Clinton building tech edge on Trump – The Hill

Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonMurphy says guns should be litmus test for Dems Scarborough: Independent conservative candidate will announce presidential bid Republican former Michigan governor endorses Clinton MORE‘s campaign expects to have a significant technologic advantage over Donald TrumpDonald TrumpCIA veteran expected to announce challenge to Trump Murphy says guns should be litmus test for Dems Scarborough: Independent conservative candidate will announce presidential bid MORE in targeting voters and luring them to the polls.

It’s an edge the Clinton campaign hopes it can use to find and then win over centrists and Republican voters as the Democratic nominee looks to build an edge on Trump.

Top Democrats familiar with Clinton’s campaign say her sophisticated voter mining operation will build upon President Obama operation.

“It’s the nerve center of the campaign,” said one Democrat with knowledge of the operation. “And a key source in decision making.” 

Another former top Obama aide took it a step further, adding that the Clinton’s analytics team “will be the reason Clinton wins in November. There’s nothing like it out there.”

Four years ago, the Obama operation nearly perfected a system of identifying Democratic voters on a district-by-district level.

Put simply, the Obama operation knew where the Democratic voters were in every city and town, and knew how many it needed to deliver to get Obama over the top in swing states such as Virginia, Ohio and Florida. 

The focus and fingerprints of the Clinton analytics team—led by Elan Kriegel who served as the battleground states analytics director for Obama for America—  is clear in just about every nook and cranny in Clinton’s Brooklyn headquarters.

The data mining collected by the analytics team is used for message development, fundraising, digital campaigning and decisions on which media markets to play in.

It also helps Team Clinton decide where and whether to put staffers on the ground.

Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook and top aides are said to depend on it for nearly every move they make.

Trump at times has dismissed technology’s role in the presidential race. Nonetheless, his allies pushed back at the sense that their campaign will have a data disadvantage to Clinton’s.

“The Trump campaign’s definitely using targeted universes and deploying those across” different areas of his operation, a source familiar with the Trump campaign said

Trump’s digital team takes up an entire floor of a San Antonio office building, the source said, and it has a “considerable” targeting operation.

The San Antonio Business Journal reported earlier this year that the Texas agency working on Trump’s campaign was hiring a significant number of employees in anticipation of the general election. At the time, the outlet reported that the company would bring on data scientists as part of the push.

Each presidential cycle in recent history has provided major evolutionary leaps in campaign innovation, say those who follow the analytics trends. 

In 2004, the focus was on getting voters to host house parties, and other more deliberate grassroots movement building.

In 2008, the focus was social media engagement and email.

In 2012 it was data analytics.

Democratic strategist Lynda Tran said data analytics will against shape the race in 2016, and that the Clinton campaign will be at its forefront.

She said improvements the Clinton team is building to its system include the use of better SMS-based tools like Hustle, which lets staffers manage a large volume of personalized text message conversations with supporters and was effectively deployed by organizers for Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersClinton building tech edge on Trump Did Bill Maher lie to Assange, viewers about million Clinton donation? Warren: Email hack ‘embarrassment’ for Democrats, nation MORE‘ (I-Vt.) primary campaign against Clinton.

The Clinton campaign is using data mining efforts not only to seek out Democratic voters, but to go after Republicans.

Several high-profile Republicans have already defected to Clinton, and her campaign and its Democratic allies believe they can win more centrist Republicans to their sides — if they can locate them and then communicate.

“When you have strong Republicans like Hank Paulson and Meg Whitman not only declaring their opposition to the Republican nominee but making clear they consider him to be dangerous for America and committing to vote for Hillary Clinton, it certainly suggests that other Republican voters could be similarly inclined — and similarly convinced,” said Tran, referring to the former Treasury secretary under President George W. Bush and the top GOP fundraiser.

“And given how high Donald Trump’s unfavorables are with women voters, both Republican and Democrat, there is clearly an opportunity to make gains among those voters as well,” she said. 

Sasha Issenberg, the author of the book “The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns,” which details how analytics have changed the way political campaigns are run, said you can gleam what the Clinton tech side is up to based on their advertisements.

On Friday, the campaign began airing an add filled with Republican voices criticizing Trump. It is clearly aimed at convincing GOP voters to break ranks and vote for Clinton.

“I find it hard to believe they would be orienting so much of their public communication towards the types of themes that should resonate with moderate Republicans and right-leaning independents if analytics weren’t showing a significant slice of the electorate there that was persuadable,” Issenberg said. 

After losing to Obama in 2012, officials at the Republican National Committee say they set up a similar in-house data apparatus with the intention of having it be used by their nominee.

That effort could buttress what Team Trump is doing.

“No other campaign committee or organization has been doing this prior to the campaign,” one RNC official said, adding that they’ve been working on it 1,000 days before the campaign actually started.

But even Republicans familiar with analytics and data mining acknowledge that Team Clinton, with its foundation starting from the Obama era, may have the edge here.

“They’ve been building this operation for over a year all throughout the primaries and presumably what that’s been able to do is attract top talent from Silicon Valley and other places,” said Patrick Ruffini, the former RNC digital director and co-founder of a GOP analytics firm Echelon Insights.



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