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Saturday, November 06, 2004

The Sox Dilemma 

Mark Shields has it right. If we could've had a choice, we'd choose...well, we'd hope not to have to.

OK, Enough About the Exit Polls... 

While I'd be interested to hear about any more discrepancies than we've already heard about voting machines and challengers and provisional ballots in Ohio, enough about the early exit polls being right during the day on Tuesday. I was wrong to quote them. Other bloggers were fooled by data that turned out to be incomplete. Let's start thinking about what we do next.

More Polling Thoughts 

Interestingly, while there's been almost no discussion about it since Tuesday, CNN exit polling shows there WAS a recordable Bin Laden Video effect on the outcome of the Presidential Election. 32% of respondents claimed it was "very important" and of those who decided on their candidate before the last three days and during the last week prior to the election (the period during which the tape was broadcast), Bush took a 51% to 48% advantage. This period was the ONLY TIME Bush led among voters who decided during the last month of the campaign.

This Osama distraction occurred during a week when Bush was being pummeled over the Iraqi weapons debacle and was losing ground fast to Kerry. The voters deciding during that window weren't much of the voter total, but when the tide was clearly running heavily towards Kerry, Osama's tape stemmed the flow.

Think about the final moments of the campaign this way: Among New Hampshire voters (where there is same-day registration and voting eligibility), who broke for Kerry in the final days, the vote total included 96,210 people who signed up just before casting their ballots. They made up 15 percent of Tuesday's turnout in the Granite State. Better access to the polling booth more broadly would clearly have turned the tide in Kerry's favor. Working voter registration and limiting anything that interferes with voting rights makes all the difference.

CNN polling also shows that Bush's main advantage was won very early in the campaign, if not before it.

The polling reinforces the importance of turning out base voters this year for Bush.

CNN Data:
OSAMA BIN LADEN VIDEOTAPE

Very Important (32%)
Somewhat Important (24%)
Not Too Important (20%)
Not At All Important (24%)

WHEN DID YOU DECIDE WHO TO VOTE FOR?
Today (5%) of total
Bush 45%
Kerry 52%
Nader 1%

Last Three Days (4%) of total
Bush 42%
Kerry 55%
Nader 1%

Last Week (2%) of total
Bush 51%
Kerry 48%
Nader 0%

Last Month (10%) of total
Bush 44%
Kerry 54%
Nader 1%

Before That (78%) of total
Bush 53%
Kerry 46%
Nader 0%


Who Loves Ya? 

"Today's Bush is no longer the ignorant, arrogant Western cowboy of the past."

The Beijing Youth Daily

...with friends like these...

Two Maps... 

Compare this map of of pre-Civil War America to this map of a new mock-reality defined by the 2004 elections...yeow!

EDIT- Michael Phillips sends the following comparison-- in the more "real" world

The Witlist 

I'm adding a new link to The Witlist, a brand-new blog by writer Dan Tynan. Dan's blog is indicative of a reaction I hope we see more of in the Second Coming of the Burning Bush-- anger. Check him out. He's funny, and he's pissed.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Going Forward... 

In all the coming recriminations and overstatements about the narrow Bush victory, one crucial lesson needs to be understood clearly, studied, and overcome. It’s clear that Karl Rove’s “72 Hour” get-out-the vote campaign, which I openly disparaged as unequal to the ACT and Kerry efforts shortly before election day, had the right stuff in the end.

The ACT and Democratic campaigns did succeed in turning out a huge vote for Kerry and progressives. There’s no reason to throw over the concept that early, steady groundwork to identify undecided voters and to woo them helped boost Democratic numbers. The registration campaign also had an even bigger impact. The net result of the various registration drives was to empower and include a much larger electorate.

The question now needs to be focused on what to do better going forward. My favorite ACT canvasser, my daughter, has three observations. The first is to be more empowering of local people, ward, by ward. The simplicity of the Republican effort reinforces the virtue of this basic point. Local ward bosses know their neighbors, can find them and can get them out to the polls.

The Wall Street Journal reporters covering the Republican effort described a local precinct captain in the conservative West Chester area of Columbus looking at the Rove “playbook” at 11AM on Tuesday and beginning to “flush.” He and his associates took a newly posted list of who had voted and began flushing out those who hadn’t, one by one. This kind of old-fashioned effort worked brilliantly.

