Salsa Scoop> tag: ”politics“

Applying Obama online lessons to local campaigns

by Jason Z.

There's always an election somewhere in America, and since this is an even-numbered year, there will always be a few hundred thousand of them.

The time is ripe to jump on the advanced organizing platforms available through Wired For Change -- and through package deals, Democratic candidates for Senate, House, and state legislatures can all get set up on Salsa in moments for next to nothing.

But it's time to think strategy, too. 2008 is so 13 months ago! The indefatigable Colin Delany of epolitics.com shares this video of his discussion with one of our former fellow-travelers about the lessons local candidates can and can't draw from the Obama campaign's model.

Topical free ebook downloads from Colin:

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DLCC's Michael Sargeant credits DLCCweb

by Jason Z.

The smart politics blog FiveThirtyEight has up an election-day interview with Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee executive director Michael Sargent.

As the conversation turns to technology, Sargeant calls out DLCCWeb, the innovative "website in a box" service for state legislative candidates built in Salsa just for the DLCC by Wired for Change.

538: Are you tinkering with any new technological tools or tactics in the field campaign and for voter contacting generally, and if so what?

Sargeant: It's an interesting question. We've all been taking a look from the last election on at a variety of things regarding microtargeting, and making sure we're also doing more polling and just being more aggressive as well at the doors doing GOTV.

One of the things we're very proud of is our DLCCweb program, which we're making available on our website for legislative candidates around the country using this. We have around 350 to 400 candidates around the country using this and they were in full force last election cycle in 2008.

538: So you are using it beyond these races in 2010 and beyond?

Sargeant: We first used it in the '08 races, again this year, and the program is just growing by leaps and bounds.

Pretty sweet. As the 2010 election cycle heats up in the month ahead, hundreds or thousands of Democratic legislative candidates will be rolling out professional campaign sites (not stuff like this) integrating online fundraising, unlimited blast e-mailing, events management, and an online database to track campaigns' supporters, volunteers, and donors, all for a couple bucks a day.

Be the first in your district to have it.

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Wikipedia's fierce urgency of now

by Jason Z.

Never have so many waited so eagerly for the past tense.

Screenshot of George W. Bush's Wikipedia page, 11:58 a.m. Eastern time, January 20, 2009.

Screenshot of George W. Bush's Wikipedia page, 12:01 p.m. Eastern time, January 20, 2009.

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George W. Bush, in memoriam

by Jason Z.

"Such was the fate of the son of Marcus, and so easy was it to destroy a hated tyrant, who, by the artificial powers of government, had oppressed during thirteen years so many millions of subjects, each of whom was equal to his master in personal strength and personal abilities." -Edward Gibbon on the death of Commodus

On a day of such relief to see the callow scion strangled in his bath retire to his Dallas mansion, it's easy to get carried away, but this passage would much exaggerate the credit due so many millions of subjects and with it the grandeur of George W. Bush.

Not my country? Nobody who remembers the dark pleasure of those post-September 11 days -- the voluptuous joy of unsheathing the sword without qualm or restraint, the relief of casting off tiresome pieties and giving rein -- can say that without reservation.

George W. Bush was not our Commodus. He was our Smerdyakov.

"You stood before me last time and understood it all, and you understand it now."
"All I understand is that you are mad."
"Aren't you tired of it? Here we are face to face; what's the use of going on keeping up a farce to each other? Are you still trying to throw it all on me, to my face? You murdered him; you are the real murderer, I was only your instrument, your faithful servant, and it was following your words I did it."
"Did it? Why, did you murder him?" Ivan turned cold.
Something seemed to give way in his brain, and he shuddered all over with a cold shiver. Then Smerdyakov himself looked at him wonderingly; probably the genuineness of Ivan's horror struck him.
"You don't mean to say you really did not know?" he faltered mistrustfully, looking with a forced smile into his eyes. Ivan still gazed at him, and seemed unable to speak.

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Liveblogging Lessig

Lawrence Lessig ... speaking to a packed house at the DIA user conference keynote.

Lawrence Lessig at the DIA User Conference

(ot) Seating nailed down at the power strip oasis. Why are there never enough outlets? airports are a special offender in this ... or, maybe i should think about a computer with more than 30 seconds of battery life.

DIA board member Ed Walters with the intro.

So here's LL:

We need a "declaration of independence"

... we get stuck in the "pattern of 4ths ..." we wake up every four years, and then go back to sleep.

