The former Obama campaign guru and evangelist-in-chief of data-driven voter outreach took a brief trip to Berlin earlier this month for a new project, one that may prove to be his most difficult yet: Helping Germany’s leftie Social Democrats dethrone Chancellor Angela Ms. Merkel and her popular conservative-led coalition government in the next election.
That will be no easy task. Mr. Messina, fresh off helping British Prime Minister David Cameron’s conservatives secure a decisive reelection this spring, is now lending his highly coveted talents to a political party that is running a distant second to Ms. Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union. The challenge will be especially difficult if Ms. Merkel runs for a fourth term in 2017, as many political observers expect.
Mr. Messina’s new role — which party operatives with the Social Democrats describe as strictly an advisory gig — will also pit the prophet of data-first campaigns against a country notoriously averse to relinquishing personal information, especially on the Internet, a skittishness that has only grown since Edward Snowden’s revelations about U.S. surveillance operations.