Streetwise Professor

October 24, 2017

Maybe the Clinton Campaign Should Have Used a Staten Island Hosting Service Instead

Filed under: Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 8:48 pm

Today’s breathless “EXCLUSIVE” about Russia’s nefarious plots in the US is from the Daily Beast. In a nutshell, the crafty Russkies used a web hosting service in Staten Island to spread their fake news and propaganda on BLM and other issues.

The shambolic nature of the effort chronicled in the DB (appropriate acronym!) is laughable when compared to the massively expensive digital efforts of the Clinton and Trump campaigns. Here is a long Politico tongue bath slobbering all over the Clinton operation. And Clinton also had the benefit of the efforts of tech titan Eric Schmidt.

Here is a snarky Medium piece, which in the end grudgingly acknowledges the effectiveness of the Trump campaign.  Trump’s efforts specifically focused on Facebook, and at one point in the campaign he was spending $70 million a month on the digital portion of his campaign.

The sophistication and magnitude of the campaign efforts dwarfed anything the Russians did, Staten Island servers or no. Contrasted with the massive Republican and Democratic efforts to jam the airways and inter webs , the Russians’ activities were like a weak electromagnetic signal received from a distant star system. Background radiation at ground zero of a nuclear test.

Yet the hysterics focus on that, because in the end, it’s all they’ve got. It’s hard to know what is more laughable: the story itself, or the fact that anyone takes it seriously. But “journalists” like Miriam Elder at Buzzfeed (deeply implicated in the dissemination of the Steele dossier, an act Mikhail Fridman et al may well soon cause her to regret to the end of her days) cackle in glee at it. They actually think it is significant, a smoking gun. Amazing.

For those needing a schadenfreude booster, I strongly suggest the Politico article, released two months and a day before the election. But be careful! It could lead to a schadenfreude overdose, for virtually every paragraph contains a statement which in retrospect is  a howler that makes the Clinton campaign look very, very bad:

What cities Clinton campaigns in and what states she competes in, when she emails supporters and how those emails are crafted, what doors volunteers knock on and what phone numbers they dial, who gets Facebook ads and who gets printed mailers — all those and more have Kriegel’s coding fingerprints on them.

To understand Kriegel’s role is to understand how Clinton has run her campaign — precise and efficient, meticulous and effective, and, yes, at times more mathematical than inspirational. Top Clinton advisers say almost no major decision is made in Brooklyn without first consulting Kriegel.

So why hasn’t Hillary blamed him yet?

Now, with Donald Trump investing virtually nothing in data analytics during the primary and little since, Kriegel’s work isn’t just powering Clinton’s campaign, it is providing her a crucial tactical advantage in the campaign’s final stretch. It’s one of the reasons her team is confident that, even if the race tightens as November approaches, they hold a distinctive edge. As millions of phone calls are made, doors knocked and ads aired in the next nine weeks, it is far likelier the Democratic voter contacts will reach the best and most receptive audiences than the Republican ones.

“Donald Trump investing virtually nothing in data analytics.” Hahahahaha. Famous last words! It’s just that the Trump people were smart enough to keep their massive effort (which was disproportionately digital and largely eschewed the massive TV ad buys that the more conventional campaign lavished money on–3 times as much as Trump, in fact) under wraps, while the narcissists in the Clinton campaign chose to preen and brag about their superiority.

Karma is a bitch.

But as they say, there’s more!

Some Republicans aren’t just nervous about losing to Clinton in November. They’re alarmed at the possibility of falling multiple cycles, even a generation, behind in creating a culture of data-intensive campaigns. Romney hardly had an autonomous analytics department. Trump has called data “overrated.” Kriegel, meanwhile, is incubating the next generation of Democratic talent — his team rivaled the size of Trump’s entire headquarters operation for much of the primary — the no-name analysts of 2016 who will emerge as the key players in 2018 and 2020.

Think of all that wasted money. Small is beautiful!

And more!

One Democratic strategist, an Obama veteran with knowledge of the Clinton campaign, marveled at Kriegel’s sway in Brooklyn. “I have never seen a campaign that’s more driven by the analytics,” the strategist said. It’s not as if Kriegel’s data has ever turned around Clinton’s campaign plane; it’s that her plane almost never takes off without Kriegel’s data charting its path in the first place.

