Project Wonderful

Monday, November 24, 2014

What I Wish I Had Known At 30 With Lucinda Guinn

Lucinda Guinn, 34, WOMEN VOTE! Director at EMILY's List

This post came in a few days before my 30th birthday, but there was that whole election thing, and then vacation and then I was sick and now it's now. Still I could not deprive you of the wisdom of the campaign powerhouse that is Lucinda Guinn. Lucinda and I worked together for about two weeks when I first moved to DC, but even from that short time she is someone whose advice and insight I value immensely. Take it away, Lucinda!

1) Tell us a little about your career path.
I was always interested in politics. My dad was the county chair of the local Republican party in the town I was born in (hissss!). In college I started volunteering for the local Democratic Party and they liked me enough to start paying me. I thought, “hey, that’s neat!” So I stuck around for a while. I tried to escape politics once to work in high tech PR (that is really funny for anyone who knows my relationship with technology) and even though it was a great experience I didn’t leave work at the end of the day feeling like I had done anything to make the world a better place. Lofty? Yes. But we all get into this business because we have a strong belief system; we have the save-the-world gene. I’ll never be the type of person who can clock in for a paycheck, and in campaigns you have to be all in.

I moved to DC, realized very quickly that I needed to be on the road and spent the next several years working on campaigns all over the country. I popped back to DC a few times to work in direct mail and issue advocacy, where I learned a ton. Eventually I did 2 stints at the DCCC, once at the independent expenditure and once as the western political director. Most recently I was the Political Director at the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and am now the WOMEN VOTE! director at EMILY’s List.

2) What are you most proud of?
Reaching Platinum status on United.

3) What is the best advice you've received?
“Go on the road while you’re young.”

Someone once told me that the only 2 industries where twenty-somethings are able to take on big responsibility are the military and political campaigns. On campaigns you manage staff at a young age, raise and spend big sums of money and encounter all kinds of personalities. The amount of professional and personal growth you can achieve on a campaign is huge.

4) What is the worst advice you've received?
There are all kinds of good and bad advice out there but something to watch out for when job hunting is folks looking to staff up a campaign quickly and push you in a direction you don’t want to go in.
There is a shortage of good finance directors and field operatives out there, so when someone is a good finance director, for example, they often get pigeon-holed into that job and have a hard time getting someone to give them their first opportunity as a manager or as a press secretary.

I think it is important when a cycle ends and when you are looking at your next job in your 20's to think about what you want to do next. Consultants, committees and candidates will often push you into a role that they need to fill instead of taking a step back to think about what would be a good fit for you. If you have the flexibility, don't jump into something just to have a job. Think about what gets you to where you want to go.

5) What lesson are you still trying to learn?
Work/life balance. Has that been everyone’s answer to this question so far? (Editor’s note: yes.)

6) What was the best thing about being in your 20's?
Throwing everything in my car and driving to a new campaign. Living all over the country. 9:30PM happy hour with fellow campaign staffers – after call time obviously. Making life-long friends and inside jokes at 2am while cutting turf. Cutting turf. (Y’all don’t do that anymore. It’s called cutting turf because we actually used to copy then cut pages of a street atlas with a pair of scissors and highlight the turf. How’s that for a throwback?) Trying to explain to my parents what I do for a living. Wait. That still happens.

7) What one thing should I absolutely do before I turn 30?
Spend time nurturing yourself. That can mean a lot of things but find a way to take care of YOUR needs and do it. Stay in touch with friends and family, read non-political books, go to the gym, make that dentist appointment, travel somewhere abroad. I sound like my mother but she is always right.

8) What's the best thing about being 34?
There were times in my 20s when I didn’t know whether the grueling 15-hour days and the time away from friends and family was worth it. I had a lot of anxiety about what came next and doubted myself a little too much. I know now that every job I had from field organizer to campaign manager to western political director helped me grow and learn and I added to a collection of wonderful friends. I can say with confidence that the role I have now will help me grow in to the next step, whatever that may be. I’m not sure I could do that in my 20s. I’ve been lucky, but I’ve also worked hard and learned that screwing up a few times was worth it.

