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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Karl Rove on the Digital Battlefield

In Defying the Oddswe discuss campaign finance and campaign technology  The update  -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.  

Karl Rove at WSJ:
Instead of resting on their laurels, Republicans have continued to grow their data edge. In 2018 Data Trust collected information daily on who voted early or requested or returned an absentee ballot. This allowed Republicans to stop spending money calling, mailing or knocking on doors of people who’d already voted, and instead focus on those who hadn’t. This saved an estimated $100 million.
Republican dominance of the digital battlefield is hardly complete. Since creating the ActBlue online fundraising platform in 2004, Democrats have steadily built a vast universe of small-dollar donors, giving their candidates a huge financial edge. In response, Data Trust helped this year to create WinRed, a unified Republican donor site. Mr. Trump boosted WinRed by placing his re-election’s small-dollar fundraising on its platform. Still, it will take much more investment and experimentation to grow a pool of GOP small-dollar givers comparable to what Democrats have.
Nor will the Republicans’ data supremacy go unchallenged. Stymied for 18 months by state chairmen reluctant to lose the revenue from renting their voter lists, in February DNC Chairman Tom Perez launched a data-sharing entity led by former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. Uncharacteristically for the DNC, money may not be a worry. LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman earlier said he’d invest $35 million in such an effort. There are also big potential clients: former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg vows to spend $500 million to defeat Mr. Trump with a significant slug going for data, while a new dark-money group called Acronym has paired with Pacronym, a political-action committee, to mount a $75 million anti-Trump digital effort. If that’s not enough, both the talent and political money in Silicon Valley are overwhelmingly left-wing.