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andym's Journal
andym's Journal
November 5, 2016


Andy Borowitz , 02:00 P.M.


TAMPA (The Borowitz Report)—Infused with a sense of urgency as Election Day nears, the Trump campaign has enlisted President Vladimir Putin, of Russia, to appear with the Republican nominee in a dizzying array of swing-state rallies over the weekend.

Putin will be the most visible Trump surrogate in the final weekend of the campaign, as he tries to fire up voters in Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, and Nevada.

The Russian President seemed to relish the warm response he got at his first Trump rally, in Tampa, where he led the crowd in a raucous chant of “Lock her up.”

Trump praised Putin’s talent for politics by noting that he had won the Russian election in 2012 by a landslide. “He got sixty-four per cent of the vote, and no one else even came close,” Trump said. “He’s terrific.”....

Great satire. You can almost hear Putin now. "Don't worry Americans, I will teach Donald the ropes and tell him just what to do and how to behave. The US and Russia are going to be best buddies. I think Mr Trump is going to approve of mother Russia taking back all of those foolish countries that split off from the former Soviet Union, I may even give him a XMAS gift of excess polonium so he can take care of his opponents the same way I do."

October 1, 2016

Trump has succeeded in making this election all about him:

luckily he is terrible. But it sure would be nice to hear more in the media about how Hillary Clinton will change America for the better. It will help so much after the election to define her mandate. Wonder what her campaign is planning once it becomes clear she has an insurmountable lead after Trump's gaffes?

September 26, 2016

There you go again Jimmy

In 1980 a lot of folks were skeptical about Reagan: besides stating a bunch of ridiculous things on the campaign trail, like trees are the major source of pollution because they produce CO2, he had a set of unachievable policy goals: like balancing the budget by cutting taxes (voodoo economics). Moreover, he had previously stated he wanted to do away with Medicare etc. He was also a very vocal opponent of the Soviet Union, some suggested he might start WWIII.

In the one and only debate, a few days from the election, Jimmy Carter who was highly unpopular at the time running without an overarching campaign theme, attacked Reagan's very public policy proposals, which the affable Reagan dismissed by "There you go again." Reagan's performance lifted enough of the concern over whether Reagan was not an extremist to help him win by a landslide.

Lessons: Negatives are reversible and even a bit of seeming reasonableness goes a long way to help "characters" achieve respectability.

Reagan was positive and optimistic. Carter was pessimistic and realistic with a lot of wonkish policy proposals.

Carter was not bold in his campaign, Reagan was.

September 17, 2016

What Trump's birther comments really meant

Paul Begala Sept 16, 2016

Trump's public remarks:
"Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it. I finished it. You know what I mean. President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period. Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again. Thank you, thank you very much."

Paul Begala, Democratic strategist, translates Trump's remarks on Obama's birth to what Trump is really saying:

Translation 1 for Trump's base-- uneducated white people:
"My fellow oppressed, aggrieved, angry white folks: I truly do love the poorly-educated. Hillary is a witch, and a weak one at that. She lost to Obama and let that Kenyan Muslim become president. I am the only one who has stood up to the Great Imposter, and I cannot wait to see him moved out of our White House. I will replace his weak-kneed whimpering with a warrior's battle cry. I have to say this crap about Obama's birth because the media wants to crucify me. But watch my eyes: they're blinking in Morse Code: K-E-N-Y-A-N. You get it. It's like a hostage tape. I need you more than ever. We must not allow the coastal elites to replace a weak Kenyan with a weak woman. Thank you, thank you very much."

But Trump is trying to expand beyond his base to college educated white people. For them here is what Trump's speech sounds like
Translation 2-- for educated white people he hopes to trick:
"My fellow well-off, well-educated white people: Hillary is the real racist. She started the birther movement; it's all her fault. I had to say this crap about Obama's birth because I need the racist bumpkins to win. But now I've put an end to it. I'm really one of you. I mean, look at me: I'm standing in the five-star hotel I'm opening in Washington. Those rural rednecks are never setting foot in here, any more than those hillbillies are gonna join Mar-a-Lago. But now that I've got them all jacked up, let me reassure you: I'm no racist. And Hillary is. Bet you didn't know that, but she is. I'm one of you: a country club Republican who doesn't hate black people at all. Thank you, thank you very much."

