Project Wonderful

Friday, December 18, 2015

DNC to Bernie Sanders : Delete Your Account

If you keep the same Facebook company that I do, you have seen this story by now. Basically, there was a short-lived glitch in Votebuilder during which campaigns could access other campaigns' data. During this time a now-former Sanders staffer allegedly took advantage of this glitch and looked at the Clinton campaign's data. As a result, the DNC has suspended the Sanders campaign VAN access until they figure this all out.

A couple of thoughts...

First, don't shoot me but can you blame the guy? (The staffer, not Sanders.) Like you're telling me I can see my opponent's data and targeting and I'm not gonna look? I'm not saying he should have. I'm just saying don't wrap my Christmas presents in the same room as me and scream "don't peek!" (For what it's worth the staffer, with whom I have 6 Facebook friends in common, maintains he did not.)

Second, the coverage of this story. No, CNN it's not NGB-VAN. Also the ridiculous assertion made in this ABC video that a data breach is akin to getting the opposing team's playbook the night before the Superbowl. The data stored in VAN has at best tangential bearing on Clinton's debate performance. Getting the playbook would be like getting internal polling, footage of debate prep or a campaign plan. Also the general election is the Superbowl MAYBE the Iowa caucus or convention, but not one of several debates. This, affirming a cycle-long tradition of lackluster campaign coverage.

Third, this is some high-level snark. I knew Nation Builder and NGPVAN were competitors, but damn, Jim Gilliam, way to kick a guy when he's down.

And finally, is it fair for the DNC to "punish" the Sanders campaign for NGPVAN's mistake? Maybe not, but I don't think the intent is to punish so much as sort out an unfortunate situation. I will say this though, Bernie Sanders' history of attacking the Democratic party certainly couldn't have helped. Bernie Sanders made a point out of refusing to affiliate himself with the DNC until such time as it was politically advantageous to do so. That can't exactly engender sympathy at such an occasion.

Michael Briggs, spokesman for the Sanders campaign, blamed the incident on the software vendor used by the DNC.

“Sadly, the vendor who runs the DNC’s voter file program continues to make serious errors,” Briggs wrote in a statement to ABC News. “On more than one occasion, the vendor has dropped the firewall between the data of different Democratic campaigns. Our campaign months ago alerted the DNC to the fact that campaign data was being made available to other campaigns.”

Yes, VAN messed up but are you really trying to make these guys your enemy? In the politics of politics it is always wise to treat those whose help you may want in the future with respect. In fact, it is best to treat everyone that way.

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