Nick Marcelli

Age

24

Location

American University, 2011

Occupation

Deputy Digital Director for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor

Twitter

@NickMarcelli

The Grand OLD Party doesn’t typically come to mind as the more digitally savvy and youth friendly of the two major U.S. political parties. Which is why the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) – the party apparatus specifically tasked with helping Republicans win the House of Representatives – has spent the first half of 2013 overhauling and expanding its digital operation in an attempt to bring in more young voters.

Key to the “BuzzFeed-ification” of the NRCC has been younger, digital operatives like Nick Marcelli.

Marcelli, who worked at the NRCC from May 2011 to last month, when he left to join House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s office as deputy digital director, told Red Alert that the NRCC is trying to “shrug off the stiff appearance” that the GOP has and “find new ways to communicate with young people.”

“The era of the press release is over,” he said, noting that conservatives have to stop looking “disdainfully at using pop culture to make political points.”

Convincing young people to align with the Republican Party won’t be easy, but Marcelli – who attended a “pretty progressive” university – said he is used to working against the grain.

“Being a conservative on campus was kind of a blessing in disguise because you weren’t instilled with progressive viewpoints so you got to really experience head-on just what being in the ideological minority is like,” he said of his time at American University.

“It really helps you grow a lot,” he continued.

Marcelli said his parents taught him not to back away from life’s challenges, and he encouraged other young people not to back down from them either.

“Nothing is going to come easy to you in life,” he said. “You have to work for everything.”

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