The First Campaign

By November 27, 2007 No Comments

The First Campaign: Globalization, the Web, and the Race for the White House (FSG, 2007)

Buy at Amazon.com here.


“In his lively new book, ‘The First Campaign: Globalization, the Web and the Race for the White House,’ Garrett M. Graff… raises a lot of provocative questions about how candidates are grappling with ‘the new campaign paradigm,’ (which, he says, emphasizes a dialogue between candidates and voters, instead of a one-way conversation); how they are planning to chart America’s course in a new, globalized world that is increasingly reliant on broadband communication and technological innovation; and how his own generation (born in the 1980s and ‘more technologically savvy and more civic-minded than the one before it’) regards the current state of politics…. [T]he astonishingly young Mr. Graff (who was born in 1981) proves in these pages that he is a cogent writer, willing to tackle large-scale issues and problems.”

—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“‘The First Campaign’ is a graceful book, and an important one. It’s a success born of perspective: Graff gets enough distance to sketch the landscape—with all its moving parts—while remaining firmly embroiled in the fight.”

Christian Science Monitor

“In this ambitious book about technology’s impact on politics, the author argues that the key issues of the 2008 election—business investment, education, health care, and global warming—all are tech issues at their core. But Graff, who ran Howard Dean’s first Web site in 1997 (while still in high school!), is at his best when he maps the ways in which the internet is rewriting the rules of presidential campaigning.”

Wired Magazine

“Graff offers an up-to-date synthesis of the multiple challenges facing Americas as we adjust to living in a flattening world, and a valuable critique of how our policy debates on everything from health care to education haven’t yet caught up with reality.”


“Having invented most modern technology, including the Internet, the United States is walking blind and backwards into the future, argues a former Howard Dean webmaster and current Washingtonian editor. Ardent tech-evangelist Graff offers an incisive and fairly persuasive text laying out the reasons why the 2008 presidential campaign will not only be extraordinarily important, but unlike any ever seen before… Therefore, writes the author, ‘the first campaign of a new era is upon us.’ Graff is realistic enough in his acknowledgement that no matter how web-savvy a candidate may be, if there’s no message to deliver, voters won’t care: ‘The candidate who best understands that the internet isn’t an end to itself but merely a means to an end—a chance to pull people in and get them involved in the political process—will triumph.’ [Graff]… lay[s] out the tough issues the country faces (everything from globalization to climate change), making the case that 2008 and the following decade may well be the last chance ‘to make changes and address those looming challenges before they begin to become truly painful.’ Graff is mostly hopeful, though he paints a bleak picture of lagging educational standards and politicians so woefully out of step with the times that as recently as 2001, Sen. Dianne Feinstein was quoted saying, ‘I don’t believe the Senate should be on the internet until we get rid of pedophilia and pornography.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Graff… knows a great deal about the contemporary political issues he discusses… which bring a thoughtful clarity to his wide-ranging analysis, from the need for sweeping healthcare reform to the political issues of Twitter.com.”

Publishers Weekly

Required reading for both candidates and concerned voters, ‘The First Campaign’ is a brilliant look at where American politics is headed in the coming decades.”

— The Strand Bookstore, New York