Begala ends with this:
"Can Trump succeed in this effort to hold his base and expand his appeal? That depends on how gullible folks are. I do not doubt the intelligence of those who are taken in by Trump's con; some of the smartest people in America fell for Bernie Madoff's scam. Trump knows what every con man knows: You can go far in life by simply telling people what they want to hear -- even if it's two completely different things at the same time."
Scary and his analysis is probably right on the money.
September 16, 2016

Yahoo News: Why Clinton's pitch on the economy is (perceived as) so weak

Rick Newman Sep 16, 2016

"If you’ve been half-following the presidential campaign, you know Donald Trump wants to get tough on China, stop US companies from moving overseas, round up illegal aliens, slash taxes and, of course, “make America great again." Trump’s plan doesn’t entirely add up, and even economists in his own Republican Party complain that debt would soar and he could cause a recession. But Trump’s plan is tangible, almost like something you can hold. Voters know what he stands for, what he plans to do and what his vision is (something about making America great again).".....

But he continues that nobody in the Yahoo finance news room could tell him what Hillary Clinton wants to do, except more of the same as President Obama.

"Clinton actually has a far more detailed economic plan than Trump does, with plenty of good ideas. Her website features 18 specific policy proposals on the economy, including more infrastructure spending, debt-free college for underprivileged kids, higher taxes on the wealthy, new fees on banks and fresh ways to boost small businesses.

But her economic agenda is about as exciting as a binder filled with think-tank papers, and if she has an overarching economic vision, she hasn’t communicated it with any zeal whatsoever. Clinton considers herself a champion of the underdog, as she tried to convey during her nominating speech at the Democratic National Convention this summer. But she’s also an elitist who gets paid millions in speaking fees and spends more time hobnobbing with millionaire donors than with ordinary people. If Clinton has a populist bent, it is largely lost in her small-ball economic agenda and her unwillingness to muster conviction."

What does he suggest? Well beyond something that I think is a confused idea on free trade. he says "present a small number of big ideas for making America the world’s most desirable economy (again). She could steal Trump’s good idea about growth: Set a target of 4% annually and declare it a national priority akin to winning a war. And then demand that we change the rules so every talented émigré in the world wants to come to America, and can".

I think focusing on a strong overarching idea is great. That's how Bill Clinton won (the economy, stupid), that's how Obama won although "hope and change" is nebulous, optimism still sells. People want to believe that the person will do great things. Lets hope the Hillary Clinton's team is thinking similar thoughts.
September 16, 2016

Votersí View of a Donald Trump Presidency: Big Risks and Rewards



"Most voters consider Donald J. Trump a risky choice for president, saying he lacks the right temperament and values, but he is seen as more transformative and better at handling the economy than Hillary Clinton, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

Mrs. Clinton, despite being as disliked as Mr. Trump, is seen as a safer option. Majorities of voters say she has the temperament for the job and would better handle foreign policy. Only 36 percent of them, however, view her as an agent of change. That perception deeply worries some Clinton campaign advisers, who want the race to hinge on Mr. Trump’s character rather than voters’ desire to upend the status quo." ....
The rewards voters imagine for Trump are fool's gold, but that never stopped the American voter. The tendency to think there is little upside to Hillary Clinton ("rewards&quot is a big problem. When Democrats win it is usually because people believe they bring a large upside: Clinton and the "economy, stupid" and Obama and the potential of "hope and change." The strongest example of a dangerous candidate whose upside won out was Reagan-- he had attacked SS and Medicare, claimed trees were a major source of pollution, but no matter he won in a landslide by promising an economic miracle and optimism.

Hillary Clinton is running on her competence and steadiness-- just like Al Gore and Mike Dukakis. She really needs more, especially with how well she has been painted by the GOP. What is her strongest campaign theme? A better question is what is her overarching campaign theme, besides not being the horrible Donald Trump?
August 15, 2016

Hillary Does What Democrats Should Do: Make Like FDR

Earl Ofari Hutchinson

Hillary Clinton is doing what Democrats should have been doing all along, and that’s looking and sounding — and, if given the chance, acting — like FDR. This means going big, big, big and fully using government to radically ramp up new programs and initiatives to tackle everything from the nation’s crumbling infrastructure to the chronic unemployment, especially among the urban poor.

Her FDR-like chorus was in full effect in her speech at a Michigan auto and aircraft parts manufacturing plant near Detroit. She promised a big spending spree to the tune of nearly $300 billion on a vast array of infrastructure building and repair projects; roads, bridges, airports schools, sewer systems and so on. The projects would create new jobs for thousands.

