Member of the reality-based community of progressive (not anonymous) Massachusetts blogs
After the 2012 election, it didn’t take long for me to brag about how we routed Scott Brown: Groundgame (h/t Andrew Howe & Ariela Gragg, et al)
This map is a screen grab from The Boston Globe:
Excuse me, … I can’t stop chuckling. *deep breath* Anyways, let’s look at what happened in Lowell. (more…)
This is disappointing (from Paul Belley’s blog Captains Log):
The City Council Race in Lowell has officially started today with the announcement by Cory Belanger a local bar owner. Cory ran for Governors Council in 2010 and City Council in 2011.
He has served the city well as a board member and has helped numerous non profits and is well connected in the city but what surprised me the most was his endorsement of Councilor Ellott for Mayor if elected.
How anyone can watch Rodney Elliot in Council this last year (or more) and think he’d make a fab mayor, or at least believe it in any honest fashion, is beyond me. Of course, declaring man-love for Elliot off the bat sure does put him in a “camp” (starting of course with “Campanini,” whose paper has been fawning over Elliot for some time now, and vice versa via one Cub Reporter[TM]).
Interesting. And also, kinda stupid. But OK, I bet Belanger gets lots of donations from a certain set of people any way.
Dick Howe and Marie Sweeney are hosting an informational meeting on Ed Markey Tuesday night, at the Pollard Library first floor at 7pm. The purpose is to:
learn about Ed Markey’s background, position on the issues, and voting record in Congress. We will also discuss the likely timetable for the special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat now held by John Kerry.
First, I have to say, way to jump in there Markey people - that’s being on the ball. Second, it’s a huge plus in Markey’s favor that Dick Howe is already on that bandwagon. I respect and admire Dick a lot on matters both issue-oriented and on electoral horserace stuff. He doesn’t always pick a favorite in a Democratic primary (and it does appear we’ll have one) so I feel that’s actually somewhat significant.
He also says:
Ed Markey has represented Massachusetts in Congress since 1976. He has a long and distinguished record but few outside his Congressional District, which is centered in his home town of Malden, know him very well. I’ve studied Ed Markey’s record very closely and I like what I see. I will be enthusiastically supporting him in this race. As I’ve talked about his candidacy, many people in Greater Lowell have told me they would like to know more about him. That’s the purpose of this meeting. Even if you’re on the fence, please join us and listen to what we have to say. There’s no commitment and everyone is invited.
If you are interested in the campaign, please go to the “Lowell for Ed Markey” page on Facebook and “like” us. That’s the best way to get information and to follow events. If you want to communicate with me directly, send an email to DickHoweJr[at]gmail.com. Thanks, and I hope to see you Tuesday night.
I’ll probably see folks there, if my other project (and the reason that Jack and I have been a bit too busy to post a lot lately) is finished and ready to launch. Yeah, that’s right, pay attention to this space later on this week, we have a really cool announcement!
I know, I know, can’t we at least enjoy a few days off between major statewide elections, right? But too bad. Dems, are you ready? I think I am.
The sort-of crowning of Rep. Ed Markey has irked not a few grassroots types, I’m sure. Personally, I’d like a half-decent primary too, it does some good things, like increase the scope of the debate, but especially, gets the grassroots woken up and organized early enough to do some good - since a special election has such a short timeframe. One would hope that the engine that elected Elizabeth Warren (like, perhaps, Elizabeth herself) comes forth to inspire us to pick up the work again, once we’ve gone through the primary (hint, hint, Senator Warren!). And I’m always looking to repeat the MA-05 special election primary to replace Meehan, which is my gold standard for a great, feisty, interesting primary, but which lacks the circular firing squad we sometimes see (*coughChrisDohertycough*).
I’ll be honest, there are probably candidates I could love more than Ed Markey, just on the grassroots-outsider-tough fighter sort of feel. But. But. I love Ed Markey’s environmental record, and his roughing up of the oil companies, especially BP after the horrific oil spill. I feel like everyone else sort of have given them a pass, though given the ferocity of their continuing feel-good marketing campaign I think they still feel damaged (good. and you aren’t convincing ME). He has fought hard to try and get a carbon tax on oil/coal/gas, one key component holding renewable energy back (since it has to compete with a giant, subsidized, established industry).
If there is a more important issue than our economy and the flagrancy of the financial sector which Elizabeth Warren has spent so long fighting against, it’s the environment. Specifically, global climate change. Every decade has been warmer than the last, and we’re no longer talking about trying to avoid the tipping point. We’re talking about just how far past the tipping point we’re going to go. This is disaster. This is destruction of our entire human civilization. And without addressing both the inevitable (now) outcomes of climate change, and finding a way SOON to cease making it worse, the financial meltdown is gonna look like a boom economy compared to where we will end up.
