Person #2547: 116 Posts

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  1. Here are some 2016 political demographics (0 Replies)

    From the CNN Exit Poll overview:

    Some 88% of African-American voters supported Clinton, versus 8% for Donald Trump, as of very early Wednesday morning. While that’s a large margin, it’s not as big as Obama’s victory over Mitt Romney in 2012. Obama locked up 93% of the black vote to Romney’s 7%.

    Some 12% of the electorate was African-American this year, compared to 13% four years ago. That’s a key drop, especially when paired with a smaller-than-expected growth in Latino votes.

    This lowered turnout happened even after Trump repeatedly made sweeping comments about how black communities were in the worst shape ever. Referring multiple times to “inner cities,” Trump said black people live in poverty, have no jobs and get shot walking down the street. “What do you have to lose?” he asked.

    Clinton’s support among Latinos was even more tenuous, despite Trump pledging to build a wall on the Mexican border, accusing undocumented immigrants of being criminal aliens and promising to deport them.

    Only 65% of Latinos backed her, while 29% cast their votes for Trump. In 2012, Obama won 71% of the Hispanic vote and Romney secured 27%.

    And purely as an aside:

    …black college graduates voted for Clinton at a smaller margin than black voters as a whole. Black women without college degrees were the most strongly in favor of Clinton, giving her 95% of their vote (compared to 91% for black women with a degree), while black men with a college degree gave only 78% of their votes to Clinton and 16% to Trump.

    And FWIW, Trump won the white millennial vote.

  2. If no Democratic town committee exists where you live, you can start one (1 Reply)

    The State Committee web page concerning creating such committees is here, along with a list of existing committees.

    Should an existing committee exist in your town, the list contains contact information for the local committee chairman.

    On the page are also links to pdf files that should be filled in and sent to the Secretary of State’s Office (a Statement of Organization) and the Democratic State Committee (Town Committee Declaration Form), as well as sample by-laws.

    The Town Committee Declaration Form has not been updated to reflect new leadership, so the salutation should be “Dear Chairman Bickford”.

  3. Contraception is a little older than that (0 Replies)

    …going back to at least to at least 1850 BC.

    Margaret Sanger did, however popularize the phrase “birth control” in 1914, and Planned Parenthood underwrote the research that led to the birth control pill.

  4. John, you're the victim of bait-and-switch here (1 Reply)

    starting with the fact that:

    The failure to engage the white working class has been described as a grave tactical error, and that may well be true, given the slim margin of victory in swing states. But the media’s obsessive focus on this voting bloc would leave you to believe that Trump’s voters largely live in areas hit by the decline in manufacturing, are suffering from economic anxiety, and turned out last Tuesday to voice their disdain for smug urban elitists. But this narrative paints a misleading picture of the typical Trump voter, and by doing so, lets off the hook an entire class of voters who are at least as responsible for Trump’s victory: middle-class and wealthy suburban whites, who also came out in droves for Trump and who make up a larger part of his coalition.

    Getting beyond bigoted definitions of class, here’s the overview:

    As compared with most Americans, Trump’s voters are better off. The median household income of a Trump voter so far in the primaries is about $72,000, based on estimates derived from exit polls and Census Bureau data. That’s lower than the $91,000 median for Kasich voters. But it’s well above the national median household income of about $56,000. It’s also higher than the median income for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters, which is around $61,000 for both.

    The problem is that politics done correctly is a social affair embedded in communities; and hence totally out of the frames of reference of too many Democratic operatives, who think that (incompetent) marketing is synonymous with electioneering.

    Re: Identity Politics.

    Back when I was learning the trade, there were ethnic-specific Democratic operations (Italians, Irish, Serbians, etc.), and there was no problem integrating these groups into larger Democratic campaigns. Identity politics have been hard-wired into Democratic campaigns since Andrew Jackson.

    So, while you are right that attention must be paid to white working class males, there are no conflicts of interest between working class folk of either gender and the primarily middle class demonstrators in the women’s march.

    Class versus identity (however one might want to define either) is a red herring, and gets in the way of getting stuff done. We have to do outreach to all parties concerned in this political climate.

    That will have to be done from the ground up, and I would hope that the condescension you occasionally receive on this site doesn’t get in the way of you being a necessary addition to the building-from-the-rubble efforts that will be necessary to get this done.

  5. Back to Assange: (0 Replies)

    Per the Associated Press, via PBS:

    The AP went through a sampling of the tens of thousands of documents WikiLeaks released in the last year, and found many personal details about private citizens, Social Security numbers, medical files, sensitive family and financial information.

