How has the Internet Revolutionized Political Campaigns?13 min read

How has the Internet Revolutionized Political Campaigns

The rise of the Internet has revolutionized every aspect of human life, and political campaigns are no exception. The Internet provides unique ways to campaign and increase voter outreach which helps politicians in winning public offices.

How has the Internet revolutionized political campaigns? The Internet provides social media for canvassing, helps candidates in reading voter sentiments, doing opposition research, recruiting volunteers, and fundraising. Politicians also launch online smear campaigns against their rivals to win elections.

How Does the Internet Help Political Campaigns in Modern Day Politics?

The Internet has revolutionized political campaigns in the following ways:

Email Marketing for Political Campaigns

Email data of the voters is such an important asset that can win you the toughest races easily. In modern-day digital marketing, no one can deny the efficacy of email marketing, and the same is the case in political campaigns as well.

Political email marketing can be used for various purposes, including

  • Fundraising
  • Increasing Voter Turnout Campaigns
  • Announcing Important Press Releases
  • Selling Political Merchandise

Whenever you are doing political email marketing, you just have to consider one thing: do not overdo it and find the best time to send emails by seeing at the data you collect.

Many politicians flood the inboxes of their voters, and this strategy backfires. So always ensure that you are not pissing off your own voters, as this will do more harm than good.

Fundraising Using the Internet

Fundraising is the most important thing in any political campaign. When you are short of money for your political campaign, you will find yourself in unprecedented trouble. And the Internet provides you with the easiest way to collect funds for your campaigns.

Now, politicians make a donation page on their campaign website and market that page to their voters on the entire Internet. This way, an average donor can donate big money in a matter of a few clicks within a 2-minute window.

When you are running for a political office, you have two choices to raise funds for your campaign

  • Do it yourself
  • Do it using the third-party platform

When you ask some third-party platform, they usually take a small amount of whatever they collect for you as their fee. But these companies are highly effective in raising funds as they are equipped with proven strategies to do it.

The most important thing is to find eyeballs for your fundraising page, which is only possible by doing proper marketing for it.

Crowdfunding is the easiest way to collect big money in no time using the Internet. Take the example of Bernie Sanders, for instance. In the 2016 presidential campaign cycle, Bernie Sanders’s campaign raked in $8 million of funds using crowdfunding in a single day.

When you are unable to get big donors, always remember that you have the power of the general public, who is ready to donate to you. You just need to reach them in order to collect funds, and that is only made possible using the Internet.

Doing sentiment analysis on voters

The Internet has also provided a unique opportunity for political campaigns to read voters’ sentiments online. Gone are the days when you had to meet every single voter to know what they think about you.

Now you can easily do it online, and there are a lot of services available out there for this purpose.

If you are ready to put in a little bit of effort, you can read voters’ sentiments yourself as well. For example, if people are smashing your Facebook posts with angry reactions, it is a guaranteed fact that they are not happy with your content.

Likewise, if you are getting more heart reactions, it means that voters are siding with you. But voters’ sentiment analysis cannot only be done by seeing reactions to the posts. You must also find the patterns in the comments of the voters on your various online handles to see what voters are actually thinking about you.

All of this was not possible without the internet revolution.

Internet has Made Volunteer Recruitment Easy

Now you can recruit volunteers for your political campaigns using the Internet. In the pre-internet times, political campaigns had to launch offline volunteer recruitment drives, which used to help them in finding only a small number of volunteers.

Now, the internet can easily be used for nationwide volunteer drives. Even if you manage to inspire some random individual who is not even your voter, they can also be ready to volunteer for your political campaign, ultimately helping you to do various tasks for free.

Since campaign volunteering has a lot of benefits for volunteers as well, people are always ready to volunteer for political campaigns.

Using Freelancers for your Political Campaigns

Hiring staff members for your political campaigns is a big task. You need to do proper HR management to keep your team intact.

However, the internet revolution has made it easy for you to find freelancers on the web and get the job done for small one-time fees.

If you want to get exceptional flyers designed for your political campaign or get your website developed or do any other job that can be done remotely, just go to any freelance platform and hire highly skilled talent for a small one-time fee to avoid the hassle of paying monthly payments to your staff employees.

On the other hand, politicians in the pre-internet times had to hire on-ground staff members for every single job, which has been changed with the Internet.

Using Political Blogs to Increase Voters Outreach

Increasing voter outreach using political websites is also an effective strategy in modern-day political campaigns.

Many candidates are launching their own political blogs where they write their opinion on various hot issues, which help them in reaching out to a lot of voters. These political blogs are also useful for announcing your press releases and other campaign announcements from time to time.

Now, politicians have two options in this regard, i.e.:

  • To add a blog on their campaign website
  • To make an independent blog for voicing their opinion.

Blogs are websites that will be your own channel on the Internet. If some media outlet is not giving you due coverage, you can easily use your blog to reach out to your voters, which is not possible without the Internet.

Creating Your YouTube Channel

Just like political blogs, politicians can now create their own youtube channels to interact with their voters. In the pre-internet times, you had to go from door to door canvassing and meet your voters physically, but now you can do it easily on Youtube live.

