I haven't really looked at this systematically, although doubtless it would be an interesting exercise to do so, but an thought occurred to me today as I was perusing Hillary Clinton's campaign website. Consider these two posts. Firstly, this post comes from the 3rd June, just after Hillary had won in South Dakota. During her speech that night she said she wasn't going to make any decisions, and encouraged people to go to her website and tell her what they wanted her to do. The feedback is almost universally pro-Hillary fighting on. Furthermore, it seems to echo her electability talking point with lots of threats not to vote for Obama. I did a quick keyword search for the word "unify" and found it was used in one comment (sorry, doesn't allow for hyper-linking to individual comments, so it is at 7.30 on the 4th June) out of more than four hundred. So at that moment in time, everyone commenting on the Clinton blog was, almost to a person, following the party line. For that to have occurred, you really have to assume that there is some kind of moderation strategy in place. It is just too lop-sided.
But look at this blog post, from earlier today. In it, Clinton suspends her campaign and endorses Obama to be the next President of the US. But something has changed between now and Tuesday - there are plenty of comments that are rejecting Hillary's argument. For example (12:25, 5th June):
My heart is breaking, I know she would have been the best President this nation has ever had. I love Hillary and if she ever runs again I will be there for her. I will not support Obama, he is a radical. I will not support the DNC they are so screwed up. I will now turn my attention to John McCain and I will always be a Hillary Democrat. I love all of you and know Hillary has to do what she feels is best. God bless everyone on this web site and thank you for all your hard work, and lifting spirits when the press would knock us way down.
God bless America and all who have been hurt by the Democratic Party.
And there are plenty more like that. Additionally, it should be noted that there are some comment also saying Hillary voters should support Obama. In other words, discussion has broken out in what previously seemed a very sterile environment. I think of two reasons for this happening, one cynical, one very realist. The cynical one is that resentment in the Hillary camp means that they don't care that much about the new message and are perfectly happy to let their supporters discuss how much they dislike Obama and how they aren't going to vote for him come November. The more realistic explanation (and I suspect the true one) is that Hillary Clinton's campaign apparatus has completely collapsed - she isn't paying her staff anymore, who are probably all complete nervous wrecks anyway, after the past six months. But the odd thing is this. Out of that chaos is emerging a much more organic discussion environment, where Hillary supporters are voicing their feelings directly to each other.