The Closing Digital Divide Between Republicans & Democrats

As many of you know, I’m a conservative Catholic. But recently I was given the opportunity to share my views on digital with the Orthodox Jewish Mishpacha Magazine.

Regarding the digital divide between Republicans and Democrats, I said that the gap is closing.

“Online budgets are increasing; digital strategists are getting a seat at the table,” says GOP digital strategist Anthony Bonna. “Republicans aren’t where we need to be yet, but the digital divide is rapidly tightening.”

The fact is more and more conservative Republican political campaigns are investing in a digital strategy at every level of government. National Republicans are taking more seriously the call to invest in technology and data.

Additionally, I addressed privacy concerns shared by many voters.

“Data strategists in both parties wave away the fear, though, claiming that there’s a bright red line dividing the troves of conventional data and those related to more personal behaviors. Says Republican digital strategist Anthony Bonna: ‘A campaign might know they’re targeting a specific individual, but they don’t know anything about that user’s behavior online or offline. Conversely, a campaign might target users who visit specific sites or exhibit certain behaviors online and offline. In these circumstances, the advertiser does not know the identity of the individuals being targeted.’”

To clarify my quote, we can obviously infer information about a user’s behavior offline from the voter file, the origin or demographics of the list, or through information voluntarily provided by the voter. At the campaign level, my point was that when we target specific individuals, we are not keeping a record of what they are doing. And when we targeting specific online behaviors, we are not keeping a record of what specific individuals are exhibiting that behavior.

Anthony Bonna’s “Direct Hit” on Charlie Crist & What Scott Maxwell Had To Say About It

Anthony Bonna-receives-Central-Florida-Orlando-Tiger-Bay-Fang-And-Claw-Award-For-Asking-Charlie-Crist-Question-Political-Opportunism

Anthony Bonna receives the Central Florida Orlando Tiger Bay Club’s “Fang and Claw” award for asking Charlie Crist a question about political opportunism.

In May, I enjoyed attending the Tiger Bay Club meeting where Charlie Crist was the guest speaker.

During the Q&A session, I asked Crist the following: “In 2006, you ran as a Jeb Bush Republican. When you ran for the US Senate you tried to convince voters you were more conservative than Marco Rubio and in 2008 you were angling for the Republican Vice Presidential nomination. If you had been successful and were either the Republican Vice Presidential nominee or an incumbent GOP Senator, can you honestly tell everyone in this room you still would have switched parties? Furthermore, what do you say to those critics who believe you’ve elevated getting elected to your highest principle.”

Then the predictable happened. Charlie Crist proceeded to not answer my question and speak in platitudes. And I won the “coveted fang and claw” award for asking the toughest question.

Here’s what Scott Maxwell had to say about the encounter in a column, “Charlie Crist takes direct hit – then thanks the guy who hit him:

“One member of the audience absolutely blistered Charlie with a question, essentially accusing Crist of being a human weather vane, void of core beliefs and willing to change his political stripes for convenience.

It was a fair question and observation … one I’ve raised and made before, as well.

But Charlie not only took it in stride, at the end of the meeting, when the questioner received the club’s “fang and claw” award for asking the toughest question of the day, Crist leapt out of his seat to shake his hand. Crist actually congratulated him … for skewering him.

Call it shtick if you will. But considering we are in an age where many politicians hide from the public, duck tough questions and demonize their critics, it was also refreshing.”

Despite polls, local supporters of Tom Gallagher remain optimistic

Opposing Charlie Crist before it was popular… Here’s an article from August 25, 2006…

State Attorney General Charlie Crist is the favorite to win the Sept. 5 Republican primary. Mr. Gallagher, Florida’s chief financial officer, is behind in preliminary polls, and considerably behind in campaign contributions.

Regardless, people like Anthony Bonna, a fresh-faced St. Lucie County Republican executive committeeman, are quite optimistic.

“You might hear about polls, but one thing is certain. Leading in, our opponents in this race do not have the grassroots, dedicated volunteers that are going to turn out the vote,” Mr. Bonna said. “In a Republican primary, turnout is very important. We need to focus on getting as many people as possible out to the polls to support Tom. We’re doing that, and we’re confident we’re going to pull the sleeper.”

the local man in charge for the Gallagher campaign, Mr. Bonna believes it’s the candidate’s heavily conservative stance that will bring victory. Mr. Gallagher is opposed to gay adoption and gay civil unions, and against amnesty for illegal aliens.

Similar to the Knorr’s story, Mr. Bonna decided to give his all toward the campaign after Mr. Gallagher’s office fought the insurance companies to help his mother, Theresa, who lost her home in the hurricanes. He believes Mr. Gallagher would serve the state in the fashion of its current leader.

“Jeb Bush is the greatest governor in the nation. I think most people want to continue having a governor in the tradition of Jeb Bush. That’s where Tom Gallagher would take us,” Mr. Bonna said.

Read the full article in The Fort Pierce Hometown News.

Anthony Bonna Co-Authors Mike Huckabee Endorsement

In 2007, I had the opportunity to co-author one of the first major endorsements of Gov. Mike Huckabee’s Presidential campaign. The article was the cover story in evangelical minister Steve Strang’s New Man Magazine. 

New Man Magazine Cover Featuring Mike Huckabee

Here is how the article was described in Wikipedia:

The July/August 2007 issue of New Man featured former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee on its cover, and endorsed his 2008 run for president, as did an accompanying editorial in Strang’s Charisma magazine. The New Man editorial called Mike Huckabee “one of our own”, and urged 1000 readers to each contribute $1000 to the then cash-strapped campaign.The American Prospect stated this was Huckabee’s most prominent Christian right endorsement to this point, and connected it to Mike Huckabee’s strong second place showing in the Iowa Straw Poll. The New Man Huckabee endorsement was also credited for contributing to Mike Huckabee’s support by the New York Times and Huckabee himself. Film star Chuck Norris cited the New Man endorsement in his decision to endorse and work for Mike Huckabee’s campaign.

Read the full article here. An excerpt is below:

The Case for Huckabee for President

We know Mike Huckabee espouses our values. Here’s why we believe he can win.

Mike Huckabee has a strong vision for America. Because of his unique communication skills and his views on the issues, he has the ability to cast a unifying vision for America that will not become mired in the wars surrounding party, ideology and class. He does this while integrating a Christian worldview of genuine care and concern for fellow citizens. Huckabee has the ability to change the face of the Republican Party for the next decade and bring our increasingly diverse country into unity.

Communication Skills

Huckabee is the finest communicator in the race from either party. Much has been written about his gifts in this area. As an orator, he is persuasive, articulate and Reagan-like. His ability to inspire vision is critically important and shouldn’t be underestimated.

His two appearances on Comedy Central were brilliant and showed how quick and sharp he is in one of the most dangerous media seats in America.

As one commentator said of him: “He offers the politics of optimism that people thirst for, but never without honesty. A former Baptist minister, he’s remarkable at not being ‘preachy.’ He truly is a ‘compassionate conservative’ and couples humor with charisma.”

Anyone can buy, hire or acquire ideas and public policy aptitude. But negotiation abilities, communication skills, and collegiality are God-given talents that cannot be acquired or transferred easily. Huckabee, however, has them.