Clinton’s towering fiasco-

Clinton’s towering fiasco–47jh.,b43

The September 2016 article in Politico championing Hillary Clinton’s use of “data analytics” now looks—how shall we put it?—rather premature.

Politico swooned that computer algorithms “underlie nearly all of the Clinton campaign’s most important strategic decisions.” Computer guru Elan Kriegel had crunched the numbers for campaign manager Robby Mook, allowing Team Clinton to precisely target her potential voters and thus not waste one dime on appealing to the deplorables.

“Clintonites saw it as their secret weapon in building an insurmountable delegate lead over Bernie Sanders,” Politico reported. And come the general election the Clintonistas were downright giddy about the edge Big Data was giving them. With the hopelessly old-school Trump team “investing virtually nothing in data analytics during the primary and little since, Kriegel’s work isn’t just powering Clinton’s campaign, it is providing her a crucial tactical advantage.”

But don’t put all the blame on the geek squad: The reason Hillary Clinton lost, first and foremost, is that Hillary Clinton was the dismalest, dreadfulest of candidates. That said, the emphasis on data analytics was of a piece with Hillary’s overall awfulness. Understanding the data approach, Politico wrote before the election, “is to understand how Clinton has run her campaign—precise and efficient, meticulous and effective, and, yes, at times more mathematical than inspirational.” The reporter was more right than he knew.

Still, the Clinton team’s overconfidence in data analytics was a typical error made with new technologies. It isn’t just overconfidence in what the technology can achieve, it is that the people using the technologies are ever tempted to push out to the edge of what the technologies can do as a way of proving not only the power of the new machines and methods and materials, but the prowess of the technologists themselves.

This tendency not to leave enough room for mistakes and the unexpected. The Clinton campaign was similarly seduced by the promised power of the new technology at its disposal: Mook even recently acknowledged that his data, no matter how precise, couldn’t stand up to “an overwhelming gale force desire for change.” Yes, the Citicorp Tower Imperative in action. Though The Scrapbook suspects the Clinton edifice was so shaky not even an army of welders could have saved it.

source-weekly standard, elan kriegel, politico,


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