Person #2547: 116 Posts

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  1. 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.

  2. To point #2: The bailout was irrelevant to many Rust Belt voters. (0 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.”

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. The auto bailout never worked politically for the Democrats (0 Replies)

    In 2010:

    President Obama bailed out the U.S. auto industry. The fear was that if Washington didn’t do that, the Upper Midwest mostly could lose 800,000 jobs. Those jobs were saved.

    Instantly in 2010, the Democrats lost everything and all the states where those jobs had been preserved…

    In the Michigan Primary, Bernie Sanders won, despite opposing the bailout.

    And in the general election, Trump took Michigan. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) explains some of the reasons why:

    Dingell pointed to her constituents’ real wages, which, despite President Obama’s auto-industry bailout, have at best stagnated.

    “They don’t feel better off,” she explained. “They have less purchasing power; their health insurance costs more; they don’t trust their pensions to be there; and because we are a cyclical industry, they are frightened that something bad could happen at any time.”

    “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.”

    …and it didn’t help that competent field operations were conspicuously absent in Detroit, which had its lowest turnout in twenty years, while overall Michigan turnout rose slightly.

  6. Pollsters can't avoid sampling bias; that is impossible (1 Reply)

    All they can do is try to minimize it. It’s a matter of ongoing concern within the American Association for Public Opinion Research.

    Furthermore, because variables can be both cultural (like low public trust) and structural (the rise of cell phone-only households and caller ID), the parameters for accurate results are always changing.

    The map is not the road. Arguably the map isn’t even the map anymore when the topology is always changing.

    In fairness, pollsters have been consistently and proactively honest about the inherent limitations of their craft.

    Consider that Nate Silver gave Trump a slightly greater chance of winning the election than the Chicago Cubs had of winning the World Series…

  7. In that case you might want to start at home (1 Reply)

    It’s not necessarily a given that the Commonwealth’s white working-class voters agree with you.

    For example, here in Massachusetts:

    Cities and towns with a large population of working- class whites broke strongly in Trump’s direction, according to a tabulation of election results and demographic data from the American Communities Survey by the US Census. Conversely, those packed with college graduates pushed in the other direction, abandoning their onetime support for Republicans and filling in ballots for Clinton.

    This one variable — the size of the non-college-educated, non-Hispanic white population — explains 70 percent of the difference between Romney’s results and Trump’s results in Massachusetts.

    Local political analysts say this could be the first stage of a possible geographic realignment, where the once reliably blue western part of the state begins veering red — a reflection of the working-class white communities there.

    If the Republicans can recreate their efforts of 1988 – 1990, conditions are ripe to:

    (A) Insure Charlie Baker’s re-election, when the suburban white shoe Republican cohort comes home in 2018, and

    (B) Elect enough trans-Worcester west and Norfolk/Plymouth/ Bristol/Essex County folk to the Legislature to sustain a Baker’s veto.

    Then stuff gets interesting…

  8. What the article says is to beware of sampling bias (1 Reply)

    The issue of internet versus telephone polling was not germane to the authors’ purpose, which was to caution people with little or no training in survey mathematics to avoid taking survey results as empirical fact without knowing the internal limitations of methodology and interpretation. The author further points out that even pollsters can miss what’s actually out there.

    If Clinton’s person-to-person field data had confirmed the polling data, that would have been one thing: It didn’t.

    The Clinton campaign had ample warning from the ground about what was happening in time to address the matter. For whatever reason, decisions were made to ignore empirical data (supplied by people who knew damn well how their neighbors intended to vote) in favor of their model.

    This was a level of magical thinking that I tend to equate (in my kinder moments) with climate change denial.

    The voter data was there, it was simply ignored.

    The context, not that it matters, of Tip O’Neill’s quote, was that all elections especially national elections, are local.

  9. And the Democratic collapse is systemic (1 Reply)

    Consider this:

    Look past the GOP takeover of Washington, however, and the outlook for Democrats is even more alarming. In November, the party lost control of state legislatures in Iowa, Minnesota, and Kentucky. The state senate in Connecticut, which had been firmly blue, is now evenly split. Republicans ousted Democratic governors in Missouri, New Hampshire, and Vermont. All told, Democrats surrendered about 30 seats in state legislatures. They now hold majorities in just 31 of the country’s 98 legislative bodies, and only 15 of the nation’s governors are Democrats.

