NGP VAN is a technology company that has dived head first into the political world by supporting Democratic and progressive groups and campaigns. They are the vehicle that connects campaigns to social media, fundraising, electronic canvassing and organizing a smooth campaign. The company was the primary technology base for both of President Barack Obama’s campaigns in 2008 and 2012.
The Tech News Spy article titled, In Today’s Political Campaigns, NGP VAN Helps Democrats Mobilize features NGP VAN and highlights the company’s contribution to both American and Canadian progressive politics. It also compares today’s political campaigning strategies to those of the past. It speaks of how campaigning decades ago was hard physical work. It was waking up in the morning and knocking on doors asking people to vote for the candidate, and explaining the reasons why they should do so. It was the physical labor of making up flyers to distribute, and making thousands of copies of flyers and driving around to meet and greet people. The article mentions how television and radio advertisements were an excellent option and the latest media outlets for campaigning in the 1950s, if the candidate was savvy enough.
Today, however, while it still takes hard work, but it’s more technological and strategic. Now, one can get a social media account and reach millions, right from the comfort of their home. Technology can now target the specific demographic for a candidate and send emails and posts messages and tweets explaining their platform. Now, a candidate has an understanding of who their audience is, and can zero in on that group. Decades ago, a candidate had no clue who they were appealing to. They would just blindly go and campaign, with hopes of being liked and elected. Thanks to companies like NGP VAN, the guesswork is taken out of this part, and strategically pinpoints the candidate’s audience so the candidate can take it from there to appeal to that particular group, with hopes of winning their votes.
Technology-based campaigning in the 21st century, while still very stressful, has brought the concept of convenience to the political arena. The article mentions how NGP VAN has even developed mobile apps, giving convenience and constant campaign access to both the possible constituents and campaign employees.
The article takes a strong and unexpected partisan turn at the end by asking if NGP VAN could turn Congress Democratic. Interesting!