When the history of this election cycle is written, no one is going to be able to ignore the impact of blogs and what FireDogLake is calling "people-powered media" at not just the federal level, but the state and local as well.
Two years ago, going into the 2004 election, there was perhaps one or two infrequently-updated blogs covering Connecticut politics. Now there are dozens, a significant portion of which are updated regularly and contribute original content.
The most interesting, creative and dynamic section of the Connecticut blogosphere is the network of liberal blogs supporting Ned Lamont, at the core of which is My Left Nutmeg, the community format of which may be the single most useful for blogs. That site was visited by John DeStefano, who talked with them about his health plan in an effort to generate excitement among progressives about his campaign. He's right to do so. The site is a nexus for some of the most committed activists in the state.
Ned Lamont's campaign is aware of that. His blog functions less like a traditional campaign blog, and more like an independent political blog. They quote news stories, post quick opinions, take and post pictures and so on. The language is conversational and informal, and makes for interesting reading.
Lamont himself wrote a diary for Daily Kos, in which he not only expressed his original opinion, but responded to comments for about an hour. I bet he raised a ton of money from it, not to mention generated immense good will among the people who make up a crucial segment of his base of support.
On the other side, Connecticut Conservative has interviewed several politicans, most recently Rob Simmons. While the conservative Connecticut blogosphere doesn't have a campaign like Lamont's to gel around, and so are therefore less connected, they are growing and they continue to produce original content.
What's the impact of these blogs? Who's reading? Well, this site's readership has grown to about 1,000 or more unique visitors per day, and about 3,500 page views. Other sites are doing just as well, or better. Beyond that? Who knows? It's hard to judge. Candidates certainly think there's something out here worth seeing. Maybe it's only money, but it could also be a new and positive kind of exposure, and a connection to committed political activists and observers.
It's changed the way Connecticut does politics. How much? We'll see in August.