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Welch: Facebook is 'Killing the Republican Party'

The Charlestown resident and former senatorial candidate writes that the social network creates an echo chamber.

Malvern-area resident Steve Welch, who ran for the Republican nomination to challenge Sen. Bob Casey earlier this year, believes Facebook is insulating its users, to the detriment of the GOP.

In an op-ed published Sunday on Philly.com, Welch wrote that the social media network creates an echo chamber for users and stifles intelligent debate.

Facebook is not only responsible for creating unwarranted expectations, it is killing the Republican Party. Facebook pushes combative tones, extreme views, and single-issue agendas to the forefront, while even-tempered discussions about comprehensive reforms are buried and rarely seen at all.

He was susceptible to the insularity of the network, too, he said, and allowed it to influence his expectations of the 2012 election.

On Election Day, I went door to door talking to voters in Phoenixville, a predominantly Democratic town in my area. The talk on the street that day was drastically different from what I expected. It was clear I had let my Facebook echo chamber manipulate my perspective and, as the day wore on, I began to fear I wasn't the only one.

Read the full column here, Facebook's self-affirmation pushes GOP out of mainstream, on philly.com.

Jim Frank December 18, 2012 at 12:38 PM
Self-affirmation is at the core of the GOP's mindset not something caused by social media. The proliferation of guns shuts up dissent - who wants to make known a dissenting point of view to a guy holding a gun. The concentration of wealth they support has put their target constituency in gated communities. Their push to privatization of schools and support of home schooling has set up future generations that will have little or no contact with anyone but their family. This is just a start of a list of things that they do that are self-affirming. The 'tough-on-crime' line they peddle has more to do with finding out who to blame than actually taking real action that would make crime less likely. And blaming social media for the social environment they have helped create is typical. Mr. Welch's rant is another example of how irrelevant and out of touch the GOP has become.
Kristin Thomas December 18, 2012 at 01:03 PM
This is a far stretch. Both Republicans and Democrats use facebook to voice their opinions. And those over 60 still use email to forward lies. Is anyone blaming email for tricking the baby boomers into a nostalgic state of mind longing for something that never was? Generally, I think people are scared and tired of the far right and would like to see more moderate candidates. We all, both sides, tend to speak the truth on facebook, whether our "friends" agree with us or not.
MikeN December 18, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Sore loser. Blame eveyone else but himself. Th Repubican party did not have a message that resonated with a large number of people. Divise and combative is the tone the rebulicans took. Maybe Mr. Welsh should blame the telephone, radio, televsion and newspapers aslong with direct mail. All of these forms of media along with social media ganged up on him to help him..."not win" as he puts it. He didn't lose, its just that he didn't win....Grow up and take responsibility for your off putting message and lack of direction.
1 December 18, 2012 at 02:13 PM
I read this over the weekend and thought Welch made some valid points. One has to look no further than the Patch's own delusional right wing nut Jack Minster for proof of this theory. This clown was on here for months claiming a "Romney landslide" in November and after that KKK uh I mean local political rally in November proclaimed Romeny would win PA "by over 10 points". After Romney lost Minster's Montgomery County, lost PA, lost the popular vote, and fell victim to an electoral college landslide, Minster laid low for several weeks. Now he is back spewing the same old misguided nonsense. At least Welsh sees the problem and will maybe help the GOP get away from the extremist and tea baggers. Guys like Minster never will.
Susan December 18, 2012 at 02:18 PM
I notice the not-so-subtle slaps directed towards the Pennsylvania Pastors Network, of which Welch's one time opponent, Sam Rohrer, is now President. If I recall, Sam came in ahead of Steve in the primary. Sour grapes much? I wish you well in your businesses, Steve, but please stay out of politics.
Scargosun December 18, 2012 at 02:41 PM
This is seriously amusing. A Republican blaming Facebook for the downfall of the GOP? Um...maybe it has something to do with the actual party itself, not FB. Ever thought of that? How about those 'pro-life' views? You know the ones that are really 'pro-have-the-baby-but-we-won't-help-you-after-you-bring-it into-the-world, not actual pro-entire-life? How about the ones where drilling in our preserves is a capital idea? How about the ones where much of the GOP basically treats women like chattel? Don't even get me started on trying to base laws on the bible...sound like any other extremest organization you know of? THAT is what is destroying your party, not FB.
Lisa Spano Tarlecki December 18, 2012 at 03:21 PM
well said Mr. Frank
Lisa Spano Tarlecki December 18, 2012 at 03:27 PM
