Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People
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The Republican Party's Brand Appeal, or Lack Thereof

The Republican Party's Brand Appeal, or Lack Thereof | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it

by GREG RUSSAK

 

"Just think if those Frosted Flakes brand gurus felt that the problem with selling their cereal to diabetics was one of semantics, not sugar, or that customers' inability to afford boxes of the stuff was simply the free market in action. What if the company did things to limit who could hope to buy its products, or found ways to punish customers who didn't. How about if it envisioned a radically new idea of what breakfast meant entirely, including where, when and by whom it would be eaten (and claimed it was the only way breakfast could survive as an institution), only there were other solutions to changing breakfast, and everybody knew about them." - Jonathan Salem Baskin, AdAge      

 

As the paragraph in the AdAge article which precedes the above excerpt points out, "selling products instead of meeting consumer needs" is a predictable path to failure. It’s true for cereal and for politicians.  

 

Republicans in this cycle clearly chose a losing branding and marketing strategy. They branded themselves and their solutions to appeal only to those who were already sold on their ideas. To compound their problems, they then made no attempts to do anything but alienate anyone who wasn’t already sold. How in the world is that supposed to attract new “customers” to their party?  

 

It now seems pretty clear that, along with a deficient "product" in terms of policy positions, the other really big failure came from the decision about whom they chose as their core target market - the ultra-conservative, neo-libertarian, and mostly low-information white male voter. I’m not trying to be unkind with the “low-information” description. I’m simply basing that on the amount of shock and surprise that seems to have overwhelmed all the GOP-supporting media outlets like Fox, AM talk radio, and even the so-called strategists like Mr. Rove. As for the “white male” component, those numbers are easily confirmed at sources like CNN.  

 

Assuming that their core target market is the non-Hispanic white (and more male than female) voter, their core target market is also too narrowly defined, too small in shear numbers, and insufficiently interested in and motivated by their product to have won big in this election. By all accounts with which I’m familiar, and if the trends hold true into the future, the non-Hispanic white market is also going to be a shrinking market. This gives the current GOP strategy even greater appearance as being on the path toward even greater losses in the future.          

 

“The non-Hispanic white population will increase more slowly than other racial and ethnic groups; whites will become a minority (47%) by 2050.” (Pew Research Center, U.S. Population Projections: 2005-2050, February 11, 2008)   

 

It will be interesting to watch what evidence there will be about precisely what the GOP leadership has learned from this election. I’m pretty skeptical about what that will be. McConnell already sounds as intransigent as ever, and I have almost no expectation that Boehner actually has the courage to distance himself and the rest of the House from the tea party caucus.  

 

To be sure, the post-election landscape is only beginning to take shape. Still, I wonder who the more rational heads are within the GOP?  

 

Yes, Huntsman gets some well-deserved attention as a likely candidate to help lead the GOP back toward a more reasonably-defined center, but he’s currently unemployed, as it were. He also doesn’t seem to me to fit the current mold of a party that inexplicably is willing to give their stage over to the likes of Cain, Bachmann, and Perry as presidential candidates. (Side note: Kudos to the GOP for having the good sense to ostracize Palin and recognize George W. Bush as a marketing liability.)  

 

Without some dramatic and immediate changes, I suspect that the GOP - with the help of Fox, talk radio, and the Sheldon Adelsons of the world - will continue to pursue a strategy based more on spin and deception than on facts and reality. All that said and as much rancor and entrenchment as there seems to be these days, I'm cautiously optimistic.  

 

I’m optimistic that concerned citizens like those involved with the Coffee Party will keep taking the time to separate fact from fiction. I’m optimistic that they’ll take the time to try to influence the public discussion about the real problems and challenges facing our society and the world at large, as well as what the options are for addressing them in everyone’s best interest.  

 

I'm even more optimistic about the generation of 20-somethings coming up behind us. Speaking from first-hand experience as the proud father of two 20-somethings, they aren't nearly so gullible and easily duped as our generation (or at least a significant portion of us) seems to be. I only hope we don’t end up leaving messes so big even they can’t clean them up.  

 

It’s important for all of us to take the time to inform ourselves, to ask those to whom we listen or elect to back up their statements and positions with facts, and to be willing to compromise but only to the degree that such a compromise will serve the greatest good.  

 

As for the Republican party, my advice is the same that Hal Ziegler offered just before his passing: real leaders within the GOP better start rising up to loudly and proudly call their colleagues out when they are being ideologues, especially when that ideology isn’t rational, truthful, or anything except obstructionist. And, they better hurry. Their party, to borrow a word from Mr. Rove’s fundraising efforts, really seems to be at a crossroads.

