The Gay Wizard of Big Data, Nate Silver, has a cool interactive map where you can dial in your
prejudices preferences to figure out when each state will “tip” over to the Democrats or the Republicans as the great brown tidal wave of anchor babies is naturalized. That’s cool, and feel free to twiddle with it as much as you’d like, but any liberal/progressive who wants to get something done in the next decade is a fucking idiot if they think that map tells them much.
The Presidency is important, but it’s the state legislatures, the rural Senate, and the gerrymandered House districts that are kicking our asses. And I predict that we won’t get much help from “big data” or whatever the latest buzzword for “putting stuff in a database and pumping it out with pretty graphs and maps” because that problem is what we trained Computer Scientists call “hard”. It requires a lot of what the kids are calling “time” and “effort”, and the underlying data is not available in an Excel spreadsheet for easy download and manipulation. The map I want to see isn’t one showing me how the browns are going to vote for President, it’s what needs to change in Congress to close Gitmo or pass gun safety legislation.
If the last five years have shown us anything, it’s that a determined minority rules this country, not a majority, and having the Presidency is a necessary but by no means sufficient condition for passing one’s agenda. Yet the amount of time spent on Presidential reporting by the political press dwarfs all else. The explanation is simple, and it’s the same reason that local papers publish the police blotter: it’s a good way to fill space with easy-to-find information.