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Published 25 July 2012 06:44, Updated 26 July 2012 04:15
It takes a lot of money to get elected President – great gobs of it in fact – and astute tech start-ups are now cashing in on the 2012 campaign.
Barack Obama’s successful 2008 tilt at the White House was the first to really shine a light on how social media and other technologies could power both fundraising and getting out the vote in a country where casting a ballot isn’t compulsory and where money matters if you want to win.
This time around, Bloomberg reports the largesse is spread thick as both Obama and his Republican opponent Mitt Romney look to take the lessons of 2008 forward another step or three.
“This is a huge market, and companies will keep forming to try to fill the need,” Personal Democracy Media founder Andrew Rasiej tells Bloomberg. “Every online technique used by Fortune 500 companies will be in the hands of politicians in the next four to eight years.”
Powering these companies is a brace of tech savvy, politically aware 20 to 30 something-year-olds who cut their teeth in campaigns such as Obama’s 2008 White House run and former Vermont Governor Howard Dean’s unsuccessful 2004 bid to secure the Democratic Presidential nomination.
The failed Dean campaign gave birth to Blue State Digital, which Bloomberg says is one of three tech start-ups to have pulled a combined $US46 million from the Obama and Romney campaigns, as well as cashed up organisations known as super-PACs that regularly pump tens of millions of dollars into US elections.
Another of those three firms, Targeted Victory, has picked up more than $US7 million from the Romney campaign alone, as the Republican Party attempts to pick up on a number of tech tricks it missed during the 2008 Presidential campaign.
On the Republican side of the fence, groups and people linked to George W. Bush and his former right hand man Karl Rove also make an appearance, while former strategist for Dean, Joe Trippi, says an older generation of advisors is now giving way to young guns primed for digital campaigns.
“When I was growing up in politics, the wisdom was to look for a 50-year-old mentor,” Trippi tells Bloomberg. “Now, if you’re 50, you should be looking for an 18-year-old to help you deliver the message in a way that people will get it.”