All the Campaign Websites are Tire Fires

Good luck finding a policy position anywhere. The only one who has that is Warren, and for some reason her braintrust has decided to put that on medium instead of on… her fucking campaign website.






44 replies
  1. 1
    JDM says:

    Hillary had them on her website, and if news stories are any indication no one in the news biz could find them. So maybe putting them elsewhere is good.

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  2. 2

    What is Medium? I haven’t still figured it out.

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  3. 3
    rikyrah says:

    Her policy positions not on her website?
    Then what’s the point of her doing all that work :(

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  4. 4
    JPL says:

    @schrodingers_cat: It’s an online opinion site. medium.com

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  5. 5
    Ferdinand says:

    That is disappointing but not surprising. Considering I’m a freelance content and website designer, I have a feeling this is the realm where I’m obligated to donate time and talent to liberal candidates.

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  6. 6

    It’s almost like this isn’t the point in the campaign where candidates benefit in polls by highlighting policies.

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  7. 7
    Marcopolo says:

    So, waiting in line @ the PO to mail my tax paperwork. A very nice line.

    But to chime in, I don’t understand why if you are a candidate you don’t hire a couple of media/video savvy folks (especially for someone like Warren w/ all those laid out positions) to make 1, 2, or 3 minutes short vids putting them out there so folks can see them & share them around.

    I mean, you want to get the info out, right?

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  8. 8
    Ivan X says:

    @schrodingers_cat: It’s for prose what Instagram is for pictures and SoundCloud is for music. It’s essays in a social media format.

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  9. 9
    Betty Cracker says:

    Well, to be fair to Warren’s webmaster, the thumbnail descriptions of the policies on her campaign site do contain links to further details at…Medium. I like @Marcopolo‘s idea about short videos.

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  10. 10
    Mike in DC says:

    2 minute videos that can be turned into longform campaign ads. It’s the elevator pitch version of the policy, just long enough and detailed enough for voters to get the gist of it.

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  11. 11
    trollhattan says:

    @JDM:
    Ground my teeth to nubs during the 2016 campaign with the dozens of Trump-curious ‘mercans who would tell the reporter “I’ve never heard her position on X” or “Why won’t she talk about X?” with zero input from the person holding the mic, and that includes reporters who obviously knew she 1. had a position, 2. had spoken about it and 3. it was delineated on her website.

    A thousand thumbs can move the largest of scales.

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  12. 12
    Brachiator says:

    Good luck finding a policy position anywhere. The only one who has that is Warren, and for some reason her braintrust has decided to put that on medium instead of on… her fucking campaign website.

    Sadly, candidates have got to get their positions out into the general media via soundbites. And maybe Twitter posts. Otherwise, lazy and stupid reporters will pretend that the candidates don’t have any positions.

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  13. 13
    The Moar You Know says:

    Wife and I had the serious sit down and talk about where we are going to be putting our money this cycle. We both agree that the majority of our money and effort should be going to Senate races and not the primaries, for a reason I’ll get into below. Both our state’s senators are Dems, so we are looking for the Dems big breakout effort to start flipping red states, ready to send them some cash. So far…nothing.

    As regards the presidency, we are going to be single issue primary voters and that single issue is charter schools. As in “banning them”. Inslee is against so he’s gotten some money. Not much. I don’t think he can win the primaries. Since nobody else seems to feel that it’s an issue worth mentioning anywhere, they’ll get neither money or votes unless that changes.

    I’ll just say, in a moment of unmitigated honesty/rage, that’s it’s not that the websites are tire fires, it’s that the candidates are. The last time I saw a field of Dems this shitty was in 1988. I see a lot of people who are ticking all the “Obama part II” wishlist boxes, but they’re not Obama and they’re not going to win a general.

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  14. 14
    Betty Cracker says:

    @trollhattan: Ana Marie Cox had an interesting discussion on a recent podcast about how political reporting has shifted over the last 25 years or so. The first guest was Kathleen Hall Jamieson, who co-wrote a book about it. Her basic thesis is that political reporters shifted from covering issues to yapping about political tactics, partly in response to the collapse of print journalism due to the rise of the internet and the mass layoffs associated with that.

    According to Jamieson, it’s a lot easier for reporters to focus on horse race bullshit since it doesn’t require knowing anything about policy. We’ve made that observation here over the years too, but Jamieson also said that shift means reporters are essentially training media consumers to be half-assed political consultants (who’s up? who’s down? will XYZ tactic work?) rather than people who understand the challenges facing their city/state/country and are evaluating the various solutions on offer.