Apparently Kriegel’s data did not include exotic places like “Wisconsin.”

And I guess Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania weren’t battleground states, ‘cuz otherwise they would have consulted The Amazing Kriegel:

Four years ago, Kriegel similarly won the trust of Obama’s top brass as the battleground states analytics director in The Cave, the much-heralded Obama 2012 data war room. “We didn’t make a single decision about battleground state strategy without first talking to Elan about his numbers,” said Jeremy Bird, then Obama’s national field director and now a Clinton consultant.


As Trump has stumped in far-afield states like Mississippi, Washington and Texas, Republicans have implored his team to incorporate some data inputs to something as fundamental as the candidate’s schedule.

So tell me again who had the idiotic schedule?

I can’t stop laughing. The Democrats just KNEW that all tech-y, science-y, big data types were progressives and the Trump people were knuckle dragging idiots licking stamps to fix to mailers printed on a mimeograph machine. But in reality, the Trump people beat them at their own game. Or maybe not. Note that in the Politico article a main focus of the Kriegel analysis was deciding where to place TV ads, whereas the Trump campaign figured out that targeted Facebook appeals would be much more effective. In other words, the Clinton campaign grafted new analytic methods on top of old school media, while the Trump people focused on new media. Clinton played the old game in new ways, and Trump played a new game. Yet the Clinton people–and their media acolytes–were so busy with bragging about their own superiority that they never knew what hit them. Maybe they should have hired Sergey Kashyrin and some Russian trolls instead. It would have been a lot cheaper, in any event!

These different but related stories are a testament to the absurdity of American politics at present. The attention lavished on the Staten Island server specifically, and the fringe Russian propaganda effort generally, shows how unhinged the losers of the 2016 election have become in their desperation to find an explanation and an excuse for their defeat, and a way to try to undo the result of that election. The Politico story reveals unintentionally the real reason for that loss: a smug, self-satisfied elite operating in a bubble, thinking it knew everything worth knowing, and all the while completely oblivious to a seismic political movement that was largely a reaction to them.



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  1. In fairness, while the American media are having kittens over the Trump-Russia connection, I have the feeling that the Americans themselves are not terribly fussed about the whole thing. Ditto for the international media – the story for the external observer is the fuss around the Russia allegations, not the Russian connection itself.

    I continue to be amazed that, given all the attributes that Trump has that so many people find objectionable, his opponents keep focussing on things that few people are interested in… unless they seriously think that they can impeach him over this… surely they don’t think that?!

    Comment by Hiberno Frog — October 25, 2017 @ 3:42 am

  2. Oi, “the real reason for that loss: a smug, self-satisfied elite” just won’t do. It’s a smug, self-satisfied, racketeering traitorous elite.

    Comment by dearieme — October 25, 2017 @ 6:30 am

  3. The Deep Sate displays its omnicompetence.

    Comment by dearieme — October 25, 2017 @ 1:54 pm

  4. @dearieme–I have no objection to that characterization. To the contrary.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — October 25, 2017 @ 10:09 pm

  5. Deep shit or deep state ? -Did he he visit the GRU , SVR or KGB at the Russian embassy in Mexico like Lee Harvey Oswald ?

    “10.06pm: Security guard Jesus Campos is shot through the door of Paddock’s hotel room after being spotted in the corridor outside his suite ” –

    State records obtained by Fox on Wednesday also showed that the 25-year-old is actually not registered as a security guard with Nevada’s Private Investigator’s Licensing Board.
    The Clarke County Sheriff’s Office declined to comment when asked what license is required to be a security guard at a Las Vegas casino.
    “Jesus Campos is a victim and we don’t speak about victims,” a sheriff’s spokesperson said.

    Comment by Anders Dahl — October 26, 2017 @ 1:15 am

  6. Ok, first – SWP you owe me a new keyboard!: Apparently Kriegel’s data did not include exotic places like “Wisconsin.”

    Beer – came – right – out – my – nose, and made a hellofamess. Very well done.

