Ted Cruz

High-Tech Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz is trying to be all things to all people.

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Politicians tailor their messages to different audiences. Facing New Hampshire's primary, Ted Cruz talked more about "free-market principles" and a "commitment to the Constitution" and said "no one personality can right the wrongs done by Washington." Politico ran the headline "Ted Cruz, born-again libertarian."

I'm skeptical. Campaigning in Iowa, Cruz had emphasized religion and social conservatism.

But politicians no longer just target voters state-by-state—they target by person.

Last election, President Obama beat Mitt Romney partly by doing just that. Obama had 50 people working in data analytics. Romney had four.

"The campaign manager for the Obama campaign said the biggest institutional advantage they had was its use of data," observes Cato Institute fellow Emily Ekins.

Conservatives had data too, she says, but "Republican insiders tended to be a little bit closed-minded when it came to new methodologies."

Not Cruz. He told my producers recently, "I bought a copy of David Plouffe, Obama's campaign manager's book, The Audacity to Win, gave it to our senior team (and told them) we are going to nakedly and shamelessly emulate this."

The Obama campaigns kept detailed computer records on individuals likely to vote for Obama. On Election Day, volunteers concentrated on getting just those voters to vote.

Likewise, this year the Cruz campaign didn't send volunteers to every single door to ask people for their vote. They saved precious time by knocking only on doors of likely Cruz voters who might need a nudge to go to the polls.
Cruz technology manager Chris Wilson told us that the campaign will then do "whatever it takes. We go to their house. We'll bug them until they either turn out to vote or get a restraining order against us."

"Restraining order" is a joke, but his volunteers do carry phone apps that even tell them what questions to ask occupants depending on whether a man or a woman answers the door.

Today, all campaigns buy data from marketers. Ekins explains that "companies amass enormous amounts of data based on transactions that you and I make—whether we opened a store loyalty card, whether we subscribed to a magazine."

That data tells them something about how you think. Wilson told me, "Someone who buys arugula, we've found that they tend to be a little bit more Democratic—someone who buys iceberg lettuce tends to be more Republican."

There is truth in data. Outside Minneapolis, according to The New York Times, a manager of a Target store fielded an angry call from a father who was furious because Target sent his teenage daughter ads for baby products. You're encouraging my daughter to get pregnant, he complained.

The manager apologized and later called back to apologize again. But this time the father apologized, saying she is  pregnant! Target knew before Dad did.

Now politicians use similar data. Wilson says he can track where individual voters stand "on moral issues, immigration, national security, on gun rights."

Ted Cruz adds that they then go beyond "where" people stand to target voters based on "why."

"If you're a single mom, if you're carrying a revolver in your purse 'cause you don't want to get mugged, a duck-hunting ad is not going to do a thing to connect with you," Cruz told us. "Just on the Second Amendment, we have a dozen different messages."

This offended some people who watched my recent TV special about this. pathgirl888 tweeted: "Watching @JohnStossel re Tech Revolution. #Orwellian manipulation of IA voters … creepy." Others complained, "Cruz Camp is monitoring everything" and "INVASION OF PRIVACY!"

But it's not just Cruz who does this. The Obama campaign reached into its supporters' Facebook accounts and asked them to persuade their friends to support Obama. Facebook then changed its policies to give "friends" more privacy protection, but it's safe to assume all future presidents will be elected with help from this sort of technology.
We asked an Iowa voter if he minded being targeted by Cruz. He said, "No, I think it's excellent. Use every tool we can, because we have to defeat those people. They're using them."

The tech revolution is changing almost everything.

COPYRIGHT 2016 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS INC.

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  1. Yep. Many moons ago I helped design a statistical analysis system that plowed through millions of phone company customer records to ID likely candidates for upselling additional services on their calling packages. Worked a treat ? *way* better, by several orders of magnitude, than random cold-calling. We were disallowed from linking to external databases (even purely publicly-accessible ones) to harvest even more actionable info, but I always wondered just how far we could’ve pushed it.

    Then the retail Internet blossomed. Now I know.

  2. I knew it. That Juan on Juan video I bought on Spleefer’s website is responsible for Gary Johnson showing up at my door.

    1. Was it this one?

      (safe for work)

      1. LTNS. What’s up, Chuck?

        1. Things have been going well, straffinrun, although generally I’ve been too preoccupied to join the fun here as much as I used to.

          Are you still overseas?

          1. No, you are. :p

  3. Semi-off topic. These days whenever I see a picture of Jeb! at a campaign event, he just looks lost and gormless ( Example ) as if he has no idea how he ended up there, or possibly even where he is. Though alternatively, my other first impression was that his expression read “This isn’t how it was supposed to turn out, what am I supposed to do now?”

    1. His expression reminded me of some lyrics:

      “And you may ask yourself
      What is that beautiful house?
      And you may ask yourself
      Where does that highway go?
      And you may ask yourself
      Am I right?…. Am I wrong?
      And you may tell yourself
      MY GOD!…. WHAT HAVE I DONE?”

