The Failure of Analytics–Emotional Elections

The Presidential Election of 2016; you’re already tired of it and you’re either afraid of the results, appalled, celebrating, or you just do not give a damn either way.

THAT is why many people are waking up to a stark reality in America, and around the world as President-Elect Trump prepares to stroll into the White House.

Emotion, not data, won the day.

Several months ago I stood in the dark parking lot of a closed gas station in small, south-central Utah town, filling a gas tank for that last stretch of a journey. Across the road an eighteen-wheeler pulled to a noisy stop and its driver climbed from the cab. He was proudly wearing a “Donald Trump for President” t-shirt. That moment was the emotional change for me because it created an emotional response in┬áme.

Every day I work with Analytics and Big Data; teaching, training, designing and conceptualizing how they are used, how the data is sourced and processed, how it is packaged, delivered, and ultimately how machines will learn from it–all via analytics. Well, my friends, we all just watched that model fail in epic fashion.


Analytics, and their data, do not give a damn about emotion.

An entire election, entire rulebooks, scenarios and strategies shattered on November 8th, 2016 after months of unravelling and careful picking. One side relied on existing Models, another relied on Emotion.

Emotion won. Emotion will win; every time.

Our analytics will some day learn to calculate for human emotion, but that day is so distant… We confound our most intelligent machines just as we (appear to) confound our most trusted advisors.

They should really just be listening to the voices instead of running the numbers.

I do believe Van Jones is a hero now; this was gut wrenching to watch.

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