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andym's Journal
andym's Journal
July 9, 2018

#OMAGA Obama Made America Great Again

Use it on Twitter and Instagram. Make it go viral.
If Trump sees it he will not be pleased.

June 27, 2018

Well Roe V Wade may finally be history

And that will make Trump a folk hero for evangelicals for a generation. A few thousand voters in the rust belt are going to have changed American history for a generation-- how ironic.

June 10, 2018

Monsters are Due on Maple Street

It's fairly easy to cause sow division among diverse Democrats by appealing to long-held grudges, unfounded criticism, suspicions, tribalism, and unbending loyalty. See Rod Serling's "Monsters are Due on Maple Street" for how turning on the lights in a few houses during a blackout soon has neighbors going to war with each other. The Russians and GOP operatives recognize how easy it is to sow discord, using their enemies as unwitting agents, and then let the consequences run their course, as they did during the last election. We must be vigilant, if we want a blue wave in the fall.


April 13, 2018

Comey as the naive idealist

Comey has always come across as a naive idealist to me-- a boy scout who wants to do right, but not fully equipped for political reality in the USA of the 2010's. From his comments on Hillary Clinton in July 2016 as "extremely careless" to his letter to Congress two weeks before the election (because he promised to keep Congress informed, but didn't understand the obvious political ramifications), to his inability to deal with an egotist like Trump who was clearly afraid of an honest man like Comey, the evidence is clear. Comey understood that he was dealing with key, sensitive situations, but lacked the political insight to prevent events from spinning out of control.

I think an argument can be made that Comey's actions (and the FBI investigations) so impacted Hillary Clinton, that she not only lost the election (popular vote notwithstanding), but her reputation with the American people still has not recovered (her favorability was mired in the 30's % even a year after the election in December 2017)-- which is incredible given that only 5 years ago she was the most popular political figure in the USA at over 60% approval. I doubt that Comey in any way intended this consequence. But the result was not only losing a chance for a historical Presidency, but instead we have the embarrassment of Trump.

The irony is that Trump's removal of Comey helped initiate the Mueller investigation, which at a minimum may help impede the damage Trump is doing to the American body politic for the time being.

September 17, 2017

It's not so much what Democrats have done wrong, but what the GOP has done right

The Democratic Party has been on a losing arc since 2010, with the exception of President Obama's re-election. With a huge majority in the House, a small majority in the Senate and 2/3 of state houses in GOP control, things really have changed since 2008, when things were polarized in the Democratic Party's favor. Why?

It's not so much that Democrats have made mistakes, but that the GOP has been proactive.

Why increasing influence of Fox news have pushed the country rightwards:
"A stunning new study shows that Fox News is more powerful than we ever imagined"
GOP gained over a 6% voter advantage attributable to Fox in 2008...
Fox's influence reinforces GOP/conservative influence from talk radio and conservative internet sites.
Basic point, is that GOP is propagandizing their anti-government beliefs far better than Democrats or even Democratic Socialists like Bernie are promoting their pro-government solutions, which will eventually doom progressive legislation.

Much much better organization at the local level, due to
"Democrats are losing to Republicans at the state level, and badly. Here's why."
Basically, the Koch brother's organizations are executing a master plan to gain GOP dominance

A plan to get control in 2010 in order gerrymander election districts for a generation.
(see post just above for how) and http://theweek.com/articles/625095/how-rig-elections-legal-way
"In the 2010 election cycle, the Republican Party took gerrymandering to a new level by creating a national redistricting strategy. The GOP's plan, which they called REDMAP, was to "keep or win Republican control of state legislatures with the largest impact on congressional redistricting..." "After pouring $30 million into state legislature races — a huge sum for down-ballot fights — the Republicans gained a record 680 state seats. That gave them total control of 25 state legislatures, which between them oversaw the redistricting process for 40 percent of congressional House of Representatives seats."
"AP analysis shows how gerrymandering benefited GOP in 2016"

Resulting in this problem:
Two-thirds of Americans think that the Democratic Party is out of touch with the country
Why? See all the points above.
Disbelieve this kind of poll at one's own peril.

So what's the solution? An organized effort to promote Democratic ideas, a combination of progressive and moderate ideas that appeal to people's sense of how the country might be better than it is. The first point is to convince people the federal government can be benevolent and extremely capable, sometimes even more capable than private enterprise. For example, combining helping people create and grow small businesses while providing a means to affordable universal health care.

September 13, 2017

Hillary Clinton: It was "intervention by Comey"

Hillary Clinton says Comey was 'the determining factor' in 2016 loss
Dylan Stableford

In the book, Clinton places blame for her loss on many factors, including the Russian intervention, Bernie Sanders, the media, Donald Trump’s reality show-like run and her own campaign.

