Saturday, December 3, 2016

Don't Bury the Democratic Party -- Trump Hasn't Killed It.


To paraphrase from a song popular after the Great War “Sixty-Five million Americans can’t be wrong.”  That’s how many United States voters cast their ballot for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party candidate for President on November 8, 2016.  She won the vote but not the election.  And since then the pundits and consultants and those with their own political agenda have waxed eloquent in their attempts to determine what is wrong with the Democratic Party.  As Lawrence O’Donnell pointed out only in America would those who won two and one half million more votes than their opponent ask what they are doing wrong?

Let’s reduce this election to the simple fact t that just as in 1888 the Electoral College system resulted in the election of the candidate who received fewer votes from the people for President.  Donald Trump thus joins that illustrious list of President's chosen not by the people but by the system devised in 1787: Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison and George W. Bush (although most historians would agree that the first and last of those were actually chosen by actions outside the electoral college.)

The message of the Democratic Party, the most progressive platform in a century was not rejected by the American people -- it was in fact endorsed.
The messenger of the Democratic Party, with all her misperceived warts, was not rejected by the American people - but by a system devised when it seemed difficult to imagine a national electorate. And so the Republican Party already in control of the House of Representatives due to congressional and state legislative gerrymandering of districts, and the Senate due to the malapportionment of that body now controls the national governing institutions. The Democratic Party remains with only one indicia of influence -- the support of the majority of the American people.

Will 2016 be 1828 or 1932 and usher in decades of party dominance of the American political scene.  Or will it be 1928, 1964, 1972 lopsided victories were followed by the opposition returning to power in the next election?

As a Democratic Party activist I recognize that there are things my party needs to do.  Things they should have done had they won but most likely in that case wouldn’t have.   The party needs to return to its historic roots. It has spent the past fifty years fighting, successfully, to extend civil rights to those so long denied - African Americas, women, the LGBTQ community, the disabled, native Americans, and Latinos. But while doing that it appeared to forget the needs of those who made it possible for the Democrats to accomplish this historic inclusion of all in the American way of life - the white working class, the Euro-American ethnic groups, the Catholic sons and daughters of immigrants and the evangelical Christians of rural America.

The traditional Democratic principle of economic justice for all and opposition to the uber-rich combined with the struggle for social equality would have kept that coalition intact and in fact could have expanded it. But in the 1990's led by the Clinton inspired democratic leadership council the party moved its economic positions to the center and embraced globalization trade agreements that lifted other societies up and a detente and bonding with the magnates of wall street. This new relationship led int he last year of the Clinton administration to the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act a New Deal measure that even Reagan and Gingrich couldn’t repeal.

And, when the bubble burst, the American people responded to the crash of 2008 with the election of Barack Obama whom they expected to be another FDR. Instead they found themselves with a 90's Democrat - liberal on social issues and centrist on dealings with the powers of Wall Street: sort of a combination of Jimmy Carter and Grover Cleveland. His signature accomplishment domestically was the Affordable Care Act which brought health insurance to many millions who had not had it but never resonated as a benefit for all those who already had.

Winning the next national election and remaining relevant to American democracy requires that the world’s oldest political party take some actions:

1) Adopt fifty state strategies asking why we lost where we did and what we have to do to win there. No one size fits all manual that instructs political neophytes how to run a campaign but tried and true tactics that meet the conditions in each state (and within the state, e.g. Pennsylvania, 67 county strategies not a failed 15 county strategy).  

2).Advocate for and fight for the progressive platform of 2016 recognizing the party’s historic commitment to economic justice for all as embodied in the platform of 1896 and FDR’s four freedoms and second bill of rights.

3) Replace my generation of baby boomers from leadership positions at every level and replace them with fighters in their fifties and forties and open the doors of the party to those under forty to be full participants not merely sometime votes.

4)Using every means possible struggle to expand the franchise with early voting and same day registration; fight to change the anti-people aspects of the American political structure - the electoral college and district gerrymandering.

5) Expose the outside forces such as the FBI and the dictator of Russia who interfered in the election and to some extent determined its outcome. And remind Americans again and again that It Shouldn’t Happen Here.

Finally Democrats should remember the injunction of Andrew Jackson that “One man with courage makes a majority” and realize that sixty-five million Americans with courage can make a nation.


3 December 2016.    

Thursday, October 6, 2016

IT IS TIME TO LABEL TRUMPISM WHAT IT IS - EVIL.


It has been said that Evil succeeds when good men and women do nothing to prevent it.  The Presidential election of 2016 could well become an example on point.

