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From her home in Spring, Texas, Crawford, 33, produced all the RNC's Web videos and Internet ads in 2004. In '08, she imagines, she'll be cranking out entertaining, semipolitical content for the party faithful almost hourly. "I try not to make [the videos] political at all," says Crawford, "because anything political gets an automatic negative reaction, even from people with a strong party affiliation. They want humor." During the election, the RNC bought the domain name kerryoniraq.com and Crawford stocked it with a video string of John Kerry sound bites about the war, adding to it every time Kerry said something flip-floppy. It was the kind of link a Republican could send to friends who were Democrats, and they might not change their minds, but they wouldn't be offended. "And that's exactly where we try to be," says Crawford. "We want these things to be viral, and if they're argumentative instead of clever, they just won't be."
Democrats too have ideas about how to galvanize their base. "Intel and Yahoo! are introducing technology that will allow every DVR to record video from a website the way it records ESPN," says Rosenberg. He imagines a world in which Hillary Clinton would post a daily video message with an accompanying e-mail alert to the folks on Demzilla reminding them to set their TiVos. "So Hillary's now speaking to millions of people with no intermediary and no overhead." While managing Howard Dean's campaign, Joe Trippi used the 650,000 people who registered on Dean's website as the largest text-messaging network in the country. "And we were making it up as we went along," says Trippi. "The only thing I know for sure is that with a network of supporters exponentially larger than Dean's, and a little creativity, you can really wreak havoc."
Keeping supporters passionate is important, but to win elections you have to sway the undecideds. If they won't watch ads, at least one possible candidate thinks they might watch the campaign. "We've discussed the possibility of doing a reality show," says a Senate aide whose boss is contemplating a long-shot White House bid in '08. "The obvious danger is that it would have to be warts and all to be credible, and you'd have to give up some control. The upside is people get emotionally invested in the candidate." The aide emphasizes that no offers exist yet. "But," he adds, "it's inevitable that somebody's going to do it, so why not us?"