    The losses in November are part of a sharp and unprecedented decline for the party at the state level. Since Obama took office eight years ago, Democrats have lost over 800 seats in state legislatures. For the first time in history, they do not control a single legislative chamber in the South. Overall, the party is now at its weakest point at the state level since 1920.

  10. I know for a fact that she did not use the Obama model during the primary season (0 Replies)

    … and for some time thereafter, if at all.

    …I also know that people within the Democratic datatech world were making the same complaints as Democratic field folks insofar as arrogance and political cluelessness on the part of the Clinton campaign were concerned.

    Re: Opt in models for phone banking.

    I’ve found it successful, for the simple reason that people like to be asked. If they volunteer their phone numbers – and in my experience most identified supporters will – they are receptive, not only to GOTV calls, but also volunteer recruitment.

    Ironically civilians, also in my experience, are better contacts as volunteers because they have, on balance, greater political work ethics…

  11. What part of "All Politics is Local" do you not understand? (2 Replies)

    The issue is one of credibility.

    In the context of major declines in civic culture the tendency to trust only who you know, or who can establish personal commonality- never absent – is magnified.

    A larger issue than low-information voters is that of low-trust voters, and this is a cross-economic, cross-cultural, and cross-generational factor in contemporary America.

    Out-of-state phone bankers are at a cultural disadvantage from the time the recipient of the call picks up – assuming s/he does pick up, because the phone banker is often making a nuisance call, from the voter’s perspective. A recognizably out-of-state accent or other aspect that does not establish and reinforce some sense of commonality (and shared political viewpoints only work among activists) create what I call the presumption of assholetry response; as in “Who does this asshole think he is by interrupting my dinner?”

    Or “my TV show”, or my anything.

    When that same voter has been recruited by a physical neighbor who supports an opposing candidate, and when that support is reinforced socially within the voter’s geographic and social space, all that happens is to harden opposition to the phone bank’s candidate, via immediate hostility to the individual phone banker.

    Innsofar as potential supporters are concerned: In the absence of physical contact by a trusted person, such phone banks often operate as political disincentives to vote at all; as happened with many black voters.

    Back (again) to polling: Very few people who actually do this for a living were surprised. Pasted below is a layperson-friendly preemptive caution from October:

    Indeed, being overconfident of large sample sizes is one of the most common statistical blunders we see as a big data training company…

    …History, however, is replete with cautionary tales of being lulled into complacency by the sweet siren call of misapplied statistics. These warnings are not just scattered anecdotes but coalesce into a pattern that reveals both the promise and potential peril of big data…

    These examples illustrate that in polling or any other type of sampling, there are two separate components of measurement error: the statistical error (normal fluctuations caused by pure randomness) and sampling bias (error introduced by inadvertent, or unavoidable, sampling of a biased population). Big data offers the potential for vanishingly small statistical error but does nothing to eliminate the risk of sampling bias.

    Consider Brexit, the referendum on the UK leaving the EU. While polls conducted online suggested the race was very close, telephone poll results projected a comfortable 18-point victory for those voting to “Stay”. The referendum narrowly passed, demonstrating the importance of sampling bias in accurately predicting election results.

    In the same vein, survey results show that candidate Donald Trump performs nearly six percentage points better in online polls than in telephone ones. Some pundits have postulated a “politically-correct bias” in phone polling — a sort of generalized Bradley Effect — whereby voters are more truthful in impersonal online surveys than over the phone. Only election day will be able to definitively tell us if online results are more accurate than telephone ones for the US Presidential election.

    Ironically, many of the trends in the digital revolution — like the the unplugging of landlines and the growing reliance on online polling — have made sampling bias in polling worse. More generally, the era of big data — with the divide between digital haves and have-nots and with its reliance on self-selecting social media — has made fields beyond polling more prone to sampling bias. This is not to say that big data is useless. It does underscore the importance of humans to interpret and question the results of big data.