9) What are you looking forward to?
More winning.

10) What else?
Pick an airline and a hotel chain, be loyal and start building points and miles asap. Let points and miles pay for your vacations. If you're gonna be (F)unemployed between campaigns you might as well do it on a beach.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Ask An Election Nerd: Organization for Time Management

I’ve been an FO/RFD working on three very different campaigns three years in a row to unseat three straight Republicans. The campaign I’m on now is the most thorough I’ve worked on and the most important I’ve worked on, and CampaignSick makes sense of every single thing I am doing on this race and why.

Here’s a question I hope everyone can help me out with: when going about day to day tasks, how do you manage your time in the most efficient way? What time management skills do you incorporate?

When we talk about time management, we're really talking about self management. For me that means managing my stress so that I can put all of myself into the task at hand. With that in mind, these are some organizational tips that have worked for me.

1) Turn off your cell phone.You can get to a point where everything feels like a emergency, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Once in a while, when it comes to a key strategy meeting, or sitting down to finally write a budget, commit to turning off phones, maybe even going off site, and being fully present. When you take a step back, way fewer things need an immediate response than seem to in the moment.

2) Prioritize being on time and keeping appointments. When you do things like constantly reschedule one on ones with your staff, or push back less than urgent meetings with your candidate, it creates a culture of chaos and makes people feel like like you don't value their time. Nothing unimportant should be on your calendar in the first place, and if you put it off now it will still be looming later. Things come up, and sometimes a shift is unavoidable, but the best way to make sure that your tasks are getting done is to meet them head on rather than consistently delay them for other priorities.

3) Keep a white board to do list. Paper to do lists get messy quickly and eventually you have to flip back 15 pages to make sure you got everything. A white board can sit on your desk as a visual reminder of what's on your plate both short and long term. At the beginning of the day (or better yet, the day before) look at what tasks absolutely must get done before you leave. When a new task arises in the middle of an old one, write it down and keep working. This can keep a task from distracting you while finish what you were doing without letting things fall off your plate. When you finish one task, scan your list for the next priority.

4) Create a daily checklist. Different from a fluctuating to do list, these are the things you need to do daily when you first come in or before you walk out the door. For a Campaign Manager on a small campaign this might include: Do you have the candidate's schedule set for the next day? Do you know who is staffing her? Is her car stocked with supplies? Have you gotten numbers from your field director? I also have a similar checklist for events so that in the rush to prepare for a big surrogate, little details don't get ignored.

5) Use a Google Calendar. (Or Outlook). Unlike a physical calendar it can't get lost, you can invite others to meetings, and you almost always have access to it.

6) Delegate. Tasks fall into three categories: those that must be done by you, those that you need to approve but that could be executed by someone else, and those that could be completed by someone else entirely. The things that fall into the first category should be your first priority.

You should consider empowering people you manage to do activities that fall into the second category. It may be difficult to part with these tasks, but remember that in delegating you're training the managers of tomorrow. You're also making smart use of your time by not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. Sometimes its more important to get a press release out there than to have it worded exactly as you would have worded it.

There is no reason you should be doing things that fall into the third category. If an organizer spends two hours every day doing data entry, it makes sense to spend an hour a week recruiting data entry volunteers instead. Campaign volunteers are invaluable in this capacity because they multiply your person power exponentially so take advantage of that and organize your way out of the job!

7) Do the most difficult tasks first. This is really about personal management, so if you're the type like me to let a stressful project loom over your day, why not get it out of the way?

8) Acknowledge requests as they come through. Make people feel valued by letting them know that you hear what they need and will get back to them by ____ day. Then set yourself a calendar appointment or put it on your white board.

9) Have a go-to activity for your downtime. Okay, "downtime" might be a little bit of a misnomer. I'm talking about those 10 minute segments between meetings when there's not enough time to start a new project but you don't want to just sit on your hands. I'm also talking about an activity for when you're so overwhelmed with to dos that you don't know where to start. For an organizer or finance assistant this might be just picking up the phone and making some calls. The activity should be something that's always needed and is a great (and kind of mindless) way to instantly feel productive. For a more senior position this might be working on part of your GOTV training, crafting a fundraising email, or checking in on key stakeholders who fall off the radar but occasionally need a little love.

