mfioretti: hillary clinton*

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  1. I kept asking the party lawyers and the DNC staff to show me the agreements that the party had made for sharing the money they raised, but there was a lot of shuffling of feet and looking the other way.

    When I got back from a vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, I at last found the document that described it all: the Joint Fund-Raising Agreement between the DNC, the Hillary Victory Fund, and Hillary for America.

    The agreement—signed by Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and Robby Mook with a copy to Marc Elias—specified that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings.

    I had been wondering why it was that I couldn’t write a press release without passing it by Brooklyn. Well, here was the answer.
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  2. Pressed by investigators in Congress, Facebook said Wednesday that it has found evidence that a pro-Kremlin Russian “troll farm” bought $100,000 worth of ads targeted at U.S. voters between 2015 and 2017. The finding was first reported by the Washington Post, and Facebook published its own statement Wednesday afternoon.

    A few of the roughly 3,000 ads that Facebook traced to the Russian company mentioned presidential candidates Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton directly, according to the Post’s sources. The majority focused on stoking people’s emotions around divisive issues such as “gun rights and immigration fears, as well as gay rights and racial discrimination.”

    Facebook wouldn’t disclose the ads in question, nor exactly how the scheme worked.
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  3. Relations between Democrats and religious progressives have been more difficult since 1980, when evangelicals deserted Jimmy Carter — one of their own, whom they had supported in 1976 — for Ronald Reagan.

    As Republicans cemented the Christian right as a cornerstone of the party’s base, Democrats moved in the opposite direction, so intent on separating church and state that they recoiled from courting religious blocs of voters, recalled Gary Hart, the former senator, who grew up in the Church of the Nazarene and graduated from divinity school.

    Interactive Feature | How Have Your Politics and Religion Mixed in Unexpected Ways? We would like to know more about how your religious beliefs have affected your political views and actions — or vice versa.

    During his ill-fated 1988 presidential campaign, Mr. Hart said, he was often asked, “‘Why don’t you talk about your religious background more?’ And the answer was, ‘I don’t want to be seen as pandering for votes.’”

    Issues on which the religious left is at odds with Democratic doctrine include military spending and the death penalty, though the most polarizing is abortion — the main barrier, for many liberal evangelicals and Catholics, to voting as Democrats — as could be seen when the party split recently over whether to endorse an anti-abortion Democrat running for mayor of Omaha.

    Setting abortion aside, political appeals based on religious beliefs continue to carry risk for Democrats, given the growing numbers of Americans who claim no religion: Secular voters overwhelmingly vote Democratic, and younger voters are far more secular than older voters.

    Still, Hillary Clinton’s snub of even moderate evangelicals in the 2016 presidential race squandered many opportunities to cut into Mr. Trump’s support. Where Barack Obama had worked hard in 2008 to show he would at least listen to evangelicals, Mrs. Clinton rebuffed interview requests from evangelical media outlets and signaled leftward moves on abortion rights that helped many conservative voters overcome their doubts about Mr. Trump.

    “The fact that one party has strategically used and abused religion, while the other has had a habitually allergic and negative response to religion per se, puts our side in a more difficult position in regard to political influence,” said the Rev. Jim Wallis, the evangelical social justice advocate who founded the Sojourners community and magazine in 1971.

    “Most progressive religious leaders I talk to, almost all of them, feel dissed by the left,” he said. “The left is really controlled by a lot of secular fundamentalists.”
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  4. Democrats and the Opposition Media reflexively oppose almost everything President Trump does. This time he gave them something they wanted, badly, but not for the reason they wanted. That’s a trigger. It forces anti-Trumpers to act angry in public that he did the thing they wanted him to do. And they are.

    Trump cleverly addressed the FBI’s Russian collusion investigation by putting the following line in the Comey firing letter: “While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.”

    That one odd sentence caused every media outlet to display the quote and talk about it, over and over. And when you focus on something, no matter the reason, it rises in importance in your mind. President Trump, the Master Persuader, made all of us think about the “not under investigation” part over, and over, and over.

    The trick here is that members of Trump’s campaign might be the ones under investigation, not Trump himself. But that’s where the complexity of this topic is useful to the Master Persuader. The viewing public won’t make that distinction. All they will hear – over and over – is the “not under investigation” part.

    I’ve taught you in this blog that the right amount of “wrong” is what captures our attention and creates a memory. Trump’s odd inclusion of the “not under investigation” line is just wrong enough that we can’t move past it. It is persuasion-perfect.

