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Shaun King: The Dem Party Doesn’t Get Why it is Unpopular

This new poll from Suffolk University illustrates just how that’s possible. Here are the base results of the poll with favorable/unfavorable ratings.

Pence: 47%/35%
Trump: 45%/47%
GOP: 37%/48%
Media: 37%/50%
Dem Party: 36%/52%
Hillary: 35%/55%
Congress: 26%/52%

Huge grassroots movements, made up of millions and millions of people, are fueling the fight for a $15 minimum wage, fighting back against fossil fuels and the Dakota Access Pipeline, fighting to end fracking, fighting to remove lobbyist money from politics, fighting to end senseless wars and international violence, fighting for universal healthcare, fighting for the legalization of marijuana, fighting for free college tuition, fighting against systems of mass incarceration, and so much more. But mainstream Democrats aren’t really a central part of any of those battles, and, to be clear, each of those issues have deep networks, energized volunteers, and serious donors, but corporate Democrats virtually ignore them.

In the past two months, I’ve spoken in a dozen states around the country and thousands of people show up. Wednesday night, in the freezing rain, lines were wrapped around multiple city blocks to attend an event I was hosting at a local Seattle high school. We literally formed the event a few days ago on Facebook and didn’t spend a single penny putting it together.

When I see these crowds, I don’t see them and think “Wow, I’m so popular.” I see them and think “Wow, people are hungry for change, and insight, and direction.” When I see those crowds, those polls showing how outrageously unpopular the Democratic Party is frustrate me even more. It just doesn’t have to be this way.



I agree with what King is saying but that Suffolk poll was a very Trump/Republican friendly poll. It had Trump at +3 job approval, while at the same time Gallup and Quinnipiac (with sample sizes twice that of the Suffolk poll) had Trump at -11 and -12 job approval. That’s a pretty big difference.


I think I understand what you mean there. But I’m wondering if Shaun is purposely using the Suffolk poll (partly b/c of its availability through his workplace) to show that Dems pay too much attention to their Dem friendly polls instead of looking how other polls can contribute a more wholistic picture.

I’ve been reading Matt Stoller’s tweets of late. Stoller used to work for the Senate budget office as an analyst, but now is a fellow at the Open Markets Initiative. He’s looking at how to tackle corporate power which is what the Bernie peeps want, but do it beginning on a local level. He cites this article from a couple of days ago in the HuffPo. (I think someone may have posted it here, but I think it’s worth another look)


The article is about a Dem who is taking on Big Ag companies through ballot initiatives. The Ag companies are fighting for farming control through initiatives (this is how the Koch Brothers do it to a certain extent). In MO, one initiative won by .2, but in OK 2016, the initiative “Right to Farm” which isn’t what it sounds like–it was a Big Ag thing–lost as a coalition of Humane Society folks got their act together and the guy in the article, Joe Maxwell, wrote all kinds of promotion pieces to help defeat it. His contention is that little farmers want to farm, but don’t necessarily want the subsidies. They just want to compete.


That article about Big Ag is great–I saw it last night (actually alerted by a Zephyr Teachout Facebook post), and I had posted it below.


Thanks for the excellent read. Y’know, places like deep red OK went for the Bernster decisively in the primaries. OK has been ecologically devastated by Big Oil. They are one and the same. You won’t see this reported in the Corporate/Craporate media, sadly.


When Trump Inc passes I suspect even those padded numbers will take a hit unless they poll the 4% that will love Trump Inc care.


Of course it would Sean Patrick Maloney (a “New” Democrat) leading the autopsy


For the previous 14 months, they had battled a so-called “right to farm” ballot initiative, with Maxwell serving as “the general” (to quote his friends) of that campaign. Corporate agricultural interests in Oklahoma hoped the measure would protect factory farming from environmental, food safety and humanitarian regulations. The deep-red state’s Republican governor and every member of its all-GOP congressional delegation backed it.

In response, Maxwell, who works for the Humane Society, had helped assemble an opposition force of animal welfare activists, environmental groups, Native American tribes and family farmers. Few political strategists would have picked that coalition to overcome the influence of the state’s dominant industry. But there Maxwell was, quietly enjoying a beer as he listened to former state Attorney General Drew Edmondson (D) deliver the news of their crushing victory to a cheering audience. The “no” vote had carried every congressional district in the state and defeated Big Ag by more than 20 points.

After the 2016 disaster, Democrats tasked Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) with performing an independent “autopsy” of the party’s disappointing performance in House races across the country. His team conjured a 350-variable mathematical model, studying hundreds of districts. The massive resulting equation predicts doom for Democrats in districts with few college-educated voters, but sees promise in wealthier, diversifying suburbs. It suggests a strategy that effectively writes off all of rural America.

“They’re just wrong,” Maxwell said. “They can’t do that, and they don’t have to.”

Maxwell’s brand of politics looks beyond the poll-tested analytics that dominate Washington. Even the best mathematical models — tools like Maloney’s current project — are only useful at a particular snapshot in time. They treat voters as static data points, rather than human beings capable of changing their minds. A model might focus on the number of Democrats registered in a district to predict the party’s performance in an upcoming race. But models can’t explain how to create more Democrats in that district.

Maxwell won where Democrats weren’t even playing, in a state where Trump carried every single county. When he convinced the Humane Society to get involved against the right-to-farm measure in 2015, independent polling showed his side trailing 64 percent to 15 percent.

