GOP consultants plot new tech-savvy infrastructure

But the Empower Action Group is just the first of four new organizations they hope to create. Another proposed effort, called The R&D Lab, would be a conservative response to the liberal Analyst Institute, which develops and tests new techniques for progressive voter contact and persuasion, all of which informed the Obama campaign in 2012. “Data in all forms—polling, analytics, experiments, policy research—must be at the heart of successful Republican rebuilding,” reads a five-page white paper proposing the new effort, which has already been circulated to donors. “Google famously tested forty-one shades of blue to see which one was best for a graphic, yet Republicans do not systematically tests their assumptions and attempt to simulate outcomes before spending resources on various tactics.”

The group also hopes to create a new organization called The Venture Fund, which is meant to repeat the success of the liberal New Media Ventures, a start-up incubator founded by the Democracy Alliance, a coalition of wealthy progressive benefactors. “A similar force within the Republican Party should aim to be more disruptive,” reads the white paper, “a startup accelerator patterned after Silicon Valley’s Y Combinator that offers small investments and hands-on mentorship to young conservative technologists.”

The final effort envisioned by Ruffini and his colleagues would be a Club for Growth-style campaign fundraising organization, which would promise donations to Republican campaigns that adopt data-driven techniques.

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