WTF Community

2020 Primary Election

(David Bythewood) #545

Rank choice is more interesting. I like the idea that your vote can still count even if your favorite doesn’t get in, and I’ve seen in practice how it can work.

But caucuses don’t. They also have incredibly low turnout. Even in 2008 the turnout was abysmal, and there are often complaints of bullying. It’s the least democratic you can get in a democracy short of outright appointment, turning the race into a pure popularity contest among with the affluence or sheer fervor to participate.


I always liked to caucus because it’s a rank choice process, I’m sorry if you’ve experienced bullying, it’s not supposed work that way. It’s actually about building a consensus.

I just can’t wait for they day when all voting is rank choice, winner take all, vote by mail. That would be ideal. Builds consensus while allowing for accessibility.

(David Bythewood) #547

This ‘Census’ form in your mailbox isn’t from the government. Here’s who sent it out and why

This is not the first time that Republicans have sent out mailers that look like official census documents, although this time the documents are hitting mailboxes just weeks before the federal government plans to begin sending notices inviting people to participate in the 2020 U.S. Census.

A letter accompanying the “census” is signed by Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and includes a request for donation of $25 to $1,000 by Feb. 24th.


Two days later… :woman_facepalming:t2:

(Facepalm not for Pete)

(David Bythewood) #549

Something to keep a watch on after Iowa:

“More election result delays? Texas might have problems too.”


Trump Fans Flooded Iowa Caucus Hotline, Democrats Say

Supporters of President Donald Trump flooded a hotline used by Iowa precinct chairs to report Democratic caucus results after the telephone number was posted online, worsening delays in the statewide tally, a top state Democrat told party leaders on a conference call Wednesday night.

According to two participants on the call, Ken Sagar, a state Democratic central committee member, was among those answering the hotline on caucus night and said people called in and expressed support for Trump. The phone number became public after people posted photos of caucus paperwork that included the hotline number, one of the people on the call said.


‘Clog the lines’: Internet trolls deliberately disrupted the Iowa caucuses hotline for reporting results

Users on a politics-focused section of the fringe 4chan message board repeatedly posted the phone number for the Iowa Democratic Party, which was found by a simple Google search, both as screenshots and in plain text, alongside instructions.

"They have to call in the results now. Very long hold times being reported. Phone line being clogged," one user posted at about 11 p.m. ET on Monday, three hours after the caucuses began.

"Uh oh how unfortunate it would be for a bunch of mischief makers to start clogging the lines," responded another anonymous user, sarcastically.

Some users chimed in, posting alleged wait times on hold, imploring others to “clog the lines [and] make the call lads.”

Rob Sand, state auditor of Iowa, said he took results calls on Monday night as a volunteer and received an influx of calls that appeared to have been generated by a post on the internet.

“A lot of calls came in at a certain point where it was clear somebody had published the hotline number somewhere,” Sand said.

(David Bythewood) #552

And in other news:


This is a stretch…

Washington State is only allowing online voting for the King Conservation District Board of Supervisors election, a 35 person office with no regulatory power, in order to increase turnout.

Online voting will be available for the King Conservation District Board of Supervisors election, a contest so obscure that voters have typically had to specifically request a ballot to vote. King Conservation District elections have typically drawn voter turnout of 1% to 3%.


The King Conservation District covers all of King County except for Enumclaw, Federal Way, Milton, Pacific and Skykomish, and has been around since 1949. It works with landowners to help them implement conservation practices — things like habitat restoration, forest management and shoreline protection — on private property. It has no regulatory powers, and landowners have no obligation to work with it.

It has 35 employees, an annual budget of $7.8 million and a five-person volunteer board of supervisors, three of whom are elected. Candidates in this year’s election are Chris Porter, a beekeeper and pharmaceutical salesman; and Stephen “Dutch” Deutschman, a retired air-cargo worker. Through a quirk of state law, the conservation district runs its own elections and those elections must be held in the first quarter of the year (i.e., not in August or November when the county holds countywide elections).

