An Internet-savvy team of young Republicans is attracting national attention for its plans to give the Grand Old Party an extreme, high-tech makeover.
RebuildTheParty.com was created by five dedicated Republicans who believe that conservative principles depend on a cutting-edge commitment to digital technology.
Worried that the GOP has grown a little too old, they launched their site just two days after President-Elect Barack Obama was declared the winner after apparently enjoying a powerful Internet advantage.
“We saw Obama’s success and the fund-raising numbers he put up, and we said ‘We’ve got to do something to make sure our party doesn’t fall behind.’ It just sort of happened organically,” says one of the organization’s founding members, Fort Lauderdale attorney Justin Sayfie. Sayfie served as a senior policy adviser and speechwriter for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
The group’s aim: Persuading GOP leaders to modernize the party and develop more Internet-based tools for GOP candidates, to enhance the party’s prospects for winning future elections.
Toward that end, the organization has posted an action plan that calls for: Recruiting 5 million online GOP activists. Weaning local parties and campaigns off their dependency on the Republican National Committee mailing list. Using “open technology” to encourage creation of software applications enhancing the party’s strength and effectiveness.Rebuilding the party’s grassroots infrastructure via technology that enables GOP stalwarts to connect and communicate with other activists on the precinct level. Establishing a new, Internet-based fund-raising model with the goal of enabling the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee to raise half of all funds via the Web.
These and other changes will help Republicans keep pace with rapidly changing technologies, Sayfie says.
“We live in a society where people are being bombarded with messages from many different media,” Sayfie tells Newsmax. “We believe the Republican Party should be best-of-class in communicating through the Internet, and via people’s mobile devices. More and more young people are using these new media and communication devices, both to get their political news and to remain politically active.”
So far over 6,400 people have endorsed the group’s 3,200-word manifesto for retooling the Party’s technological infrastructure. A host of media outlets have covered the site’s launch, as the Party looks for answers to Democrats’ newfound political dominance in Washington. Many of the organization’s members are in their 20s and 30s.
Co-founders of the site include Patrick Ruffini, the former Republican National Committee e-campaign director, and co-founder of TheNextRight.com; Mindy Finn, former e-strategy director for the Romney for President campaign; Phil Musser, former executive director of the Republican Governors Association; and Erick Erickson, managing editor of RedState.com.
RebuildTheParty.com’s first objective: To ensure the next chairperson of the Republican Party shares their determination to seize the technological high ground.
“After that we want to hold Republican leaders accountable for our agenda, urge them to be innovative, and to fully harness the power of technology in order to win future elections,” Sayfie says.
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