The conservatives love to say, but the earth has fluctuated climate in the past. Yes. It has. Usually a lot more minor and a lot more slower, but it has cooled/warmed in a cycle going back to the dinosaurs. But also, giant empires have fallen because of much smaller climate change. (Hell, the dinosaurs died out due to climate change.) Picture a world in which half its population has to flee into other half’s populated areas to survive terrible weather extremes or the inability to grow crops where once crops flourished, or the masses who have always lived on the coast having to flee inland. Do you think we could take in a good portion of the Mexican population and keep our country intact? Do you think we can let half of Mexico’s population starve to death and keep our country intact? Can Canada double its population with environmental refugees from the US and remain a prosperous country? This is what we are facing if we don’t turn back now. I’m not exaggerating, that’s actually the middle-level scenario science models are displaying. The worst case is…you don’t want to know.
There are consequences in turning our planet’s climate back millions of years to much higher average temperatures. By burning the carbon locked in the earth at the time of dinosaurs, that’s exactly what we’re doing. Except instead of taking millions or tens of millions of years to do it, we’re doing it in a couple hundred. Trees can’t migrate in a decade or two. Populations of animals and, yes, people, can’t just pick up that quickly and rebalance the ecology in what amounts to seconds in the geological scale.
If Ed Markey becomes our standard bearer, either before the primary or after it, I think I’d be fine with that. In fact I’d be more than fine with it. I’d be pretty damn happy, and ready to get to work.
On Monday I posted my ground-eye view of the state’s local Democratic campaign. Now, we’re through the other side and lots of people are examining what went right and, though you might not see it, anything that went wrong. (People love a success and cluck at a failure, after all.) After the Coakley disaster, the state Democratic party, headed up by John Walsh, did some serious soul searching. Since grassroots campaigning is Walsh’s stock in trade, I’m not sure that there was much he could have done during that January, 2010 special election, if the candidate wasn’t accepting advice. And certainly, Coakley, while a smart prosecutor and an OK stumper, was not the sort of candidate to inspire the grassroots to action in the middle of a cold month and a short lead time.
But examine it the party did anyway, and came up with the coordinated campaign idea. In 2010, the coordinated campaign reelected Deval Patrick to the Governorship in the middle of a pretty tough year for incumbents, and the “red wave” that swept the rest of the country largely passed us by, losing the Dems only some seats in the House and gaining them one in the state Senate. Even the gains for Republicans (15 to 30 state House seats) weren’t enough to disturb the Dem supermajority.
I worked on that campaign a bit in 2010, and there were some bugs to work out with the coordinated campaign. For instance, there was always tension between turning out voters for local races that might not vote for Patrick, and vice versa. Everyone worked together, but there was some grumbling. When the results of working together became apparent (fewer losses in MA, a reelection for Patrick despite the economy), I think those concerns were alleviated. The efficiency of shared resources overcame the peculiarities of local vs. statewide campaigns. (more…)
Taking a short break to eat lunch before going on to more tasks for GOTV. I was stationed at the Pyne Arts School for the whole morning, and there was hardly a lull even in the mid morning. I think turnout is going to be surprising, both in Lowell and statewide.
What are you seeing? Hve you voted yet?
Yesterday, after a few hours canvassing, I wound down the day at the Warren campaign phone bank location, making calls to remind supporters to GOTV. Standard operating procedure of a grassroots campaign. I met a woman who had been there since 1pm, who had made an astounding 12 pages of phone calls that day. She told me this was her first time ever doing any campaign work of any sort for any candidate. “Really?” I asked her. She had actually gotten a phone call invitation to the rally with Elizabeth for last Friday (she would have been in that crowd of the above photo) and had attended, and promptly signed up to work GOTV. I was pretty astounded, but not surprised, by her committment.
I’ve met an awful lot of people who have never touched a campaign before in their lives during the weeks and months leading up to this weekend. Like another woman from Chelmsford, my canvassing partner yesterday afternoon, who was also a new face in election campaigning.
Elizabeth is the sort of candidate money can’t buy - both literally, but also figuratively. She’s intelligent and full of substance, inspiring, optimistic about what we can accomplish, and genuine. All protests from Republican ads to the contrary. And when people hear her speak, or have a chance to meet her, they can see it.