I am not one of those who contends that Trump is another Hitler (although he does a good imitation of Mussolini) nor do I believe that all Trump supporters are closet Nazis.  I do believe that those in our country who admire the Ku Klux Klan, who consider themselves alt-right nationalists; are white supremacists, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim as well as xenophobic are supporters of Trump. Make no mistake about it Trumpism is home grown American Fascism wrapping itself in the banner of patriotic populism. Trump’s candidacy has appealed to the evil elements of people’s natures not as Lincoln called for the Better Angels. Trump’s candidacy has unleashed those elements and let that genie out of the bottle -even his defeat may not be able to put the genie back in . But, Trump's victory would legitimatize those hate groups as acceptable to the American President.

There are those in America who have not learned the lessons of the past nor even perhaps are aware of them.  They do not understand why hundreds of thousands died in a Civil War to abolish slavery when one candidate tells them that African-Americans have never had it so bad. They do not understand why the “greatest generation” sacrificed so much to save the world from Nazism, Fascism and Militarism.  And quite frankly many do not even realize the evilness of the Stalin Soviet Empire that fell with the Berlin Wall nor how close we came to nuclear war in 1962.


If Trump wins and the forces of evil are unleashed with the imprimatur of respectability lent them by a President there will come a time decades from now when the grandchildren of today's voters will ask “What did you do to stop Trumpism” If Trump wins it will be because so many will answer that question with “When ballots could stop him I didn’t vote or didn’t see a difference between him and his major opponent.  And when only bullets could stop the evil it was those forces that had them.”  

One can only hope that those elderly voters of the greatest generation remember what happened when evil was unleashed in 1939 and will vote to make sure it doesn’t happen here.

And I pray that my own generation, the baby boomers, will remember the idealism and the sacrifice of the 1960's and vote for the candidate that embodies the best of us - Hillary Clinton.

If you believe that America is a great country that has come a long way toward being that shining city on a hill that the Puritans envisaged and the last best hope of mankind that Lincoln labeled it you are on the other side of the Trump evil forces who believe that the America of the past fifty years has been in decline and they must make America Great -White - Straight- Christian Again.

Will it happen here? Will America succumb to the politics of hate and fear?
Our country rejected that path in the 1930's and then preserved some 60 years of relative world peace and the spread of democratic values. American leaders have become icons and symbols throughout the world: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and John Fitzgerald Kennedy.  And we have elected some Presidents who have become the synonym for corruption Warren Harding and Richard Nixon. To which model of leader will American voters look to this November?  To those who were bold enough to envision a better future or those who were afraid of the progress of the past.


6 Oct. 2016

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Can Trump's Opponents Stop Him? -- Andrew Jackson's Couldn't !

I prepared a version of this blog entry two months ago with the assistance of, and in collaboration with, a long time friend, Dr. John Tantillo, "the Marketing Doctor", who is an expert on branding and offered significant marketing and branding insights on my basically political history take; John is the author of the book, "People Buy Brands, Not Companies". 

Political pundits and some historians always try to match current presidential candidates with past political figures. The matches are never exact, but knowledge of history can help prepare us for what might be. 2016 presents what the media presents as a Trump phenomena—a nationwide celebrity defeating the establishment of a major political party and securing the nomination of that party for president. Trump faces a former secretary of state (and US senator and first lady) in a general election that has become nasty and divisive and possibly close.

Almost 200 years ago, as the “the Era of Good Feeling” drew to a close, the political establishment proceeded to choose a new president. The secretary of state, John Quincy Adams, by birth (his father was the Revolutionary icon and second president, John Adams) and tradition, was the obvious choice.  The Congressional Caucus, which in those days nominated the candidates, met and endorsed Secretary of Treasury William Crawford. Speaker of the House Henry Clay saw an opportunity with multiple candidates if the Electoral College failed to produce a majority and the House had to choose from amongst the top-three candidates.

There came forth an outsider, a Westerner, and a national celebrity. Andrew Jackson was known popularly for his victory at the Battle of New Orleans and by many as the victor of the War of 1812. Jackson was also known for his battles against Native Americans (the Indians) in Alabama and then the occupation of Florida; Andrew Jackson was in his day a national celebrity perhaps better known across the country than any other public figure since Washington and Franklin. He became the candidate supported by those on the outside—poor farmers, workingmen, and mechanics of the cities, politicos from the new states, and the entrepreneurs fueling the growing economy known as the “men on the make.” 

