Tag: ad

Obama’s free trade policies, not race, were the primary reason why Trump won

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Opinions and punditry expressed in this blog post are solely those of the author.


While a core component of President-elect Donald Trump’s unorthodox style of politics is openly spouting all forms of bigotry and appealing to bigots in many different ways, another major component, and the component that got Trump elected, of Trump’s style of politics is his unabashed opposition to free trade policies.

Bigotry did not get Trump elected to the White House. As someone who is an election judge in Vermilion County, Illinois, it is not my responsibility to judge voters based on which candidates they vote for, but it is my responsibility, and the responsibility of my fellow election judges, to ensure that voters are able to vote for the candidates of their choice. In this year’s general election, I was one of five election judges who worked the polls in Danville Township Precinct 4 in Vermilion County, Illinois (although I live in a different part of my home county), and here are a couple of interesting results from the precinct where I worked (source here):

 

PRESIDENT / VICE PRESIDENT
Total Number of Precincts 1
Precincts Reporting 1 100.0 %
Vote For 1
Times Counted 272/447 60.9 %
Total Votes 271
Times Over Voted 0
Number Of Under Votes 1
CLINTON/KAINE DEM 67 24.72%
TRUMP/PENCE REP 189 69.74%
JOHNSON/WELD LIB 8 2.95%
STEIN/BARAKA GRN 4 1.48%
Write-in Votes 3 1.11%

 

COMPTROLLER
Total Number of Precincts 1
Precincts Reporting 1 100.0 %
Vote For 1
Times Counted 272/447 60.9 %
Total Votes 261
Times Over Voted 1
Number Of Under Votes 10
SUSANA MENDOZA DEM 82 31.42%
LESLIE MUNGER REP 155 59.39%
CLAIRE BALL LIB 17 6.51%
TIM CURTIN GRN 7 2.68%

 

The first result I posted is the presidential/vice-presidential general election vote in the precinct in which I was an election judge, the second result is the Illinois state comptroller special election vote. Results do not include any late-arriving absentee ballots that have not yet been counted, which, if there are any received between now and November 22, will be counted no later than November 22. In the precinct where I was an election judge, here’s the difference between the comptroller vote and the presidential/vice presidential vote by party (mathematical formula used is D = cp, in which c is the comptroller vote total for a political party’s nominee and p is the POTUS/VP vote; positive number means party received more votes for comptroller than POTUS/VP):

 

DEMOCRATIC +15
REPUBLICAN -34
LIBERTARIAN +9
GREEN +3

 

The differential figures are my own calculations that are based on the vote totals.

In the precinct where I worked as an election judge, Hillary Clinton got 15 fewer votes against Donald Trump than Susana Mendoza did against Leslie Munger, even though Trump is notorious for his anti-Hispanic bigotry and Mendoza is Hispanic. Had Hillary Clinton received 15 more votes per precinct across the entire country, Clinton would have won Michigan (media has not projected a winner as of this writing), Wisconsin (won by Trump), and Pennsylvania (won by Trump), which, not counting any other electoral college unit (state, Nebraska or Maine congressional district, or federal district) would have resulted in Clinton winning 274 electoral votes, which would have been enough to win the presidency.

Although trying to compare the political power of the largely technocratic state office of Comptroller of Illinois to the highly political federal office of President of the United States is like trying to compare a train to a sports car, Mendoza ran a far better campaign for the office she sought than Hillary did for the office she sought. While Hillary completely ignored large segments of the electorate that she had to win the support of (including Wisconsin, a swing state in recent presidential elections), Mendoza ran a television ad in heavily-Republican areas of Illinois that educated voters about the role of the Illinois Comptroller’s office without insulting voters in any way:

Neither Mendoza nor Munger had to take a position on issues like President Obama’s proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal because they were running for a largely technocratic office responsible for controlling Illinois state tax dollars, but Clinton and Trump, who were running for the highest and most political office in the country, did. Trump railed against the TPP, and that’s how he won enough electoral votes to win the presidency. While Trump indisputably won the presidential election, don’t tell me that Trump won because of his bigotry, because I just cited an example to prove that’s not true.

I’m not suggesting that Susana Mendoza should run for president in 2020 by any imagination, but this year’s presidential election was decided by less than 15 votes per precinct. Remember, every vote counts.

