Racisim: It’s baKkKed in…

Racisim: It’s baKkKed in…

This post has been brewing since the end of May, but I didn’t have the words until last night. Not until I sat through BlacKkKlansman, Spike Lee’s new Joint. Continue reading “Racisim: It’s baKkKed in…”

Election 2018: Illinois Primary

Election 2018: Illinois Primary

I’ve got the tentative names and numbers updated for Illinois’ Primaries, but the big thing: I’m thinking we’re going to see the Governor’s office flip from Red to Blue this year.  Continue reading “Election 2018: Illinois Primary”

Election 2018: Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District

Election 2018: Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District

According to the NY Times, votes should start to roll in at around 8:20. When they’re done, the dust is going to settle and yet another “bellwether” election will be over, but as I’ve said repeatedly, special elections don’t count. They especially don’t count when the weather is horrendous thanks to a nor’easter that’s sweeping up the east coast of the US.

That said, I’ll repeat for the peanut gallery: I don’t trust polls. I trust votes.

When the dust settles, we’ll see how many people showed up. There’s a Democrat, a Republican, and a Libertarian. Guaranteed, the Libertarian is going to suck votes away from the Republican, but the real question is one of quantity. Would it have been enough to push the Republican (Rick Saccone) into office? How irrelevant will Drew Miller’s presence be tonight?

I know there are a lot of people pulling for Conor Lamb, but it’s already been pointed out that this district still shows the original, presumably heavy gerrymandering that existed before the recent Pennsylvania State Supreme Court case that forced redrawing, and is still being fought in the courts.

So check in here again in a while and I’ll have an update, and we’ll see if the Republicans keep this seat or give it up.

Update 1: It’s now 11:47pm, Westmoreland County has decided to hold back it’s official precinct counts and won’t count the absentee ballots until tomorrow.

I’m going to bed. I suggest you do the same. Whatever happens, it’s going to look fishy to someone. Ballotpedia has already published the recount rules, which are byzantine on purpose, to make it as hard as possible to contest a vote. I hope it bites the GOP on their collective asses, but the race is too close to call and I won’t finalize my numbers until the state does it, anyway.

Regardless, it’s important to know that close to 100k voters didn’t bother to show up at all, and those were predominantly Red. We have no idea what this is going to look like in November because the jury is still out over whether the new districts will stick. So I’m not excited about this outcome. May it work to our advantage, whatever happens.

Keep the faith and Good Night.

Update 2: The state still hasn’t certified the winner, but according to Politico, it’s Greene that’s the holdout, not Westmoreland, and all districts have counted the rest of their ballots, including absentees. Naturally, the GOP are waiting to concede. With less than a 700-vote spread, that doesn’t surprise me at all. The real question is going to be how they handle those absentee ballots and whether they can figure out how to declare enough of the ones cast for Lamb as invalid.

So, for the moment, cautiously, Lamb is the winner in this race.

When they certify the election, I’ll update Cassandra’s List, so that it shows who won the district. Note that with 226,799 votes cast for Republicans or Democrats, this still falls well short of the general election numbers, and that there’s no telling how those numbers will look if the redistricting goes forward.

More later. I suspect the decision will come this afternoon.

Update 3: While we’re not quite to the final numbers, chances are slim that the Republicans will find enough votes to reverse Conor Lamb’s razor-thin lead. I’ve updated Cassandra’s List again, and called the race for Lamb. And that’s where this stops until Saccone concedes and the state declares a winner.

I would find this ironic if I didn’t know for a fact that the GOP worked damn hard to put those voting machines in place so that tampering would be untraceable. Wanna bet that they’re gone, come November, replaced with machines that can provide a real paper trail?

Anyway, while I was looking at numbers, I also updated Texas’ Primary info, since I missed a few who are on the “Run-off list” for May.

Next important date: March 20 (next Tuesday) and Illinois Primaries. Time to focus on the shitshow that’s happening in the White House this week. Wondering what Trump is doing to draw attention away from Russia and Putin? Check in tomorrow. I’ve got a new post coming soon.

