Thursday, December 15, 2016

Who To Blame For Clinton's Loss In Michigan-- Putin? Comey? Or Was It The Countess of Lovelace?


Who REALLY saddled us with Trump, Putin or the Countess?

It was a shock to the Clinton Machine when Bernie beat her in the March 16 Michigan's primary. Bernie took 595,222 votes (49.8%) to Hillary's 576,795 (48.3%). He won 73 of Michigan's 83 counties but she won big in the rich suburbs and the in Detroit. He beat her in all the little working class counties no one outside of Michigan ever heard of-- Cheboygan, Muskegon, Ingham, Eaton, Monroe, Kent, Benzie, Marquette, Jackson, St. Clair, Barry, Livingston, Allegan, Washtenaw, Charlevoix, Kalamazoo... He even beat her in Clinton County (55.8-42.1%).

The Clinton Machine blames everyone and everything for Hillary's loss-- FBI Director Comey, Vladimir Putin, sexism, media bias-- except themselves... and ADA. (Bill Clinton is smart enough to blame ADA and he did all along but no one listened to him. We'll get to ADA in a minute.) Wednesday morning Edward-Isaac Dovere did a deep dive into the loss in Michiagn-- a 10,704 seat loss that cost her 16 electoral votes. When the SEIU figured out she was toast in Iowa--which she went on to lose 795,923 (51.8%) to 650,790 (42.2%)-- they decided to put their efforts into Michigan. Clinton campaign headquarters freaked. Dovere: "Turn that bus around, the Clinton team ordered SEIU. Those volunteers needed to stay in Iowa to fool Donald Trump into competing there, not drive to Michigan, where the Democrat’s models projected a 5-point win through the morning of Election Day." When he said "the Democrat's models projected," he meant Ada. Ada ran the show. "Michigan organizers were shocked. It was the latest case of Brooklyn ignoring on-the-ground intel and pleas for help in a race that they felt slipping away at the end. 'They believed they were more experienced, which they were. They believed they were smarter, which they weren’t,' said Donnie Fowler, who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee during the final months of the campaign. 'They believed they had better information, which they didn’t.'" Odd... no one's talking about Ada. Instead Dovere reminds his readers that "Trump won the state despite getting 30,000 fewer votes than George W. Bush did when he lost it in 2004."
[H]eartbroken and frustrated in-state battleground operatives worry that a lesson being missed is a simple one: Get the basics of campaigning right.

Clinton never even stopped by a United Auto Workers union hall in Michigan, though a person involved with the campaign noted bitterly that the UAW flaked on GOTV commitments in the final days, and that AFSCME never even made any, despite months of appeals.

The anecdotes are different but the narrative is the same across battlegrounds, where Democratic operatives lament a one-size-fits-all approach drawn entirely from pre-selected data-- operatives spit out “the model, the model,” as they complain about it-- guiding Mook’s decisions on field, television, everything else. That’s the same data operation, of course, that predicted Clinton would win the Iowa caucuses by 6 percentage points (she scraped by with two-tenths of a point), and that predicted she’d beat Bernie Sanders in Michigan (he won by 1.5 points).

“I’ve never seen a campaign like this,” said Virgie Rollins, a Democratic National Committee member and longtime political hand in Michigan who described months of failed attempts to get attention to the collapse she was watching unfold in slow-motion among women and African-American millennials.

Rollins, the chair emeritus of the Michigan Democratic Women’s Caucus, said requests into Brooklyn for surrogates to come talk to her group were never answered. When they held their events anyway, she said, they also got no response to requests for a little money to help cover costs.

Rollins doesn’t need a recount to understand why Clinton lost the state.

“When you don’t reach out to community folk and reach out to precinct campaigns and district organizations that know where the votes are, then you’re going to have problems,” she said.

...Michigan operatives relay stories like one about an older woman in Flint who showed up at a Clinton campaign office, asking for a lawn sign and offering to canvass, being told these were not “scientifically” significant ways of increasing the vote, and leaving, never to return. A crew of building trade workers showed up at another office looking to canvass, but, confused after being told there was no literature to hand out like in most campaigns, also left and never looked back.

“There’s this illusion that the Clinton campaign had a ground game. The deal is that the Clinton campaign could have had a ground game,” said a former Obama operative in Michigan. “They had people in the states who were willing to do stuff. But they didn’t provide people anything to do until GOTV.”