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Hillary goes for campaign ad gold during the Olympics

While the Olympics are supposed to be an apolitical sporting event, the truth of the matter is that politics has often been at the forefront of the Olympics. While political campaigning isn’t an Olympic sport (and, in my opinion, shouldn’t be, since politics is not an athletic competition), Hillary Clinton is running a lot of television ads during American television coverage of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Most of the Hillary ads that I’ve seen during Olympic coverage have been on either NBC or NBCSN (although I’ve seen Hillary ads on CNBC as well during the Olympics), and Hillary’s ads have aired during commercial breaks of Olympic programming blocks without any real regard to what sports are being aired during the programming blocks in question. I’ve seen Hillary ads during Olympic programming blocks at many different times of day and have included swimming, gymnastics, rugby, fencing, cycling, water polo, diving, table tennis, golf, and beach volleyball, just to name a few sports. Some sports, such as track & field and golf, are scheduled for later in the Games. All of the national political ad buys have been from the official Hillary campaign committee; I have yet to see an ad from a pro-Hillary/anti-Trump political action committee (PAC), the Donald Trump presidential campaign, or a pro-Trump/anti-Hillary political action committee.

Most of the ads that Hillary is running during the Olympics are aimed at blue-collar progressives. The positive ad that Hillary most frequently uses is an ad detailing her plan to reign in greed on Wall Street. The negative ad that Hillary most frequently uses is an ad featuring a clip from the David Letterman-era CBS Late Show attacking Trump over the Trump line of clothing being manufactured in foreign countries where workers earn, on average, much lower wages than workers in the United States.

In addition to the national Hillary ad buys, my local NBC affiliate (WAND-TV) has aired pro-Tammy Duckworth (from Duckworth’s official campaign committee) and anti-Tammy Duckworth (from a Republican political action committee of some kind) ads, but those ad buys were sold by the local affiliate because Duckworth is running for U.S. Senate here in Illinois. Duckworth’s ads air mainly, but not exclusively, in the NBC primetime Olympic programming block on my local NBC affiliate.

JoAnne Kloppenburg runs brilliant, factual attack ad against Rebecca Bradley

In Wisconsin, the major-party presidential primaries are overshadowed by an officially non-partisan general election for one of seven seats on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, in which there are two candidates vying for a seat on Wisconsin’s highest bench. One of the candidates in the state supreme court race is Rebecca Bradley, a far-right incumbent state supreme court justice appointed to the court by Republican Governor Scott Walker. Bradley’s opponent is JoAnne Kloppenburg, a dedicated public servant and jurist who is currently a state appellate court justice and previously served as a Wisconsin assistant attorney general under both Democratic and Republican state attorneys general.

Many, many years before Bradley became a state supreme court justice, Bradley wrote a series of hateful columns for the student newspaper and student magazine of Marquette University. Bradley also has a very long history of saying incredibly offensive things, even long after she graduated from college.

Kloppenburg is running a brilliant, factual attack ad against Bradley, using Bradley’s own words against her:

Long story short, I believe that the people of Wisconsin cannot afford ten more years of an ideologically-motivated politician like Rebecca Bradley issuing decisions from Wisconsin’s highest bench. That’s why I encourage Wisconsinites to vote for the only independent-minded jurist running for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court: JoAnne Kloppenburg. Kloppenburg believes that justices should interpret the laws, not use the judiciary to enact a political agenda by judicial fiat.

The general election for Wisconsin Supreme Court is April 5, and will be held alongside the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries in Wisconsin. Go, Jo, Go!

Donald Trump uses imagery of Russian soldiers in campaign ad, retweets a neo-Nazi

In the last couple of days, Donald Trump has done two things to prove how awful his candidacy for president truly is.

First, Trump took to Facebook and used imagery of Russian soldiers to claim that undocumented immigrants in the United States are treated better than American veterans:

Donald Trump put a new veteran-focused campaign ad up on Facebook today, but it was pulled down before most anyone could see it after commenters pointed out that the footage clearly depicted Russian veterans wearing the distinctive St. George ribbon and pins with the Communist hammer and sickle.

…“Our great veterans are being treated terribly,” Trump intones his most serious voice. “The corruption in the Veteran’s administration, the incompetence is beyond. We will stop that.” The ad then cuts away from Trump sitting at his desk and to footage of faceless decorated veterans who happen to be wearing a distinctive orange-and-black ribbon.

That is absolutely disgusting, and, sadly, it’s something along the lines of what Trump has done in the past. When Trump ran his first television ad of the campaign, he used a video of Moroccans trying to enter Melilla, a Spanish city on the African continent.

Second, Trump retweeted a picture of Jeb Bush that was originally posted by a neo-Nazi who uses a “white genocide” Twitter handle:

Donald Trump’s penchant for retweets once again raised eyebrows, after he recirculated a tweet on Friday from a user with the handle “WhiteGenocideTM.”

The profile — with about 2,300 followers — used the name “Donald Trumpovitz,” linked to a website containing a pro-Adolf Hitler documentary, featured a background photo with red lettering saying “Get the F— Out of My Country” and had a location of “Jewmerica.” The account also includes a photo of George Lincoln Rockwell, founder of the American Nazi Party.

The account’s Twitter feed was largely a collection of retweets about violence allegedly committed by African-American suspects and anti-Arab posts.

The truth of the matter is that there is no genocide of white people either ongoing or imminent. Furthermore, the fact that Trump would retweet anything from someone with overtly racist views is just the latest example of how much of a danger Trump is to America.

Pro-Hillary PAC attacks Bernie over his health

Although the official Hillary Clinton presidential campaign has not yet begun airing any attack ads against Bernie Sanders (despite a promise from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack that Hillary will do so), a pro-Hillary political action committee (PAC) called Correct the Record is going on the attack against Bernie in the form of television ads:

Pro-Clinton super PAC Correct the Record will begin airing attack ads, calling for Senator Sanders to release his medical records.

The new assault on Senator Sanders comes as the polls tighten in Iowa, and he holds a commanding lead in the first primary state of New Hampshire.

The ad will reportedly call for Sanders to release his medical records before Iowans go to caucus on February 1st.

Presumably, the ad will air in Iowa, and possibly other early primary/caucus states as well.

This is a disgusting invasion of Bernie’s right to medical privacy. If Bernie and/or an outside group supporting Bernie ran attack ads calling for Hillary to release her medical records, I’d be just as disgusted and outraged. If a presidential candidate wishes to release his/her medical records, that’s his/her own prerogative. If a presidential candidate declines to release his/her medical records, that’s he/she reserving his/her right to medical privacy that is afforded by federal law.

This is different than, for example, tax returns, which, in my opinion, should be public record (currently, federal tax returns are not public record, although there may be some states where state tax returns are public record), and I call for all presidential candidates, regardless of party affiliation, to release at least 10 years worth of federal and state tax filings, if they have not already done so.

Hillary Clinton raises $18 million for Democratic victory fund that is promoting Hillary, not downballot Democrats

In the last three months of 2015, Hillary Clinton raised $18 million for a Democratic victory fund that is supposed to go towards supporting and promoting Democratic candidates running for, among other offices, seats in both houses of Congress.

Recently, I saw a web ad for Hillary’s victory fund for the first time, and it certainly didn’t promote those downballot Democrats (screengrab below):

HVF Hillary Web Ad
Not exactly a downballot candidate (web ad courtesy of Hillary Victory Fund, screengrab by the author)

Even worse, the web ad, paid for by a group that is promising to support Democrats running in non-presidential races, asks people to “join the official Clinton campaign”. Hillary has used her fundraising haul for her victory fund to claim that she’s supporting Democrats up and down the ballot, when, in reality, her victory fund is promoting her own presidential campaign, and, therefore, her claim is total bullshit.

It’s time for Bernie to run an effective attack ad against Hillary

As much as I admire Bernie Sanders for having (so far) stuck to a campaign promise not to run negative campaign ads in his campaign for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, I think that it’s past time for Bernie to run a damn good attack ad against Hillary Clinton and the Clinton political machine.

If I were running Bernie’s campaign, here’s how I would draw it up (please note that this is NOT an actual campaign ad):

Narrator: While Hillary Clinton represented New York State in the U.S. Senate, she took campaign cash from a guy who said this about millions of Americans…

(clip of Donald Trump “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists.” quote)

Narrator: Donald Trump, now a Republican presidential candidate, gave campaign contributions to then-U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton. What is now-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton saying about Trump’s offensive remarks about the American people?

(clip of Hillary Clinton “I’m going to let him live in his alternate reality. I’m not going to respond.” quote)

Narrator: If nominated by the Democratic Party, Bernie Sanders isn’t going to let Donald Trump’s offensive rhetoric about the majority of Americans go unchallenged, and he certainly isn’t going to take Donald Trump’s money.

Bernie Sanders: I’m Bernie Sanders, and I approve this message.

Yes, Hillary took campaign cash from Trump when she was a U.S. Senator. It’s true. It’s damn true. More importantly, there’s absolutely nothing that Hillary and her supporters can do to hide the fact that Hillary took campaign contributions for a far-right bigot who has a penchant for offensive rhetoric.

There are times where it is necessary for a politician to go against his or her own principles to do a bold thing to move closer to making America a far better place to live. In this case, the bold thing for Bernie to do is run such an effective attack ad against Hillary, nobody is going to forget it.

Bernie Sanders running brilliant first television ad in Iowa and New Hampshire

Ladies and gentlemen, here’s the first Bernie Sanders television advertisement of the 2016 presidential election:

According to the Associated Press (AP), the ad is scheduled to air in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two states to vote on major-party presidential nominees, for ten days, and the Sanders campaign is spending a total of $2 million on the ad buy.

