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Here's the Real Face Behind Trump's Victory

Brad Parscale's brash digital-media campaign helped Trump win in 2016
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2020 6:01 PM CST

(Newser) – Know Brad Parscale? He's six-foot-eight with a big beard and a bigger reputation—as the digital-media guru who somehow made Donald Trump president. "I understood early that Facebook was how Donald Trump was going to win," he said a few years ago. "Facebook was the method—it was the highway which his car drove on." Now the New Yorker takes a deep dive into exactly how Parscale did it. Seems the Texas-based Web designer began building Trump sites in 2012 and hung on to become digital-media director for the presidential run. He even endured a fit of Trumpian rage over the notion that Facebook ads, not TV commercials, were the key to victory. He then built a digital-media office that audaciously mixed tricks of the Facebook trade.

Among them were "dark posts" (microtargeted ads that might offend the masses, but not specific users) and "Lookalike Audiences" (lists of users that Facebook could expand to include like-minded people). He also took advantage of Cambridge Analytica data, a free Facebook rep who raked in big donations, and two ad-tech firms that could legally access data from a company co-founded by Karl Rove. It was the Wild West, with all ideas welcome—even a Pokemon-themed video about Hillary Clinton that went viral. Now Parscale is heading Trump's 2020 campaign and culling data in new ways, like asking Trump-rally attendees for their cell numbers. "I know everybody wants me to do it from my laptop," says the 44-year-old. "Not possible. I've already done that once." (Click for the full article.)

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