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Book Review of “Vote.com”

Gone are the days when a prospective voter would receive materials or campaign propaganda of a political candidate in its traditional manner of writing and discussion. The advent of the modern and high-tech political crusade on the worldwide net affects how people choose and vote for their favored politician nowadays. The well-budgeted lobbyists and media are no longer the only players in the political arena. In fact, these political campaigners and the broadcast and print media have to wrestle it out with the power of the Internet in influencing and conditioning the minds of the voters.

The future of the voting system, as presented online, has already surpassed the conventional voting. This turn-around can be attributed with the fact that the online voting gave people the power to manipulate an election and make it work according to their respective perceptions and inclinations. Compared to the influence dictated by the media or the Public Relations Man and Political Planner of a candidate, voters prefer that the ball is in their hands in installing an upcoming leader.

This election style was what Internet wizard and the political consultant of the former President Clinton, Dick Morris, illustrated in his book, “Vote. com. ” Based from Morris’ election program, the Internet-driven people have now the power to manage and run an election process thereby affirming the impact of American democracy (Morris 27). However, the failure of the book as well as that of Morris’ online voting to provide an in-depth perspective of candidates and their political platforms, has misled and blinded the voters of the real essence of fair and honest election.

From former Clinton Campaigner to Online Voting Propagandist To understand better the “Vote. com” book, it would be worthwhile to know its author. A prominent and an in-demand personality in the administration of former President Bill Clinton, Dick Morris was able to successfully combine the world of politics and the online business. He was Clinton’s chief political strategist and consultant in the 1996 election and ventured into the Internet industry through the popular interactive website and online ballot box “Vote. com” from which the book with the same title was conceptualized.

The Morris’ election website serves as the citizen’s informal opinion polls on topics including political and nonpolitical issues. In spreading his vision of American democracy, Morris portrayed the character of an Internet guru. This is in accordance with his view that the Internet empowers the people to freely choose their candidate thereby upholding a democratic election. Unfortunately, Morris’ self-styled provocative election propaganda failed to arouse the minds and emotions of American voters to wisely choose the deserving political candidate.

This is because Morris’ online election information turned out to be more of a burden than a helpful tip even for the smartest election analyst. Morris just created an election observer who is having a hard time anticipating the Internet’s effect on the outcome of American democracy. “Vote. com” Book The democracy of the Internet voting, as envisioned by Dick Morris, was contained in his book titled “Vote. com: How Big-Money Lobbyists and the Media are Losing Their Influence, and the Internet is Giving Power to the People.

” A review of this book reveals how Morris deceived American voters that the future of American democracy and politics is better achieved by using the online manner of discussion and voting. With his odd and dishonest presentation of candidates and the other political-related propaganda, the voters were instead misinformed rather than correctly apprised of the impact of the Internet on democracy and politics. In his own perception of democracy, politics, and the justice system, Morris has exerted the Internet’s “Vox Populi,” which the book has presented as the power of the voice of the people and influence of communication (Morris 27).

However, this view is just one of the “faux pa” or fake doctrines of the author as far as the power and influence of online voting are concerned. According to Morris’ vision or rather, imagination, the book explains how voters and candidates can soon have an online communication through a course of specified exchange of email messages and video conferences that are all free of charge (Morris 109). Considering the effect of the Internet or online voting on American democracy and politics, the book of Morris turned out to be just like a political pimp promoting or advancing a politician’s own interest.

This is not new for Morris who, judging from his previous career as handler of politicians, has perfected a certain kind of political strategy that he thought to have upheld the American democracy. Morris failed to realize that what could be appealing for him may not be the same with other political observers. The book’s chilling effect was that it served as a foundation or basis that the American democracy will be advanced if politics and election are placed in the arena of Internet or cyberspace.

The book’s mode of discussion incorrectly considered that Internet or online voting will determine and affect the future of American democracy and politics. Morris’ book sent the wrong signals of cyberspace democracy and politics such as online voting, where votes are cast online and the voters and candidates can freely communicate on the net. Internet voting for the purpose of advancing the American democracy would, in effect, result in a free yet uncontrolled vote on various topics.

These may range from a serious issue of who will be the next U. S. President to a nonsense voting of whether Hillary should have left Bill at the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. This concern is caused by the fact that the book promotes the Internet as a referendum not supervised by the federal state and supported by no other than the Morris’ website with the same name. The book makes its readers think that online voting is an effective means that will benefit the American democracy. The Transfer of Power

As a whole, the book tells us of the transfer of power and influence, from the control of well-financed lobbyist of candidates and dictates of the media to the people themselves. This is all because of the appeal of the Internet and the impact of online voting. Traditional politics is changing. The politicians’ well-funded lobbying group, that includes the PR man, publicist, spokesperson, and the others, apparently do not have their clout anymore as far as the decision-making of the voters are concerned. Similarly, the influence of the broadcast and print media over politics is also no longer regarded and felt.

Just because of the emergence of the Internet and online voting, as what the Morris’ website and book has considered, media practitioners no longer mold or change the way voters think about certain political issues. The book adheres to Internet’s giving of power to the people when they vote, acquire propaganda materials and share their views online. This power by the people is unsafe because the pieces of information that exist and are distributed on the web were not reviewed or edited by authorized campaign officer of a candidate and seasoned print and broadcast journalists.

