Person #2547: 92 Posts

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  1. My point was that Obama is indifferent to who chairs the DNC (0 Replies)

    …because the culture of modern campaigning has devolved from structured permanent Party organizations to election-specific, candidate-centered organizations. Democratic politics is vendor-centric, at the expense of ongoing grassroots work, and Party infrastructure is collateral damage to this.

    As a result, the DNC is perceived as a purely symbolic organization, of no real importance, within the Beltway.

  2. You overestimate the DNC's credibility (1 Reply)

    Ed Rogers is a Republican consultant, but his piece in the Washington Post pretty much sums up the consensus among national players within both Parties:

    This is Washington machine politics at its best — or maybe its worst. In a year when others are struggling to distance themselves from Washington and politics as usual, Team Clinton is doing what they do best and engaging in blatant, self-serving manipulation. Rep. Wasserman Schultz’s desire to hang onto some semblance of power is well-known, and it’s almost embarrassing. She was mostly disowned by the Obama White House a long time ago. She was never a Clinton favorite either, but her desperation to continue her vanity project as DNC chair has given the Clinton Empire the opening to manipulate her by having fewer debates.

    In Washington, watching the doomed grovel is a spectator sport. Even a confirmed cynic might feel a pang of pity. But what choice does Chairwoman Wasserman Schultz have? If she has any chance of being thrown a bone by the Clinton Empire, she has to do its bidding. ..

  3. Sanders could have come out of Netroots smelling like a rose (0 Replies)

    By interrupting him during his stump speech phase at Netroots, BLM gave Sanders the high ground. He and his supporters blew it by citing the March on Washington, which those same supporters compounded by suggesting that black people should be grateful for a Sanders candidacy.

    That basically created the dynamic wherein Sanders’ campaign framed itself as a Clinton outreach mechanism insofar as the back electorate is concerned, and the actions of the campaign since then have nothing but reinforce the frame.

    Frankly, I’m inclined to blame the campaign more than the candidate in this matter. Sanders’ response in isolation would have worked to his advantage (the protesters could have waited for the Q&A after the speech, and Sanders being pissed-off at the interruption would have been understandable), but the sheer barrage of white progressive entitlement that followed was the kiss of death, from which his campaign may not recover.

    That said, Sanders doesn’t need outreach to black activists; he needs credible black operatives, given the activists’ liabilities cited above.

    Given the purposeful lack of organization of BLM nationally, I’ll restrict the following to its Boston chapter: When BLM staged their protest in front of Marty Walsh’s home at four a.m. without checking whether the Mayor was in town (he wasn’t, and that fact was common knowledge), they established a reputation for infantilism within Boston’s black community that remains to this day.

    (Apropos of nothing, the protest was in opposition to the proposed 2024 Boston Olympics, and Boston’s black and Latino communities were the only racial demographics a majority of whom supported the Games.)

  4. Here's the problem for Sanders (1 Reply)

    We’ll start with the fact that Sanders’ press secretary comes from Public Citizen (which is conspicuous by its absence in black politics, and has no grassroots credibility whatsoever), one of whose tasks is to shut down any disruptions from Black Lives Matter. Insofar as the latter is concerned, the Sanders campaign is entitled to deal with potential disruption; but it’s amusing to see the presumed affiliation, given the reason for her employment.

    Nor do endorsements from activists give Sanders a net benefit, because few of them have credibility on ground, and fewer have any real-world organizing skills – social media in isolation does not win elections; you can’t tweet your way to heaven. This lack of on-the-ground connections between Sanders’ black activist supporters and the black (and Latino) base is illustrated by his lack of name recognition in those communities.

    Going after Sanders, both at Netroots and in Seattle, worked for BLM because Sanders’ supporters played into the traditional black perception that white progressives are intrinsically racist. That does not mean that BLM has a constituency in the electoral sense of the word, which is why the BLM meeting with Clinton worked to her advantage with black voters (who by and large agreed with her side of the argument).

    I cited the Chicago election because it was one in an ongoing series of case studies that illustrate how progressive organizing recruits for its opposition. The main problem with the Garcia campaign (according to Chicago operatives with whom I spoke) was that his “progressive” allies really pissed off the locals by presuming support rather than asking for it.

    And this brings us to the irony of the whole thing: as a Walter Reuther-style social democrat, Sanders has the potential as a candidate to obtain black and Latino support, but that potential is undercut by his campaign’s institutional culture.

  5. I was there for the fight over reconnecting the E line to Arborway (0 Replies)

    It occurred in the context of siting the Compressed Natural Gas facility at the Arborway Yard.

    The City and the MBTA played the local activists like fiddles, and just to be on the safe side tore up the tracks from Heath Street to Forest Hills.

    And those who believe a Big Dig mitigation agreement to be enforceable in the face of governmental opposition should consider that reconnecting the Green Line from Heath Street to Arborway (or Forest Hills) was part of the same mitigation package.

