J. Christian Adams: “‘CATALIST’: Obama’s Database for Fundamentally Transforming America”

This is a must-read. It describes how the Democrats have very successfully used technology to get out the vote, perhaps decisively, from far-left constituents who otherwise would not have voted. The key points are 1) an understanding that if a party can identify members of its base it is much cheaper to convince them to vote for the party’s candidates than it is to convince uncommitted moderates, 2) effective cooperation among Democratic operatives and politicians at all levels to gather and share contact and demographic data about as many voters as possible, and 3) the application of modern analysis techniques to those data, and the subsequent targeting of the most-likely Democratic voters for GOTV efforts. This is part of how Obama got himself reelected in 2012 despite his exceptionally weak record. Meanwhile Republicans have futilely attempted, at great cost in money and in support from members of their conservative base, to win over indecisive moderates.

13 thoughts on “J. Christian Adams: “‘CATALIST’: Obama’s Database for Fundamentally Transforming America””

  1. The GOP can continue to believe they are only a database away from victory but I think they’re fooling themselves. Running Romney, the one candidate who dare not mention Obamacare, was the critical error which suppressed the vote on their own side. Nobody believes Romney would have shrunk Government and there was little reason, other than he might be better than Obama, to vote for him. In the end, I did but I don’t blame those who didn’t. Those who stayed home or voted indepenent were entirely rational.

  2. I saw this too. Another point is the constant appeals to Leftists and blacks (but I repeat myself) by the GOP candidates. If you believe in your principles, stop trying to appeal to voters in New York and Seattle. The GOP needs to understand that Leftists are not going to vote for you regardless of the freebies you offer or the programs you promise to expand. They’re getting more and bigger offers, plus promises of graft and insider deals, from the Left. The GOP are just driving away conservative and libertarian voters with these positions.

    People on the right don’t want the expansion of government of slowed, and they don’t just want it stopped. They want the size and power of government seriously rolled back, and they want what’s left made transparent and made accountable. If they don’t intend to do that, then why should I, or anyone else on the right, vote for you?

  3. One point of the piece, and of the comments on it at Ace of Spades, is that Republicans are always at war with each other (Yes, I’m talking to you Tim ) instead of working as a team once the nominee is chosen. Democrats are much better at that, partly because they are much more in tune with an authoritarian state.

    I was critical of Romney because I thought he could have spent some time relating the history of “Romneycare” and how the individual mandate was NOT in it as he supported it. How many anti-Romeny writers know that the final bill was passed by the Mass Legislature over his veto? It was a DNC talking point echoed endlessly by Republicans who wanted some other nominee who would have done worse.

  4. Where’s Lee Atwater when you need him?

    I dunno, it makes me very nervous that they haven’t gotten it together yet. Romney is fine in the boardroom but certainly wasn’t up to the challenge of Crowley/Obama. This isn’t just another administration, why don’t they get that? or is the fix already in?

  5. “Romney had an election day ‘Get-Out-The-Vote’ computer program in 2012”

    I was a poll watcher for Romney in Wisconsin on election day.

    That system was a total failure. It was a debacle.

    Why wasn’t it tested and confirmed to work in advance?

    Was it hacked?

    Romney is supposed to be a skillful manager. The most important project of his life was his presidential campaign, and the program that was the core of his election day effort DID NOT WORK AT ALL.

    There is no excuse for it.

  6. “Romney had an election day ‘Get-Out-The-Vote’ computer program in 2012, but it didn’t turn out too well.”

    Romney, or who ever was the nominee, should not have had to do this. Total waste of candidate dollars.

    So … what in %$#!@@#&#^# is the Republican National Committee doing about this? THEY should have in place a fully tested system for which ever candidate is the choice of the Republican party. And they should use it this November to turn out the vote in critical and close elections.

    But what do THEY do instead?

    Pick and choose among primary candidates and try to force their choices on to the Republican rank and file. And how well does THAT turn out?

    The RNC is supposed to be building the party. Instead they are spending their time preparing to be lobbyists while the rank and file go on sending them their hard earned money. I refuse to be fooled any longer. Until the RNC does its’ job and concentrates on building the party I won’t send them another penny.

  7. Lex,

    De Corvelle’s (sp) yoeman party is the Republican base and it’s National Party machinery is part of the elite.

