Progressive group to spend $70M targeting Trump online

Politics

WASHINGTON (AP) — A progressive organization announced Monday that it plans to spend over $70 million targeting Donald Trump online, a move that comes amid worries that Democrats aren’t doing enough to counter the president’s massive ad spending on Facebook and Google.

The group ACRONYM will run ads on social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube through the 2020 election season. Tara McGowan, ACRONYM’s founder, for months has been critical of Democrats’ approach to Trump online.

Ad disclosure data shows Trump has spent tens of millions on online advertisements with a limited response from Democrats. Along with the Republican National Committee, he’s also raised over $300 million this year for his reelection.

That’s helped Trump shape the narrative of the race at a time when Democratic contenders to challenge him in the general election are more focused on winning their primary and lack the resources — and time — to go after him head-on.

“This isn’t about matching Trump dollar-for-dollar online — this is about reaching voters where they are with the information they need to stay engaged, organized and mobilized to vote Trump out of office next November,” McGowan said. “How and where people get their information has changed dramatically over the past 10 years, and Democrats have been slow to evolve their strategies to meet the demand for online information.”

ACRONYM isn’t the only group targeting Trump online. Priorities USA, the largest Democratic outside group, has spent over $2.3 million on election advertising on Facebook over the past 90 days, disclosures show. The group spent about $200 million during the 2016 campaign and plans to spend big again in 2020.

But ACRONYM’s leaders say it’s necessary to ramp up spending sooner.

“Last-minute multimillion-dollar ad buys won’t be enough any longer,” said David Plouffe, a former senior adviser to Barack Obama’s campaigns who now works with ACRONYM. “This election is already being fought and it’s being fought online. … We are going to have to grind out this victory the hard way.”

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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