As for the tech and analytics deficit, the GOP is still playing catch-up. The Republicans have called their in-house campaign tech start-up Para Bellum Labs. But where this venture goes remains an open question. And let’s face it, naming a tech initiative after a pistol used by the Germans in World War II is a tad too retro, and certainly does not augur well for Republican rebranding efforts.
In contrast, Team Clinton has snagged Jim Messina, the tech savvy Obama 2012 campaign manager, and former Deputy White House Chief of Staff. Messina is becoming what Karl Rove was once, and more. For the record, Messina is a partner of Google’s Eric Schmidt, and is also advising British Prime Minister David Cameron, which should tell you how far right Silicon Valley perceives the GOP to be, as well as something about Messina’s own dexterity.
Sasha Issenberg, the politics and tech watcher summed-up the Republicans’ tech predicament this way, “With an eager pool of academic collaborators in political science, behavioral psychology, and economics linking up with curious political operatives and hacks, the left has birthed an unexpected subculture. It now contains a full-fledged electioneering intelligentsia, focused on integrating large-scale survey research with randomized experimental methods to isolate particular populations that can be moved by political contact.” In other words, the art of electioneering is stacked in favor of the Democrats.