Person #2547: 112 Posts

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  1. Without revisiting the Hillary v Bernie civil wwar (0 Replies)

    …johntmay is correct about the lack of competent outreach to working class voters (of both genders), which is unfortunate, because there is underutilized potential for Democratic candidates.

    As is noted here and here, it is a cohort that is largely open to a culturally literate field operation.

    Alas, modern progressives aren’t generally known for culturally literate grassroots field…

  2. These programs (and the abuses thereof) have been going on for years (0 Replies)

    …and serve the primary purpose of driving down labor costs for employers. An early example is the Bracero Program (1942 -1964):

    Under the program, total farm employment skyrocketed, domestic farm worker employment decreased, and the farm wage rate decreased. Critics have noted widespread abuses of the program: workers had ten percent of their wages withheld for planned pensions but the money was often never repaid. Workers also were de-loused with DDT at border stations and were often placed in housing conditions deemed ‘highly inadequate’ by the Farm Service Agency. Other scholars who interviewed workers have highlighted some of the more positive aspects of the program, including the higher potential wages a bracero could earn in the United States.

    Sound familiar?

  3. Actually the NRA is on the ground in far more places than the Democratic Party (1 Reply)

    Linked here is a monograph analyzing NRA influence in the 1994 Congressional elections. Furthermore, the NRA was instrumental in electing Bernie Sanders to Congress and supported him in his Presidential race.

    While many (I would argue most) NRA members look askance at some of the organization’s more outrageous positions, they are not about to support outlawing semiautomatic weapons, are better organized than their opponents, and have the advantage of the current political climate wherein support for gun control is soft. Per Gallup:

    Americans are skeptical that gun control laws would be highly efficacious in controlling acts of gun violence and mass shootings. As is evident from the list discussed previously, in battling terrorism, Americans assign below-average effectiveness to a ban on assault-type weapons, out of a list of 11 different proposals tested in December.

    However insignificant in Massachusetts, the National Rifle Association is a major player in rural and suburban America, particularly in the South, Midwest, Rocky Mountain West, Southwest, and Appalachia. Regionally, the NRA is strong in Eastern Washington and Eastern Oregon. In New England, the organization is strong in New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont.

    I would hardly call that astroturf.

  4. I repeat: Wall Street as an institution is indifferent to gun control, not opposed (2 Replies)

    The gun sector is a pretty small part of the aggregate economy, as reflected by individual portfolios.

    Furthermore, individual players at the top level of financial services and financial instruments are probably reflective of their social cohorts. (For example, Michael Bloomberg and Tom Menino founded Mayors Against Illegal Guns back in 2006.)

    Billionaires from, say Dallas (I presume that “Wall Street” is your synonym for the ultra wealthy) would probably think otherwise. The same applies if we restrict “Wall Street” to the financial service and financial instrument communities.

    The greatest opposition to gun control is at the organized grassroots level.

  5. A possible context for Trump's action (2 Replies)

    …is the low (and declining) confidence Americans have in newspapers. The confidence among Americans as a whole is at 20%; among Democrats in isolation, confidence in newspapers is 27%.

    Per Gallup:

    The decline in public confidence in newspapers since 2000 is part of a larger pattern of decline in Americans’ confidence in U.S. institutions. However, since 2000, confidence in newspapers has fallen more steeply than the average of 14 institutions Gallup has tracked annually since 1993. While average confidence across all 14 institutions fell from 40% in 2000 to 32% the last two years, confidence in newspapers fell from 37% to 20% over the same period.

    Like it or not, manufacturing a feud with the Washington Post makes political sense.

    That said, Democrats should be grateful that Trump is his own worst enemy.

  6. My point was that, given the facts referenced above (1 Reply)

    …Wall Street as a culture is indifferent to gun control.

    More important, in a majority of Congressional Districts it is generally more dangerous to one’s incumbency to support gun control (of any type) than oppose it.

    The irony is that mass shootings such as what happened in Orlando tend to strengthen opposition to gun laws, however reasonable. I don’t see that dynamic changing in the foreseeable future.