  12. For example, a specific weed I want to check: (0 Replies)

    I’m interested in seeing how successful Trump was with Haitian voters in Florida:

    Donald Trump sought to capitalize off of Haitian-Americans’ frustrations during his September visit to Little Haiti. While reading from prepared statements, he referenced the Haiti earthquake.

    “Clinton was responsible for doing things a lot of the Haitian people are not happy with,” Trump said. “Taxpayer dollars intended for Haiti and the earthquake victims went to a lot of the Clinton cronies.”

    Sara Bernard, who attended Trump’s gathering, got a shout out from the candidate when he told her he liked her pink “Women for Trump” shirt.

    What I do know that there was a statewide structured activist-recruitment and training effort operating on Trump’s behalf within Florida’s Haitian communities. It will be interesting to see how successful it was…

  13. Simply put, progressives aren't particularly well-liked outside of their social cohorts (3 Replies)

    They come off to many people (not all of whom are working class or white, by the way) as arrogant and condescending, and they project beliefs on to outside cohorts that may not apply.

    This pisses people off.

    Consider all the grief that johntmay gets on this site. Whatever my differences with the specifics of his posts, he has legitimate concerns. When those concerns are met with indifference; when “The Democratic Party doesn’t care for me” is a simple statement of fact, entire populations are made available to the kind of demagoguery we saw in November.

    Three points, specific to Massachusetts:

    Clinton’s victory here notwithstanding, Trump still got 1,090,893 votes here.

    Unenrolled voters still lead Democrats 53.98% to 34.18% (Republicans are 10.68%).

    The legislative results of progressive disengagement from the ground is the primary reason that (borrowing from Chief Justice Taney) progressives have no rights that electeds feel bound to respect. As a result, particularly in the House, progressive approaches are often slapped down out of sheer political recreation, irrespective of the merits of said policies. That said, the House is much better on black issues, where that Body restored cuts in programs made by the supposedly progressive Senate in the last budget cycle.

    I think that there is often a tendency to forget that politics – and I include advocacy – is an exercise in applied psychology, and the easiest way to create an enemy is by not respecting him as a person.

  14. Christopher, polls are "snapshots in time" (2 Replies)

    …and limited by sampling techniques. What occurred was a classic Truman-Dewey error, due in part to the Bradley Effect, and the fact that Trump’s campaign brought in voters that were largely off the grid from the polling models.

    Re: Phone Banking.

    Total studies are somewhat inclusive, but:

    …while none of the experiments compares parallel partisan and nonpartisan message treatments, only the nonpartisan phone drive results in positive and significant. McNulty, therefore, contends that partisan phone drives may not be effective in increasing turnout. Green (2004, 2005) finds no evidence that partisan phone calls made by professional phone banks are effective in increasing turnout. Emily Cardy (2005) also finds that partisan phone calls do not increase turnout in the context of her phone and direct mail experiment.

    The single most important positive variable, in my experience, is an organic connection with the targeted voter. The script you cited generally doesn’t work, for the following reasons:

    1.) “Calling our neighbors” as an intro begs the question of specific geography. Old style campaigns knew this; hence phone bankers always called people in their neignborhoods; at most people in adjacent neighborhoods. At the scale of a national campaign people never made out-of-state calls. (Your accent can adversely affects your credibility.)

    2.) One of the biggest irony of politics in the social media era is that personal ties matter more, credibility-wise, than at any time since the pre-radio era.

    3.) In an era of cell phones and caller ID, unsolicited calls from unknown numbers are considered to be nuisance calls by many voters; insofar as many lower-income voters are concerned, they are often thought to be from collection agencies.

    4.) As a corollary to Point 3, many voters from low and low-moderate incomes (the majority of whom, for what it’s worth voted for Clinton) have prepaid phone plans, some of which means they pay for incoming calls.

    This is not just a national phenomenon; the same dynamic operated adversely to Coakley in 2014. Furthermore, I’ve worked in local campaigns that were sunk by their phone banking.

    Hence some suggestions, based upon experience:

    Presuming a politically-literate field organization, phone bank lists should be generated, based upon an opt-in method derived from local canvassers. (Would you mind being contacted by us? Would you mind giving us your phone number? What would be the best time to call you?)

