DONALD TRUMP will run for a second term as president and has named Brad Parscale, his 2016 digital strategist, as his campaign manager for 2020.
The naming of Mr Parscale as campaign manager marks the clearest step yet towards defining a framework and strategy for Mr Trump to try and secure a second term.
Mr Parscale’s appointment to the top position in the re-election campaign apparatus is likely to indicate that Mr Trump plans on focusing on online strategies to reach voters and get out the vote in three years. Soon after the announcement, Mr Parscale announced two other individuals had been chosen for top leadership positions in the campaign, including Mr Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump.
Mr Parscale first began working with the Trump Organisation in 2011, when his San Antonio firm Giles-Parscale was hired to build websites for the real estate company. He was later reported to be one of the first people Mr Trump called in 2015 after he first announced he was running for President.
At the time, Mr Parscale was known for providing Mr Trump with quality websites at a price point that other tech firms in New York City could not match.
During the 2016 campaign, Mr Parscale was also in charge of overseeing the campaign’s digital media strategy and its online fundraising campaigns. Mr Trump ‘s campaign ultimately raised just over $333m in 2016, 26 per cent of which came from small individual donors, according to the Centre for Responsive Politics.
Mr Parscale’s Twitter account lists him as an adivsor to Mr Trump’s presidential campaign, though it is unclear when he last updated the profile.
The choice in campaign manager shows that Mr Trump’s 2020 campaign will rely on using social media and other digital platforms to spread Mr Trump’s message. That’s a subject that Mr Parscale himself recently talked about by saying that he thinks the Trump 2016 campaign digital strategy was much more effective than that of their Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.
“I bet we were 100x to 200x her. We had [cost per thousand]s that were pennies in some cases,” Mr Parscale wrote in response to Nicholas Thompson, who recently published an investigation into Facebook’s influence on the 2016 election. “This is why @realDonaldTrump was a perfect candidate for FaceBook.”
Mr Parscale’s firm ended up charging Mr Trump’s campaign $94 million for its work on the 2016 election.
The freshly minted Trump campaign manager has also taken one of the biggest liabilities facing the President: The probe by special counsel Robert Mueller into collusion between the 2016 campaign and Russia.
“I would not want a foreign entity to meddle in our election,” Mr Parscale said during an interview with 60 Minutes in which he said he was bothered by fact that Facebook admitted Russians spent at least $100,000 on ads to influence the 2016 campaign. “I’m an American.”
Mr Trump had two campaign managers while running in 2016, showing that working for his initial run proved tumultuous for some of those involved.
The first campaign manager was Corey Lewandowski, who was fired from his post after a reported internal power struggle that occurred after he caught criticism for allegedly grabbing a reporter’s arm against her will. He was replaced months later by Kellyanne Conway, who is currently a top White House official.
Steve Bannon and Paul Manafort were both also perceived as having had campaign manager-esque influence on the operation, though neither officially held the title. Mr Manafort left the campaign amid concerns in 2016 that his connections to Ukraine could be a political distraction. Mr Bannon served in the White House, but left his post last year after a reported internal struggle.