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Jack Layton brought inspirational politics to a cynical age - The Globe and Mail
He will be remembered for successfully re-shaping the party into his own image. He was not out of organized labour's ranks, or the West's social gospel movement or the academy's socialist salons. Jack Layton's NDP has become something new – broader, less ideological, more inclusive, a party whose next leader likely will be able to declare, like its last leader, that she or he is in the running to be prime minister.

He revived the party. He gave it profile.

In the 2004 federal election, his first as party leader, he declared that Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin was responsible for the deaths of homeless people by failing to provide funds for affordable housing.

He advocated talking to the Taliban as part of giving Afghanistan stable government.

He called for the repeal of the Clarity Act, setting out the precise terms for Quebec to separate from the rest of Canada, and promised instead to recognize any declaration of independence by Quebec following a referendum yes-vote.

In 2008, he tried to assemble a Liberal-NDP coalition with the support of the Bloc Québécois as a constitutional alternative to the minority Conservative government should it lose the confidence of the House of Commons – an action that infuriated Western Canada and fractured the Liberals.

He succeeded in the last federal election in winning official opposition status for the NDP – with 103 seats – the first time in its history, and capturing the majority of constituencies in Quebec. In the previous election, in 2008, he'd brought the party to 37 seats, just six short of the previous all-time high.

His message eschewed anger and attack ads, which he knew women voters didn't like. For the NDP to use those tactics, he said, would merely motivate the Conservatives' base while turning off its own. Polls showed that Canadians saw in him the image he wanted to project: warmth, approachableness, an absence of cynicism, positiveness.

He offered voters – especially in Quebec – an alternative political agenda to the Conservatives that stepped outside the mantra of tax-cutting and balanced budgets and talked about better pensions, education, health care and the wrongs of economic inequality. At the same time, he avoided a culture war with the Conservatives. He repeatedly told his party's inner circle that he didn't think the Conservatives were evil, just misguided.

"The growth in the NDP's vote share and seat count under Layton's leadership was no fluke," said Patrick Muttart, former deputy chief of staff to Stephen Harper. "Layton and his team professionalized the NDP and made it a much more research-driven, voter-focused and tactically innovative political organization. He skillfully held his party's base while expanding its accessible universe – piece by piece, election over election."

And Layton was determined to demonstrate to Canadians over the next four years that the NDP was ready to lead the country.
politics  history  strategy  electionStrategy  elections 
yesterday by sandykoe
The Internet and the Third Estate – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
Read again Zuckerberg’s description of the Fifth Estate:

People having the power to express themselves at scale is a new kind of force in the world — a Fifth Estate alongside the other power structures of society. People no longer have to rely on traditional gatekeepers in politics or media to make their voices heard, and that has important consequences.
It is difficult to overstate how much of an understatement that is. I just recounted how the printing press effectively overthrew the First Estate, leading to the establishment of nation-states and the creation and empowerment of a new nobility. The implication of overthrowing the Second Estate, via the empowerment of commoners, is almost too radical to imagine.

And yet, take a look around: there are protests around the globe, from Hong Kong to Chile to France to Spain to the Netherlands, primarily by populist movements. The U.S. and U.K., meanwhile, have no need for populist protests given that populist movements won stunning victories at the polls in 2016. I described the rise of Trump in particular in The Voters Decide:

For a moment, though, step back to the world as it was: the one where newspapers (and TV stations, etc.) were gatekeepers thanks to their ownership of production and distribution. In this world any viable political campaign had to play nicely with those who ran the press in the hopes of gaining positive earned media, endorsements, etc. Just as important, though, was the need to buy advertising, as that was the only way to reach voters at scale. And advertising required lots of money, which meant donors. And then, once the actual election rolled around, a campaign needed an effective GOTV effort, which took not only money but also the sort of manpower that could only be rustled up by organizations like labor unions, churches, etc. It is all these disparate pieces: partisan media members, advertisers, donors, large associations, plus consultants and specialists to manage them that, along with traditional politicians, made up the “party” in The Party Decides…
elections  strategy  politics  media  tech  future  internet  electionStrategy 
2 days ago by sandykoe
Opinion | We Aren’t Seeing White Support for Trump for What It Is - The New York Times
“What is noteworthy,” Kitschelt and Rehm write, is that most voters