Clinton made it clear that she expects the rich to foot much of the bill by demanding hefty tax hikes on them. She added the final FDR touch to her big spending plan by promising to plop the legislation on Congress’ table within her first 100 days in office.
Clinton is doing the same. However, she also will have to fight the one thing that has kept Democrats since LBJ from making the fight against poverty, wealth and income inequality, and making the rich and corporations pay their fair share of taxes a party staple. That is the deep fear of being perennially branded, baited and reviled with the label and the perception that Democrats reflexively do tax and spend — that is spend at the expense of the middle class for programs that aid the poor and minorities. Democrats did lose elections in the 1980s to Reagan and Bush, and always the losses came with the tag that the Democrats were fixated on tilting to minorities. The race-tinged appeals did shell-shock the party. Bill Clinton was unabashed in basing his 1992 presidential campaign on courting the white middle class, and erasing the GOP-imposed stigma of the Democrats as solely the party of and for minorities. It worked. Clinton won and won again in 1996. This even more firmly implanted the notion and the fear that Democrats must run from big spending on jobs and infrastructure as being synonymous with pandering to minorities...... That’s a history that Clinton is largely rejecting. And well she should. FDR did and the country was the big winner for it.

August 5, 2016

Democrats are losing to Republicans at the state level, and badly. Here's why.

Alexander Hertel-Fernandez and Theda Skocpol on August 3, 2016, 1:30 p.m. ET

Koch network-backed groups, above all the huge advocacy federation called Americans for Prosperity, have scored major victories over the past decade — working closely with already established cross-state political networks like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN).

These conservative cross-state networks have blocked the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, challenged efforts by the Obama administration to deal with climate change, derailed proposals to increase the minimum wage and enact paid sick leave, and weakened union and voting rights. Unless liberals and progressives find ways to counter conservatives across most US states, both Obama’s legacies and future liberal gains are likely to remain limited.

How have right-wing political networks achieved such striking victories? Our ongoing research on the shifting US political terrain shows that the right’s subnational success relies on complementary and reinforcing efforts by three key cross-state networks. These networks end up setting public agendas and shaping legislative choices:
The article then goes on to explain that the two older progressive networks are weak, overlap, are generally not focused on economics, too many splinter issue specific groups, and are mostly in blue states. The consequences are that the GOP will control the state and local level and of course that will mean they get to keep Congress after the next Census. They call on the American left to organize in a serious coordinated way on the local level.

So perhaps, DUers can get involved with the progressive networks: State Innovation Exchange, State Priorities Partnership and the Economic Analysis and Research Network. Instead of just chatting about the Presidential election for example, there is a real opportunity to do something useful, especially if one has time for research, fundraising, or outreach. Or better yet running for office.

Another possibility is that Bernie Sander's new progressive Berniecrat network might provide new hope, but progressives still need to coordinate and put in some real effort.

July 26, 2016

Bernie Sander's email tonight: Next steps for Our Revolution.

Our campaign has always been about a grassroots movement of Americans standing up and saying: "Enough is enough. This country and our government belong to all of us, not just a handful of billionaires."

I just finished speaking at the Democratic National Convention, where I addressed the historic nature of our grassroots movement and what's next for our political revolution.

I hope that I made you proud. I know that Jane and I are very proud of you.

Our work will continue in the form of a new group called Our Revolution. The goal of this organization will be no different from the goal of our campaign: we must transform American politics to make our political and economic systems once again responsive to the needs of working families.

We cannot do this alone. All of us must be a part of Our Revolution.

Join Our Revolution and help continue our critical work to create a government which represents all of us, and not just the 1 percent – a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice. Add your name here.

When we started this campaign a little more than a year ago, the media and the political establishment considered us to be a "fringe" campaign. Well, we're not fringe anymore.

Thanks to your tireless work and generous contributions, we won 23 primaries and caucuses with more than 13 million votes, all of which led to the 1900 delegates we have on the floor this week at the Democratic convention.

What we have done together is absolutely unprecedented, but there is so much more to do. It starts with defeating Donald Trump in November, and then continuing to fight for every single one of our issues in order to transform America.

We are going to fight to make sure that the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party becomes law. This means working for a $15 federal minimum wage, fighting for a national fracking ban, and so many more progressive priorities.

The political revolution needs you in order to make all this happen and more.

Add your name to say that you will join Our Revolution and be part of the fight for our progressive vision for America.

Thank you for being a part of the continued political revolution.

In solidarity,
Bernie Sanders

July 24, 2016

Bad optics and unethical behavior. Wikileaks means DNC senior staff need to resign

ASAP to get this out of the news. I expect that to happen shortly, before the convention begins.

Unethical behavior such as feeding news stories, or even thinking about doing so, that favor one candidate over the other is unacceptable. The senior people at the DNC should know better.

If there is anything positive about the Wikileaks, it will be to quell the conspiracy theories related to vote switching, etc, since it's apparent that the DNC staffers were clueless about communications-- if such unlikely behavior was engaged in, it would be in the emails for sure. And there is not even a hint of it.

Update 8/2/16: Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned last week and today, DNC CEO Amy Dacey stepped down in addition to communications director Luis Miranda and CFO Brad Marshall.

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