Category Archives: Election

Highly Neurotic in Cambridge

Cambridge Analytica is about to get some more news coverage, thanks to someone who is dumping a bunch of internal documents from a whistleblower into a Twitter account.

Here’s the second one I looked at. It was in the “BOLTON” group, which sounded interesting because John Bolton is back in the news today and I wondered if this was the same Bolton. It is! So this is a case study about how they identified and targeted voters (in NC, by coincidence) for a 2014 Senate race.


CA Political was contracted to carry out a personality-targeted digital advertising campaign with three interlocking goals: to persuade voters to elect Republican Senate candidates in Arkansas, North Carolina and New Hampshire; to elevate national security as an issue of importance and to increase public awareness of Ambassador Bolton’s Super PAC.

GOP candidates were victorious in Arkansas and North Carolina and the Republican candidate did better than expected in New Hampshire. The strongest results came out of North Carolina, which was arguably the most competitive race of the mid-term elections. By adopting an entirely different approach from other campaign groups, the Bolton Super PAC campaign was able to cut through the noise and deliver messages that had a real impact in sending Thom Tillis to the United States Senate.

North Carolina Group 3: Psychographic profiling findings showed that this mostly female, younger group were highly neurotic and most concerned with the economy, national security and immigration. Advertising for Group 3 placed emphasis on the failures of the current administration’s national security policy. Post-election surveys revealed a statistically significant increase in the number of people who identified ‘National Security’ as their most important issue, a 34% increase versus the control group.

North Carolina Group 4: Psychographic profiling results indicated that this group was highly agreeable and conscientious, fairly evenly split in gender. Top concerns were the economy and education. Advertising for Group 4 downplayed political conflict with the message that “national security is something that should cut across political lines”. The campaign also featured young children to position the issue of national security as being for the good of family and society.

The 2014 mid-term elections.

In North Carolina, one of the most strongly contested swing states in the election, CA Political segmented persuadable and low-turnout voter populations to identify several key groups that could be influenced by Bolton Super PAC messaging. Online and Direct TV ads were designed to appeal directly to specific groups’ personality traits, priority issues and demographics.

Stand By Your Man

My current favorite argument about why the impeachment is wrong is: it can’t be valid because it’s not supported by Republicans. If the Dems could convince the Republicans that Trump is a crook, they’d be more than happy to impeach him.

We’re talking about the Republicans who looked at 2016 Trump (the serial bankruptor, runner of a fraudulent ‘university’, mail order vitamin hustler, tax cheat, out and proud proponent of sexual assault, serial husband, porn-star-boffing hush-money-payer, guy with fake Time Magazine covers of himself in his office, mocker of veterans and the disabled, the racist, sexist, amoral, immoral delusional fabulist) and said “YEAH THAT’S THE STUFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

The Dems are supposed to convince them that bribery is wrong?

Impeachment is wrong because a bunch of people who have no principle deeper than “Well, at least he’s not a liberal! LOL!” won’t change their mind?

Yeah. No. The problem here isn’t with the case against Trump.

The Null Defense

The reason Trump and his defenders aren’t mounting any kind of serious defense to the impeachment accustaions is even simpler than “There isn’t one”. It’s the simplest reason of all:

He doesn’t need one.

The Senate outcome is preordained: they’re going to vote to acquit. Trump knows he doesn’t need to defend himself, at all. Instead, they’re using the media attention to stage another episode of Republican Grievance Theater for the rubes.

Hand-wringing over the incompetence of the defenses misses the point. The defenses don’t need to be legally competent; they only need to keep the GOP base happy.

Historical Data

November 2, 2016
Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani made a similar comment at an event in Iowa Wednesday. “I think that if [Hillary] Clinton should get elected, I guarantee you, in one year she’ll be impeached,” the former New York mayor said. “One year. And indicted. It’s just going to happen.”

September 9, 2016
As frustrated as Republicans may be with the FBI’s findings on Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email while she was secretary of state, there’s not much they can actually do about it. The FBI and Department of Justice already made their decision not to charge her with a crime, and congressional Republicans can’t do much more than review that work and ask the executive branch to launch new investigations. So it’s no surprise that we’re starting to hear some frustrated congressional Republicans reach for the sharpest arrow in their tool kit: impeachment. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) recently floated the idea to the Associated Press’s Erica Werner: “There probably ought to be” impeachment hearings.

November 3, 2016
Senior Republican lawmakers are openly discussing the prospect of impeaching Hillary Clinton should she win the presidency, a stark indication that partisan warfare over her tenure as secretary of state will not end on Election Day.

November 4, 2016
Other Republicans are already using the “I” word. “Assuming she wins, and the investigation goes forward, and it looks like an indictment is pending, at that point in time, under the Constitution, the House of Representatives would engage in an impeachment trial,” Texas Rep. Michael McCaul said on Fox News. “They would go to the Senate and impeachment proceedings and removal would take place.” Wisconsin senator Ron Johnson declared that Clinton could be impeached for “high crime or misdemeanor.” And Donald Trump, who has turned “lock her up” into a rallying cry at his campaign stops, said Wednesday that Clinton would be impeached just as surely as Bill Clinton was. “You know it’s going to happen. And in all fairness, we went through it with her husband. He was impeached,” the Republican nominee said at a rally in Florida Wednesday, adding that Hillary is “most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency.”

Talk About Joe

But something that struck me a little harder than usual was that Biden was almost the only one on the stage who talked like a normal person. There was a point near the end of the debate when he was talking about getting men involved in stopping domestic violence and he said that we need to keep “punching” at it. My heart sank immediately. I knew that everyone would smirk at that. I knew that the twitterati and the analysts would tut tut. Ol’ Joe is just out of touch! He doesn’t know you can’t use words like that.

Meanwhile, every non-political junkie watching the debate thought there was nothing wrong with this. Biden was just using ordinary language, not worrying too much if it was fully approved by the woke brigade.

We sophisticates might roll our eyes at that, but I’ll bet most people don’t. That’s exactly what they want to hear, and Biden is the only one giving it to them. His final minute was basically a bid to be the Democratic Ronald Reagan, and I suspect it worked.

As always, I’ll add a caveat: I’m trying to guess about how other people reacted to things, and maybe I’m wrong. But for those who continue to be confused about how Biden retains his poll standing, this is probably it. Most people don’t care very much if he sometimes offends the tone police. They know perfectly well what he meant, and they’re OK with that.

For another example of ‘ordinary’ people hearing what is said and not what is spoken, see Donald Trump.

I’m not really opposed to Biden. I just cringe a bit when I picture myself spending years trying to figure out what he meant to say vs what he actually said. I’d rather have someone who’s a bit sharper with the language.


I think the Trump defenders’ best angle is to try to get the Burisma and the “server” fully blended into the overall anti-corruption effort that all the diplomats and NSC people kept talking about. That way, the GOP can argue that the Dems’ focus on these two things is misplaced and that they’re missing the forest for a couple of interesting trees. They can say Trump wasn’t going after those things specifically, he was just using them as examples of things that needed to be fixed.

“He was trying to fight corruption in Ukraine, just like those nice witnesses said the US should! You don’t want him to do that?”

It’s not even close to true, but it would make it look like Trump was simply a little sloppy in the examples he chose to use as shorthand for the overall effort.

(Clearly I am not a lawyer)

President **

We’ve had five Presidents win the Electoral College without winning the popular vote (four of them Republicans).

And we’ve had two Presidents be impeached: Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton (Nixon when he figured out that it was going to happen).

But it’s looking like Trump will earn the distinction of being the first President to lose the popular vote and be impeached!

Always exceeding expectations.

Why Are Republicans So Obsessed With the Whistleblower?

Kevin Drum knows:

Here’s the explanation: Republicans all know who the whistleblower is. What’s more, a couple of years ago they had a minor run-in with this person on an unrelated issue. Since then, they’ve compiled a 40-page dossier on the whistleblower and they’re practically bursting with impatience to unload it all over Fox News. As you can imagine, there’s nothing of real substance in this dossier, but they figure there’s enough smoke and smears to distract attention from Donald Trump’s crimes for a while.

But first the whistleblower’s name has to become public. None of the Republicans have the guts to just get up in the well of the House and say the name, and they’re endlessly frustrated that no one else of any stature has said it either—nor is any mainstream news outlet willing to say it.

Two Bribes

There were two bribes.

This is bribe one:

  1. We know Ambassador Sondland and Guiliani and others had been trying to get the Ukrainians to announce “investigations” into Biden and Trump’s wacky conspiracy theory (where it was Ukraine, not Russia who interfered i n2016, and they were working for Clinton, not him).
  2. We know they were using the promise of a Presidential visit as payment.
  3. We know the Ukrainians know this is what Trump wants.
  4. We know that the Ukrainians wrestled with the dilemma of getting involved with US internal politics or not.
  5. We know they eventually agreed to announce the “investigations”.

Give Trump his investigations, get the visit. Bribe one.

This is the second bribe:

  1. In the second call, once the pleasantries are done, and Zelensky has asked about the possibility of a visit, and Trump has complained about not receiving enough thanks, Zelensky asks about the Javelins – the military aid.
  2. Trump immediately responds with “do me a favor though”, and talks about the investigations and his conspiracy theories.
  3. Again, Zelensky already knows Trump wants investigations. He knows what the investigations are. He knows they were already used as leverage for the Presidential visit.
  4. Zelensky apparently doesn’t at this point know that the aid has been held up. So, he likely thinks Trump talking about investigations is about the visit. So he asks again for the visit. Zelensky will later learn the aid is being held up.
  5. Trump tells Zelensky to talk to Rudy G, who has been laying the groundwork for the smear campaign against Biden.

That’s bribe two. Aid for investigations. From what we know, it was apparently not executed as cleanly as the first.

But then, word gets out that Trump is trying to bribe Ukraine, so Trump shuts the whole thing down: the military aid is released and the Presidential visit is agreed to / set up. And, Ukraine cancels their plans to announce the phony investigations.

So there were two bribes. And the only reason it didn’t work out the way Trump wanted was because someone blew the whistle on him before it all came together.

Ha Ha, You Stupid Fuck

The latest map — designed by state Rep. David Lewis, one of the legislature’s redistricting chairmen, and approved late Thursday by the state House of Representatives — creates a new Democratic-leaning district in Raleigh and another anchored in Greensboro. In the current map, those cities are carved into different districts, diluting their heavily Democratic vote.

Under the new proposal, two Republican congressmen — George Holding of Raleigh and Mark Walker of Summerfield, near Greensboro — would be drawn into the new Democratic-leaning districts, making their reelection prospects next year uncertain.

The moron Mark Walker is my Trump-humping Representative. His weekly emails to constituents are full of stories about “Job Creators” and the evil “mainstream media” and the pernicious left’s witch hunt against Trump. He has refused my 40+ requests for comment on whether or not the four Democratic Congresswomen should “go back” to where they came from. He has also blocked me on Facebook. Having him lose his seat because the district maps were drawn fairly would be so so sweet.