    2. Ha! My take on Jeb! from his look was: Are you kidding me? You elected my retarded brother! How hard can this be?

  4. The difference between data gathering and data analysis is this: when my poor old grandmother went to Kroger and bought her cat food, Kroger would send her coupons for cat treats and kitty litter and pet cleaning supplies. When she bought her cat food at Walmart, they saw she’s 85 years old and never buys kitty litter so they sent her a job application.

    1. Which one was more accurate?

      1. Welcome to Walmart! Welcome to Walmart! Welcome to Walmart!

        I lied, it wasn’t my grandmother eating cat food, it was really me.

        /breaks down sobbing

        1. Do you prefer Friskies or 9-Lives?

          /asking for my neighbor’s grandmother.

          1. I use the cat food to lure cats to my front porch, then I kill and eat the cats.

            Sometimes the cat food attracts the neighborhood grandmothers.

            1. “Cat — The Other Other White Meat”

        2. That always confused me, as cat food struck me as an expensive choice. I did a price comparison between canned cat food and corned beef hash and came up with cat food being $1/lb higher. Dog food was slightly cheaper than both, but all were more expensive than just plain raw chicken from the same store (with cat food being more than twice the price of raw chicken.) While I suppose there is something to be said for not having to cook the canned goods, it does make me wonder where the stereotype came from, because pet food is an increase in raw cost.

          1. It’s my understanding that the pet-specific foods are designed to provide a much more well balanced/healthy meal than a serving of chicken, tuna, beef, et cetera.

            1. I get that, I mean as poor, destitute old-person food. I don’t care about what gets fed to furballs.

              1. Got it.

            2. Better quality pet food pays big financial dividends down the line when your pets get older and the likelihood of big vet bills loom ever closer. I learned that the hard way some years ago.

          2. Food for dogs? What a country!

            /Yakof

          3. Reminds me of newspaper stories about poor people who would eat a McDonalds because they couldn’t afford a proper Thanksgiving dinner. Unless they could not cook because they were genuinely homeless (which the subjects of such stories typically are not) McDonalds was a far more expensive choice. Turkey and sweet potatoes are much cheaper than fast food.

  5. So Stossel is skeptical. I get it. Hell, even though I am supporting him, I am skeptical as well. But why is it necessary to start the article with that, and then come to find out it is all about how the campaign handles data.

    And so what if he stresses different aspects of his philosophy to different folks. Is that bad? WHile I am NO social conservative, I know a bunch who are, at the same time generally aren’t interested in getting the law into people’s bedrooms or force their religion on everyone else. He also stressed ending corn (i.e. ethanol) subsidies in Iowa. Perfectly consistent with both his religious views and the Constitution.

    1. so what if he stresses different aspects of his philosophy to different folks

      If a candidate knows exactly what he should say to trigger you to vote for him, how do you know he really means what he says at all? End the wars, close Guantanamo, respect Constitutional rights, abjure unilateral executive actions, unite the people, heal the economy – that all sounds good, but what if the candidate didn’t mean a damn word of it?

      1. “I’m open to hearing any good ideas.”

      2. Candidates have positions on lots of things. Seems reasonable that he would start with the ones most aligned with me.

        If he is a conservative with libertarian leanings it makes sense to reassure old people that he is a don’t drone me bro libertarian and not a Mexican ass secks libertarian.

      3. If a candidate knows exactly what he should say to trigger you to vote for him, how do you know he really means what he says at all?

        Well, how can you know any politician means a word of what he says at all? It doesn’t seem at all unreasonable to me to posit that someone might be both a hard-line Christian and a libertarian. In fact, given existing cultural currents, I’d suggest that libertarianism is probably the smart choice for hard-line Christians. Of course, if I were trying to convince a group of hard-line Christians of the case for libertarianism, I might want to emphasize that libertarianism means they won’t have to bake gay wedding cakes, rather than drug legalization.

        1. IIRC, one of the regulars has proposed prosecuting broken campaign promises like perjury.

          1. What prosecutor would file those charges?

            1. Loretta Lynch, and career USDOJ prosecutors, but only against Republicans.

        2. It doesn’t seem at all unreasonable to me to posit that someone might be both a hard-line Christian and a libertarian. In fact, given existing cultural currents, I’d suggest that libertarianism is probably the smart choice for hard-line Christians.

          *raises his hand*

          Hi. I’m right here.

          1. ditto

            Libertarianism does not conflict with Christianity. Unlike many religions, it is inherently apolitical. Unfortunately, most Christians don’t understand this because Christendom has been a mess ever since Christianity was co-opted by Constantine. That’s why so few make this “smart choice”.

  6. “The tech revolution is changing almost everything.”

    And I fucking despise much of it. Compelling technology that goes about its discreet and innovative journey through sunset after sunrise harnessing magical powers to facilitate efficiency and creativity is organic and quite lovely.

    However, jamming a chattering chainsaw through the fucking face of technology that serves to pillage goddamn privacy is much too gentle a mode of dealing with the tyranny of Digital Peepers.