10) Work smarter, not longer. Nothing sucks your motivation like sitting behind a computer staring ahead because you are "supposed" to be in the office. The same task that you're doing at midnight could likely be accomplished more efficiently at 10 am. Get some sleep! Get some exercise! Self-care is not selfish care. It is crucial to time management because it allows you to be fully present and your best self when you are working.

I hope that helps!

Campaign Love and Mine,


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I Need Your Help! Please Become A CampaignSick Sponsor!

Sponsorship update! Please consider supporting CampaignSick. I need your help!

Once I reach 50 regular donors, I will do a little MTV style cribs video is which something a few people have been asking for. And since it’s GOTV I thought I would offer a limited time promotion. If you donate $20 through PayPal this week (or sign up for a recurring sponsorship of $10/month) I will call into your conference call and say hi! These are both donor generated ideas, so if you have something you’d like to see as a thank you gift, submit your idea to

Thank you to everyone who has become a sponsor so far and thank you for all that you do!

Happy GOTV!

Campaign Love and Mine,


Make a one time donation through PayPal

Or Click Here to become a CampaignSick Sponsor!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Just this. Now.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Carl DeMaio is a Human Garbage Slug Who Should Drown In His Own Diarrhea

From San Diego City Beat
"Congressional candidate Carl DeMaio wants voters to know that he's down with the whole women's rights thing: access to birth control, equal pay, etc. But, behind the scenes, if you're a woman he disagrees with, you could be the subject of ridicule.

On Jan. 22, DeMaio sent an email to two members of his staff, campaign spokesperson Dave McCulloch and then-policy director Todd Bosnich (Bosnich has accused DeMaio of sexually harassing him and trying to buy his silence). The email's subject line is "Kate Lyon" and includes a photo of an overweight woman wearing a bra and eating what looks to be a Twinkie. (The woman in the photo is not Lyon.) Based on the email's metadata, it appears to be authentic.

Kate Lyon is the deputy campaign manager for Scott Peters, the 52nd District congressional representative whom DeMaio's challenging in the upcoming election. Earlier in the day on Jan. 22, she's responded to a tweet from McCulloch and was critical of a new DeMaio TV ad that compared Congress to Lindsey Lohan and cockroaches. "U thought ur boss's cockroach ad was representative of new type of [Republican], someone trying to change Washington? Typical," Lyon tweeted at McCulloch.

We checked with Lyon and the Peters campaign before publishing this. Spokesperson Alex Roth provided a statement:

"Kate Lyon is one of the most experienced and respected members of our staff. She previously worked as an attorney, and for NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood. It is disgusting and despicable that this champion for women’s rights, or any woman, would be demeaned this way. I wish I could say it is shocking, but coming from Carl DeMaio, nothing is shocking.""

I can barely type about this because it is so putrid. I sat stunned at my desk for a full 2 minutes with full on rage about this. On what front am I most offended? As a campaign staffer? As a woman? As a person who has struggled with their weight? I DON'T EVEN FUCKING KNOW.

As one commentor on this article observes, "DeMaio presumes fat female bodies are a punchline rather than recognize the proud, lived experience of many who live with dignity in a world that would demean them." Not to mention how completely classless it is to go after campaign staff. Not to mention the long history of sexualizing women in politics in order to take their power away. I won't republish the picture because who knows if it was even put on the Internet consensually (certainly not for this purpose) but it is easy enough to find. Carl DeMaio is disgusting in a lot of ways, but for me this takes the cake.

Supreme Court Allows Texas to Go Ahead With Strict Voter ID Law

Story here. Don't talk to me right now, SCOTUS.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Well That's Subtle

Somebody obviously did some message testing. Talk about grasping at straws.

Friday, October 10, 2014

What I Wish I Had Known at 30 With Rachel Goodman

Rachel Goodman,34, Chief of Staff for New York City Councilmember Brad Lander

Rachel gave me my first job as a campaign manager (for the aforementioned Brad Lander.) For those of you interested in going from campaigns to running the show, Rachel is your girl. I am definitely in awe of her ability to balance her jobs plus baby!