The second point my daughter Sarah makes is that the Republicans turned out their core base better, while ACT and the Democrats spent an inordinate effort on undecided middle class voters. Rove made a bold choice to motivate and turn out hard-core conservatives from churches, community groups and other natural Republican bases, instead of concentrating on undecideds. ACT and the Democrats need to tune the get out the vote effort to a fever pitch in the most core Democratic areas, where voters were expected to vote at the highest rates, but didn’t make it at levels similar to the Republicans.

A corollary lesson in turning out the base that Sarah believes will change the dynamics of the next Presidential election is that the Democratic Party must finally put its cards on the table by selecting candidates of color and women at a national level. The reaction will be ugly from the racists and the reactionaries, but didn’t we see ugliness this week when the Republicans ran a campaign against civil rights for gays? The jokes about the seeming closeness of Kerry and Edwards, the discussion that the “tradition” of marriage, like an older and now discredited tradition of segregation, necessitated moral help at the polls from evangelicals, these veins of hatred against minorities are already a part of the political calculus of the Republican Party.

Finally, empowering people of color to take the lead in the Democratic Party will expand voter participation more than money for Palm Pilots in the hands of activists ever could. Imagine the Republicans attempting to follow Native American voters in South Dakota and photograph their license plates on reservations, or trying to challenge Ohioan voters’ credentials at polling places in inner city precincts when the Democratic base is hugely organized from the bases of the disenfranchised. Imagine the power of the moral value of true equality to voters who are churchgoing people as a reason to support change.

Let’s kick around some ideas that build on our values and strengths instead of running from them as we think about the next battle.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Moral Values 

Amy Sullivan says it well at Political Animal today. Moral issues are not the wholly-owned subsidiary of the Bush campaign. We need to put forth the moral underpinnings of the causes of peace, families, economic justice, caring for the health and well-being of our people and building a culture of tolerance and respect. These are moral values backed by good works.

The Post Election Blather Begins 

CNN begins the "Democrats must re-invent their party" blather-a-thon this afternoon. The first most obviously stupid statement I'm now hearing is the bit about how the Dems must appeal to the South. Great if it happens, but frankly, unless a great Southern candidate emerges (like Edwards), the Dems can clearly win anyway.

The discussion begins as though the shift of a tiny number of voters in practically any of IO, OH, NM and NV wouldn't have meant a Kerry Presidency today. I wish I had a nickel for everyone who expounds on the great value of the South as if it could be won by selling out principles that make the Party attractive to its base. If the South can be accessed through the clear benefit to Southern voters of issues of economic justice, that would be wonderful.

What we need is leadership, not a craven willingness to sell out.

Brian's Blog 

Another long overdue addition to the Links list is up- to Brian's Blog . Brian Lehrer is a great resource, especially for New Yorkers through his program on WNYC radio. Check out the blog and the show, on the air or on the net.

His "30 Issues in 30 Days" series of programs and blog entries leading up to the elections was a wonderful distraction of substance to the nonstop spin cycles.

Wonkette Link 

Even though it feels a bit like following a siren into the rocks (I believed the early exit polls too), I'm linking to Wonkette at the right. She has the right stuff to make us laugh today.

Cheney's delivery of virgin blood arriving at WH?...gotta love it.

BTW- Did Cheney just mention his "message of opportunism" in intro speech to W?

Tomorrow 

Finally, I'm able to get on the blogger server! It's been agony trying.

I hope the people who all brought everything they have to the field of political battle and participatory democracy are still here today. We may have lost a heartbreaking election and be looking at a 2nd term of Bush hell, but this America didn't knuckle under to the fear machine and submit. We came within a hair's breath of defeating a sitting President during a time of crisis, because we felt it needed to be done. I don't think for a moment that there aren't many lessons and lots of recriminations that will come out, but I hope for a moment we can embrace the people who stood together in a good fight and the kids and nonpolitical people who gave their all to make change.

This will not be the end. Movements, all of us over 40 know, aren't built overnight. Take heart.

Big Mistake... 

To look at early exit polls and believe them...Final exit polls look close to the result, in terms of popular vote.

Math... 

I have to wonder how much longer it could really take to get #s from the upper Midwest...