  6. As are a lot of black voters (1 Reply)

    Using the same Pew survey as a source.

    This ignores the broader issue that (in the context of Democrat-on-Democrat elections) a majority of neither group likes progressives. This is cultural and structural; and operates independent of ideology.

    Case in point, the Chicago Mayoral election this past spring.

    Emanuel carried every Black ward, all but one White lakefront ward, and received significant support in the Hispanic community. Clearly, his Caucasian voter support would not have been enough for him to claim victory unless the Black community supported his candidacy.

    Limited to the Democratic Presidential nomination dynamic, Clinton has a lock on the black and Latino vote, because the Saunders people (at present) haven’t the slightest clue about how do do outreach to these groups (and their constituent parts).

    The irony is that it is not Saunders as an individual who repels these voters, but the institutional culture of his campaign.

  7. You wrongly presume a progressive consensus among Latino voters (2 Replies)

    From Univision:

    Univision’s bipartisan survey suggests problems and opportunities for the aspiring Republican candidates. One problem is that barely 16% of the voters interviewed identify themselves as being Republicans while 58% say they are Democrats. Another problem is that only 36% have a favorable opinion of the Republican Party while 52% are favorable toward the Democratic Party. But Univision’s survey allows one to infer that many Hispanic voters are receptive to ideas from the aspiring Republicans. For example, 32% proclaim themselves to be conservative; while 35% consider themselves to be moderates and barely 28% see themselves as liberals. Furthermore, one out of every four interviewees is an independent. This suggests that Republicans as well as Democrats are still faced with the important task of persuading the Hispanic electorate during the current presidential campaign.

  8. Actually "Latino" is the less-favored term (0 Replies)

    …but the relevant populations do not as a rule care.

    Having said that, most competent pollsters phrase questions of self-identity in such a way as to not get caught up in semantic issues at the expense of getting relevant responses.

    Links to the issue can be found here, here, and here.

  9. An alternative view to David's alternative view (1 Reply)

    is available from MASSterList:

    …CEO Jeff Bezos responded to the story in a note to employees, saying he didn’t recognize the company that was described in the article. But the fascinating thing was how many readers of the story did. As of this writing, the Times’ article, some 5,900 words, has generated over 4,900 comments on the Times’ website as of this writing. Bezos can deny the conclusions of the Times after interviewing over 100 current and former employees. But he can’t argue past the collective experience of the legions of people who commented either on the Times or other websites saying, basically, what this commenter said on the NYT site: “Here in Seattle Amazon has a well-deserved reputation for being a sweat shop; work life balance does not exist. I’ve known ex-Microsoft colleagues, people who were smart, innovative, hard working and who thrived in Microsoft’s own brand of challenging work environment, who subsequently took jobs at Amazon, and who left after a year or two. All of them.” In other words, there are too many witnesses to be fooled. They give the story an extra level of credibility.

    The scary thing isn’t so much the callous behavior depicted in the article. What’s more frightening is the Brave New World aspect of the place. Amazon simply is slightly ahead of its time in using all manner of metrics to assess and promote top performers while weeding out underperformers. Bezos, even if he pretends otherwise, has figured out that creating a business cult focused relentlessly on performance is the way to win in the marketplace. Amazon’s stock went up $3.70 yesterday.

  10. This is further complicated (0 Replies)

    …by the fact that so few Americans serve, or know someone who serves in the modern military. This results in a comic book approach to war by much of the non-serving public, which is magnified by bestselling fiction that glorifies torture for its own sake.

  11. Here's the problem (1 Reply)

    A majority of Americans think that torture is sometimes justified.

    From a December 2014 Washington Post/ABC News Poll:

    By a margin of almost 2 to 1 — 59 percent to 31 percent — those interviewed said that they support the CIA’s brutal methods, with the vast majority of supporters saying that they produced valuable intelligence.

    In general, 58 percent say the torture of suspected terrorists can be justified “often” or “sometimes.”

    From YouGov (December, 2014):

    When Americans are asked about suspected terrorists “who may know details about future attacks against the U.S.”, only 24% are prepared to say the use of torture is “never” justified. Nearly as many, 20%, say the use of torture is “always” justified, while the remainder say it’s either “sometimes” (28%) or only “rarely” (18%) justified – a total of 66% who are unwilling to rule out torture completely. There has been little change in views from April, before the release of the report, when 22% said torture was never justified.

    Ask people specifically about interrogation tactics detailed in the report, and a more complicated picture emerges. In fact only one tactic – depriving a detainee of sleep – is deemed acceptable by the majority of the public. More people reject than accept seven of the eight other tactics, including waterboarding, which is seen as unacceptable by 45-35%.

    And according to Pew, support for torture has increased since 2004:

    The use of practices like waterboarding began to surface publicly in press reports not long after 9/11, and when the Pew Research Center first surveyed on the subject in July 2004, a narrow majority (53%) said the use of torture to gain important information from suspected terrorists could be only rarely or never justified.

