Local Blogging - Local Organizing
I completely agree with Kos (and so does Atrios and many others), that the most important role of blogs will be in deciding local races. While blogging the Presidential campaign is exciting and sexy, it is here, on the ground, in local and statewide elections, that the real difference can be made.
Thus, I'd like to draw your attention to the experience of North Carolina bloggers, in many ways on the forefront of exactly that kind of local blogging. I have written at length about the NC blogging community and I'd like you to read and follow the links embedded in this post in particular.
I hope that other areas of the country, especially those that are demographically similar - in terms of having a lot of small-to-medium-sized cities, towns and rural areas (i.e., probably not applicable to NYC, Chicago and LA) - will take a look at NC blogging and look at what appears to be working so well here.
One of the best tools for the local bloggers to find out about each other is a state-wide blog carnival. North Carolina started one first, and the First Anniversary Edition just got posted last weekend. Other states are following. If you dig through the archives, you may notice that there is not too much politics there, and what there is spans the whole spectrum of political ideology. Don't let the appearances fool you - while enjoying the friendship and camaraderie of people that we generally do not agree with politically, we are also constantly looking for like-minded folks. Once the elections get closer, we'll know who is who and we can immediatelly start organizing. Blogging friendship is one thing - political organizing is different and both can coexist. Carnivals also breed MeetUps and other ways of face-to-face meetings of bloggers.
Out of many, many links in that post I first told you to check out, I'd particularly like to draw your attention to Orange Politics (a nominee for the Koufax Award in the Best Blog Community category). That blog is red-hot when it gets close to the elections. Information gets posted there before anyone else has it. People running in local races go there and post comments. Some regular commenters feel compelled to run for local office after the experience there.
It is the center of activity for all Progressive candidates and their supporters in the Orange County, NC (Chapel Hill/Carrboro area). When the Edwards's recently moved here, Elizabeth showed up in the comments clarifying some facts about their move and their intended political activity in local races. That is the kind of local political blog that Kos and Atrios had in mind - the kind that can make a difference in local and statewide races. Orange Politics has already proven that it can do exactly that.
(Cross-posted on Science And Politics)