    I don’t really remember issues-based political coverage (wasn’t paying as much attention back in the day), but Jamieson had some convincing statistics. She also had suggestions about how to turn things around, but I didn’t find that nearly as convincing as her statement of the problem.

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  15. 15
    Betty Cracker says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    I’ll just say, in a moment of unmitigated honesty/rage, that’s it’s not that the websites are tire fires, it’s that the candidates are. The last time I saw a field of Dems this shitty was in 1988.

    Wow, I couldn’t disagree more. I think we’ve got several terrific candidates, and I expect they’ll get more specific on policies, etc., as the primary season approaches. When I feel impatient about that, I remind myself that it’s WAY early. We shouldn’t expect fully baked proposals at this point in the race. The fact that Warren has so many is a factor in her favor in my mind.

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  16. 16
    Kent says:

    This is so true.

    My 16 year old daughter recently asked me who I liked for president. I told her “Kamala Harris”

    She asked me “What does she stand for?”

    I answered: “Should be on her web site, look it up”

    Five minutes later after messing around on her phone for a while daughter answers: “No, it’s not. There’s really not much there”

    I said “you’re probably not on the right web site or the right place. But sure enough, when I went to https://kamalaharris.org/ it was all profiles and speaches and fundraising and NOT ONE SINGLE POSITION of any kind. Sheesh…

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  17. 17
    Brachiator says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    What is Medium? I haven’t still figured it out.

    Not too hot. Not too cold. :)

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  18. 18
    catclub says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    It’s almost like this isn’t the point in the campaign where candidates benefit in polls by highlighting policies.

    exactly, the subtext of every Democratic campaign is that, if you are a Democrat, then I will be a far better president, and have far better policies, than the alternative that the GOP offers. so If I can beat that person, no matter what my policies and detailed statements are on a website,
    I am worth voting for.

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  19. 19
    catclub says:

    @Brachiator: also, why do they call it medium? It is neither rare, nor well done.

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  20. 20
    Marcopolo says:

    @Betty Cracker: Yep. So much easier (and cheaper) to throw together a panel of folks to riff on the current shiny object in the political news than to actual report on real world problems, how they affect us, and what solutions are being put forth. The viewer comes away with no actual increase in their knowledge base other than being able to ID talking points.

    Also, my tax paperwork is now mailed (taxes were paid online yesterday). Interestingly, the new “short” tax form that Trump’s IRS came up with led to me having to file 4 more pages of forms this year. I actually had to file 3 scheduled & 2 other related forms! Two of the forms were to report information that is no longer directly asked on the 1040. So much for paper reduction.

    As for my taxes, within a hundred bucks of last year’s. However my mom paid $8K more this year than last with basically the same income. And according to an article I read yesterday on Kamala Harris’ taxes, folks who reviewed them said the new tax law reduced the amount of state & local taxes she could deduct by about $240,000. That would suck.

    By the way, has Wilmer released his taxes yet?

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  21. 21

    @catclub: Ask Marshall McLuhan (sp).

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  22. 22
    Brachiator says:

    @Kent:

    I said “you’re probably not on the right web site or the right place. But sure enough, when I went to https://kamalaharris.org/ it was all profiles and speaches and fundraising and NOT ONE SINGLE POSITION of any kind. Sheesh…

    Maybe it’s not super detailed, but you get a fair view of her views on her site at https://kamalaharris.org/our-america/

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  23. 23
    Kay says:

    @Marcopolo:

    I didn’t save any money on federal either. I keep reading that “everyone” got a tax cut. Except you and me and your mom :)

    However. According to my calculations I now pay no state income taxes at all, which is not good news because this state is 6 billion dollars in the hole, and falling apart. I don’t know what they’re thinking but they better come up with some more fees that only affect poor people or something. This isn’t sustainable.

