It’s a complaint we’ve heard, mostly from next-generation GOP consultant types: Campaigns spend all this money on television and traditional advertising without any real data to inform their spending. That’s the subject of a new Campaigns & Elections op-ed submission from Vincent Harris, a GOP new-media consultant: “The Gut: Running GOP campaigns since 1854.”
— “Gut instinct continues to be the primary form of decision making within Republican campaigns,” Harris writes, “some of which spend millions of dollars on inefficient media buys based on campaign methods passed down through decades of political lore.” We’ve heard the same thing. “TV’s the biggest line item in the budget but the least data-driven,” GOP data guru Alex Lundry told us last year, in response to the news that the NRCC would be using polls to better inform its TV-ad spending.
— But Harris, who headed up now-Sen. Ted Cruz‘s (R-TX) digital ops in 2012, sees little evidence this is happening thus far during the 2014 cycle. Too much money is going into TV and direct mail, he writes, and not enough is going into digital.
— The FL-13 Special is an interesting test case; the NRCC has already spent $725,000 on TV ads (through Feb. 10) and $100,000 on web ads. FL-13 is an older district, and special elections usually attract an older electorate, anyway. But the NRCC ultimately intends to use FL-13 to test the effectiveness of both TV and digital to reach persuadables and turn out their voters — even if that spending level is “in contrast to undeniable research concerning rising digital usage,” as Harris writes.
Digital spending by corporations has moved to nearly a quarter of their overall advertising budget, and politics (particularly on the Republican side) hasn’t kept up with that. The demographics of midterm-election voters don’t necessarily match up with the the overall consumer base, and 2014 won’t necessarily be won or lost online. But, as Harris and others argue, spending smarter will boost the GOP’s chances of capturing the Senate this year and the White House in 2016.
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."