    In what the AP calls particularly egregious, WikiLeaks published the names of two teenage rape victims, as well as the name of a Saudi citizen who’d been arrested for being gay. That revelation could endanger the man’s life because, in Saudi Arabia, being gay is punishable by death…


    If it’s personal or sensitive or family-related, we found it. So, we found details of custody battles. We found parents writing to authorities about missing children. We found details of elopements, of divorces, of partners who had sexually transmitted diseases, partners who had AIDS, people who were in debt, in distress, in all kinds of financial difficulty, and, of course, some of the cases that you mentioned earlier, that is to say, people who were raped, including children who were raped…

    And Assange’s recent political history is, shall we say, interesting:

    Late in 2012, Assange announced the formation of the WikiLeaks Party in Australia. The party nominated Senate candidates in three states, with Assange running for office in Victoria. (He stumped via Skype from his refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy.) It had been expected that WikiLeaks would ultimately throw its support to the Green Party—especially after the party’s National Council voted in favor of such a move. Instead, WikiLeaks aligned with a collection of far-right parties. One was the nativist Australia First, whose most prominent figure was a former neo-Nazi previously convicted of coordinating a shotgun attack on the home of an Australian representative of Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress. Members of the WikiLeaks Party blamed the flap on an “administrative error”; mass resignations from the party’s leadership followed. Those who quit cited a lack of transparency in the party’s operations, and some pointed to remarks Assange had made blasting a Green Party proposal to reform Australia’s harsh treatment of asylum seekers. For his part, Assange welcomed the walkout, saying that it had eliminated elements that were “holding the party back.” He won 1.24 percent of the vote.

    Geopolitically, who would benefit, consistent with the politics noted above?

    I would think it would be in Putin’s interest as the hegemon of a global (and growing) chauvinistic Right to have such an ally, who was instrumental in electing one of his sycophants to the Presidency.

  6. The issue wasn't message in isolation (1 Reply)

    …it was the messengers; in all too many cases, the lack thereof.

  7. A better field analysis would have been to check the overlap (2 Replies)

    of potential Trump support wiith areas with Republican (or Right-Democratic) elected officials, particularly the County Commissioners, Legislators, and Mayors.

    And the personal came into it (as it always does in this business).

    A not inconsiderable amount of Trump’s operations were conducted by organized Democrats who came over to Trump en masse after the Democratic Primary, in many instances because they were snubbed by the Clinton campaign.

  8. There is an old military intelligence joke about the CIA (1 Reply)

    “They never leave the cities where the good bars are.”

    This especially applies to modern media. People were trying to analyze Trump field, based upon what consultants were telling them, and based upon campaign finance reports. Neither the media, nor the consultants did any in-depth reporting from the ground; and the latter refused to accept any warnings from those people who lived there.

    There was also the issue of Clinton people lecturing locals about the dynamics within those locals’ back yards, but let that lie…

    Just to lower the heat a bit, one can look at Boston twenty years ago to cite an example of misunderstanding the obvious. Thomas Menino was anything but an accidental Mayor, having built a comprehensive twenty-two ward conditional field organization in early 1991. (“If Ray Flynn doesn’t run, will you support me?”)

    The premise at the time was that Flynn would run for Governor against Bill Weld in 1994. As things turned out, Clinton won in 1992, Ray went to the Vatican, and Menino (who successfully maneuvered to be elected City Council President) became acting-Mayor, then elected in his own right.

    All this plain sight work notwithstanding, the media consensus was and remained that Tom Menino was “the Accidental Mayor”.

    Consider this a useful parallel…

  9. Correction, here are media expenses, as of October 28, by camdidate (1 Reply)

    Clinton Media Expenses: $237.4 Million (53.3% of total campaign expenditures)

    Trump Media Expenses: $68.0 Million (27.4% of total campaign expenditures)

  10. The Republicans in Pennsylvania and Ohio had a very good ground game (2 Replies)

    As I mentioned in this comment, I visited them.

    I might add that the visits were by invitation by local Trump folk who were perfectly aware of my political allegiances, who just wanted to rub it in, given the almost total absence of Clinton field.

    No gripes on my part: That’s how the game is played when you have the ground sewn up.

    In the specific areas I checked, The Republicans have had better ground games for years.

    Christopher, the Democratic Party has largely divested from locally-embedded field operations, and this has been going on since the early Seventies. I’ve cited this book before, and it gives a pretty good overview of how and why it happened. Bear in mind that the book is more than twenty years old and (exclusive of Howard Dean’s tenure at the DNC) little has been done to address the concerns therein.

