New media offer unprecedented opportunities of political engagement to a wide range of actors. I argue here that the study of this political potential has been framed, since the ‘70s, as an electronic democracy discourse. The discourse is rhetorical in nature and builds on political, structural and semantic dynamics unfolding in the cultural domain, promoted by left-wing political entrepreneurs in strange alliance with the forces of high-tech capitalism, mainly amongst academic quiescence. Using material from the Us, the Uk and other countries this article offers three explanations, or theorems, of the coalescence of the discourse. First, a policy window theorem interprets the emergence of the discourse as the encounter of demand and offer of radical change and emocratisation in the political marketplaces of idea the city council, the western polity, the supra-national
sphere. Second, a triangle theorem takes into account the role of third interested poles oppositions and the new media industry in the consolidation of the discourse. Finally, a semantics theorem explains the resilience of the e-democracy discourse to critical and scholarly understanding. A critique of the debate
concludes the article.