NationBuilder declares itself a nonpartisan provider of Leadership software. They are neither the only nor the first political software vendor to go down this path. Way back in the 80’s the first real pioneer in the political technology space was a firm called Aristotle, who also began or at least said they began as nonpartisan. After a few years of operating, by design or by happenstance, it was clear that their client base was overwhelmingly Republican – and is to this day.
We’re not sure about the paths that took Aristotle down the road toward Republicanville but here’s a quick summary of how Nationbuilder got there.
In 2012, they entered into a national strategic partnership agreement with the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC). If you’re not familiar, the RSLC’s primary function is to help elect Republican candidates running for office at the state level across the U.S. The partnership agreement was for NationBuilder to provide their service tools to replublicans at a deeply discounted rate and then for the RSLC to help market NationBuilder’s service to their Republicans candidates.
Fast-forward to prior to the 2016 election and they have now integrated their free voter file with Data Trust, the Republican national voter database. This enabled Republican campaigns to easily sync data from NB’s free voter file directly to the DataTrust voter database. That even prompted blogger to write an article titled “Why every Republican should be using NationBuilder in 2016”.
Finally, just days after the 2016 election, NB posted a message to their blog celebrating Donald Trump’s victory and congratulating all of their Republican and 3rd party candidates. This, understandably, caused an uproar in the progressive community
Like Aristotle before them, NationBuilder has chosen a side in a market where picking sides is required.