  7. Apropos Wall Street , here's some news from the real world (1 Reply)

    From the Boston Business Journal:

    A day after the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history claimed the lives of 49 people in Orlando, shares of one of the largest gun manufacturers in the country rallied by 7 percent Monday.

    Smith & Wesson (Nasdaq: SWHC), the Springfield-based company that makes guns for law enforcement and consumers, saw its shares rise to $22.96 just after noon Wednesday. Rival Sturm, Ruger & Co. (NYSE: RGR) saw its shares rise by nearly 10 percent to $62.86.

    The firm typically sees its shares rise as some politicians talk about the need for gun control and investors bet that more Americans will feel the need to go out and purchase guns to avoid any potential crackdown. Shares in the company rose 11 percent this past January after President Obama announced new gun-control measures that he said would enhance background checks and boost gun-safety technology.

    Shares in Smith & Wesson, which will report quarterly earnings on Thursday, have risen 624 percent over the past five years

  8. In light of the origin of that quote, you might want to reconsider your analysis (1 Reply)

    …since the original source of “dime’s worth of difference…” was George Wallace in 1968.

    Indeed it was one of his campaign slogans.

    I’ve heard this premise from folks on the Left (in and out of the Democratic Party) since my adolescence. So, purely as a thought experiment, tell me how Hubert Humphrey was the same as Richard Nixon; and Jimmy Carter was the same as Ronald Reagan; and Al Gore was the same as George W. Bush.

    Even if Clinton is guilty of of everything on your bill of particulars, the danger to the country is too great from a Trump Presidency.

  9. Here's the problem (1 Reply)

    …per Charlie Cook in today’s National Journal (sub.req.):

    This is currently an election in which more people vote against a candidate than for one. While I get a lot of satisfaction from the current Trump meltdown, I’m not willing to bet the farm that the he will simply lose by default.

    Among other things, I’m acutely aware of Trump support in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. In addition – and I speak from personal observation and conversation with local players – Pittsburgh aside, there is no competent pro-Clinton field on either side of the western Pennsylvania/southeastern Ohio border. furthermore, according to friends whose business it is to do pro-Democratic data mining, the same is true in central Pennsylvania.

    So yes, I’m going to have concerns until Clinton’s field and message operations flip the dynamics.

    Simply put, Ernie’s post reflects a meme; and that meme has to be addressed and refuted.

  10. Like it or not, there are people who agree with Ernie (1 Reply)

    …particularly in States like Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Ohio.

    I think that Ernie is often gratuitously provocative in his posts, but the substance of his argument has to be addressed by the Clinton campaign.

    …and, for the record, I say this as a Clinton supporter.

  11. Re: Jeff Weaver, per David's Comment above. (0 Replies)

    Weaver (as a pro) is doing what campaign managers do when their principal is subject to morality-play meltdowns: He becomes the voice of the candidate’s tantrums, thus insulating his client.

  12. Here's a good overview (0 Replies)

    from Jon Ralston in the Reno Gazette-Journal. Ralston is considered to be the gold standard in Nevada Democratic political analysis. I quote at length:

    The kindling had been lit long before they arrived at that ballroom – by Sanders and his team. They sued the state party over meaningless and baseless nonsense, quickly thrown out by a judge. And even after Reid persuaded Sanders to put out a unity statement on the eve of the convention, his supporters – or a core of them – didn’t care. They had one goal in mind: disruption.

    The Vermont senator here and elsewhere has tapped into a real anger in the grassroots, but he started a wildfire he cannot control…

    …The simple story is this: Sanders lost to Clinton by 5 percentage points in the Feb. 20 caucus and has been working to reverse it ever since. He pushed more delegates to the county conventions a few weeks ago but his team was out-organized by Clinton’s Nevada contingent on Saturday.

    Team Sanders left almost 500 delegate spots unfilled at the Paris, allowing Clinton to reassert the caucus results. Sanders lost, plain and simple; the rest is white noise (like yelling the loudest for a voice vote) and sour grapes (like complaining an election you lost was stolen).

    Yes, Reid controls the state party and the chairwoman. And, yes, Reid wants Clinton to win and did even before he officially endorsed her, all the while being as fair to Sanders as he could before he helped her in the caucus.

    But even Reid did not know how many delegates would show up for either side at the Paris; he and his team knew the Sandersistas planned to destabilize the event and they wanted to try to control it.

    Even if the Sanders folks were right on every complaint and won every vote they lost – and they weren’t and couldn’t – maybe the senator would have picked up a few delegates. But he didn’t. He lost…

  13. Depending on the town there are two options (0 Replies)

    Some town voter history lists (like Boston) go back several elections; for other municipalities you can request that the town sort against past elections, specifying by election how far back one wants to go.

    Speaking for myself, and specific to party-building, I prefer the raw lists.

    Without going into the pros and cons of various NGP VAN products (and I like VoteBuilder’s turf-cutting application), municipal party-building can be done for less cost using locally available lists; and by using the raw voter list one can avoid over-targeting.

    The trade-off is that the initial voter contact is largely dependent upon personal relationships between local activists and targeted voters. That said, if done correctly, organic growth results, in turn resulting in a better foundation for get-out-the-vote operations.

    IMHO, one of the reasons behind low turnouts is the tendency of too many campaigns to ignore those voters outside a given contact universe.

  14. There are three separate lists (2 Replies)

    …all available from municipal election authorities.

    The resident list, which generally only cites registered voter status.

    The voter list, which lists name, street address, ward/precinct address, voter status (active or inactive), and political party of registered voters.

    The voter history list, which lists those voters who cast ballots and the elections in which they voted.

    For purposes of party-building my suggestion to mark-bail was to obtain the voter list.

  15. Actually, it isn't (0 Replies)

    The trend lines on that Clinton graph are only marked in half-year increments. The interactive version is here.

  16. That's only true for Party Committees, James (1 Reply)

    For local stuff – and remember we’re talking raw voters, not voter history – Galvin’s office refers people to their local election authorities.

    Apropos of which, the same applies to the raw voter lists of a given municipality.

    For Party-building purposes Democrats should consider that a lot of people on the voter list never cast a ballot. For example, as of the 2016 Presidential Primary, there were 382,946 registered voters in Boston, of whom 95,506 have never voted at any time since 1997 per my Boston list.

    That’s a lot of deferred outreach, which is why I suggested getting the raw voter list.

  17. If your town has more than 65K voters (0 Replies)

    …Microsoft Access will do the job just fine.

  18. Forget Votebuilder (3 Replies)

    For what you want to do, it’s way too expensive.

    Go to your town clerk’s office (or whomever administers local elections) and request the voter list in text format. Depending on the town, that list is available for free or at a very low cost. Assuming that your voter list has less than 65,000 names on it, suck the list into Excel. (Older versions of Excel get buggy at that point)

    Among the file headers – which are systematized by the Secretary of State’s Elections Division – is “Party”.

    Sort for “D” in the Party fields, and voila, you have your list of registered Democrats by precinct and street address.

    Some people voluntarily submit their phone numbers, but I would advise that only people known to those voters contact them by telephone.

  19. Not Democrats. Democratic activists. (3 Replies)

    Insofar as specific suggestions are concerned:

    1.) Rebuild self-sustaining and accountable ward and precinct operations from the ground up.

    2.) Redirect field operations, in particular canvassing, to neighbor-to-neighbor outreach.

    3.) Recognize that, in an era of cell phones and caller ID, phone banking has limited utility unless the caller has (or can establish) an organic connection with the contacted voter.

    And conceptually:

    1.) Consider why Party affiliation is shrinking, and the majority of Massachusetts voters are Unenrolled.

    2.) Case study the geographic and socioeconomic-specific dynamics of the Republican resurgence in places like Worcester County.

    3.) Case study the reasons why one-half of Charlie Baker’s margin of victory came from his increased support (relative to 2010) in Boston.

    4.) Invest in a reputable pollster to find out how many Democrats know the identity of any of their Ward/Town Democratic Committee members.

    In matters of institutional culture (and this goes to the class issue) ask why for all its pretenses to the contrary, Massachusetts has such a high and increasing rate of income inequality, and the Commonwealth spends less than the national average on public education.

    I repeat: The issue is not rank and file Democrats, but the fact that there are, shall we say, discrepancies between rhetoric and reality, which tend to be substantively unaddressed to the detriment of the Party.