For the first time in presidential elections, most states allowed the people to vote to choose the electors from that state; and, Andrew Jackson amassed the most popular votes followed by Adams. In the Electoral College, Crawford (the candidate of the NY/VA Democratic–Republican establishment) edged out Clay for third place, which threw the election into the House with the Speaker not in contention. Jackson and his supporters claimed the moral right to win due to receipt of the most popular votes and the most electoral votes. Adams supporters cited the lack of anyone receiving a majority and the rules in the Constitution specifying what should then happen. Adams was elected by the House with Clay’s support, and, when the latter was made Secretary of State, Jackson called it a corrupt bargain and began a four-year campaign to win the presidency.

Jackson was considered by his opponents as brash, uncultured by Eastern Seaboard standards, a racist, a philanderer and bigamist, a murderer, and a hot-tempered man ill-suited to be the nation’s chief executive. Sound familiar? (And we think today’s political rhetoric is rough!) He had little if any support from the nation’s political establishment. In fact, his predecessors (Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe), though publicly supporting Crawford in 1824, in private correspondence expressed sympathy for the aspirations of John Quincy Adams.
Jackson’s opponents, the political elite and the money establishment of New York and Philadelphia, used arguments against him, which in fact may have gained him votes.

Jackson was not yet president, so he had no record to stand on; furthermore, it was only during his second term that his most controversial actions took place. The opposition to Jackson used what they considered his personality flaws to try to defeat him. They ridiculed his poor spelling (he evidently spelled Congress with a K). But this was at a time when even the most literate Americans spelled phonetically. Because he had married his wife Rachel assuming her husband had gotten a divorce, when in fact he had only applied for one, Jackson was accused of bigamy --  at a time when, outside Eastern cities, record-keeping, to say the least, was sporadic. He was accused of murder, having slain a man in a duel who had slandered Jackson’s wife; this attack at a time when men thought it their duty to protect the honor of their wives. And in a “swift boat-style attack,” Jacksons’ opponents issued the “coffin circular,” which pictured six coffins representing soldiers he had executed for disobedience and desertion. But the men who belonged to militias and had heard the stories of their fathers from the Revolutionary War accepted the concept that you had to execute those in your ranks whose actions endangered all. 

Though Jackson as president was a divisive character, he was loved by the people enough to win three popular votes for president and elect his successor; his name has been used to denote the era in American history before the Civil War: the Age of Jackson. Hatred by his opponents caused the coalescing of the opposition groups into the Whig Party. He was a fierce nationalist and a believer in a strong presidency. His policies divided the three branches of the federal government, but in most cases the position of the executive prevailed. Among the nineteenth-century presidents, only Lincoln surpassed him in national homage.

Is Donald Trump the twenty-first-century incarnation of Andrew Jackson? Certainly there are similarities in temper and his possible rise to the highest office.  Jackson, like Trump, could be civil and polite in society. He also could be stubborn and even sometimes cruel. Once he determined on a course of action, nothing stopped him. When he declared war on a political enemy, it was total. 

While there are similarities between the two candidates there are even more in the reaction to the candidates.  Jackson’s opponents attempted to turn his strengths into weaknesses and may, in fact, have merely enhanced the repute of his strengths. In 2016, Trump’s opponents might do well to study the failure of Jackson’s opposition and develop a better strategy to stop him.  They should recall Santayana’s dictum: “those who cannot remember history are doomed to repeat it.”  Jackson ultimately won the presidency in a wave of popular dissatisfaction against the establishment, the effete elite, and the big money interests who allegedly owned Washington DC politicians. 

The intent herein is neither to denigrate Andrew Jackson nor to elevate Donald Trump. America has been graced with much good luck throughout its history. Jackson, who followed some disastrous economic policies and a horrific Indian removal policy, nevertheless ushered America safely into a new era and created a popular attachment to the union that bolstered Lincoln as he won the Civil War.  Should Donald Trump be elected president, let us hope that America’s luck has not run out!

Andrew Jackson was an American original. Donald Trump is likewise -- whether one likes him or not. The inside-the-beltway bureaucracy, along with the historical elite, have decided to remove Andrew Jackson from the $20 bill. It would be ironic if the people now send a 21st century version of Jackson to the White House.


9 Aug 2016

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Liberal - Progressive -- A Rose By Any Other Name...


The labels Liberal and Progressive are thrown around in Democratic Party politics without any reference to either historic meaning or consistent current definition.  We have reached a point in our politics today where anyone can label them self what they like, their opponents can label them what they want and people just accept those labels -- giving those labels their own understood meanings.  Thus the labels become meaningless.

