It’s a long-established fact that Americans are suckers for an English accent. So in the summer of 2014, when a group of suave British consultants arrived in Washington hawking psychometrics as a new killer edge in election politics, they found plenty of buyers.
SCL, which later became Cambridge Analytica, was taken on by the Ted Cruz presidential primary campaign. When that fizzled out, Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign employed Alexander Nix and his minions, convinced that they could use their avant-garde psychological insights and scraped Facebook data to aid their electoral mission.
“Lots of people bought it,” the Republican political consultant Luke Thompson lamented to me last week. “We Americans have an awful postcolonial tic where we believe any nonsense a British person in a well-cut