Sending ballots to all 1.2 million voters in the conservation district would eat up somewhere between 10% and 25% of the agency’s budget. So, in the past few years, they’ve asked voters to go online and request a ballot, which then is mailed to the voter, who must then fill it out and mail it back to complete the process. About 3,500 people voted in last year’s election, less than 1% of registered voters.

“We have been looking for ways to increase awareness and increase voter participation for a number of years,” said Bea Covington, executive director of the conservation district. “We’re providing a really large beta test of this kind of ballot access.”

(David Bythewood) #554

Thank you for the clarification!


This Atlantic piece is truly frightening about the misinformation campaign being used by T 'n Co - and their expected media cost will be $1 Billion dollars. As was the case in 2016, there is a ton of micro-targeting going on…but the reinvention of the truth via pathways like Facebook and other social media arenas is stupefying.

Take a look here…WTFery for sure.

One day last fall, I sat down to create a new Facebook account. I picked a forgettable name, snapped a profile pic with my face obscured, and clicked “Like” on the official pages of Donald Trump and his reelection campaign. Facebook’s algorithm prodded me to follow Ann Coulter, Fox Business, and a variety of fan pages with names like “In Trump We Trust.” I complied. I also gave my cellphone number to the Trump campaign, and joined a handful of private Facebook groups for MAGA diehards, one of which required an application that seemed designed to screen out interlopers.

The president’s reelection campaign was then in the midst of a multimillion-dollar ad blitz aimed at shaping Americans’ understanding of the recently launched impeachment proceedings. Thousands of micro-targeted ads had flooded the internet, portraying Trump as a heroic reformer cracking down on foreign corruption while Democrats plotted a coup. That this narrative bore little resemblance to reality seemed only to accelerate its spread. Right-wing websites amplified every claim. Pro-Trump forums teemed with conspiracy theories. An alternate information ecosystem was taking shape around the biggest news story in the country, and I wanted to see it from the inside.

The story that unfurled in my Facebook feed over the next several weeks was, at times, disorienting. There were days when I would watch, live on TV, an impeachment hearing filled with damning testimony about the president’s conduct, only to look at my phone later and find a slickly edited video—served up by the Trump campaign—that used out-of-context clips to recast the same testimony as an exoneration. Wait , I caught myself wondering more than once, is that what happened today?

As I swiped at my phone, a stream of pro-Trump propaganda filled the screen: “That’s right, the whistleblower’s own lawyer said, ‘The coup has started …’ ” Swipe . “Democrats are doing Putin’s bidding …” Swipe . “The only message these radical socialists and extremists will understand is a crushing …” Swipe . “Only one man can stop this chaos …” Swipe , swipe , swipe .

I was surprised by the effect it had on me. I’d assumed that my skepticism and media literacy would inoculate me against such distortions. But I soon found myself reflexively questioning every headline. It wasn’t that I believed Trump and his boosters were telling the truth. It was that, in this state of heightened suspicion, truth itself—about Ukraine, impeachment, or anything else—felt more and more difficult to locate. With each swipe, the notion of observable reality drifted further out of reach.

What I was seeing was a strategy that has been deployed by illiberal political leaders around the world. Rather than shutting down dissenting voices, these leaders have learned to harness the democratizing power of social media for their own purposes—jamming the signals, sowing confusion. They no longer need to silence the dissident shouting in the streets; they can use a megaphone to drown him out. Scholars have a name for this: censorship through noise.

After the 2016 election, much was made of the threats posed to American democracy by foreign disinformation. Stories of Russian troll farms and Macedonian fake-news mills loomed in the national imagination. But while these shadowy outside forces preoccupied politicians and journalists, Trump and his domestic allies were beginning to adopt the same tactics of information warfare that have kept the world’s demagogues and strongmen in power.

Every presidential campaign sees its share of spin and misdirection, but this year’s contest promises to be different. In conversations with political strategists and other experts, a dystopian picture of the general election comes into view—one shaped by coordinated bot attacks, Potemkin local-news sites, micro-targeted fearmongering, and anonymous mass texting. Both parties will have these tools at their disposal. But in the hands of a president who lies constantly, who traffics in conspiracy theories, and who readily manipulates the levers of government for his own gain, their potential to wreak havoc is enormous.

