2015: The Year Political Data Got Weird

Political data gets weird

At the start of 2015, who’d have thought we’d be talking about political data on a Democratic debate stage? But December’s debate debut wasn’t the end of this political spat: as we discuss in the latest Technology Bytes, the Sanders/DNC/Clinton data debacle got even weirder on Christmas Day. Some dare call it conspiracy! (Also in this issue: Jeb! Bush holds your email inbox hostage for a measly $25 ransom…a bargain at any price).

From weird to mysterious: just this week we also found out about ghost voter data posted on an IP number that’s since been taken down. A national voter file briefly haunted the machine! No one wants to claim to be the parent of this particular spectre, but the data did have NationBuilder Election Center codes in its DNA. Look for more controversy — and investigations — around data vendors and privacy issues in the months to come.

Finally, a monster’s been growing on the Right…and the Koch Brothers are holding the leash. We’ve been talking about voter-data company i360 and the rest of the Koch empire as an alternate political structure to the Republican Party for ages, and Politico’s just opened up the crypt to show us the bones of the operation. 4000+ staff by election day? That would far outstrip the official Republican infrastructure and would rival Obama’s 2012 PRESIDENTIAL campaign. Scary…for the Left, of course, but also for anyone on the Republican side who wants the actual party to stay in charge.

So here’s a New Year’s resolution: let’s keep data weird in 2016!

Written by
Colin Delany
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