Save Us, Democratic Techies! You're Our Only Hope!

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 16 2013 9:30 AM

Save Us, Democratic Techies! You're Our Only Hope!

I spend the end of last week at RootsCamp, the annual and growing conference of and by organizers and techies on the left. Last year's conference was an attaboy party, with plenty of crowing about how the 2012 election was won and revelations of what bells and buttons and clickthroughs really worked. (Half the sessions, it seemed, were off the record.) This year's gathering was larger, despite only a few elections to draw on for examples. I came in asking "hey, anybody working on ways to fix Obamacare," and came back with very little.

This take has irritated some of the people who attended RootsCamp. Fair enough. You could tell one of a hundred stories after walking those halls and listening to those campaign veterans. But what stood out to me was the fiery inspiration behind new campaigns, like campaigns for "gun safety" or immigration or rolling back the gains of ALEC. The success of liberalism in 2014 (and beyond, but losing the 2014 election would have consequences) depends on the Affordable Care Act working and lots more people signing up on exchanges. I wasn't so naive to ask "hey, why don't you smart guys fix the website," as it's probably now as fixed as it's going to get. But I wondered whether there would be reinforcements for the navigators and Enroll America and the other groups trying against time and public opinion to get people insured. I didn't see it. Other attendees will have other stories—only fair.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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