    The best explanation I have heard for the timing of Comey’s firing is that it comes soon after the Assistant Attorney General was confirmed, and he is Comey’s official boss. You need a proper boss for a proper firing. And it came right after Comey embarrassed himself by getting some facts about the Clinton email situation wrong in front of Congress. There is no perfect time to fire a person, but this was close to perfect.

    My favorite part of this firing – from a persuasion perspective – is that it is such a strong move. The pure dominance of the play is what will stick in our minds. This was some ballsy Presidenting. That’s the lasting takeaway. You’ll remember the boldness long after you forget the timing and the details.
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2017-05-10)
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  5. from the comments:

    I haven't even read the article yet because the headline hit so close to home for me. This is exactly what led to my conversion. A staunch democrat and obama voter through his first term. Then got sick and tired of being called a racist just for being white, a sexist for being a man, a homophobe for being a Christian, and straw that broke the camels back was being called a transphobic for believing in boys and girls.

    CORRECTION: You're a homophobe for being heterosexual; being Christian makes you "anti-science." You're welcome. :)

    This is why there is no such thing as "white male privilege" no matter how loudly the Left wishes to shriek it. When you are a punching bag for bigotry and prejudice, passed over for education and employment, based on the color of your skin alone, then you aren't enjoying any sort of privilege. When you are automatically presumed to be a violent sexual predator simply because you have a penis you're not planning on rejecting, you are not enjoying any sort of privilege.
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  6. The Democratic Party should not impose support for abortion rights as a litmus test on its candidates, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Tuesday, because it needs a broad and inclusive agenda to win back the socially conservative voters who helped elect President Trump.

    “This is the Democratic Party. This is not a rubber-stamp party,” Pelosi said in an interview with Washington Post reporters.

    “I grew up Nancy D’Alesandro, in Baltimore, Maryland; in Little Italy; in a very devout Catholic family; fiercely patriotic; proud of our town and heritage, and staunchly Democratic,” she added, referring to the fact that she is the daughter and sister of former mayors of that city. “Most of those people — my family, extended family — are not pro-choice. You think I’m kicking them out of the Democratic Party?”

    Polling indicates that a significant portion of people who consider themselves Democrats do indeed have misgivings about abortion, which has been legal nationally since the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

    Surveys by the Pew Research Center have generally found that about 3 in 10 Democrats say that abortion should be illegal in all or most cases.
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  7. Amid a tense Democratic debate over whether pro-lifers have any place inside the party, Nancy Pelosi delivered a blunt message to her fellow Democrats: Trump won because of the party's rigid stance on abortion and other social issues.

    "You know what? That's why Donald Trump is president of the United States—the evangelicals and the Catholics, anti-marriage equality, anti-choice. That's how he got to be president," Pelosi told the Washington Post. "Everything was trumped, literally and figuratively by that."

    Indeed, the Democrats' declining performance solely among evangelicals between 2012 and 2016 was enough to cost Hillary Clinton the election, as Ramesh Ponnuru wrote at National Review in December.

    In her Washington Post interview, Pelosi urged Democrats to welcome pro-life voters and some candidates. "I grew up Nancy D'Alesandro, in Baltimore, Maryland; in Little Italy; in a very devout Catholic family; fiercely patriotic; proud of our town and heritage, and staunchly Democratic," Pelosi said. "Most of those people—my family, extended family—are not pro-choice. You think I'm kicking them out of the Democratic Party?"

    "Bob Casey—you know Bob Casey—would you like him not to be in our party?" Pelosi said, referring to the Democratic senator from Pennsylvania who sometimes votes pro-life.

    Pelosi's comments were met with criticism from Ilyse Hogue of NARAL Pro-Choice America. "Encouraging and supporting anti-choice candidates leads to bad policy outcomes that violate women's rights and endanger our economic security," Hogue told the Post.

    Hogue, NARAL's president, kicked off the current debate by urging opposition to a formerly pro-life Democratic mayoral candidate in Omaha, Nebraska. DNC chair Tom Perez backed the candidate but later said that supporting a right to abortion is a "non-negotiable" issue for Democratic candidates.

    At the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Hogue received cheers from the crowd when she gave a speech about how she aborted her first child not for any medical reason but simply because it was an inconvenient time to become a parent. The convention was also the first time that the party platform explicitly called for unlimited federal funding of elective abortions for Medicaid recipients.