The Trump campaign is planning to spend more than $1 billion, and it will be aided by a vast coalition of partisan media, outside political groups, and enterprising freelance operatives. These pro-Trump forces are poised to wage what could be the most extensive disinformation campaign in U.S. history. Whether or not it succeeds in reelecting the president, the wreckage it leaves behind could be irreparable.

The campaign doesn’t run just one ad at a time on a given theme. It runs hundreds of iterations—adjusting the language, the music, even the colors of the “Donate” buttons. In the 10 weeks after the House of Representatives began its impeachment inquiry, the Trump campaign ran roughly 14,000 different ads containing the word impeachment . Sifting through all of them is virtually impossible.

Both parties will rely on micro-targeted ads this year, but the president is likely to have a distinct advantage. The Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign have reportedly compiled an average of 3,000 data points on every voter in America. They have spent years experimenting with ways to tweak their messages based not just on gender and geography, but on whether the recipient owns a gun or watches the Golf Channel.

While these ads can be used to try to win over undecided voters, they’re most often deployed for fundraising and for firing up the faithful—and Trump’s advisers believe this election will be decided by mobilization, not persuasion. To turn out the base, the campaign has signaled that it will return to familiar themes: the threat of “illegal aliens”—a term Parscale has reportedly encouraged Trump to use—and the corruption of the “swamp.”


It took me a long time to get through this because it covers so much (& I had to let the dog out & in multiple times). This quote is near the end.

"The political theorist Hannah Arendt once wrote that the most successful totalitarian leaders of the 20th century instilled in their followers “a mixture of gullibility and cynicism.” When they were lied to, they chose to believe it. When a lie was debunked, they claimed they’d known all along—and would then “admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness.” Over time, Arendt wrote, the onslaught of propaganda conditioned people to “believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that nothing was true.”


Sort of disappeared anyway…Joe Walsh suspends his campaign.



(David Bythewood) #559

Well of course he will. This was never about re-election, it’s about narcissism, and he thinks he can be president for life.


This news was eclipsed by the commotion of the last couple weeks, but it’s an awesome development for Susan Collins’s top Democratic opponent, Sara Gideon. :clap:

Planned Parenthood on Tuesday endorsed a Democrat hoping to challenge Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, saying Collins “turned her back” on women and citing her vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court as well as other judicial nominees who oppose abortion.

Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon of Freeport welcomed the endorsement from the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “There’s never been a more important time to stand up for reproductive rights,” she said, in the face of “systematic attacks on reproductive rights across the country.”

Collins, who was honored by Planned Parenthood as recently as 2017 as “an outspoken champion for women’s health,” is facing perhaps the toughest reelection fight of her career. Critics have vowed they won’t forget her key vote for Kavanaugh, whose nomination survived an accusation that he sexually assaulted someone in high school.

From her decisive vote to confirm Kavanaugh to her refusal to stop Republican attacks on our health and rights, it’s clear that she has turned her back on those she should be championing,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president and CEO of Planned Parenthood . She said Collins “has abandoned not only the people of Maine, but women across the country.”

The Impeachment of President Donald J. Trump

James Carville wants the Dems to win in 2020…but he is uncertain of this…

He wants the Dems to get a good sellable message and do not get lost in fringe(y) ideals - ie free tuition etc.




In a way, I kind of agree with that yelly old cable news man, it helps when you have clear messaging. There must be a better way to signal your position in a deeper social conversation without creating extreme headlines.

There’s so much noise, people aren’t tracking the candidates day by day. They only have time to catch the weird headlines on social media. Total turn off to regular voters because it requires a level of understanding that can only be achieved by keeping up with campaign news.

Candidates should pick their issue and beat It like a drum because it sure is loud out here in the city streets.


I agree…and don’t let T carry the narrative, or always reacting to what he’s doing or saying.

Health care…fair wages, infrastructure, education…those sorts of things are clearly defined issues.