Barack Obama's announcement earlier this week that he would forgo public financing just underscores how game changing and far reaching this whole Interweb is.
Ever since the campaign finance reforms were enacted in the mid '70s, we've been waiting for someone to say, "I want to spend all my money and I don't need any public funds." Every election, as elections get more and more expensive, we keep waiting for someone to say it.
And finally it's happened, but not in the way anyone was expecting. Every cycle the pundits look to the guy (or this year, woman) with the richest friends. But it didn't turn out to be that candidate. It turns out it's the one who gets his donations online.
Obama has a massive cohort of small donors who've given an average of $200 to his campaign. Clinton, McCain, and their ilk, those who get their funds from high-priced fundraisers are getting their war chests filled by a smaller number of people maxing out their legally allowed contributions.
But it turns out that small donations from "We the People" are a lot more powerful than a few donations from fat cats. This is not a lesson that will be lost on future candidates and I predict that this is the last general election where any candidate will accept public funds.
I think it bodes well for our democracy. Whoever wins, then it'll be "We the People" who calls up and says, "Hey, remember me, I raised a lot of money for you in the Midwest, and I want a favor."