YearlyKos Demonstrates the Power of the Blogosphere

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Monday, June 12, 2006

YearlyKos Demonstrates the Power of the Blogosphere

The first annual YearlyKos Convention took place in Las Vegas over the last three days and by all accounts, it was a raging success.  YearlyKos is the brainchild of Markos Moulitsas Zuniga of DailyKos.com.  Markos is considered the foremost liberal blogger in the country and has used his power and influence to bring liberal bloggers together for a convention.  Democratic politicians came from near and far to attend this event and to schmooze with 1,000 of the country's top bloggers.

   This convention in Vegas has basically served as a coming out party for bloggers.  It has put them on the political landscape.  It is now clear that politicians will need to cater not only to mainstream journalists, but also to top-tier blogs, who command an audience of millions.  Bloggers also have the ability to raise significant amounts of money for political campaigns and may be able to influence the 2006 elections.

Take the State of Connecticut for example.  Liberal bloggers do not like Senator Joe Lieberman (D) because he does not fall in line with party leadership.  Markos and others are backing Ned Lamont, a Democratic challenger in the primary.  It is unheard of to challenge an incumbent within his own party, but the bloggers are undeterred.  With a primary date of August 8th, it will be interesting to see if the blogosphere can knock off an incumbent Senator in his own primary.  If they pull it off, it will be a remarkable feat.

The real eye-opening story of the convention to me is how important politicians think it is.  With the exception of Hillary Clinton (who isn't liked by liberal bloggers), any Democrat who wants to be President in 2008 was in attendance.  From Governor Mark Warner of Virginia to General Wesley Clark, many were there getting some face time.  Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico even changed his plans at the last minute to attend the festivities.

The key tests in 2006 for the power of the blogs will be whether they can get Ned Lamont nominated in Connecticut and if they can derail Hillary Clinton as the frontrunner for the 2008 presidency.  Hillary is the early leader for the Democratic nomination, but bloggers really can't stand her and they support other candidates.

Either way, the blogs are here to stay and they are becoming the new form of media in this country.  They are influencing political elections and the politicians themselves.  Their power will continue to grow.

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