Filed under: Election 2010
Recently, political commentators (and people who work in the study abroad office that come interrupt class for 15 minutes) have been discussing the possibility that the 2010 Congressional elections could resemble the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994 during the Clinton Administration.
It is not doubtful that the Republican party is poised to win many seats in the House and the Senate in 2010, possibly resulting in a Republican takeover of Congress. In political science, this phenomenon – the President’s party loses seats in Congress during the first midterm election following his presidential election – is called surge and decline. The surge corresponds to the increased support for the President’s party during the presidential election which saw him elected (Obama’s Democratic support in the 2008 election), while the decline corresponds to the decrease in support for the President’s party during the first Congressional election (the Democrats losing seats in the House and Senate during the 2010 midterms).
Saying that the Republicans have a better chance of gaining seats in 2010, like the did in 1994, just show the phenomenon of surge and decline in the works. 2002 stands in contrast to the idea of surge and decline – mostly because of factors like the War on Terror and 9/11 drove up support for President Bush, the Republicans, and incumbent Congressmen in general.
But, looking beyond political theories, 2010 doesn’t quite resemble 1994 as much as the media and some seemingly politically knowledgeable people may make it sound.
First – The Democratic take over of the current Congress began with the 2006 midterms and expanded during the 2008 election. In 1994, the Democrats had been in power since the era of Truman (1948).
Second – The 1994 midterms saw a united Republican Party, centered around Gingrich’s Contract for America platform. 2010 sees a united Republican Party centered around fighting all Democratic initiatives. Yet, internal Republican Party has seen increasingly large divisions between its Tea Party, social conservative (evangelical), and fiscal conservative factions – creating a split Republican electorate and a divided party platform.
Finally – Many consider 1994 as the cumulation of the formation of the solid Republican South – with Southerners kicking out incumbent Democratic Representatives in favor of more socially conservative Republicans. 2010 shows no parallel to this – as no section of the nation has changed party affiliations that drastically from 1994 – 2008 in favor of the Republican party (in fact, most areas of the country post-2002 have seen a surge in Democratic support).
2010 may turn out like 1994, but the reasons for this change are inherently different. America is more partisan than ever before – if anything, the 2010 midterm elections will serve to drive the parties further apart in platform forcing a further separation of the nation as well (which could lead to party crossover in the electorate – a factor that drives electoral realignments).
Source: Playing the blame game: how is it that women (Shannon, Hillary, Martha) blamed for running a bad campaign? Why is it so hard to be likable?
Shannon O’Brien – former MA State Treasurer, ran for governorship and lost against Romney in 2002.
Hillary Clinton – former First Lady and Senator from NY, ran for President in 2008 and lost to Barack Obama in the primaries.
Martha Coakley – AG of MA, ran for Senate in 2009-2010, lost to Republican Scott Brown.
The issue: How are women blamed for running bad campaigns? Is it because they are not likable?
The problem: The women listed above are blamed for running bad campaigns because they ran bad campaigns (although, I will not speak for Shannon on this issue). Clinton and Coakley ran horrific campaigns – wasting money and time that could have been used to win. Yeah, politicos also argue that these two had problems with the likability factor. But seriously, campaigns mean everything (unless you’re one of those political scientists that assumes that it’s all decided even before the election begins). These two ran bad campaigns and they were not likable – two strikes.
I think it’s a stretch to say that because they were women they were not likable and therefore lost. Women have come a long way in the political arena and while we still have a longer way to go (more Senate seats, more governorships, more justiceships, the presidency), putting ourselves down by deeming likability as the reason we lost is not going to help us gain credibility.
Breaking news in CT politics:
Secretary Of State Susan Bysiewicz is expected to announce that she will drop her bid for governor and run for the attorney general’s office.Bysiewicz’s campaign office said she will make a formal announcement on Wednesday regarding her political plans.
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announced last week he will not seek re-election for the office and that he will run for U.S. Senate in lieu of Sen. Christopher Dodd‘s announcement that he will not seek re-election.
Bysiewicz had been a front-runner in the gubernatorial race. According to a recent poll by Public Policy Polling, Bysiewicz held a lead of 25 and 22 points over Lt. Gov. Michael Fedel and Tom Foley respectively. PPP pollsters surveyed 522 Connecticut voters on Jan. 4 and Jan. 5.
Last week, former state chairman of the Democratic Party George Jepsen said he is considering a run for the attorney general’s office.
Okay so let’s get this straight:
Susan Bysiewicz is running for AG
Richard Blumenthal is running for Senate
Now who is going to be our democratic nominee for governor?? Dan Malloy (he’s my pick), Ned Lamont, or someone new??
