Author Topic: US Politics & Presidential Election 2020  (Read 1819 times)

dubsartur

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Re: US Politics & Presidential Election 2020
« Reply #30 on: May 01, 2020, 08:52:12 AM »
Yes, this is another of the many many reasons why their archaic two-party system and "if you are not with us, you are with the other party" thinking is awful.  In Alberta, which had been a one-party system for almost a century, around 2013 voters decided that the declining old party of oil and the keen and energetic would-be new party of oil were both awful and elected the New Democrats.

Apparently Tara Reade has said that if Joe Biden is the democratic candidate she will abstain from voting.

Edit: I think a specific issue is that the Obama administration introduced changes to a law called Title IX which governs allegations of sexual assault at higher education institutions.  These changes tilted rules in favour of accusers and people with a wide variety of political positions don't like how they work in practice.  So this is not just a terrible allegation, its one where if he defends himself he can be portrayed as a hypocrite.

One of the things which current events are making it harder to not see is the role of schools as subsidized childcare so their parents can both work (and work in places away from their kinship network).  Pretending that so much of early schooling is not busywork makes it harder to step back and say 'we need to keep children safe and doing something enriching, but not load massive unpaid labour on their parents just so that the enriching activity comes with activity sheets and grades.'  Siderea talks about this from a US perspective, while I see that the Guardian has a piece on single parents and grocery shopping and busybodies.

Also worth saying: large numbers of households in the USA do not have a physical Internet connection (or no connection suitable for live video), and significant numbers relied on their children eating school lunches to afford groceries.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2020, 10:43:35 AM by dubsartur »

dubsartur

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Re: US Politics & Presidential Election 2020
« Reply #31 on: May 03, 2020, 01:27:13 PM »
A European External Action Service report points fingers at Russian and Chinese "disinformation" https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6877118-INTERNAL-Coronavirus-3rd-Information-Environment.html

More than thirty years after Manufacturing Consent was published, we still see people presenting their own government's spin doctoring, straw speakers and writers, planting of useful narratives, and press releases as neutral and factual, and other people's governments as engaged in wicked lying propaganda  ::)  I see plenty of strange takes on the virus from California startup people and reactionary religious people in Europe and the USA, and UK and US officials have made strange statements and pushed contradictory policies a few days apart.

Jubal

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Re: US Politics & Presidential Election 2020
« Reply #32 on: June 04, 2020, 02:06:48 PM »
Lots of recent polls out with the horrific events going on in Minneapolis and other cities.

Trump now has his worst polling and job approval numbers of the year, around ten or eleven points underwater on approval and trailing Biden by over seven and a half points on the generic ballot, which is nearly double what it was not so long ago.

Other polls still show the battlegrounds much tighter though. Biden appears to be leading in all the battlegrounds, but not by so much that occasional polls showing Trump ahead don't crop up (a +4 for Trump in Pennsylvania and a tied poll in Wisconsin are included in this week's batch). Biden is in the driving seat though: he just has a ton more paths to victory, whilst Trump effectively has one fairly narrow one. If Trump loses the rust belt, he loses. but if he holds it and Biden breaks through in North Carolina, Florida, and Arizona, say, that's also a plausible route. Trump is only 2pts up in Texas, though I'd be surprised if the Democrats threw too much money in there simply because Texas is infamously expensive to campaign in as a big state with pricey media markets.

The North Carolina senate race has also been polled and continues to look on a knife-edge much like the presidential one, whilst the NC governor's race looks very safe for the Democrats.

Overall the crisis seems to have been bad for Trump, and one suspects that Gen. James Mattis coming out to attack him as well today won't do him any further favours.
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Jubal

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Re: US Politics & Presidential Election 2020
« Reply #33 on: June 14, 2020, 10:47:45 AM »
So a poll came out showing the Democrat up in the Iowa senate race.

Democrats need +4 seats and the vice-presidency to take Senate control, assuming that Sen. Doug Jones will lose his re-election bid. There aren't really any other states that the Dems need to be heavily defending at Senate level as separate to their presidential lean - Minnesota and Michigan are both marginal and up for election, but if the Democrats are losing those two then they are screwed anyway.