It seems like the real Q marks (obviously Ohio) are down to WI, IA, NM.

MI, MN, OR, WA look safely Kerry, hard to imagine HI not going for Kerry.

CO, NV, AZ, AK all go to Bush....

I go to bed soon.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Looking Blue 

Polls have closed in North Carolina and CNN can't call it. Does this mean anything to you?

Hispanic Vote in FL 

Amy Sullivan reports #s in FL that are a fascinating change in the hispanic vote there since 2000.

Fascinating... and bad for Bush.

For a Good Party Tonight... 

...suggest Copley Plaza in Boston. Commonwealth might float off if not tethered tightly to Earth. First the Sox, now this. Boston Police Department has pulled so much OT their kids'll be going through college driving new cars.

KEEP VOTING... if you haven't voted-- stop reading this NOW.

Very Kerry Evening to You 

http://www.Wonkette.com/ is publishing #'s that if true are stunningly good for Kerry.

Strong Trend for Kerry 

Exit polling is VERY good right now. Three sources all confirm the same trend. Kerry looks very strong. TURNOUT is EVERYTHING.

Remember about the fat lady though, and pour it on.

"I'm Ready for My Closeup Now" 

Ohio and Florida voter intimidation squads may be more visible than they expect. Filmmaker Michael Moore has hired and recruited 1200 camera crews to film scare tactics employed at Florida and Ohio polling places.

Make sure to favor your good side.

Dirty Tricks in Beloit 

BELOIT, WI--Beloit College students attempting to exercise Wisconsin's Election Day Registration to both register and vote are being told as they approach the polls by Republican operatives that this is illegal.

It's not, as John Kerry noted today in LaCrosse. ACT teams are following up to dispatch truth squads to campus.

My daughter, an ACT worker, can't believe the dirty tricks have begun already. Fasten your seat belt dear. It's going to be a bumpy ride!

VOTE Wisconsin! See below:

Q. Can I vote if I am not registered?

A. Yes. Voter registration is required in most communities in Wisconsin. But you can register to vote and cast your ballot at your polling place. To register at the polls, you need proof of residency that includes your name and current address. Acceptable are:

-A Wisconsin identification card or driver's license.

-An official identification card or license issued by a Wisconsin governmental body or by an employer (not including a business card).

-A library card or an ID or fee card from your college.

-A residential lease or real estate tax bill or receipt.

-A cable TV, gas, electric, telephone or other utility service statement for the period beginning not earlier than 90 days before today.

-About 1,500 communities with a population under 5,000 do not have voter registration. A poll worker might ask you for identification. If you don't have it, you might be asked a series of questions under oath proving you are qualified to vote at that location.

If Ohio Voters are Banned from Polls... 

Will the transparent GOP Ohio intimidation tactic backfire? Paul Glastris weighs in at Political Animal.

Theo van Gogh 

Remember how valuable freedom of speech is. Theo van Gogh just gave his life for speaking out. The Dutch filmmaker was shot dead after an airing of his film, "Submission," stirred anger among Islamic fundamentalists over criticism of oprression of women in Somalia.

Ohio 

The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned both District Court opinions on challengers to voters at Ohio polling places. Bring ID, passports, voter cards, photo ID with you to the polls, Ohioans.

VOTE!

VOTE! 

The rain in Wisconsin hid tears of joy yesterday.

As I spoke on the cell to my daughter in Madison, she frequently put down the phone to engage in back and forth with Driver 5. All day, the rain pounded down on Wisconsin. Driver 5 was trying to find Christina, who was lost in the dark on the canvassing route. Christina, evidently, has been lost before. Sarah was working her walkie talkie charm to its limit. “Don’t worry, you’ll see her. Just follow your route map and you’ll see her eventually. You guys are the greatest, out there in the rain. We love you!”

The Madison ACT canvassing squad had started the day in the teacher’s union local, but were thrown out for a union meeting and they regrouped in the Olive Garden restaurant, till they were tossed out again. Now they were camped out in a trailer, soothing van drivers who were lost in the rain. “Dad, if you think it’s crazy now, tomorrow we go from 15 vans to 40,” she mused.

“Driver 5, don’t worry.”

