It was an article of faith among Democrats after Ronald Reagan that in order to win national elections they would have to move to the middle, or at least pretend to.
Bill Clinton, you may remember, ran as a “New Democrat” who had discovered a “Third Way” to run the country and would “end welfare as we know it.” He followed through on some of this, including creating work requirements for welfare, agreeing to some spending cuts and following pro-business policies in certain areas, like on trade.
Obama has never really gone out of his way to hide his liberalism, particularly in 2012, when he ran straight to the left and vilified conservatives. This was not supposed to work in a country where conservatives still outnumber liberals, but it did.
A recent article in PJ Media by J. Christian Adams helps explain how Obama got to be true to his leftist self: Rather than appealing to the middle, Obama’s political machine squeezed every last ounce of votes out of the left as it could.
His operatives used a program, known as Catalist, that helped them get their base to the polls in mass numbers.
From the piece:
The data feeding the central Catalist database are coming from a wide swath of sources. Public records, pollsters, campaigns, non-profits, activist groups, unions, parties, commercial data — scores and scores of sources are feeding the central database data.
For example, when an environmental group does neighborhood door knocking for cash, the results of those contacts are fed into Catalist.
You have your own individual voter file in Catalist. Everyone does.
Under that file might be a massive amount of information about you — more than probably exists in any other database in the world. Whom you work for, what car you might drive, donations you have made, assumptions based on your neighborhood, anything in a public government database about you, consumer preferences, partisan preferences, what licenses you have, what you might have said to pollsters on the phone, memberships, how you treated the young left-wing activist knocking on your door a few years ago, and on and on and on.
Each group working with Catalist feeds the central database. Different groups have different types of data about you. Some data relate to economics. Other data relate to politics. Either way, the Borg all work in unison to fill the database with a massive amount of information about every American — and all of it is perfectly legal . . .
Catalist provides much more sophisticated and much more granular data about subsets of Americans. The degree of granularity was never possible before Catalist . . .
The most important thing Catalist allows the left to do is drive deeper into the pool of extreme left-wing Americans who are otherwise unmotivated to actually vote.
Catalist allows customers to identify potential voters on the far ideological fringe, but who are usually unmotivated to vote. Catalist allows the left to then identify issues, concerns, or other lifestyle facts which would permit a customer to motivate the usually unmotivated on that fringe to vote.
Kind of scary right?
What’s even scarier is that Republicans have nothing to match it.