Election 2018: Texas Primary

Election 2018: Texas Primary

Well, now that’s over with, I can say…shoot. Yeah, there were way more Democrats running this year, and yes, definitely, voter turnout was greater across the board, for those races where there was competition, anyway. Continue reading “Election 2018: Texas Primary”

Deceptive advertising…

Deceptive advertising…

As I’ve said previously, I’m gearing up for this year’s Primaries. Just to get my feet wet, I went to the stats for Arizona’s 8th District, a pre-Primary special election to replace Congressman Trent Franks. Continue reading “Deceptive advertising…”

Fact-Free Ideology (Part Two): Election 2018 Edition

Fact-Free Ideology (Part Two): Election 2018 Edition

On June 2, 2016, I wrote Part One of this post.

Yeah, so I’m still here. I did all the checking before the election and the path out no longer exists for someone my age, without marriage and/or migration to another country as an ex-pat with the clothes on my back, and that’s so far from impractical it’s not even worth discussing. So I’m here. And I’m pissed.

Wasting my time with fact-free members of the “Let’s Pretend” Party or the “Screw You, I Got Mine” Party isn’t going to move us forward. The bold fact is that there are NO Third Party candidates strong enough to garner more than a hundred votes to every thousand in any House district, and the two Independents in the Senate vote with Democrats because there are ONLY two of them.

The only Independent in the whole House lives on the Northern Mariana Islands and he can’t vote because it’s a territory, not a state.

This rich fantasy life, brought to you by Ralph Nader and Jill Stein and Gary Johnson, is the most vile congregation of uneducated idealists I have ever connected with and that’s saying something, given my 46-year history as an aware citizen of the US.

Blind assumption that if we just push a little harder, everything will collapse and we will somehow reach the new day of the Green forgets that Gary Johnson (a Libertarian who is only one step removed from the GOP, and that step is to the RIGHT) was the guy who came in Third in the 2016 election. Stein was a distant fourth in all but two of the races, in which case she was FIFTH or even SIXTH.

As for the rest of us, who understand pragmatism and the U.S. Constitution, we have our work cut out for us. We are at eight months, two weeks, give or take a day, to THIS YEAR’s election. If we want to see change, we’d better start stepping up that game.

Leave the Greens to their delusional fantasy world and step around them. Do not engage. It’s not worth your time or energy to try and convince them that they are complicit in where we are today. Stop wasting your breath trying to convince them that they bought all the propaganda the GOP have sold them, and then some. They refuse to hear that they are complicit in this, that Russia took advantage of naive wishful thinking precisely because they could.

THIS is the reality we’re dealing with. Either we wipe the GOP out, completely, or the Russians win. And if you think their interference was restricted just to Trump supporters, pay attention to this nugget at the bottom of this article from CNN.com: The unwitting: The Trump supporters used by Russia:

Trump supporters were not the only people duped by the Internet Research Agency. As CNN has previously reported, Black Lives Matter activists and Muslim groups were also targeted.

Micah White, a co-founder of the Occupy Wall Street movement, also fell victim to the Internet Research Agency. In June 2016, he gave a telephone interview to the website Black Matters US, which was run by the group.

He told CNN last fall that Russia’s ability to successfully mimic American grassroot movements was concerning.

“If it is true that a Russian-based activist group is indistinguishable from an American-created activist group, that will have negative impacts on our ability to create social movements that are positive, that actually benefit ourselves and not some sort of foreign power.”

Think I’m kidding? This came out in September of LAST YEAR:

Russian-funded Facebook ads backed Stein, Sanders and Trump”

At least one touted Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, who Clinton says “may well have thrown the election to Trump.

Just stop. It’s like playing Pigeon Chess. Save your energy for the fight that’s coming!

If you want to push the Democratic Party to the left, by all means, do it. That’s what the Primaries are for. That is, if you’re registered in the Party. If not, you get no right to complain. That’s how Party politics works, whether you like it or not.

At the end of the day, if you don’t want a Republican in office, vote for the Democrat. You don’t get any other choices here.