Meanwhile, in Milwaukee, John Kerry stopped in the middle of his prepared speech. The rain pounded down on his supporters, who were huddled under garbage bags, chanting, “One more day! One more day!”

Kerry reportedly hid tears mixed with the rain under his Red Sox cap in Milwaukee, in a dead halt in the middle of the stump speech he’d delivered hundreds of times. He looked at the crowd and shouted, “You’re the best!”

"Unbelievable,” he said. “I’ll tell you, it may be one more day, but I promise you this: I will never forget this rally in the rain here in Milwaukee. Unbelievable. You’re unbelievable!”

(Kerry story drawn from David Halbfinger, NY Times)

BTW- Wisconsin allows Election Day Registration. Click the link to learn how...

Monday, November 01, 2004

Ohio Judges Block Voter Intimidation 

Two down, one to go...the 6th Circuit will be asked to hear a last-minute appeal by Republicans over the twin blows today to the Constitutionality of their tactic of challenging voters' credentials at the polls in heavily minority Ohio precincts. If the 6th Circuit won't hear the case, their attempt to stop new voters from going to the polls is dead in the crucial state. See latest...

Sox Magic Rubs Onto Kerry 

You knew I couldn't resist this.

After spending the World Series in a weird time-delay half a world away, where an Italian colleague asked me to explain about this "Curse of the Child" ("Bambino" meant nothing else to him), I'm glad to see that Red Sox management was on the case with Kerry in Manchester yesterday.

Theo Epstein, the team General Manager with the guts to jettison soreheard star Nomar Garciaparra in their darkest hour for fielding and heart from unknowns Orlando Cabrera, Doug Mientkiewicz, and Dave Roberts, put it best about the Bush Presidency, "It may only have been four years, but it sure feels like 86."

Speaking of Turnout- ACT Visualizes Success Tomorrow 

This is one of those moments in life when love beats money. Not without lots of money as well, America Coming Together is on the verge of accomplishing the recently unthinkable—beating the well heeled Republican effort to turn out/suppress the vote.

I don’t want to link to a paid subscriber site, so let me tell you a bit about this morning’s Wall Street Journal article by Jeannie Cummings and Jackie Calmes on the race to get the vote out, while going back to reinforce my argument that we are about to witness the greatest (and most opposite) shock to the political order since 1994. The writers contrast the efforts to pull identified voters on behalf of the Republican Party and by America Coming Together.

The former group is depending largely on established organizations, coordinated by national paid staff, like Blaise Hazelwood, Political Director of the RNC’s “72 Hour Program.” Ms. Hazelwood is all over the map, calling state operations in swing areas and moving where she’s most needed. She pulls in groups previously identified as Bush-friendly and coordinates their operations.

Ms. Hazelwood is having the pants beat off of her in early voting by the likes of JoDee Winterhof, Political Director of America Coming Together, an umbrella group representing not the Democratic Party, but a coalition of hundreds of progressive groups throughout the country. ACT started out with two paid workers, Ms Winterhof included. What’s made their effort effective has been a combination of huge grassroots volunteer numbers, major contributions, lots and lots of small contributions, and the early understanding by member groups that the only strategy possible to win back the White House would be to coordinate efforts.

Iowa is a bellweather for the efforts of both sides to date, because the information there is transparent. Democrats are running ahead there in early voting, nearly 2-1. This sounds impressive. It’s more so, because traditionally Republicans beat Democrats handily on early and absentee voting. This is where close examination begins to display the results of grassroots efforts of the left over the last year and a half.

Targets for registration, outreach, absentee and early voting are being met or exceeded in Iowa and elsewhere. The specific targets are being upped to cushion and counter the Republicans’ expected edge of paid services calling voters on Election Day.

It’s no accident that the Republicans have put enormous weight behind Election Day efforts to challenge voters’ credentials. They know they’re being outslugged in this area. Now its coming down to how effective each side will be on Election Day itself. The RNC's Ms. Hazelwood is quoted in the WSJ regarding her demeanor come Tuesday, "What can I do except watch returns and throw up?"

Is everybody signed up to work somewhere? One day more.

Bin Laden Effect Minimal 

Not to discount it entirely, the "Bin Laden Effect" has polled to minimal result. Bush 48%- Kerry 47%. This is ALL going to be about turnout. ALL about TURNOUT.

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