The War Over Obama's Election Tech

The Democratic Party is fighting with coders over the fate of President Obama's revolutionary fundraising software from the 2012 campaign.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) and open-source loving programmers are at war over the fate of the Obama 2012 campaign's amazing tech arsenal. The Verge's Ben Popper reports that President Obama and his former campaign staff are keeping a tight hold on fundraising software largely built on open-source code. During the 2012 campaign, the Democratic Party built a custom platform called Narwhal with the help of volunteers from Facebook, Google, and Twitter's engineering teams. By comparison, fundraising software used by the Romney campaign was notoriously clunky.

Despite open-source code's prominent use in Narwhal, the DNC is hesitant to give outsiders access to the platform. One major fear is that Narwhal could be used by Republican candidates in tight races nationwide. Obama's 2012 campaign drew heavily on startup culture and, beyond fundraising, embraced social media for outreach to undecided voters.

[Image: Wikimedia user TonyTheTiger]

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  • Mike

    If they used any GPL code, unless they distribute it outside the DNC there is no legal or ethical obligation to release it. If it is BSD, Apache or MIT, there is never any obligation to reciprocate.