I think it's becoming clear what the path of least resistance is to make the gains for that +4 outcome: Arizona, North Carolina, Maine, Colorado. However, polls have been showing the NC race in particular to be extremely tight, and none of the others are really in the safe zone. So having more of a senate playing field is really important, and that's where Iowa could be pretty crucial. It's a much smaller and electorally swingier state than Georgia where the Dems have never quite managed a breakthrough, and Montana is very deep red presidentially and is only really on the table because the Democrats got a strong and well known candidate. Texas is probably off the menu despite being nominally very close - it's just so expensive to campaign in effectively and is a bit beyond most obvious paths to the presidency either.
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dubsartur

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Re: US Politics & Presidential Election 2020
« Reply #34 on: June 16, 2020, 11:37:03 AM »
Worrying about that stuff is kind of a trap for intellectuals though (like other horse-race thinking).  Unless you are at the highest levels of the party, you don't get to make those choices, just try to get people you can stand behind elected in your district.  And it gets you using your time and brain to think about how to play a stupid and dishonest game, rather than using them to think about what a more fun and honest game would look like and how to start it.  And like 'electability' it is pretty circular: party A thinks it can't win, so it does not invest resources or campaign very hard, so sympathizers stay home and party A does not get many votes.

I think there is some merit to Maciej Ceglowski's suggestion that US persons with disposable income should donate to congressional candidates in marginal districts (and some Americans register with the strongest party in their district so they can vote for the least offensive candidate in its primaries) but its a dangerous mindset to slip in to (still better than being a 'politics fan' who just reads polls and opinion columns, but dangerous).

I am told that there are some national offices in the USA where one party does not even bother to run a candidate: that is absurd, and changing it is probably a better use of your energy and time if you are a R or D activist.   One of Obama's points in his recent Medium essay was that if you don't like your local police in the United States, you need to put people into city and state offices who agree with you, the federal government can't do much about the police in East de Soto, New Mexico.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2020, 11:42:40 AM by dubsartur »

Jubal

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Re: US Politics & Presidential Election 2020
« Reply #35 on: June 16, 2020, 12:39:23 PM »
Certainly in UK elections I do get asked questions like "which constituencies should I be donating money to", whereas conversely I'm limited in what I can do locally and we struggle to even find candidates to take on the Conservatives where I grew up. So I think from my specific perspective I do find that sort of strategic-level thinking worthwhile to engage in. That said, given my unusually bad capacity for local action and my unusually good (albeit still extremely limited) access to the mid-to-upper echelons of my political party, I'm far from in most people's position here. Also I guess country by country the importance of local action differs: the UK is exceptionally centralised, so even if I was out getting council candidates etc elected their capacity to affect things like policing and education and so on can be pretty minimal.
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dubsartur

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Re: US Politics & Presidential Election 2020
« Reply #36 on: June 16, 2020, 06:08:48 PM »
  Jubal, that is interesting because I don't hear as much of that in Canada, people donate to parties or candidates for office or leadership candidates but I don't hear them as much donating to someone two ridings away.

  My take is influenced by hanging around thinky talky people in the United States who talk and feel and post a lot about politics but don't seem as good at getting out and doing things.  But the Economist recently described bookface as "the main vehicle for political discourse" so maybe we need to retreat to our monasteries and our country estates and our walled gardens and watch the downfall of civilization.

  Edit: a world where the Ds control both houses of congress and possibly the presidency would be very interesting; it would be ironic to see Trump barely re-elected and then impeached in 2021 for doing his usual nonsense but worse
« Last Edit: June 16, 2020, 11:16:48 PM by dubsartur »

Jubal

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Re: US Politics & Presidential Election 2020
« Reply #37 on: June 16, 2020, 11:34:38 PM »
I'd say it's pretty common in the UK, especially given people will often want to do slightly different targeting to the parties they're donating to, and often actively don't want to donate in their home area because their chosen party are so unlikely to win. In particular I think there's a block of liberal-left voters who don't really care which of the Lib Dems, SNP, Greens, or Labour wins, and just want to strategise to reduce the number of Conservatives, and those people will ask questions like "who are the specific Lib Dem candidates I can donate to who are well placed to unseat Conservatives" and will donate to those local Lib Dem party groups and candidates, rather than making a national-level donation where some of their money would go on Lib-Lab fights like Cambridge or Sheffield Hallam or on the Lib Dems' Scottish seats.

And yes, I think there are always thinky people who don't seem to do much actual politics, at least in any branch of politics that has an intellectual or democratic angle to its politics (at the anti-intellectual end I'm not sure how many armchair Trumpian thinkers there are, but I guess there are a lot of armchair Trumpian fans). I think this is quite a natural feature in politics, though I agree it would be great if more of those people actively did stuff, especially at local levels.

I think Ds are least likely to take the Senate out of the three government branches: I find it hard to see an outcome where there's a Democratic senate but no Democrat in the White House. I'm not sure how much use they'd get form the trifecta, but there are definitely some interesting moves that could be pulled (beyond the standard things like judicial appointments and wading back into healthcare fights, Puerto Rican statehood is a really big one to watch out for).
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dubsartur

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Re: US Politics & Presidential Election 2020
« Reply #38 on: June 17, 2020, 02:27:17 PM »
  Ok, wow, in Canada I hear more often talk about how the the Greens and NDP could agree to a "we sponsor your candidate in one riding if you sponsor ours in another" deal to avoid splitting the "anything but Conservative" and "anything but the Janus Party (one face red, one face blue)" vote.