perceived the Republicans’ 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump as substantially more moderate than his party, and as more moderate than most Republican presidential candidates since 1980.
For Democratic voters who switched to Trump in 2016, “this perception would have removed cognitive dissonance and inhibitions” that would have prevented them from supporting an economic conservative in the mold of Mitt Romney. Freed of that inhibition, they could vote for Trump, Kitschelt and Rehm argue, “based on socio-politically authoritarian, and often racist, positions that were served by Trump’s rhetoric.”


High-income whites without college degrees were swing voters sixty years ago, pursued by both parties; now, they are rock-ribbed Republicans. Their share of the white electorate has fallen, however, from 42.1 to 22.0 percent.

Two generations ago, there were almost no low-income whites with college degrees, a group that made up 1.5 percent of white voters in 1952. These voters were a swing bloc without firm commitment to either party. By 2016, this constituency had grown to form 14.3 percent of all voters. They have, in turn, become the most loyal white Democratic constituency.

In the 1950s, high-income whites with college degrees were the base of the Republican Party — although in 1952 they made up just 6.7 percent of white voters. By 2016, this cohort had moved decisively toward the Democratic Party, as its share of the white electorate had grown to 26.0 percent.
politics  america  electionStrategy  election2020 
7 days ago by sandykoe
Koh, What a Life: Is There Anything Dan Koh Can't Do? | Boston Magazine
The leap from chief of staff to candidate is trickier than it sounds. While quintessential go-getters, chiefs of staff are not necessarily the charismatic visionaries that voters latch onto. The degree of humility it takes to do the job well can, in the limelight of a campaign forum, come across as dull, wonky, or even weak. In Boston’s history, though the list of mayoral chiefs of staff is long on savvy political veterans and City Hall lifers, it’s not a traditional stop on the way to national office. As far as I can tell, Barney Frank, who took the job as Mayor Kevin White’s first chief of staff in 1968, is the last person to have held the job before later winning a seat in Congress. (You also have to go back to Frank to find someone younger than Koh at a mayor’s side—Frank was 27 to Koh’s 29.) Koh was a natural in the job. “With the chief of staff,” Mayor Marty Walsh tells me, “it’s all about finding common ground. Dan was a master at making everyone feel like they got a win and their voices were heard.”

Even though Koh is working hard to step out of his mentor’s shadow, he’s still Walsh’s guy. After driving me around to several of his old haunts, Koh pulls over at Perfecto’s Caffé, a tiny breakfast shop off the main drag in Andover. It’s mid-December, and Mariah Carey is playing on the speaker overhead. Koh orders a Diet Coke. “They’ve got some pretty good carols on here,” he says. “I almost want to start dancing.” He doesn’t. But some alchemy of caffeine and Christmas spirit has suddenly made Koh nostalgic: He starts scrolling through the photos on his phone and lands on a picture of Walsh. “I get emotional when I think about him,” Koh says. “He was so there for me. I can’t tell you how many times he’s called me late at night with an idea. I mean, he was a groomsman in my wedding.” Koh hands me his iPhone. There’s a shot of Walsh, wearing a tuxedo and squeezing out his best steely Zoolander face for the camera.
politics  massachusetts  electionStrategy  elections 
10 days ago by sandykoe
For Koh, second time wouldn't be a charm - CommonWealth Magazine
IF DAN KOH runs for Congress in 2020, as there is talk of, it will be the latest proof of that old Boston chestnut, “You can always tell a Harvard man. But you can’t tell him much.” Nothing has happened since his narrow loss in 2018 to make Koh a stronger candidate. Instead, his weaknesses will only be more apparent in a head-to-head rematch against the woman who beat him two years ago.


Like Koh, Trahan was a political insider, with stints as a top aide to both Congressman Marty Meehan and state Treasurer Tim Cahill, which she leveraged to raise just over $1 million and win endorsements from local legislators and powerful unions like Teamsters Local 25. That’s where the similarities ended.

