Big Data is Not the End All Solution

The Clinton campaign had an army of data crunching analysts to micro target like Obama.  So, what happened?   Strategy and timing failures. Big ones that may have empowered their opponents. Read on from the website Jacobin, an excellent post-mortem:

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A Losing Coalition

The Democrats’ losses last week all stem from the same cause: the hollowing out of middle- and working-class America. Preview the new issue of Jacobin, out November 21. To mark its release, we’re offering discounted introductory subscriptions.

 

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…. So What CAN I do?

dawn-nature-sunset-womanPost Election angst and fear: Forward

In the days after the result for the Presidency of the United States was announced, the level of fear, angst, and stress of many Americans has reached all time highs.  Various identified groups of people, as well as their friends and family are worried that life as we have known it is changing…and not for the better.  There have even been signs of the future made by hateful people seizing what they see as their moment to reshape life in their image.  Worse yet may be the fact the the new President will not be sworn in for a couple of months.  This leaves giant question marks hanging in the wind like ghosts.

Watching all of this play out instructs me as to how much people rely on “Leaders” to take care of the nation’s direction.  When the leaders we lean on do not get elected, fear sets in.  This 2016 is possibly more so because the narrative was that the main Democrat, Hillary Clinton, was destined to arrive to the Presidency this year.  More over, the Republican contender, Donald Trump, was a weak candidate and easy to beat. I will not go into an analysis of why that did not happen here. The fact is, the narrative so many relied on failed, and it has left people feeling adrift and exposed.  That has lead to panic.

Panic is a dangerous animal to house inside one’s body.  It creates stress and complications.  Moreover, it can lead to bad judgments.  Many of the screaming matches over social media have anger, fear, and panic associated with them. This cannot be sustained without massive personal damage to one’s psyche.  Time only moves forward, so now what?

Action is the only antidote to panic and fear.  Action can allow one to find a sense of personal power and strength.  Activism is a way out of the negative cycle, so how is that done.  What does one do? Where does one start?  You start from within. Whether you are a seasoned activist or someone who has never tried to impact the world around you, the time to start is now. (or just after the holidays, right?) Every person doing something can make a difference.

In the year to come, I will launch a new blog site dedicated to idea that there is an activist in all of us. I will give pointers and insights from my own experiences as well as others.  The goal is to help others understand how to create personal positive force in activism while also keep yourself sane, healthy, and able to be a life long activist.

More to come on this next month.  For now, take a deep breath and ask yourself, what do I think I can and or am willing to do to effect positive change? (I don’t care how big or small it is)

“Let us not despair but act. Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past – let us accept our own responsibility for the future”. – President John F. Kennedy

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DATA NERD ALERT! 2016 New Mexico Voter Registration Shifts:

Small Dem Gains, Republicans Hang On, Third Party Moves, Libertarian Shocker, Independents No Longer Cool

In the run up to the 2016 general election this November, inevitably, the voter registration push ensues.  This year, patterns of change are not typical to most cycles.

nm_reg_voters_2016_01 Democrats and Republicans had been on a generally descending path concerning share of the total registered voters.  Although both parties slid, the Democrats slid more than the Republicans in overall share.  Democrats used to have over 50% of the registrations. 2008 was the last time that was true. At the start of 2016, Democrats had 46% of the share.

Republicans have never had a majority of registrations.  Back in November of 2008, their share was 31.7%.  Coming in to 2016, they stood basically at 31% even.

People with no party (DTS) the so called Independents, have been on a near two decade run of increased share of the registered voters pie.  With 19.3% share at the beginning of the year, talk of independents having a full fifth of the registrations seemed plausible.

Third parties have slowly incremented up in registration shares over time the pace at times could be described as glacial. Sitting at 3.3% to start the year was only a 0.6% increase from 2008.

The Registration Race of 2016

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Using the report just days before the closing of the registration books for 2016, the results are interesting.  Democrats have gained a one half of one percent share of the registrants overall. This is a reversal of a previous trend.

