How Viguerie's Lists grow the Conservative Movement
People sometimes say, “It was the computer that allowed Viguerie to pioneer political direct mail.” That’s not really true. I could have done what I did without computers, using any of the old technology such as Addressograph or Scriptomatic. Lists are the lifeblood of direct mail, and I [in 1965] was the sole possessor of the best list in the nation for raising money for conservative causes. I also knew what to do with that list.
I kept adding to my list of conservative donor names. My contract with any client would give both the client and me access to donors’ names, which was critical in expanding the base of the conservative movement. It had the effect politically that free trade has economically – it made for easy market access across borders (in this instance, organizational borders) since I was, in effect, the NAFTA framework governing conservative lists… Just as free trade dramatically expanded the world economy in the second half of the twentieth century, so my “common market” of conservative names expanded the conservative universe.
By centralizing access to many conservative supporters, conservative organizations were able to prospect at less expense, not to mention faster and with greater precision. It made the movement – which consisted of multiple leaders and organizations – more efficient as well, because it was easier to target supporters who were shown to be predisposed to conservative issues.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was a “supply-sider” before that term came into use.
Excerpt from America's Right Turn: How Conservatives Used New and Alternative Media to Take Power by Richard A. Viguerie and David Franke.