There couldn't be anything more convenient in timing for the rise of the new political activist than all of the new methods available to deliver information to public.
Just a few years ago, the tea party did not exist. Once it was born, a new crop of hungry and effective politicos began to find their stride quickly with the help of "new media." With Facebook and Twitter providing an efficient path for the spread of information, YouTube now provides far more than an opportunity to gain fame with an embarrassingly horrendous music video.
Online video has now proven itself to be one of the most effective weapons in taking out candidates and elected officials. And with a video camera in virtually every activist's and staffer's pockets, there is a new battleground taking shape many entering the political realm are ill prepared to handle.
Take for instance two local races in Illinois.
Video has surfaced from two candidates just this week, that provides a clear example of how embarrassing moments and actions by a candidate were once confined to appearing on a political mail piece, are now guaranteed to appear in real live action video footage. Voters will see these videos on computers monitors, smart phones and iPads everywhere.
In this first video released this week by Illinois 58th district State Senate Candidate Arie Friedman (R), his opponent Julie Morrison (D) was caught in an excruciatingly embarrassing moment when she was confronted by constituents about raising state income taxes. When asked if she would promise not raise taxes as a state senator, Morrison replied, "oh that is like one of those trick questions already." And when asked about the Illinois income tax increase, she said, "you know, I'm not ready to talk about that yet, that's something I'm still studying."
Moments like these caught on camera couldn't paint a more clear picture of someone who is nowhere near ready to represent the constituents they seek to.
Another example of activists using video as a tool provides a glimpse into the effectiveness of humor combined with a hard-hitting fact to discredit Republican State Senate Candidate Tom Pliura in southern Illinois's 51st district. Pliura was caught on camera at a candidate event making shocking comments about private relations with donkeys when asked to comment on Illinois's new civil union law. The producer of this video used humorous images and music with donkey sounds before disclosing Pliura's past donations to U.S. Senator Dick Durbin for $1000 in 2001 and 2002.
These tactics on the political battlefield are of course not limited to local races. Even in presidential politics activists and staffers are using their cameras to take advantage of any opportunity they can to cast their candidates opponent in a lesser light.
RebelPundit obtained exclusive video this week from Rick Santorum supporters that showed Mitt Romney's camp taking down hundreds of Santorum signs across the street from a Romney event. While most people in the political world are not surprised by the tactic, Romney's folks got caught on camera, and clearly did not like it.
After receiving over 13,000 views in a couple days, another video was again provided to RebelPundit showing police forcing Santorum supporters to remove the signs they placed near another Romney event in Michigan. According to the local ordinance however, they had every right to display the signs at the location, which gave rise to the question of whether or not Santorum was being treated fairly by local police.
This is just another clear example how the ground war between candidates at all campaign levels is being fought, and how it is leveling the playing field between the big spenders and small budget campaigns as well. With a camera phone and a free YouTube account, activists, staffers and candidates are changing the game, and cunning creativity will pay off huge for those adapting to the new rules.