  Because of the USA's badly designed electoral system, the unpredictable races for senate are in different places than the unpredictable races for president.  I would not be shocked if someone dies at an inconvenient time, or responds to the current crises in a way which voters really really like.

  I notice that Nate Silver is not touching the coming US presidential election with a pole the length of the total heights of players in an average National Basketball Association team.  If he wants to study liver omens, monstrous births, or bird signs, Austria has free tuition ...

dubsartur

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Re: US Politics & Presidential Election 2020
« Reply #39 on: July 04, 2020, 06:32:03 PM »
I have trouble following what Maciej Ceglowski is doing, he has moved to sites and places which give me a headache and starts and stops different projects, but he has posted a post mortem on his attempt to get 13 "progressive" Democrats elected in 2018 https://idlewords.com/great_slate_post_mortem.htm  On birdsite, he writes:

Quote
"The left is getting more sophisticated at winning campaigns" *against Democrats*. That part is really important and always left unsaid in these fantasies of progressive success. Our track record in contested races is abysmal.  The progressive left tried to run against Republicans in 2018 and failed, but they did well in intra-party primaries. So the goalposts and definitions of success have been moved. Now the task is to seize power within the caucus.

None of this advances the goal of winning elections.  States containing 17% of American voters—most of them white and rural—are a Senate majority. This is a great injustice and an indictment of American democracy, but to fix that broken system, we need to win by its rules. That means re-learning to get votes in rural America. Those votes are available, because people's livelihoods have been looted by corporate multinationals, health care has disappeared into the cities, schools are deteriorating and you can't even buy fresh local produce in farm states. But we need to go out and pursue them. 

I think of this as a form of atrophy. Progressives have ideas that would connect well with rural voters if properly expressed, but they've forgotten how to. Capturing the leadership of the geriatric, corrupt, ideologically bankrupt Democratic party from within is an easier project. But it's not going to teach progressives to actually speak persuasively to rural America. It will just entomb us in our parochialism convey those ideas in language and policy that isn't coded for a small college-educated elite with weird ideological quirks.

A pressing problem in left politics is that a lot of podcasts, pundits, and blue-state political figures stand to benefit personally from a situation where we are a permanent minority. I'm not saying everyone is cynical about it, but it's hard to act against your own incentives.  When you pick people to support, whether you share my flavor of politics or not, make sure you are picking people who are neck-deep in the fight to win against Republicans, not people who are going to see a windfall and fresh book deal if we lose another election.
He has tweeted some things which are misleading though (he says 27% of the US population has a 4-year-degree or more ... but the US government say that 36% have four or more years of tertiary education).

I don't know what happened to his project to organize workers at large US surveillance and digital service companies, he does not talk about it on his real site and when I flipped through his birdsite he has some nasty remarks at people who refuse to behave the way he wants them to behave.

Andrew Gellman says that he could have predicted the 2018 midterm results within a few seats by spring 2019 2017, it was the standard pattern of the president's party losing seats in the midterm as nonpartisan voters try to create 'balance.'

OTOH, Trump got it into the space between his ears that a president will win re-election if the stock markets are high and unemployment is low on election day, and look what that got his country.

Edit:  Aha!  "Tech Solidarity is a 501(c)4 grass-roots organization with the motto "technology serves people". It represents a failed attempt in the period 2016-2018 to organize tech workers around an ethical agenda.

In 2018, Tech Solidarity promoted a Great Slate of Congressional candidates running in districts across America, helping to raise over $5M for progressive candidates. " https://techsolidarity.org/

I am just really confused and distressed because people drop off the real web without explaining why or where they have gone.  And Maciej's security advice written in the imperial we breaks more of my red lines than Nixon's China policy the Czech Legion.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2020, 01:23:14 PM by dubsartur »

Jubal

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Re: US Politics & Presidential Election 2020
« Reply #40 on: July 27, 2020, 11:46:30 AM »
I think the biggest problem with reaching rural America for the left isn't a lack of clarity on policy, it's a media landscape and resulting social conservatism that's hard for the left to counteract effectively. I think the above quote is right that it's possible to reach rural Americans, on the grounds that they stand to heavily benefit from well targeted left wing policies, but it smacks a bit of one of the common left-wing flaws which is to assume that the economic argument would be sufficient if only you were using the right words to say it.

