Technology as a weapon: Conservative group spends big to arm local groups with mobile app

Technology as a weapon: Conservative group spends big to arm local groups with mobile app

The conservative political group American Majority Action (AMA) has spent $1,000,000 on new software that it intends to distribute to local ‘Tea Party’ groups to help them run election efforts on the ground.

According to the president of AMA, Drew Ryun, the software in question called ‘Gravity’ will “rocket conservatives past the high-tech approaches of the DNC and other progressive political groups.” Ever since the impressive technological efforts of the first Obama campaign, conservative groups have been working to close whatever digital gap that existed. Ryun also described the application as a “fusion of old-school grassroots tactics with the state-of-the-art technology.”

The Grand Old Party doesn’t want to be the No Tech Party, as that would be a losing proposition. According to The Hill, the software is relatively impressive:

The smartphone application allows field organizers to put together precinct walk lists and survey questions while volunteers are in the field. If volunteers discover an unexpected issue of high concern to voters, organizers can revise the scripts while volunteers are out knocking on doors.

That would give any local group the power to be successful in a boots-on-the-ground sort of way. Interestingly, AMA intends on making the app available for free to ‘Tea Party’ groups, giving them a potential shot in the arm in the days leading up to the November election cycle.

Gravity is a combination of several discrete technologies that will allow for ground campaigns to move forward, including mapping and, critically, voter identification. If you don’t know which door to knock on, you aren’t going to make much progress. That combined with its messaging functions, and Gravity appears to be an attractive package.

TNW’s take on this is simple: technology can make a huge quantity of interaction functionally granular. That’s both new and powerful. Political ad buys and investments are going to be more digital than ever before in this coming election cycle, as big TV ads slowly become inefficacious for their cost. And in a world where anyone can afford a smartphone, apps like Gravity are bound to have a big impact. We’ll be watching this space to see how technology and politics become even closer.

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