Jonathan Bernstein describes the invisible primary as being far more important than the visible primaries of people voting as the invisible primary sets the conditions for the visible primary. He sees the selectorate involved in the invisble primary as such:
Remember, we’re in the “invisible primary” stage, in which party actors politicians, party-aligned groups, campaign and governing professionals, activists, formal party officials and staff compete and coordinate over candidates. We’re still two years from the voters of Iowa and New Hampshire getting involved, but for people whose business or passion (or both) is party politics, the nomination contest has been under way for at least a year, and probably a lot more….
The evidence suggests that party actors communicate with each other to some extent through high-profile endorsements. Fundraising matters too, of course, especially to those within the party network. So does recruitment of staff. In each of those realms, the universe of party actors is large, but signs that one candidate is winning a lot of support along with a large share of party-controlled (or at least party-connected) resources is a good sign that a candidate is performing well in the invisible primary.
Balloon-Juice, as a community, is part of the extended party that takes part in the invisible primary. Quickly doing a google search, I see that we’ve raised at least a quarter million dollars on Act Blue in the past couple of years. The commenters and frontpagers here routinely are quoted, massaged and memed in liberal arguments ( eg: peak wingnut, anthrax and tire rims, Equitablog, NY Times and LA Times columnists etc). We have some influence, not much, but some.
The question is how to use that influence as a community if there is a consensus that more bombs and more drones in Iraq is not a particulary wise idea.