Last week, Donald Trump announced that Brad Parscale, his 2016 digital director, would serve as manager for the President’s 2020 reelection campaign. It’s a milestone of sorts: the first time that a digital strategist has been named officially to run a presidential campaign.
But really, Parscale’s new status may not reflect that much of a change, because in 2016, he was Trump’s de facto campaign manager for the last couple of months of the race. With all the turnover at the official top slot (remember Manafort vs. Lewandowski?), Parscale’s digital operation functionally became the campaign’s outreach arm.
In the crucial home stretch, he made the important decisions about resource-allocation, including how much to spend on television vs. other channels. His large-scale Facebook outreach reached voters in groups large and small in critical areas of the country, and the bulk of the campaign’s late funding came through grassroots donors identified and recruited via Facebook ads (even if they often gave the money in response to a subsequent email appeal).
We can assume that a Trump 2020 race would have a similar digital focus, a rare thing in the world of presidential campaigns — though the actual technology they use may have evolved significantly by then. For more about Parscale’s 2016 work and what it portends for the next presidential cycle, check out:
- Parscale’s 60 Minutes interview from 2017
- What Consultants Need to Know about Trump and Facebook
- To Help Elect Trump, Brad Parscale Automated Facebook Best Practices on a Vast Scale