Vincent Harris quoted on “Silicon Valley techies not yet coding for Clinton”

“If Bernie had won the nomination, his team would have pushed beyond what Obama did in 2012,” Harris said. Clinton’s campaign, he added, is just too insular to do that.

Hillary Clinton has done her best to emulate President Barack Obama’s vaunted tech operation — right down to hiring several of his former campaign staffers and contracting with the consulting firms they’ve started.

But she hasn’t been able to replicate his love affair with Silicon Valley.

Four years ago, Obama’s San Francisco technology office was buzzing late into the night with volunteer web designers and coders plugging away at apps to help his campaign reach every last voter and collect every last dime.

Clinton, by contrast, has no Bay Area tech office. Nor can she muster anything close to the volunteer tech force that Obama marshaled in 2008 and 2012 or that primary rival Bernie Sanders deployed against her this year.

“People aren’t going to go on sabbaticals to work on the Clinton campaign, because she doesn’t excite them all that much,” said Vincent Harris, the chief digital strategist for Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s unsuccessful presidential campaign.

Political technology has come a long way since 2004, when Howard Dean’s campaign to organize thousands of volunteers and raise more money than his Democratic rivals. Now it’s a lucrative industry, and Clinton, perhaps acting out of necessity, has professionalized the ranks of her tech staff more than any of her opponents.

Her Brooklyn-based team of several dozen software engineers and data experts guarantees her a huge digital advantage over Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, whose primary tool to mobilize and reach supporters is his Twitter account.

But Clinton’s well-staffed tech operation has had to find ways to compensate for her struggles to win the allegiance of Silicon Valley’s best and brightest and embrace those who do want to help.

“If there is less enthusiasm, then you have to work harder — and I suspect that is what they’ve done,” said Colin Delany, founder and editor of “They went up against a candidate (in Sanders) with a very motivated base and showed they could still turn out their voters and win.”

Harris praised the Clinton campaign’s use of Snapchat, a youth-oriented social media platform that campaign staffers have used to troll Republican critics — in one case using the app’s face-swapping feature to superimpose on Trump the face of Ronald Reagan, who as California governor legalized abortion, as Trump declared that women should be punished for getting abortions.

“She’s just crushing rapid response,” Harris said. “I think she understands how to use the platform.”

But it was Sanders’ team that had done the best work, he said. Not only had the Vermont senator built a massive database of supporters that he could quickly mobilize, but his team also embraced the volunteer work of supporters, such as the now iconic image of Sanders’ white hair and black glasses that made its way onto thousands of campaign T-shirts.

“If Bernie had won the nomination, his team would have pushed beyond what Obama did in 2012,” Harris said. Clinton’s campaign, he added, is just too insular to do that.

Carla Mays, a San Francisco-based technology consultant, said she got a taste of the campaign’s coolness to outsiders after her team won April’s “Code for Hillary” hackathon with a proposed app to help voters stuck in long lines at polling stations.

“To win the hackathon and then be ignored like that,” Mays said. “It was like, ‘What the hell?’ ”

In response, Clinton campaign officials said that the hackathon’s purpose was to give tech volunteers a space to meet and collaborate, not necessarily to produce a finished product.

Stephanie Hannon, who left Google to become Clinton’s chief technology officer, said she has not been ignoring local talent. The campaign, she added in a prepared statement, has been “harnessing the passion of our grass-roots supporters in Silicon Valley to build tools and products that’ll help Hillary win in November.”

Asked about any innovations the campaign has spearheaded, Clinton spokesman Tyrone Gayle pointed to articles about the campaign tweaking its webpage to encourage supporters to store their credit card data and creating a mobile app that lets supporters win virtual prizes for completing tasks such as sending out pro-Clinton videos to their Facebook friends.

Delany said Clinton’s technology is incrementally building on Obama’s 2012 campaign, just as that effort built on Obama’s first presidential campaign. Volunteer-driven technology can make for good headlines, Delany said, but Obama’s core technology was formed by its campaign and its main vendors.

“Anytime you can tap volunteer enthusiasm, it’s good,” Delany said. “But anyone who has worked on open source projects knows how difficult it can be to keep volunteers on task.”

Catherine Bracy, who ran Obama’s San Francisco volunteer technology office four years ago, agreed. She cautioned that such operations take a lot of effort to run and that their work “is not going to ever be the difference between winning and losing an election.”

In retrospect, Bracy, who is now director of community organizing at the civic tech nonprofit Code for America, said she would have embedded the volunteers with the campaign’s field staff or at campaign headquarters so they could work side-by-side with the official tech team.

Rather than meet up at a volunteer office, Sanders volunteers from across the country organized themselves on a Reddit community and collaborated with one another and the campaign’s senior staff, said Kenneth Pennington, who was the campaign’s digital director.

Volunteers built an application that turned rabid Sanders supporters into a grass-roots social media army delivering campaign messages to their friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Another volunteer built the campaign’s events page, which Pennington said was a big upgrade.

“Nearly all of our tech had some volunteer hands on it or help from volunteers that we ended up paying because of the ridiculous number of hours they were working,” he said.

There is some effort underway to harness the skills of tech volunteers for the November election. The online group is organizing coders and designers to help Clinton and other Democratic candidates. Its website shows more than a dozen projects currently under discussion, including an app to try to locate unregistered voters based on “Pokémon Go.”

But it’s unclear whether the effort will produce anything valuable or if any of the Sanders volunteers will hop on board.

Laksh Bhasin, a San Francisco-based tech worker who built apps for Sanders, said he was working with a different group of Sanders supporters helping down-ballot progressive candidates. He said he would only consider volunteering for Clinton if Trump suddenly had a good chance of beating her.

And that, he said, appeared highly unlikely.