The only metric that people involved in the operations say they ever heard headquarters interested in was how many volunteer shifts had been signed up-- though the volunteers were never given the now-standard handheld devices to input the responses they got in the field, and Brooklyn mandated that they not worry about data entry. Operatives watched packets of real-time voter information piled up in bins at the coordinated campaign headquarters. The sheets were updated only when they got ripped, or soaked with coffee. Existing packets with notes from the volunteers, including highlighting how much Trump inclination there was among some of the white male union members the Clinton campaign was sure would be with her, were tossed in the garbage.

The Brooklyn command believed that television and limited direct mail and digital efforts were the only way to win over voters, people familiar with the thinking at headquarters said. Guided by polls that showed the Midwestern states safer, the campaign spent, according to one internal estimate, about 3 percent as much in Michigan and Wisconsin as it spent in Florida, Ohio and North Carolina. Most voters in Michigan didn’t see a television ad until the final week.

Most importantly, multiple operatives said, the Clinton campaign dismissed what’s known as in-person “persuasion”-- no one was knocking on doors trying to drum up support for the Democratic nominee, which also meant no one was hearing directly from voters aside from voters they’d already assumed were likely Clinton voters, no one tracking how feelings about the race and the candidates were evolving. This left no information to check the polling models against-- which might have, for example, showed the campaign that some of the white male union members they had expected to be likely Clinton voters actually veering toward Trump-- and no early warning system that the race was turning against them in ways that their daily tracking polls weren’t picking up.

People involved in the Michigan campaign still can’t understand why Brooklyn stayed so sure of the numbers in a state that it also had projected Clinton would win in the primary.

...Brooklyn’s theory from the start was that 2016 was going to be a purely base turnout election. Efforts were focused on voter registration and then, in the final weeks, turning out voters identified as Clinton’s, without confirmation that they were.

Marshall, at Mook’s direction, had designed a plan that until the final weeks was built around holding Pennsylvania and winning just one more state-- electoral math that would have denied Trump the presidency on the reasonable assumption Michigan and Wisconsin were Clinton’s.

There was a logic guided by data, they say.

...On the morning of Election Day, internal Clinton campaign numbers had her winning Michigan by 5 points. By 1 p.m., an aide on the ground called headquarters; the voter turnout tracking system they’d built themselves in defiance of orders-- Brooklyn had told operatives in the state they didn’t care about those numbers, and specifically told them not to use any resources to get them-- showed urban precincts down 25 percent. Maybe they should get worried, the Michigan operatives said.

Nope, they were told. She was going to win by 5. All Brooklyn’s data said so.
Yes, that was Ada. Let's go back to John Wagner's Washington Post little-noticed story of November 9 about Ada, when he wrote that Ada was like Hillary-- "she had a penchant for secrecy and a private server." So what's Ada? Wagner describes her as "a complex computer algorithm that the campaign was prepared to publicly unveil after the election as its invisible guiding hand. Named for a female 19th-century mathematician-- Ada, Countess of Lovelace-- the algorithm was said to play a role in virtually every strategic decision Clinton aides made, including where and when to deploy the candidate and her battalion of surrogates and where to air television ads-- as well as when it was safe to stay dark."
While the Clinton campaign's reliance on analytics became well known, the particulars of Ada's work were kept under tight wraps, according to aides. The algorithm operated on a separate computer server than the rest of the Clinton operation as a security precaution, and only a few senior aides were able to access it.

...What Ada did, based on all that data, aides said, was run 400,000 simulations a day of what the race against Trump might look like. A report that was spit out would give campaign manager Robby Mook and others a detailed picture of which battleground states were most likely to tip the race in one direction or another-- and guide decisions about where to spend time and deploy resources.

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At 9:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did they contract with a Russian company to write Ada?

If they were not interested in actual, you know, data, what were the Ada models based on? Faith?

10s of millions of stupid voters voted for an odious candidate that is too stupid to campaign effectively? Do two stupids make a smart? Do 10s of millions of them?

At 12:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For any algorithm, of course, when operators input smugness and entitlement, the output is always failure.

Presumably Putin hacked both ADA and the polls.

John Puma

At 4:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like Wall Street to me. Weren't investment decisions turned over to algorithms? And look what happened, the crash and all. Algorithms instead of humans.

At 4:51 AM, Blogger CNYOrange said...

Got a computer science degree back in the 80's, useless now I know, but the one guiding theme was always GIGO-garbage in, garbage out-looks like one hell of a lot of garbage was put into this ADA algorithm.

At 7:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, the wall street thing wasn't "turned over to algorithms". Please read "The Big Short" or watch the movie of the same name.

Algorithms don't exist on greed. Humans do.


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