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Don midwest
Don midwest

Campaign Spending Isn’t The Problem – Where The Money Comes From Is

The one-thousandth of 1 percent

Our federal election campaigns are entirely funded by private money. The minimal public funding program for presidential elections established in 1974 has collapsed; no major candidate took public funds in either of the last two presidential elections. A public funding program for congressional races never existed.

And the private dollars that drive the system come from a tiny fraction of our society.

Federal law requires the reporting of the identities of only those donors who give at least $200.

Barely one-half of 1 percent of the adult population has given $200 or more in connection with this year’s federal elections. Yet collectively they have accounted for more than 66 percent of campaign funds, or more than $3.4 billion.

More strikingly, a little more than 37,000 people – or about one-thousandth of one percent of the adult population – have so far given $10,000 or more each, aggregating to nearly $1.9 billion, or 38 percent of the total.

In discussions about inequality in the United States, there is a lot of talk about the 1 percent, but in campaign finance it is the 0.0001 percent who matter. And it is the less than one-thousandth of 1 percent – the 2,210 people, who so far have collectively given $1.1 billion, or nearly one-quarter of the total – who matter even more.

These numbers reflect only publicly disclosed contributions. With the rise of “dark money groups” that spend to influence election outcomes but – because they claim to be primarily non-electoral – do not have to disclose their donors, the fraction of campaign money provided by elite donors is probably even larger.

Nor is the donor class representative of the broader community whose interests are all at stake in an election.

Donors are older, whiter and wealthier than America as a whole. They hail disproportionately from certain places: So far this year, more money has come from the District of Columbia than from 28 states put together. And certain industries – finance, real estate, law, health care, oil and gas – are particularly big givers.

Don midwest
Don midwest

The battle over early voting, explained
Making voting more convenient is surprisingly controversial.

Voting early has become a partisan battle in some states
Obama’s campaign emphasized early voting in 2008, which gave him an edge over John McCain. In several states typically important in presidential elections, including Florida, Obama lost among voters who voted on Election Day but won when early ballots were taken into account.

Right after that election, some Republican-controlled state legislatures tried to roll back early voting and otherwise tighten access to the ballot. Florida, Georgia, Ohio, and Tennessee all limited early voting in 2012 compared to 2008, often arguing that the measures were too expensive. Ohio and Nebraska followed suit before the 2016 election.

“Typically, there will be some sort of version of an argument that [early voting] uses up local resources, that it costs money to keep early voting available, that not a lot of people are using it at a certain time,” said Jonathan Brater, counsel for the democracy program at the Brennan Center for Justice. But in his view, those arguments don’t often add up. “It will reduce the rushing and other things that drain resources on Election Day.”

The real motivation, some argued, was partisan: “Since there’s a perception that a method of voting favors a political party, the party being favored by that method wish to expand that option, and the party that is being disfavored wishes to shrink or diminish those options,” McDonald said.

In other words, he said: “It’s controversial because Democrats tend to vote early. That’s basically the bottom line on this.”

Don midwest
Don midwest

The Sad Death of “All Politics is Local”
How did our federalist system give way to today’s nationalized cable news-fueled smackdowns?

the growth of cable news and talk right wing radio

Former Speaker of the House Thomas “Tip” O’Neill famously declared that “all politics is local.” And for most of O’Neill’s colorful life, that was true. When he entered Boston politics as a young man in the pre-war 1930s—when radio and “talking pictures” were still relatively new-fangled technology, and the influence of TV (let alone the Internet) was way off—most state and local elections were decided on old-fashioned retail politics and who could bring home the most bacon (or at least promised to).

But that era ended forever in 1994. That year, a brazen House Minority Whip named Newt Gingrich effectively nationalized all 435 locally-based congressional seats—as well as the one-third of the Senate and the vast majority of governor’s mansions (including California, New York, and Texas) up for grabs that year—for a massive political repudiation of Bill and Hillary Clinton. The result was perhaps the biggest “Republican Revolution” in modern history, as the GOP gained 54 seats in the House and eight in the Senate, and high profile Democrats at every level suffered stunning defeats—including New York Governor Mario Cuomo and Texas Governor Ann Richards.


The Raygun Election in 1980 started that FRightwingnut ball rolling.



Youth turnout rates in the midterm early vote are up by 125 percent compared to 2014, according to Catalist, a voter database servicing progressive organizations — an eye-popping and historically high figure, say strategists on both the left and the right.

Young Americans ages 18 to 29 who say they are definitely voting tilt leftward, according to polls.


Hopefully, that reckoning is tomorrow!


What makes this era different is the lengths to which Republican politicians are willing to go to set the rules to maintain their dominance in areas that are not as red as they would like them to be. The future of the Republican Party relies on its ability to prevent or deter people of color from exercising the franchise. And the more politicians manipulate the process, the more they need to reassure themselves that their voters are the only legitimate ones, that they would have won even if they hadn’t rigged the game.

