Enter the Republican National Committee’s newly hired geeks.
Working out of RNC headquarters in Washington and a recently opened annex in San Mateo, in California’s Silicon Valley, a growing staff of 40 has been working since last summer to bring the GOP’s antiquated ground game into the digital age. Their goal: catch and surpass the Democrats who — bolstered by the groundbreaking innovations of Obama’s two presidential campaigns — had a 10-year head start. The RNC believes its effort has turned a corner.
“We committed ourselves to a permanent, coast-to-coast, year-round ground game,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said during a roundtable with reporters. “We’ve invested in new predictive analytics that are revolutionizing how our campaigns are targeting voters.”
Color the Democrats skeptical.
After all, the Republicans are trying to copy an operation that the Democrats have been building, perfecting and training on for 10 years, ever since the party was outflanked by the GOP in the 2004 presidential election. Even if the RNC develops advanced digital tools in time for this year’s campaign, the committee has to teach a new crop of volunteers to use them, not to mention convince longtime strategists to embrace them.