It's now common knowledge, at least in the geek community, that Team Obama had data, knew how to execute, and Team Romney didn't have a clue. If that playing field alone had been equal I'm not certain that the election would have had the same result. So I humbly submit my premise: Carefully executed technology decided one of the world's most important offices, rather than (and in spite of all the post-election punditry) ideology, gaffs and advertising. If Team Romney had placed any importance on data as a mechanism to drive results, might the outcome have been different?
The Romney campaign, and even their super pacs, had no respect for 2012 technology. Team Obama otherwise constructed an effective, data driven campaign, built with modern tools by brilliant young minds. I watched Team Obama work their software magic almost every day for several months, not as a participant, but rather as voyeur. Team Obama boots (on the ground) often drank coffee (when they could afford it) at my favorite watering hole, where I could peek at their screens and deduce activity. In the final two-three months, their software, pulling from many sources, identified blocks of voters who would be crucial to the count, initiated personal calls to those voters through any campaign worker's cell, and, one by one, offered their version of compelling argument. While Team Romney was firing at imagined targets with BB guns, Team Obama used a laser-accurate, weapons grade recommendation engine. I propose that this raises a question that will linger, that is, if data mining (this cycle) might have been the most important decision element, then who, or what, are we electing when casting a ballot?
Call me old fashioned. I would rather make election choices on the basis of candidate competency and values instead of underlying software genius, even though I depend on trends/memes for insight. Democrats were clearly betting with a full house, while Republicans held two deuces and stuck with a losing hand.
Is this enough to infer other competencies? Perhaps it actually is, or, at the very least, it's possible to judge who might more effectively leverage new tools if handed the keys to a potentially devastating candy store. While I abhor innocent children being decimated by drone bomb droppings, and the incredible technology that drives them, I don't think that less technical competency would cause a shift to humane diplomacy. Similarly, I often consider and argue that China's bureaucracy is populated with technocrats, while US governing bodies are populated with lawyers, and China seems to be winning the race for world dominance, much the same as Amazon outsells and eventually smacks down the neighborhood bookstore. I don't necessarily agree with these outcomes, but I can't ignore them.
Can we change our election strategy to accommodate less algorithm and more substance? Dunno, the horse seems to be out of the barn, just as the world is inextricably connected to automated data trading, commerce, even push button (automated?) war and/or revolution. I do posit that a younger, technically savvy Republican won't make make the same Team Romney data analysis mistakes, although bold, new mistakes are always a possibility.
Or, we could go all in on contemporary, if frivolous, technology: The next presidential election would cost a hellova lot less if we just analyzed tweets instead of spending all this time and money trying to make informed decisions. May the most effective Twitter analysis win?