    Callers should specifically identify themselves by name and immediate neighborhood: “Hello Mr. Smith, I’m Jim Johnson; I live over on Tremont Street. Is this a good time to speak to you…”

    Back to polling, the problem goes to the greater issue of depending solely on models with flawed premises, and ignoring empirical data that refutes the model. Clinton’s campaign dealt with voters, based upon aggregates; Trump’s campaign identified individual supporters, and got them to the polls.

    The election aside, there is the matter of the institutional class bigotry that is hard-wired into Democratic institutional culture. Clinton’s campaign concentrated upon reaching out to Republican-leaning suburban voters, to the exclusion of working class white voters and black voters of all classes. This pulled a lot of Trump voters to the polls.

    Post-election, there is the issue of scapegoating white working class voters in isolation, despite the fact that:

    In the end, according to exit polls, the election result seems to have been more about the clear backing of America’s white and wealthy voters for Donald Trump – including white graduates, and white female voters.

    Far from being purely a revolt by poorer whites left behind by globalisation, who did indeed turn out in greater numbers for the Republican candidate than in 2012, Trump’s victory also relied on the support of the middle-class, the better-educated and the well-off.

    Of the one in three Americans who earn less than $50,000 a year, a majority voted for Clinton. A majority of those who earn more backed Trump.

  15. People see what they want to see, Christopher (2 Replies)

    People on the ground – including electeds – tried to warn the Clinton Campaign, but were ignored (at best). As mentioned earlier, the sheer scale of this became obvious to me in February when I was seeing Trump signs all over the place in Western Pennsylvania, in the context of an environment wherein local Democratic players were contacted by neither Clinton’s nor Sanders’ people.

    While signs don’t vote, the sheer number and spread of the things -particularly on the lawns of registered Democrats – indicated pretty decent organizational prep – and this was before the primary.

    When the campaign work in done in peoples’ homes, and every social nexus (taverns, social clubs, churches, etc) are used as an outreach venue; you don’t need campaign offices.

    And such formal Clinton structures as existed were staffed by arrogant out-of-town player wannabees who seemingly went out of their way to condescend to locals… to Trump’s advantage.

    Out-of-state phone banking is another story; suffice it to say that it accrues similar results.

    Insofar as the media is concerned, there is a presumption of competence that is not always supported by the facts. As a rule, unless a given reporter is spoon fed, he would miss an earthquake when standing in the epicenter.

  16. And in the swing states, from February onward (1 Reply)

    …Trump had people on the ground training and organizing their neighbors on his behalf. Here is an example from Florida.

    Hidden in plain sight was arguably the most comprehensive grassroots GOTV training effort in American electoral history.

    As in Florida, so went Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin…

    As I’ve been saying for months, in much of the contested States, the ONLY effective grassroots field operated on Trump’s behalf.

  17. As a response to Charlie's superscript (1 Reply)

    GOTV Is as important than message, with the following proviso: Regarding the latter, the messenger is as important (if not more so) than he message.

    Trump had a comprehensive neighbor-to-neighbor ground game, and Clinton didn’t have squat, credibility-wise.

    The last thing any campaign needs are canvassers – or phone bankers – that aren’t from the immediate (repeat immediate) areas as their contacts. Motivating and organizing these folk can be done, but there has to be a social and civic component Trump’s people supplied that.

    Democrats have to face the fact that every aspect of Clinton’s operation was objectively sub-par, in the face of an extremely well-planned and executed Trump campaign, particularly on the ground.

  18. Just for the record, it could be done in four years (1 Reply)

    … but it would require some honest and painful due diligence, followed by a lot of grunt work.

    Furthermore, there is a real need to do some case studies. For example, independent of the Presidential election, what were the flaws in Russ Feingold’s campaigns in Wisconsin that led to his losses in 2010 and 2016 (the first time as an incumbent)?

    My provisional assessment is that it was a variant of what happened in the 2012 recall races, where progressive activists operated in an outreach capacity for Republicans. I haven’t had the time to get into the weeds yet, though…