Digital Technologies in U.S. Election Campaigns

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2019-63-10-59-66

A. Borisova (,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation 

Abstract. Information technologies have been actively used by consulting firms in the U.S. political process since the beginning of the 21st century. On the prepared ground of highly-commercialized industry of election races, digital technologies became yet another tool for influencing broad masses of the population, gradually crowding out traditional mass media. For the “customer” (i. e. politicians), digital technologies turned out to be attractive due to their financial accessibility and some sort of elitism (or closeness), due to the specifics of their usage and development. The combination of these qualities gave rise to a narrow group of party-oriented large companies offering campaign management services on the Internet. Today, it is appropriate to speak of a complete cycle, in which politics adopts the marketing tools, and business actively uses political processes inside the country to achieve their interests beyond its borders. These ties open up questions upon the limits of the American leadership on a global scale in relation to the new tools of influencing the broad masses of the population, regulating cyberspace, as well as upon the transformation of the state role perception, security policy and the confrontation between Russia and the United States in the information war. The first part of the article traces the evolution of digital instruments used in election processes in the U.S. since 2004, including the development of big consulting companies and key people who started their careers in political PR at the early age of Internet. The second part suggests the reader recent research outcomes on the subjects of big data usage and social networks’ influence on political and psychological perception of Internet users, including the OCEAN method of targeted advertising research. The third part opens up a discussion on how far politicians and marketing specialists can go to attract big audiences. It poses questions of rebalancing between traditional mass media and digital technologies, and how both industries may change to defeat one another. Finally, the article draws a parallel between todays media revolution and the declaration of will in the early years of American nation-building – Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” and Alexander Hamilton’s “The Federalist Papers”. 

Keywords: USA, election race, digital technologies, big data, artificial neural networks, global leadership, cyberspace, expression of will, global competition, information war 


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For citation:
Borisova A. Digital Technologies in U.S. Election Campaigns. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2019, vol. 63, no. 10, pp. 59-66.

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