Many politicians come live on their YouTube channels to discuss their daily life problems with their voters.

And the good news is that you can easily come live from the comfort of your home. All you need is a mobile phone/computer and a stable internet connection.

Whenever you come live, just make sure that you are engaging the voters on other platforms at the same time to reduce repetitive work.

This you can do by coming live on various platforms (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) at the same time, so voters from all the platforms will be able to interact with you.

Using Social Media to Grow Your Political Campaigns

Politicians are the winners of the digital revolution in the sense that they have managed to make social media the hub of their political campaigns.

Even when political campaigns are not putting any money into the digital advertisement, social media users are always discussing politics on their timelines. Be it on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or even LinkedIn, users are always eager to discuss politics with each other.

Thus politicians who are impressing digital voters are getting unprecedented visibility in this era of technology.

Social media are the global megaphones and should be your best friend in any political campaign.

Some people believe that no politician should completely rely on any social media platform (just in case they get banned from those platforms). Consider the case of Donald Trump, who had a big audience on both Twitter and Facebook, but he got banned from both platforms in 2021.

But I guarantee you that if you stick with the rules of these platforms, they are second to none in their effectiveness.

All social media platforms have different rules for political campaigns, so you should be aware of those laws before starting your social or political campaign.

While you can easily start your political campaign on different social media platforms, we recommend starting your campaign from these platforms:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • WhatsApp

Internet Revolution Has Drastically Increased Voter Turnout

The Internet has also revolutionized political campaigns in the sense that it can increase voter turnout. Most effective “get-out-the-vote” (GOTV) campaigns are launched online, where it is easy to bring voters out using catchy, fancy, and emotional slogans.

In the United States, you will see that all the campaigns run online GOTV drives in both the primary and actual elections, as it is the proven way to bring voters out.

Internet has Changed the Way People Vote

The use of the Internet has also changed the way people cast their votes, which indirectly impacts political campaigns. Now Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are used in most parts of the world, which means that voters can vote within a matter of seconds after entering polling booths.

Not only this, but the concept of mail-in voting has also increased significantly with the availability of the Internet.

Delivering the ballots to the voters and keeping their track can only be done perfectly with the help of the Internet. During the mail-in voting, election authorities are busy monitoring big data, which was not possible in pre-internet times.

This concept of mail-in balloting is impacting the working of political campaigns as well. Campaign managers have to measure the tendency of voters to vote by mail to increase voter turnout. 

According to the PewResearch Center report, almost 46 % of voters either voted by main ballot or absentee ballot in the 2020 US presidential elections.

This means that the campaigns had to mobilize this group of voters using their GOTV campaign tactics.

Needless to say, this was not the concern of political campaigns in previous elections in the pre-internet times.

Internet Can Soon Make Voting Possible Remotely

Influencer Marketing on the Internet in Political Campaigns

The rise of the Internet has also introduced the concept of influencer marketing in modern-day political campaigns. Many politicians hire celebrities to increase their voter outreach since these people have the tendency to change the decision of the masses.

Influencers act as opinion leaders, which means that they make and break the narratives for voters. So, if you are a politician or a campaign manager, doing influencer marketing should also be on your hit list for your next elections.

Use of the Internet in Getting Advantage of Hot Political Issues

Cashing on hot-button political issues is an art, and not everyone is an artist. The Internet has allowed political campaigns to get the advantage of any hot political issue instantly when the voters are in deep emotions.

Consider the example of the Roe v. Wade case, where the US Supreme Court drastically reduced the authority of the federal government to make abortion laws. Democrats, who are the pro-choice people, saw this as an opportunity to accumulate donations by contacting the emotional voters.

Just hours after the leak of the Supreme Court abortion documents, Democrats managed to collect $7 million of funds through their emotional voters.

And when the Supreme Court announced the actual decision, Democrats were equally active in accumulating big cash.

The Democratic Governor Association raked in more than $1 million within one week of the Roe v. Wade decision. This organization supports Democratic governors in their elections.

Other campaign committees were equally effective in luring donors to smash the “Donate” buttons on their websites.

Now imagine the scenario of pre-internet times. It was virtually impossible for politicians to contact the masses whenever they faced situations they did not like.

Doing Opposition Research With the Internet

In the pre-internet times, political campaigns did not rely much on opposition research. However, these days it is one of the most important things in any political campaign, as campaigns do proper research on their opposite politicians.

Public records, interviews, old tweets, articles, and leaked videos are some of the major ways to do opposition research, and all of them are only accessible due to the Internet.

Thus, modern-day political campaigns do opposition research with the power of the Internet.

Internet and the Election Campaign Apps

Political campaigns also rely on the Internet to launch their own campaign apps. These apps are usually mobile applications that voters use as they support their favorite candidates.

Ahead of the 2020 presidential elections, Donald Trump’s campaign gathered a mighty amount of voters’ data using the campaign app.

Politicians can have different games and in-app purchases in their campaign app, which keeps voters engaged, while campaigns keep on collecting their data.

Obviously, this is only made possible with the advent of the Internet.

