After spending most of this year siphoning money from Randy Brock's campaign to buy expensive out-of-state political consulting, polling, and advertising services, and to pay herself eight G's a month plus expenses, chief consultant Darcie Johnston has had an epiphany:
It's all about the data.
So she says in a VTDigger article that builds on earlier stories from Seven Days and the Vermont Press Bureau, in exploring the huge organizational advantages that Vermont Democrats enjoyed over the VTGOP.
Yes, the second-biggest waste of money in Vermont politics (number 1 is, of course, Vermonter(s) First) has suddenly discovered that the secret to success isn't money after all!
While the Dems knew who their potential voter bases were and how to target them, the Republicans didn't.
... "We need a voter file that is well developed and computer driven and ID'd using every demographic we can find and overlaid with every piece of social media information that can be mined," said Johnston on Friday. "And it needs to start tomorrow."
Funny. She just managed a campaign completely based on TV ads, mailers, and smearing the Democrats, and NOW she realizes the key is data?
Say, Darcie, how much money did you spend on data when it could have made a difference -- during the campaign you just managed into the toilet? Well, the implicit message in her "analysis" is (surprise, surprise) it wasn't her fault.
The problem, she said, wasn't with the candidates, who she said were strong this year, it was the lack of information readily available to effectively campaign for those candidates.
Okay, first of all, the candidates were "strong"? Randy Brock, who spent hundreds of thousands and drew fewer votes than the unknown and underfunded Cassandra Gekas? Wendy Wilton, who utterly failed to convince voters she was the apolitical technocrat depicted in her campaign? Jack "Six Teats" McMullen? The Secretary of State vacancy? John MacGovern? Mark Donka?
Phil Scott was strong. The rest of the ticket was pathetic.
Johnston's profound cluelessness aside, the most notable thing in that paragraph is her subtle shifting of blame from the Brock campaign to the VTGOP: "the lack of information readily available."
See, it wasn't her job to get that information; her campaign collapsed because it wasn't "readily available."
Funny. I never heard one peep out of Johnston about this during the campaign. But now that it's all gone up in flames, and Randy Brock has grounds to sue her for consumer fraud*, she's conveniently found a scapegoat.
*She's like a contractor who makes a roof out of plywood and, when the first snowstorm trashes the whole thing, comes back and says "Y'know, what you really need is shingles."
One final note about good investments. The Digger article spotlights one of the Dems' many young insiders who made all the difference in building an unbeatable organization: John Faas.
Over the last five months, Faas has created a database that shows Vermonters' voting history, contact information, any previous contact with the party, the districts voters live in and party-specific modeling information. The Vermont Democratic Party has paid Faas about $9,516 so far this year.
Got that? $9,516 for Faas for the entire campaign. Approximately the same amount Darcie Johnston got paid every goddamn month (salary plus expenses).
Oh, Darcie. As a liberal, let me offer you best wishes in your future as a political hack. As long as you're in the game, our side has a whole lot better chance of winning.