the Republican part needs to just get their act together.It boggles my mind that you can be pro life and for the death penalty. the Fb thing is just stupidity. I actually learned this election how many friends and family were in fact Republicans. Never knew until Facebook.
David Curran December 18, 2012 at 03:58 PM
I have said for years we are witnessing the ultimate demise of the R party. Along with just the basic demagraphics, the party has been totally captured by extremists who really are not representative of the population as whole. The Tea Party movement has ultimately accelerated their ruin.
1 December 18, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Agreed but the problem is at the local level (House) they have managed to gerrymander the districts so badly that the nut cases and extremists are very tough to get rid of. Just look at the PA districts for an example. It looks like a jig saw puzzle as during the last redistrciting process the Republican majority re-wrote the map to push out Democratic leaning areas to save their seats. This is happening all over the nation is the only reason the Republicans control the House. We are the ONLY Democracy in the world allows elected officals with a direct stake in the outcome to decide voting districts. We really need to end this practice once and for all (to fair some Democrats have done the same thing and it hurts Republicans in those areas as well).
Jane December 18, 2012 at 09:41 PM
We are a Republic of a mainly two party system. End this...vote on policy, not party! It should not come into play, the "alphabet letter" after a candidate's name. Uphold our great Constitution and one needs to look no farther.
Richard A Breuer December 18, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Facebook is as good as place for rational political discussion as, say, Fox News.
Laura Schwartz December 18, 2012 at 10:39 PM
Politicians blame everyone...and now everything...but themselves. The Republican Party's war on women, as well as their Presidential candidate's treatment of a family pet, turned off this middle of the road, Independent voter. It got worse from there. Facebook cannot make up the the huge gaffes and blunders made by some Republican party candidates. Clean up your Party before blaming we the people.
american woman December 19, 2012 at 01:26 AM
I think the last paragraph in this article pretty much sums up his problem. Republicans in their arrogance insulated themselves and did not take the time to hear what the rest of America was saying. The subtle attempt at voter supression backfired, It was obviously clear that Mitt had no plan for the country other than to become president. To quote the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy on Romney way back in 1994 (before Facebook): "I am pro-choice ... my opponent is multiple-choice." Right wing Repubs like Todd Aiken made asinine statements regarding their whacked out beliefs on 'legitimate' rape, etc. Boehner, with his pompous and arrogant theatrical politics, has done nothing but waste the time and money of the American people. This sore loser can blame Facebook for their losses, but the truth is the party looks like a bunch of looney old white men with frightening ideas for today's America The Republican Party panders to a small number of rich old white men who may fund their campaigns, but can't deliver the number of votes that the rest of us as average Americans can deliver. He needs to stop whining and get over it.
Randeroid December 19, 2012 at 02:05 AM
Exactly.
Randeroid December 19, 2012 at 02:44 AM
You are right on point Mr. Frank. Mr. Welch is expressing the GOP's view from inside the bubble. As pointed out elsewhere, the GOP was taken over by theocrats, part of the investment class, and others with extreme views. As pointed out by '1,' the GOP would have lost the house and been devastated if not for gerrymandering. The message that this election is upholding the same message from the last election has barely penetrated the bubble. We want a secular pro-middle class and therefore pro-business government.
David Curran December 19, 2012 at 04:34 AM
Yep, that is pretty much my recollection of the last election cycle.
Randeroid December 19, 2012 at 05:29 AM
Excellent.
Jane December 19, 2012 at 09:09 PM
The GOP needs a complete revolution!! I am registered as an R, although I vote on policy, not party lines. "We" used to be a party of small government intervention and low taxes, along with sound money, economic freedom, and upholding our great Constitution! Now we have Neo Conservative, Social, establishment, to name a few. What about We The People?!? Bring back our Founding Father's values and just read our Constitution. Then this trivial matter will be just that. Trivial!
Paul G. Celentano December 20, 2012 at 01:38 AM
Once again, Jane speaks wisely.
Martha R Vazquez December 30, 2012 at 06:56 PM
``Sen. Bob Casey earlier this year, believes Facebook is insulating its users, to the detriment of the GOP.`` They can not take responsiblity for their own action, and they are trying to put the blame on our freedom of speech by blaming facebook. They tried to stop some democrats from voting and now they trying to take our freedom of speech. I was a republican, but I do not like what they are doing, so I change parties.

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