I think that the ad is an excellent introductory ad for Bernie. In fact, Bernie could use the same exact ad for a first general election ad buy, if he were to win the Democratic nomination. While the AP claimed that the ad included “a not-subtle dig at the (Hillary) Clinton political brand” for including a clip of Bernie saying that “people are sick and tired of establishment politics”, Bernie has been fighting the political establishment in America for his entire adult life.

Don’t let new polls fool you…Team Hillary is growing even more scared of Bernie Sanders

While the corporate media is touting new polling showing an apparent slight boost of support for Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary and her allies are acting like they’re behind, and that Bernie Sanders is their main opposition.

Recently, Robby Mook, Hillary’s campaign manager, sent out an email which didn’t mention Bernie by name, but tried to tie Bernie to Karl Rove, whose right-wing political operation has been running paid ads in New Hampshire attacking Hillary over her use of a private email server for government business when she was U.S. Secretary of State. Part of the email was quoted by education blogger Peter Greene; you can find the partial Hillary email here in a blog post that’s primarily about Hillary’s right-wing, teacher-bashing education agenda.

I find it downright laughable that Hillary’s allies are now trying to tie Bernie to someone as odious as Karl Rove, who represents the kind of right-wing big money people and political establishment that Bernie has made a name for himself railing against. Bernie’s political philosophy is virtually the opposite of that of Rove, and Bernie would never coordinate with any kind of outside groups, much less right-wing political groups that push a political agenda that Bernie is staunchly opposed to. In fact, Mook implied that Bernie was illegally coordinating with Rove and his political operation, which is an absolutely absurd suggestion. Hillary’s allies know that Hillary can’t win on the issues, so they’re resorting to asinine smears and false political attacks against Bernie.

I can’t wait to see Bernie Sanders crush Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential debates.

Wisconsin’s largest newspaper takes note of my work exposing Nation Consulting’s ties to right-wing political groups

Daniel Bice, a columnist for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, wrote this piece, which is mostly about Jason Rae and Martha Laning, two of the five candidates for Chairperson of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW).

Bice mentioned two of my blog posts about Thad Nation, the founder of the Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based consulting firm Nation Consulting, and tens of thousands of dollars that Nation indirectly gave to right-wing political groups through a front group called Coalition for the New Economy. The right-wing groups that received funding from Coalition for the New Economy have opposed Democratic candidates and progressive causes, and some of those groups have received funding either directly or indirectly from the far-right Koch Brothers. Nation employs Jason Rae, one of the candidates for DPW Chair, although Rae, to my knowledge, hasn’t been directly involved with Coalition for the New Economy. However, Bice forgot to mention that Rae either is or was an associate director of Wired Wisconsin, a Thad Nation-led political front group that has advocated for legislation that would make it easier for landline telephone companies to either eliminate or increase the price of landline telephone service in Wisconsin. Rae joined Wired Wisconsin in mid-2010; it’s not known to me whether or not Rae is still directly involved with Wired Wisconsin. Obviously, nobody who works for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is going to mention anything about Rae’s ties to Wired Wisconsin, since that organization has paid for advertisements in that newspaper.

Bice also mentioned the fact that Martha Laning, one of Rae’s four opponents, is a relative newcomer to the DPW, having only joined the DPW in early 2014, and that Laning didn’t even know that one had to join the party and pay party dues in order to become an official Democratic Party member in Wisconsin until right before she became a party member. To be fair, I don’t know exactly how to join the Democratic Party in my home state of Illinois (I’m not an official Democratic Party member here in Illinois), and I’m guessing that very few people outside of political insiders know how to officially join their home state’s Democratic Party organization. Additionally, Bice brought up the fact that Laning hasn’t voted in every election in Wisconsin that she’s been eligible to vote in. While I’ve always been a civic-minded person since long before I was eligible to vote (in fact, the only election I’ve missed since turning 18 years of age was the 2008 Illinois primary for president and other partisan offices, and that was because I forgot to register to vote in time for that election), not everyone grew up with an interest in politics. However, Bice made absolutely no mention of either of the two main reasons why I’ve been critical of Laning. First, Laning claimed that Scott Walker and his Republican allies “have good ideas” in a 2014 television ad for her failed state senate campaign, despite the fact that Walker has driven down wages, busted unions, stripped rights from Wisconsinites, and has led the fight to destroy Wisconsin’s middle class since being elected governor. That is clearly an example of appeasement of Republicans by Laning. Second, Laning had to be pressured by DPW officials into supporting an increase in Wisconsin’s minimum wage. That tells me that Laning isn’t a sincere progressive and doesn’t appear to have any real political values.

I’ve received numerous Facebook friend requests and admiration from many Wisconsin progressives for my work in exposing Thad Nation’s ties to right-wing political groups that have waged a political war on Wisconsin’s middle class and progressive traditions. I thank everyone who has supported my work!