Joyce Lee-Ibarra | Featured Civic Voice
One of the disheartening casualties of this election season–in addition to run-of-the-mill civil discourse–has been the judicious use of data and statistics. Candidates of all political stripes wield figures (but not necessarily facts) to advocate for their positions and policies. And they do so because they know how most of us operate: We defer to the authority of numbers. Figures, data, and statistics seem to carry an air of irrefutability. When candidates cite dollar figures and percentages during their stump speeches and debates, many of us unconsciously think, “Well, someone’s calculated those amounts… you can’t really argue with data.”
But, as it turns out, you can argue with data–loudly and vigorously, as we have seen over the past few months! And because nonprofits increasingly intersect with the political world through advocacy and relationship building, organizations can learn a great deal from candidates’ use–or misuse, as the case may be–of data and statistics in the political realm.