The 2014 midterms brought an end to the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate, but also ended the tech monopoly liberals had in elections.
After being pummeled by Democrats in this field in 2008 and 2012, Republicans decided it was time to stop letting the Democrats kick the stuffing out of them in voter outreach, targeting, and mobilization.
While still behind in some areas, Republicans are virtually caught up–and it showed.
Back in October, CNN reported on how Republicans were going to night school to learn the basics–and importance–of digital technology in modern elections, amongst other things:
Night after night, Republicans are going back to school in an effort to build a new army of communications operatives for the Twitter age.
The courses at “Comms College” — the GOP’s secret training ground for social media-savvy communications staffers — are taught in a sterile conference room on Capitol Hill. Students are instructed that the modern news cycle, fueled by the disruptive power of the web and constantly-filing reporters, has no patience for old political playbooks.
There’s a session on opposition research and tracking, Facebook algorithms and Google metrics. There are also tips on dressing for television (no pocket squares, seersucker or dangly jewelry), and lessons on social media and partisan news sites that give campaigns the power to peddle their messages without the filter of “mainstream” reporters. Lockwood even has reading recommendations, including “Collision 2012,” “The Victory Lab” and “Double Down.”
Rob Lockwood, a veteran of the North Carolina Republican Party, spearheads the digital revamp of the RNC’s operations; folks call him “the dean.”
It was present in Georgia, where the Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe documentedthe RNC outreach operations in the Peach State that proved successful; Democrat Michelle Nunn lost the senate race:
Republicans here and across the country are now emulating the tech-driven, national-style ground game long dominated by Democrats. Party officials want to use the new methods to draw out voters to support congressional and gubernatorial candidates this year and then prepare to help the party’s presidential nominee during the 2016 election.
In Georgia and other key states, the RNC partnered with state party operations to deploy paid staffers and millions of dollars in new databases, apps, Web sites and phone systems.
While they cannot coordinate with the GOP, the Post also noted that conservative organization, like Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, was also engaging in revamping their micro-targeting and voter turnout operations of their own. So far, Faith and Freedom has a database of 33 million social conservatives from 21 million households.