As if Bloomberg’s 700 large weren’t enough, Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly’s group are poised to spend $600,000 of other rich people’s money in Virginia races this year. They’ve been going after big donors as well, and it’s paying off. That’s 1.3 million dollars of anti-gun money being spent in a single state. That’s way more than NRA can afford to spend in a single state.
It was depressing to read this article, “How to Build a Digital Elephant, The GOP’s Biggest Obstacle in 2016,” this morning just after waking up. It’s essentially a story of how Silicon Valley oligarchs have built an impressive machine that the Republican Party is ill prepared to match, and it seems like a lot of candidates are making the same mistakes Mitt Romney made, in not getting his ORCA system off the ground until the election, where it spectacularly failed for lack of ever having been tested. What we’re seeing, essentially, is a bunch of rich billionaires buying Our Republic by creating an impressive analytical machine that helps Democrats reach low-information voters in large numbers with messaging compelling enough to them to get them to turn out, both at the polls and on the ground.
This isn’t the first time this has happened in our country’s history. William Randolph Hearst‘s yellow journalism machine managed to buy him enough influence to start a war. FDR coasted into office, and was re-elected three times largely because he understood how to use radio, when other candidates didn’t. It’s widely believed that Kennedy managed to defeat Richard Nixon in the 1960 election because he looked better on Television, and knew how to use Television. Obama almost definitely won the Presidency and re-election, because the people backing him understood how to use social media better than anyone else. Can the GOP learn in time?
Tying this back to gun rights, I don’t think the NRA is at all using these kinds of sophisticated analytics to understand its membership and other people NRA interacts with to understand more about them and how to motivate and message to them. Bloomberg has a ton of money to buy solutions to these problems, and if he figures this out before NRA does, we’re finished.
I like Glenn Reynold’s suggestion, “Meanwhile, if the GOP were smarter it would be pushing Google-unfriendly changes in tax and IP law, and couching them in Democratic buzzwords to make it hard for Obama to veto them. That would encourage Google to back off of the partisanship.” Not just tax and IP law, send a bill to Obama ending the H1-B program. That will really kick Google in the nuts. The GOP needs to learn to be ruthless to their enemies. Their unfortunate problem is they think their enemies are conservatives.