    Sure, Pelosi sounds inclusive now, but it should not be forgotten that she played a key role in driving pro-life candidates and voters from her party. Pro-life Democrats were largely wiped out of Congress after she forced the 2010 vote on Obamacare, which allowed federal subsidies for insurance plans that cover elective abortions. That vote was a clear-cut case of political murder-suicide if there ever was one.!
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  8. The Clinton campaign in 2016, for instance, never saw the Bernie Sanders campaign as being driven by millions of people who over the course of decades had become dissatisfied with the party. They instead saw one cheap stunt pulled by an illegitimate back-bencher, foolishness that would be ended if Sanders himself could somehow be removed.

    "Bill and Hillary had wanted to put Sanders » down like a junkyard dog early on," Allen and Parnes wrote. The only reason they didn't, they explained, was an irritating chance problem: Sanders "was liked," which meant going negative would backfire.

    Hillary had had the same problem with Barack Obama, with whom she and her husband had elected to go heavily negative in 2008, only to see that strategy go very wrong. "It boomeranged," as it's put in Shattered.

    The Clinton campaign was convinced that Obama won in 2008 not because he was a better candidate, or buoyed by an electorate that was disgusted with the Iraq War. Obama won, they believed, because he had a better campaign operation – i.e., better Washingtonian puppeteers. In The Right Stuff terms, Obama's Germans were better than Hillary's Germans.

    They were determined not to make the same mistake in 2016. Here, the thought process of campaign chief Robby Mook is described:

    "Mook knew that Hillary viewed almost every early decision through a 2008 lens: she thought almost everything her own campaign had done was flawed and everything Obama's had done was pristine."

    Since Obama had spent efficiently and Hillary in 2008 had not, this led to spending cutbacks in the 2016 race in crucial areas, including the hiring of outreach staff in states like Michigan. This led to a string of similarly insane self-defeating decisions. As the book puts it, the "obsession with efficiency had come at the cost of broad voter contact in states that would become important battlegrounds."

    If the ending to this story were anything other than Donald Trump being elected president, Shattered would be an awesome comedy, like a Kafka novel – a lunatic bureaucracy devouring itself. But since the ending is the opposite of funny, it will likely be consumed as a cautionary tale.
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  9. Working in the south for voting rights, young activists such as Casey Hayden and Mary King had gained sophisticated organising experience and found strong female role models they could respect in the older black women who were such a central part of the civil rights movement. But by the mid-60s, as black nationalism, the student movement and antiwar protests moved to the centre of cultural prominence, white activist women found themselves both unwelcome within black identity politics and demoted within the other movements.

    Charged with making coffee while the male politicos speechified, shouted down and humiliated for daring to bring up the issue of gender inequality during rallies and leftist gatherings, their early calls for sexual equality were seen as trivial, hormonally inspired, and counter-revolutionary. Inspired by the Black Panthers to look to their own oppression, women began to speak up about what came to be known as “personal politics”. But unlike the Panthers, women were told over and over that they had to subordinate their demands to larger causes in the interests of the movement. They found themselves simmering and stewing as boyfriends and husbands defined what was revolutionary, what was worthy, and what was progressive.

    It was both an exhilarating and a frustrating time to be an activist woman. Some, like me, dropped out of the fight for a time. Others became more violently countercultural and joined the Weather Underground. Others still became leaders of the emerging women’s movement. In 2016, however, many activists saw that movement as part of establishment politics and no longer requiring their revolutionary fervour. As one Sanders supporter wrote:
    Everyone loves Bernie Sanders. Except, it seems, the Democratic party
    Trevor Timm
    Trevor Timm
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    Yes, equal rights for women and minorities are critically important. To consider these ideals progressive, however, seems passé. At this point, it’s more fair to suggest they are traditional. Gender and civil rights and equality may remain under attack from the right, but these ideals are positively engrained in two generations of Americans. Progressive voters, at this stage in our young country’s political history, want to challenge corrupt systems. The prison-industrial complex, the military-industrial complex, the financial-industrial complex, and the other lobbies that control our politicians and our government, for example.

    I’m fairly certain that Sanders himself doesn’t see “equal rights for women and minorities” as so firmly inscribed in our culture as to be “traditional” or “passé”. Nonetheless, Sanders gave Clinton no credit for her longstanding progressivism in these areas, while identifying her with the corruption he was dedicated to cleaning up. Organising against the abuses that he made his signature causes was indeed a worthy progressive agenda. Portraying Clinton as the enemy of systemic change, on the other hand, was not only factually incorrect, but proved politically disastrous in the general election.

