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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-30-08 08:59 AM
Original message
A question for DUers?
Do you think DU has made any difference at all in the political discussion in the country? Would anything be any different if DU never existed? I know a lot of folks have poured out their souls trying to persuade people to action and to look more closely at the propaganda coming from the White House since the election of 2000. I can remember when 10% of the nation agreed with us. We were a fringe left-wing site, nothing more. Now, it seems to me that the majority of Americans basically agree with the positions of most DUers?

What would be different, if anything, if DU never existed? Seriously.

I know there will be comments about self-importance and navel-gazing but I think we should look at this question more deeply than that? What would be the best and worst-case scenarios if not for the actions and letters and comments of good people such as those here on DU?
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lame54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-30-08 09:01 AM
Response to Original message
1. W/O DU we wouldn't have this...
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Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-30-08 09:02 AM
Response to Original message
2. There is no reason to think that DU functions in any way to increase US political awareness.
Edited on Fri May-30-08 09:04 AM by Buzz Clik
It gives some members a place to blow off steam. Others come here to discuss politics with like-minded people (though that has changed recently). Others take advantage of the journals to do some pretty reasonable writing. And some here express their visual talents here.

I doubt that the country turns to DU for much of anything.
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mdmc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-30-08 09:04 AM
Response to Original message
3. I remember feeling very isolated prior to finding DU
I had ran for local office, worked with local dems, but failed to find true camaraderie with my local dems.
I also have lots of green buddies. I was an outcast in their holier then thou green political world.
So DU gave me a chance to find other liberal progressives that have not given up on the democratic party.
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Echo In Light Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-30-08 09:06 AM
Response to Original message
4. In and of itself, probably not so much...but everyone who voices dissent...
Yes, those voices DO carry, seeds are planted, especially after 9/11 when the Establishment was diligently working to introduce a parallel reality and keep Good Citizens in check - "hearts and minds," etc - it was important for people to speak out, if only here and there, online, or within their daily conversations. Even in a closed system the people can apply pressure to the Few Big.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-30-08 09:28 AM
Response to Reply #4
12. I agree...
I think it is sort of like a pebble dropped into still water. The ripples turn into a wave by the time it hits the shore. I really do not know where my head would be today if not for DU and the Internet. On a personal level, I shudder to think what might have been done in our names, and what was done in our names, if there was not an organized resistance of some sort, even if as trivial as a small left-wing website.
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waiting for hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-30-08 09:07 AM
Response to Original message
5. I don't know about how DU's effect
can be measured nationally - I think it may be so in smaller pockets of conversation. I know that participating here can raise awareness and knowledge about what is going on. Many of us here already receive emails about petitions and action required items from the other various Democratic organizations. But to say how much of an influence is a hard question, the only thing I see is the overwhelming support Obama has here, and that does not translate nationally - if it did, he would have had the magic nomination numbers months ago. The premise that the majority of the country agrees with the positions of most DUers only means that the sheeple are waking up and realizing that the media is selling this country a load of shit.
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-30-08 09:12 AM
Response to Original message
6. DU makes a HUGE difference.
Ask Gov. Siegelman.
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sharesunited Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-30-08 09:13 AM
Response to Original message
7. What are the most influential outlets for opinion and calls to action?
Can you go by ratings and circulation alone?

Is O'Reilly more influential than Olbermann?

Is Kos more influential than Huffington Post?

Is DU more influential than Free Republic?

(Drudge is just a scandal sheet, I guess.)

Seems like the more the merrier. Variety is the spice of life even as it factionalizes the electorate.

And, of course, it's more than elections which are sought to be influenced.
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EV_Ares Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-30-08 09:20 AM
Response to Reply #7
10. You know, out of your list, I am not sure Drudge is considered just a scandal
sheet anymore. It was at one time but you see more and more where it is mentioned on breaking news, etc., reporting. Hell the MSM is becoming so lame, tabloids are becoming on par with them for reporting. I think Olbermann is more influential than O'Reilly and of course I am completely bias but I do believe Olbermann gets listeners that can actually be persuaded and he does report. O'Reilly is like Fox, he has his cult listeners, like Limbaugh, and those people already have their minds made up and he and Limbaugh give them what they want along with Fox.
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sharesunited Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-30-08 09:47 AM
Response to Reply #10
16. Don't underestimate the bad guys. They poison. They persuade wrongly.
Which is why I support the Fairness Doctrine for the standard broadcast bands.
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EV_Ares Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-30-08 09:16 AM
Response to Original message
8. No way of knowing but I would guess we are a certain niche in the political
spectrum and we serve our purpose. I would say, overall, I doubt we have changed things in the political world and as far as in comparison to the other blogs or larger ones such as Kos, some of those people actually get time on TV and are mentioned in the press world. I don't know overall but DU serves its purpose.
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KharmaTrain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-30-08 09:18 AM
Response to Original message
9. It Makes A Difference To Those Who Need A Water Cooler...
I've been a part of this place for nearly 6 years now (started lurking in late '01 and began to post in early '03)...so I think I've seen a lot of things come and go here. It's role has changed as the country has, but the basic integrity of DU has been the same...a place where Democrats of all stripes can come and discuss the issues.