    Opinion has shifted since then, with more Americans finding torture acceptable. In August 2011, a narrow majority (53%) of Americans said the use of torture could be often or sometimes justified, while 42% said it could only rarely be justified or not be justified at all.

    A more recent poll by Associated Press/NORC conducted in August 2013 found similar results. Half said the use of torture could sometimes or often be justified while 47% said it could rarely or never be justified.

    But polling has found that there are differences along party lines with Republicans more supportive than Democrats of torture with suspected terrorists. In our 2011 survey, a substantial majority of Republicans (71%) said torture could be at least sometimes justified, compared with 51% of independents and 45% of Democrats. In the AP/NORC poll, 66% of Republicans backed use of torture in dealing with terrorists compared with 53% of independents and 39% of Democrats.

    There are a lot of scared people out there.

  12. Which is why you have to give the locals the resources (0 Replies)

    …to organize each other.

    Outside organizers invariably miss local nuances, whereas folks know their neighbors’ little quirks – which aren’t always political. In addition people know their own interests, and dislike being defined from the outside.

    Finally, successful long-term organizations are of necessity social. Some of my most successful work was done for the cost of hamburgers, hot dogs, charcoal…and most importantly permission to use the host’s front yard (and his name on the invitations). It was the host’s standing in the community, not the candidate or the campaign, that conferred credibility.

    Democrats have to realize that an organizer’s ultimate job is to put himself out of business.

  13. Correction (0 Replies)

    The 2014 Baker increase was 10,000; roughly 1/4 of Baker’s spread.

    MA Gov 2010 (Boston Results)

    MA Gov 2014 (Boston Results)

  14. And since charity begins at home (1 Reply)

    …it might be a good idea to recreate grassroots Democratic Party politics in Massachusetts.

    As a point in isolation, consider that the increase in Baker’s vote in Boston alone, compared to his 2010 numbers, constituted one half of his margin of victory in 2014.

  15. I grew up in Appalachia (2 Replies)

    … and learned the trade in county politics.

    West Virginia is only a hop, skip and jump from what I still think of as home.

    Speaking from experience, the Democratic Party could be rebuilt in these areas, which culturally include most of the South and a large chunk of the lower Midwest. The upper Midwest is culturally different but the same approaches apply. The message could be the same, but the messengers would have to be different. One size does not fit all in field ops.

    However these folks are potential labor-liberals, not “progressives”, as the term is defined here. There is a lot of class baggage and elitism in modern Democratic Party politics (ironically the same applies to modern American socialism), and that generates a lot of justified resentment.

    As a result the politics in these areas could be more accurately be described as anti-left populist than as conservative.

    These folks are reachable if they are treated with respect, as opposed to condescension, and if the organizing is done in a culturally appropriate fashion by people they can trust; and if the goal is to create self-governing Democratic Party structures on the ground (as opposed to campaign appendages).

    One final point: It would take at least two years of serious town-by-town, county-by-county work to put these structures together.

  16. High black-turnout GOTV has been done nationally (1 Reply)

    It was the black vote that determined the 2012 Presidential election, specifically:

    The short answer is that African-American turnout first exceeded non-Hispanic White turnout in 2008, not 2012. It did again in 2012.

    On the other hand, Romney got the majority of the white vote, including 56% of the white female vote and 51% of the white millennial vote.

    I would argue, however that the abovementioned black turnout was due more (in 2012) to reaction to various Republican voter-suppression schemes than the efforts of the Obama campaign.

    However all this demographics-is-destiny stuff begs the issue that, as an institution, the Democratic Party is organization-averse. Interest in creating permanent self-sustaining structures on the ground, embedded in local communities is little to none; to Republican tactical advantage, at least at the Congressional level.

    For reasons too numerous to go into here, social media is incapable of filling the void (although it can fulfill useful astroturf functions).

    Purely as a thought experiment, a cross-racial alliance could be created, and not just in the South, if that alliance’s premises were the tangible interests of voters; and if the organizers were home-grown.

  17. That cuts both ways (0 Replies)

    I still appreciate all the policy stuff I learned, thanks to your involvement in Chicago’s Olympic bid.

  18. Cambridge isn't necessarily all that friendly (1 Reply)

    For your consideration, the following excerpt is from a 2009 blog post from Reverend Irene Monroe, but Cambridge hasn’t changed all that much.

    None of us African-American residents of Cambridge are surprised or shocked by the humiliation and harassment Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., 58, of Harvard University encountered at the hands of Cambridge police.

    My partner, Dr. Thea James, an emergency room physician who would drive from home to work was stopped all the time for driving while black. And when the Cambridge cops realize she’s a woman, and a lesbian one at that, their unbridled homophobia surfaces. Thea now takes the bus.