Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Prez: Candidate synchronization

So last week I gave $10 to all the presidential campaigns, in order to watch their antics. One thing that's weird is that they often appear to act in unison, as if they are either copying each other, or are all playing from the same secret playbook.

The candidates must report their donations every quarter, according to FEC (Federal Elections Commission) rules. The next deadline is September 30th. Three days before that deadline, half the candidates sent out email asking for donations to meet this "critical" deadline. They don't say why it's critical, but only that's is some sort of critical deadline that must be met, which we can only do so with your help. The real reason why, of course, is that this information will become public, implicitly ranking the amount of support each candidate has.

Four days before this deadline, I didn't get donation pleas mentioning it. Three days before, half the candidates mentioned it. It's as if one candidate sees such an email blast, realizes it's a great idea, and send's out a similar email blast of their own.

Two days before the deadline, three of the candidates sent out animated GIFs counting down to the deadline. (These were auto-generated with a PHP script when I read the emails to be accurate to the then current time, but are of course now out of date.)

All three arrived within an hour. I don't know which candidate did it first.

One theory is that they are copying each other. The teams for each candidate watch their competitors rather like I am, then whenever one candidate does something good, everyone else playscatchup.

Another theory is that they may all be playing from the same playbook. Professional campaign people move around campaigns a lot, so they all might be copying things that other people have done in the past. It's really weird how so many candidates appear to act all in unison, even those of different parties, which really hints they'd planned on doing these things, at these specific times, long ago.

1 comment:

Dan said...

I'd be curious to see more analysis from you as time passes, but I've donated to campaigns in the past, and the FEC deadline thing is such a common trope I've started just ignoring it. I'm genuinely curious as to how effective it can possibly be. I guess they have some data suggesting it is.