    Sanders was the perfect vehicle to revive political passion both among the older left, revitalised by being on the side of “the revolution” again, and a younger generation who had yet to experience the sense of rightness, community, and belief in the possibility of radical change that nourished us in the 60s. Here was this guy who had lived through it all, who looked like a grandfather but spoke like a union organiser, who was making it seem possible again – but in terms that spoke to the present, to their issues. He was fierce, he was uncompromising, and he wasn’t afraid to call out clear enemies, which revolutions always need to rally around. Wall Street. Greed. Big Money. Super PACS. The establishment.
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  10. We have to reforge the global economy. We have think in terms not of reforming the fossil-fuel dominated economy we have, but replacing it. That’s a gargantuan task. That said, the timing for an economic revolution has never been better, for four reasons.
    1. The Carbon Bubble

    To see how disruptive sustainability has become possible, we must first understand how massively unsustainable our fossil-fuel based economy already is — not just ecologically, but financially and politically — and remember that that which cannot be sustained always fails.

    Recently, I wrote a piece Trump, Putin and the Pipelines to Nowhere, in which I explained the Carbon Bubble. You should read it. Here’s the short version, though:
    The majority of the world’s coal, oil and gas deposits are unburnable (Carbon Tracker)

    Preventing catastrophic climate change demands limiting the fossil fuels we use. Even plans that accept a huge amount of risk now demand that most of the planet’s coal, oil and gas remain unburnt.

    Fuels that can’t be burned aren’t worth much. In turn, the companies whose major assets are those coal mines, oil fields and gas wells, pipelines and refineries are worth much less money than their stock prices would indicate.

    The difference between the valuations of fossil fuel companies and their true worth is so large that national banks, financial industry associations and esteemed investors around the world are warning that it represents a bubble potentially as large as the 2007 Subprime Crisis.

    Indeed, many observers believe that the initial Paris commitments are themselves enough to trigger the popping of the Carbon Bubble. Certainly meeting it’s two degree target is. The bank Barclays, for instance, estimates that limiting emissions to 2º C drops the future revenue of the oil, coal and gas industries $33 trillion over the next 25 years. Citigroup estimates that the total value of stranded high-carbon assets “could be over $100 trillion.”

    Of course, the price of anything is what you can get someone to pay for it. For investors who own coal, oil and gas companies, bolstering the perception that these companies will be profitable long into the future is now a multi-trillion dollar priority:

    There is no long game in high-carbon industries. Their owners know this. They don’t need a long game, though: their investment horizons are years (or even months), not decades. Investors don’t even need successful companies, actually — as we’ve seen time and time again with hostile takeovers, pump-and-dumps, stock buybacks and other financial looting tactics. All they need is the perception of the inevitability of future profit, today. That’s what keeps valuations high.

    Here’s something critical it took me a long time (and the patience of a few smart friends) to understand: the Carbon Bubble will pop not when high-carbon practices become impossible, but when their profits cease to be seen as reliable.

    2. High-carbon systems are costing us a fortune, now.

    Fossil fuels are not cheap, not really — in fact, they're very costly… and growing more expensive, fast. Fossil fuels are only cheaply priced because fossil fuel suppliers and users don’t pay for the cost of burning them. We do. Fossil fuel energy is made profitable by taking away valuable things from the rest of us. Economists call these takings “externalities,” because externalities sounds better than “destruction for profit.”

    Not all the costs of fossil fuels are climate related, either. We heavily subsidize coal, oil and gas — to the tune of $5.3 Billion a year, according to the International Monetary Fund. Many of those subsidies are direct — taxpayers’ money being channeled to giant corporations.

    But the indirect non-climate costs are massive as well. The I.M.F. says that cutting the world’s fossil fuel subsidies would squeeze enough energy waste out of the world’s economy to cut pollution-related deaths in half and return $2.9 Trillion in health costs savings. Even after accounting for higher energy costs for consumers in fossil-fuel dependent local economies, the global economy would grow $1.8 Trillion more by burning less coal, oil and gas (a 2.2% rise).

    Some economists argue that when you add the long-term, irreversible impacts of climate change to the known present costs of using fossil fuels (and factor in a moral discount rate), humanity as a whole is actually losing money with every boxcar of coal or barrel of oil it burns.

    Most of the economy would already thrive in a zero-carbon world. The remaining part of economy that is completely fossil fuel dependent is about to implode, in part because it’s losing allies as its cost become clear, but in larger part because its competitors have grown fierce.
    3. The shift towards low-carbon prosperity is accelerating

    If you haven’t been paying close attention to developments in clean energy and sustainable design, you may not know just how rapid technological progress has become. I’ve been writing about sustainability for 25 years, and I find it mind-blowing.

