POLITICO: Dem operatives unveil new progressive tech incubator
Dem operatives unveil new progressive tech incubator
By GABRIEL DEBENEDETTI 05/08/17 05:17 AM EDT
Fearing a tech deficit, a trio of leading Democratic operatives is set to unveil a new organization Monday which will push their party to focus on building political technology that’s not just centered on presidential campaigns.
The initiative, named Higher Ground Labs, intends to provide fellowships for up-and-coming progressive political tech entrepreneurs and to invest in young projects that can help benefit down-ballot Democratic candidates as well as presidential ones.
The group will be led by former President Barack Obama's 2012 online organizing director Betsy Hoover, private equity executive and former Obama White House special assistant Shomik Dutta, and Obama White House deputy chief technology officer Andrew McLaughlin — a former top official at tech companies such as Google and Tumblr. Higher Ground Labs says it’s already brought in its first $1 million in commitments.
While some Republican entities — like the Koch brothers’ network — have invested in long-term tech and data projects for a wide range of candidates for years, many Democrats have concluded after Hillary Clinton's loss in 2016 that their party needs to focus more on lower-profile races, as well. Higher Ground Labs has already begun identifying and committing resources to new initiatives, it says.
The organization is set to be advised by a large board that includes veteran strategists such as Obama’s 2012 national field director Jeremy Bird, Organizing for Action executive director Jon Carson, Clinton’s top organizing official Marlon Marshall, Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau, and Obama’s 2008 chief technology officer Michael Slaby.