Advanced TV and the Highly Targeted Ad Drives on the Internet

The Internet has also revolutionized the concept of traditional TV ads in political campaigns. 

Now, campaigns rely on Advanced TV ads to target only relevant sets of voters while leaving uninterested voters unattended.

Advanced TV is made possible with the help of the Internet since it involves the role of big data in it. Targeting voters on Advanced TV was not possible without the help of the Internet.

Classic Case Study of the Use of the Internet in Political Campaign

Former US president Barack Obama is considered the pioneer in introducing the Internet for political campaigning purposes. His effective social media strategy urged other candidates as well to unleash the true potential of the Internet in political campaigning.

Obama mobilized the voters at the grassroots levels and did highly effective fundraising with the help of the Internet. As the Internet was relatively younger back then in the 2008 US presidential elections, it was not utilized by politicians for campaigning purposes at all.

Even many businesses and corporations were standing at a critical juncture back then as they looked to shift their models to the Internet.

So Obama saw this huge gap in the political campaign procedure and adopted the change immediately to win the election in both the Democratic primary as well as the actual presidential elections.

One of the reasons for Obama’s success was the usage of the Internet by young people. As a matter of fact, young voters use the Internet more often than the older generation.

Not only this, the young generation is usually the undecided voters than older generations, who are usually rigid in their voting decision.

Thus, Obama gauged this opportunity perfectly and launched the internet campaign targeted primarily at young voters, who eventually helped him reach the White House.

The penetration of the Internet all over the world has empowered worldwide politicians to change their methods of campaigning. If we look at relatively less developed countries of Africa, we can see that even their politicians are using the Internet for campaigning purposes.

Consider the example of Kenya, where a famous (and controversial) election campaigning firm, Cambridge Analytics, changed the outlook of Kenya’s Jubilee party and helped Uhuru Kenyatta in winning the presidency.

This is what the Managing Director (MD) of Cambridge Analytica said about Kenyatta’s win.

“We have rebranded the entire party twice, written their manifesto, and done two rounds of 50,000 (participant) surveys.”

Kenyatta analyzed the gap in the digital campaign practices in Kenya, which helped them in sweeping the elections.

(Mark Turnbull, MD of Cambridge Analytica)

So, irrespective of the country, political campaigns need to change their working in order to win their elections.

Are Internet-Based Political Campaigns Effective?

Internet-based political campaigns are highly effective in bringing favorable results for the candidates. This can be gauged from the fact that Obama targeted younger voters using the Internet, and the voting patterns of the young voters, as per the Pew research, are as follows:

Voter GroupBarack Obama

John McCain

18-29 Age66%31%
30+ Age50%48%
Men47 %51 %
Women52 %46 %

It is easy to see from the above data that Obama had only a slight advantage of 2 % over voters over the age of 30 years old.

Similarly, overall if we see in both the men and the women, the advantage was not too big for Obama either. However, he won the elections by the massive advantage of young voters, who voted for him en masse due to his social media campaign.

How will the Future Trends in the Internet Change Political Campaign Trends?

While the use of the Internet has completely revolutionized political campaigns already, the advent of web 3.0 will bring more changes in the working of political campaigns.

Web 3.0 will be based on a decentralized data distribution system, which means that large political campaigns that regularly deal with big data will need to change their operations. They will no longer rely on centralized data servers to target voters.

Changing Ways of Vote Casting Using the Internet in Future

As Web 3.0 will bring blockchain revolution, the methods to cast votes can also change significantly. This internet revolution will allow authorities to develop such sophisticated technology that will make voting by blockchain possible.

Blockchain voting means that voters will be able to vote using their mobile phones from the comfort of their homes using end-to-end encryption technologies.

Political campaigns will need to bandwagon Web 3.0 by changing their method of working.

Change is always inevitable, and the entities which fail to adapt to change will vanish with the passage of time.

Conservative political parties will need to change their approach toward voter registration drives if they need to get the maximum benefit out of the latest technologies. They will need to encourage their voters to use this technology, as it will help them to compete with their rival political parties.

Political Fundraising Using NFTs in the Future

Political parties which do fundraising by selling their merchandise can also sell NFT (Non-fungible tokens) for fundraising purposes.

So if you are a political canvasser, you can sell the NFTs to your voters to collect big funds in no time.

Are there any Negatives of the Internet for Political Campaigns?

The increasing availability of the Internet has also catalyzed the presence of fake news on the Internet. Thus, political campaigns often suffer from the smear campaigns against themselves launched by rival politicians.

So if any political campaign is not countering the online propaganda against itself using reputation management strategies, it is surely at the disadvantaged end.

Smear campaigns can be of various types. For instance, your opposition can leak your confidential pictures somehow just before the elections to lure voters towards their campaign. A proactive political campaign is one that is always ready to tackle the negative propaganda against itself.

Final Thoughts

The emerging technology trends have forced political campaigns to harness the power of the Internet to win their elections.

In modern-day politics, campaigns that rely on technology will easily beat politicians who remain reluctant to adopt the change.

As technology changes too fast, political campaigns need to ensure that they adapt to the change at the earliest possible moment, as it will help them in getting the most out of the technology.

You may also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *