Category Archives: Election

Papers, please

The big brains in the NC GOP have a big idea!

They want to put a voter ID requirement into the state constitution, via a ballot referendum. The thinking is that this will pass easily and will stand up better in court when the inevitable legal challenges come. Polls say 80% of people support such a thing – driven by fears of rampant voter fraud. And the GOP believes it will be hard to claim such a law is discriminatory if the people themselves are free to vote on it. And they may be right.

Yet, It’s a head scratcher that people who are terrified about the non-existent problem of in-person voter fraud and so blase about the actual, documented, Russian election meddling

SHELBY, N.C. — For all of the congressional hearings and cable coverage they have spawned, the government investigations into Russian interference in last year’s election do not readily come up in conversations at the Shelby Cafe.

Joyce Holcomb, who lives here in town, considered the topic in the crowded diner on Thursday morning. They have not found anything, she said between sips of coffee. And the fact that her senator, Richard M. Burr, a Republican, is the chairman of the Senate investigation does not change her opinion that it is all “a waste of time.”

“If there’s really something,” she said, “they need to find it and finish it up.”

It’s hard to find people in this southern area of North Carolina who are worked up by Russia’s meddling in the election or by the possibility that President Trump’s associates may have somehow been involved. When pressed, they will say it could be the biggest political crisis in decades or a smear campaign against the president, but with other, more pressing local issues on their minds, many North Carolinians are reserving their judgment — and their attention.

I kid. It’s no puzzle. These are Republicans. They want what the Republican Party tells them to want.

No Ordinary Russian Lawyer

To put a kind of broader perspective on this, try to imagine a United States president who would be unconcerned about a $230 million tax fraud and who would shrug when members of the FBI beat a whistleblower to death in prison. Then imagine that this president would have the deceased posthumously (and wrongfully) convicted in court. Then this president would hire a lawyer for the criminals and make her his point person for lobbying against the resulting sanctions. And, finally, that he would send this mob lawyer to Trump Tower where she would be accepted with eager and open arms.

Trump Jr.

Before arranging a meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer he believed would offer him compromising information about Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump Jr. was informed in an email that the material was part of a Russian government effort to aid his father’s candidacy, according to three people with knowledge of the email.

String that fucker up, and save some rope for his father.

Bank Shot

Here’s some fresh new bullshit (which John McCain has apparently been huffing) that attempts to take the Russia hacking of our election and blame/implicate/smear Democrats for/in/with it!

However it is time to talk about the obvious:

  1. Hillary in her emails and the DNC emails thought that Trump was the weakest candidate
  2. Obama was supporting Hillary where he could.
  3. If Russia was hacking the Primaries and Obama was deciding to not talk about that then it would help Trump which in their view would help Hillary.

So, the ‘thinking’ goes: Obama the dastardly wizard knew the sneaky Russians were diddling in the primaries in order to help Trump but rather than stop it (with magic?), he let it continue! Why? Because everybody thought Trump would be Clinton’s easiest opponent in the general. Thus, because of this scheming, the Democrats are actually to blame for continued Russian meddling, and for Trump’s win!

I applaud the creativity.

Getting There

MOSCOW — Shifting from his previous blanket denials, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said on Thursday that “patriotically minded” private Russian hackers could have been involved in cyberattacks last year to help the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump.

While Mr. Putin continued to deny any state role, his comments to reporters in St. Petersburg were a departure from the Kremlin’s previous position: that Russia had played no role whatsoever in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and that, after Mr. Trump’s victory, the country had become the victim of anti-Russia hysteria among crestfallen Democrats.

“Cultural Anxiety”

Twas the deplorables wot dunnit.

White Americans carried Donald Trump to the White House. He won college-educated white voters by a four-point margin over Hillary Clinton, according to exit polls. But his real victory was among members of the white working class: Twice as many of these voters cast their ballots for the president as for Clinton.

In the wake of Trump’s surprise win, some journalists, scholars, and political strategists argued that economic anxiety drove these Americans to Trump. But new analysis of post-election survey data conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute and The Atlantic found something different: Evidence suggests financially troubled voters in the white working class actually preferred Clinton over Trump. Besides partisan affiliation, it was cultural anxiety—feeling like a stranger in America, supporting the deportation of immigrants, and hesitating about educational investment—that best predicted support for Trump.

How our democracy was hijacked

Via Girl From The North Country, a thoroughly distressing article about the intersection of big data, shadowy companies and mainstream politics…

Facebook was the source of the psychological insights that enabled Cambridge Analytica to target individuals. It was also the mechanism that enabled them to be delivered on a large scale.

The company also (perfectly legally) bought consumer datasets – on everything from magazine subscriptions to airline travel – and uniquely it appended these with the psych data to voter files. It matched all this information to people’s addresses, their phone numbers and often their email addresses. “The goal is to capture every single aspect of every voter’s information environment,” said David. “And the personality data enabled Cambridge Analytica to craft individual messages.”

Finding “persuadable” voters is key for any campaign and with its treasure trove of data, Cambridge Analytica could target people high in neuroticism, for example, with images of immigrants “swamping” the country. The key is finding emotional triggers for each individual voter.

Cambridge Analytica worked on campaigns in several key states for a Republican political action committee. Its key objective, according to a memo the Observer has seen, was “voter disengagement” and “to persuade Democrat voters to stay at home”: a profoundly disquieting tactic. It has previously been claimed that suppression tactics were used in the campaign, but this document provides the first actual evidence.

Establishment Influence

Dinner with Vladimir!

And RT’s editor-in-chief took Putin’s place at the table when he got up to speak.

I’m sure it’s only a coincidence. But maybe someone should keep an eye peeled for the name “Jill Stein” while they’re looking into Trump’s Russia connections.

Fear Of a Brown Planet

In short, our analysis indicates that Donald Trump successfully leveraged existing resentment towards African Americans in combination with emerging fears of increased racial diversity in America to reshape the presidential electorate, strongly attracting nativists towards Trump and pushing some more affluent and highly educated people with more cosmopolitan views to support Hillary Clinton. Racial identity and attitudes have further displaced class as the central battleground of American politics.

Deplorable.

Where Have You Been, Rubin?

Jennifer Rubin:

Rep. Will Hurd (R-Tex.), who appeared Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” made an interesting observation. “It’s going to go down in the history of Mother Russia as the greatest covert action campaign, not because President Trump won,” he said. “There was no manipulation of the vote-tallying machines. It’s going to go down as the greatest covert action because it drove a — created a wedge, whether real or perceived, between the White House, the intelligence community, and the American public.” Well, it will also go down as the greatest covert action in history because Russia sought to manipulate the outcome of our election and provided assistance to the Trump campaign. Moreover, Vladimir Putin has convinced a significant chunk of the American electorate that Trump is “illegitimate.” (One poll shows 57 percent of young voters between 18 and 30 consider him “illegitimate.”) And worse, it’s convinced many Americans that our president’s word cannot be trusted.

Anyone who needed this to be convinced that Trump’s word cannot be trusted hasn’t heard a fucking thing he’s said since he started running for the role of President. Yes, of course Trump lied about this. He lies about everything, constantly and needlessly. Welcome to 2015.