In an Op-Ed for the Hill, progressive leader Tara McGowan explains how “Trump is already winning 2020.”
In a plea for Democrats to not overlook Trump, McGowan highlighting the powerful digital operations behind the re-election campaign.
His campaign manager is a “digital guy”
By elevating Brad Parscale (his 2016 Digital Director) to Campaign Manager, Trump is signaling that digital won’t just have a seat at the table — it will be an integral piece of every aspect of his reelection bid. From prioritizing digital channels over traditional paid media to leveraging social media platforms to fire up his base and raise money, he is utilizing a modern playbook to win.
Building massive lists through digital investments
For months (even before the 2018 midterm elections), Donald Trump’s campaign has consistently been a top political spender on Facebook focused on acquiring voter data and building potential supporter lists. Over the past few weeks, for example, Trump’s campaign spent a combined $778,000 on Facebook ads alone. That’s compared to $194,000 that Kamala Harris spent on Facebook the week she launched her presidential campaign and just $99,000 Elizabeth Warren spent over the last three weeks combined.
Defining the narrative
Trump’s campaign has excelled at leveraging digital ad dollars to keep the controversies surrounding the Trump administration from reaching his supporter base online. Take the border wall and shutdown debate: In the days leading up to Trump’s primetime address this month, his campaign purchased the YouTube masthead ad space to drive their message.
Those ads reached tens of millions of voters in the most highly trafficked ad space available online, seen by every person who visits the YouTube homepage.
Coupled with President Trump’s own tweets, thousands of Facebook ads placed by his reelection campaign, and dozens of conservative “media outlets” driving the same narrative, Trump’s chosen message blanketed the feeds and phones of voters nationwide. Democrats, on the other hand, ran just a few hundred ads online leading up to the speech to push their own messages, paling in comparison to the hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars the Trump organization and conservative media organizations leveraged online to capitalize on the moment.