Tale of the Tape: The Data Gurus Behind the Clinton and Trump campaigns

At long last, thanks to Bloomberg Businessweek, we have insight into Trump’s GOTV and campaign strategy. The website published a deep dive into the organization’s polling efforts (more impressive than you would expect considering the candidate’s claims that polls are rigged) and GOTV strategy. In short, they know the reality on the ground and are focused on depressing the Democrat vote by dragging Hillary down with him, which explains the scorched earth rhetoric of late. 

The article also got a glimpse of the Republican strategist powering Trump’s social media and data collection, and it will not surprise you to learn he’s a political novice who got his start with the Trump circle by underbidding to build the Trump Company website many years ago. He’s been their go-to guy for websites ever since, building the official campaign site for $1,500.

His name is Brad Parscale and is founder of small San Antonio shop Giles-Parscale. While he does not come from political pedigree, he has build an impressive collection of personal information that the client is free to do with however he pleases should he lose the election.

Clinton’s data guru Elan Kriegel got his moment in the spotlight in September, due to a lengthy Politico piece. Now that we know both people, let’s see how they match up.

Candiate  Donald J. Trump Hillary Clinton

Name Brad Parscale

Elan Kriegel
Title Digital Director

Director of Analytics
Day Job                 President, Giles-Parscale            

Co-founder, BlueLabs
Article Title Bloomberg Businessweek: Inside the Trump Bunker, With 12 Days to Go Politico: Hillary Clinton’s ‘Invisible Guiding Hand’

 Key Activities Social Media Posting
Lookalikes
Dark Posts
Data Collection: “Project Alamo”
Statistical Modeling

Statistical Modelling 
Devising Cost Per Flippable Delegate Model
Outcome Simulations 
Campaign Spend
Fawning Quote “Once Jared found Brad,” says a campaign official, “we were able to avoid building a big team and ran a lot of our back end through his office in San Antonio.”

“I can’t think of anybody who has as much impact as Elan who has as little name recognition with the national press,” said Stu Trevelyan, CEO of NGP VAN
Surprising Factoid Had a tough start to his career, hanging around a book store asking if people who bought web development books needed help

Served as producer for conservative Fox personality Bill O’Reilly
Moment of Brilliance “Those companies test ad variations against one another—the campaign has ultimately generated 100,000 distinct pieces of creative content—and then roll out the strongest performers to broader audiences.”  “Clinton spent $1.2 million on broadcast and cable ads [in Texas] even as she won the state by 32 percentage points. Sanders spent $0.” …

“It paid off: In Texas alone, Clinton netted 72 delegates more than Sanders — a margin that more than offset all the Sanders’ primary and caucus wins through March 1.”

In Their Own Words “I always wonder why people in politics act like this stuff is so mystical,” Parscale says. “It’s the same shit we use in commercial, just has fancier names.” Elan was not interviewed for the Politico piece 

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