Keep fighting, never give up

Whatever the final tally is tonight, we’ll get through this.

The value of a ground game

4Chan, Reddit and large rallies are good at building group solidarity and raising money as well as a mob.  So far they are not a substitute for a boring, grind it out ground game.

North Carolina has some interesting data on early voting:


Registered Democrats continue to lead in the accepted ballots numbers, and are over-performing their 2012 same-day comparison numbers, at 129 percent of where they were in accepted ballots on the same day from four years ago. Registered unaffiliated voters are 128 percent of their same-day accepted ballots, and registered Republicans are 66 percent of where they were four years ago on the same day. Overall, the total returned and accepted mail-in ballots are at 96 percent of where they were on the same day in 2012.

Registered Democrats are running about 30% higher than they did in 2012.  Registered Republicans are running about 30% lower.  If we were seeing equivalent ground games, the Republicans are missing one vote for every vote that has been returned.

Time to keep on grinding away as a superior GOTV organization is worth a point or two in.  And if you are in a non-swingable state, work down ballot as this data suggests that the downballot Republicans in North Carolina are not hitting their early voting marks either.

Update 1: A very good friend of the blog argued via e-mail that the independent/non-affiliated surge is very likely to be embarrassed Republicans and thus there is not a Democratic advantage.  I can see that to some degree.  However if we assume that every vote above last cycle’s non-affiliated vote is effectively an embarrassed Republican vote the combined Republican vote would be about 3% more than the current Democratic registered vote or in horse race turns the Republican adjust lead is 51% to 48% for the adjusted two party vote.  In 2012 backing out the incremental embarrassed Republican vote, the Republicans had 58% to 42% two party vote edge.


GOTV optimization

This evening, my wife and I were door knocked for the first time this election cycle. A very earnest paid canvasser from a union backed entity asked us half a dozen questions, got our contact information and engaged in small chit chat. He stayed on our porch for ten minutes as a nasty but brief squall ripped through the neighborhood and took down a pair of branches from the walnut tree across the street. As we were talking, I mentioned that I had been a data geek for a similar 527 organization a while back. I understood that this was an initial data canvas and not a mobilization nor a persuasion canvas. Neither my wife nor I need persuasion nor mobilization. We have not missed an election in ten years, and the latest either of us have voted is three hours and seventeen minutes after the polls opened (this year as I was working from home and had to get the kids to school and coffee in me before casting a ballot for Hillary Clinton).

Any resources devoted to either persuade or mobilize my wife or I are wasted resources. We’re going to vote, and we’re going to vote for the most plausibly electable liberal that we can whenever we can. And this is a problem that calls for a solution. We’re going to get hit up with at least four different liberal GOTV ground campaigns (Clinton, joint/coordinated Federal and State Dem victory campaign, an environmental organization and a union backed 527 that we just talked to). Each of these groups will call us, they will mail us, and they will door knock us. If we only answer ten canvassers at the door this fall, I will be surprised. All of that effort is wasted effort that should be deployed on either getting a sure liberal but unsure voter out to vote, or a sure voter but squishy persuasion target out to vote for Democrats.

Is there a solution where my wife and I can register with a data vendor to say that we are 100% sure of voting and we are non-persuadable in the general election cycle so send resources three doors down to the new couple that moved into the neighborhood from out of state and have just registered to vote for the first time? If that is a third party entity, then both the campaigns that are allowed to coordinate with candidates and independent entities can buy the same cleansing lists to clean and narrow their actual target universe.

You’ll come running back

I don’t understand why it’s vital that Bernie get out of the race and endorse Hillary immediately. I do understand why he needs to do this before the convention. But I don’t understand why it has to happen soon.

It sounds like Hillary can expect about a 5 point, give or take, bounce from bringing the Bernie voters home, and I’m confident she’ll get this sooner or later. In the meantime, isn’t it just as well that she has only a 4-6 point lead in polls instead of a 9-11 point lead, given that a double digit lead might convince Republicans to do the smart thing and find a way to dump Trump?

Every day that Republicans think Trump is in it to win it and go around idiotically tying their fates to his is a good day for Democrats. If Trump were way down in the polls, this wouldn’t be happening the way that it is right now.

And eventually Bernie will do the right thing. In the meantime, we need to just chill them liberals out and wait for the cavalry, which should be coming directly.

In fact, it was a little bit frightening

This is a bit Captain Obvious but, yeah, we can expect a lot of Rasmussen polls where Trump and Hill are neck and neck, and a lot of Chuck Todd pieces about how the key Edible Arrangements moms or liquor store uncle or whatever demographic is shifting towards Trump:


Reporters will get bored writing Trump-is-going-to-lose-big stories. Some will want the race to tighten. They’ll look for angles to promote the idea. You can see some of that taking shape already. The media took approving notice when experienced political operatives supplanted Trump’s posse of fanboys, who’d been running things until recently. With a change of personnel has come a little more maturity and message discipline—or what passes for discipline in a willful, insecure, ungovernable personality like Trump’s.

I got very scared during the Sandra Day O’Palin portion of the 2008 election, which fortunately only lasted about two weeks. And I expect to get a little scared during this general election too.

If The Phone Don’t Ring…

Hey everyone!

