10 months ago
The same marketing tools from Google and Facebook that gave Donald Trump’s campaign an unexpected push to win the election are now being used to determine the President’s policies.
While the Trump campaign’s innovative use of big data analytics was apparent in the days after the election, little was known about where that information came from or how precisely it was used. The New York Review of Books profiled a pair of books chronicling how Trump’s data science team, led by Brad Parscale, leveraged in the invaluable information in unprecedented ways.
The books — Daniel Kreiss’ Prototype Politics: Technology-Intensive . Campaigning and the Data of Democracy and Eitan Hersch’s Hacking the Electorate: How Campaigns Perceive Voters – give in-depth looks at how the political status quo was upended during the 2016 election.
Project Alamo, Parscale’s secret weapon, is an aggregated maelstrom of information that used psychometrics to determine the Trump voter base. It included Cambridge Analytica’s 5,000 data points, the RNC’s 7.7 billion data points, and self-reported info from the campaign’s donors and rally attendees.
After spending tens of million of dollars for the data, Parscale’s team created a model it called the Battleground Optimizer Path to Victory that pinpointed 13.5 million voters in 16 states crucial to Trump’s election. It was updated daily as torrents of targeted information spewed from social media ads and surrogates. The tactics, in turn, were honed based on what the model showed was effective, described as “A/B testing on steroids.”