But on “Today,” Clinton was unequivocal in assessment.

“I think the determining factor was the intervention by Comey,” she said. “Absent that, I believe and I think the evidence shows, I would have won.”

“Did you make enough mistakes yourself to lose the election without any of the other things you talk about?” NBC’s Matt Lauer asked. “I will say no,” Clinton replied.
I think her analysis is 100% accurate regarding Comey-- she would have won comfortably in the Electoral College, and several Democrats would probably be Senators today who aren't, if it wasn't for Comey's last minute interference. Hillary ran a solid campaign that emphasized her strengths and downplayed her weaknesses, but there was really nothing she or anyone else could do about Comey.

September 9, 2017

A stunning new study shows that Fox News is more powerful than we ever imagined

A stunning new study shows that Fox News is more powerful than we ever imagined It could even be flipping elections.
by Dylan Matthews

"Fox News is, by far, America’s dominant TV news channel; in the second quarter of 2017, Fox posted 2.35 million total viewers in primetime versus 1.64 million for MSNBC and 1.06 million for CNN. Given that Fox was founded by a longtime Republican Party operative and has almost exclusively hired conservative commentators, talk radio hosts, and the like to host its shows, it would stand to reason that its dominance on basic cable could influence how Americans vote, perhaps even tipping elections.

A new study in the American Economic Review (the discipline’s flagship journal), with an intriguing and persuasive methodology, finds exactly that. Emory University political scientist Gregory Martin and Stanford economist Ali Yurukoglu estimate that watching Fox News directly causes a substantial rightward shift in viewers’ attitudes, which translates into a significantly greater willingness to vote for Republican candidates.

The effects of CNN and MSNBC on centrist voters are mostly negligible; MSNBC, in 2000 and 2004, modestly increased odds of voting Republican, before it turned left in time for 2008. But Fox News increases Republican voting odds for centrists, for Democratic viewers, and even, in 2004 and 2008, for Republicans already strongly inclined to vote that way. Watching three minutes more of Fox News per week in 2008 would have made the typical Democratic or centrist voter 1 percentage point likelier to vote Republican that year.

“Fox is substantially better at influencing Democrats than MSNBC is at influencing Republicans," the authors find. While most Fox viewers are Republican, a sizable minority aren't, and they're particularly suggestible to the channel's influence. In 2000, they estimate that 58 percent of Fox viewers who were initially Democrats changed to supporting the Republican candidate by the end of the election cycle; in 2004, the persuasion rate was 27 percent, and 28 percent in 2008. MSNBC, by contrast, only persuaded 8 percent of initial Republicans to vote Democratic in the 2008 cycle."

In a way it's the number one reason why the GOP won in 2010, was able to gerrymander with impunity and why Hillary really lost and there is very little to be done about it-- the damage is done.

The actual study is here https://web.stanford.edu/~ayurukog/cable_news.pdf
Bias in Cable News: Persuasion and Polarization
Gregory J. Martin? and Ali Yurukoglu

It's technical but well worth it.

"In other results, we estimate that removing Fox News from cable television during the 2000 election cycle would have reduced the overall Republican presidential vote share by 0.46 percentage points. The predicted effect increases in 2004 and 2008 to 3.59 and 6.34 percentage points, respectively. This increase is driven by increasing viewership on Fox News as well as increasingly conservative slant. Finally, we find that the cable news channels’ potential for influence on election outcomes would be substantially larger were ownership to become more concentrated."

Imagine how much the effect was by 2016!

August 7, 2017

Trump is losing his base and Democrats have lost the white working class, internal polling shows

by Nicholas Kamm

The 2018 midterm elections are still 15 months away, and the 2020 general election is even further down the line, but the news is already bad. If you are a Republican, a new poll from Republican pollsters Firehouse Strategies has some sobering news about President Trump's falling support among his base, but Democrats also have some terrible numbers among white voters without a college education in a recent internal poll.

The Firehouse poll looked at likely midterm voters in four key swing states — Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania — and found Trump losing support especially among Republicans, especially when it comes to perceived honesty. "Just 6 months in office, Trump is getting into dangerously low territory in key swing states," Firehouse partner Alex Conant tells Axios. Trump's base of support has shrunk to 28.6 percent who have a "strongly favorable" view of him, including only 44.9 percent of Republicans, versus 35.3 percent of voters in those four states who felt the same in April. If Trump doesn't repeal ObamaCare and overhaul the tax code by the midterms, an increasing number of voters say they won't vote for the GOP incumbent.