His decision to fight and battle plan reveal a possible path for the Democratic Party out of the political wilderness and back to electoral relevance. But taking it would require rejecting the political strategy that Democratic leaders are now honing in Washington.“Democrats don’t have to throw out their values,” Maxwell insists. “Democrats don’t even have to abandon their issues.

It’s about how you frame it. It’s about connecting with people and showing them how your ideas fit with their values.”


LoneStarMike who often comments here has a post up at caucus99percent. He certainly outdid himself and it deserves a click. His graphics made me laugh!




For Jill Hanauer, who runs the progressive election research and strategy outfit Project New America, the landscape is starting to remind her of Colorado in 2004, when Democrats did especially well, running in part on a health care message.

“The way we really won in Republican-leaning districts of the state legislature was talking about the specifics of health care ― particularly breast cancer and prostate cancer and other cancer screenings and other prevention,” Hanauer recently told The Huffington Post. “Thirteen years later, those same issues are, I believe, going to tear this party potentially apart if they don’t smell the coffee.”

Hanauer pointed to findings from the survey that suggest voters will give Heller even less love if he helps carry out the repeal bid, especially if the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is replaced by the proposal currently moving through the House of Representatives.

“Overwhelmingly, Nevada voters are supportive of the specific components of the ACA, with as many as 9-in-10 saying that any replacement should not turn back the clock on coverage and put insurance companies in charge again,” the analysis accompanying the polling data says.


“Beauty Contest” This man is despicable. All to put more money in the pockets of the rich.


House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) admitted Friday that the Congressional Budget Office will likely estimate that millions of people would lose health insurance under the GOP’s proposed health care bill.

But he said that the the bill wasn’t meant to address the “beauty contest” of increasing coverage.

“We always know, you’re never going to win a coverage beauty contest when it’s free market versus government mandates,” Ryan told radio host Hugh Hewitt, after Hewitt floated the possibility that the CBO would estimate 15 million people will lose health insurance because of the American Health Care Act.


They’d better hope that 15 million don’t vote R.


He doesn’t know how insurance works as it stands.


“beauty coverage”? WTfrack is he talking about? People that I know that are most in need of health coverage are in serious need of medicines or operations. What does staying alive have to do with “beauty coverage”?

We really, really need to start a movement to put Congress on the same health care plan that we all have. I’d bet we’d get a sizable portion of Rs and definitely Indies, Dems and Greens.


Ezra Klein has posted an interview he conducted with Mitt Romney’s former policy director, Lanhee Chan, about how the R’s arrived at the current GOP bill. It’s a good one to start with when engaging with the R’s (not R voters, but the folks who work for the R’s and have some policy influence). It’s not anything I could agree with, but this is the current thinking:

Chan: There are disagreements between conservatives about what the right goals are. I’d divide it into a few camps.

One camp of conservatives believes they should cover more people and cut costs — they think reducing costs is the gateway to expanding coverage, but both goals have merit and are important.

Another group makes the argument that you have to focus on cost above all else, and that the coverage question isn’t even a meaningful metric — if you lower cost enough, coverage automatically follows. They think this discussion about coverage is useless because it’s a metric any Republican plan won’t be able to meet as well as progressive alternatives.

Then there’s another group of people that has a visceral reaction to the role of government in the health care system. They want to get government out of the business of health care as much as possible. That’s obviously a challenge given the number of people on Medicaid and Medicare, but particularly in private insurance markets, they want as little government intervention as possible — that leads to saying things like any tax credits are a new entitlement.

Part of the reason why you’re seeing some of these challenges on the Obamacare repeal-and-replace effort is because conservatives depart from slightly different places. The House bill includes something for everybody in that coalition, but what ends up happening is that it doesn’t do any one thing in a particularly outstanding way. That isn’t to say it’s not a good place to start, but I think it explains some of the angst you’re seeing.

Read the rest here. It’s not terribly long, takes about 5 minutes.



I have my doubts about whether there are many in the “cover more people” camp. They obviously are all in the “make sure the wealthy get wealthier” camp though


Indivisible: A Social Action Startup for Democracy

This co-founder of CISCO is now a part of Indivisible. And I, of course, would add BNC & JD to his short list of the progressive network (he does say, and “on and on.”)


Why is DHS Labeling Protestors “Domestic Terrorists”?

A little over a week ago, ACLU of Oregon staff met with Mayor Wheeler and Chief Marshman to discuss the disproportionate and dangerous response by Portland Police on President’s Day and prior protests. Our conversation was tense when we argued about whether “riots” occurred in Portland. Mayor Wheeler defended the city’s decision to call the protest a riot. I doubt he knew that his insistence on using this term for vandalism at the hands of a few people — out of several thousand peaceful protesters — would land his city in a Homeland Security report and earn our activists the label “domestic terrorists.”

This proves a simple point: Words matter. And when they are put into a report that is disseminated to law enforcement agencies across the country through enigmatic DHS Fusion Centers, they matter a lot. Fusion Centers, located throughout the nation, serve as a hub of information sharing for local, state, and federal law enforcement. They were created in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks as a way to share information about terrorism. Under the cover of “national security,” they have little oversight. For whatever protection they have provided the public, they have also sown distrust about their ability to discern actual threats.


Just wanted to thank everyone that keeps this going, especially you, LD. When i am more able, I will donate a little something. Just nice to know that it’s here and to hop in and know it is truly a spirited little group of like spirits!

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