    Romney was trying to convince and get out moderates, not his base voters.

    The Romney and the National GOP machinery hated its conservative base and loved money. That is one of the reasons romney never went after Obamacare, he saw it as another way to get money to himself and the GOP national machinery

    Hence the complete fail in 2012.

    The same was true with McCain’s campaign, look at hos McCain’s campaign people went out of their way to sabotage Gov. Palin.

    The Republicans will win when they have a candidate their base can love.

  8. ““Romney had an election day ‘Get-Out-The-Vote’ computer program in 2012″

    Was the GOTV program actually a Romney project ? The LA Times didn’t think so

    The disparity in the two campaigns’ compensation packages underscores a key difference in their strategic approach.

    Much of Obama’s campaign staff consists of on-the-ground organizers deployed around the country early this year as part of a field program designed to identify and register Obama voters, and ultimately get them to cast ballots.

    The Romney campaign has taken a different tack. It is relying on the Republican National Committee for the bulk of its voter registration and mobilization program this fall.

    The RNC appears to have a smaller staff than the Democratic National Committee. Last month, it employed 208 people, paying them a median annual salary of $40,814. The DNC had 291 staffers who were on track to make a median annual salary of $35,394.

    But RNC officials said the staff at the party’s headquarters does not count organizers out in the field, who are paid directly by the state parties.

    “Our more than 600 staff in over 250 battleground Victory offices are working around the clock to make sure we get voters to the polls and that every Republican, independent, and disaffected Democrat hears our message,” RNC political director Rick Wiley wrote in a memo last month.

    By the way, I misstated the “Romney care” features above. Romney supported the INDIVIDUAL mandate for a catastrophic care plan. The Mass legislature added the employer mandate over his veto. The individual mandate was an idea of the Heritage Foundation that was later dropped. The concept was to reduce the cost of the “free rider” on the system but analysis later concluded that was not the problem.

    In Fall 2005, the House and Senate each passed health care insurance reform bills. The legislature made a number of changes to Governor Romney’s original proposal, including expanding MassHealth (Medicaid and SCHIP) coverage to low-income children and restoring funding for public health programs. The most controversial change was the addition of a provision which requires firms with 11 or more workers that do not provide “fair and reasonable” health coverage to their workers to pay an annual penalty. This contribution, initially $295 annually per worker, is intended to equalize the free care pool charges imposed on employers who do and do not cover their workers.

    On April 12, 2006, Governor Romney signed the health legislation.[19] He vetoed eight sections of the health care legislation, including the controversial employer assessment.[20]

    The legislature overrode all his vetoes.

  9. The Left is also doing a better job with social media than are Republicans/Conservatives/Libertarians. There are many Left-oriented Facebook memes floating around, and the conservative side is not being very effective either at countering these or at creating and distributing its own.

    For example, someone in my FB crew recently shared a link to a Forbes opinion article asserting (with lots of charts and numbers) that Obama has done a much better job with the economy than Ronald Reagan did. There should have been a well-researched piece countering this and made available very quickly. But actually, what I see from the RNC on Facebook is continual repeats of the post marketing SOCKS in the style preferred by George Bush the Elder.

  10. Mike K…thanks!

    Another point: the original article credited Obama for the revival in US manufacturing and for improved energy production and lower energy prices. The reality, of course, is that the improved energy production was entirely contrary to Obama’s hostility toward fossil fuels. The manufacturing improvements were partly driven by the improved energy picture, but also from many companies discovering (the hard way!) that the siren song of “just get it made in CHina” had in many cases been misleading.

  11. Yesterday Rush Limbaugh answered why he’s not talking about the Election: There’s nothing to talk about. “What is the Message?” “What does the GOP stand for?” The answer being the same thing as the Dems.

    Remember he’s very capable and this is his life/livelihood.

    Now I say the Republicans are a captive opposition that exists to capture and defang, discredit, disgrace any true opposition. This has been the case in most elections since 1936, Reagan was exceptional when exceptions were needed due to the threat of imploding USSR.

    You are asking for them to destroy their own fortunes, livelihood, friendships, marriage, life. Of course not.

    No election saves us from The Trial.
    Sooner faced is sooner solved.

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