    I think that Kriegel watched the movie ‘Moneyball’. Or, maybe he called and chatted with the mgr of the A’s and thought the guy was a miracle worker. Either way, he was right no top of every twist, turn, and voodoo economic movement of the Bones to predict success.

    I made a chart a little while ago about the backing of the battle and it came out like this:
    Hillary backers;
    1) 95% of the US media
    2) 99% of the intl media
    3) 3.3x the money of the RNC
    4) Sitting current administration
    5) Russian money
    6) Euro endorsement(quiet, but it was there)
    7) Hollywood + NY elites *Including WEINSTEIN.

    Trump backers:
    1) middle America
    2) Modest(very) GOP support, AFTER he defeated the Bush clan
    3) Bannon $$$

    The Koch bros sat on their hands. The gov of NM(who could have made great support package) vilified their own party’s chosen. Of course, the gov of OH, and ALL members of the Bush cabal did everything they could to shit on Trump. As far as intestinal fortitude goes, Trump has it in spades. NO establishment goober wanted him. No beltway group wanted him. Truly the peoples(deplorables?) choice.

    Imagine what it would have been like if the fix was NOT in for Clinton? If the RNC had came out strong. If the GOP had rallied. If I were Trump, there would be thousands of pink slips going out all across the ‘crat space inside the beltway. AFAIAC – If you didn’t have a red MAGA ball cap on by mid-Oct 2016, you are to be FIRED. Trump has shown remarkable restraint these past months. I think someone in his group has started using the words ‘coalition’ and ‘reaching out to the other side’. I have no interest in reaching out to a failing, backward, totalitarian, control-oriented bunch of goobers.

    Comment by doc — October 26, 2017 @ 5:44 pm

  7. @ doc

    you omitted the never-Trump saboteurs

    in other words, there were not only backers

    but you already knew that

    Comment by elmer — October 27, 2017 @ 12:54 pm

  8. @doc–Sorry! Maybe I should post a warning: “Do not drink and read. Do not read this blog while operating electronic equipment.” Though that last part would be a little hard, no?

    Glad you enjoyed it.

    And yes, a decimation of the bureaucracy, Roman style, would be a good thing. Then another. Then another.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — October 27, 2017 @ 8:17 pm

  9. No worries. If I don’t drink when I read, I’ll never read – because I always drink. n’est pas?

    Ah yes, lets bring the Romans into the discussion by all means. Trump as the modern day Sulla? Do we have a Tarpian rock nearby we can toss the whole ‘crat-dom from?(sorry, dangled that participle, drinking you know) Sulla became supreme dictator of Rome, and his faceas were to complete the job of laws, and regulations for the good of the people. In effect, he was given the rod and the lash to deny his future denizens the power he was to wield so well. It’s estimated that Sulla proscribed(un-indicted conspirators who were executed) hundreds of enemies of the state. Not sure if some innocents were in the mix executed but likely so. There are few, if any whom I would trust with the power of proscription in DC, but maybe Trump would be one of them, or the only one. From his campaign speeches, I believe he is honestly interested in the best outcome for the US, and all others be damned. which I suspect is the ultimate reason for firing Manafort, now that it’s clear he was a stooge for the Ukes, and would suck up to anyone willing to pay his inflated sense of worth(like Tony Podesta, Dem lobbyist who resigned from his own firm today).

    Not saying that Trump is that modern day Sulla, but the parallels do have some merit. His reforms saved Rome for a few hundred years by giving power to the senate again, and removing it from the magistrates. Recall that Trump declined to approve the stipulation the Iran was complying with their nuke rules? Thus tossing this never-ratified ‘agreement’ back into the congress to advise or consent? Pretty smart move. Sulla also regulated that there would be minimum qualifications for senate, this ending the process of familial members holding seats, and passing on to the next gen. Nepotism, from the Latin nepos for nephew.

    Oh, I would so pay for a seat at the stadium where the knaves of the beltway were paraded, in their boxers, to the edge of a cliff, where they could give their final thought before being pushed over, to the pile of Quislings below. What a sight!

    Comment by doc — October 30, 2017 @ 4:41 pm

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