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Death by data in American politics

OVER the past decade or so, political campaigns have become more scientific. Campaign consultants use sophisticated data to micro-target specific demographic slices. They select their ad buys more precisely because they know which political niche is watching which TV show. Campaigns trial test messages that push psychological buttons.

Discussion around politics has also become more data driven. Opinion writers look at demographic trends and argue over whether there is an emerging Democratic majority. Pundits like me study the polling cross tabs, trying to figure out which way Asian-Americans are trending here and high-school-educated white women are trending there.

Unfortunately, the whole thing...

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