"They are a couple steps ahead in technology, but light years ahead in culture," said Wesley Donehue, the president of Push Digital, a Republican communications firm. "Democrats put a larger emphasis on digital and data and technology, they put more money into it, they are better at sharing it. Republicans are much more guarded in sharing their resources."
The culture gap on vivid display this month at RootsCamp, a two-day "un-conference" — their phrase — of more than 2,500 progressive activists and campaign pros who gather yearly in Washington to drink, talk shop and swap lessons from the election season that was.
There is nothing like it on the right. One fearful Republican blogger called it "The Left's New Death Star."
The gathering — run by the New Organizing Institute, a progressive outfit that trains activists and operatives in the fields of data, digital and organizing — has blossomed since its heady inception in 2006. Back then, when "netroots" activists were demanding a seat at the Democratic Party table after John Kerry's presidential loss, the event was an amateurish meet-up of some 200 web-obsessed Democrats who convened in coffee shops and college classrooms in Washington, Brooklyn, and Denver to plot strategy.
Today, RootsCamp feels like a Vegas tech expo for Democrats.