An entire suite of exciting new tools have become available to Republicans, and if deployed, will mean a much wider margin of victory in 2012 than we would otherwise see – indeed, these tools may be critical for victory in 2012 at all.
Article I in this series will discuss the major release of rVotes.com. Article II will tell you about Nationbuilder.com, and article III will discuss PrecinctProject.us.
Almost everyone recalls the massive web site/campaign management tool, Obama for America (OFA), that was a major factor in Obama’s 2008 victory. The day after election day, the site was renamed Organizing for America (OFA). Today, both domain names redirect you to barackobama.com, the president’s current 2012 campaign site. Note that during the interim since Obama’s election, OFA (as Organizing for America), has continued to build on the historically strong online activist presence that we witnessed in 2007/2008.
Although the system is pervasive and massive, and performs many, many campaign functions required for victory, what drew public attention at first was the web site’s ability to quickly draw in hordes of activist volunteers (some 400,000) via the web, engage them online, and immediately make them productive online in promoting a campaign victory.
Both LadyImpactOhio (here and here as well) and I took a look at the system before and after the campaign. While LIO’s research was much more thorough than mine, my own research was conducted prior to the election as I succeeded in contributing a small amount to the Obama campaign with a credit card (and a foreign billing address) to confirm the campaign was purposely engaged in the criminal activity of accepting foreign contributions. LIO’s vigorous research was much more comprehensive.
The system, built up over nearly a decade from it’s precursors known variously as Catalist, Voter Activiation Network (VAN) and VoteBuilder, became OFA.
OFA was not just used to elect candidates, it was used extensively to organize and mobilize support for passage of Obamacare and other measures.
One of the key strengths of OFA is it’s ability to share data among many activist organizations such as the campaigns, ACORN, SEIU, Planned Parenthood, etc.
The Republicans correctly perceived it as a real threat. It was.
Predictably, the RNC, once so seriously threatened by this array of tools, wants to put it’s head in the sand when offered the very same tool today: rVotes. That’s a story for another series of articles. No matter, the state GOPs and Tea Parties will be deploying this system as soon that they can wrap their minds around it and evaluate it, and that’s a major task in and of itself.
As we’ve examined rVotes carefully around the backwaters of the internet for the past few weeks, I’ve gotten in the habit of telling newcomers to the topic that it will take you over a week of casual reading to wrap your mind around everything that rVotes can do for a political effort and its allies. That’s no exaggeration.
rVotes is already deployed in Rhode Island, and GOP state chair Ken McKay is reportedly ecstatic with it, as it has already won the RI GOP one election they thought was unlikely. I’ve heard of moves afoot to get rVotes implemented in AZ, CA, MI and MN. Other states will soon follow.
Emerging as rVotes.com
rVotes and even its precursor, VAN are products of capitalism. The software was written by venturesome capitalist programmers with the intent of future profit. (I hope this is encouraging news to you, Dear Reader, as this is a conservative web site.) The Democrats paid up first. When Steve Adler, the original VAN programmer decided to leave VAN in 2005, in order to get other elements of the settlement he wanted (such as taking his source code with him) he had to agree to a 5 year non-compete clause.
He has now emerged from that non-compete provision, and is making his software (with 5 years of improvements) available to Republicans.
The weeks of investigation a large group has already performed in the backwaters of the internet leads me to anticipate a few possible early responses. Before you respond with suspicious comments about top-down systems that ignore the grassroots from profiteering publishers, please take a careful look at rVotes licensing arrangements (I won’t go into them here). As I noted above, many of us have been investigating and researching rVotes for weeks now – conference calls, news lists, etc., and have concluded that rVotes deserves a serious hearing from party, civic and Tea Party/912 leaders.
If you are suspicious of the rVotes principals intentions or motives, then I suspect in turn that no words of mine here could allay your suspicions. Perform your own investigations and satisfy yourself one way or the other.
Yes, rVotes will seem expensive to early adopters. The prospect of access to rVotes will also energize the grassroots to go out and simply raise that money now, so the real question becomes one of foregoing victory next year in your area while you wait for the investment price to come down. Since grassroots Republicans can be formidable fundraisers, I don’t think it’s worthwhile to consider foregoing the victories that would otherwise accrue to local parties and Tea Parties. After all, it’s only money, as Rebublicans are sometimes heard to say.
And the creators of a system this worthwhile in its support for our victories deserve to prosper.
Remember, the Democrats have been clobbering us with this system for 4-6 years. That’s a very good track record.
This article does not say much about what rVotes actually does. As I allude above, understanding rVotes is not a quick study. Follow the links above to explore. Do it when you have plenty of time.
Finally, as the creator of PROCINCT, I anticipate that others might ask or wonder, ”why would you endorse a system or product that many would regard as a competitor to yours?” Passage of time will prove that there will still be a place for PROCINCT. So my reply would be simple and short:
For our efforts, for our way of thought, for our way of life, it’s about victory.
Ron Robinson is founder and creator of PROCINCT, is a GOP official/activist in Los Angeles county, a new media & activist blogger and a businessman.