Republican Chairman Reince Priebus promises a brand spankin' new GOP in a video message on the RNC website. Flashy.
The more things change, the more they stay the same:
Republicans finally get it — and have jumped on Internet technology in hopes of dominating it in the same way they used talk radio in the early 1990s to build a following....As several hundred operatives, consultants and activists huddled for the tech summit Friday, Republican officials promised the rush to embrace new technology was “just the beginning.”That was the buzz coming out of the Republican's tech summit nearly four years ago in February 2009. This is what came out of a Republican tech summit this month:
They were quick to admit they had been stomped by Democrats and Mr. Obama during the past two elections but said they have the tools to play catch-up. [...]
The idea is to have a mind-set that everything Republicans do, even the most traditional events such as news conferences, has a new-media component “to help you echo your own message,” said Mr. Pounder, who sends reporters a joke-laden and hyperlink-heavy “Morning Whip-Up” similar to what he blasted out for the McCain campaign in 2008
RNC chief of staff Mike Shields, whom Priebus recently hired to help shepherd the RNC's modernization, said he is working on "fundamentally restructuring the way the RNC works so it is centered around the technology department." Shields said that the release of the RNC's report on Monday "kicks off the 2016 election cycle," pledging an unprecedented commitment to data and technology.For years, Republicans have been clamoring to close the digital deficit, seeking to gain an advantage over Democrats on the entire spectrum of modern communication, from blogs to social media to mobile and more. Every election loss prompts the same post-mortem analysis suggesting that if only we had X technology or Y capabilities, we could have won. And every time, we're greeted to same stories about the GOP ramping up its investment in new technologies and top talent. Whether it's building the GOP's version of MoveOn or rolling out some glitzy, gaudy new party website that made the Las Vegas strip look demure, we've been repeatedly promised the rise of a modern, 21st GOP.
Republicans have repeatedly and openly talked since the election about their data disadvantage versus the Obama campaign. [...]
"By first combining digital, data and tech, you are creating synergy in all of those areas based upon what data you are creating and what it tells you about voters," he said. "But further, by putting that entire department at the center of the organization, you are making your fundraising pitches better and your voter contact much better to ultimately help you win elections."
Instead, what we've seen is Dollar Store brand equivalence as Republicans copy Democratic tactics and technologies, lifting ideas wholesale from some of the best Democratic digital strategists in the process. Meanwhile, there's no shortage of conservative consultants offering up digital investment as a panacea to the GOP's branding and turnout ills. Head below the fold to read about why they have their jobs cut out for them...
Democrats are beating Republicans on the online chessboard, but it's not just because Democrats have superior infrastructure. It's because they have a superior message.
For all the RNC's talk of "digital, data, and tech" (whatever that means), at the end of the day, technology is about message delivery. Like the phone, the television, and the radio, all technology does is allow us as humans to relay a thought. The scope of audiences changes as time wears on, from one-on-one telephone calls to tweeting millions, but the function remains the same: communication of a message.
The GOP's Achilles heel in the modern age is that its message is ugly, mean, and out-of-touch with how most Americans feel.
On issue after issue, from the climate change crisis to marriage equality to addressing unjust income disparity, Americans are siding with Democrats. It's why they gave President Obama a second term. It's why poll after poll shows that the Democratic agenda is a mainstream agenda reflecting wildly popular and sound policies like raising the minimum wage, protecting the environment, respecting citizen privacy and more.
The Republican agenda, on the other hand, is repulsively extreme. On immigration, round 'em up. On gun control, shoot it up. On the poor, kick 'em down. On underwater homeowners, let 'em drown. On corporations, let them play. On the church in politics, let it have its way. On public schools, bleed them dry. On charters, give them a big slice of the pie. In campaigns, let the money rain. In office, block any policy that's sane.
Logic matters little to the modern GOP. Compassion matters even less.
With such a callous, irrational message, why would the GOP think that technology will help solve its problems?
It doesn't matter how cutting-edge the technology is or how sophisticated the tactics of delivery are if your message sucks. You could flash forward into the future and attempt, as President Obama would say, a "Jedi mind meld" with voters, but if the thought you're trying to futuristically meld is that society went to shit when women started working outside of the home, then you'll fail.
Yes, let the GOP use new gadgets and programs to turn out its (shrinking) base. Let Republicans try to leverage technology to reach more voters. Let them spend millions developing ways to deliver their turn-back-the-clock message to more and more people over more and more mediums.
The Democrats couldn't ask for a better gift.