That is all they talk about, at data control

Great article about Beto O’Rourke in the Times:

Mr. O’Rourke told the crowd at Suga’s that the “Dreamers” — young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children — should be protected. No wall should be built on the border with a friendly country. College must be more affordable. Women deserve access to reproductive health services. All Muslims should not be banned, and the press is not the enemy of the people.

[….]

The crowd cheered, they hooted, they left saying things like “he was great” and “I’m in.”

[….]

If the hill weren’t steep enough, Mr. O’Rourke also has refused to hire outside consultants or pollsters, and he will only accept contributions from individuals. He has no interest in using big data. When he tells this to Democratic colleagues in the House, some have simply turned and walked away from him, unable to take him seriously.

I fucking hate all the big data, I’ll be honest with you. And I hate all the money wasted on consultants too. So let’s raise some more money for Beto O’Rourke. Even if he loses, he’s energizing the Texas Democratic party. Mark my words, Texas will go blue eventually, and candidates like Beto are speeding up the process.

Goal Thermometer






71 replies
  1. 1
    Josie says:

    Thanks so much for supporting Beto. He is truly a remarkable young man.

  2. 2
    Corner Stone says:

    Mark my words, Texas will go blue eventually, and candidates like Beto are speeding up the process.

    Eventually, sure. 2024 at the *very* earliest. More like deep purple in 2024.

  3. 3
    Corner Stone says:

    Beto is good in person. He’s an above average retail pol with the benefit of going against one of the most viscerally hated R pols in like, forever – Ted Cruz.
    Still going to be an uphill battle because the things that motivate TX R’s are all becoming much more hardened and entrenched as people like Beto gain support.

  4. 4
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Corner Stone: the things that motivate TX R’s are all becoming much more hardened and entrenched

    guns and Merry Christmas?

    also, kind of on-topic: Tom Rooney, R of FL, is retiring. Florida Persons: Is this a gettable seat? From the ‘critter’s twitter feed, he appears to represent the “citrus industry”

  5. 5
    foucault swing voter mistermix says:

    Even if Beto doesn’t win, a good candidate running against Cruz keeps Ted from transferring millions from his campaign to other Senate candidates.

  6. 6
    Roger Moore says:

    I fucking hate all the big data, I’ll be honest with you.

    Big data is being proposed as an alternative to grassroots outreach. It’s a way for a few guys with a lot of computing power to figure out who to target and how. We used to deal with that by having people go out and talk to them in person, and I think it’s still a better way of doing things because it lets information flow both ways.

  7. 7
    sdhays says:

    I agree about the outside consultants – they’re specialties seem to be flushing money down the advertising toilet and…that’s it. But “big data” can be very useful. The Obama campaign used it to direct their on-the-ground resources more effectively, so eschewing “big data” seems kind of stupid. Hopefully there’s some rhetorical aspect to this – indicating that he’s not simply depending on wizbang technology or expensive outsiders – and not just knee-jerk anti-technology.

  8. 8
    geg6 says:

    @sdhays:

    Completely agree. The consultants are a waste of money and resources. But big data, used correctly as tool for on-the-ground efforts, is very effective.

  9. 9
    middlelee says:

    I gave. Thanks for the heads up.

  10. 10
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    again, kind of on-topic:

    Swing Left‏Verified account @ swingleft
    “Ryan was particularly direct in his remarks and told incumbents that it was unacceptable they were being outraised and they would need to work harder.”

    Game on.

  11. 11
    Corner Stone says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Racism, mainly. Mainly the racism.

  12. 12

    I fucking hate all the big data, I’ll be honest with you.

    Some day, my trollbot neural network will have something to say about this.

  13. 13
    Fair Economist says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    also, kind of on-topic: Tom Rooney, R of FL, is retiring. Florida Persons: Is this a gettable seat? From the ‘critter’s twitter feed, he appears to represent the “citrus industry”

    R+13 so probably not gettable but this year, who knows? A good candidate will improve our turnout for the Governor and Senate races in any case.

  14. 14
    Corner Stone says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Some day, my trollbot neural network will have something to say about this.

    How can we be sure it’s not saying something *right now*?

  15. 15

    @Roger Moore: humans will always* be better at this sort of thing, but they’re often expensive, and don’t scale well.

    I don’t see why you couldn’t do both for that matter, it’s basically what Obama did. (cf sdhays above)

    *for the foreseeable future

  16. 16
    Starfish says:

    Now I have context for what you were writing on Twitter. A local city council candidate got the data on which people on Twitter were from his town and followed the thousands of them. He also advertised to those people. He also rode his bike to meet those people; but ultimately, he lost. There are existing political communities, and you really have to tap into those and get to know those people.

