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Waleed Aly – Woke politics and power

Summary:
How liberalism’s blind spot let cancel culture bloomUnless you are unusually interested in American political data analysis, you probably haven’t heard of David Shor. He spends his professional life studying public opinion and the variables that affect it, immersed in polling data and the relevant academic literature. And he does this mostly with the aim of figuring out how the Democrats can win elections. As a 20-year-old prodigy, he spent 2012 crunching numbers for the Obama campaign.Three days after a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd in May this year, Shor sent out a tweet. Black Lives Matter protests were surging all over the United States. Mostly these were peaceful, but they were undeniably accompanied by a significant amount of looting and rioting in several cities.

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 How liberalism’s blind spot let cancel culture bloom


Unless you are unusually interested in American political data analysis, you probably haven’t heard of David Shor. He spends his professional life studying public opinion and the variables that affect it, immersed in polling data and the relevant academic literature. And he does this mostly with the aim of figuring out how the Democrats can win elections. As a 20-year-old prodigy, he spent 2012 crunching numbers for the Obama campaign.

Three days after a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd in May this year, Shor sent out a tweet. Black Lives Matter protests were surging all over the United States. Mostly these were peaceful, but they were undeniably accompanied by a significant amount of looting and rioting in several cities. In this context, Shor wrote: “Post-MLK-assas[s]ination race riots reduced Democratic vote share in surrounding counties by 2%, which was enough to tip the 1968 election to Nixon. Non-violent protests *increase* Dem vote, mainly by encouraging warm elite discourse and media coverage”. 

Shor hadn’t made this up. He was summarising a recently published peer-reviewed study by Princeton political scientist Omar Wasow, which Shor attached. Then came the response.

“Yo. Minimizing black grief and rage to ‘bad campaign tactic for the Democrats’ is bullshit most days, but this week is absolutely cruel … and reeks of anti-blackness,” replied Ari Trujillo Wesler, a political organiser. In a subsequent tweet, Wesler dismissed Wasow’s study as “sloppy” without explanation, then repeated her accusation of Shor: “YOU need to stop using your anxiety and ‘intellect’ as a vehicle for anti-blackness”. Wesler then tagged Shor’s boss Dan Wagner, the chief executive of Civis Analytics, with one final message: “Come get your boy.”

Shor tweeted an apology the next day. But that didn’t stop Wagner coming to get his boy. After a brief internal review, Shor was fired.

The Monthly 

Mike Norman
Mike Norman is an economist and veteran trader whose career has spanned over 30 years on Wall Street. He is a former member and trader on the CME, NYMEX, COMEX and NYFE and he managed money for one of the largest hedge funds and ran a prop trading desk for Credit Suisse.

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