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New RNC Data Platform

Earlier, I highlighted some of the technical inequities between the political campaigns from 2012. In the article, issues with both messaging & the technical means to communicate them were identified as key areas needing improvement.

Last week, announcements were released (here and here among them) that the RNC is entering into a partnership with two other organizations to develop a new data platform targeted to close the gap. DataTrust will manage the RNC's data while Liberty Works will be tasked with development of the platform which other campaigns, organizations, and advocacy groups will utilize it.

While I may or may not agree with the RNC's choice of DataTrust, there seems to be a woeful lack of background on the group who will be taking on the bigger challenge of platform development.

We have heard a big vision, but......

  • The only person officially named as a principal is San Francisco private equity investor, Dick Boyce.
  • Multiple on-line searches have failed to turn up so much as a website .

While it is too early to predict success or failure of any technology project, a good signal is whether those directly involved have built something on the scale of the proposal. "Predicting the future based on past results" is still a consistent method.

For more info as it becomes available, follow me on Twitter (@SwamiDaveSays).


In any initiative to promote ideas or convince people, Success occurs at the intersection of Message, Data, & Technology. Many pundits and talking heads focus on deficiencies in the latter two, but fail to address recent problems with the former.

Of interest along this line, much of Obama's Data team is now working with a new company, Civis Analytics, that is drawing interest & investment from large technology players, like Eric Schmidt of Google.

Furthermore, recently-admitted delays and impediments by the IRS of liberty-minded organizations could also be a major reason for recent weakness in the data & technology area. By acting as an obstacle to their formation, fund-raising, and political action, it is plausible that government entities (like the IRS) tacitly benefited one side of the political argument.

After a quick review of the major keywords & players central to the story, there does not seem to be any more information. There were big announcements in early May presenting a expansive vision. Regrettably, there was and still is very few details beyond the initial announcements.

For something envisioned as an "open-source" approach to technology & data as it relates to liberty-focused campaigns, there is very little background or details that would inspire confidence or lend technical gravitas.

It is too early to predict success or failure, but those of us who evaluate based on experiences and outcomes are watching.

The RNC's announcement of Andy Barkett's hiring as their Chief Technology Officer bodes well for their tech & digital initiatives. One of the main challenges mentioned internally and externally has been their poor performance in development and implementation of data / software in support of their political and policy campaigns.

Originally-mentioned candidates had strong political backgrounds, but drew criticism for their weak technical resumes. Comparatively, Andy is much stronger and varied in his technical background. Additionally, he brings experience with Silicon Valley and start-ups as a Angel Investor.

Today's announcement is an important first step that the RNC is stepping beyond the familiar. It could bode well and a closing of the technology gap that has existed for the last few election cycles.

As noted in this article from TechPresident (, a number of tech-savvy Republicans and Conservatives are taking action to bridge the current digital gap instead of waiting for RNC or other majoy players.

This development is a solid sign that growing numbers of Republicans (especially Conservative activists) are getting engaged and putting forth their ideas in advanding the tools that advance the message. We should not forget that technology / digital and campaign processes are only a part of a winning strategy.

They deliver the message; they are not the message! Effective crafting of a message is a foundation of a campaign. Implementing processes for spreading it (including technology and / or digital) are what delivers a message and motivates your intended audience.

Even more exciting is the fact that so many people are recognizing that the big advances and next generation tools will likely come from smaller groups or individuals that come up with a novel idea and implement it. Fostering that environment of investigation and innovation will be a key element that the RNC and other larger interests need to focus!