Editor’s note: Campaign Trail is a weekly Wednesday column offering news and analysis on the 2014 Midterm Elections and 2016 Presidential Election.
Para Bellum, a Latin adage which means “prepare for war,” seeks to combine software tools, data analytics and digital marketing tactics to better target potential voters in elections.
“The RNC has a role to lead on data and digital for the good of the party from the top of the ticket down,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement. “Through Para Bellum Labs, we will continue bringing in top talent to inspire innovative products to power campaigns and change the way we do business in the Republican Party.”
The launch of Para Bellum Labs is an attempt to reverse the Democrats’ edge on voter microtargeting, which refers to the acquisition of detailed information about voters, which can help campaigns predict political preferences and voting behavior. The tactic was spearheaded by Republican strategist Karl Rove during the 2004 Bush-Cheney reelection campaign, in the process helping former president Bush win reelection.
In the 2012 presidential election, however, the Obama campaign took microtargeting to a new level. Investing heavily in microtargeting and analytics, President Obama used a wealth of data as a backbone for an effective ground game that helped solidify his reelection.
The GOP hopes, then, that Para Bellum Labs will help propel the party to victory in the 2014 midterms and 2016 presidential elections. The effort is being led by Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief Digital Officer Chuck DeFeo and Chief Data Officer Azarias Reda.
“We will fully participate in the open source community and earn the respect of the people we need to hire,” Reda said in a statement. “When it comes to recruiting top talent, our competition isn’t the Democratic Party—it’s the Facebooks, LinkedIns, and Googles of the world. We’re pushing the envelope by building products to win elections while creating a young and engaged image for the Republican Party.”
Chief Digital Officer Chuck DeFeo also issued a statement of his own on Para Bellum’s unveiling.
“Para Bellum Labs is something that has never been done before” DeFeo said. “By setting clear goals and hiring talented people, I am confident we will keep propelling our Party forward to win elections in 2014, 2016 and beyond.”
Watch the video below for an inside look at Para Bellum Labs: