Posts tagged with "Presidential campaign"

Parallel universes: Dems raising $75 million to go head-to-head with GOP on social media

November 5, 2019

Two can play that game: A progressive organization called Acronym is plunging into the presidential campaign—revealing plans to spend $75 million on digital advertising that will be used to counterbalance and neutralize President Donald Trump’s early spending advantage in key 2020 battleground states, The New York Times reported on November 4.

And such a rampart may well be needed: Trump has spent more than $26 million so far nationally just on Facebook and Google, the news outlet says. That’s more than the four top-polling Democrats—Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Pete Buttigieg—have spent in total on those platforms.

Since its creation as a nonprofit group dedicated to building power and digital infrastructure for the progressive movement in March 2017, Acronym claims to have “run dozens of targeted media programs to educate, inspire, register, and mobilize voters,” as well as to have “worked with dozens of partners to accelerate their advocacy programs and investments.”

In the 2018 cycle, Acronym developed new digital tools and strategies to encourage voters to register to vote and show up at the polls on Election Day. Through these programs, Acronym and its affiliated political action committee, Pacronym, claim to have helped elect 65 progressive candidates across the country.

Photo source: AcronymAnd in January 2019, the group launched Shadow, a technology company focused on building accessible, user-centered products to enable progressive organizers to run smarter campaigns

Political organizers and pundits agree that such an effort is necessary. “The gun on this general election does not start when we have a nominee; it started months ago,” said David Plouffe, who managed Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign and was a key adviser to him in 2012, and who recently joined Acronym’s board. ”If the things that need to happen don’t happen in these battleground states between now and May or June, our nominee will never have time to catch up.“

In an interview with the Times, Plouffe and Tara McGowan, the founder and chief executive of Acronym, said their digital campaign would kick off immediately, with a heavy focus on shaping how the public views Trump and the Democratic Party during the primary season, well before a nominee emerges.

“Our nominee is going to be broke, tired, have to pull together the party; and turn around on a dime and run a completely different race for a completely different audience,” Plouffe said.

“There is an enormous amount of danger between now and then,” he added. “If the hole is too steep to dig out of, they’re not going to win.”

The campaign, which the organization is calling “Four is Enough,” will focus initially on key swing states: Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. One state that is historically a battleground was notably missing from the initial list: Florida.

The effort will feature advertisements across multiple digital platforms, including Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Hulu, and Pandora. There will be original content, such as videos and animations, as well as boosting local news coverage that portrays Trump, his administration,and his agenda in a harsh light.

McGowan told the news outlet that for months her group had been raising the alarm about the president’s early online spending advantage.

“It started to feel as though we were really screaming into the abyss,” she said. So

McGowan told the Times that the group had already raised approximately 40% of the planned $75 million budget. She noted that Plouffe has joined as both a political adviser and to help raise funds. The spending will be made across two groups, Acronym, which is a nonprofit that does not disclose its donors, and Pacronym, a political action committee, which does. (The group’s winking moniker is a poke at the frequent practice of settling on a meaningful series of words to form an acronym for a nonprofit; they have skipped that alphabet-soup step entirely.)

“We’re absolutely, as a party, not doing enough and I don’t know that $75 million is enough,” McGowan said. “We can’t afford to not do this work right now.” Of the fact that some of her group’s donors would remain undisclosed, she said, “We have to play on the field that exists,” noting that Trump is aided by such funds, as well.

Research contact: @nytimes

GOP to cancel 2020 primaries and caucuses, as Trump rivals cry foul

September 9, 2019

Is the GOP “running scared”? Four states are set to cancel their 2020 Republican presidential primaries and caucuses—a move that would block President Donald Trump’s challengers from even getting on the ballot.

Republican functionaries in South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona, and Kansas are expected to announce the cancellations this weekend, three GOP officials who are familiar with the plans told Politico.

According to the political news outlet, “The moves are the latest illustration of Trump’s takeover of the entire Republican Party apparatus. They underscore the extent to which his allies are determined to snuff out any potential nuisance en route to his renomination—or even to deny Republican critics a platform to embarrass him.”

“Trump and his allies and the Republican National Committee are doing whatever they can do to eliminate primaries in certain states and make it very difficult for primary challengers to get on the ballot in a number of states,” former Representative Joe Walsh (R-Illinois), who recently launched his primary campaign against the president, told Politico, adding, “It’s wrong, the RNC should be ashamed of itself, and I think it does show that Trump is afraid of a serious primary challenge because he knows his support is very soft.”

Walsh warned,“W e intend to be on the ballot in every single state no matter what the RNC and Trump allies try to do,” Walsh added. “We also intend to loudly call out this undemocratic bull on a regular basis.”

Former Massachusetts Governor. Bill Weld said in a statement, “We don’t elect presidents by acclamation in America. Donald Trump is doing his best to make the Republican Party his own personal club. Republicans deserve better.”

RNC officials said they played no role in the decisions, the news outlet reported. Trump aides said they supported the cancellations—but stressed that each case was initiated by state party officials.

The shutdowns aren’t without precedent for either the Democrats or the Republicans. South Carolina GOP Chairman Drew McKissick noted that his state decided not to hold Republican presidential primaries in 1984, when Ronald Reagan was running for reelection, or in 2004, when George W. Bush was seeking a second term. South Carolina, he added, also skipped its 1996 and 2012 Democratic contests.

“As a general rule, when either party has an incumbent president in the White House, there’s no rationale to hold a primary,” McKissick said.

Officials in several states said in statements provided by the Trump campaign that they were driven by the cost savings. State parties in Nevada and Kansas foot the bill to put on caucuses.

“It would be malpractice on my part to waste money on a caucus to come to the inevitable conclusion that President Trump will be getting all our delegates in Charlotte,” Nevada GOP Chairman Michael McDonald told Politico. “We should be spending those funds to get all our candidates across the finish line instead.”

Research contact: @politico

In a moment that evokes spirit of John McCain, candidate Pete Buttigieg stands against racism

July 8, 2019

At a July 4 campaign event in Iowa, Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg emphatically reproached a man for a racist comment. It was a move that brought back stunning memories of Senator John McCain during his own presidential run in 2008, when he clapped back at a woman’s suspicions about Barack Obama at a town hall meeting—saying, “I have to tell you. Senator Obama is a decent person and a person you don’t have to be scared of as president of the United States.”

The issue that provoked the biased remark in Iowa actually had originated in mid-June. At that time, Buttigieg—who currently is the mayor of South Bend, Indiana—pulled himself off the campaign trail for a few days in the wake the fatal shooting of a black man by a white police officer in his hometown. Since then, he has been asked—by both the press and the electorate—to directly address the issues of race and policing.

At the July 4 barbecue, David Begley of Omaha, Nebraska, took the spotlight when he suggested to Mayor Pete, “Just tell the black people of South Bend to stop committing crimes and doing drugs.”

“Sir, I think that racism is not going to help us get out of this,” Buttigieg told Begley, according to a report by CNN Politics.

Buttigieg added.The fact that a black person is four times as likely as a white person to be incarcerated for the exact same crime is evidence there’s systemic racism. It is evidence of systemic racism, and with all due respect, sir, racism makes it harder for good police officers to do their job too.”

He went on to say, “When black people and white people are treated the same by the criminal justice system, it will be easier for white people and black people to live in this country and it will be easier for law enforcement to do their job. But racism has no place in American politics or in American law enforcement.”

“He dismissed me as a racist, which I resent,” Begley told CNN in an interview afterward.

However, Buttigieg has won praise—not only for saying that racism has no place in America, but for honestly admitting that he wanted to make the South Bend Police Department more diverse, but hadn’t yet accomplished the job.

Buttigieg was asked about the shooting during the first Democratic presidential debate and was asked why South Bend’s police force isn’t more diverse.

“Because I couldn’t get it done,” he said at the debate.

“We are hurting. I could walk you through all of the things we have done as a community,” he added. “All of the steps we took, from bias training to de-escalation, but it didn’t save the life of Eric Logan. When I look into his mother’s eyes, I have to face the fact that nothing that I say will bring him back.”

Buttigieg first acknowledged that he had “not succeeded” in recruiting a diverse police force in a tense town hall in South Bend following the shooting.

Research contact: @CNN

Just humor him: Trump was joking about loving WikiLeaks, Sarah Sanders says

April 16, 2019

“I love WikiLeaks,” Donald Trump exulted in October 2016 during a campaign rally. “Boy, they are good. You gotta read WikiLeaks!” ended

But on April 11—after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by the Metropolitan Police in London and ejected from Ecuador’s embassy following his seven-year asylum there—President Trump told reporters at the White House, “I know nothing about WikiLeaks.”

“It’s not my thing,” he added, according to an April 14 report by NBC News.

And White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was quick to come to his defense. “Look, clearly the president was making a joke during the 2016 campaign,” Sanders told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace about Trump’s past praise for WikiLeaks.

Sanders spoke about Trump’s WikiLeaks remarks after the Department of Justice charged the website’s fugitive founder Julian Assange with computer hacking following his arrest in London, partly in connection with a U.S. extradition warrant.

The Department of Justice indicted Assange on a charge of conspiring with former Army intelligence officer Chelsea Manning to hack a classified government computer. Manning provided WikiLeaks with a trove of secret government documents that the website published in 2010.

In his own defense, NBC News reports, Assange has insisted that the United States is trying to infringe on journalistic freedom.

Assange and WIkiLeaks were at the forefront of leaking stolen emails during the 2016 presidential campaign, including from 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta.

Research contact: @NBCNews