Democrats' history of community organizing has made their current data-driven approach a seamless advance.
One ripple effect from Barack Obama's reelection last night? A new focus on how Democrats and progressives are on the winning side of the data wars. From Nate Silver's prognostications to the Obama campaign's aggressive focus on information -- as described by Sasha Issenberg in The Victory Lab and by Time -- new attention is going to the work of data scientists. Here at The Atlantic, Alexis Madrigal has raised the question of whether Democratic superiority on the data front is just a function of this particular campaign, and something Republicans will be able to replicate in the near future.
If they do, it won't be by copying the Obama model. The right just doesn't have the depth of professional experience in hands-on organizing that the left does, leaving Republicans without a critical framework to map their data onto. And that's why it's not going to be a simple correction for them to match what Democrats did Tuesday.
On the Democratic-slash-progressive side of professional politics, there are people who have spent many years now refining a hands-on approach to reaching Americans for political advantage. Scores of young and semi-young progressives have spent their careers bouncing from campaigns to Congress to labor unions to Change.org to ideological consulting shops to Credo to party committees to Media Matters to advocacy groups to whatever the Progressive Change Campaign Committee is, honing their craft along the way. RootsCamp, an annual D.C. "unconference," pulls in hundreds of those folks, and has been doing so for the last seven years. They have an Organizer of the Year award. If the data-savvy organizer is a subculture in the world at large, it's one that has achieved mainstream status on the political left.