    4. Rapid urbanization in a carbon-constrained world means stronger demand for decoupling

    From 2025–2050, the world is expected to see the largest building boom in human history. Urbanization, of course, is already well underway, with the majority of the Earth’s nearly eight billion people now living in cities and perhaps a quarter million more people joining them every day.

    The world faces an almost gobsmackingly large housing shortage. Credible estimates of the current shortfall range from 600 million to 1 billion homes, and UN Habitat estimate the gap will be 1.2 billion homes by 2030. That gap is caused by governance issues, structural economic problems, and most of all, by poverty itself.
    The overwhelming majority of people will live in cities by 2050 (Unicef)

    Urbanization is making it possible, though, for billions of people to climb out of abject poverty. The term “global middle class” describes folks making between $10–100 a day, depending on where they live. The boundary line is simple: a household that makes enough money to save some and invest it in a better life. We all take this capacity for granted, so it doesn’t seem like much, but for the four-to-five billion people who will have entered the global middle class by 2050, it’s revolutionary. It means they can invest in education and health care, start a business, and find decent housing.

    As billions of people become middle-class enough to afford decent housing, the building industry is expected to go into hyperdrive, beginning in roughly 2025. Because of the advantages of compact development, we can expect most of those homes to be in comparatively dense cities. That’s not all. We can also expect everything about these cities and the lives of the people within them to be radically different from those built in the 20th Century.

    Even if no one in the developing world cared at all about climate change (and many do), planetary reality is that we cannot provide billions of people with urban, middle-class lives using high-carbon models. It would not only be crazy to do it, it can’t be done.

    The point is, the Global South can only achieve the prosperity it seeks if it rapidly decouples growth from fossil fuels. However, the degree of decoupling the emerging economies need is going to push innovation in orthogonal directions.
    The rising demand for low-carbon systems is worldchanging, itself.

    Personally, I find it hard to truly grasp the magnitude of the demand for low carbon systems in the next three decades — and this is my job.

    The demand we’re talking about means a market pull that’s completely beyond anything we’ve ever seen. The closest analogy in U.S. history is the Post-War American housing boom, when factories were converted from manufacturing bombers to Buicks and the suburbs were built. Magnify that by roughly 40 times the size and that’s the scale we’re talking about. Since the world economy is expected to basically triple between now and 2050 — with most of that growth in emerging economies — the market for low-carbon, frugal prosperity is $100s of trillions.

    That demand is itself worldchanging, providing incredible incentive to invest heavily in clean energy and new solutions.

    the Carbon Lobby’s power hangs by a fraying line.
    The power of the Carbon Lobby is ripe for collapse

    First, the power of high-carbon systems themselves is on the wane. The long-term global trend is unequivocally towards greater and greater demand to act on climate. Big Carbon wouldn’t need to spend so much money and work so hard to control American politics if this weren’t so.

    A carbon crash will mean a sudden loss of influence. Nobody loves bullies when they become weak, and by trashing so much hard-won progress, the Carbon Lobby and the GOP have completely destroyed any ethical case they might make that they deserve considerate treatment in future climate policies.

    Based on the conversations I’ve had since the election, I think a lot of people in clean energy and sustainable business are done playing. The GOP’s combination of blatant disrespect and scorched-earth policies has radicalized a bunch of folks who (from what I’ve seen) haven’t in the past regarded their work in particular political terms, much less as openly partisan. As the pendulum swings back on this corrupt administration, it won’t stop at the flawed climate compromises we had in 2016. I think we’re in for one hell of a fight — a fight to not only level the playing field, but tilt it decisively towards the new economy.

    Had Hillary Clinton won, we might well have had comparatively bold action at the Federal level. Then again, given Republican control of Congress, probably not. What we definitely would not have gotten is politically confrontational change, and it would have been difficult to demand it.

    Trump in the White House frees us, in this sense. The Republicans are already all-in on climate denialism and delay. They’re doing everything they can to make sure Americans (and people elsewhere) burn as much coal, oil and gas possible. Neither those building the new economy nor the climate advocacy movement have anything — anything at all — to lose from making bold plays, now. That, my friends, is huge mistake on their part. The GOP’s binge politics have given us freedom of action.

    Second, most of the economy (as we discussed above) already has more to gain than to lose from climate action. As awareness rises, more and more of these companies and institutions will become at least moderate climate action advocates. (We can already see a huge gulf in attitudes between companies with largely American investors and executives and the rest of the world — I strongly suspect that gulf will close.) What we might think of as the main bulk of the economy is already ready for rapid progress.
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