Since the 2008 and 2012 elections of Barack Obama to the presidency, plenty of ink has been spilled celebrating, lamenting and analyzing the Republican Party’s apparent deficiency in a critical area of modern campaigning: technology.
If you believe the liberal spin, the software-app-data-talent advantage enjoyed by Democrats over the last few years is so great, Republicans have no hope of ever catching up.
As they say, however, history has a way of repeating itself.
Beginning the mid-1990’s, when Republicans won control of both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate for the first time in four decades, and lasting through the 2000 election of President Bush (43), national Republican investments in voter data were so heavy, the same political pundits now proclaiming the GOP doom once said exactly the opposite: Democrats will never catch up to Republicans.
It all reminds me of the pundit class wondering during the Reagan-Bush years if Democrats would ever win another presidential race. No new taxes, eh?
The best thing about being a pundit is they rarely, if ever, have to be proven right; they only have to sound plausibly right when saying it. The best thing about technology is that it has the ability to grow at exponential rates in minute periods of time. Consider this: if automobile efficiency had kept pace with computers, a half-gallon of gas would last all of California for a year.
Unfortunately for Los Angeles commuters, we have no fuel labs in our offices. Fortunately for our clients, we spend a lot of time developing new technologies and new strategies to communicate effectively with voters, consumers, donors, and other key stakeholders important to our clients.
For the supposedly lost, ambling, GOP, we’ve created very successful models to maximize investment in social media and advertising, and equally successful strategies to convert social media connections into “real time” campaign contacts who become active volunteers, engaged activists, and reliable donors. And, most importantly, with an investment made in a party or campaign, these individuals are then reliable voters, as well.
In 2008 and 2012, the Obama team changed the game. But the game hasn’t stopped changing. Technology never stands still.