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  24. 24
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Kent: Yep. As much as I like Kamala, she’s in the same boat as all the other candidates but Warren: You have to get what their preferred policies are by looking at recent speeches, and they’re going out of their way to not make themselves single-issue candidates or get into the weeds. As far as I can tell, this is where the candidates are sort of ending up right now:

    Harris: Justice reform & education
    Warren: Level playing field, returning benefits to workers and reining in business. Having real policies and plans.
    Buttigieg: Practicality & not being terrible (he’s explicitly avoiding policy right now, I think)
    Sanders: Being a pure lefty / ‘fairness’
    Biden: Trans-ams and level-headedness (and no, I don’t think he’s got that)
    Gillibrand: Equal Rights and protection for women
    Booker: No idea.
    Inslee: Global Warming

    On a side note, I really want to support Harris and buy something from her store but I can’t stand her website’s merch designs – she’s just getting donations for now. And I want to high-five whoever made one of Buttigieg’s shirts just say (in big print) “BOOT EDGE EDGE”, because that makes me cackle whenever I see it.

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  25. 25
    Brachiator says:

    @catclub:

    also, why do they call it medium? It is neither rare, nor well done.

    Ha! Very good.

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  26. 26
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Kay: Our taxes went pretty well this year. We’re sort of fortunate in that a decent chunk of our income comes from sales of stocks we earned back when Mr. And Mrs. Forkbeard were both still working in tech startups, and ‘stock sales’ and similar activities were really helped by the tax bill.

    I can only imagine how people with *real* stock assets benefitted. We got about 40% of our income from those sales, but we also took a hit by having an expensive house in a blue state, which is an area that got whacked pretty hard with the tax bat.

    @Marcopolo: Not yet, but Wilmer’s got the rest of the day to do so. I don’t like him, but I try to give him a fair shot. There’s a decent chance he’ll be the nominee (I hope not), and I don’t want to get into the habit of hating on him and being one of those people

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  27. 27
    Kent says:

    @Brachiator:

    Maybe it’s not super detailed, but you get a fair view of her views on her site at https://kamalaharris.org/our-america/

    That’s just her coming out speech. What are her policy proposals on the environment? On climate change? On online privacy? On higher education? Those are what interests my daughter. I suppose one can read through her whole transcript and see if there are any mentions of those topics, but it’s not easy to find.

    Honestly I think a more sophisticated view of things is that we all pretty much know the broad sweep of Democratic policy proposals. At least those of us who are paying attention. However no president is going to accomplish more than one or two major policy proposals in office. At least in terms of legislation. The rest of it will be using regulations and executive orders and budgets to chip around the edges. So what they are emphasizing in their campaign speeches is perhaps a good indication of their policy PRIORITIES moving forward.

    But I would like to see some more substitive policy proposals set out. Warren is the only one who is doing it. For that reason she is earning my attention. But them I’m probably in the minority.

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  28. 28
    Mandalay says:

    @Ferdinand: Please go help fix Klobuchar’s dire web site: https://amyklobuchar.com/

    So much wrong with it:
    – I googled “Amy Klobuchar” and her campaign web site didn’t even appear on the first page of search results!
    – Highly unflattering photograph on the home page.
    – Terrible slogan: “Amy for America“. Ugh.
    – No policy at all! Not even bland promises. If you visit her web site you can buy an Amy for America hoodie, and you can give her money, but you won’t learn a damn thing about what she would do as president.

    Just a complete train wreck. Building a web site should be one of the first things a candidate does, and it can then go public on the day the candidate announces. All the works in progress out there are ridiculous.

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  29. 29

    @MisterForkbeard: we got a nice tax cut, probably because we don’t itemize.

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  30. 30
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @MisterForkbeard: I forgot one:

    Gabbard: Doing highly suspicious things and yelling at Democrats.

    @Major Major Major Major: That would do it. We itemize and actually pay through the nose for a tax attorney to handle our taxes. Saves ludicrous amounts of time and costs about $5-10k, but usually gets us an extra $10-15k over what we’d get ourselves. Spending money in order to spend less effort AND more than pay for the spend is totally worth it.

    Are you guys going to have to dual-file in CA & NY next year? That might be a good time to start itemizing. :(

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  31. 31
    EthylEster says:

    Obviously the only thing that matters is how much the candidate raised in the first week after announcing.
    Whocoodanode?

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  32. 32
    Brachiator says:

    @Kent:

    But I would like to see some more substantive policy proposals set out.

    I absolutely see your point.

    Warren is the only one who is doing it. For that reason she is earning my attention. But them I’m probably in the minority.

    I’ve been busy and have not had time to look much into any candidate’s policy positions, but I am a bit disappointed to hear that this may be weak and unfocused, even though it is early in the campaign season. It should be easy to point out Trump/GOP failures and at least outline alternative proposals.