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Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People
American elections feature an epic struggle between actual people trying to express their views in the face of fictional "people" (i.e., Corporations) trying to buy influence. I want to highlight topics such as corrupt money in politics, campaign lies and dishonesty, voter suppression.
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Some Republicans Acknowledge Leveraging Voter ID Laws for Political Gain - NYTimes.com

Some Republicans Acknowledge Leveraging Voter ID Laws for Political Gain - NYTimes.com | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it
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Good compilation of examples of GOP disdain for the voting rights of citizen for the sole purpose of advancing their party.  Shameful and unpatriotic.
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New Hampshire GOP Pushes Voter Intimidation Bill That Would Send Cops to Registrants’ Homes

New Hampshire GOP Pushes Voter Intimidation Bill That Would Send Cops to Registrants’ Homes | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it
In the 2016 election, Republicans won unified control of the New Hampshire state government. The result has been a sharp conservative turn for the cen
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Trump’s Unfounded Claims of Widespread Voter Fraud Now Look Even More Absurd

Trump’s Unfounded Claims of Widespread Voter Fraud Now Look Even More Absurd | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it
“Nothing at all, really.” “We only had one. It hasn’t been confirmed.” “We haven’t received any complaints to our office or any word of suspicious act
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Federal Judge Excoriates Florida’s “Obscene” “Undeclared War” on Voting Rights

Federal Judge Excoriates Florida’s “Obscene” “Undeclared War” on Voting Rights | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it
Poor Rick Scott! The Florida Republican governor had just one job this election season: Vigorously enforce the state’s voter disenfranchisement laws t
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The Success of the Voter Fraud Myth - NYTimes.com

The Success of the Voter Fraud Myth - NYTimes.com | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it
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This is basically The Big Lie technique.  Utterly shameful.
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Critics See Efforts by Counties and Towns to Purge Minority Voters From Rolls

Critics See Efforts by Counties and Towns to Purge Minority Voters From Rolls | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it
Blatant attempts to keep minorities from voting have been supplanted by a blizzard of more subtle changes and intimidating tactics, advocates contend.
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The outrage spreads to local efforts to disenfranchise POC.
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Federal Judge Strikes Blow to Wisconsin’s Voter ID Law

Federal Judge Strikes Blow to Wisconsin’s Voter ID Law | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman significantly weakened a key provision of Wisconsin’s stringent voter ID law, prohibiting the state from
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Great news!  And brilliant use of recent Supreme Court precedent in the Texas anti-abortion case:
<<The state surely has an interest in preventing voter fraud—but these interests “do not justify disenfranchising voters who cannot with reasonable effort obtain ID.” And, Adelman adds, “there is virtually no voter-impersonation fraud in Wisconsin” despite GOP lawmakers’ clamoring to the contrary. Adelman even cites Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the Supreme Court’s recent abortion decision, to support his contention that “where a state law burdens a constitutional right, the state must produce evidence supporting its claim that the burden is necessary to further the state’s claimed interests.” In other words, Wisconsin may not cite a phantom threat to justify revoking a real constitutional right.>>
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Three Years After SCOTUS Case Weakened Voting Rights Act, Leaders Call for New Protections

Three Years After SCOTUS Case Weakened Voting Rights Act, Leaders Call for New Protections | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it
The VRA had required preclearance in nine states as well as counties in Calif., Florida, New York, North Carolina, and South Dakota for voting changes.
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Sheriff accused of intimidating Hmong voters

Sheriff accused of intimidating Hmong voters | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it
Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey is under investigation for alleged voter intimidation.
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Stricter Rules for Voter IDs Reshape Races

Stricter Rules for Voter IDs Reshape Races | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it
More than a dozen states will use the laws for the first time in a presidential election this fall, a step researchers say disproportionately affects minority voters.
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The Supreme Court just delivered a major blow to the tea party

The high court unanimously ruled that Arizona's legislative maps were drawn to comply with the Voting Rights Act.
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Ex-Staffer: Wisconsin GOPers Cheered Voter ID Bill For What It 'Could Do For Us’

Ex-Staffer: Wisconsin GOPers Cheered Voter ID Bill For What It 'Could Do For Us’ | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it
A former top staffer for a Republican legislator in Wisconsin suggested this week that GOP legislators were motivated to pass the state’s tough photo voter ID law because they believed it would help them at the ballot box, an account he expanded on in a Wednesday interview with TPM.

