If you want to see what influential US Internet pundit/policy wonks think about the potential of the Internet to change politics you should keep an eye on the Extreme Democracy weblog and download the chapters of the book in progress there.
“Emergent Democracy”:http://www.extremedemocracy.com/archives/2004/08/chapter_1_emerg.html which I “commented on earlier”:http://blog.org/archives/000687.html is there for example. It has been edited since my comments but it still appears to overlook the very real problem of the continuing digital divide both in the US and across the world and both in Internet access and, more importantly, in the forms of Internet use. I suspect most of the chapters of this book shares this problem though I have yet to read more of them.
All the evidence I have been able to derive (based on the raw data of a Pew survey in Mar/April 2003 which was made into a “report”:http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/113/report_display.asp) suggests weblogs – particularly political ones – are read by a very small audience. To quote some earlier research I did based on the Pew data: