Under the radar of television pundits and political insiders, there is a social media revolution brewing that will change the face of American politics, and no two national political figures have had greater impact driving this revolution than Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersRestless progressives eye 2024 Key senators to watch on Democrats' social spending bill Five ways Senate could change Biden's spending plan MORE (I-Vt.) and former Republican Rep. Ron Paul (Texas).
One of the big political events of the year will occur on Sept. 8, which happens to be Sanders's birthday and will be the occasion for the biggest small donor fundraising event of the campaign so far. For a more detailed discussion of the Sanders birthday "moneybomb," as his supporters call it, check out the long-form essay I wrote for The Observer about what I predict will be a pathbreaking event in campaign fundraising.
The concept of the small donor moneybomb event was pioneered by Paul and his devoted followers when Paul ran for president. The Paul moneybombs were smashing successes that raised substantial sums of money, and the Sanders birthday moneybomb on Sept. 8 will be a smashing success with a power that will stun political analysts when the quarterly campaign fundraising reports are released in early October.
It is widely and incorrectly said in the media that there are commonalities between Sanders and Donald Trump, but in fact the real analogy is between Sanders and Paul, who are both conviction politicians who believe in campaigns based on ideas.
What made the Paul moneybombs so successful and what will make the Sanders moneybomb so powerful is that both creatively use new media to mobilize large numbers of devoted followers in support of candidates whose campaigns involve intellectual content, creative new policy proposals and a form of social movement empowered and magnified by social media.
Not long ago, I discussed the political power of social media in 2016 with Jenny Q. Ta, a superstar social media entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of "social media net-WORTH-ing platform" Sqeeqee.com, who believes (correctly in my view) that social media in 2016 will be the game-changing technology that television was during the Kennedy-Nixon debates in 1960.
It is the brilliant use of social media by the Sanders campaign, coupled with large number of devoted supporters he motivates, that has done more than any other factor to drive the repeated massive crowds to his public appearances, which will continue in coming weeks and months.
It is social media, coupled with the passionate and excited support of large numbers of citizens, that has largely driven the powerful support Sanders has received from small donors, which will be magnified again by the Sept. 8 birthday moneybomb being organized by Sanders supporters.
It is social media, coupled with an excited activism by Sanders supporters, that will drive above-average turnout when voting begins and could have a decisive impact if Sanders wins the Iowa caucuses, which is very possible.
While the use of social media has reached "World Series" levels in the Sanders campaign, network and cable television coverage of this remains at spring training levels, which is why insider pundits have been so surprised by the Sanders's surge and continue to underestimate Sanders today.
Paul in earlier presidential campaigns, and Sanders in the 2016 campaign, have proven that a politics of ideas and inspiration — backed by a huge number of patriotic Americans who believe in their cause, and employing state-of-the-art new media — can take politics to new and higher levels.
The social media revolution is not coming; it has already arrived. When the numbers come in for the Sanders birthday moneybomb, the political insiders will be stunned and amazed, but you will not be, having read this here.
To build on the brilliant analogy by Jenny Q. Ta, American politics is like the day before the Kennedy-Nixon television debates; on the day after, everything had changed and politics would never look back.
The reference to sqeeqee.com in this piece has been revised.
Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. Contact him at email@example.com.