Trahan effectively connected her middle-class roots in the district, highlighted in advertising through frequent references to her ironworker father and cramped childhood home, with fighting back against Donald Trump on behalf of working people. She combined this appeal to middle-class voters with an argument to upscale, educated women that centered around founding her own business and fighting to keep money out of politics.
politics  massachusetts  boston  electionStrategy 
11 days ago by sandykoe
I sat through 6 hours of town halls. Here’s what I learned about impeachment. - POLITICO
At an event later in the day in Bartlett, Ill., a constituent asked Casten why he wasn’t condemning Biden’s actions.

In both instances, Casten spoke for more than five minutes about the nitty-gritty of the claims Trump and his allies have made about Biden. He unapologetically declared that there was “no ‘there’ there on the Biden story,” and after hearing a question about the unsubstantiated theory that Ukraine was responsible for meddling in the 2016 election, he told the voter that she was espousing a “deep-down-the-rabbit-hole, crazy conspiracy theory.”
elections  electionStrategy  politics 
15 days ago by sandykoe
Media Bubbles Aren’t The Biggest Reason We’re Partisans | FiveThirtyEight
“People have a notion from hearing about [information echo chambers] that most Americans are getting news and information from a very slanted media diet,” he told me. “Empirical evidence suggests that’s not true.”

Yes, seriously. Consider, for instance, the simple math of TV ratings. There are about 122 million Americans who told the Census Bureau that they voted in 2018. The vast majority of those voters don’t watch partisan cable news. FOX News and MSNBC pull in around 3 million viewers when their top hosts are on air. In contrast, around 5 million people tune in to each of the network nightly news shows. More Americans have a centrist media diet than a slanted one. And most Americans are basically fasting.


Sure, we all do like to hear perspectives that verify what we already think we know. Who doesn’t enjoy being told that we are smarter than people we don’t like? But while lab experiments suggest that could cause us to silo ourselves, reality looks a little more nuanced. In a 2016 paper, researchers tracked a sample of 50,000 Americans who heavily consumed online news and found that their reading was overwhelmingly self-directed (rather than algorithm-selected) and mainstream centrist in orientation. And, while the use of social networks and search engines were associated with a larger partisan divide — they were also associated with people being more frequently exposed to more opinions they disagreed with.
media  electionStrategy  elections  politics 
15 days ago by sandykoe
Opinion | In the Land of Self-Defeat - The New York Times
It makes me wonder if appeals from Democratic candidates still hoping to win Trump voters over by offering them more federal services will work. Many of the Democratic front-runners have released plans that call for more federal tax investment in rural infrastructure. Mr. Widener told me he had watched some of the Democratic debates, and his reaction was that everything the candidates proposed was “going to cost me money.”

Economic appeals are not going to sway any Trump voters, who view anyone who is trying to increase government spending, especially to help other people, with disdain, even if it ultimately helps them, too. And Trump voters are carrying the day here in Van Buren County. They see Mr. Trump’s slashing of the national safety net and withdrawal from the international stage as necessities — these things reflect their own impulse writ large.

They believe every tax dollar spent now is wasteful and foolish and they will have to pay for it later. It is as if there will be a nationwide scramble to cover the shortfall just as there was here with the library. As long as Democrats make promises to make their lives better with free college and Medicare for all sound like they include government spending, these voters will turn to Trump again — and it won’t matter how many scandals he’s been tarnished by.
america  electionStrategy  politics  strategy 
18 days ago by sandykoe
Which 2020 Candidates Are Running The Most TV Ads? | FiveThirtyEight
In short, they are important enough that — along with national polls, state polls, endorsements and fundraising — FiveThirtyEight is now tracking television advertising data for the 2020 presidential election. Our newest elections tool, which uses data from Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group, lets you watch every ad that a 2020 candidate has aired on national cable or in any broadcast media market in the country. For each ad, we also have data on how many times it played, the dates and states where it aired, and how much a campaign or group spent to broadcast it. You can also filter the ads to see only those paid for by a specific candidate, those that aired in a specific state1 or those that deal with a specific issue, such as health care or guns.
media  electionStrategy  election2020  politics 
25 days ago by sandykoe
Opinion | Let Trump Destroy Trump - David Axelrod - The New York Times
And one thing we can be sure of as the election approaches: Donald Trump is not going to change.

