Weekend Digest: JFK, Fatherhood, And The ‘Big Data’ Edition

by Talk Business & Politics staff (staff2@talkbusiness.net) 10 views 

For our weekend political readers:

Arkansans may recall reporter Ron Fournier who covered Bill Clinton as Governor, President and remained in Washington through the Bush and Obama years.

Fournier shares a powerful and personal story of his struggles as a parent with his son, Tyler, now a teenager. In this piece from the National Journal, Fournier discloses how Presidents Bush and Clinton taught him a life lesson that he's just now learning in full.

On the trips to Arkansas and Texas, I saw through both presidents a successful future for Tyler — in Clinton, big possibilities for a boy with a sharp mind and rough edges. In Bush, Tyler’s gift of humor as a means to find confidence in himself and connections with others.

I learned that while Tyler was not my idealized son, he was the ideal one. In the Oval Office, years ago, I thought Bush had ordered me to “love that boy” in spite of his idiosyncrasies. Now, I realize, I love my son because of them.

Tyler had a disease that wasn't diagnosed or treated until his teens. Read this well-written, touching and personal story, “How Two Presidents Helped Me Deal With Love, Guilt, and Fatherhood.”

It was smart, it was effective, and helped get the president re-elected.

A Time magazine reporter got access to the data scientists in the campaign's Chicago headquarters on the condition that the reporter would keep mum until after the election.

“What they revealed as they pulled back the curtain,” Time recently reported, “was a massive data effort that helped Obama raise $1 billion, remade the process of targeting TV ads and created detailed models of swing-state voters that could be used to increase the effectiveness of everything from phone calls and door knocks to direct mailings and social media.”

The Wall Street Journal also has an inside look at this tactic of “big data” — information about each fundraising prospect and how different people react to different messages.

The campaign created a “single massive system that could merge the information collected from pollsters, fundraisers, field workers and consumer databases as well as social-media and mobile contacts with the main Democratic voter files.”

Find out who was chiefly responsible for the “big data” machine and how “the Obama campaign focused on data showing the 'persuadability' of voters” by clicking here.

It's over now and despite predictions of an extremely close presidential race, President Obama won by a healthy margin in the electoral college.

Each candidate's lifeblood were the polls, but The New York Times has an extremely interesting look at where candidates beat their own polls, in some cases by quite a bit.

Take a quick look back at this revealing chart of blue and red.

Latinos helping President Obama win swing states during the election was huge, but not new.  It happened before and started with Latino support during John F. Kennedy's drive to the presidency.  And the night before he was assassinated, he made a surprise thank you visit to a Houston gathering of Latinos.

The surprise visit came after Mexican-Americans in Texas, New Mexico, California, Arizona, Illinois and Indiana helped Kennedy win critical swing states in 1960, thanks to an unprecedented voter registration drive in Latino communities.

And as was the case in the recent election, USA reports that in 1960 Republicans were challenged with Latino voters.

Latinos also identified with Kennedy, who was Catholic and Irish-American, a member of an ethnic group that had battled discrimination similar to what Latinos faced in the segregated Southwest.

Read the full story about Kennedy's last night at the Rice Ballroom in Houston and how what was supposed to be just a quick visit turned in to a historic meeting for the Latino community.

Could a woman finally be elected president and who would make the best candidates?

Read why Huffington Post Politics thinks it may be time, and who its top choices are at this link.