Election Change is Coming: Technology

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CMNT – ELECTION CHANGE After two long years of Presidential campaigning it’s finally November 4th. While we look towards tomorrow to see who our next President will be perhaps we should start considering how our elections may change in the future.

A new form of digital media has arisen during the past couple years of campaigning. You may have even been exposed to it and not realized it. Called voter generated content it is the next step toward direct democracy. Internet users from around the globe are creating their own campaigns behind the candidates and issues they support. What this means is that we now know exactly how people across our nation feel about the candidates; we are also getting extensive feedback from the global community, including specific messages targeted at the US electorate.

Thanks to globalization people from around the world have an even greater stake in what happens here in the US. For that matter we should be equally concerned about what is happening elsewhere. This new reality is drastically altering our idea of national elections. Sure, you may only vote in our elections if you are a US citizen; but if you can convince others to vote the way you want them to then you have effectively cast your ballot. So what does this mean for our elections?

You see, the lack of defined national boundaries in the digital world means that we are witnessing the birth of the global electorate. Prior to the popularity of the internet the closest we came to understanding what foreigners thought of our elections came from the large media outlets. That is no longer the case. With our economic, environmental and foreign policy having such a remarkable effect on people around the world why shouldn’t we welcome, or at least expect their input? The very same policies of other countries have a similar connection to us – wouldn’t we like to have a say in their direction as well, without going to war?

We now have the technology to break down our borders and connect, individual to individual. People around the world are getting to know each other in a way they were never able to before. Understanding the similarities we all share is becoming common knowledge.

After an administration that has done more to divide our country than any other in recent history will we come back together through technology? This isn’t just the challenge for our next President but for all of us; and will we be able to do it without focusing on globally divisive nationalism.

One thing I’ve learned from the campaigns of this election is that the internet provides the structure to remove many levels of hierarchy that have separated us in the past. To quote Thomas Friedman, “The world truly is flat.” I look forward to the day that this network of common people stand together and remove the lines that currently define nations. Instead let’s be defined by our humanity and our common ground.

Andrew Miller is host of the blog Elephants on Bicycles