In 1896 a relatively conservative Democratic party controlled by the money interests of the northeastern states and the ex-confederate Bourbons of the South was subjected to a popular revolt and transformed into a populist party. That original Populist agenda included many items of economic justice (anti-big banks, anti-monopolies), political justice (direct election of Senators, referendum, recall) and global justice (anti-imperialism and anti-war).  After the turn of the 20th century Populism, whose roots were rural and western, merged with urban Progressivism and became the Progressive movement. Progressives added social justice (labor conditions, health care, and slum eradication) to economic and political justice and on the global scene became advocates for an American style world justice and organization.  The Progressive movement was personified by Theodore Roosevelt and institutionalized by Woodrow Wilson.

After World War I, as Progressives embraced woman suffrage, extreme elements pushed successfully for prohibition and many nativist elements opposed Wilsonian world leadership. These divisions, which often reflected urban  rural differences, lasted throughout the 1920's.  And, then came Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the New Deal.

FDR, a firm Wilson Progressive and cousin to Teddy Roosevelt, considered himself a LIBERAL.  Read his speeches and you will be hard pressed to find one that doesn’t use the world Liberal in it. He advocated economic, social, political, and global justice. He preached Four Freedoms “everywhere in the world” and an Economic Bill of Rights.  His twelve years in office made the Democratic Party a Liberal Party. Truman, Stevenson, Kennedy, Johnson and Humphrey were all proud to call themselves Liberals. 

The Vietnam War divided Liberals on global issues and the degree to which the US should be willing to engage in war to defeat communists and so called fellow travelers.  After the 1968 convention the anti-war Democrats took control of the party apparatus and the 1972 convention and nominated George McGovern on a Liberal platform strongly anti-war.  His crushing defeat by Nixon caused a reaction among Democrats that can only be described as cowardly as most Democrats began to deny the word Liberal and instead use the word Progressive which they felt would denote liberal views on social and economic issues and not carry the “stain” of McGovernism.  In contrast when LBJ decimated the Goldwater Republicans in 1964 they responded by hunkering down and pushing conservatives from the school board to the court house and building the base for the Reagan revolution sixteen years later.

And so for twenty years the Democrats, having rid themselves of the segregationists and having taken a clear pro-choice position on abortion, see sawed between centrists Progressives like Carter and Liberals like Mondale and Dukakis.  Finally in 1992 the centrist Democrats led by Bill Clinton took control of the party and Liberal became an unused label.

It was not until 2014, when Senators like Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Sherrod Brown began to crusade for economic justice again - and people went into the streets to demand that government reign in Wall Street, raise the minimum wage, and rescue the middle class from extinction, that the word PROGRESSIVE began again to have its historic meaning of economic justice and opposition to the power and greed of the wealthy and the corporate interests.  And people also began to again use the word LIBERAL with pride as contra CONSERVATIVE.

The two labels tend to denote the same views on social issues and support for the economic programs of the New Deal and the Great Society.  I would argue that Progressive today includes liberal values with a heightened concern about the oligarchic power of big business and the influence of the military industrial complex on our international relations.  But, I would also say that it is difficult today to give precise meaning to the two labels: Liberal and Progressive. While both support equal rights for all only some in each oppose the death penalty. Today both labels now denote opposition to corporate power and Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United; but, Progressives place more value on minimum wage and single payer health care than many Liberals.  And, most unfortunately, many Liberals today are not advocating political reform - they are satisfied with the reforms that were enacted post 1972 and the party structures they control and so resist changes such as open primaries, abolition of automatic delegates, ending caucus systems.     

But, now (2016) in the mind of the public the labels Liberal and Progressive have become somewhat synonymous. Many people see them as the same-- which they are not.  And, many party activists argue over the Progressive bonafides of candidates.  If the key litmus test is economic justice and attitudes toward Wall Street and corporate political power than we should begin using the terms Progressive Liberal and Traditional Liberal. A Progressive Liberal being one who holds basic liberal values on most issues but is clearly anti-Wall Street and all that entails.  A Traditional Liberal would be one who holds basic liberal values on most issues but has become comfortable with the role that corporations and big business play in our government. (To be clear I would denote Bernie Sanders the former and Hillary Clinton the latter.) Personally I prefer either type of Liberal to a conservative, or an extremist tea-partier, or an enabling so-called moderate or Trumpian.


