Blue Utopia Blog

How Nationbuilder Went Republican

Fri, Jan 13, 2017 - 01:07 PM


NationBuilder declares itself a 'nonpartisan provider of leadership software'. They are not the only, nor are they the first political software vendor to go down this path. Way back in the 90's, One of the first real pioneers in the political technology space was a firm called Aristotle, which also began -- or at least proclaimed to be -- nonpartisan. After a few years of operating though -- by design or by happenstance -- their client base was overwhelmingly Republican. As it is to this day.

We're not sure about the paths that took Aristotle down the road toward Republican-ville 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, the RSLC (article | screenshot). 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 republicans at a deeply discounted rate and then for the RSLC to help market NationBuilder's service to their Republicans candidates.

Fast-forward to just before the 2016 election when they integrated their free voter file with Data Trust, the Republican national voter database. This partnership enabled Republican campaigns to easily sync data from NB's free voter file directly to the DataTrust voter database. That even prompted one prominent blogger to write an article titled "Why every Republican should be using NationBuilder in 2016" (article | screenshot.

Finally, just days after the 2016 election, NB posted a message (article | screenshot). 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.

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