It’s no secret that the GOP’s base audience is aging. Just like your grandpa has averted from the iPhone but embraced the Jitterbug, the GOP has shied away from fully embracing the Internet and their lack of tech savviness is catching up with them.
Republicans couldn’t have seemed more out of touch with the web than this week, when Ron Paul actually interacted with the UN in an effort to take back his website and Bush family’s e-mails were hacked.
Despite the fact that Ron Paul has hissed at the United Nations for years, he filed a complaint to the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization in the hopes of getting the rights to RonPaul.com and RonPaul.org for free. Both are currently run as self-proclaimed ‘fan-pages.’ Paul argued that he should be entitled to the website domains because he has a common-law trademark to his name, which should apply to the websites.
RonPaul.com bloggers claim that they launched the website in May of 2008. So despite over 37 years of service, the libertarian never thought to invest in a domain with his own name. Perhaps even in 2008, the Texas congressman thought this whole internet thing would blow over.
In other GOP internet snafu news, the Secret Service has launched an investigation to figure out the identity of ‘Guccifer,’ a hacker who got a hold of the personal AOL e-mail accounts of the Bush family. These emails contained pictures of George H.W. Bush on a hospital bed, the four-digit code to open the gate of the son’s homes, addresses, personal photographs of the Bush family, and cell phone numbers. The e-mails also revealed that the Bush family was preparing for H.W.’s funeral in December, when he was hospitalized. But best of all, photos of George W. Bush’s personal paintings–one of which is a self-portrait of himself in the shower–were released. Sources say that the family probably wasn’t encrypting their emails or photos.
Before last November’s election, the hacker group Anonymous claimed to ruin Karl Rove’s plan to change election results in three key states.
The GOP’s internet dilemmas aren’t just happening in the national sphere: the Iowa Senate Republican Caucus website was hacked last Thursday. The usual homepage was replaced by an image of woman in a lab coat with the text: “Ayumi… there is only one reason for loving you…”
The GOP’s lack of technical know-how isn’t just a security issue, it’s an issue of gaining and retaining a diverse pool of voters. While Mitt Romney was paying more cost per click on his online election campaign, Barack Obama payed more overall by a large margin. Just compare the quality of the candidate’s digital consulting agency websites: Romney‘s Dionysus (and many other prominent Republicans) vs. Obama‘s Blue State Digital (and many other well-recognized websites). The digital droves of young voters headed to Obama’s website because, heck, it’s pretty.
But they aren’t all unaware of what’s going on within the Internet: many Republicans are invested in trying to brand themselves as ‘internet freedom fighters.’ However, Mitt Romney has still yet to do an AMA on Reddit.