What's The Matter With Big Data?

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Presidential elections sometimes create seismic waves in the campaign industry and last cycle is proving to be the Big One. Assessing the damage, it appears Big Data has taken a hit.

Consider broadcaster Chuck Todd’s recent piece headlined, “How Big Data Broke American Politics,” in which he argues that federal pols believe they “don't need centrist or swing voters to win.” As a result, we get congressional gridlock. Or more specifically in the case of the Democratic Party, you get electoral defeat.

Before Todd offered his theory, Democratic consultant Dave Gold wrote a piece in February headlined, “Data-Driven Campaigns are Killing the Democratic Party,” in which he notes that “microtargeting leads to microthinking.”

As the CEO of a national, non-partisan political data and technology firm, I mostly agree — with a few tsunami-sized caveats.

Recently, Democrats, have gone down the rabbit hole of politics by addition, while the Republicans have been using multiplication. The Democratic vision of a “whole” created from the aggregation of dozens of fiercely self-identifying individual groups hinders a campaign’s effort to create an overarching emotional theme that connects all voters.  
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