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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Friday, June 12, 2015

GOP Tech Troubles

At The New York Times, Ashley Parker reports that the GOP still lags the Democrats in campaign technology:
The lack of experience among Republican operatives and companies is captured in a coming study by Daniel Kreiss, an assistant professor of political communications at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Christopher Jasinski, a graduate student there.
Using the Federal Election Commission and other data sources, including LinkedIn, the two identified 626 political operatives with experience in digital, data and analytics on every presidential campaign since 2004.
The breakdown was stark: 503 of those staff members were hired by Democratic campaigns, 123 by Republicans.
They also found that 75 political companies or organizations were founded by those former campaign workers on the Democratic side, but only 19 on the Republican side.
“Historically, the one thing that’s pretty clear is that the Democrats, over the course of three cycles, have been investing much more in creating a deeper pool of talent that can do things like work in digital, data and analytics, and that runs from top to bottom in the party,” Mr. Kreiss said.
The study also found that Democrats have done a better job of actively recruiting and attracting employees from places like Silicon Valley who bring innovative thinking and new technologies from the commercial sector into the political arena.

Though the imbalance seems to stem largely from recruitment efforts, Mr. Issenberg added that Republicans suffered from a cultural disadvantage as well.
Many who work in technology have a somewhat libertarian worldview that, especially on social issues, more closely aligns with Democrats.
Jon Ward reports at Yahoo:
The Republican National Committee’s data arm last year called it a “historic” occasion when it struck a deal to share voter information with the Koch brothers’ rapidly expanding political empire.
It was an uneasy d├ętente between the party committee, which views itself as the rightful standard-bearer for the GOP, and the behemoth funded by Charles and David Koch,
which is free of the campaign finance restrictions that bind the RNC and plans to spend almost $900 million in the 2016 election cycle to elect a Republican to the White House.
Party leaders, including the current chief digital officer for the RNC, hailed the deal as an important step forward in the GOP’s attempt to modernize itself.
But after the fall midterm elections, the deal was allowed to expire without being renewed. Since then, relations between the two sides have soured, turning into what one Republican operative described as “all-out war.” Interviews with more than three dozen people, including top decision-makers in both camps, have revealed that the Kochs’ i360 platform for managing voter contacts — which is viewed by many as a superior, easier-to-use interface than what’s on offer from the RNC — is becoming increasingly popular among Republican campaigns.
The RNC is now openly arguing, however, that the Kochs’ political operation is trying to control the Republican Party’s master voter file, and to gain influence over — some even say control of — the GOP.