Some here may remember the DU Activist Corps...an attempt to try to organize and go beyond just being a water cooler, but it never took hold. I tried to make professional and political contacts here and found it like herding cats. Thus, honestly, DU's contribution to the political dialogue is minimal on the overall scheme of things, but an excellent grapevine for those wanting to both keep up with what's going on and either venting or discussing.

I'd give sites like DKos, MyDD, FDL and Open Left more credit in pushing the netroots. They've raised money for candidates and take an active part in campaigns and issue advocacy.
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EV_Ares Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-30-08 09:24 AM
Response to Reply #9
11. My take as well, you said it a little better than I did. I go to all those you
mentioned as well as this one, http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com / which I think is pretty informative. DU is easy though for info and posting, smaller group but you pick up good info and quicker at times than other places.

Have a good day.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-30-08 09:29 AM
Response to Original message
13. Yes
We put out lots of important information and give it more visibility than it would otherwise have. More than 120,000 people have registered with DU, and many times that many people have read it.

As you say, many of our previously fringe ideas are becoming more mainstream. That has to be due to the fact that the information is getting out there to reach people that it hasn't previously reached. Our own membership contains a good number of former Republicans.

How much of all this is due specifically to DU, and how much is due to other left wing blogs is impossible for me to say. But I feel convinced that we are making a difference.

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DCKit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-30-08 12:50 PM
Response to Reply #13
19. I was only registered Republic for all those years...
Edited on Fri May-30-08 12:54 PM by DCKit
(something Mom taught me in '68) so I could do my (tiny) bit to derail the most evil candidate. To date it's only amounted to a feeble protest.

Until this, the most important primary in my lifetime, was it important to be able to vote (D) in a primary.

On Edit:

Forgot to mention that I've heard us quoted on various newscasts and the weekend talking head shows, word for word. "They" are watching and reading DU and consider it a viable source - though I'm sure they employ a gazillion (or is that a Brazillion?) fact checkers. We have also been mentioned or cited several times in the past few months.

We do have a voice.
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FSogol Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-30-08 09:31 AM
Response to Original message
14. Well, the DNC did invite DU to the convention.
Someone must like us.
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jimshoes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-30-08 09:32 AM
Response to Original message
15. When Left Wing bloggers
get the attention of the likes of kkkarl rove, we're having an impact. Did people who stood on soapboxes a century ago have any impact on the politics of the day, probably, to a certain degree. I guess it boils down to a matter of degree. But overall, yes we make some impact.
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CRK7376 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-30-08 09:51 AM
Response to Original message
17. For me it has been very informative
I'm a lifelong Dem, but have learned more here than ever before about the Party, platform, what are concerns across the country etc...It's a great place to rant and vent. As a military officer, it's often difficult to discuss politics with fellow soldiers...especially as the minority party. My concern is what will DU become when the Dems win control of the House/Senate and Executive Office?
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-30-08 10:24 AM
Response to Original message
18. Nominated, as this is
an important topic.

There is a story about an isolated tribe that finds an airplane. They do not know what it is. At first, they use it as for the comfortable chairs. Then someone learns to turn on the engine, and uses it for an automobile. But they do not recognize that it can fly. That is a good description of DU.

In early 2008, I started working on getting area college students to register to vote, and participate in the process. By nature, I tend to interact best with students on the progressive left. I used DU as a "learning tool," to illustrate how moderate/conservative democrats would visit a "neighborhood" when elections roll around, looking for votes.

More, I think that these students found a lot of interesting information from the progressive and liberal democrats on DU. It is a vehicle that helped transport ideas to a few groups of young people who are participating in their first national election. And I think that it is possible that DU can be used to fly to a higher lever, if we harness its potential between now and the election.
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