Brad Parscale: Dems are ‘freaked out’ about Trump campaign’s dominance online

November 8, 2019

President Donald Trump is dominating Democrats in the digital advertising game — and it has them “freaked out,” his campaign manager boasted.

Trump’s re-election campaign is outspending 2020 Democrats on social media spots and is building an impressive data-mining operation to identify possible Trump voters, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale told Fox News. He’s calling it the most sophisticated use of digital technology by a presidential candidate ever.

“I think Democrats are freaked out,” Parscale said. “I think we’re further ahead than anything that has ever existed.”

Making history

It’s no secret that President Trump’s adroitness in exploiting platforms like Twitter has alarmed Democrats and mainstream media outlets like The New York Times. Just by blasting off tweets, Trump can send his message directly to the American people without the interference of narrative gatekeepers in the establishment media.

But Trump’s campaign is also building an elaborate digital machine that belies the simplicity of the president’s communication style, Parscale indicated to Fox. Trump has spent $26 million in ads on Facebook and Google, more than the top four 2020 Democrats combined — something that Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign manager, David Plouffe, who is leading a campaign to counter Trump’s digital outreach, has called a “DEFCON 1” situation, according to Axios.

On social media, Parscale is bullish about President Trump’s prospects, often tweeting about the large crowd sizes and energy at Trump’s rallies. But he’s also very open about the campaign’s digital front, which he calls “the most digitally sophisticated operation in history.”

The campaign expands its voter database by signing up MAGA (“Make America Great Again”) rallygoers and people who purchase pro-Trump merchandise. With this digital infrastructure, the Trump 2020 campaign has amassed a voter database larger than Barack Obama’s in 2012, Parscale boasted.

“We can use it as a data-mining opportunity,” Parscale said. “Turn every single one of our rallygoers into a volunteer on-site for the rally. They can get out there and actually collect data. ‘Hey, who were your 10 friends? Who were your hundred friends? Tell us what your friends like about Trump. Give us their phone numbers.’ That will give us an even greater opportunity to expand the spider web of data.”

Changing the future

The campaign is sometimes able to exploit President Trump’s meme-worthy pronouncements to blast out new products and expand the email list. Indeed, Parscale has proven adept at marketing Trump’s “trolling” idiosyncrasy: a “Where’s Hunter?” t-shirt is advertised as “Made in USA (not Ukraine or China)” and “No Prior Experience Required.”

“We can get it concepted, produced, out the door, sold, advertised, and marketed all under two hours,” Parscale said of the campaign’s whip-smart marketing.

Parscale said that he hopes to push the envelope on MAGA rallies as Election Day draws nearer, with two or three rallies each day if possible. If things go according to plan, the campaign will make over 200 million voter contacts in 2020.

Given Trump’s digital advantage, it seems no accident that Democrats have grown more aggressive about badgering Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to censor advertisements with “false” (read: Republican-friendly) information. But it’s not just the digital game that Trump is winning: according to the Washington Examiner, the president is amassing a massive war chest that far outflanks his top Democratic competitors, who are still fighting in a primary with no clear challenger to Trump emerging.

“I don’t think it’s any secret what we’re doing,” Parscale said. “I think it’s very important for the public to understand, and Trump supporters to understand, that we’re building something that’s going to change, not only the 2020 election to benefit the president, but change the future of the Republican Party.”

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Matthew Boose

Matthew Boose is a staff writer for Conservative Institute. He has a Bachelor's degree from Stony Brook University and has contributed to The Daily Caller and The Stony Brook Press.