Policy-Lite

Half of the GOP candidates don't have an "issues" page on their website; smart teddy bears; and more.


  • Tech and the presidentials: A Politico review of the 17 GOP candidates’ websites found almost half lacked an “issue” page, where they can outline their stances on things Americans care about, including Donald Trump, Jeb Bush and Scott Walker. “For the rest of the pack,” Darren Samuelsohn writes, “the policy pages of their websites are largely afterthoughts, light on significant detail.”

  • The New York Times’ Ashley Parker has this glimpse into the Republicans’ social media-centered war rooms, writing that, “in the battle for public opinion, the presidential debates will be won or lost on social media, possibly before the 10 Republican hopefuls have even answered the last question.”

  • Shane Goldmacher tackles the same subject for National Journal, zeroing in on how campaigns will target political journalists on Twitter specifically.

  • Congress has cut funding for the U.S. Digital Services, Jason Shueh reports for GovTech, raising questions about its future.

  • Speaking of tech in the White House, yesterday the New York Tech Meetup participated in the first White House Demo Day. A full description of the participants and their creations, from space robots to smart teddy bears, is here.

  • Our contributing editor An Xiao Mina has co-written a piece for Civicist with Julia Ticona on thinking past the digital divide. They find that thinking about internet access as a binary—you have it or you don’t—misses many of the ways Americans get online. That limited view could prevent the government from investing in short-term, inexpensive solutions that could be as or more impactful than simply expanding broadband access.

  • In the spring, I wrote about an experiment in participatory democracy in Provo, Utah, run entirely on Loomio and NationBuilder. Well, the results are in and although participation was low, the process concluded successfully with three specific policy recommendations, generated and agreed upon by Provo residents, that were then submitted to the City Council. A second round will run again in September. Read more in my report for Civicist.

  • For the Australian Financial Times, Claire Stewart profiles Pia Waugh, open government advocate and the director of Gov 2.0 in the Department of Finance.

  • Mark Bergen reports for ReCode that Facebook has begun advocating for its Internet.org campaign in India, where the initiative has faced backlash for breaking the principles of net neutrality. On Facebook, obviously.

  • In the Boston Business Journal, Sara Castellanos writes that a Dynamite Labs app lets users create anonymous videos by masking their face and altering their voice, freeing them to tell stories of bullying or racism. Dynamite Labs (co-founder Larry Lieberman is a Civic Hall member) has recently announced seed funding that will allow them to release a public beta version.

  • Apply: Blue Ridge Labs@Robin Hood has just launched Catalyst, a six-month incubation program for social entrepreneurs who are building technology-enabled solutions to help low-income New Yorkers. Selected teams receive mentorship support as well as a cash stipend.