Whatever happens on Tuesday, the Republican Party cannot govern forever with the support of a shrinking minority of the population. Eventually there will be a reckoning. Even in Texas.


Beto’s final ad. On the road again with Willie


Did Scott Walker and Donald Trump Deal Away the Wisconsin Governor’s Race to Foxconn?

For @wi60.

But as the public has become aware of the spiralling costs for these jobs, the Foxconn deal has become something of a political liability for Walker, particularly among voters outside of southeastern Wisconsin. Those costs include taxpayer subsidies to the company totalling more than $4.5 billion, the largest subsidy for a foreign corporation in American history. Since Wisconsin already exempts manufacturing companies from paying taxes, Foxconn, which generated a hundred and fifty-eight billion dollars in revenue last year, will receive much of this subsidy in direct cash payments from taxpayers. Depending on how many jobs are actually created, taxpayers will be paying between two hundred and twenty thousand dollars and more than a million dollars per job.

Kim reached out to…Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. “His response was: this is not a federal issue,” Kim said. … That surprised her. In 2005, Ryan co-sponsored the Private Property Rights Protection Act, which was written in reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision in Kelo v. City of New London. … “When someone works years to secure a home or establish a successful family store…only to be forced by the government to give it up so a corporation can redevelop the land, that’s wrong,” Ryan said in a statement supporting the measure. The bill …failed in the Senate. (Ryan also attended Foxconn’s groundbreaking ceremony in Mt. Pleasant.)

Sean McFarlane and his sons have been living in temporary housing, supplied by the village of Mt. Pleasant, with no working furnace or septic tank, after McFarlane’s mother’s home was bought and demolished to make way for the Foxconn development.

The same year, Wisconsin passed its own law in response to Kelo…[outlawing] the use of eminent domain to seize a property for use by a private corporation, with one exception: if the property was “blighted.” …[I]t defined blighted property as one that is “detrimental to the public health, safety, or welfare.” However, the Village Board has relied on a different statute, one that applies the designation for property that, among other things, “impairs or arrests the sound growth of the community.”

Mason reiterated Foxconn’s promise that it will eventually create thirteen thousand “permanent” jobs in Wisconsin. But the company recently changed the type of factory it plans to build, downsizing to a highly automated plant that will only require three thousand employees, ninety per cent of them “knowledge workers,” such as engineers, programmers, and designers. Almost all of the assembly work will be done by robots. Gou, Foxconn’s chairman, has said he plans to replace eighty per cent of Foxconn’s global workforce with “Foxbots” in the next five to ten years. The company still says it will hire thirteen thousand employees in Wisconsin, but it has fallen short of similar promises in Brazil, India, and Pennsylvania, among other places. Foxconn has already replaced sixty thousand workers who were earning roughly $2.50 an hour in China


Walker has done very little campaigning using “Foxxconned” in his ads for all the reasons in the article. My kid’s kid’s kids will be paying for this con job for a long time.


I’m surprised no one is calling this corporate welfare.


Shocked by Trump aggression against reporters and sources? The blueprint was drawn by Obama.

The seizure of a New York Times reporter’s phone and email records has sent a chill down the spine of every reporter concerned about protecting his or her sources


“I’ve been warning reporters to take care as this administration rattled it would go after sources like the previous one,” wrote New York Times reporter Adam Goldman on Twitter shortly after the news broke Thursday night that a former staff member of the Senate Intelligence Committee has been indicted and arrested on charges of making false statements to the FBI during a leak investigation.

But Trump’s anti-press bluster aside, there’s a clear blueprint to follow — courtesy of Barack Obama, who once claimed that he would be the most transparent president ever but proved to be no friend to press rights.

“If Donald J. Trump decides as president to throw a whistle-blower in jail for trying to talk to a reporter, or gets the F.B.I. to spy on a journalist, he will have one man to thank for bequeathing him such expansive power: Barack Obama,” Risen wrote shortly after Trump’s election.

That doesn’t make this development any less troubling from a press-rights standpoint.

But no one can claim to be shocked.


Yeah what the Obama Administration was bad but it’s really a different issue than Trump’s demonization of the press and his Fake News. I really don’t think Trump was using Obama as a blueprint for these actions, which the author characterizes as “bluster.” That bluster got bombs sent to CNN

Also there’s this below. Let’s see if Trump backs off his Fake News mantra

Later in Obama’s second term, perhaps aware of how history would judge this unsavory part of his presidential record, the administration backed off its aggressive pursuit of reporters’ sources.

They began to play nice.

New Justice Department guidelines were agreed upon after collaborative discussions between the department and members of the press. The rules require government investigators to have “made all reasonable attempts to obtain the information from alternative, non-media sources” before they may go after reporters’ records. (It’s unclear whether that happened in the current case.)


Agree. They did change the guidelines but the details are not that great. And Trump is a different, more savage animal, for sure. I could have added that. Plus he encourages violence towards anyone who crosses him.

