And he doesn't even need "I'm Joe Smith, and I approved this message".

AFAICT, there's nothing preventing the NRA, Sierra Club, moveon.org, or anyone else from doing this.


i am quite intrested in every thing i see here


i am quite intrested in every thing i see here

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