Democrats looking to not only win their party's presidential nomination, but unseat President Donald Trump, are stealing a page from his 2016 playbook to fight fire with fire in 2020, reports Politico.
Noting the changing nature of how the public receives information -- with social media leading the way -- some Democratic contenders are ceding more power to their digital directors in an effort to reach more voters.
"President Donald Trump left many in Washington scratching their heads when he put his 2016 campaign’s digital chief in charge of his entire reelection effort," Politico reports. "Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Beto O'Rourke are among the White House hopefuls replicating Trump’s approach by giving senior campaign leadership roles to data and social media mavens. It’s a recognition of how central the online space — from raising breathtaking gobs of money via email to winning the minute-by-minute messaging wars on social media — has become to any candidate for the White House."
According to Politico, digital strategists welcome the change, feeling they can reach people faster with the proper messaging during news cycles that sometimes don't last for a day.
“One of the underlying frustrations was, for a long time, feeling that digital wasn’t allowed to sit at the adults’ table,” explained Catherine Algeri, ex-digital director for both the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
“Now it's just so clear that if you don't have a senior leadership team that really understands how to dominate social media and the ways that news travels around the web, you're just at a huge disadvantage,” added Laura Olin, a Democratic digital strategist who worked on President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection.
"Campaign vets say the new phenomenon of digital experts running campaigns is, to some extent, simple matriculation: With the internet first applied to politics in the early 2000s, the twenty-somethings who worked those campaigns are reaching campaign-manager age for the first time," Politico's Nancy Scola writes. "Many American voters expect to be able to engage in politics online, and often through their mobile phones, the same way they engage in just about every other facet of their lives."
According to consultant Joe Trippi who pioneered using the internet as a way to reach voters during Vermont Governor Howard Dean's presidential run, it's about time Democrats caught up.
"Digital impacts so many different areas of the campaign, whether it's fundraising, the platform you're moving your media on, targeting, or organizing your volunteers,” he explained. "“And so people who are really proficient at it are actually better prepared to deal with campaign manager and deputy campaign manager jobs.”
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