24 July 2016

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

THE DO'S AND DON'TS OF RUNNING AGAINST TRUMP

The 2016 Presidential election contest has become unique by the presence of the "first" non-political candidate -- Donald Trump.  Not since Wendell Willkie in 1940, some seventy-six years ago, has a non-political type dared to enter the presidential sweepstakes. Trump=s primary opponents and now his general election adversary seem at a loss as to how to campaign effectively against him.  They complain, they react, they act bemused sometimes outraged and often incredulous. They simply haven=t a clue about what he is doing and what he may be all about.  He has developed a 21st century version of Populism that harkens back to the 1890's but in many ways is more nostalgic and certainly less progressive than William Jennings Bryan=s transformation of that label.

As someone who has spent his entire adult life in politics -- running for office, managing campaigns at the federal, state, county and municipal levels one gets a feel for the do's and don’ts of campaigning. True I=ve won some and lost others. I claim no great expertise or predictive abilities, but do believe that I am as cognizant of the new politics of today and the impact of the technology of our century as anyone in the political analytic process.  Where Lincoln used lists of voters to get out the vote for Henry Clay, we use computer print outs with information on voters that in Lincoln=s day only the local minister had.

I offer this list of Do=s and Don=ts on ways to campaign against Donald Trump.    

DON=T ridicule Trump or treat him as some sort of buffoon who doesn=t know what he is talking about.  He is a well educated man who has an ability to read an audience and express in terms that audience understands what he, Trump, is thinking. 

DO take Trump seriously. His supporters enjoy his approach - his opponents do not.  Let him turn off the undecided by himself. He can do a good job of that.  Voters don=t like to be told why not to like someone they like to come to that conclusion themselves.

DON=T react to Trump=s actions and comments.  If one does so they continue the story he has begun and let him set the agenda of what is considered significant by the media. 

DO offer positive programs and goals and reasons for people to vote for the Democratic candidate.



DON=T explain every Democratic proposal or critique every one of Trump=s with extensive description and multiple points.  Trump has found a way to replace the 30 second commercial and the 10 second sound bite with a 140 character tweet, and bumper sticker slogans. Trump is speaking in clear affirmative sentences not paragraphs of verbiage.  His slogans are curt and to the point. And if one tries to take them apart the listener is lost in the weeds of the explanation. This may well be the campaign model of the 21st century.

DO present ideas in clear sloganesque format e.g. Health Care for All; Debt-Free College Education for All; Personal Equality for All; Religious Freedom for All; Pre-K classes for All Children.

DON=T just defend the status quo. Take a lesson from the Brexit campaign in England the very word Remain was passive and satisfied while Leave expressed change and action.

DO expand on popular programs, e.g. Social Security; build on positive ideas that have been around. Trump wants to make America Great Again - rejoinder: Let=s Make a Great America Greater.

DON=T treat Trump and his supporters like ignoramuses, red-necks or the great unwashed. That plays right into Trumps anti-intellectual anti-professional class approach to winning over the 50% of Americans who don=t vote.

DO reach out to every voter -- remembering Thomas Jefferson=s injunction AError of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.@.

Don't let this become a campaign about the character and personality of the candidates. Neither candidate is popular in the Obama/Reagan mold.
And, don't run a campaign of fear of what Trump will do to programs and the world as he runs a campaign about fear of immigrants and terrorists.  
If this becomes a campaign of fear, I believe the anxiety about personal safety will trump concern about losing material benefits.  
  
Donald Trump could become more than a unique phenomenon.  If he wins he could well be the precursor of what political candidates will be like in the future.  And, the probability of his victory is increased if the campaign against him is based on old conventional wisdom and the political practices of the past.


19 July 2016

Friday, July 15, 2016

MIKE PENCE PRESIDENTIAL TIMBER -- SERIOUSLY ?


So, Donald Trump has chosen his Vice President: the Governor of Indiana, Michael Pence. A former Congressman who when he left the House gave twelve years of his papers and notes and emails and anything else connected with his service in the House of Representatives to the University of Indiana with condition that it be sealed from access by anyone until after 2020.  So the press and more importantly the public must now judge the Trump-Pence ticket without Trump’s tax returns and without Pence’s papers.  Yet, the Republicans continue to misrepresent more and more info from Clinton’s thousands of personal emails which were released to public scrutiny.

Michael Pence has been a run of the mill average pro-life pro-gun pro-business (owned by the Koch brothers) Governor who was in some evident trouble getting reelected this year. The Indiana Republicans are said to be happy that he is now running for VP so they can run a stronger candidate for Governor.

