Brad Parscale, Trump’s 2016 digital director and 2020 campaign manager, boasted on Twitter that the Trump’s digital operation has a reach beyond the mainstream media:

We have revolutionized digital for the Republican Party and @realDonaldTrump. Record fundraising, record prospecting, record voter contact, and record reach. Even the #FakeNewsMedia can not match our reach.

Parscale’s boast was tweeting a link to a NY Times article, Trump Campaign Floods Web With Ads, Raking In Cash as Democrats Struggle:

On any given day, the Trump campaign is plastering ads all over Facebook, YouTube and the millions of sites served by Google, hitting the kind of incendiary themes — immigrant invaders, the corrupt media — that play best on platforms where algorithms favor outrage and political campaigns are free to disregard facts.

Even seemingly ominous developments for Mr. Trump become fodder for his campaign. When news broke last month that congressional Democrats were opening an impeachment inquiry, the campaign responded with an advertising blitz aimed at firing up the president’s base….

The onslaught overwhelmed the limited Democratic response. Mr. Biden’s campaign put up the stiffest resistance: It demanded Facebook take down the ad, only to be rebuffed. It then proceeded with plans to slash its online advertising budget in favor of more television ads.

The article goes into great detail on Trump’s digital operation methodology, and it’s impressive. But let’s stop on that last line in the quote above: Biden’s campaign “slash[ed] its online advertising budget in favor of more television ads.”

Biden’s dinosaur-era response was emblematic, in the Times’ account, of the broader Democrat problem:

That campaigns are now being fought largely online is hardly a revelation, yet only one political party seems to have gotten the message. While the Trump campaign has put its digital operation firmly at the center of the president’s re-election effort, Democrats are struggling to internalize the lessons of the 2016 race and adapt to a political landscape shaped by social media….

The campaign under Mr. Parscale is focused on pushing its product — Mr. Trump — by churning out targeted ads, aggressively testing the content and collecting data to further refine its messages. It is selling hats, shirts and other gear, a strategy that yields yet more data, along with cash and, of course, walking campaign billboards….

The Biden campaign’s decision to tack from digital to television, they say, is only the most glaring example of a party hung up on the kind of broad-based advertising that played well in the television age but fares poorly on social media.

I don’t watch much TV anymore. Most of the news I get is from some form of the internet (keeping that information flowing is another topic, it’s getting tough). So I’m unlikely to see Biden TV ads. But I constantly see Trump ads on Facebook.

Getting around mainstream media bias is tough. I don’t think even the most aggressive Trump digital strategy can completely neutralize the in-kind contribution the media gives to Democrats, but it’s making a major dent.

There’s a broader lesson there, one that needs to be applied to the education system — develop an alternative means of communicating with students, one that goes around biased institutions.


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