On the canvassing circuit, I’ve talked to a lot of undecided voters over the last few weeks. There are still a few out there even now. Something they cite a lot is their disgust at the parrying back and forth over the airwaves - they don’t know who to believe, and they are sick of being “spun” to. For my part, I’ve told the truth about the ads Brown has run against Warren - that they are very misleading, and many of them outright lies, using victims of asbestos and others to twist truth into unrecognizable falsehoods. There’s not a lot of time to go into details, but I tell them what I can of the background behind those ads. But I am beginning to believe that ads - all ads, from all candidates - should be banned from TV. They are not helping people make good decisions about candidates, they are only confusing, particularly when you throw third parties into the mix (which, thankfully, in our Senate race, don’t exist, thanks to the People’s Pledge).
Make the people hear from the candidates directly. Replay segments from debates in full. Networks need to stop making tons of cash off of our democracy - turning it into a demock-racy. Anyway, this is a tangent…
The fact remains, though, that Warren’s campaign is historic in more ways than just the possibility she might be the first female Senator from MA. I can feel it when I am volunteering, but it’s also evident in the numbers.
Her campaign officials say they expect to have 24,000 volunteers working for them on Tuesday roughly 10 in each of the state’s 2,174 precincts to get her supporters to the polls. That would be by far a record number in Massachusetts. In the days before the election, they expect to knock on one million doors and make two million phone calls.
It has 48 field offices and 74 paid field organizers, including several veterans of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. On Saturday alone, they made more than 370,000 phone calls and knocked on more than 123,000 doors…
Having been involved in the Democratic party apparatus since the Governor’s race in 2006, I can tell you that the Warren campaign is deeper and wider than any statewide campaign I’ve ever even imagined, let alone worked on. Couple to that the state Democratic party’s “Coordinated Campaign” where the party is working together with down-ticket races and pooling their resources, and the breadth and scope is enormous. Never before in all the grassroots I’ve worked has there been a thorough “poll checking” process, at least in this city (maybe it’s done commonly in Boston). Poll checking is when you have people at every polling place, checking supporters off a list as they vote, so that when you print canvass and phone lists for the afternoon and evening shifts, you’ve struck off all those already voted so you are not wasting your time. You need a LOT of bodies to enable poll checking, as well as implementing the right technology to get the information into the system as quickly as possible. That’s on top of the bodies you need at the phone and walking the streets, and the ones doing visibility and data entry and other jobs.
In the Times article linked above, the Brown campaign tries to turn sour grapes into wine:
At a Brown rally here on Sunday, former Gov. William F. Weld, a Republican, cast the race as a showdown between “man versus machine.” He said that just as a machine was working to get Ms. Warren elected, a machine would tell her how to vote. “The machine never rests,” he said.
If by machine you mean people like the woman I met last night, who had never once stepped foot into a campaign office in her long life, but did seven hours of phone banking in one day, or my new Chelmsford friend who, despite recently coming off a horrific injury, was walking the streets talking to voters for hours on a Sunday afternoon. If by telling Warren how to vote, you mean as constituents who are so motivated by their convictions and by the ability of this candidate, Elizabeth Warren, to fulfill their hopes and dreams that they would sacrifice hours and days of their personal time to volunteer for her, then yes, guilty. Guilty as hell.
Fired up, ready to go. THIS is how we should be electing people. Not with money and ads and robocalls. But with people power. I’m ready to get to work. Are you? Volunteers are still needed. Sign up here.
PS - Senator John Kerry will be at the Lowell office today at 5pm, 73 E Merrimack St, Lowell. That would be a good time to stop by and sign up for some hours tomorrow!
Whatever your political stripe, if you are an environmentalist you are probably disappointed in this year’s presidential and downticket races. Of course, it’s natural that the economy would be high up on the radar for the candidates, but for there to be zero talk about the environment, not to mention global climate change, the biggest national security risk of our time? It is, to make an understatement, utterly incomprehensible.
I am definitely going to watch this Frontline next Tuesday, “Climate of Doubt.” In it, they will examine the reasons why this topic has become persona non grata. Where once we as a nation were starting to agree that climate change was happening and that we needed to address it, there is doubt being raised by the extremely profitable industries that benefit from the status quo.
Another day, another bizarre, fact-free attack on Elizabeth Warren. This one from conservative bloggers and their mindslaves. I don’t know if it originally came from the Brown campaign itself, though given its history, and its Rovian campaign manager Jim Barnett, and expensive consultant Eric “CrazyKhazei” Fehrnstrom, it would not really surprise me.
The basics? Brown surrogates are trying to insinuate that Warren was unlicensed or fraudulent when representing Travelers Insurance before the Supreme Court (the same case they are trying to use to attack her as somehow pro-corporate, despite the facts actually being quite the opposite).
Except, it’s all so empty an attack, that within hours, it was being debunked.
Tribe adds that Warren fully met all of the Supreme Court’s requirements for filing briefs and petitions with that court.
