America’s 2016 Presidential Election Revisited: All the Cheating & Russia Meddling Aside, Did Tech & Science Win Over Art?

Given Gerrymandering, voter suppression, the American electorate system and Russia’s meddling, America’s “Democracy” is a mess.

But clearly, in the 2016 election, Hillary used a great deal of art, particularly musicians and movie star endorsement, while Trump was much more into science, such as with Cambridge Analytics.

With Trump winning, even in the flawed American “Democracy” does this mean science has won over art?

Boston Globe Reports (source)

The season of computer computer-assisted consumption is hard upon us and, as shoppers, we are fairly sanguine by now about the data sweeps that infest our virtual worlds, mining our Pinterest pages and haunting our LinkedIn profiles. But it’s one thing to be manipulated when you’re picking out a new power drill from Sears or a sweater from Eileen Fisher. It’s quite another when you’re choosing a national leader.

Ever since Barak Obama deployed sophisticated micro-targeting techniques to identify voters in 2008 and 2012, candidates in both parties have used market analytics to refine their messages, slicing and dicing the electorate by age, race, gender, income, education, and subtler indicators such as magazine subscriptions or the model of the family car.

This devotion to demographics is hardly new in politics, but powerful computing and robust social media have allowed for deeper dives into our cultural preferences. For at least the last decade, we have been cheerfully dividing ourselves up into affinity groups: latte liberals, NASCAR dads, chablis-sippers, church-goers, and so on. We wear lookalike clothes, choose the same restaurants, and have our biases confirmed by like-minded media. It’s irresistible shorthand, comforting and even fun, but it’s not helpful for democracy.

The Daily Beast Reports (source)

The Trump campaign on Wednesday attempted to downplay the role Cambridge Analytica played during the election, following a Daily Beast report that one of its tech gurus contacted Julian Assange to offer assistance with the Clinton email leaks. The Republican National Committee was actually Trump’s “main source” of data analytics, the campaign said in a statement that did not mention the confirmed Assange connection. “Any claims that voter data from any other source played a key role in the victory are false,” the statement added, again avoiding the report itself. However, FEC data contradicts the campaign’s claims, as it was reported that Team Trump paid Cambridge Analytica $5.9 million from July 29 to December 12, 2016.


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