Connecting the Dots, Part 7…

Connecting the Dots, Part 7…

There’s a benefit to following folks I’ve never met anywhere else but FB. Occasionally, someone shows me a bit of the Internet that I’ve missed before, and because it flew under the radar, I didn’t have it available to draw connections.

Today, someone revealed a tiny tip of a much larger iceberg, and now I’ve got the first Dots post in almost seven months.

This could have been an Aftermath post, but it’s not, because it’s a train wreck in progress and it’s likely already too late to stop it from taking our country down.

It annoys me that people still have the guts to complain about Hillary Clinton, who still think she just made things up when she said there was a vast Right Wing conspiracy. That’s where the first Dots post derived, and this is actually no different.

I woke up this morning to a typical political argument on FB between a handful of people who, like the characters in Into the Woods singing about whose fault it was that the Giant “Trump” was ruining their lives, want to assign blame over how we got here.

Sondheim is a musical genius. The number “Your Fault” in Act Two is a perfect illustration of that argument I walked into this morning, and others I’ve seen since Trump has blossomed into the full blown conman cum tin pot dictator he’s always wanted to be.

Don’t know the show? Here’s the Disney version. You might recognize a couple of the faces here. Or not:

But see, that’s why I blog. Because it helps me collect my thoughts so that the next time I wander into one of these He Said/She Said/They Said arguments, I have the ability to narrow down the argument to a single point.

In a lot of ways, I fulfill that role of the Witch: Pragmatic to a fault, trying too hard to protect the thing she loves, afraid of what will happen if she loses control of the situation. I relate to that character far more than I should. And yet…

Tonight I discovered that I missed something really REALLY important about the 2010 election that other folks having a similar argument just pointed out to me. The starting point is here, in a source I only sort of like, because Salon often reproduces other people’s articles without attribution or linking to the original source.

I try very hard not to plagiarize, and I want to give credit where credit is due. I’m also keenly aware that this medium is Orwell’s Memory Hole.

In the time it took for the Salon article to hit, the source of its postulations has already vanished. Fortunately, though, there are other sources, so I’ll post the article and then I’ll follow the rest of the leads.

And never fear: I have local copies of the things I think matter, and I’ve already archived some of the site material as well, because sooner or later the folks who started this will make it disappear again, as if it never happened. Because that’s what the Ministry of Truth is all about.

It starts here:

Salon: How the Republicans rigged Congress — new documents reveal an untold story

The title is misleading (as is a lot of what Salon publishes, but that’s a different subject). Fact is, someone FINALLY noticed that the Republicans laid the roadmap (or rather REDMAP) out a long time ago.

I was just as clueless about what happened in 2010 as the next Democrat, after President Obama won in 2008. I was THRILLED to see the back side of President Bush. And I was busy with my kids, trying to stay afloat with a part-time job while I looked for something full time in a truly awful job market, living in a house that was upside down on it’s mortgage.

Distracted. Missed the details, didn’t look where I needed to look, and then BANG! New congress, Republican sweep, so many Red States and Tea Party EVERYTHING. I started paying attention, but I still wasn’t looking where I needed to look.

So when today’s Politico post dropped, I spent an hour poking around trying to locate the offending PowerPoint that showed us everything we need to know. And I got…nowhere.

The link to that PowerPoint is gone.

But…but…that’s not the end of the story.

The analysis I just finished aggregates the empirical data that shows how well the plan worked. It gives an insight into WHY the polls were wrong, and it proves out what the GOP already know.

They’re counting on low Democratic voter turnout this year. Folks are looking at Doug Jones like he’s the Blue Messiah and I can’t begin to tell you how dangerous that narrative is, because it’s based on a LIE.

Let’s back up for a moment, though.

This site seems innocent enough. It’s ancient news, in fact. http://www.redistrictingmajorityproject.com/.

According to the site’s About page:

What is redistricting and why does it matter?
At the conclusion of the 2010 national census, congressional seats will be reapportioned to each state. The states with a shrinking population will lose congressional seats and states with a population boom will gain seats. A massive effort to redraw state legislative and congressional lines will take place according to each state’s laws. The party controlling that effort controls the drawing of the maps – shaping the political landscape for the next 10 years. In 38 states, governors and state legislators play a determining role in the redistricting process.

What is REDMAP?
REDMAP (REDistricting Majority Project) is a program of the RSLC dedicated to winning state legislative seats that will have a critical impact on congressional redistricting in 2011.

How can REDMAP succeed?
REDMAP succeeds with your help. Only by staying up-to-date on the latest news, and engaging your friends and family about the importance of our effort, can we succeed.

How can I help?
REDMAP is a grassroots effort. We are funded solely through contributions from commonsense conservatives throughout the country – and we rely on grassroots conservatives as our best means of alerting fellow conservatives across the country to our efforts.

Grassroots my ass.

The Tea Party started out as a Grassroots organization, until the Koch brothers took it over and helped sweep in the ultra conservative Freedom Party Republicans in office today. And now Rand Paul, one of its founders, is bound and determined to shut down government rather than sign off on a budget bill that addresses all sorts of long term issues.

NY Times: Government Shutdown Looms as Rand Paul Protests Budget Deal

So really, HOW DID WE GET HERE?

I mean, I’ve laid out a lot of the groundwork for how we got to the mess we’re in, but I mean the GOP majority that has us so screwed we can’t actually produce a budget, and even if we could, would make it impossible to balance without taking a hacksaw to what’s left of our shredded safety net.

Well, there’s a clue right here. It came out before the end of the Primary season, and folks might have noticed, but like I said, a lot of us were distracted with trying to find work and keep our houses, and we weren’t spending a lot of time idly reading articles on an election process that would clearly take care of itself.

After all, we had our first African American president! What could possibly go wrong?

Politico: GOP could gain redistricting powers

And

New Yorker Magazine: State for Sale A conservative multimillionaire has taken control in North Carolina, one of 2012’s top battlegrounds.

These reporters were on to something, but nobody wanted to listen because we couldn’t lose. Why worry when we’d just waste our time. Of COURSE we’d keep all those seats.

Only…that’s not what happened, was it?

No.

Why?

Because the moment President Obama took his first oath of office, the Republican billionaires knew they had to stop the progress Democrats made, the movement President Obama inspired, and the progress toward a more liberal landscape. And that’s when REDMAP was born.

Here’s what it looked like, in July of 2015, one month after Trump declared his candidacy,

The following June, just as the FBI’s investigation into Russian influence started to heat up for both Clinton (publicly) and Trump (in silence), New Yorker Magazine featured a story that highlighted David Daley’s book “Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy” (Liveright).

Daley tried to tell us, but we were too busy making fun of Trump and being horrified that Cruz might win, we didn’t pay attention then, either.

Little by little, piece by piece, as the GOP realized Trump was the key to everything, they all lined up behind the grifter, the demagogue of Mar-a-Lago whose failed businesses let him deduct almost a BILLION dollars in bankruptcy claims, screwing every contractor he encountered, and seated him at the desk in the Oval Office.

Hindsight, as they say, is crystal clear. We got here because we failed to connect enough of the dots early enough in the process to stop this grassroots takeover. Like a virus, the GOP have sucked the Blue out of most of the US. There are islands, pockets of liberalism, and they’ve all been neatly tied up with a big red bow, designed to ensure that those seats will never turn blue again, no matter how many angry Democrats turn out.

There is no guarantee the GOP will run candidates like Roy Moore. There’s no guarantee that a million voters will blow off the Midterm elections because they hate all the candidates.

On the contrary, the majority of Republicans will seem to be almost okay, just enough different from the Democrats that those people who adore false equivalency will tell themselves again that it makes no difference, and they’ll vote for the guy at the top of the ballot, because he’s already got the seat and what could possibly go wrong?

It’ll be that way all the way down the ticket. Just look at what happened in Virginia. With the race down to the very last legitimate ballots, the GOP were able to pull out that one last ballot, put two names inside film canisters, and draw lots. That’s where we are today. An entire state legislature decided on a single solitary ballot. And we have people like Ed Gillespie to thank for this.

The Washington Post: Gillespie took partisan mapmaking to a new level. Try turning that into a bumper sticker.

Here’s what the goal is, for 2020. Feel free to drag that line to the left and right, to see what the GOP expects the landscape to look like after 2018. Go ahead. Check it out. It’s what I’m predicting will happen.

https://rslc.gop/map-center/

Democrats still think we can play by the rules. Greens think their high moral ground will protect and insulate them from the damage this country has already suffered and will continue to suffer under Republican rule.

They don’t understand that our country’s election process has become a game of political Calvinball, where the rules change from moment to moment, to suit the needs of the GOP.

If we keep having these blame-storming arguments that revolve around purity tests, we’ll be the rest of the way back to the Gilded age, with all the gains after 1900 just plain gone.

Back to the days of billionaire robber barons, landed gentry, slavery, and feudalism.

You think we’re there now? You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.

Speaking of elections and Governors…

Speaking of elections and Governors…

I rarely talk about local politics (because all politics is local), but where I live, in Maryland, parents are waking up this morning to discover that their Spring Break is about to be shortened by a day.

Why?

Because Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan is a Republican, which means he hates public education and the teachers’ union. In a fit of capriciousness and misplaced magnanimity toward parents who

It started here, with proposed budget cuts which disproportionately affect Prince George’s, Montgomery, and Baltimore Counties more than the rest of the state, but the damaging effects across the board will really hit when parents realize they’ll be required to shorten their plans for Spring Break due to weather.

According to Hogan, in a WTOP article posted on August 31, 2016:

The order “will help protect the traditional end of summer, not only for families on vacation this week, but also for the teachers and the students working here in Ocean City and all across the state for the summer.”

Maybe, but how many parents are going to lose the money that they’d otherwise have when they have to adjust their Spring Break plans because of winter weather?

And then there’s this claim, from the same article:

For their part, defenders of the shorter school year point out that Maryland’s Bureau of Revenue Estimates say the move could generate up to $74.3 million in direct economic activity for the state.

How do we test this? We wait until the end of the summer and see how things are doing in Maryland, of course. That means remembering the annoyance of calling to shorten or cancel travel plans, working around camp schedules (when parents can afford them), or dealing with an uptick in kids who stay at home while their parents work, because THOSE schedules haven’t changed.

Hogan has already declared his disinterest, if not open hostility, in working with Maryland teachers. I want to see how well our residents remember this when we go to the ballot box on November 6th.

Hogan should never have gotten a space in Government House and we need to show him the door come November. Our kids depend on it.

Election 2018: Analysis Complete. Now what? (Part 2)

Election 2018: Analysis Complete. Now what? (Part 2)

In Election 2018: The End of Everything (Part 1), I introduced the second “Cassie’s List” compilation, which includes all the historic data that matters to ME from the last six election cycles for US Senate and House seats. Unlike the work I did for the Presidential election in 2016, this delves deeper into state politics and shows why some state numbers are better predictors than others.

The list, you may recall, is here:

Cassandra’s List

The data’s complete now, based entirely on the stats published by the Federal Election Commission (FEC). I’ve downloaded the PDFs in the event that the current government decides to erase the data, which I can imagine they could do, since they’ve already done it with climate research and other inconvenient truths.

It took a very long time to compile the House and Senate data. In the US Senate, only a third of Senate seats, called Classes, stand for election, which has the effect of tipping the Senate in one direction or the other, depending on the whims of voters, combined with “on” and “off” year elections (whether or not there’s a Presidential election at the same time). 2018 is, by definition, an off-year election, which historically has lower turnout.

That’s why I went back to 2006 for the data. A fuller explanation is included in Part 1, so I’m not rehashing it here. Go read that post and come back, if you still have questions about WHY I’m doing this work.

If you look at the bottom of the Google Spreadsheet, you will find the following tabs:

2018 Election Summary: This is where I will track the numbers as they come in from this year’s Primaries. I am NOT counting special elections (such as the one for Alabama that placed Doug Jones in Jeff Sessions’ seat) other than to note the changes in each seat.

House Seats: This is the historic data from 2006-2016 for all House seats.

Senate Seats: This is the historic data from 2006-2016 for all House seats.