Republicans continued their slow slide.  The other interesting change is that

DTS registrations lost share (-0.78%) in the year, sliding to 18%.  The other interesting turn is third parties gained over a quarter of one percent (+0.28%) in nine months alone.  The election of 2016 was one of the most energized primary seasons since 1976. Neither party had an incumbent or Vice President running. Both major parties had populist candidates (Sanders & Trump) that activated non-primary voters into action.  My speculation for the DTS drop off is disaffected voters, particularly Sanders supporters came back from Independent status to vote in the primary for the Senator.

The Surge Shown In One Graph

2016_reg_increase_by_party

So what does it take to move the numbers so quickly in nine months?  Beating the average growth and in a big fashion.  This chart shows the average growth of all registered voters in 2016 in New Mexico. New Mexico now has 5.05% more registered voters than it did in January of 2016.  If you beat this average, your share of the overall pie grows, if you don’t, it shrinks.  It is that simple.  I show two time periods here, late August and late September and their rate of increase over 01/2016.

Every segment of registration categories gained by raw voters by September, but notice the DTS line.  Their numbers actually fell from January to August of 2016.  Only a late surge got them positive, and still well below the state average.   Republicans stayed with the average growth but did not surge at all at the end, bringing them just under the line.  Democrats beat the average by almost a percent. This is why they reversed their trend.

Other parties category increased over 12% more than doubling the average rate of increase.  Other includes anything that is not Dem, Rep, or DTS.  Wondering if the Gary Johnson or Jill Stein campaigns were having an effect on their parties, I acquired breakdowns from the Other column for their parties specifically.   The Green party registrations are up over 8% from January. While that is good news in one way, it lags the overall growth of other parties.

The big story is the Libertarians growing almost 24% in one year.  If gaining 19.5% was not enough by August they added another 5% to that in one month!  This is the bulk of the Other party lunge.  True, it is easier to get larger percentage increases when you have fewer voter to start with, but it also means you typically have fewer people doing the work.  As a result, the Libertarian movement this year is none short of phenomenal.

Requests for raw data can be obtained from SC Consulting. Feel free to contact us.

 

 

 

Contested Primaries = Healthy democracy

Do voters turn out for primaries where there are no contested races or where everything has been “decided” prior to the vote? No. Do voters show up when races have multiple candidates vying for the same spot and people have a chance to alter the outcome.  Absolutely!

jun_16_Primary-Turnout_numbers-400x284Case in point is here in New Mexico.  We have been on a downward spiral of ever decreasing voter turnout cycle over cycle.  That all changed and in a big way this 2016 primary cycle. Why? Both macro races and micro races had some hot contests, especially on the Democratic Party side. Democratic turnout was 37% statewide compared to  27% for the Republicans.

Macro was the Clinton vs Sanders Presidential race. Driven by supporters adamant to be heard, the Sanders faction showed up in numbers large enough to take the City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County. Wins were also posted in Taos, Clovis, and Portales and their associated counties.  On top of that, Sander came within 6 votes of besting Sec. Clinton in Grant County (Silver City) and within 21 votes in Los Alamos County. Close contests were had in two other large counties, Sandoval and Santa Fe.

Micro came from localized races that were very close. In those counties, neighborhoods, etc. find themselves attracting more than the usual attention to vote.  In New Mexico this year, the perfect storm of this occurred on the Democratic side in the South Valley of Bernalillo County, Several areas of Doña Ana county, and up in the north central counties of New Mexico.  Many of these races had more than two candidates AND the outcomes were decidedly close. Several of these contests happened in places where the Sanders coalition was weak. So, voters outside the Macro group showed up as well.

Democracy works best when people get in the game, run for office, and vote.  Patries themselves sometimes try to discourage primary contests, especially against incumbent, but overall, the voters appreciate having choices.

The Albuquerque Journal has a good story on the raw numbers at Turnout sets record for NM Primary