Who says Barack Obama and the Democrats have a leg up in the online organizing department? Tea Party group FreedomWorks this afternoon unveiled its own plans for using digital tools like mobile GPS and online ads to "Fire Obama."
An email sent to supporters from FreedomWorks President and CEO Matt Kibbe offers a "detailed campaign plan to secure victory over Obama," which includes "taking traditional grassroots campaign techniques and updating them for the 21st century with innovative technologies."
Aimed at raising money, the email asserts the group's dedication to matching what Obama and the Democratic National Committee famously did so well during the 2008 election. As presented in the email, here's what FreedomWorks said it plans to do to give the President a pink slip in November 2012:
- A state-of-the-art Voice over Internet (VoI) Phone Banking System which allows volunteers from anywhere to make calls directly to specially-targeted voting households. Even if your state is dead-red or deep blue, you can make calls FOR FREE directly into the most critical battleground states, and report result instantly to our database.
- GPS-directed door-to-door walks in high-density target precincts which are pre-identified by sophisticated data analysis software. This cutting edge technology will produce geo-targeted walking maps and allow real-time data reporting directly on mobile devices.
- Geo-targeted online ad campaigns in heavily Republican counties to maximize turnout and even promote and provide Absentee Voting to stack the deck with anti-Obama ballots.
- FreedomWorksforAmerica.org -- a brand-new website which will serve as our online "election nerve center" -- will also integrate with our revolutionary FreedomConnector activist networking platform to facilitate communication and collaboration among the grassroots.
- Targeted sign-blitzes, coordinated online between local and national distribution centers to allow for instantaneous coordination and "shock and awe" speed of deployment.
The organization also wants to beat the Obama for America camp at its small-dollar fundraising game. "Grassroots involvement in these new, high-tech campaign tactics is how we'll win in 2012, but grassroots support today is what will make it possible. Can you please make a $10, $25, $50 or $100 donation right now to help fire Obama?" asks the email.
FreedomWorks is no stranger to the Internet, though its new grassroots organizing and fundraising strategy appears to be more sophisticated than its past digital efforts. In 2010, for instance, the group fought Michigan Rep. Fred Upton's candidacy for the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee chairmanship through the DownWithUpton.com site. Upton, a Republican, won the chairmanship as his party took over the House.
Tea party group American Crossroads has also suggested it will invest in digital media in the 2012 election race. After the 2010 election, the organization told ClickZ News it expected to spend a higher percentage of its budget online in 2012 compared to what it spent in 2010.
In May, American Crossroads ran an online campaign leading up to the congressional special election in Western New York as a testing ground for its 2012 online efforts. The group spent $50,000 - around 7 percent of its NY-26 campaign budget - on online ads. If American Crossroads were to allocate 7 percent of the $120 million it said it plans to spend in the 2012 election to digital ads, it could devote more than $8 million online.
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Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.
March 19, 2014