2016 Club Convenes at Café Milano

The Washington Illuminati gather to hear from two experts in the field.

At the invitation of Franco Nuschese and “Trail Talk” co-hosts, Tammy Haddad and Betsy Fischer Martin, journalists and political strategists gathered Tuesday night over dinner at Café Milano (the home of the 2016 Club) for an insider’s look at the race for the White House.

The evening, which included presentations from Zignal Labs CEO Josh Ginsberg and political consultant and cofounder of Purple Strategies Alex Castellanos, focused on two main themes: “the echo effect” within social media and rebranding conservatism in America. Ginsberg began by discussing the importance of tracking online mentions to campaigns and how the GW Political Science team was using Zignal Labs data to calculate “the echo effect” of different candidates.

“They looked at every single candidate’s announcement and yeah, you get a spike when you announce you’re running for president,” said Ginsberg, “but the real question is: what messages are sustained throughout the next three days, five days, five weeks, five months.”

“And on that, actually, Donald Trump has a really low echo effect,” continued Ginsberg. “The number one candidate was Ted Cruz. This is really reflected in the primary states — where the influencers who are driving his poll numbers up are actually the most important ones talking about him. Also, you can see things like Hillary Clinton is really good at driving her own message. So, if you look at when she says something online, everyone repeats what she’s saying. But if you look at other candidates, what they’re saying online — for example like a Rand Paul, it’s all dominated by reporters or by bloggers. Now you’re dealing with a situation of who’s actually driving their own narrative? Who’s actually being the most helpful to themselves?”

An example of those not driving their own narratives, but receiving a jump in mentions: Marco Rubio. As Politico’s Ken Vogel live tweeted from the meeting:

What did we learn? If you want campaign attention, hit a kid in the face with a football. Your move, Donald Trump.

Spotted: Tammy Haddad of Haddad Media, Betsy Fischer Martin of Fischer Martin Media, Jonathan Martin of The New York Times, Politico’s Ken Vogel, National Journal’s Ron Fournier, Josh Ginsberg of Zignal Labs, Alex Castellanos of Purple Strategies, CNN’s Polson Kanneth, Matt Viser of the Boston Globe, Yahoo’s Garance Franke-Ruta, Chris Isham of CBS News, Jennifer Maguire of Tribeca/Pipeline, Lisa Desjardins of PBS Newshour, WSJ’s Jeanne Cummings, Anthony Salvanto of CBS News Surveys, and John Coale.