Still, many remember Obama with what AA calls “euphoric memory.” And that ends up lionizing a POTUS who did many pretty awful things, with a suave grace. And he did set up a precedent for going after whistleblowers hard.


Just ask James Risen, John Kirakous, Assange, Snowden, Manning, et al. They all say Obama ramped it up against truth tellers.


BO admired Raygun. That came out during his first campaign, and I knew then he was a DINO.



The course, which includes 24 separate lessons, will be the first one focused on politics from MasterClass, the online education company, and the first class to be taught by two instructors.

In the class — which costs $90 for lifetime access — the presidential campaign gurus will “demystify the political campaign process and break down their philosophies on what it takes to plan and execute a winning campaign,” according to MasterClass




Taibbi’s comment does conjure the jib jab animations from 2004 and 2008.


Supreme Court refuses to take up challenge to Obama-era net neutrality rules

The Supreme Court
on Monday put an end to a legal battle over the Obama administration’s net neutrality rules, refusing to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling that upheld the 2015 regulations.

The court declined to hear the appeal from the trade group USTelecom, which represents internet service providers, and Century Link Inc. without explanation.

The internet service providers, along with the Trump administration, had asked the justices to toss out the ruling from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.



if the barriers to voting erected by right-wing politicians looking to suppress minority turnout weren’t enough, error-riddled, hack-prone, and outdated voting machines throughout the nation—from Texas to Georgia to Wisconsin—are wreaking havoc in the midst of an unprecedented surge in early voting and raising alarming questions about the integrity of vote counts less than 24 hours before millions cast their ballots in the critical midterm elections.



Why vote Dem? Bernie tells you why



In response to Trump using a GOT meme on a tweet.


I was mainly off the grid while on vacation last week. It was good to take off work and not be so wired about the election. But I’m glad to be back.

If no one wants to do an election thread tomorrow night, I’m happy to get one started. My reason to post here and also in the AM, is I’m interested in which races you’d like to see covered–either in your district or otherwise.


That’s great Benny. I’m interested in everything!


Could Military Veterans Change More Than Control of Congress?

i like this thinking–the more vets there are, the more considered the use of the military will be…. among other things.

Moulton told the crowd that his objective is “not only to restore some balance in Washington politically but to fundamentally bring new leadership for Congress.” In part, he hopes that putting more veterans in civilian leadership roles will lead to a more considered use of America’s military. That day, President Trump was deploying thousands of American troops to the southern border, an astonishing use of U.S. military power, to dramatize his warnings about immigrants in the final days before the midterms. (In a tweet, Moulton called the deployment a “crass political ploy.”) Today about twenty per cent of the membership of the U.S. House and Senate has military experience; in the seventies, that level was as high as seventy per cent. But Moulton is encouraging nonmilitary public servants to run for office, as well. “Not everybody wants to serve in the military: some people go in the Peace Corps, some people go to Teach for America or AmeriCorps. I think that national-service veterans are important to celebrate, because I think our country would be stronger if more people served.”


Get Up and Go Vote

I am ninety-eight now, legally blind, and a pain in the ass to all my friends and much of my family with my constant rantings about the Trump debacle—his floods of lies, his racism, his abandonment of vital connections to ancient allies and critically urgent world concerns, his relentless attacks on the media, and, just lately, his arrant fearmongering about the agonizingly slow approach of a fading column of frightened Central American refugees. The not-to-mention list takes us to his scorn for the poor everywhere, his dismantling contempt for the F.B.I. and the Justice Department, and his broad ignorance and overriding failure of human response. A Democratic victory in this midterm election, in the House, at the least, will put a halt to a lot of this and prevent something much worse.

Countless friends of mine have been engaged this year in political action, but, at my age, I’m not quite up to making phone calls or ringing doorbells. But I can still vote, and I ended that 1992 piece by saying how the morning after Election Day I’d search out, in the Times, the totals in the Presidential balloting, and, “over to the right in my candidate’s column, count the millions of votes there, down to the very last number. ‘That’s me!’ ” I would whisper, “and, at the moment, perhaps feel once again the absurd conviction that that final number, the starboard digit, is something—go figure—I would still die for, if anyone cared.”

What we can all do at this moment is vote—get up, brush our teeth, go to the polling place, and get in line. I was never in combat as a soldier, but now I am. Those of you who haven’t quite been getting to your polling place lately, who want better candidates or a clearer system of making yourself heard, or who just aren’t in the habit, need to get it done this time around. If you stay home, count yourself among the hundreds of thousands now being disenfranchised by the relentless parade of restrictions that Republicans everywhere are imposing and enforcing. If you don’t vote, they have won, and you are a captive, one of their prizes.

BTW, i found a $6/12 week New Yorker thing on FB. If you can’t find it and you want the full article of something (for about 10 more weeks) email me or message me here and I can likely just paste the copy into my return message or PDF it and attach in an email.


I hope this clown will lose, but with gerrymandering, we’ll see.


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