The Man Behind The Haul And The Future Of Politics

The Politico has an interesting profile today of the man behind Ron Paul’s record November 5th money haul, and it says a lot about how the internet has changed politics:

Trevor Lyman came from nowhere this week to earn a spot in fundraising lore by engineering a reported $4 million day for Ron Paul’s dark horse Republican presidential campaign.

But the 37-year old political novice from Miami Beach isn’t done yet.


The co-owner of a company that promotes musicians on the web, he saw a video online proposing someone gather pledges from Paul’s legions of Internet followers, to be contributed through Paul’s campaign website on Monday, Nov. 5

He bought the domain name and launched the site Oct. 18.

“There’s no officialness about it in any sense. It’s just a website that said ‘hey let’s all donate money on this day,’” Lyman said. “And once the banners were in place and people could start spreading links, it just propagated virally. And that’s really it.”

Paul campaign spokesman Jesse Burton said the campaign did not coordinate with Lyman but was aware of his efforts, which Paul piggybacked on as Nov. 5 approached.

“We learned about this through the Internet,” Benton said. As for Lyman, he said “I don’t know who the guy is, but I do know that he launched this website and I think that he was the original idea behind it, so kudos to him.”

Lyman said the goal was to get 100,000 people to pledge $100 each, for a total of $10 million, “so we did fall short, but I’m still very happy with what we did.”

As well he should be. What happened on Monday is both a measure of the ferocity, for lack of a better word, of Ron Paul’s support and a measure of the extent to which the traditional political channels are becoming increasingly less relevant. Is it likely that 2008, or even 2012, will see the traditional political system eclipsed ? No, not when candidates Clinton, Obama, and Giuliani can raise tens of millions of dollars easily; but it’s a sign that the days of the traditional political campaign are slowly coming to an end.  What will replace it is unclear, but it’s likely to be something that the people in power can’t directly control, and that can only be a good thing.

The article notes that Lyman is planning another fundraising effort for December 15/16 to coincide with Bill of Rights Day and the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. He discounts the suggestion that it will be a repeat of November 5th, but I wouldn’t discount the possibility at this point.