1) Tell us a little about your career path.
I actually went to acting school for college, so I like to joke that I barely even have a college degree. But by the time I graduated I realized professional acting was not in my future, and I had always done a little bit of political activism growing up, so when my then-boyfriend, now-husband wanted to move Washington, DC I figured I would go along. I got a job with a political consulting firm, which exposed me to the whole world of campaigns. After a few years there, I “hit the road” and did a whole bunch of different campaigns. Then I ended up back in New York, with the Working Families Party, where I oversaw our efforts on a bunch of different NYC races. One of those races was Brad Lander’s race for a New York City Council seat in Brooklyn, and when he won, I came on as his chief of staff. And I’ve been with him for the last 5 years.

2) What are you most proud of?
Professionally, I am most proud of the effort that Brad and I coordinated in 2013 to elect a bunch of new progressive Councilmembers to the City Council, and elect a progressive Council Speaker. We helped double the Council’s progressive caucus from 10 to 20 members, and elect one of the Caucus co-chairs, Melissa Mark-Viverito, to be the first Latino Speaker. Personally, it is that I am raising a charming almost-two year old, while working full time, and managing (most days) to feel fairly on top of things. Plus, you now, the existence of the charming two year old.

3) What is the best advice you've received?
Enjoy your periods of unemployment. During my time campaigning, I had a lot of in-between-jobs time, and sometimes I was able to use those down periods to travel, read and hang out with friends. And sometimes I spent the whole time refreshing my inbox and freaking out about my next job. I know it is so hard to live with the uncertainty, but once you are back on the campaign trail you will really wish you had made better use of your

4) What is the worst advice you've received?
Even if you are miserable in a job stay at least a year so you don’t burn bridges. Life is way too short to hate what you do, and if you aren’t happy, you should get out, no matter how short a time you have been there. I had one job in my career that I truly hated, and I knew within 6 weeks that I was going to be miserable. But I stayed for 18 months because I didn’t want to burn the professional connection. In retrospect I really regret all the hateful time that I spent there.

5) What lesson are you still trying to learn?
How to stay in one place! I got off the campaign trail because I needed more stability in my life, but I really miss the variety of having a new job every 6 months. It’s been a real adjustment to settle in to one place, and find ways to create new challenges and opportunities for myself.

6) What was the best thing about being in your 20's?
Being responsible only for myself. Even if I wanted to run off and join a presidential campaign, or move to California, or back pack through Asia, I couldn’t because I have people who are counting on me to be home for dinner. When I was younger, I didn’t have that, and so had a lot more professional and personal freedom.

7) What one thing should I absolutely do before I turn 30?
Take a long trip by yourself. It’s not really an age thing, but 30 is as good an occasion as any. When I was younger I took a three week trip to Australia by myself, and it was the best thing I have ever done.

8) What's the best thing about being in your 30's?
I still remember when I was in college one of my teachers talking about turning 30 and saying “it’s such a relief not to be ‘a woman in her 20s anymore.’” That really stuck with me. It is hard to be taken seriously professional as a woman and it helps to not be such a “young woman” anymore. 22 year old men can be “wunderkinds,” but women in their 20s are just seen as flighty.

9) What are you looking forward to?
Oh man. Sleeping past 6am again at some point?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Ask An Election Nerd: Lazy Incumbents

Hi Nancy,

First off, I have to say I am in love with your Tumblr. I die laughing at how applicable the things you post are to my own situations.

I just wanted to see if you had any advice for a first time campaign manager pretty much doing everything on their own? To give you some background, I am working for a long time incumbent. He is a beloved member of our statehouse and has years of experience. But he won't do anything! He tells me he goes out on walks, but from our database I can tell it's not true. And no one will volunteer because he's a "sure thing." HA! The problem is we only won 52% in the Primary, voter turn out was appalling, and we are in a killer swing district. But I am the only one doing work for our campaign; calls, doorbelling, signs, "recruitment." It's brutal. I am a highly driven and motivated person, but this has left me "campaignsick," and I'm not sure I'd ever do this work again even though it's all the things I love (interacting with people, politics, being organized, leading).

