April 11, 2007 — At the Shorenstein Center’s brown-bag lunch, Carol Darr, director of the Institute of Politics, Democracy and the Internet at the George Washington University, offered her perspective on how new technologies are “democratizing democracy.”
Darr asserted that the Internet has empowered a new group of political activists. “The Internet has lowered the barriers to journalists; it has lowered the barriers to activists; and it has lowered the barriers to donors,” Darr said.
Whereas presidential primaries were formerly run by the “cliques” of big media and big donors, the Web has given rise to a new generation of highly influential activists who are bypassing the major political parties and donating to third-party organizations, such as MoveOn.org, or directly to the candidates themselves.
As a result, she predicted that the 2008 election season will be more polarized, more expensive, and include more players than ever before. Said Darr: “It’s going to be one big, circular mud fight: hugely expensive and highly partisan.”