The Democratic poll, conducted by the Democrats' House Majority PAC, found that Trump is more popular than congressional Democrats and Republicans with the white working class, and that the GOP has an edge over congressional Democrats on everything but health care. On the economy and job creation, congressional Republicans held a brutal 35-point lead, but also bested Democrats on things like "will fight for people like you," "understands what it is like for regular Americans," and "will reduce the power of special interests in Congress." When House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and other Democrats "seek to make the case for a 'better deal,' they face an audience primed to disbelieve every word they say," says Thomas Edsall at The New York Times.

The Trump polling is good news and as expected. The Democratic polling is disastrous. Something needs to be done-- the "better deal" is not selling. My hope is that Democrats put a large emphasis on new programs to promote small business and entrepreneurship in addition to the progressive goals to achieve universal healthcare and a living wage.
June 21, 2017

Democrats Seethe After Georgia Loss: Our Brand Is Worse Than Trump


"Democrats scrambled to regroup on Wednesday after a disappointing special election defeat in Georgia, with lawmakers, activists and labor leaders speaking out in public and private to demand a more forceful economic message heading into the 2018 elections.

But the overarching theme among Democrats was a sense of sharp urgency about crafting a positive agenda around kitchen-table issues. Congressional Democrats have already been meeting in private to shape a core list of economic policies, but their work did not reach any conclusive point during a long season of special elections.
By fiercely contesting a congressional race in the conservative Atlanta suburbs, Democrats had hoped to make an emphatic statement about the weakness of the Republican Party under President Trump. Their candidate, Jon Ossoff, raised about $25 million, mostly in small donations, and assertively courted right-of-center voters with promises of economic development and fiscal restraint.

That vague message, Democrats said Wednesday, was plainly not powerful enough to counter an onslaught of Republican advertising that cast Mr. Ossoff as a puppet of liberal national Democrats, led by Ms. Pelosi. While Mr. Ossoff made inroads by exploiting Mr. Trump’s unpopularity and a backlash against health care legislation approved in the House, Democrats said they would have to do more to actually win."

This article basically states that Ossoff's showing has set off alarm bells among Democratic leaders in DC. Ossoff only did as well as Hillary in that district which was good, but not enough to win. Also, they acknowledge the power of GOP attacks on Democrats; Rep Pascrell: “It’s pretty difficult to undo the demonization of anyone” Article mentioned that the rich middle class like those in Ossoff's district have been watching their portfolio grow, and are not unhappy. Bottom line is that Democratic leadership in Washington recognizes that there is a problem and are working to find the best way forward.

June 21, 2017

Why Ossoff Lost: Despite the opposition Trump has galvanized, the Democrats still havent figured

out how to win in the places they’re trying to stage a comeback.
by Molly Ball

"Democrats were counting on Ossoff, the boy wonder of Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District, to deliver the proof that, with Donald Trump in the White House, there was no limit to their political potential. But after a frenzied two-month runoff campaign between Ossoff and his Republican opponent, Karen Handel, the Democrat wound up with about the same proportion of the vote—48 percent—as Hillary Clinton got here in November. If this race was a referendum on Trump, the president won it.

It was a gut punch to Democrats’ confidence, a reality check to the idea that vast swaths of the country were ready to deliver a backlash. And it was the capstone to a losing season in which Democrats failed to capture any of the four Republican-held seats vacated by Trump’s cabinet appointees. Earlier in the same night, a little-watched South Carolina congressional district was also called for the Republican candidate."
"That is a tough pill to swallow for Democrats who have convinced themselves opposing Trump will bring them back from the brink of powerlessness. So far, they have cut into Republicans’ margins, but they have not yet figured out how to win, and moral victories get no votes in Congress. There was a latent fatalism in Ossoff’s parting words: “As darkness has crept across this planet,” he assured them, they “have provided a beacon of hope for people in Georgia and for people around the world.”
"By the end, the scale of the Ossoff campaign was staggering, with dozens of staffers, a sophisticated voter-turnout operation, and six field offices—the sort of effort normally reserved for presidential campaigns. Most of the Ossoff volunteers I met were local residents who had grown up somewhere else, longtime Democrats who had long felt outnumbered. In the end, they were no match for their neighbors’ deeply rooted political allegiances, and they may have become a self-reinforcing feedback loop."

The last sentence holds the key-- even the best run campaign can't undo deep-seated political biases. There are no magic bullets. Even Trump's stupidity may not be enough. For all the money and volunteers (10000), Ossoff did about the same as Hillary in that district. My suspicion is that it will probably take a serious economic down turn to really throw the political tide back to the Democratic Party again.

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