Filed under: BU for Barack, Campaigning, Democratic Nomination 2008, Election 2008, President Obama, Voters, Youth Vote
From FM (in full because it’s so good!):
Those of us in the progressive youth movement have been talking about the importance of young voter outreach for a long time now. We tried to drive home the point that young voters are not apathetic, but disengaged due to that self-fulfilling prophecy of traditional campaign ‘wisdom.’ Youth political organizations kept succeeding, increasing youth turnout in 2004 and 2006. David Plouffe, David Axelrod, and Barack Obama eschewed tradition by deciding from the beginning that organizing young voters to expand the electorate would be the key to victory.
“One of [Paul] Tewes’s ideas was to make sure we were working every community, no matter how small. African American, Latino, high school kids, Republicans–we had staff assigned to all of the demographics, months ahead of our competition.” The Obama campaign began by working hard to turn out the potential voters that traditional campaigns write off. While critics of the youth vote claim that 2008 was a fluke and just about Obama, it is clear that the campaign worked hard to organize youth that had never been asked for their vote by a campaign. The campaign knew that they “would win Iowa only on the backs of independents, Republicans, young voters, and new registrants–a scary proposition, to say the least.”
The campaign was able to look at the election through the lens of a young voter. “At least 95 percent of our six thousand employees were under the age of thirty, most under the age of twenty-five.” While it is not uncommon for a lot of campaign staff to be young, what was exceptional about the Obama campaign was the respect for them and the willingness to trust their instincts on what was happening on the ground.
We adjusted accordingly, adding more media and Internet advertising geared exclusively to younger voters; we prepared to do a lot more instructional and informative work with our supporters so they knew how to caucus, while trying not to spook them; and we redoubled our efforts to attract support from conventional caucus Democrats so our newbies in certain precincts were matched with some grizzled veterans.
The campaign invested in “advertising specifically geared toward women, seniors, and younger voters, African Americans and Latinos.” The messaging of the youth advertising reflected an understanding of the generation: “spots for those under thirty were very aspirational, a call to action, focusing on issues like Iraq and the environment, and calling on younger voters to get involved in shaping the future.” Young voters, used to being ignored, were finally being engaged by a campaign with the same effort and respect showed to seniors.
The Obama campaign conceived of and executed a strategy to expand the electorate by registering and turning out young voters and other traditionally underrepresented demographics. Here are a few passages from The Audacity to Win on how this strategy became a winning one:
As the returns came in we could see the traces of our strategy’s design: by registering over one hundred thousand new voters, producing strong turnout among African Americans and young voters, and winning college-educated whites thanks to our stand against the gas tax, we had made ourselves unbeatable in North Carolina.
We registered many thousands of new voters in both states, and these voters participated at high rates, defying the conventional view that new registrants turn out in very low numbers. A strong showing from African Americans and younger voters might put both these states in play in the general election.
If we did not register enough African Americans and young voters in North Carolina and then turn them out on Election Day, we could not win. Facing a traditional electorate meant we shouldn’t even bother with a state like North Carolina, no matter how much money we spent.
By focusing their attention on young voters and actually spending resources on research, the campaign learned new things about new and young voters. An example was when their numbers showed that they were not meeting their initial goals for youth early voting:
First, many young voters were so excited by this election that they couldn’t envision doing anything besides voting for Barack Obama in person at the polling location. When we raised with them the possibility of long lines, or the potential to free themselves up to volunteer, they simply wouldn’t budge. This was a big moment for them and they felt it would seem bigger if they voted at the polls. In any case, they were still dead-set on participating, which relieved us.
The second lesson was that there was still some confusion about who was eligible to vote early and how it worked. Armed with these findings, we made sure our communications to younger voters included even more remedial information about the nuts and bolts of early voting. Soon enough, their numbers began to climb. In many states we lowered our expectations for the under-twenty-five early vote (but not for overall turnout), and we eventually hit those numbers in most battlegrounds.
Republicans have spent a lot of effort in previous campaigns spreading misinformation to young voters about such things as early voting, residency, and registration. By putting in the effort to combat that misinformation, the campaign was able to empower and turn out voters who were unsure of the sometimes complex election laws.
As we now know, this strategy of reaching out to young voters paid off, despite the naysayers from the media and the old school political establishment:
Our base–African Americans, sporadic-voting Democrats, and younger voters–was turning out in larger numbers than McCain’s base in most states.
The share of the electorate over sixty-five actually dropped between 2004 and 2008, not because fewer older voters turned out but because younger ones showed up in droves.
Because the Obama campaign was committed to putting effort and resources in registering and turning out young voters, treating them with the same respect as other demographics, they were able to build on the work done by youth organizations since 2000 to culminate with those voters carrying Obama to victory and the presidency. However, culminate may not be the appropriate word. The work in further expanding the electorate by turning out young voters to elect Democrats is far from over. There is more potential for the Millennial generation to not only expand the electorate in an election, but to fundamentally alter the country for the better.
