Highlights from Rally’s Technology-Themed Super Tuesday Watch Party & Panel
Hashtags were more prevalent than insults Tuesday night as tech leaders and leading strategists from the two main political parties gathered at Rally HQ to talk politics and technology.
The all-star panel, moderated by former Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly, mostly agreed on tech’s growing impact on the race for the White House, while agreeing to disagree about the broader issues that will define the election.
“The big takeaway from the night is that the fundamental truths of politics have not changed but the technological tools have,” said Rally.org founder and CEO Tom Serres. “In fundraising, people still give to people and people still give to stories.”
“Conventional wisdom is that Republicans are troglodytes when it comes to technology,” said GOP strategist Tucker Eskew, “Are we there yet, no. But we are sharpening our weapons.”
“Campaigns must adapt to survive or they cannot win,” said Democratic communications expert Peter Rangone.
Panelists also talked about the role of technology in building image and driving conversation.
Fred Davis, a leading Republican ad maker, said “I don’t think the internet and web yet are the image creators that decide all . . . the decision on who to vote for is made by talk – something that old.”
Leading Democratic digital strategist Christine Pelosi responded, “The internet is not the image maker but it is definitely the image breaker.”
“I think the water cooler has changed – the water cooler is on Facebook, the water cooler is on Twitter, the water cooler on Rally” said Serres.
Responding to the results from ten GOP primaries, Democrats welcomed the prospect for an even longer and harsher Republican primary season during the discussion at the Rally headquarters.“The winner tonight is Barack Obama,” said Pelosi.
Republican strategist Eskew said he saw a path for a Romney victory, but that the governor needed to “avoid the temptation to tell the biography of Mitt Romney and instead put forward solutions on the terribly unpopular stimulus and terribly unpopular healthcare plan.”
Representatives from both the Obama and Romney campaigns attended the event and mingled with the more than 200 participants.