“The Sh*tposting primary”
Instead of reaching voters directly, DeSantis’ staff + surrogates have leaned into pointless Twitter feuds
Any Republican candidate running for President who is not named Donald Trump has around six months to land a fatal blow to the former President’s frontrunner status. With the first debate rapidly approaching, that’s not a lot of time. But, instead of actually reaching voters with innovative strategies attacking Trump or bolstering his own reputation, the campaign of Trump’s leading rival has devolved into stupid staffer feuds and shitposts on a dying social media site.
We’ll break down how the DeSantis campaign is a little “too online” in this week’s newsletter. But first…
By the numbers
FWIW, political advertisers spent just over $7.9 million on Facebook and Instagram ads last week. These were the top ten spenders nationwide:
Republicans running for U.S. Senate are generally staying away from heavy investments in Facebook advertising - beginning to repeat their failed strategy from the 2022 cycle. There’s one exception though: Ted Cruz (R-TX), who has spent a hefty amount of cash on the platform ($115,000 in the past 90 days) to energize his supporters as he will likely face a Democratic rising-star opponent next fall.
No Labels, the centrist third-party group that is considering running a spoiler candidate in next year’s presidential election, spent around $40,000 on Facebook and Instagram ads last week. On Monday, the group held a town hall in New Hampshire with Sen. Joe Manchin, who has been teasing running for President on the group’s ballot line. During the event, the West Virginia Senator didn’t rule out a run, which would almost assuredly throw the election to Donald Trump. The next day, former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who is also affiliated with the group, shared a video teasing his own No Labels candidacy and has been retweeting the speculation all week.
Meanwhile, political campaigns spent $1 million on Google and YouTube ads last week. Here were the top ten spenders nationwide:
The top spending political entity on Google ads last week was a group called “One Person, One Vote.” The campaign is opposing Issue 1 on the ballot in Ohio - which would raise the threshold for constitutional amendments from a simple majority to 60%. Issue 1 is supported by Republicans in the state who do not want to see abortion rights codified by a simple majority of voters.
…and on Snapchat, political campaigns and organizations in the United States have spent around $1.5 million on advertising in 2023. Here are the top ten spenders YTD:
Your 2024 digital dispatch
FWIW, here’s how much money likely or confirmed 2024 presidential candidates have spent on Facebook + Google ads to date (1/1 - 7/15):
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is asking supporters to just Venmo him $1 donations, which sounds like a compliance consultant’s worst nightmare
Asa Hutchinson enlisted Ronald Reagan to help him get on the debate stage
Doug Burgum’s gift card giveaway paid off: his campaign has hit the 40,000 unique donor threshold to qualify for next month’s debate
From around the internet
Republicans scored some top recruits in battleground Senate races this week, with former Congressional candidate Hung Cao announcing his bid in Virginia, and Frank LaRose kicking off a campaign in Ohio.
Former President Obama is supporting libraries and librarians on TikTok.
Tech journalist Casey Newton thinks Meta’s Threads can still go the distance in supplanting Twitter.
The Sh*tposting Primary
Earlier this week, the Boston Globe ran a piece looking at Ron DeSantis’ very online campaign strategy. We shared some thoughts with The Globe, outlining how and why DeSantis’ team is too online and too focused on winning pointless Twitter battles.
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