This Is Embarassing. The Trump Campaign Did Not Use Cambridge Analytica's Facebook Data in the General Election

FILE – In this Tuesday, April 18, 2017, file photo, conference workers speak in front of a demo booth at Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference, in San Jose, Calif. Facebook announced Tuesday, June 27, 2017, that it now has more than 2 billion users. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)


Now CBS’s Major Garrett is saying, ummm, not so much: Trump campaign phased out use of Cambridge Analytica data before election.

The Trump campaign never used the psychographic data at the heart of a whistleblower who once worked to help acquire the data’s reporting — principally because it was relatively new and of suspect quality and value. The profiling approach utilized by Cambridge Analytica allowed it to predict the voting likelihoods of individual people based on personality, the firm claimed.

Whoa. Well, smack my ass and call me Sally. A campaign consultant that was blowing smoke about what they could do? I never heard the like.

In late September 2016, Cambridge and other data vendors were submitting bids to the Trump campaign. Then-candidate Trump’s campaign used Cambridge Analytica during the primaries and in the summer because it was never certain the Republican National Committee would be a willing, cooperative partner. Cambridge Analytica instead was a hedge against the RNC, in case it wouldn’t share its data.

The crucial decision was made in late September or early October when Mr. Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and Brad Parscale, Mr. Trump’s digital guru on the 2016 campaign, decided to utilize just the RNC data for the general election and used nothing from that point from Cambridge Analytica or any other data vendor. The Trump campaign had tested the RNC data, and it proved to be vastly more accurate than Cambridge Analytica’s, and when it was clear the RNC would be a willing partner, Mr. Trump’s campaign was able to rely solely on the RNC.

Cambridge Analytica data was used for some targeted digital advertising and a large TV buy, but the main source of “get out the vote” and matching digital outreach data came from the RNC.

If you want to understand the scandal here, I can spell it out in one word. Trump. Cambridge Analytica, if you recall, was initially used by Ted Cruz.

But by signing on with Trump, the Never Trump jihadis of all political stripes are chasing them across the countryside with torches and pitchforks. Never mind that we know that Facebook allowed the Obama campaign to retain data it was not technically supposed to have. Never mind that it is now obvious that violating Facebook data use agreements was something that approached standard procedure with every campaign. Nope.

Now that the Russians are off the hook, blame has shifted onto a rogue political consultancy…even if they weren’t being used fro the last two months of the election.