I’ve got a message for you:

Pick up the damn phone.

The backstory:  I heard last night from a valued reader with connections to the Hill reminded me that there is more this crowd can do than point, sigh, and mock the GOP pants-wetters (abetted by an increasing number of feckless Dems) who so fear the widows and orphans from the latest spasm of our long decade of war in the Middle East.*


What to do about the attempt to make fear the ground state of American policy?  What to do about the spreading political meme that the proper exercise of US state power is to bar the door to Syrian refugees? How should we stand with President Obama when he says of the fear mongers “that’s not who we are”?

Pick up the damn telephone.

Call your Congressional representatives in the House and the Senate.

You know the drill:  Speak your mind, politely, respectfully, but firmly to whoever you get on the phone.

My reader emphasized, and my own distant memory of an internship on the Hill concurs, that these calls really matter.  House and Senate staffs keep notes and logs.  There are regular reports of how many calls came in, on what side, and with what passion or urgency.  \

Paradoxically, because of the ubiquity of social media, an actual human voice that has taken the trouble to pick up a phone carries a great deal of weight.  So call.

The numbers:

The Senate.

The House.

If you’re feeling extra virtuous — your governor and state legislature representatives would also be worth a call.

We can water the tree of liberty not with blood, but words.

Pick up the damn phone.

*Yes, I do know that the conflict there — and “Great” Power strategerizing through its misery — extends well before 2003.  But the Syrian Civil War of the last few years is (at least to me) both a conflict with deep roots and a proximate consequence of Bush the Lesser’s attempt to remake the Middle East into an model US client region.

Image: attr. to Rembrandt van Rijn, The Flight Into Egypt 1627


Open Thread: “I Am Not A Member of Any Organized Political Party… “

Even before Will Roger’s famous snark, there was Finley Peter Dunne, back in the original Gilded Age:

No, sir, th’ dimmycratic party ain’t on speakin’ terms with itsilf. Whin ye see two men with white neckties go into a sthreet car an’ set in opposite corners while wan mutthers Thraiter an’ th’ other hisses Miscreent ye can bet they’re two dimmycratic leaders thryin’ to reunite th’ gran’ ol’ party.

I was born into the Democratic Party, and the 1972 Democratic National Convention was the first to which I paid serious attention. (I was sixteen, and enamored with Shirley Chisholm.) So yesterday’s “shit show” at Netroots Nation wasn’t the shock to my sensibilities that it was to some other people. As described by local outlet AZ Central:

Civil-rights protesters gave Democratic presidential contenders Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley a raucous and tense reception Saturday in downtown Phoenix, disrupting and commandeering a forum that was billed as a conversation with the two progressive candidates…

Tia Oso, a Phoenix resident with the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, said she helped organize the protest because Black-rights issues were not represented at Netroots Nation this year. While events for Latino immigrants were integrated into the convention, black immigrants were ignored, she said…

“They said, ‘Oh we’re doing it in Arizona. We have to be all about immigration,'” said Angela Peoples, a co-director at LGBT inequality group Get Equal from Maryland. “But then they’re only centering the conversation on Latinos, which is important, but we also know that the experiences … are connected and we need people to be connected to Black lives as much as brown lives.”

In a written statement, Netroots Nation said it “stands in solidarity with all people seeking human rights.”

“Although we wish the candidates had more time to respond to the issues, what happened today is reflective of an urgent moment that America is facing today,” the statement said. “In 2016, we’re heading to St. Louis. We plan to work with activists there just as we did in Phoenix with local leaders, including the #BlackLivesMatter movement, to amplify issues like racial profiling and police brutality in a major way…

Of course, NN15 paid special attention to Latino issues because Markos Moulitsas “and his DailyKos community” were already boycotting the event in protest over its location. The Phoenix affiliate had done a lot of planning, and I’m sure they hoped for more coverage of events like the #ArpaioFreeAZ protest…

… not to mention the general Progressive goal of “dragging HRC leftwards.”

But the #BlackLivesMatter protest organizers understandably have their own goals, sometimes orthogonal to those of the general Netroots Nation “train grassroots workers to better promote and elect more progressive (i.e., Democratic) officials at every level of government.” They feel their concerns are underrepresented, and they have to use the platforms available — which will be Democratic, not Republican, venues — to rectify that. It would seem, from the reports, that they succeeded in doing so yesterday:

“It’s not like we like shutting s— down, but we have to,” Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matters, told the crowd, saying the group’s issues were an emergency.

As a side benefit, the protest identified its organizers (Oso, Peoples, Cullors) to the general media as “leaders”, spokeswomen for the larger issue, and the MSM can be expected to go to them and their group in the future for quotes and stories. This is not nothing, since the very diffusion of social media that makes it possible for movements like #BlackLivesMatter to arise makes it harder for any group or individual to achieve “credibility” with the MSM.

So, what’s done is done, and it is to be hoped that the aftereffects won’t be as toxic as the 1972 convention (which broke Rep. Chisholm’s heart, destroyed McGovern’s never strong chance of taking back the White House, and established a tradition of hippie-punching and anti-feminism that have yet to be exorcised). Never thought I’d be using the phrase “Thank God for Donald Trump’s big mouth” in earnest…