RNC gets ready to remodel

March 12, 2013

NBC News is reporting this morning that the RNC is preparing to undergo a major overhaul that will re-focus the committee’s operations around digital, data, and technology.

From First Read:

When the RNC on Monday releases the findings of its “Growth and Opportunity Project” — the report ordered by Chairman Reince Priebus on the party’s losses in the 2012 campaign — it will emphasize closing the GOP’s widely-reported technological gap versus Democrats.

[New RNC chief of staff Mike Shields] said that the release of the RNC’s report on Monday “kicks off the 2016 election cycle,” pledging an unprecedented commitment to data and technology.

Republicans have repeatedly and openly talked since the election about their data disadvantage versus the Obama campaign. The president’s re-election team’s sophisticated, cutting-edge digital operation has been robustly chronicled since the election, and credited with helping propel Obama to a second term.

RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski belied that holding a digital team in such high esteem was a rarity in the party, even during Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.

“The digital campaign was not integrated into daily decisions,” said Kukowski. “But the digital department is not just in some basement anymore.”

Just from our perspective here at RootsHQ, having looked not only at the Obama campaign’s efforts, but also the larger infrastructure the Progressives have built, this new RNC focus is a monumental breakthrough. With people like Reince Priebus and Mike Shields involved, donors and activists can have real hope that the RNC will innovate, adapt, and focus on rebuilding a party that is relevant to the conservative American majority.

There are three things we hope we see in this effort:

1. Data-driven decisions. It’s one thing to have the data, it’s another to follow where it tells you to go.

2. Technology-focused training. A true commitment to data-first / digital-first politics will mean aggressive training for field operatives on how to leverage the data to make decisions and turnout voters. This is going to be the hardest part.

3. A culture of innovation. The NBC article above is evidence that the RNC is moving in this direction, but integrating a new culture of innovation throughout the GOP network will take time and resources. A focus on experimentation, testing, and developing new ideas from the top, and encouraging the same at the state level, will demonstrate leadership for others to model.

UPDATE: Yahoo!, the New York Times Caucus blog, Politico, Mashable and TechPresident also have news of the RNC’s remodel, with a new/specific mention of a search for a CTO. New chief of staff Mike Shields tweeted as much earlier today:

What do you think?

What else should the RNC be doing to remodel their political operation?

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