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Remember when we used to hear about the Democrats’ great database?

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We’ve been getting used to the Democrats looking for excuses to explain the 2016 loss.  It’s getting rather silly, but what do you expect from people who were convinced they were headed to a big victory party on Election Night?  Some had bought new dresses and probably tickets to the inauguration.

We understand from Shattered, the book about the Clinton campaign, that they were popping champagne that evening.

Mrs. Clinton said a lot of things the other day about her 2016 loss, from Russia to Comey to even blaming her party:

Clinton said Wednesday in an interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher that once she became the Democratic nominee, she inherited “nothing.”

The Democratic National Committee’s data, she said, “was mediocre to poor, nonexistent, wrong. I had to inject money into it.”

Her comments drew swift rebuttals from some Democratic operatives who built, or worked with, that data.

It left me a bit confused, because I used to hear that the Democrats had the best database in the world.  Don’t you remember all of those articles about how the Obama Team were just a bunch of tech geniuses in reaching voters through social media?  What about all of those stories about the GOP having to do its social media operations to catch up with the Democrats?

Here is one:

After the voters returned Obama to office for a second term, his campaign became celebrated for its use of technology – much of it developed by an unusual team of coders and engineers – that redefined how individuals could use the Web, social media, and smartphones to participate in the political process. A mobile app allowed a canvasser to download and return walk sheets without ever entering a campaign office; a Web platform called Dashboard gamified volunteer activity by ranking the most active supporters; and “targeted sharing” protocols mined an Obama backer’s Facebook network in search of friends the campaign wanted to register, mobilize, or persuade.

But underneath all that were scores describing particular voters: a new political currency that predicted the behavior of individual humans.

The campaign didn’t just know who you were; it knew exactly how it could turn you into the type of person it wanted you to be.

So what happened to all of these people?  Where did all of these experts go?  Did they go to Senator Sanders or refuse to work for Mrs. Clinton?  I don’t know, but Democrats can’t be happy that they are now blamed along with everybody else but the candidate.

It won’t be long before Democrats are singing Donny Osmond’s “Go away little girl…”

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Written by scantojr

June 4, 2017 at 7:16 am

3 Responses

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  1. Well, from what I understand, that was Obama’s data, not the party’s, and he wasn’t going to share it. Obama put his own interests above his party’s (and above everything else).

    Mark FW

    June 5, 2017 at 6:50 am

  2. The Obama campaign developed the data mining and analytics capability, not the Democrat party. Reince Priebus had the foresight to develop these capabilities within the Republican National Committee, which is a much better approach that allows the capability to be institutionalized and continuously improved. Keeping the capabilities within individual campaigns leads to re-learning, inconsistencies, and inability to improve.


    June 5, 2017 at 7:38 am

  3. It is my contention that data don’t matter that much in politics, and that the Obama 2012 data game, while it got a lot of the credit at first, the more time went on after election day, the more the really tuned in people started to doubt it. The final nail in the coffin of the notion that the data game swept Obama to re-election was in June 2013, when the Census Bureau came out with its voter demographics report, which showed two very crucial things: (1) The “coalition of the ascendant” niche constituencies that the data game was said to motivate turned out in lower percentages in 2012 compared to 2008, and (2) The only two constituencies that did turn out in 2012 more than 2008 are the very ones that saved Obama’s bacon in crucial swing states, and when I tell you the names of these constituencies, you’ll find out that the data game misses these people: Middle-aged black women, and elderly black women.

    Likewise, I think that money and debates are also overrated. Sure, you have to have a good enough data game, and have enough money, and do well enough in debates, but all three are pass/fail propositions, not a matter of competitive gradations. I also think that, as a generality, Democrats will always have better data games than Republicans, because the tech sector happens to live in some of the bluest areas of the country (even though I think that’s a correlation but not necessarily a causation). It’s just that data game guarantees nothing on election day.


    June 5, 2017 at 8:10 am

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