  7. Have you seen the price of arugula recently?

    1. ???

      I’m uncertain to whom you are referring, nor why you chose that manner of descriptor.

      1. I think OMWC was referring to Obama’s targeting of insufferable progs who buy expensive lettuce.

      2. I think OMWC was referring to Obama’s targeting of insufferable progs who buy expensive lettuce.

      3. FTFA: “Someone who buys arugula, we’ve found that they tend to be a little bit more Democratic”

        Have you seen the price of being Democratic recently?

        1. I don’t read the articles, you should know that.

          1. I know that; but you miss out on news you can use, like the arugula factoid.

          2. Last time I try being subtle with you around.

  8. up to I looked at the draft which was of $7319 , I be certain …that…my neighbour was like they say realie receiving money part time at there labtop. . there moms best frend started doing this less than and just paid the mortgage on their apartment and bought a gorgeous Lexus LS400 . site here……..

    Click This Link inYour Browser….

    ? ? ? ? http://www.Wage90.com

  9. FWIW:

    http://www.bing.com/search?q=t…..dlt=strict

    Sorry for the sloppy link, but in the 1 min I had to search I couldn’t get this chart on just a web page. But from this chart (as simplistic as it may be) Cruz’ positions on all economic factors are definitely in line with libertarian thought (as are most true conservative economic positions). We all know he is strongly pro-life. He actually scores better on drug policy than most other Rs. LGBT rights very conservative as we know. But as far as marriage goes, that is a done deal. And I think he knows that. He just wants to protect private businesses rights. Very solid on guns, taxes and environmental issues.

    I am not saying the guy is perfect or is a “libertarian”. I am not even saying he is a nice guy. I honestly don’t know if he is a real douchebag or just a guy that pisses the right people off. But our founders didn’t plan the Constiution and the federal government for angels. They structured it to try to direct imperfect people towards liberty. And I think he is as good a VIABLE candidate as we have seen since Reagan or even Goldwater. Believe me, the Snowden comments rankle me. But he is still on record as voting to scale back the NSA phone program. And NOBODY who is elected president is going to “End the Drug War”. But if he lets the states deal with pot, then it is a step (albeit small) in the right direction.

    1. WHYCOME YOU’RE WILLING TO BACK A FUNDIE LIKE CRUZ!!! YOU’RE NOT KEWL AND SOPHISTIMICATED IF YOU BACK A FUNDIE!!!

  10. BTW: When you submit your resume to an employer, don’t you tailor your resume and/or cover letter to that employer? No you don’t lie (at least not if you are ethical), but you stress certain strenghts to one employer and you may stress others to another employer.

    As long as Ted is stressing different parts of his stands to different people, while at the same time not contradicting himself to different people, there is nothing wrong with that. Stressing his religious values in Iowa, his 2A stand in Texas, his tax policy in NH and his immigration policy in AZ isn’t lying at all. They are all different aspects of his overall stand.

  11. Ted Cruz is trying to be all things to all people.

    What’s up with that?! It’s almost like he’s running for president or something. /sarc

  12. Perhaps another way to look at it is this:
    For many of those things that many of us here don’t like, Cruz is no worse than the status quo. And frankly no one else is a whole lot better on these issues. (Bernie maybe a little on sending drones and smart bombs, but I think he will so inept at dealing with foreign govts, combined with his tariff and protectionist policies will outway any positives he may have. )

    On a number of things we do like, Cruz may even be able to move things in our direction. Some corporate subsidies, tax policy, regulatory state,

    1. Who would Bernie put up to the SCOTUS?

      Bernie himself may be pro-2A but I suspect his appointee would be very progressive.

      That alone is worth a Cruz vote.

  13. I don’t think talking about different things to different people is bad, as long as you don’t promise opposite things to different people. Cruz flirts with that (see: criminal justice reform), but most candidates flirt with that in a primary.

  14. My last pay check was $16400 working 8 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 8k for months now and she works about 19 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do……

    A?l?p?h?a-C?a?r?e?e?r?s.c?o?m

  15. A Prediction: If Cruz is nominated, the Democrats will challenge his birthplace qualification citing that Obama had to endure it. Whether any issue exists or not in Cruz’s Calgary birthplace, the Democrats will make sure it dominates the General Election news cycles, and nothing else will be heard. That Cruz is a smarmy neocon notwithstanding.

  16. Why I’ve never heard of a politician trying to be all things to all people.

  17. Up to I looked at the draft which was of $7319 , I be certain …that…my neighbour was like they say realie receiving money part time at there labtop. . there moms best frend started doing this less than and just paid the mortgage on their apartment and bought a gorgeous Lexus LS400 . site here……..

    Click This Link inYour Browser….

    ???? ? ? ? http://www.Wage90.com

  18. The technology is so developed that we can watch videos, live streaming, TV serials and any of our missed programs within our mobiles and PCs. Showbox
    All we need is a mobile or PC with a very good internet connection. There are many applications by which we can enjoy videos, our missed programs, live streaming etc.

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