To the great consternation of conservatives, the Obama years have demonstrated, if there was any doubt, where the political sympathies of social-media giants such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter really lie.
Cody Brown wants to do something about that.
Brown is the founder of Codias (co-DIE-us), “the social network for conservatives,” which launches today. “There’s been a historic divide between technology and politics, particularly for the conservative movement,” he says. “We hope our platform will begin to fill this void.”
Codias advertises a “revolution in your hands.” “Tired of losing the culture?” the website asks on its homepage. “We equip conservatives for modern political warfare.” For Brown, “it’s a means for conservatives to find and communicate with each other and mobilize each other to achieve common objectives, and really for the first time.”
Codias, which Brown has been developing for the last three years, sprang from his own in-the-trenches political experience. In 2010, having recently left a position at the Project on National Security Reform, he signed on to manage the (ultimately unsuccessful) congressional campaign of Republican Ben Lange in Iowa. For Brown, the problem was figuring out where to start: “How do I find fellow conservative citizens and activists? Where do I find our base of support? There was nowhere to turn.”
Most campaign managers, he says, will do the same thing: contact local party leaders, sit down with the local chairman, figure out the key people in the community. It can be effective, but it’s a sluggish, time-consuming process. “How do you expect to build political power if you can’t find and talk with one another? We need a way, as a movement, to find one another, to communicate, to mobilize to achieve common political objectives.”
That’s the purpose of Codias. Individuals, campaigns, and conservative organizations can create profiles on the site for free, connect with other users, and publish news and opinions, including on other social-media networks via cross-posting. For individual users, Brown hopes Codias will be a place to connect with like-minded Americans nationwide. But for campaigns and other groups, Codias can be a resource to build a network of supporters and volunteers — and securely, thanks to advanced encryption technology. The site has a “wide variety of applications,” says Brown, and “from a campaign standpoint, it adds a lot of value.”
The Codias team is also working on other technologies that Brown expects “will break other historic ground for conservatives in the coming days.”
Brown hopes that Codias will be a corrective to a longstanding oversight in right-of-center politics. “Very few conservative organizations exist exclusively to equip the conservative movement to build real power. We have tended to rely on other institutions that don’t always share our strategic political objectives, so we haven’t cultivated and invested in talent.” Codias represents a new option.
Ultimately, says Brown, the goal is simple: “training and equipping conservatives for political warfare on the federal, state, and local level. That is the reason for our existence. We’re not a ‘technology’ company. We’re not a ‘software’ company. We’re a conservative company that exists to train and equip conservatives for political warfare.”
There is no shortage of battles to be fought. With Codias, conservatives have one more weapon in their arsenal.
— Ian Tuttle is the Thomas L. Rhodes Fellow at the National Review Institute.