Sasha Issenberg inspects the campaigns' sophisticated data operations:
Over the last decade, almost entirely out of view, campaigns have modernized their techniques in such a way that nearly every member of the political press now lacks the specialized expertise to interpret what’s going on. Campaign professionals have developed a new conceptual framework for understanding what moves votes. It’s as if restaurant critics remained oblivious to a generation’s worth of new chefs’ tools and techniques and persisted in describing every dish that came out of the kitchen as either "grilled" or "broiled."
Walter Russell Mead brandishes Issenberg's piece against the MSM:
What this means from the standpoint of readers is fascinating: we are spending hours and hours following the most exhaustively reported phenomenon in modern life, but we aren’t being told what is really going on. Not because incredibly sharp editors and reporters are scurrying like crazy to conceal the truth from the public, but because the mediocre bureaucrats who staff established news organizations aren’t smart enough to understand what is actually taking place. The legacy media is too stupid and too lazy to understand the event on which it expends more resources than any other — and as long as enough eyeballs are attracted by the show, it doesn’t really care.
Issenberg's book, The Victory Lab, is out next week. If you want to understand how politics is practiced today, you really need to read this book.