Margin of Victory: How Technologists Help Politicians Win Elections

Margin of Victory: How Technologists Help Politicians Win Elections

Margin of Victory: How Technologists Help Politicians Win Elections

Margin of Victory: How Technologists Help Politicians Win Elections

Synopsis

This book illuminates modern political technology, examining important technologies, companies, and people; putting recent innovations into historical context; and describing the possible future uses of technology in electoral politics.

Excerpt

If you are in the market for a standard discussion about the world of political technology suitable for a political science journal or a newspaper column, this is not your book. What Nathaniel Pearlman has put together here is a collection of first-hand accounts from people who have actually built a reputation, deserved or not, for on-the-ground knowledge in one aspect or another of the political technology world. I say deserved or not, because I don’t know all of them (it looks like almost half of them are Republicans, anyway).

I do know that a party’s political technology infrastructure makes a difference. When I assumed the Democratic National Committee chairmanship in 2001, we were way behind, and it had cost us dearly. the Republicans, who had the benefit of a succession of rnc chairmen who made long-term investments in their party, were far ahead. They had built, for instance, a huge, state-of-the-art database that they could mine for donors. We had nothing like that. We had a brochure-ware Web site, a tiny e-mail list, and not a single voter file at the dnc. in fact, as I wrote in my own bestselling book What a Party! “We had such a variety of outdated software and hardware, it was like we had our own low-rent technology museum.”

As a businessman accustomed to thinking about return on investment, I began in 2001 a multiyear technology infrastructure project to close the technology infrastructure gap and modernize the dnc. We upgraded state voter files and cleaned and corrected bad information that was wasting real money in mailing costs. We built an e-mail infrastructure and tv and radio studios. We rebuilt the computer and telephone systems, created a new Web site, and established online fundraising . . .

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