Did Republicans Give Away the Farm?

Matt Lewis
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Posted: Aug 21, 2007 12:08 AM
They say a good magician never reveals his tricks, but Republicans who pulled a rabbit out of their hats in 2004, didn’t learned this lesson.

As everyone knows, by now, microtargeting helped President George W. Bush win re-election.  So what did Republicans do with this new super-technology that allowed them to win in 2004?  They promptly gave it away. 

Between 2004 and 2006, top-level Republican operatives and strategists gave speeches, wrote numerous articles, and authored (or co-authored) books outlining precisely how to use this technology.

(In fairness, I've written instructional articles for magazines like Campaigns & Elections, but the topic was generally about something that both sides already know how to do, such as public speaking, fundraising, etc.)

Without all this assistance, it may have taken the other side two or three election cycles to catch up to us (Democrats could always have looked to the way businesses use this technology, but it would have taken them longer).

Just as the Rosenberg’s giving away the H-bomb changed the trajectory of post-WWII history, giving away microtargeting -- arguably the greatest innovative tactical campaign tool to come out in the last decade -- might have changed the trajectory of political history. 

Did we give away the farm?