  17. 17
    kdaug says:

    Texas will go back to blue eventually,

    FTFY

  18. 18
    efgoldman says:

    Mark my words, Texas will go blue eventually

    I’m sure it will. My granddaughter will have her own grandchildren, eventually, but I wouldn’t guess which comes first

  19. 19
    oldgold says:

    Would a President Cruz (shudder) have been worse than the Short-Fingered Vulgarian?

    I thought so during the GOP Presidential primary.

  20. 20
    cain says:

    I think consultants is what ruins the Democratic party. We need a real outreach that’s based on emotional ties not computer generated models.

  21. 21
    Doug! says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Yes, exactly.

  22. 22
    Doug! says:

    @cain:

    Consultants ruin all major parties everywhere, I think.

  23. 23
    Doug! says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    That is a good point about Obama

  24. 24
    WaterGirl says:

    @Major Major Major Major: You must use your powers for good!

  25. 25
    Doug! says:

    @sdhays:

    Some basic number-crunching is great, but when people say “big data” they mean something different, I think. They mean “give me money because my data magic is so valuable”.

  26. 26

    @Doug!: that’s what a lot of people mean, and it’s awful, but I’m sure you can understand how when you say “I hate [overhyped buzzword]” some people might think you hate the actual thing, not the grifters and hype artists.

  27. 27
    WaterGirl says:

    Read the whole article on Beto. There’s something about him that is reminding me of early Barack Obama, before most people even knew who he was.

  28. 28
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Doug!: in their last podcast before the Debacle, the ObamaBros went on almost an hour about how campaigns were all about numbers, it was in the bag, etc. OTOH, I read an article– I believe Coates’ valedictory to Obama, for which Coates started shadowing BO in the last days of the campaign–that said both Clintons and Obama were getting nervous about Mooks’ over reliance on the “quants”.

  29. 29
    Starfish says:

    @oldgold: No. He would have understood the norms of the body of government he had served in before. He would not be able to inspire a cult following. He would not be trying to undermine the whole government. The loons he would appoint to the courts would at least have the appropriate academic credentials. His cabinet would not be trying to steal everything that is not tied down with all their private jet travels.

  30. 30
    Baud says:

    Mr. O’Rourke told the crowd at Suga’s that the “Dreamers” — young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children — should be protected. No wall should be built on the border with a friendly country. College must be more affordable. Women deserve access to reproductive health services. All Muslims should not be banned, and the press is not the enemy of the people.

    Finally, a Democrat with the courage to say the things 95% of other Democrats are saying. :-\

    (Critique of the NYT, not Beto; would love to see him pull a Doug Jones out of his hat.)

  31. 31
    Waratah says:

    @WaterGirl: I thought the same thing when I watched some of the videos on his Facebook page.

  32. 32
    Corner Stone says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Not really a big fan of the Obama Bros.

  33. 33
    AkaDad says:

    Here’s a radical thought. How about consulting with the people you seek to represent?

  34. 34
    Baud says:

    I prefer locally grown data.

  35. 35
    efgoldman says:

    @Baud:

    I prefer locally grown data.

    I doesn’t grow well in the north except in summer.

  36. 36
    Doug! says:

    @AkaDad:

    That’s what Beto is doing.

  37. 37

    @efgoldman: there’s hardly any data at all in Antarctica which makes research really hard in McMurdo Station.

  38. 38
    chris says:

    I forgot about CPAC in all the other excitement. Ted Cruz and the shitgibbon will speak and Daniel Dale is keeping an eye on it. I’m gobsmacked by his latest:

    Missed this: Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, of France's far-right National Front dynasty, is speaking from the main stage at CPAC. The schedule is: Pence, panel on "how government is killing capitalism," Le Pen.https://t.co/ATznznTJJk— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) 19 February 2018

  39. 39

    @chris: remember when CPAC was always the stupidest, craziest public display of American conservatism?

  40. 40
    efgoldman says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    there’s hardly any data at all in Antarctica

    But things move much more slowly. The sun only shines on the data for three months, but it stays out all night in midsummer.

  41. 41
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @chris: I belive Marion is the one who’s too crazy for Marine, a throwback to her grandfather

  42. 42
    chris says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Reading the list of speakers on Dale’s twitter it’s even crazier and stupider than it used to be.

    ETA: There is a talk called “Kim Jong Un-iversity: How College Campuses are Turning into Reeducation Camps”

  43. 43
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Doug!:

    Consultants ruin all major parties everywhere, I think.