"our 'thursday night out'" + thunder sound effect. nice.

everything is focused on this one year, as if it can save us.

but ... of course it can't.

thesis: the framers failed. apostasy! what's next, Charles Beard???

ergo: "no golden past" ... we're much better today in many ways.

number of lobbyists and cost of lobbyists in 2000 have both doubled. (maybe that latter is the collapse of the dollar ...) -- business is willing to "invest" in them.

as he says that congress' approval rating is lower than bush's, a baby starts to cry.

"crony capitalism" is at the core of the government ... he calls this more subtle than Daniel Webster 19th century outright bribery. doesn't seem much more subtle to me.

"question people on the right need to ask is, how much extortion-enabling regulation is out there, and would public funding to elections stop it?"

but the left gets the wrong answers to the right questions. sort of vague on that one.

there are easy cases! his copyright extension case, of course, is one.

25% of our diet can come from sugar, according to the FDA, blowing off the WHO.

here's some photography:

Lawrence Lessig at the DIA User Conference

Lawrence Lessig at the DIA User Conference

global warming ... another easy question. contrasts popular media still treating global warming skepticism as legit vs. the scientific literature, and the harm of massively delaying any possible remediation.

after the example of world-screwing ecological catastrophe, saying that "trust" is the most fundamental problem caused by all this might be a little questionable...

telco immunity's up next ... democrats who switched on telco immunity got twice the contributions of dems who didn't.

"we need more than every four years in this quad-annual hope-fest" ... "we need something more sustained than this if we're to get change"

hence ... Change Congress ("[beta]" ... nice.)

references Creative Commons, which the above pictures are posted in.

so, change congress is about:

1. no $ from lobbyists/pacs
2. reform "earmarks"
3. support public finance of public elections
4. support total transparency

cites Barack Obama getting the DNC to pledge not to take lobbyist money. (where does he stand on obama's no-public-financing move? does he give any credence to the line that public financing of elections as a baseline value is obsolete?)

he says he "flung" himself from california last night at 2 in the morning. how lame am i to be hung over after the mere salsa party last night?

"there is a flaw at the core of the people's house ... that flaw is dependence. we need to change that dependency. but we won't change it through the quadannual practice of thursdays." -does he mean tuesdays? i'm totally not getting the reference. i should probably get out more.

compares it to alcoholism ... you have to solve the alcohol problem before you can do anything else -- so it's not necessarily the *worst* problem, it's the *first*, most fundamental problem.

-----

into the Q&A

-first question is on obama and the public financing. glad i wasn't the only one who caught that.

"do i have to answer that question?" -- justifies it as realpolitik because of those dirty-fighting 527s. guarded concern ... concern that it erodes confidence in whether obama is really about hope we can believe in. hmmm.

lessig is "absolutely 100% convinced that this is what he believes in, public funding for public elections" -- not every pol can realize this obama effect of demokratichny internet-driven big-money-out campaigns.

lessig remains very pro-obama, and troubled by what others will see from this change -- and the telco change, which i hope was someone's pending question. "the world doesn't need to see this kind of change." ... but he's unconditionally backing obama.

-to the next question, he adds that he *does* think the move to distributed small-dollar fundraising is progress ... and that leads to "dependency" on "the people" which is what the framers wanted. a couple of endlessly debatable propositions there, too.

moots anonymizing donations as a parallel solution to the anonymous ballot ...

-doesn't think he's necessarily going to succeed (also true of copyright work) ... he has the luxury of being a tenured professor. fewer and fewer of those in these days of academic proletarianization ...

but he actually thinks the Change Congress mission is not that far necessarily from succeeding. could happen within three years if everything breaks right!

-question about reform of corporate statutes -- the "corporate persons" power to act against the public interest.

ll responds, essentially, that the supreme court isn't going to change that stuff. proposes that destroying the power of the corporation to have disproportionate influence on the process is another road to the same destination.

Lawrence Lessig at the DIA User Conference

DIA's own Jeanette Russell asks what progressives can do now to help...

Lessig gives an admittedly geeky answer -- support/use/build open source software as an infrastructure for reform.

"we have about eight years when we understand the code, the technology, better than they do. and there's a potential to leverage it in a surprising way ... we've got to do it now and we need to do it quickly ..."