I’ll leave you with David Plouffe’s words on our generation:
I left the campaign extraordinarily confident about the future of the country, because of the talent and drive of the young men and women who made our victory possible. Certainly, we would not have won the primary or the general without a surging youth turnout in any number of states, Iowa most importantly. But their impact on the election goes beyond casting ballots. Most of our staff was under thirty, many of them were under twenty-five, as were a sizable chunk of our most active volunteers. As I witnessed, sometimes in awe, their performance and desire to look beyond themselves and contribute to a better world (and they have a distinctly global outlook) it gave me extreme comfort to know that in the not so distant future they will be taking the reins and leading our companies, campaigns, and institutions. For my generation, the rocking chair beckons–these kids are that good. I can’t wait to experience their leadership and vision in the years to come.
Filed under: Democratic Nomination 2008
So good, it made me smile – reading these quotes a year and a half later. Love you girls!
“Paolo is not coming to the party.”
“White or Wheat?”
“So I have an e.” -Amy
“Yosemite. Interesting.” -Abby
“Who’s that calling you?”
“The wrong number that calls me twice a day.”- Amy
“Wait, I hear Obama… Oh it’s just my cell phone. ” – Amy
A cool 6-part series – only 2 parts are out though.
Just for some light reading!
Setti Warren for Mayor of Newton 2009.
Here’s his bio:
Setti recently returned from a year serving as an intelligence specialist with the United States Navy in Iraq. He is thrilled to be back home in Newton!
As mayor, Setti will use his proven leadership skills to manage the city efficiently. He will bring people together, listen, solicit feedback and ultimately make the tough decisions that need to be made, while always encouraging and providing transparency in the decision-making process.
Prior to his deployment, Setti served as the Deputy State Director for Senator John Kerry, where he was responsible for working with the Boston and Washington, DC staff to manage personnel and policy issues for the Senator in Massachusetts. While in Senator Kerry’s office, Setti was also responsible for directing all small business and economic development issues in Massachusetts. In this role, he worked closely with mayors and other state and federal officials on a daily basis to promote job creation, small business development and economic growth in the state.
Setti has been involved with public service since his freshman year at Newton North High School, where he was elected class president – a post he held for four years in a row. As a sophomore at Boston College, Setti became the second African American to be elected student body president in the college’s history. In 2007 Setti received his J.D. from Suffolk University Law School.
Later, as vice president of his family’s consulting firm, Setti was responsible for designing and implementing the national award-winning high school internship program at the Central Artery/Tunnel Program in Boston, Massachusetts.
In 1995, Setti joined President Clinton’s reelection campaign. In March of 1996, he was appointed to the President’s advance staff and was quickly promoted to assistant director of that office.
While at the White House, Setti also served as a Special Assistant for Cabinet Affairs under Cabinet Secretary Thurgood Marshall, Jr., working with the offices of the Attorney General, the Department of Treasury, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Small Business Administration.
In 1999, President Clinton appointed Setti to be New England Regional Director of FEMA, where he managed a staff of 75 permanent full time employees, a reservist workforce of over 400, four senior department heads and all mitigation and emergency programs. He was responsible for the annual office operating budget of $500,000 and directing over $20,000,000 in program assistance funds to the New England states. In this capacity he worked closely with local mayors, members of Congress and governors to administer vital and effective FEMA programs and deliver resources to cities and towns throughout New England. Setti served in that post until President Bush took office in January, 2001.
Setti spent the next two years working in the development office at Boston College until he was appointed trip director for Senator John Kerry’s presidential campaign in 2003.
Setti was a founding member of Newton’s Community Preservation Committee in 2002 and served as its spokesperson. Additionally, he served on the Newton Economic Development Commission in 2005. In 1997 Setti was awarded the Human Rights Award and subsequently had December 17 declared “Setti Warren Day” by Newton Mayor Thomas Concannon in recognition of his outstanding work as Vice-Chair of the City of Newton’s Foundation for Ethnic, Racial, and Religious Equality.
Setti and his wife Tassy currently live in the house where Setti grew up and are thrilled to be living in Newton and looking forward to raising a family here and remaining active in the community. Their daughter, Abigail was born on June 10, 2008.
And here’s how to get involved.
Andrew’s post on the Obama train ride was absolutely amazing. To quote in full:
I cannot be alone in immediately having my mind leap to Robert Kennedy’s funeral train as I watched Obama’s Inaugural express make its way toward Washington yesterday. Forty years. The same crowds along the tracks; the same intensity of emotion – but now inverted from crippling grief to tentative hope; the connection between one human being and the millions of others who sensed and sense that he understands, like few others do, the crisis we face and the American character we now need. Here is a very affecting oral memory of that RFK train by the photographer, Robert Fusco, who helped sear it into global consciousness.
For me it feels as if history is undoing itself, as if some great, dark wound has somehow returned to be healed, before it is too late.
Another from 1968:
(Photos by Robert Fusco in 1968 and Christopher Furlong and Chip Somodevilla 2009.)
Missing that combined with the fact that I’m missing the concert today and the Inauguration on Tuesday, makes me just wish I was home!