    Why am I not a consultant? Ruining things is right in my wheelhouse!

  44. 44
    WaterGirl says:

    @Waratah: Interesting! I haven’t seen any videos, but I might have to check them out.

  45. 45
    WaterGirl says:

    @Corner Stone: They are getting a lot of young folks involved and paying attention, and that’s a really good thing. When they took their show on the road recently, they featured the woman who is running against Heller in Nevada. I think they are a force for good.

  46. 46
    WaterGirl says:

    @AkaDad: I think that’s what he’s doing by driving all around Texas. It sounded like he has already been to 2/3 of the counties or precincts in Texas, I can’t recall which.

  47. 47

    @chris:

    There is a talk called “Kim Jong Un-iversity: How College Campuses are Turning into Reeducation Camps”

    Isn’t that how noted felon Dinesh D’Souza got started?

  48. 48

    I fucking hate all the big data, I’ll be honest with you.

    It’s just a tool. Used as a selling point or an end to itself makes it worthless. Used correctly, it can help.

  49. 49
    Doug! says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    That’s very interesting.

  50. 50
    Amaranthine RBG says:

    Why don’t Beto have any hats?

    I had to buy T-shirts.

    I don’t wear T-shirts.

  51. 51
    Chet Murthy says:

    I wrote Beto a big check last week. Ditto Beverly Powell (running for state senate in the area I grew up) and Annie’s List (progressive women candidates). Maybe they win, maybe they don’t. Surely can’t if nobody supports them.

  52. 52

    What does big data mean, anyway? I hear about it, but I don’t have any real understanding of what everybody means when they talk about it.

  53. 53
  54. 54

    @Omnes Omnibus: omg i fucken love that song. A lot. The video, not so much.

  55. 55

    When he tells this to Democratic colleagues in the House, some have simply turned and walked away from him, unable to take him seriously.

    Which is actually unfortunate. Individual contributors each get to vote. Where I’m from, more is better.
    Just saying.

  56. 56
    J R in WV says:

    Last year, well in 2016, when I worked doing phone banking for Hillary, they had software you could pull up on your smart phone or laptop. You entered where you wanted to phone into, and they gave you a person’s name, address, age and phone number, which you dialed.

    Then you asked for Mrs Smith or Mr Jones, and they answered “You got the wrong number!”, or they aren’t here, or just picked up and hung up instantly. A couple of times I got someone for the 5th time, and they were short. A few times I got someone who was glad to be for Hillary, and who told me everyone who lived there BETTER vote for Hillary.

    Once I got a guy who called me back, and I hadn’t called the next number yet, so I answered. He asked who I was, and I told him I was phone banking for Hillary. He was in Ohio working for the campaign, and we were so happy to both be talking to someone working for Hillary, it was kind of funny. Later on I realized it was actually sad, because the data from BIG DATA actually sucked.

    It was old, out of date, sadly not useful, and probably cost a hundred million dollars. The software wasn’t much good, and the data the software was using was really shitty. Yet it was the best Hillary could do, what the Democratic party did for big data. Plus there was me and a young woman in the “state HQ” for Hillary, that was all. Sad.

    So Trump won, with help from the Russians, and Big Data from the Mercers.

  57. 57
    Armadillo says:

    I said this before about Conor Lamb and have the same issue with O’Rourke. I want the party to run everywhere and fight everywhere. Have given to Lamb and will give to O’Rourke. But I don’t understand this unilateral disarmament. Or why we are hailing this unilateral disarmament as a good thing. Unilateral disarmnament will increase our chances of winning how? Because if we unilaterally disarm, the Republicans will not criticize our candidate?

    I don’t understand this aversion to data and consultants. Obviously you don’t want to waste money. You want to hire good consultants and people who are smart to do data. But that is literally true of everything.

    You know who could help you run a good campaign? Someone who does that for a living! Someone who has done it before and spends a lot of time thinking about how to do it better!

    Same thing with this aversion to big data, which hopefully is not a disease affecting Lamb. This is just freaking anti-science. Are we supposed to reject David Anderson’s health insurance analysis because he uses big data? Once you deal with anything larger than a town of 500 people or less it seems like you should have a plan about who to cover, when, etc. How to get your people to the polls. You know what would be helpful? Data about these people and places. Maybe even lots of it since you are dealing with one of the largest states in the US.

    Anyhow I hope O’Rourke and Lamb win. I just don’t see why they want to increase the degree of difficulty.