Governors: This data is incomplete, largely because of all the different schedules for each Governor’s election. I will go in and fill this data out, but it’s less important than the House and Senate seats in terms of Primary data, since the dates are all over the place. Term limits apply differently in each state, as well, which also makes a difference.

Congressional Composition 1973-2017: This is where you can see which parties controlled Congress and also when each current Supreme Court occupant was seated on the bench. I went back to 1973 because it’s been clear to me for a while that the GOP push to take over EVERYTHING started with Nixon’s Southern Strategy. This is where the Southern Democrats flipped to Republicans.

Guide to Party Labels: With a couple of the races it became clear to me that some Democrats aren’t “Democrats” by name, and it was confusing to decipher how to count those votes. If you look at the FEC data, you’ll see what I mean. That’s why I included the key.

Now that I’m done, I can say with confidence a couple of things:

1. There are NO Third Party voting Congressional Representatives in the House. None. Not one. There is, in fact, only ONE in the House at all, and he represents the Northern Mariana Islands, a US Territory. You want a liberal Democrat, vote in the Primary. There are no alternatives to this rule, no matter how loudly you argue otherwise.

2. Of the stats I collected, I found that out of 50 states, there are 31 where the Primary vote data is likely to be a reliable predictor overall, six states where Primary vote data might be reliable (or might not, depending on the district) and 13 where the data is not reliable AT ALL, because the states hide their vote data by choosing not to put the vote up at all. If the candidate ran without a counterpart from the opposite party, I’ve marked the results No Candidate and I’ve counted the data as reliable.

If the race was marked with asterisks for Committee or Convention Selection, I’ve marked that data as unreliable, because there is literally NO WAY to figure out without looking at the numbers whether a seat is going to go Red or Blue. And in the case of Unopposed candidates, again, there’s no way to tell how many voters will go one way or the other because whether the primary is Open, Closed, or some other flavor, if the candidate runs Unopposed, there are no Primary votes to count.

3. Gerrymandering counts. At the moment, Pennsylvania is supposed to be redrawing their districts. Instead, the GOP are trying to figure out how to impeach their state supreme court justices for forcing them to play fair. Wisconsin, Maryland, North Carolina…all of these states have had their lines investigated recently, and the SCOTUS is still out on two of them. North Carolina got a pass to ignore their broken districts, and NC is on the iffy list for reliable numbers, so if you want somewhere to focus, there’s a starting point for you.

Read more about how Primaries work in each state here:

BallotPedia: Primary election

And find your precinct and district here:

https://votesmart.org/

Nothing more to do now than investigate the numbers, with an eye toward where you need to send your support. Why?

Because big, dark money donors like the Koch brothers are ramping up to spend millions of dollars either retaining seats the GOP already hold or flipping the ones they don’t.

When I talked about the Hole in the Middle almost two years ago, I outlined what would happen if we lost seats in the 2016 election. As it was, we only flipped two seats from Red to Blue. In this year’s election, bottom line, we could see as many as TEN seats flip from Blue to Red, and only ONE flip the other way, which could mean a net gain of nine (or more) seats for the GOP.

It’s not outrageous to think that the GOP could win those 10 seats. After all, those same states went for Trump in 2016, so it stands to reason that unless something BIG happens on November 6th, it’s possible that the GOP will get, for the first time in 97 years, give or take a month. (See 67th Congress, when there were still 48 states.)

Wikipedia: Combined--Control of the U.S. House of Representatives - Control of the U.S. Senate
File: Combined–Control of the U.S. House of Representatives – Control of the U.S. Senate.png

Which sounds like a really long time, only remember: This is before Nixon’s Southern Strategy, when the Democrats were the Southern Democrats were a problem. Now that the composition of the two parties is clearer, giving the GOP the advantage of filibuster-proof legislation means that today’s Democrats will no longer be relevant, and it won’t matter what you have to say, whether they’re far enough to the Left or not, because their votes will be irrelevant.

And when Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg all retire or die, they will seat young, ultraconservatives (if not outright Nazis) on the Supreme Court, and that, friends, will be that.

First official Primary is March 6th.

Do you know when yours is?

Theme: Elation by Kaira.