    Democrats actually tend towards overdependence on air wars. For example, Clinton outspent Trump two to one on media.

    On the other side, Republicans have been reverse-engineering old-style Democratic field for decades. The advantages of embedded field are (among other things):

    1.) Linked with downballot organizations as they are (in the case of Pennsylvania county commissioners and other local elected officials), there is no need for training; every election is a form of continuing eduation.

    2.) Being largely volunteer-based they are cost-effective and don’t show up on campaign finance reports.

    3.) Being local, these organizations hold the high ground, credibility-wise with their neighbors, as opposed to outside activists who at best are uninformed about local realities on the ground.

  11. Precisely (1 Reply)

    Because they were absent.

  12. I doesn't work because Democrats are absent on the ground (2 Replies)

    …particularly in off-years.

    The Democrats were structurally absent when it and where mattered this year, for the simple reason that successful organizing doesn’t begin during a specific election cycle.

    Meanwhile. the Right has been filling these vacuums for more than forty years, and progressives tend to be totally clueless about their ability to alienate voters.

    Nothing “convoluted” about it. To paraphrase James Michael Curley: Progressives are invincible in peace; invisible in war. (Except, of course when they’re actively alienating voters.)

    FWIW, I am not and never have limited this criticism to the Clinton campaign. The same dynamic here in Massachusetts is how a totally passive-aggressive campaign worked for Charlie Baker in 2014.

    He let Martha Coakley’s campaign do his outreach for him.

    Re: The Trump victory.

    There is plenty of culpability, going back to Obama’s decision to sequentially abandon his grassroots field structure after his wins in 2008 and 20012. Furthermore the lack of any effort to rebuild legislative Party structures (post-Howard Dean) played a large part in this.

    In the absence of credible messengers (at this point criticizing Clinton media in isolation is the political equivalent of child abuse), it didn’t matter what her campaign said; at best, it didn’t stick.

    At worst it helped Trump.

    The current political environment is so toxic, so Darwinist, and so infantile that many people voted for Trump not despite but because he is a thug. That is what keeps me awake at night.

    We had “fuck you” literally with a vengeance.

  13. Trump had field offices (0 Replies)

    I visited them.

    They just happened to be in people’s private homes or the occasional law or real estate office.

    A slight qualification to your last sentence: Political professionals were in fact a big part of Trump’s campaign (and they will be equally important to his administration) , they just happened to be good at their job.

    And unlike their Democratic counterparts, they didn’t self-promote or advertise their presence. They simply did their jobs.

    Trump simply organized in plain sight in a perfect storm environment’ in that the Clinton people ignored what was happening right under their noses.

  14. To point #2: The bailout was irrelevant to many Rust Belt voters. (2 Replies)

    As I mentioned in this comment on another thread, the auto bailout never worked for the Democrats, who were smoked in 2010 in the Rust Belt. Bernie Sanders won the Michigan Democratic Primary, despite opposing the bailout, and Trump took Michigan in the general election.

    A quote from Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) goes to the reason why:

    “The president did save my state’s industry,” she continued. “But what many keep missing is that working men and women don’t see this in their lives. They feel the system is rigged against them. And those workers are white, black, Hispanic, Muslim — all races, creeds and colors. Economic and national security fears overcame all other factors when they walked into the voting booth.”

  15. To a point (0 Replies)

    What’s you’re poor? Go to school and better yourself and become like us! Then you can join us in our fight for progressive values, but not until you get that degree, got it?

    …provided you don’t move next door and mess up the property values.

  16. John, that presumes that there is political support for higher education in Massachusetts (0 Replies)

    There isn’t.

    There isn’t any serious State support for education at any level.

    That said, the only way to address this is to organize your friends and neighbors (while recognizing that class versus race versus gender, etc. are often false distinctions in the total scheme of things). Below a certain income threshold, everybody in the Commonwealth is expendable, race, et al. notwithstanding.

    This is not to ignore racism or sexism or any other form of oppression, but to recognize that it can be fought in the context of economic populism; provided that you recognize that you’re dealing with moving targets, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Long story short: It’s not one or the other; it’s one and the other.

    There are thirty-four members on your town committee, and getting them galvanized to put some sweat equity into backing up their espoused principles (by, among other things putting some pressure on local and State electeds) isn’t a bad place to start.

    I’m not trying to minimize your legitimate concerns; I merely state that there is a vacuum on the ground, and that populist worker bees can fill that vacuum by intelligent political grunt work.