No, the Republicans are not “winning the internet”, but Donald Trump does do one thing better than the Democrats. 523 days before the November 2020 elections, his campaign is already running a long-term Facebook persuasion campaign based around issues like immigration that he sees as winners. From “How Donald Trump is Beating Democrats on Facebook”, now live on Campaigns & Elections:
[Trump’s] sponsored content has emphasized immigration and has largely targeted older Facebook users, suggesting a desire both to reinforce the “base” and to identify voters who might by candidates for conversion.
[Campaign manager] Parscale is playing a long game here: people who click on a Facebook post incorporating the presidentâ€™s immigration messaging have functionally self-identified as being sympathetic and perhaps persuadable. Because of Facebookâ€™s engagement-targeting features, Trumpâ€™s team can reach them with content again and again with content designed to move their minds.
The rest of the article explains that the presidential campaigns’ digital strategies must focus on winning primaries, but that this reality leaves Trump’s messaging funcationally unopposed until we have a nominee.
What can Democrats do about it? Look for more on long-term, large-scale persuasion here soon. I have some thoughts.