The fact is that groups like churches are immensely powerful in rural America, in part because they're the only functioning centres of community, the only groups through which worse off people can access services, etc. And the media landscape is overwhelmingly, pulverisingly right-wing. Overturning those advantages doesn't, I think, just require talking to people differently, and nor does it require the "blue dog" strategy of accepting it and trying to run as left wing social authoritarians. What it really needs is a restructuring of the rural social landscape either along more liberal-communitarian or social-labour driven lines, or both. (I think those in my head are two separate modes/structures, the former being "more village level organisation, societies, mutual aid groups, cooperatively run businesses", whereas the latter is more strictly organised labour). And it needs a major breaking and restructuring of the media model, and it probably needs twenty years to bed in because social beliefs are sticky and don't actually just transmute easily to the situation around them.

It is a difficult, multi-stage process: in parts of the UK the Lib Dems got quite good at step 1 (embed in communities effectively and address local concerns) and then screwed up on the important later step of "actually use that process to show your values and bring the community with you", which is partly why we crumpled so badly in the past decade.



I'd really like to see more polling on the Maine, Iowa, and Montana senate races, which collectively are the ones most likely to decide the upper chamber. Arizona and Colorado look likely pickups for the Democrats, North Carolina looks tight, and Alabama we can assume will be a loss, so Democrats I think need two out of Maine, Iowa, NC, and Montana, assuming they win the presidency. More would obviously be ideal as that lessens the chance of four years of Dems going "we tried to do a good thing but Joe Manchin said we couldn't".
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dubsartur

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Re: US Politics & Presidential Election 2020
« Reply #41 on: July 30, 2020, 07:33:48 PM »
I am in no position to tell US persons what they should be doing politically (beyond "secret police disappearing people into unmarked vehicles is bad m'kay?"), but i think that one consequence of the collapse of local and international news is that it lets national news get phonier and more divisive.  If a paper reports on local news, savvy people notice that the newspaper's view on their landlord or the business down the street is not their view, or hear their friends' take on something they saw versus the reporter's take.  They have independent evidence, from sources whose reliability they can test, about some aspects of its coverage.

Its much harder to do that for things happening in a distant capital city or another country you never visited and don't know anyone from. 

Edit: I don't want to romanticize the Canadian journalism of the 1990s and 2000s which I grew up on, but I am scared at the breakdown of consensus about basic facts.

I also wonder if they have the effect we see in Canada where each individual election of a representative is really a plebescite about who should be chief executive, so all that campaigning and local advertising and speaking to local issues is wasted.  That can be really demoralizing to candidates.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2020, 07:58:10 PM by dubsartur »

Jubal

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Re: US Politics & Presidential Election 2020
« Reply #42 on: August 01, 2020, 10:25:55 AM »
I think part of that is community delocalisation as much as other things - in an increasingly urbanised and mobile society, people's community networks are less likely to be localised on their own settlement or area/district. Even if I had good local news here in Josefstadt, or indeed was able/had the time to translate the monthly or so newsletters the district puts in my letterbox, I'd struggle for secondary checking because I'm simply not integrated enough into this community to know about its issues and businesses and so on. I think that's probably a general tendency to some extent, though obviously as a migrant I'm a more extreme example. But e.g. the sort of village I grew up in, in East Anglia, is increasingly quite a dormitory-village setup for many people there, or it's somewhere well heeled people want to raise their kids quietly, and in either case engagement with the locality is increasingly a matter for the older residents only: most people don't spend enough time there or are sufficiently isolated that they don't have strong investment in the place. I don't actually think all of that is necessarily bad - I think it might be inevitable - but I think we need other sources and networks of community and news if localities are going to become less important.

I feel like Facebook use is starting to drop off a bit among some of my friendship circles in recent years, possibly from sheer fatigue, so maybe we'll see a readjustment to more localised modes of operation in the 2020s as there's more of an "unplug" movement (which in itself will have its downsides by leaving people who need the internet as a social tool more isolated, but I think it might happen).
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dubsartur

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Re: US Politics & Presidential Election 2020
« Reply #43 on: August 01, 2020, 04:06:58 PM »
Jubal, I find it just does not physically work: there is no way for me to understand personal politics unless I know everyone involved personally face-to-face or have trusted friends who know everyone involved face to face.  One of the reason I find Americans writing opinion pieces and on social media so tiring is that they demand that people have opinions and agree with their opinions on all kinds of personal-politics and celebrity-gossip stuff, but never put in a spot of effort to understand situations in other countries.

Edit: There have been times where I had a bad feeling about some people and kept them at a distance, and later I learned about who was bedding whom, groping whom, and paying whom behind the scenes, but "I have a bad feeling about them" is not very concrete and its not enough when you are in charge of a community and have to resolve a dispute.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2020, 04:50:19 PM by dubsartur »