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  33. 33
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Mandalay: I Googled “Amy Klobuchar,” and the first result was a link to her campaign site, though it’s paid rather than organic. It’s true that the site is regrettably sparse, but it does have a banner ad linking to her Medium post on the infrastructure plan, which is the only detailed policy proposal she’s offered, AFAIK.

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  34. 34

    @MisterForkbeard: we had to dual-file for last year (ie the taxes we filed this year). Went to H&R Block because the california part-time resident form made me cry. From here on out we’re single-state.

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  35. 35
    James Simonds says:

    Numerous, numerous professionals of both parties in DC observed that 2016 proved conclusively that policies don’t matter in presidential elections. I think that’s overstated, because so much else was going on that year. But it certainly didn’t seem to help Clinton, and a total lack of actual policy doesn’t seem to have hurt Trump.

    This long before the election, the money situation is questionable and many candidates are still working out their major policy goals. It’s going to be an uphill climb to convince campaign managers it’s worth putting work into a policy section on a website when the majority of voters and reporters don’t seem to care.

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  36. 36
    Uncle Ebeneezer says:

    Not complete yet and I didn’t included links to sources, but here’s a spreadsheet I have been working on.

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  37. 37
    Uncle Ebeneezer says:

    Most of the content In the above-mentioned spreadsheet came from this series of voter-guides that a friend of mine put together, in addition to just doing some Googling for: candidate name, issue.

    https://politicalcharge.org/2019/02/15/kamala-harris-the-7-issues-guide/?fbclid=IwAR2NkFoW-mY5ws5tsS7_ld159XBV7novBiX9ywVjGE5HwXUjvruyZ_CFKyE

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  38. 38
    Mandalay says:

    @Uncle Ebeneezer: Thanks for that – your friend did a superb job. That’s the best site I’ve seen for comparing the policy positions of the candidates.

    https://politicalcharge.org/category/2020-candidates/

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  39. 39
    jl says:

    @Uncle Ebeneezer: Thanks.
    I looked at Warren’s website, anticipating I could slam Cole for pulling a Cole, like getting impatient, panicking and typing up an inaccurate diatribe in a burst of fury (which I admit has never ever happened, I am sorry).

    But, he’s right. Warren has very simple bold bottom-line capsule summaries of her policy platform on her website, which is probably good, since most people don’t want to read details. But I had to resort to random clicking to get to them. Bizarre. The supposed menu seems to just take you to another version of the front page. I didn’t see any menu in the menu.

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  40. 40
    jl says:

    @Mandalay: Thanks for that as well. I’ll take a look. I’m contributing to Warren now. But If there is someone who may be promising, but might get too far behind in the early going, I might make contributions to them as well. This guide will be useful for making that decision.

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  41. 41
    GC says:

    @Mandalay: Interesting. I see the same.
    The tax return subpage turns up on page 2 for me, the main page is not in the first 12 pages of listings, but I suppose it turns up eventually.

    What I do get on page 1 are the Twitter and Facebook pages, and presumably that is what they are focusing on.

    A search for (Amy Klobuchar campaign) (no quotes) was enough to move the site to first position for me. Of course Google also has its own theories about what each of us is looking for.

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  42. 42
    Uncle Ebeneezer says:

    @jl: Cole is absolutely right. When I started researching for the Google spreadsheet I was surprised at how policy-free the 2020 candidates’ websites were. I refer to Hillary’s 2016 website all the time, so I just assumed they would all be as content-heavy as hers. I guess when we get further along they will but it’s still very early.

    Feel free to share spreadsheet link, or let me know if you see anything that looks like it needs correcting. The grand take-away, Imo, is that there really isn’t much policy difference between candidates and they are all pretty great and very progressive. It’s a good problem to have.

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  43. 43
    jl says:

    @Uncle Ebeneezer: Maybe it is due to the race for small donations. Or maybe the political psych experts told the campaigns that it is important to establish a big bold presence first. Or maybe research shows right now main audience is political junkiies who are following issues anyway, and you need to capture contributions. So, I am trying to be optimistic. But, being realistic, Warren’s website is disappointing. It is confusing to navigate unless you go there for no reason other than making a contribution or volunteering.

    Let’s hope they know what they are doing. But they weren’t built for political junkies who want to get to a list of policy proposals asap.

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  44. 44
    Procopius says:

    @Marcopolo: I seem to remember this from the 2016 campaign. Hillary was touted as having the most comprehensive set of policies ever. The problem was they were on her web site, rarely in her speeches. I never bothered to look them up.

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