Rand Paul really wants some new friends. Paul announced today that he wants to add 100,000 new friends on Facebook this Sunday, via a Facebook "bomb," setting his faithful to work recruiting them. (The top five recruiters get to be something like real friends with him; they'll have lunch with Paul in person.)
The "bomb" concept is everywhere in conservative "grassroots" politics. Tea Party candidates, in particular, ask their supporters to all give money online on the same day, usually to hit a target in the hundreds of thousands. Fittingly, Rand's father was the first (to my knowledge) to do it: in 2007, Ron Paul broke the single-day fundraising record with a $4.2 million haul, and broke it again a month later with a whopping $6 million. (Rand's campaign is playing with some of the same staff cards; most notably Jesse Benton, who ran communications for that revolutionarily money-accumulating Ron Paul machine, is managing Rand's Senate bid.)
Conservatives like this tactic. It feels mildly anarchic, authentically grassroots, and tech savvy.
But Rand Paul doesn't want your money. He just wants to be friends, and for his campaign events and musings to show up in your news feed. And to remind you that politics is about popularity contests, especially online nowadays.