The 2016 U.S. presidential election will be the most technologically advanced election in history, and most of that will be focused on two factors: vastly increasing new registered voter turnout and microanalysis pinpoint targeting by county to optimize state wins and electoral college performance. The party that better executes in these two areas will emerge as the winner.
Historically, up until Barack Obama's 2008 campaign, the guiding premise was that Republicans triumphed in low-turnout elections while Democrats succeeded if they turned out the Union vote. In 2008, the Obama campaign, which was really the first driven by targeted polling technology, successfully drew in millions of people had not voted in any recent elections, with a particular focus on minority voters.
2012 was a blast from the past, with Obama losing millions of voters after a first term perceived as uneven, and Mitt Romney providing little inspiration to either the Republican base or new independent voters.
By contrast, 2016 should be like 2008, but on steroids because both parties are focused on courting millions of new voters. For the Republicans, if Donald Trump is the nominee, he has the potential to draw millions of a new voter demographic to the table: white, working class, non-evangelical, non-college educated individuals from rural areas.
This demographic of voters, despite making up nearly 20% of the electorate, has sat out the last several Presidential elections and is electrified (whether rightly or not) by the Trump candidacy. Their strong presence in this election on the Republican side puts previously safe Democratic strongholds such as Michigan and Pennsylvania potentially up for grabs.
The Republicans are using media, particularly viral social media, differently than ever before: driving up anger and attention levels to push people who have never voted to the polls. This aggression-focused approach is very new to Presidential elections, where previous get-out-the-vote focused campaigns focused on Hope (Obama 2008), Compassionate Conservatism (Bush 2000), and Economic Growth (Clinton 1992).
The Democrats, particularly Hilary Clinton and the White House, have focused less on social media and bombast and more on voter registration and reminder technologies. More new Latino voters have registered in the last four years than any previous period, and the New York Times recently cited 2016 as expected to be the single highest voter registration year ever for Latinos.
New applications remind new voters to go to register, then, in a very new development, can either handle or render extremely simple all remaining paperwork and deadlines and deliver regular election day reminders and tips, which keeps up voter interest and reduces apathy. Democrats are relying on this in order to hold on to key swing states with high percentages of minority voters, particularly Florida and Nevada.
Ultimately, this is the key to the 2016 US Presidential Election: will Republican's social media-driven anger, or Democrats' methodical focus on voting technologies, win the day?