Thursday, October 07, 2004

First Thoughts on eParty Platform

the eparty should have a basic platform at the outset. i believe it should be socially progressive and economically conservative which would have the broadest appeal to mainstream urban professionals. following are my thoughts and i welcome input...

* Deocratizing Democracy - opening up the political process to enable more voices and choices. this could include getting rid of the electoral college and furthering campaign finance disclosure and reform.
* Protecting Environment
* Tax Neutral - dont raise 'em.
* Legalize Marajuana - why is this one always so controversial and what's wrong with a little anyway (controversy or pot)?
* Healthcare for All
* More Open Borders - how do you think we got here?
* Pro Education
* Pro Choice
* Real Gun Control
- no handguns. not ever.
* Pro Business - especially small business. they do create most of the new jobs.
* Pro Free Speech - this one seems obvious but lets stop the attack on howard stern.
* Abolish Federal Sentencing Guidelines - i have been told that 80% of inmates in CA are jailed for non-violent and usually drug related offenses; and that the average sentence for selling drugs (12 yrs) is higher than armed robbery (6 yrs) and rape (2 yrs). course, the moral is if you're arrested for drugs, pull a gun and try to rape someone so you can plea bargain down to 6 or 2 yrs.
* Books Not Bars - we should never spend more on putting someone in prison for a year than educating them.

here's more on my thoughts on platforms and being forced to choose between the lesser of two evils.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Taking Over the Democratic Party from Within

i believe the best path to give voice and choice to the people is to form a web based coalitiion ( similar to that is focused on selecting and electing officials who are committed to representing the people. in order to gain eparty nomination status and full support these candidates will agree to eparty tenets.

eparty tenets should include:

* responding by email and community bbs to all constituents within seven days.
* complete disclosure/transparency on all fundraising activities, especially those involving lobbyists and large donors.
* adherence to an overall issue platform as voted on by the eparty membership
* participation in a quarterly online and offline discussion about specific upcoming legislation and issues.
* [do you have any more ideas? post them to]

Monday, September 06, 2004

Uniting Many Movements into One

we must get all the movements working together with a shared goal of opening up the process and winning. we need each successive candidacy from dean to gonzalez (sf mayor) to propell the movement, not just the candidate, so that when we lose by a slim margin, we still win by a large one in the longer run, so that when we win a new seat at the table, we bring the movement with the candidate. it's about building momentum and sustaining it. it's about proving to the people that we do have choices and voices, that we dont have to accept the lesser of two evils, we can pick our own. it's about giving the 52% who dont vote a reason to vote.

if you are part of one of the many disparate movements, i'd love to hear from you ( or

Monday, April 28, 2003

eParty - Lets Build a Web Based Political Lobby

at the recent O'Reilly conference i connected with peter kaminsky, ross mayfield, mark graham and joe kraus on this concept and volunteered to start getting the ideas down so we can all brainstorm at least virtually on it. i welcome input from anyone who shares an interest.

Sunday, March 02, 2003

i recently attended a meeting for the NDN - new democratic network (). while i applaud their interest in 'modernizing' the Democratic party platform and bringing in new voices, i have to say that their approach sounded like the same old political machine just trying to incorporate a few more lucky souls. i pleaded with simon rosenberg, founder and president, to consider building a real 'network' which would enable and encourage a 'bubble up' approach to their platform which would incorporate many more voices in an open way by design.

i envision an Ebay for politics in which anyone can create their own soap box around a particular issue, connect with others, and even direct and fund the efforts of a dedicated lobbying organization. so we could all decide we want to see 'real gun control' - that is no hand guns period. we team up and each give $100. we also email all our friends with a link for them to contribute. lets say 100,000 people respond to our call and we raise $10m. this money goes to our general purpose lobbyists who work through the same corrupt, money driven system that the special interest groups leverage today. i think of this as a lobby for the people.

does anybody else agree with me on this concept? email me -

posted by mark | 2:28 PM

i'm interested in the potential for people to use blogs to connect on issues, especially political. it would be cool if we could all 'register' our views on key issues and then remain connected to each other - ad hoc groups; so that we can immediately organize and act. the best example of this happening was, which managed to get 500,000 registered members in a month and $13m in pledges (though i'm sure a lot of that money never showed up). moveon hit a strong issue vein - people's frustration over congress's relentless focus on the lewinksi scandal at the cost of doing anything else.

i have often wondered why there has never been a web based platform that would enable other moveon's to happen ad hoc. there is some minimal functionality that would be really helpful, some similar to blogging. the most important piece would be the ability of anyone to set up a site and email a call to action that could be forwarded around the net.

posted by mark | 10:37 AM

Sunday, April 06, 2003

eParty Vision

my vision for the eParty is to spawn a web based political movement which unites 5 million americans within a democratically controlled lobby where everyone has a completely equal voice. i believe that it would be possible for this group to become the most powerful (and feared) lobby. has proven that it is possible for people to come together on the web and be heard on key issues, both in showing their numbers and more importantly voting their dollars. the vision of eParty is to offer this same power in a manner which is completely directed by its members. any member can post a new idea which can gain popular support. with critical mass that idea can become a new lobbying platform. members can direct money and even votes towards that cause. think ebay meets issue based politics. i envision a world where candidates can be proud to proclaim that they have 'sold out to the people'.

i believe that most people in this country feel completely disenfranchised from the political system. most are 'too smart' to waste their time on grassroots efforts which rarely generate real impact. many feel that not voting sends a better message to washington, as participation provides fake validation for races between candidates that nobody supports who in turn are forced to serve big PACs and other commercial interests who provide the funds to decide elections.

i believe that people are desparate for a voice. we all know that there exists a plethora of issues where popular opinion is never voiced or served. the best examples include real gun control (ie. no more handguns) and legalizing marajauna. i do not believe i will live to see viable legislation introduced on either. yet we live in a country where the average sentence for selling pot is 13 years and the average for armed robbery is 8 years. clearly the lesson is if you're ever stopped for selling a bag, pull out a gun:)

i believe that given a perceived viable path to having a voice, to taking back our government people will come out in droves. but we have to lower the bar for expressing a voice to the level of a few clicks, not a day of door knocking; and those clicks better lead to action, not some circle jerk poll.

Core Concept of an 'eParty' - giving the people a voice

the eParty should enable any group to come together around shared views/passions on a particular political topic; and to enable that group to have a real voice in moving and shaping the national agenda and ultimately policy. eParty would enable people to form 'soap boxes' around their issues with elected moderators. these could occur ad hoc around any issue - ie. 'stop alaska drilling', 'end the war'; but their would never be any fixed agenda. in other words, 'the process is the platform'.

with 5 million members paying potentially $10 a year, eParty could become the most powerful lobby in the US. the eParty would have its own staff of professional lobbists in Washington. members of soap boxes could identify candidates who they believed were for and against their agendas. this might happen by vote.

Getting There

i propose the creation of small working group to turn these into more actionable ideas. i realize that joi ito has been driving a discussion around emergent democracy. while i support that effort and hope to add to it, i would like to also move beyond theory and discussion to action.

i believe that achieving tangible results and then generating press around them can create a positive spiral, creating real momentum and convincing people they're not helpless and they can have a voice.

i am also excited about the opportunity to leverage the blog world to enable several hundred thousand people to connect on issues. one idea is to enable people to setup political platform sections on their blogs in which they can name issues and positions which could then be aggregated into meta issue blogs.

Feedback and Next Steps

I would really love to hear from people on these ideas, but i'll admit i'm a lot more interested in constructive ways to get a movement started than debating issues like whether it will include disconnected people.