Book details well the information technology advantage that helped Obama win re-election

There’s no shortage of political books, on the right and the left. Post-election rants and autopsies are in vogue the year after President Barack Obama was re-elected. On the right, junkies have various ways to get their book fix. They can pay $16.99 or so, or get the book discounted — or free — if they subscribe to Townhall magazine, or Newsmax magazine, etc. There’s another option: a year or two later, long after the author’s been on talk radio or interviewed online, you can pick up the book for a penny at amazon, plus $3.99 shipping and handling.

That may be the eventual fate of “What Went Wrong: The Inside Story of the GOP Debacle of 2012 … and How It Can be Avoided Next Time,”By Jerome R. Corsi, best known for conservative book-length polemics “Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry,” and “Obama Nation.” This latest Corsi book is published by WND Books, which is associated with, a right-wing website.

Corsi’s book should be carefully read by Republicans, and not for Corsi’s politics, which are Tea Partyish and conservative populist. The strength of “What Went Wrong” is that it explains the chief reason why Obama scored a narrow but firm re-election victory over GOP candidate Mitt Romney. The Obama campaign had better tech and campaign science professionals. They were comprised of state-of-the-art IT experts who knew both how to find voters, and get them to the polls.

On the other hand, the Romney team was waging a campaign that would have been acceptable in 2004, but was no match for Obama’s 2012 campaign. Both sides had roughly a $1 billion to play with, but Team Obama knew better how to use the cash.

Take polls, for example. The Romney campaign used polls to try to learn something about the electorate. The Obama campaign looked at the polls to verify what they already knew. If the polls were at variance, the Obama team was sophisticated enough to know their data was better.

Another example was the campaign’s discipline and thoroughness in contacting voters. The Romney campaign boasted of reaching large numbers of voters. But, as Corsi explains, “contacting a voter” to the GOP could mean leaving a political flyer in a mailbox. But to the Obama campaign, contacting a potential voter meant either having a short interview with the voter, or even having a long interview with a potential voter. Also, the Obama campaign was far more advanced in the science of¬†algorithms. They not only sought for votes, the knew where to go to find the most votes.

This helps explain why candidate Mitt Romney could have campaign rallies in swing states that were more enthusiastic and better attended than some of the rallies the president had. It’s very possible that Romney had more passionate supporters than Obama. But he didn’t have as many supporters. The Obama campaign, through its IT advantage, were able to find — and get the polls — less enthusiastic voters. The Romney campaign, as it discovered afterward, had a problem getting its less enthusiastic supporters to vote.

On election day, the Romney’s very expensive get-out-the-vote online effort crashed and was inactive for much of that crucial day. As Corsi explains, the Romney campaign had not done enough tech due diligence on its system. The Obama campaign, not surprisingly, had tested its get-out-the-vote online system often prior to election day. And it worked.

Most of Corsi’s book, as mentioned, advocates conservative public policy positions that can be found elsewhere. The author is skeptical of Romney, and considers him as a type of Republican who is a soft enabler of the Democratic Party’s efforts to expand government. In an odd analogy, the Romney of 2012 is compared to Thomas Dewey, and the GOP presidential campaign of 1948.

Corsi believes that the expansion of government, currently a plus for Democrats who can dole out government money to economically insecure demographic groups, will eventually lead the U.S. to too much debt, and situations that resemble what is occurring in Greece and other European nations. He urges Republicans to maintain a more frugal, debt-conscious economic policy; the better to have more credibility when the markets nosedive.

As mentioned, though, the most valuable section of Corsi’s political book is his overview of last year’s election and his call for Republicans to switch their IT ignorance into IT mastery in 2016, when both parties will again have $1 billion to try to get votes. Republicans may dominate the midterm elections in 2014, as the party did in 2010. But its next presidential candidate will be at a huge disadvantage if the tactics of 2012 are repeated.


