In Los Angeles, if a celeb does something extraordinarily dump, stupid, or otherwise injurious to their career in a spectacular public manner, the accepted wisdom is they drop off the planet for six months. No interviews, no photos in trendy restaurants, instead just disappear. Then six months later, quietly return to the public spotlight. That’s what Hillary, Bill, and Chelsea Clinton need to do now.
The Clinton campaign, as it is now achingly apparent, ran a campaign that was somewhere between mediocre and abysmal. I volunteered for Clinton in Nevada. They had many paid staffers and canvassers. It played a major part in flipping the state completely blue. As it turns out, the Nevada Clinton campaign was one of the best in the country. Others states had campaigns that were way less competently run.
The Clinton campaign pretty much completely ignored Michigan and Wisconsin due to a mix of over-confidence, relying too much of computer-driven decisions, and just plain stupidity. They did not have paid canvassers there, thought Ada, their computer program was infallible, and made a numskull decision they could win Michigan by pretending to be confident. Ada was named after Ada Lovelace, who wrote the first computer program in the 1800’s, and who may well now be spinning in her grave.
Ada was accurate about Pennsylvania, and completely wrong about Michigan and Wisconsin. Software developers have a saying, “garbage in, garbage out.” In the data is wrong, or if the algorithms processing the data have a bias, then the output – in this case campaign decisions – will be wrong. The Clinton campaign was so sure of itself it was planning to announce Ada after Hillary won the election as a model of how to do campaigns…
In Michigan alone, a senior battleground state operative told HuffPost that the state party and local officials were running at roughly one-tenth the paid canvasser capacity that Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) had when he ran for president in 2004. Desperate for more human capital, the state party and local officials ended up raising $300,000 themselves to pay 500 people to help canvass in the election’s closing weeks. By that point, however, they were operating in the dark. One organizer said that in a precinct in Flint, they were sent to a burned down trailer park. No one had taken it off the list of places to visit because no one had been there until the final weekend. Clinton lost the state by 12,000 votes.
Psychological games they were playing with the Trump campaign. They recognized that Michigan, for example, was a vulnerable state and felt that if they could keep Trump away ― by acting overly confident about their chances ― they would win it by a small margin and with a marginal resource allocation.
Clinton made several visits to Michigan during the general election, but it wasn’t until the final days that she, Obama and her husband made such a concerted effort.
As for Wisconsin: Clinton didn’t make any appearances there at all.
Like much of the political establishment Ada appeared to underestimate the power of rural voters in Rust Belt states.