I was quoted in a CNN piece on new GOP leaders and the Young Republicans:
A number of noted politicians, including current House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-California, and former Tennessee Gov. Don Sundquist, have come from its ranks. Volunteer executive director Soren Dayton estimates 70,000 people belong to YR chapters across the country.
Much of the group’s work is in civic affairs. “It’s not just social networking,” says Dayton, who works as a media and public affairs consultant. “It’s people who serve.”
I wrote,with a colleague from Prism, a piece on the role of European business in making sure that TTIP passes in the US and that the Transatlantic relations gets redefined.
There are no better spokespeople for the position that TTIP can create mutually beneficial growth and jobs than the European businesses that would invest in the U.S., and German businesses are the natural leaders of that group.
In the end, TTIP is about building our shared values and shared interests into a deeper and more beneficial partnership—one that will create much needed growth and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. Achieving that partnership will require European business to become more comfortable with engaging in the political process on both sides of the Atlantic
Politico‘s Byron Tau had a piece about urban Republicans. I said:
“There are lessons to be learned from Republican organizations in cities like Philadelphia and New York, where Republicans fight and win city council races,” said Soren Dayton, a Republican strategist and executive director of the Young Republican National Federation. “We cannot afford to write off the most vote-rich parts of the country.”
I wrote a piece at the Daily Caller about one guy I met back in 2007 who was opposed to immigration reform and how he relates to so many of the groups involved in stopping immigration. The short form is that instinctive opponents to immigration fail to understand either Christianity or conservatism.
To the extent that my acquaintance was concerned about human dignity, he viewed an increase in the population of humans as the greatest challenge to that dignity. This is something that he shared with Margaret Sanger and the founders of Planned Parenthood. That’s why Planned Parenthood supported contraception and abortion for certain elements of society. This is the real face of so many leaders of anti-immigration organizations who, when they talk to conservatives and Christians, present themselves as conservative.
I wrote a piece on the future of GOP foreign policy for Conservative Home, the UK’s leading grassroots blog. The key part is:
In many ways, the US is building a global trading system based on our rules – and our energy. In 2012, the US produced more than 60% of its own oil domestically, a number that increases every year, while our consumption falls. Meanwhile refined and petroleum products were our #1 and #2 exports. Domestic production of natural gas has become a major enterprise as well, leading European countries like Germany (which refuse to frack or use nuclear) to choose between US coal or US natural gas. Just this week, the UK energy company Centrica signed a 20-year contract for US natural gas.
In all likelihood, Republican foreign policy will be driven by the necessity to defend this new trade pattern and the shifting interests that this entails. Whoever ends up buying energy from the Middle East may have to be more invested in its stability, a task that has been a primary U.S. focus since World War II. Another is that Russia may not have the leverage over eastern and central Europe that it has exercised in recent years.
And concludes with:
In other words, the DNA of American foreign policy has always included defending economic and security interests. The days of guns and butter may well be behind us. But, undoubtedly, the US will go out of its way to defend the butter business, wherever our customers may be found.
I made a comment to National Journal’s Elahe Izadi about how Republican campaigns are run …
GOP political strategist Soren Dayton uses a war analogy to illustrate the conundrum: “Part of the reason World War I was so bloody was that they had the basic tools of modern warfare, but they didn’t know how to use them in smart ways. So they just sat in trenches and shot at each other,” he said. “We need technology, but we need to use it more effectively.”
I would add that upgrading the technology isn’t enough. If Republicans use technology to make top-down voter contact more efficient, that is only a linear improvement in campaign effectiveness. In 2008 and again in 2012, Obama made the organizer more efficient, making her exponentially more effective. It is not enough for Republicans to use the same old campaigns with better technology. We need to reinvent the campaign in the context of the technology revolution that is changing organizations across our society.
Politico’s Byron Tau writes a very good piece on the rise of American lobbies in Brussels. My comment:
“Business and other players in the policy debate should not be complacent with gridlock and stasis in Washington,” said Soren Dayton, a senior vice president with Prism Public Affairs, who has worked on transatlantic business issues.
At Redstate, I wrote about the dysfunction of the Senate Budget process:
During the last debt ceiling fight, some pundits in the media and on the left wished for the “Gephardt rule” when the House automatically raised the debt ceiling when they passed a budget. Josh Green at the Atlantic praised it in 2011, saying we should ”bring [it] back.” Now he is at Bloomberg and at it again and again and again. These pundits, and this is my first point, misunderstand what they are advocating for. Second, what they are misunderstanding reveals a startling blindspot: they ignore the dysfunction in the Senate. And my third point is that this is rewinding the clock on deliberative congressional consideration of spending proposals back to 1921 or before.
But first, what is the Gephardt Rule? The Gephardt rule deemed the House to have passed a debt ceiling increase when the House passed a conference report, aka an agreement between House and Senate negotiators, on the budget resolution. That’s a lot of procedural mumbo-jumbo, but the critical fact about was that the House and Senate had a negotiation and agreed. So once the House endorsed that agreement, it endorsed the debt ceiling increase. This was invented by Dick Gephardt in 1979. It was repealed by House Republicans in 1995 due to criticism, correctly to my mind, didn’t properly focus the mind on the increasing debt.
The real key here is how much the people who advocate for these solutions are really talking about dismantling the budget process even more:
Indeed, if you take the logic of Green’s piece you get back to the budget chaos before the 1921 (!) Budget and Accounting Act when Congress didn’t have any systematic process of debating our government spending. Except even then, there was a debt limit so Congress had a ceiling on what is going on. Now House Democrats want to get rid of that sliver of control too and cede the process entirely to omnibus appropriations.
I was asked about the future of sentiment analysis in campaigns. My answer:
Still, there are plenty of caveats. Sentiment analysis can still be costly for down-ballot campaigns. And Soren Dayton, SVP at Prism Public Affairs, says only presidential races would have the signal-to-noise ratio for sentiment analysis to truly be meaningful.
“I think the key thing here is that polling or sentiment analysis is valuable for checking models when you have good enough models,” he says. “All of this can be integrated as people try to build profiles.”
BuzzFeed asked some younger operatives and consultants what we see as the future. They published part of my answer:
“We still haven’t learned the lesson of the Obama campaign of 2008: The Internet and technology, by lowering transaction costs and barriers to entry, can empower individuals to be more impactful to the political process in general,” said Soren Dayton, a Republican consultant who specializes in new media. “Obama turned activists to organizers. Republican campaigns still treat activists as ATMs and phone-calling automatons.”