Given that Mr. Trump’s approval rating has been hovering around 40 percent throughout his presidency, his obvious and only strategy is to turn his dial further into the red. He will try to raise the stakes by painting the election as a choice between himself and a radical, left-wing apocalypse. He will bay about socialism, open borders and “deep state” corruption and relentlessly work to inflame and exploit racial and cultural divides.

But as Mr. Trump seeks to rev up his base, he also runs a significant risk of driving away a small but decisive cohort of voters he needs. His frenetic efforts to create a panic over the immigrant caravan in the days leading up to the 2018 midterms may have stoked his base, but it also generated a backlash that contributed to major losses for his party.

With everything on the line and nothing, to his mind, out of bounds, the same dynamic will be in play in 2020, and this creates an opportunity for Democrats — if their party’s message allows Trump defectors to comfortably cross that bridge.
politics  election2020  electionStrategy 
6 weeks ago by sandykoe
Construction workers prepare to battle former ally Trump - POLITICO
At issue is a deal gone bad between Trump and North America’s Building Trades Unions over a Labor Department apprenticeship initiative, the politics of which have grown more complicated since last month’s ouster of Secretary Alexander Acosta. Leaders of the union federation worry that the final version will undermine their own job-training programs and create a supply of cheap labor for developers, undercutting high-skilled construction workers who rely on prevailing-wage jobs to make ends meet.

“It’s an existential threat to the Building Trades,” said a former administration official with knowledge of the discussions. And it has the powerful group — a union federation that represents millions of construction workers across the U.S. — seeing early signs of a member-driven revolt against Trump in 2020.

Such a turn could further weaken Trump’s already-declining support in the Midwestern states that won him the presidency in 2016, when many Building Trades members embraced his pledge to create working-class jobs and improve the nation’s infrastructure.
election2020  electionStrategy  politics  policy 
9 weeks ago by sandykoe
Dems can't win in 2020 if they keep listening to Twitter
The Democrats who mistake social media for the real world should read some of the five decades’ worth of research on “group polarization,” the tendency of ideological echo chambers to breed extremism. Social media rewards hysteria and theatricality. That’s why Donald Trump is good at it.

Which means that the Democrats risk missing a layup in 2020. All they really have to do is field a candidate who can credibly promise to govern more responsibly and with more dignity than Donald Trump. What they’re going to get is someone who insists that anybody harboring doubt about the idea of “men who get pregnant” is the moral equivalent of Adolf Hitler.

Twitter isn’t real life. Democrats can learn that the smart way or the hard way.
election2020  electionStrategy  politics 
10 weeks ago by sandykoe
The Emerging Republican Majority, 50 Years Later - The Atlantic
The risk for Republicans today, of course, is that President Trump has upset this balance, rejecting old dog whistles on race for full-throated racism. Unlike Nixon, who disastrously tried such a strategy in his first midterm but then dialed it back considerably in his reelection run, Trump has doubled down on the race-based themes that failed to work in his own first midterm. In doing so, he runs the risk of reversing decades of work and rendering the Republican majority a thing of history.
history  electionStrategy  politics 
10 weeks ago by sandykoe
I teach my college students to lie. Honestly. Whoppers. It’s good for them. - The Washington Post
Each student in my class starts by proposing a lie with a political agenda that could be loosed to great effect. They explain why someone would propagate the lie, and the lie’s intended audience. By this point, we’ve studied several real-world examples, including the Soviets’ lie that the CIA invented HIV/AIDS to target African Americans, and the Republicans’ lie that the Affordable Care Act would create “death panels.” There’s something brilliantly wicked about these lies: how they exploit anxieties within the target populations; how they feel true even though they’re false. In each, you glimpse the creator’s ingenuity at work. You sense the purpose, trajectory and outcome: a weapon artfully created to do maximum damage.

Some students struggled. They lacked the creativity to dream up an original lie or the moral license to do something that was self-evidently unethical.