Very nice question from Tauna at Connecticut Parent Power about crossing ideological/partisan divides instead of being the same people talking to the same people.

ll: reform won't come from democrats alone, nor partisans alone -e.g., "good for them" (the Republicans) being stronger on earmarks.

ll was born and raised a republican, youngest member of the convention that elected Ronald Reagan. "I did not know that," as Walter Sobchak said.

his pitch to republicans is that getting money out is an investment to make it *possible* for them to downsize government and, you know, drown it in a bathtub.

"people on the right" are "people too" ... "i used to be one of them!"

question about whether there are some more fundamental things at work here in the human capacity to do this stuff.

ll remarks that institutions of government are hundreds of years old. echoes his past lines on the "code" in the constitution ... e.g., his media reform conference presentation, which we've posted before ...


-in america, "you can actually shame the members of government." (well ... some of them.)

last question is from "a lobbyist for a nonprofit" -- "would we exist?"

-ll embraces some role for lobbyists ... for providing information, helping legislators do things they want to do anyway, but draw the line at the bribery/extortion racket.

that's it for LL ... lots of people over to talk to him on the side after a huge ovation.

-----

apropos of nothing, this is a very short excerpt of his remarks on telco immunity earlier.


... and, for no particular reason, a slide he used of "the people" (or was it "poor people", contra the ones who can buy influence?) (artwork genesis unknown ...)

Slide from Lawrence Lessig presentation at the DIA User Conference

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Guess What McCain's Running On.

Like most of the blogoverse, I've consented to the unsatisfying and barely compensated practice of selling myself to Google Adsense on my hobby blog, which I should add is pointedly non-partisan. I hardly monitor religiously the stuff Google pitches my paltry readership, but you get the occasional one that makes you scratch your head and flip back to the entry to figure out how it made the match. Other times, there's less mystery than an episode of Columbo. Like when you post about an execution in Iran, and you get ...

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The Wisdom of the Crowds, Political Junkie Edition

Our friends at Politics and Technology ran a "punditology challenge" asking readers to pick the winners of all the January presidential primaries, Republican and Democratic alike. The winners are here, (gosh, an A-list political blogger wins ... but it wasn't all favorites this weekend). So, here's the bullet point for that wisdom-of-the-crowds slide you need to update with fresh data:
Our collective picks scored 117 points - and were better than 96.2% of the individual punditologists.
Out of 563 entrants, "collective picks" would have tied for 20th. We saw much the same thing (in a smaller sample) for last year's Oscar pool. (Dear readers, should we reprise this?)

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Organizing Alone vs/for One Big Movement

Many of us will probably remember, however vaguely, Robert Putnam and his famous "bowling alone" thesis about the decline of social capital in the US. Some of us remember thinking that it was more about transformation and reallocation of social capital, but to make that case right now would be kind of pointless and a distraction from the work Putnam is doing now (even if it's right, which it may not be). Putnam has just published the results of five years of research on the effects of diversity on social capital within communities (which here means neighborhoods or something similar). The conclusion: diversity reduces social capital within the community. Most striking, and most distressing, it turns out too that members of a diverse community not only trust persons of other ethnic groups less, they also mistrust others of the same ethnic background.

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The Quality of Mercy

The quality of mercy is not strain'd, It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes. 'T is mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes The throned monarch better than his crown; His sceptre shows the force of temporal power, The attribute to awe and majesty, Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings; But mercy is above this sceptred sway, It is enthroned in the hearts of kings, It is an attribute to God himself; And earthly power doth then show likest God's, When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew, Though justice be thy plea, consider this, That in the course of justice none of us Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy; And that same prayer doth teach us all to render The deeds of mercy. -William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

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The Theory of the YouTube Class: ObamaGirl and the Web2.0 Aesthetic

Someone could have dined well on my dime by wagering me on the proposition that this now-renowned "ObamaGirl" video would be -- well -- renowned. I guess I'm a fogey. When I saw this thing Thursday morning it registered a big "meh." Three days later, the needle hasn't budged. Actually, the citizen media that caught my eye that day came via the UK-based nfp2.0 blog -- a spot of guerrilla marketing. [I know you want the SILF t-shirt] This charismatic piece hit me as an interesting juxtaposition to last summer's viral-marketing Hindenberg, the Agency.com Subway pitch which went viral for its cover-your-eyes awfulness. (All the original's video links seem to be pulled, but the below is the piece plus smartass subtitling.) Despite my mixed reactions, and despite the contrasting purposes at play, there's a kinship between the first two of these videos that's wanting in the third. What is this quicksilver "genuineness" that decodes a piece's meaning and foretells its prospects as citizen media?

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