The $35 million play to fix Democrats’ data problem is shutting down

One of the costliest and most publicized efforts to fix the Democratic Party’s data problems is the shutdown.

Alloy, a group launched with $ 35 million in part from Silicon Valley billionaire Reid Hoffman, said Monday it would start “shutting down” next year after completing its work for the second round of January elections in Georgia. The decision is a huge turn of fortune for Alloy, who had massive hype when it was announced but failed to deliver on its original promise, many Democratic data operators have said during the year.

Alloy was originally seen as a technological solution that the party establishment – the Democratic National Committee – could not provide. Plotted in the aftermath of the 2016 election, when Democrats of all stripes viewed their data-reporting operation as one of the many reasons Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump, Alloy was originally envisioned as a new data exchange where all Democratic efforts could exchange voter information. But when it was introduced, the effort angered some party leaders who saw it as a stereotypical attempt by hubristic Silicon Valley billionaires to solve a problem they didn’t understand.

The fact that the Democratic Party ended up having its own also complicated Alloy’s path. solution to its mistakes of 2016. The Democratic Party has started to build a data portal called the Democratic Data Exchange, which drew some of its own tech money. Many data agents have grown to view the two efforts as largely duplicative, and the relationship between Alloy and the Democratic Party could be strained at times, some party leaders see Alloy as an “existential threat.”

Alloy ended up focusing largely on voter registration efforts during the 2020 cycle, a more humble mission that his leaders deem successful: he verified that 23 million voters were registered.

“We will close this chapter of Alloy by encouraging those who continue the ongoing work to protect and strengthen our democracy,” Alloy said in an email to his partners on Monday, obtained by Recode.

Monday’s announcement falls short of Alloy’s initial expectations. It was seen as a long-term solution to a long-term problem, not a solution that would end operations after a single presidential cycle.

Half of the money for Alloy came from LinkedIn founder Hoffman, who has become one of the Democratic Party’s most controversial donors. Several of Hoffman’s political projects failed, although he argued that he was only making a number of high-risk and high-potential political investments, as he does in his daily work as a venture capitalist. But no project was more closely associated with him than Alloy – his team were even willing to essentially reimburse certain progressive groups if they decided to use him.

This should only be the first of the post-election reconsiderations both sides will have to make when it comes to their technology.

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