Posted by: Judy K. Warner | October 6, 2014

More on how Catalist has revolutionized elections for Dems

David Horowitz’s indispensable online encyclopedia on leftist groups, individuals, and funders, Discover the Networks, has a great piece on Catalist, the company that compiled the database used by Obama and other politicians to target fellow leftists to motivate them to vote.  It’s got a lot of the info Christian Adams described in the article linked in my previous post, and much more.  Here’s something on its origin:

Endowed with seed money from billionaire financier George Soros, Catalist was created by former deputy chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, Harold Ickes, who sought to furnish left-wing activists with accurate, up-to-date information about the American electorate. Lamenting that the Democratic National Committee’s out-of-date voter information was “worse than having no database at all,” Ickes said at the time, “It’s unclear what the DNC is doing.” He continues to serve as president of Catalist, and a number of the organization’s current staffers previously worked as data managers for the DNC.

Here are a couple of examples of how it’s used:

During the 2008 election cycle, Catalist helped Rock the Vote (RTV) tap into Facebook applications as a means of harnessing the popularity of online social networking among young voters. Nearly 1,000 RTV members used Catalist technology to reach a targeted list of more than 100,000 people during the campaign season. As election day approached, RTV volunteers used the Catalist-powered “Action Center” in their “get-out-the-vote” campaign encouraging young registrants to early-vote in key states.

That same year, the Sierra Club used Catalist data and services to make more than 100,000 voter contacts in 8 battleground states where Republican House and Senate candidates who had “consistently voted against a clean energy future” were in the environmentalist group’s crosshairs.Cata

I was really worried after I read Adams’s article.  Do the Democrats have a secret plan to get out millions of leftists across the county and win sneaky victories in the senatorial races?  Then reality hit me.  Most Americans are fed up with Obama.  Leftists are angry about one set of things, conservatives another, but he has a rapidly diminishing number of loyal followers who will make an effort to vote for his side.  And voters are identifying his failures and outrages with Democratic candidates.  Even if many Democrats can’t bring themselves to vote for a Republican, they can bring themselves to stay home.  Let’s hope that’s what happens.

But one of the few places I think Catalist might make a difference is here in Maryland.  Anthony Brown could possibly find a way to motivate Democrats, especially minorities, to get out and vote, enough to make a difference in an increasingly close race with Larry Hogan.  Losing Maryland would be a humiliating blow to the Democrats, both state and national, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s getting some help we’re not hearing about.


  1. I’ve got to say that in light of the November 4 elections I think Catalist is only a potent weapon if the target people are at least somewhat motivated in the first place, and also if the grassroots people who carry out the targeting are willing to be active. Neither condition obtained, so the get-out-the-vote drive didn’t work very well, apparently.

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