Clay Shirky: social media turned Dems, GOP into host organisms for third party candidates


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Gonna leave this here…

But yeah, this has been what techno-utopianists have promised for like two decades now, right? More people getting more say in politics (even if it means highlighting Trump).


But it’s finally happening, it’s finally happening!!

Er no, not convinced yet. I’ll believe it’s starting to happen if Trump and Sanders actually end up as the nominees.


He makes some good points, but “an essay in 50 tweets?” How precious.



Trump or Sanders ending up the nominee may not happen, but Shirky’s point about the two-party monopoly being turned into a semi-parliamentary system where the issues to be discussed are decided by the party’s voters rather by its bosses is happening.

In the case of Sanders, the DNC establishment and Clinton will have to deal with him on formerly taboo economic subjects if they want his voters. Now that he’s showing up as a serious challenger in Nevada, just cheating on behalf of her favoured candidate while ignoring Sanders’ core issues will no longer be a sufficient response from Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

Trump is a different case. He’s in it for a pricey buyout at the convention rather than putting taboo issues on the party platform. But the RNC hasn’t hestitated to pander to bigots in the past, so they’ll throw some of his issues in for free along with whatever real estate tax abatements and zoning variances and other goodies he’s promised will be delivered to him from local and state GOP politicians across America.

Either way, and for better (Sanders) or worse (Trump). both party establishments are starting to realise that they alone can no longer determine what can and can’t be talked about, and that they have to start truly listening to their constituents.


My thought, too. I know what he’s trying to do, and it’s cute, but Tweets are not the best format to present his points. Sometimes the medium isn’t appropriate to the message, even if the message is about the medium.


This is still a seismic political event, even without electing an outsider.


Mr. T, of course, was already a celebrity in traditional media, and has been adept at getting the attention of broadcast news outlets. An advantage that Sanders surely does not have; broadcasters have tried to ignore him as much as possible. His campaign has gotten as afar as it has mostly on the availability of new outlets to spread his message, organize supporters, and raise funds. But it is also true that he has to run as a Democrat rather than as a true 3rd party because the parties still have a structural advantage as far as ballot access and other issues. It is not an even playing field. It is not clear what would happen if the parties actually split in half. The Tea Party movement failed to coalesce into a true party and got absorbed into the GoP, because there was no coherent platform and it was susceptible to astroturfing. Trump would gladly break the GoP if it was to his advantage; Sanders won’t do that, though some might like him to.


I am disappointed. I’d hoped for a minute that you meant the actual Mr T was running for president.


I’m not so sure. Remember that Sanders isn’t even a Democrat, he’s an independent. He’s a Democrat just to run for president. I don’t know that he actually thinks much of the party.


He isn’t a Democrat (this is Clinton’s latest tedious attack subject - there are lots of Dem voters who aren’t, either), but he also isn’t an idiot. And on a lot of subjects he isn’t that far from Clinton. At least where he’s made her move her positions leftwards, anyway. I don’t think he’d risk a Republican victory by running as an independent.

Like Corbyn, I think this is a veteran left winger deciding that someone has to run from the left, and discovering he has a lot more support than he expected.


I don’t think he’d run as an independent. I do think he is risking fracturing the party by his mere presence. I think the analysis of article under discussion is very good: each party has subjects it can’t really afford to discuss because they are too contentious among the supporters of the party. The Democrats are obviously getting a lot of support from people who just can’t stomach the Republicans, but if it’s thrown too much in their face that the Democrats are corporatists, some of those people are going to give up on the lesser of two evils and vote for Trump to see the country burn.


Reminding too many Democrats how hard they’ve been holding their noses while voting?


I think a “fractured” electorate during the primaries is(should be) pretty much the norm. The point of a primary, to put it very bluntly, is to pick the racehorse for the general election. You hash out the differences within the party to find the candidate with the widest party appeal.

The current would be third party candidates just learned from those that tried before. Aligning with a major party gets your foot in the door.


“On our worst days, I think it is fair to say, we are 100 times better than any Republican candidate”


Amen to that !
Twitter turned out to be a blog-killer. Many of my favorite bloggers, of whom I enjoyed the deep insights and expertise, have grown lazy and sloppy since they have taken up to Twitter. There, they deliver half-baked, terse thoughts and comments they previously would have let mature into comprehensive and informative blog posts.


Would be better than the current choices


Yes, this is because of social media and not, say, the kind of polarisation that very predictably appears in stressed societies facing austerity. Because everything in the world is new and Keynes didn’t know what he was talking about. 50 tweets is very exciting but decades of research is boring.

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