  58. 58
    Scott says:

    @Corner Stone: Beto is going totally retail in his approach. He is visiting all 254 counties. He has been in West Texas towns that haven’t seen a national candidate in 50 years. Maybe he believes that he can get these votes while keeping the blue cities. He’s got my vote.

  59. 59
    Tim in SF says:

    This is a luddite approach and I wouldn’t waste money contributing to his campaign.

  60. 60
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Armadillo:
    Likewise. Trump, Cambridge Analytica and how big data is reshaping politics, FT opinion piece (2017/09). (or Vox, 2017/03 “A political scientist explains how big data is transforming politics)
    As an enabling tool for large scale micro-targeting, it can be powerful and can do things that human intuition/minds cannot because of the complexities/massive detail work involved. (i.e. I believe some of the hype, though not involved.)
    Sure there’s fraud, and FWIW not sure it’s helpful for a House race (Senate race, probably yes), and human intuition (at its best) is still a lot better for tactics/strategy though.

  61. 61

    @Scott: @Tim in SF: The cool thing is we will learn from it no matter what happens. If he wins, great! If he loses, we get to pick that apart, too.

  62. 62

    @Bill Arnold: @J R in WV: It’s a leap, maybe these two are related to Arkon DougJ’s dislike. Shilling for the Next Best Thing rates attention, but in reality if it’s garbage in, then it’s garbage out.

    One voter, one vote. At least ,last time I checked.

  63. 63
    sdhays says:

    @Doug!: Yeah, I get that. So I don’t condemn him for saying that, I just hope it’s only true in that context – playing down the public importance of technology. Texas is a big state, so it makes sense to leverage technology to drive the ground campaign. And the ground campaign is what will make O’Rourke a footnote or a Senator.

  64. 64
    Alexi says:

    @Armadillo: I think it’s more that people are fed up with being told that “the data” dictate certain campaign practices that should instead be conscious strategic decisions. It’s not really validated, we keep losing, but w keep generating the same lists from VAN/NGP because it ought to make sense to target scarce resources that way. If the data were better— addresses and phones fresh, etc, that would be true at least on the level of individual races. But as a party it’s inherently contractionary over the long run because the essence of targeting is to leave out all the people not currently engaged in politics (no voting record to enter into the database), plus all the people you think aren’t persuadable, plus your own base. If we never talk to any of those folks because we are in constant scarcity mode, we will continue to lose ground, especially when it comes to building the pipeline at the state and local levels.

  65. 65
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Alexi: Yes, for those of us who aren’t experts in the field, it can be hard to know the difference between the data demands this and “when you talk to the people in x neighborhood, you should emphasize y aspect of your platform.” The second is useful data for a retail politician.

  66. 66

    I still haven’t really gotten over Grant Hart. He wasn’t quite the celebrity death last year that shook me hardest, but he was high on the list.

  67. 67
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @(((CassandraLeo))): I am a ‘Mats guy, but Hart deserves more credit than he got.

  68. 68
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @BruceFromOhio:

    One voter, one vote. At least ,last time I checked.

    That’s because you’re not BruceFromChicago

  69. 69
    gVOR08 says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Really! I’m moving to FL this year and Rooney will “represent” me. He looks like a standard issue wealthy Tea Party fraud. I’ve sent him a letter with my FL address as by weird coincidence both he and my OH rep, Wenstrup, are on the Intel Comm and I could recycle. I don’t know if the seat is gettable, but IIRC it’s R plus double digits.

  70. 70
    Armadillo says:

    I don’t know anything about campaigns, and I’m in favor of retail politics, but just looking at something like ( Dana Houle’s Twitter feed) makes it clear that there’s a lot to this beyond simply “I’m going to meet everyone in the district and persuade them through the force of my personality and moral clarity.” I mean we’re going to seriously run a multi million dollar campaign (even if there’s no corporate contributions we’re still into multi millions) across the second largest state in America for more than a year, but we are intentionally refusing to draw up a plan? Really?

    We should have competent people in all aspects of our campaigns. Do not hire stupid consultants. Yes. The guys driving the cars and setting up the stages? They should be competent too.

    And what’s the ROI on all this? How many people were not going to vote for O’Rourke and now have decided to do so because he refused to use data and consultants? Is this going to prevent Ted Cruz and the Koch brothers from running attack ads?

  71. 71
    monoglot says:

    I was at a Beto Town Hall in San Antonio last week, and I was very impressed. I had a Beto yard sign and every intention of voting for him as a not-Cruz, but he was personable and had great policy positions. He is very electable.

    This Town Hall was in a VFW hall, and packed.

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