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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, March 30, 2020

The Social Media Gap

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. The 2020 race, the subject of our next book, is well under  way.  




Jim Rutenberg and Matthew Rosenberg at NY Times:
The doctored video didn’t originate with one of the extremist sites that trade in left-bashing disinformation. It was posted on Twitter by Mr. Trump’s own social media director. From there, it collected shares, retweets and likes from the social media accounts of the president, his eldest son and the multitudinous conservative influencers and websites that carry his message to voters’ palms hour by hour, minute by minute, second by second.
The video, based on a speech Mr. Biden gave earlier this month, registered five million views in a day before his campaign responded — with statements to the press and cable interviews that largely focused on persuading Facebook to follow the example of Twitter, which had labeled the content “manipulated media.” A direct social media counterattack, aides said later, would have risked spreading the damage.
Yet the Biden camp would have been hard-pressed to mount a proportional response had it tried: Mr. Biden has only 4.6 million Twitter followers to Mr. Trump’s 75 million, 1.7 million Facebook fans to Mr. Trump’s 28 million, and nothing resembling the president’s robust ecosystem of amplifying accounts.
...
Part of the Democrats’ technological degradation could be attributed to brain drain. Many of Mr. Obama’s 2012 digital operatives found jobs in Silicon Valley or started their own companies.
But in interviews, Democrats also argued that Mr. Obama had not adequately worked to rebuild the party for his successors. After 2012, he started his own competing political operation, Organizing for Action, and Democrats complained he was slow to share his valuable data and email lists.
“Obama effectively left the party alone for eight years,” said Mr. Dean, a former Democratic Party chairman, adding that such neglect was not uncommon among second-term presidents.
Mr. Obama has acknowledged failing “to rebuild the Democratic Party at the ground level,” as he told ABC in 2017, explaining that he had been focused on presidential responsibilities at a time of war and economic recovery.
The article goes on with detail about the GOP's more effective use of partisan outside groups.