Hillary’s Data Debacle

As expected, Democratic Party data analysts are upset that Hillary Clinton threw them under the bus in a recent interview. At technology news website Recode’s Code Conference, she recalled:

“I’m now the nominee of the Democratic Party… I inherit nothing from the Democratic Party. It was bankrupt, it was on the verge of insolvency, its data was mediocre to poor, non-existent, wrong.”

Her recollection was, of course, hyperbole. Data can’t simultaneously be poor, wrong, and nonexistent. Former DNC director of data science Andrew Therriault had a less generous way of describing it. In a deleted tweet, he called Hillary’s comments “f—ing bull—-.”

If the DNC’s data was so bad, why did it cause such a fuss in December 2015 when the DNC blocked Bernie Sanders’ campaign from accessing its voter file? If you recall, the DNC blocked access after a Sanders staffer was accused of accessing data gathered by the Clinton Campaign. At the time, the Sanders Campaign alleged being denied access to the voter database cost them “$600,000 in donations” every day. Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ campaign manager, called the data “the lifeblood of this campaign.”

“The DNC database is a goldmine of information about voters,” according to CNN. It was built during Barack Obama’s two successful presidential runs, not to mention numerous gubernatorial, congressional, and senatorial races.

A presidential campaign shouldn’t have to rely on its national party for support anyway. Partisan political organizations have declined in power and influence over the past few decades. Hillary was right when she said the DNC is on the verge of insolvency. This article in Fortune is from 2013, but with $18.1 million in debt at the time, I don’t see how their situation could have improved much in three years.

Hillary shouldn’t be burning bridges with the DNC and its data analysts if she hopes to continue to be influential in Democratic circles. No one likes to have their efforts disparaged, especially if they’ve been meeting or exceeding expectations. Graciously accepting defeat, and responsibility for that defeat, will win more friends in the long run.

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