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After 2012 election, Republicans learn hard lessons about the power of social media

After 2012 election, Republicans learn hard lessons about the power of social media

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Young, tech-savvy Republicans are using Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential election to teach more seasoned party operatives the importance of social media in rallying votes, Robert Draper reports for The New York Times Magazine. Draper's piece is more than just a crunchy political post mortem, offering an entertaining and insightful look at the Grand Old Party's quest to remake itself for the social age.

One right-leaning digital advocacy firm, Red Edge, has been showing fellow Republicans a presentation on the digital disparity between the two parties. Obama's Reddit IaMa is among the topics covered:

“Then, once people think we’ve gotten them through the worst,” [Red Edge partner Bret] Jacobson said, “we pile on more — just the way Obama did.” He put up Slide 26, titled, “Running Up the Score.” “Obama was the very first candidate to appear on Reddit. We ask our clients, ‘Do you know what Reddit is?’ And only one of them did. Then we show them this photo of Obama hugging his wife with the caption ‘Four more years’ — an image no conservative likes. And we tell them, ‘Because of the way the Obama campaign used things like Reddit, that photo is the single-most popular image ever seen on Twitter or Facebook.’ Just to make sure there’s plenty of salt in the wound.”

Draper extracts more hard truths and weaves in vivid descriptions (One Red Edge partner takes on a "Luciferian glow" cast by his computer screen) in the full piece. Bottom line: National Republicans still have an opportunity to court young, tech-savvy developers to their cause if they focus on the more libertarian principles of their party platform, but the greater challenge will be keeping up with country's rapidly shifting demographics, toward a younger, more Hispanic population.