Todd Allbaugh, who served as chief of staff for state Sen. Dale Schultz (R) until the legislator retired in 2015, first made the claims in a Tuesday Facebook post that caught the attention of national voting rights experts.
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This DOJ Letter May Be More Alarming Than Trump Commission's Request For Voter Data

This DOJ Letter May Be More Alarming Than Trump Commission's Request For Voter Data | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it
"I really worry that at the end of the day there’s gonna be a lot of noise about this Kobach-Pence commission and people will miss the enforcemen
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45 setting up his plan to rig the next set of elections.
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GOP sabotages vote count in Michigan

GOP sabotages vote count in Michigan | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it
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This is seriously disturbing. 
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REVEALED: Wisconsin clerk limits voting near campus because ‘students lean more toward the Democrats’

REVEALED: Wisconsin clerk limits voting near campus because ‘students lean more toward the Democrats’ | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it
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Federal Appeals Court Blocks Proof-Of-Citizenship To Vote Gambit In 3 States

Federal Appeals Court Blocks Proof-Of-Citizenship To Vote Gambit In 3 States | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it
A federal appeals court Monday blocked the move earlier this year by a federal election official to approve a proof-of-citizenship requirement on the federal voting registration forms in Kansas, Georgia and Alabama.

Brian Newby (pictured above), the executive director of the Election Assistance Commission who was formerly a local elections official in Kansas who worked under Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, had approved of the form change over the objections of other members of the commission. He had become the commission's executive director after the Supreme Court had refused to take up a case brought by Kansas and Arizona to force the EAC to change the voter registration form.
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Trump campaign chief is registered to vote in Florida at unoccupied home

Trump campaign chief is registered to vote in Florida at unoccupied home | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it
Stephen Bannon’s enrollment is apparent violation of crucial swing state’s election law requiring voters to be legal residents of county they register in
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As Trump blathers about non-existent voter fraud, the various residences of his campaign CEO and one of his ex-wives raises actual questions about fraudulent voter registrations.
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As November Approaches, Courts Deal Series Of Blows To Voter ID Laws

As November Approaches, Courts Deal Series Of Blows To Voter ID Laws | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it
In the past two weeks, judges have ruled against voter ID or proof-of-citizenship requirements in Texas, Kansas, North Carolina, Wisconsin and North Dakota.
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Appeals Court Rules Texas’ Draconian Voter ID Law Violates the Voting Rights Act

Appeals Court Rules Texas’ Draconian Voter ID Law Violates the Voting Rights Act | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled on Wednesday that Texas’ draconian voter ID act, known as SB 14, is illegal under feder
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BOOM!
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The GOP’s War on Voting Is Working

The GOP’s War on Voting Is Working | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it
On April 5, the day of Wisconsin’s presidential primary, Anita Johnson picked up Dennis Hatten at his new apartment in West Milwaukee and took him to the polls. “We’re going to complete your journey and make sure you vote today,” Johnson told him.
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Voter Fraud Probe In California Turns Into Voter Intimidation Boondoggle

Voter Fraud Probe In California Turns Into Voter Intimidation Boondoggle | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it
Having police come to your home wielding weapons and asking questions about your voter registration status just days before an election sends a clear signal.

That signal wasn't lost on residents of Hmong communities in rural northern California, who said police came to their doors doing just that earlier this month. They said authorities also set up a roadway checkpoint to target Hmong drivers, threatening to arrest and prosecute them if they voted illegally.

Following those allegations of flagrant voter intimidation in the lead-up to Tuesday's state primary, the sheriff of Siskiyou County, where just about 43,000 people reside, told TPM his deputies played only a “minor” role in a state-led gumshoe probe into potential voter registration fraud. Sheriff Jon Lopey (pictured right) said deputies accompanied investigators to provide security in an area he described as potentially dangerous and “inundated” with what he estimated to be 2,000 illegal marijuana grow sites.

But the accounts of voter intimidation were serious enough that investigators from the Secretary of State’s Office, joined by staffers from the state Attorney General's Office, were dispatched on June 7 to monitor polling places across Siskiyou County.

“What began as an investigation of alleged voter fraud quickly evolved into an investigation of potential voter intimidation,” a spokesman said in a statement emailed to TPM.

Ironically, the Secretary of State's Office was being forced to look into acts of alleged voter intimidation performed in service of its very own probe.
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Republicans' voter-ID laws 'work' as intended

Republicans' voter-ID laws 'work' as intended | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it
There's fresh evidence that Republicans' voter-ID laws do exactly what they're intended to do: tilt the playing field to deliberately help GOP candidates win.
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Virginia Governor Restores Voting Rights to Felons

Virginia Governor Restores Voting Rights to Felons | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it
Gov. Terry McAuliffe used his executive power to allow more than 200,000 convicted felons to vote, circumventing the Republican-run legislature.
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What Happens To Democracy After You Gut The Voting Rights Act, In One Map

What Happens To Democracy After You Gut The Voting Rights Act, In One Map | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it
Have voters in your state been affected?
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Excellent state-by-state breakdown of voter disenfranchise efforts.
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