Others claimed to struggle to appease their conscience (I’m not the kind of person who could do this), while in fact they cooked up some corkers. One student, I’ll call her Tara, evinced a small-town sensibility — respectful, quiet, unassuming. She didn’t like any of the lies she had come up with. They weren’t original, she said, and anyway, it didn’t feel right to assert something that was obviously wrong.

I reminded her of the assignment’s rationale, and eventually she relented: What if, she proposed, as part of their opposition to Trump’s immigration policy, Democrats put out the lie that ICE was forcibly sterilizing immigrant women at the border.

My God, I said, that’s perfect.


Maybe it’s a flaw in the course or assignment design that has inhibited students’ imagination in utopia. Or maybe, if we want to inspire future leaders to be creative, we must figure out how to harness the liar’s ingenuity and bravado — the fearlessness in the face of reality and willingness to assert that what has been accepted as true might not be the truth after all. To do this without lying — to go beyond reality while maintaining a grasp on the distinction between fact and fantasy — that is the visionary’s calling.
strategy  electionStrategy  education  politics 
11 weeks ago by sandykoe
2020 Democrats should use proven 2018 playbook to beat Donald Trump
Generals often fight the last war — and the same applies to political parties that try, however myopically, to learn lessons from the last round. Still, how do we explain why so many Democrats seem hellbent on preparing for 2020 not by building on huge 2018 successes, but by misreading their party’s loss in 2016? 

In the last presidential go-round, Democrats lost by a hair in the Electoral College while piling up votes in California and other liberal areas. So why does it make sense to tilt the 2020 agenda toward ultra-liberals?  

By contrast, the remarkable “blue wave” of 2018 built because ordinary citizens, led by middle-class women, organized everywhere. Unprecedented numbers ran for city and town offices, state legislatures and Congress, while tens of thousands went door to door to turn out voters for both moderate and progressive Democrats. Even candidates who lost provided choices and a voice in public discussions. Democrats cannot prevail without candidates on the ticket; and as the Doug Jones case in Alabama shows, the choice to run has to be made long before unanticipated events make a seat winnable.
politics  electionStrategy  election2020 
12 weeks ago by sandykoe
2020 Dems love the progressive fire but fear the flame - POLITICO
Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon said it was the same gathering of progressives years ago that helped propel his Senate run.

“They should all be here,” Merkley said of the 2020 candidates. “When I first ran for Senate and people thought I had no chance against the incumbent Republican, I went to the Netroots down in Austin, Texas, and it gave me so much energy to take on a powerful sitting senator, to have grass roots hear what I was saying.”

“I would think that every candidate would want to be right here, speaking directly to the progressive forces. … I mean, these are the folks who organize communities to get things done.”
electionStrategy  election2020  politics 
july 2019 by sandykoe
Warren travels country to build primary momentum | TheHill
One major reason she has the time to focus on her organizing efforts, her aides say, is because she isn't driven by high-dollar fundraising and instead is able to drive her platform with policy rollout events. Those campaign stops have allowed voters to get to know her.
“They’ve been incredibly creative and really smart about this,” said Adam Parkhomenko, a Democratic strategist who has a background in organizing, including on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. “This is a very crowded race. and little things make a big difference. And when you understand that organizing does move the needle, it separates you from the others in a big way.
election2020  electionStrategy  politics 
july 2019 by sandykoe
Does TV Makes You Dumber and More Populist? - The Atlantic
Gradual introduction of Berlusconi’s networks into different regions of Italy makes it possible to study the effect that entertainment television had on voting behavior. For example, Durante, Pinotti, and Tesei found that parts of Italy that had earlier access to Mediaset were substantially more likely to vote for Forza Italia, Berlusconi’s new political party, in 1994, when it first entered the political scene.

The effect persisted throughout the 1990s and 2000s, with regions that were exposed to Mediaset earlier than others voting for Berlusconi in greater numbers. To verify that Mediaset was the relevant factor, the authors compared towns and villages that were able to get good reception with neighboring ones that initially had a poor signal due to physical obstacles, such as a mountain range. Amazingly, Italians who had good access to Mediaset for random geographical reasons voted for populists in greater numbers than their neighbors who did not.
history  electionStrategy  politics 
july 2019 by sandykoe

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