“This was not and could not be a violation of any Massachusetts rule,” Tribe says. “In fact, any state rule that interfered with a federal filing would be null and void under the Supremacy Clause of Article VI of the United States Constitution. Elizabeth complied with all applicable federal rules.”
Seriously, this line of attack is just smelling so desperate. I had Facebook friends jumping all over this like they knew what the fuck they were talking about, but with little actual facts of the actual matter at hand. Just some biased conservative law blogger’s post (which I will not link to) and a prayer.
I get it. Brown is bleeding support and Warren is doing good, and you can’t talk about your candidate’s record because it’s rather unappealing to the voters of the Commonwealth. And you’re following your candidate’s lead, since he’s decided to take the Karl Rove low road, so you feel entitled or like you have permission or something. But please, don’t be so freaking obvious. It’s making our job too easy. And making our side feel that much more motivated to go out on the streets and talk to voters, because the attacks are such lying bullshit you feel like you want to go out and fight the stupidity firsthand.
No, on second thought, keep it up, and we’ll get all of Massachusetts canvassed like four times over by the time Nov 6th rolls around.
Warren surges in four separate polls this week; suddenly the tables have turned in a race that everyone said was Brown’s to lose. This isn’t just a simple convention bounce; we’re two weeks past…and general analysis of the internals of the polls are showing that the surge is Democrats “coming home” to Warren. A good part of that, I’m sure, is her performance at the convention. But there is a much more prosaic, basic, and boring explanation as well.
David Bernstein takes a look at campaign expenditures (bold mine).
Brown’s spending is all message, no organization. Of the $3.8 million he spent, $2.8 million went straight to “placed media” — ad buys. Another $360,000 went to direct mail. That only leaves about $600,000 for everything else.
By contrast, Warren spent $2.3 million on ad buys and a whopping $1.1 million on direct mail — which still leaves about $1.5 million on the rest.
A big chunk of that, roughly a quarter-million dollars, went to Warren’s Internet consultants.
But the big difference is payroll. The Warren campaign has a stunning 77 people on the payroll, compared to 20 on the slim Brown campaign.
Democrats in the state are going back to a very old fashioned campaigning idea. Ever since the rise of Deval Patrick, and John Walsh, there has been a resurgence of door-knocking, neighbor to neighbor, on-the-ground retail politics. Of course, that sort of thing has been happening all along, as many longtime stalwart Democratic apparatchiks could tell you, but it’s the intensity and the energy that has changed. (Technology like databases and internet and Google maps haven’t hurt, either.)
Having done some canvassing and phone banking in the last six years, I can honestly tell you that even in the late hours of the 2006 Patrick campaign, I have never seen the level of participation from volunteers as I have in the last several months of the Warren campaign. Back in the spring, there were so many volunteers showing up, that they got frustrated that the campaign wasn’t moving more quickly or hiring enough organizers to put them to work. Fast forward to September, and those 77 people on the payroll are, well, paying off.
When an enthused and excited Democrat comes to another Democrat’s doorstep and talks about Elizabeth Warren and what she stands for, you can be sure that that Democrat will reconsider any ticket-splitting they might have done in November. Democratic-leaning unenrolleds will, too. The first half of voter ID is all about figuring out who your supporters are, but it also has a side effect of convincing some voters who are undecided or thinking of voting for the opponent, due to the one-on-one conversations at front doorsteps, the personal notes left behind on literature when someone is not home, and the sheer visibility of the campaign. The more people you have out there doing the talking, the more converts you’re likely to make.
The hand-wringing is already beginning on the other side. You’ll see them try to blame “DC Democrats” imposing their will and their support and their money in this race…or the media turning against them…or just being red specks in a blue sea. They don’t see it coming, because they just. Don’t. Get it.
The thing about retail politics, though, is that you have to have a message that resonates with people where they live. In the marketplace of ideas, I don’t think you could sell people on tea-party extremism, or sell a candidate who will double down on the Blunt amendment and vote against jobs bills and water down Wall St reform but who claims to be a moderate independent.
You also need bodies. Lots and lots of bodies. Hiring people on payroll is a huge head start, but then you need a horde of volunteers under them willing to give up a Saturday afternoon or a Thursday night and walk a neighborhood. You can’t drum up enthusiasm unless you have a great candidate.
It’s not magic. It’s hard work and steady, unremarkable, persistent grunt work. Work that is ongoing and still needs doing right up until the end. The Warren campaign, by dint of where they spend their time, money, and energy, obviously gets that. It’s why they will be successful once the votes are cast in November.
(And in case you don’t get the hint, Warren peeps, please please please offer an afternoon or two yourselves if you haven’t already. Or even if you have!)
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