Pence joins a distinguished list of Indiana pols who have served as Vice President of the United States:
                                                            Schuyler Colfax
                                                            Thomas Hendricks
                                                            Charles Fairbanks
                                                            Thomas Marshall
                                                            Daniel Quayle

These Indiana Veeps personified the old adage that a man had two sons one went to sea and one became Vice President and neither was ever heard of again.

Pence is a Ted Cruz ultra right wing Republican whose positions on social issues are far more extreme than Trump’s and where Trump takes non-establishment positions on immigration and trade agreements Pence turns moderate and traditional - including support for the TPP..

Donald Trump the self proclaimed populist who wants to shake up Washington DC makes the safest choice for Vice President.  Trump chooses someone that the right wing Tea party establishment is comfortable with, someone who the donor class is comfortable with and someone who the inside the beltway crowd is comfortable with. Apparently Trump, as he gets closer to the White House and hears the strains of Hail to the Chief, gets more comfortable with being the Republican candidate for President not the Donald. 


  15 July 2016  

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

WHY TRUMP DOESN’T NEED A GROUND GAME AND CLINTON DOES


The political pundits and media commentators have found a new conventional wisdom to share.  They are decrying the fact that Donald Trump doesn’t appear to have a solid ground game which they have decided is necessary for him to win in November. And, Democrats especially in states where the Trump campaign seems less organized structurally, may be adding this ground game factor into their already naive “Trump can’t win therefore we can’t lose” belief.

Since most of these commentators, especially those just out of college, have little or no campaign experience it is a wonder that they even know what a ground game is.  Before deciding if a candidate needs one we should ask what exactly constitutes a ground game.

In my experience a ground game, or field campaign, is the organizing of volunteers and paid staff to do a number of campaign actions.  First and foremost to canvass door to door spreading information about the candidate and identifying the candidates supporters. This is particularly important in contests that do not attract media attention and massive television /radio advertising that can spread the message. In today's age, when few voters are interested in reading more than a bumper sticker, literature has lost its value and certainly when your platform is “Make America Great Again” you don’t need to distribute a slogan.

It is also critical to identify supporters if one plans a major pull operation on Election Day to get a maximum turnout.  Trump’s apparent plan to win is to get the angry, the disaffected, the disgruntled, and the disappointed to come out as never before and protest all that they don’t like by voting for him. He has no identifiable bloc of voters he can safely blind pull. And, those secret Trump voters are not going to identify themselves to canvassers or phone callers. Trump’s GOTV plan will be to bombard people with TV ads to generate turnout.

Clinton on the other hand, with an enthusiasm problem, and in a way appealing to those satisfied with the status quo but who would like to see some changes needs a sophisticated ground game.  She needs to “blind pull” minority voters: African-Americans, Latinos, and Asian-American’s to get a maximum turnout from those groups which polls show will vote overwhelmingly for her.  She needs to focus on key states that fit the demographics of her supporters and because of the Electoral College system she needs selective state strategies.
Trump is basing his campaign on a national homogeneity. Not one of ideology but one of similarity.  He is appealing to the masses that become fans of a particular television show and cut across the age and gender and race demographic lines.  These are the very TV shows he has produced and made a name for himself in -- the reality shows.  The 21st century version of the silver screen or the living room tube.    

For some time it has been evident that the Presidential contest gets the greatest voter turnout in our country.  If it were not for the Electoral College, which makes some votes worth more than others and leads to a focus on states that polls show are very close, there would be no need to pull out voters for President. A ground game involves covering polling places - inside to prevent abuses; outside to greet voters and at the doors and on the phones pulling out voters.  I have already explained why you don’t need to pull voters in a Presidential election unless there is clear evidence of closeness of the expected vote.  As for poll overage - few of our precinct officials today know how, if it is possible to alter or affect the results, and our volunteer watchers usually have little knowledge of how to prevent it if they do.  As for poll greeters since the Presidential race is driving the turnout most voters are interested in sample ballot cards for down ballot candidates since their Presidential choice is the reason they are coming out to vote.

Before the electoral debacle of 2000 and Obama’s close wins in North Carolina and Omaha in 2008 the political punditry had been talking more and more about the homogeneity of the American electorate especially when it came to voting for President.  In fact if we look at our recent Presidents, more have won by carrying most of the states, e.g. FDR, Eisenhower, LBJ, Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Clinton in ‘96. In fact what has often been the case was a tendency for a national consensus to develop behind one candidate.  The new use of social media and the predominance of 24/7 cable news may have made the ground game much less crucial to victory in a Presidential general election.


12 July 2016