One of the many problems the Republican Party faces is a tech deficit. Simply put, Obama’s nerds were light years ahead of the GOP’s (in fairness, when you can hire people who actually work for top social networks, you have an advantage.)
Unfortunately for Republicans, the prospect of catching up — at least, any time soon — doesn’t look terribly promising.
Over at the America Spectator, Michael Turk, a former eCampaign Director for George W. Bush’s re-election, is is out with a chilling take on how Team Obama so effectively moved voters — and why this creates an ethical conundrum.
As Turk writes:
During World War I and World War II nations were experimenting with art, songs, movies, books, and messages that could elicit a patriotic response. They were so effective that this country effectively prohibited the government from investing in the practice.
Now consider the possibility of doing the same level of experimentation with triggered emotional response but you have data telling you what music the audience consumes, the movies they watch, the TV shows they sit still for, and even the food and drinks they buy.
For the academics part, it’s the perfect situation. The Stanford Prisoner Experiment requires disclosure of testing parameters to subjects of experimentation. Political communication has no such restriction. If you want to get field knowledge of how to bend, fold, and twist voter behavior — without having to tell voters they’re being manipulated — who wouldn’t sign up?
It doesn’t get better from there. Turk concludes on a pessimistic note, writing that this “is a perfect storm from which the GOP may truly be unable to escape.”