The following is an essay by me, a Stanford student. Originally for a class research paper, I looked into politics and the money involved. I didn't like what I found. As a Web 2.0 consumer, here is my solution.
For the long version (about 10 pages), please scroll below.
If you want the brief summary...
Problem: We're spending too much money on campaigning. Most of the money spent (up to billions, for the 2008 presidential campaign) will be empty promises, since only one candidate will win! It also allows special interest groups to buy votes. Or at least political favor...
Solution: Web 2.0!
Example 1) Digg. These users demonstrate interest in politics by consistently digging favorite candidates to the frontpage. They demonstrate a belief in democracy simply by participating in the democratic process of digging up news stories.
Example 2) Youtube. Youtube videos, from George Allen's "macaca" call to the Hilary Clinton "1984" video, viral videos are making a splash in the political arena.
Example 3) Wikipedia. For relatively unbiased information on a political candidate, I would rather turn to Wikipedia than to a politician's self-promotional website.
Example 4) Howard Dean in 2004, Mike Gravel, Ron Paul in 2008. The internet brought them mainstream media coverage. Instead of paying for news space, they were the news.
And that's only the beginning!
If a political candidate would only utilize Web 2.0 to his/her advantage, and target the Web 2.0 audience.. and best of all, it's free advertising!
Curious how it will theoretically work? Read on...