The dogged pursuit of every last voter

In response to Time to get hip:

I remember the precise moment when I first began having grave doubts about the Romney political machine, and the overall conservative view of the electorate: when Obama political technician Jim Messina talked about using computer technology to locate “marginal voters” and usher them to the polls.  A lot of people on the Right began mocking Messina, because they thought he sounded pathetic – he might as well have been talking about rounding up unicorns and planting ballots upon their horns!  But I didn’t think it was funny at all.  Messina said some odd things during the campaign, but this made perfect sense to me.  Why not use the power of data mining, coupled with a little old-fashioned shoe leather, to track down disaffected voters and persuade them to pull the lever for your guy?

In the end, we all know how the Romney machine crashed on Election Day.  Project that level of dis-organization and technical incompetence backwards a few months, and it’s not inconceivable that his campaign could have found the votes it needed to eke out the slender victory many anticipated… if they had been playing on the same level as Team Obama was.  They could have accomplished a lot just be opening a line of communication with their own pool of “marginal voters” and hitting them with some carefully crafted last-minute reminders of Romney’s personal character – his charitable donations, good deeds, etc.  

The trick is to assume that some of your potential voters aren’t completely enthralled by the central message of your campaign, figure out what they are interested in, and talk to them in such terms.  That’s very possible with modern data processing technology.