The election lobbyists and media have lost their influence apparently because of the combined power of web technology and voters who log on to the site. This alliance between the Internet and the voters signals an impact on democracy. This is because the modernization and comfort offered by the Internet as well as the voters’ easy and direct connection to political issues are manifestations of the future of American democracy. This, in effect, affirms the political power of the people as provided by the Internet.

It appears like the worldwide web is starting to revoke an information change by allowing the voters reach their candidates, resulting instead in social revolution. After three decades, the power of the media, which is regarded as the Fourth Estate, has now been modified. It is no longer the media, from its management and editorial staff, that has ruled political elections with its influencing manner or discussion and dissemination of information. The Fourth Estate has lost its power or influence. This is because of the emergence and the growing demand for the Internet technology.

The removal of power of the lobbyists and the media has given birth to what is called the Fifth Estate – the Internet and its users (Morris 179-189). Nowadays, political propaganda is a matter of one easy access with just a “click of a mouse. ” With no media and political strategists to review the pieces of information on the net, people are now free to accept, understand and share their political views. This new found democracy has escalated the power of the Fifth Estate with their increasing figure of Internet access.

It is now the power of the younger generation of voters as they are the ones who have the technical expertise to effectively browse the net. Their direct and information connection and access of political information and personalities began a new era of American democracy, reverting the political power and influence to the people themselves as a result (Morris 63). In his efforts to intensify the depth of one of his fake doctrines about Internet voting, Morris claimed that his vision would recover the ability the same as that of the third U.

S. President and the Father of Independence or Democracy, Thomas Jefferson. Morris rhetorically said that “we’ll still choose our president and Congress by the old election system, but the influence the public can bring to bear will make it far less important whom we elect” (Morris 31). He even asserted that “we are about to reclaim the power Jefferson would have given us” (Morris 35). This kind of thinking sends a wrong signal. This is because Morris’ vision that online voting signifies true American democracy is actually wrong.

The whole thing about his Internet voting is that it is just a false representation of American democracy when what he really wants is to advance his online business. In the guise of free expression on the net, Morris actually just wants to gain profit from his online business. This is all because Morris could not be likened to Jefferson. He is just banking on political democracy to promote his site and the book but he has actually a blurred perspective of what democracy truly is.

Another proof of Morris’ pretension is when he wrote “fifteen years from now, as the evidences mount that people have made the wrong choices and voted their fears and hates more than their hopes and dreams, we will collectively come to realize the need to curb ourselves and bring back the system of checks and balances so basic to our Constitution” (Morris 111) He further said that the people will retaliate to those who have oppressed them by freely releasing their power and influence that emanated from the Internet.

These two positions are examples how Morris’ doctrines about democracy were distorted. Thus, putting these into the Internet is truly alarming. Despite his pretensions and imaginations, Morris failed to address the issue if whether the Internet can really save American democracy and politics. In reality, it is actually easy to create and place political propaganda on the net. It is as easy as online shopping, checking on the stock market, entertaining oneself, and even doing naughty things.

However, just like voting site and the book of Morris, these are all junks as no solid or formal issues and credible personalities were taken up. This is because the nature of the online industry itself is basically to grab one’s attention and attract a lot of people to log on the system. Truly, the Morris’ site and his book are just self-explanation opinions of the voters and do not serve as a forum for sensible presentation of American democracy and political election.

The book of Morris is just a plain or simple and unfortunately misleading presentation that there is power and democracy when people shift to Internet voting. In view of the book’s smothered perception of the Internet, its author’s manifestation of democracy, politics and elections turned out to be also deceptive thereby making the printed version of “Vote. com” hard to be understood and taken seriously. Morris presented in his book contradicting claims, such as the idea that the Internet gets rid of mediator when it is only a half truth.

Moreover, the book’s assertion that the “the Internet will do for journalism what free agency has done for baseball players” is another incorrect Morris doctrine (Morris 86). The underlying philosophy of this statement was already damaged because media practitioners may have a hard time to empower and enrich themselves and lay down their respective interests without the help from publishers as well as broadcast and print management. This goes the same as with baseball players who need their team owners to tap them thus enabling them to practice their field.

In its bottom line, the idea behind the Morris’ is no other thing as a conduct of personalized and selective opinion survey. Revealing one voter’s view is not tantamount to the exercise of a fair and honest election. Conclusion The book of Morris could be correct in its general position that online voting has started and will surely modify or affect American democracy, the nature of politics and the manner of electoral process. However, Morris, the book and even the website are not the essential and real presentations of freedom and American politics and election.

There is a great difference between imagination and reality. The book, priding itself of having affected the American democracy, appears to be just the imaginary vision of its author. The existing electoral process and not the online voting is the real thing.

Work Cited

Morris, Dick. Vote. com: How Big-Money Lobbyists and the Media are Losing Their Influence, and the Internet is Giving Power Back to the People. Los Angeles, CA: Renaissance Books, 1999.

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