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11 Responses to Book details well the information technology advantage that helped Obama win re-election

  1. Pingback: Book details well the information technology advantage that helped Obama win … – StandardNet (blog) | alhwsawi

  2. Bob Becker says:

    Hmmmm. With a book so poorly titled, one has to wonder how reliable the rest of it is. From the point of view if the electorate, the accurate title of course would be “What Went Right!”. ( grin)

    Given the Worldnut Daily’s continuing election coverage ( it announces, in another “exclusive” article about once a month, a new “conspiracy” by which the President”stole” the last election) I’m surprised the book’s cover blurb wasn’t “How Obama Stole The Election By Running A Better Campaign.”

    A little disappointing that the subtext if Doug’s article seems to be that it wasn’t issues that did Gov. Romney in ( e.g. the 47% matter, his denouncing his own health care plan as irresponsible socialism when the President embraced it, etc.)., that it was merely the President’s campaign’s better technical expertise.

    • ctrentelman says:

      Of course it was the technical expertise that made Obama win — which leaves a subtle subtext that he somehow cheated, since we know in a fair fight Romney would have had it hands down.

      Geeze, bob, I have to explain everything to you.

    • Bob Becker says:

      Ah, the WND is launching a new conspiracy theory. It is running an interview with Cong. Michelle Bachman who says that in 2012 the President “waved his magic wand” and issued an executive order declaring all illegal aliens in the US under 30 who’d been here for five years eligible to vote in the last election.

      There was of course no such executive order, nor were illegals here more than five years eleigible to vote by Presidential or any other order. She’s making it up. Again. And the WorldNutDaily is promoting it as the conspiracy theory explaining why the President won the last election du jour.

      And the beat goes on. Link of the WND video here:

      See? Wasn’t a lack of technical expertise. It was the President waving his magic wand.

      And the beat goes on…..

  3. J. Hartwell says:

    Unscrupulous IT folk, ACORN, Chicago politics….
    Romney won 59% of the white vote and still lost.

    I’m not a genius, but perhaps a tad less disenfranchisement of Latinos, women, homosexuals & blacks?

    • Decider says:

      It was bad I/T that caused Romney to lose the last Presidential election?
      71% of Latinos, 90% of blacks, large majorities of women were nominally incidental when weighed against the HUGE I/T advantage of Obama?
      Therefore, let Republicans CONTINUE to vilify Latinos with abusive immigration policies, harass and demean women with punitive abortion tactics and degrade black voting rights? Meanwhile, conservatives will grow the base of white males by promoting wholesome values with better I/T messaging in the next election?
      Greg giving credibility to SERIOUSLY out of touch and misinformed dreck like “What Went Wrong” is what will CONTINUE to be wrong in conservative analysis for a very long time.

      • Bob Becker says:

        All true, but the book’s wing nut author aside, it does make a serious point, as does Doug, by implication at least: in a close election, not having a good ground game when your opponent does can cost you the win. This one was not close re: electoral votes which is all that matters. This one didn’t but some elections can turn on which side gets more of its “leaning but not enthusiastic” voters to the polls. A good ground game, which is what this book is talking about, is crucial when it goes down to the wire.

        • Decider says:

          Effective I/T enhances and compliments the message, BUT a bad message like Romney’s, that is DOA, with the majority of voters, (something more than 47%) is as HOPELESS as reviving a frozen cadaver with artificial respiration and emergency electro heart stimulation by turning up the voltage

  4. Pingback: Book details well the information technology advantage that helped Obama win … – StandardNet (blog) | Books in the News

  5. Wayne Dequer says:

    Very interesting article and comments. The consensus on election eve had been that President Obama would win, but the election would be close. The consensus may well have been largely correct with a significant amount of the larger victory margin due to the IT/Get out the Vote advantage the Obama campaign enjoyed. Water under the bridge, but critical information for future political campaigns. More things at which to throw money in our increasingly expensive election system.

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