Saturday, September 20, 2014

Republicans Must Embrace Social Media to Win Elections

Where are you, fellow Republicans, as the political debates and discussions are waged on social media? In the beginning of the world of Twitter, a real effort was made for conservative leaning people - especially among those identifying with the Tea Party - to grow a real presence.  It is an undeniably useful tool in getting a message out.  Campaigns not embracing the full use of Twitter are missing a large block of politically engaged people.  The same can be said of Facebook.  Every candidate for political office in the year 2014 should have a presence on Facebook.  Every campaign should have a Facebook page that can be "liked" by supporters.  Each time a new supporter hits the "Like" button, the candidate's page is opened up to more eyes.  The candidate's information moves into more time lines and more exposure.

How many times have you heard, especially in Republican circles populated by older members, that all this social media stuff is silly?  How about the canard that social media is just for the younger people and doesn't really amount to much?  Generally speaking, Facebook attracts more older people and Twitter is more popular among younger people.  Embrace both outlets for a successful campaign.  A campaign wants everyone to hear the message.  Grassroots volunteers are a ready source of social media activism.  

Journalists,bloggers,television and radio people are on social media all day long. There is no easier way to have a message attract the attention of those who write about candidates and campaigns. Get the Republican message in print and on air, not just that of the Democrats! 

A key to growing the Republican Party - essential to remaining a viable political party - is to bring in younger voters, as well as those newly awakened to the world of politics.  Just as the original Tea Party movement did, before it became a vehicle for paid, professional dividers, using activists and grassroots supporters is the key to political success.  There is no easier way for an activist to engage in politics than through social media.

Friday night brought the first debate between Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis.  These two candidates running for the office of Governor of Texas debated for one hour in the Rio Grande Valley and it was televised statewide.  It was also live streamed on the Internet from various sources.  I am sorry to say that the Republican Party of Texas did not live stream the debate on its website.  Battleground Texas did. There is no daylight between Battleground Texas and the Democratic Party of Texas.  

I was dismayed that I saw so little engagement on Twitter during the debate.  While I was sending off thoughts in 140 characters, I noticed all the tweets coming from Wendy Davis supporters.  From Jaoquin Castro to Annie's List and everyone in between elected officials and special interest groups, the thoughts flew.  The opportunity was lost to reach a broader audience with Abbott's messages and directing traffic to his campaign website.

Let's recognize that the Communication Director for Wendy Davis' campaign is the former Communication Director to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. There are few that are nastier in their speech and quotes than Harry Reid.  The Davis campaign is organized in social media efforts using the Obama campaign model.  

In an email that went out overnight from Amber Mostyn, the woman and money behind Annie's List, her pitch included playing up the "anti-woman rhetoric" of some on social media during the Texas governor candidate debate.

"I can't believe the words I have seen directed at me, Wendy Davis and all other women tonight, but I know Annie's List will be there to call out the politicians who think that behavior is acceptable." 
"Annie's List is there to fight back against all of the vitriole that is being spewed. We need you to fight with us!"

This is right in line with the obvious theme that Team Wendy decided upon before Friday evening's debate.  Mostyn used a few ugly remarks made on Twitter as examples in the email.  

All Wendy Davis really offered to viewers and listeners Friday night, in my readily acknowledged partisan opinion, was the standard Democrat talking points of the war on women, pay inequality, and victimhood.  She was lacking in solutions and used an overabundance of personal attacks on Attorney General Abbott.  She came off looking robotic and disengaged.  It was not difficult to push back on her in social media.  I wish more on the GOP side had done that.  

Here is an article about the efforts in social media and voter tracking data base research coordination being done at the RNC.  It is a fact-filled article and should be read by Republican voters and those encouraging others to vote Republican in the mid-term elections.  I hope the Republican Party will be able to take back the technical advantages we had at one time, in the pre-Obama days.  I think it is fair to say we can't win without it.

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