We watched “TheGreat Hack” the other night and it put everything into perspective. It did take some of the fun out of watching the debates though. None of this really matters when you’re sitting on your couch in New York State. The state will go blue and the electoral college will cast its votes accordingly.
As the documentary dispassionately lays it out there are only a handful of states where the outcome is uncertain. And in those states a small number of counties where the outcome is uncertain. But in those counties there are the “persuadables,” enough people who are either on the fence or just don’t really care. Reaching them with gentle pressure can sway not the popular vote but the Electoral College balance.
So those are the towns where the candidates go. It is also where all the money goes. Along comes Cambridge Analytica who combined data mining (mostly from FaceBook), data brokerage, and data analysis with strategic communication. The Trump campaign bought a million dollars a day of their targeted FB ads and managed to tip the persudables. The best democracy money can buy.
But I still give most of the credit to the Trumpeter. We watched the Republican debates last time around, saw the Trump train coming as he stole the Republicans entire platform and trounced one after the other of their leading candidates. Jeb, Marco and Cruz clearly lacked the Celebratory Apprentice qualities.