How Republicans Are Beating Democrats Online, With Mark Barker & Jordan Ruden

Listen to the episode here — or subscribe with Apple Podcasts and other podcast apps.

Mark Barker and Jordan Ruden are the co-founders of digital marketing agency Craft & Commerce. They serve nonprofits, advocacy campaigns, government agencies, and other purpose-driven organizations.

As part of that work, Mark and Jordan have become experts in the use of online media to persuade people, whether to back a cause or vote for a candidate. There’s a lot to it, but they say it comes down to understanding where attention lives today.

And they say that’s a big reason why Donald Trump won in 2016 — and why he may win again in 2020. Republicans now seem to get social media, email, and the rest of the online world better than Democrats do, even though Democrats like Howard Dean and Barack Obama were online pioneers.

As you’ll hear in this episode, Mark and Jordan have fascinating insights into how Democrats lost their lead, how Republicans took it over, and what it means for how we all communicate, whether we’re in politics or not.


Craft & Commerce

“Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman

“Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” by Malcolm Gladwell

“Amusing Ourselves to Death” by Neil Postman

About Mark and Jordan (from Craft & Commerce)

Mark Barker, Co-Founder and Strategy Lead

Mark is a data-driven marketer with deep experience in integrated media strategy and social impact storytelling. Prior to founding Craft & Commerce, Mark was General Manager of GOOD’s digital platform and GOOD/Corps agency business, where he crafted innovative, content-based consumer engagements for the likes of Gates Foundation, Google and Starbucks. Working within high-growth corporate divisions such as MTV Networks’ cross-property Generator unit and McCann Erickson’s TAG young adult marketing speciality–and as an independent consultant–Mark has driven measurable, meaningful business and social impact outcomes for leading startups, brands, and nonprofit organizations, including Nativo, Verizon, and the NFL.

Mark holds an MBA from the Acton School of Business, and a BA from Washington & Lee University. Mark is a frequent author and speaker at the intersection of purpose and performance, and serves as an advisor to several startups and community-based nonprofits.

Jordan Ruden, Co-Founder and Campaign Lead

Jordan is a leading creative and technology specialist with a track record of empowering nonprofits, advocacy organizations, and purpose-driven brands to effectively harness paid media, cut through today’s noisy attention landscape, and drive real-world outcomes. Jordan has designed and executed groundbreaking, award-winning advertising campaigns that have helped Girl Scouts of the USA transform its membership funnel, San Francisco MTA achieve record reductions in traffic fatalities, LA’s Measure H and California’s 3P’s realize landmark legislative victories, and Bright Pink inspire over 2MM women (and counting) to assess their cancer risk.

Prior to founding Craft & Commerce, Jordan served as a key figure at startups including GOOD, Yahoo!, and Vault–blending strategy, analytics, storytelling, and operational rigor to scale business unit growth. Jordan holds a BFA from Ithaca College, served on NYC’s Committee for Urban Entrepreneurship, and is a sought-after trainer and speaker on digital trends and best practices.

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