I'm sure he will win, but our party is always pressuring us for better numbers, more calls, more doors. Am I just failing or is this a common problem? I'm not sure I can make it until November... 36 days 6 hours 36 minutes 43 seconds...

Thanks again for all you do, and any advice you have to make it through!


Before I answer I want to point out, this is how you ask a question. I hate when people send me anonymous messages like, "any advice if I don't get along with my campaign manager?" I want to help, but how am I supposed to answer that? So kudos to you sir, for providing context and for writing in complete sentences.

On to your query! Look, you can only control what you can control. Beyond the occasional pep talk that every candidate needs, if your candidate is not motivated by external factors like building the party, being good at his job and keeping his seat, there's nothing you're going to be able to do as the campaign manager to light that fire. It sounds like you were hired by either the party or the candidate to look like they were doing something, without actually having to do something themselves.

Your candidate should not be lying to you; that's just disrespectful. If I were you, I would confront him about the discrepancies in your numbers and say something like "if you don't want to do the work, it's your candidacy, but I can't do my job at all if you're not truthful with me." Then I would come up with a new plan for exactly what he expects from you and you from him for the next 27 days (sorry it took me a while to get to this question.) When you have this discussion you need to accept that maybe he's just not going to knock or do other things you'd want him to in a Cadillac (or even like Corolla) campaign plan. In order for you to know what you're working with, you need your candidate to feel like he can be honest with you about what he's actually willing to do or you're back at square one. Then, you plan the best damn GOTV you can from there. Does he have even 5 friends and family members who can commit to helping out between now and the election? It's shitty and he's being shitty but you can only do the best with what you've got. For what it's worth, I think you'd be within your rights to quit, but that doesn't sound like something you want to do at this point, which is equally understandable.

Please don't let this turn you off from campaign work! It sounds like you have good instincts and the temperament to do this job. Every campaign is a disaster in it's own way. Learning how to deal with the particular foibles of each situation is part of what helps you learn and makes it interesting, but what you are describing is in no way par for the course. Now you know what to watch out for in a job so that you can have a more productive experience next time.

Thanks for writing! I hope I helped!

Campaign Love and Mine,


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Monday, October 6, 2014

Ask An Election Nerd: An Open Letter To The People Complaining About Political Phone Calls

Editor's Note: This question was not submitted, but rather a compilation of complaints I've received over the years. If you are a campaign worker, I hope you find it cathartic and if you are a voter, I hope you find it informative. CL&M, Nancy

It is the day before the Democratic primary in my state and my phone is ringing off the hook! I'm political donor and a super voter so why are these campaigns bother me? This can't possibly be effective. It's annoying and an invasion on my time! Make it stop!

Let me take a deep breath. Knowing the people who make these calls, knowing how effective they can be and knowing the verbal abuse and self-righteousness callers suffer at the hands of people who don't fully understand or appreciate the callers or their purpose, it's hard to not get defensive and even angry. But stepping back a little, I can see why the phone calls must be annoying. Trust me, they're pretty annoying to make. I'd like to believe that as someone who cares about the success of Democratic candidates and the right to engage in the political process you would be more empathetic if they could see the bigger picture, so let's break this down a little.

Different types of calls are well...different.

The first thing to understand is that not all phone calls are created equal. Calls can be live or recorded, paid or volunteer. This matters because these factors influence how effective calls are (and also how indignant I am.) There is some research to indicate that recorded robocalls are not effective at all. I do think robocalls can be helpful to let people know about an event, an endorsement, or to combat last minute misinformation being distributed aimed at voter suppression, (for example if your opponent's campaign was telling your supporters they need a to bring an ID to the polls when they do not) but in general we're in agreement here.

Live calls also fall into two categories: persuasion and GOTV. Persuasion calls are likely to go to what you call "super-voters." As a field director, if I am very confident that you are going to vote, but not sure who you are supporting, you and voters like you will be my top priority to persuade. These are the calls you were probably getting the day before the Democratic primary. The good news is that now that the primary is over, you are less likely to get these types of calls because campaigns will recognize that you are a partisan voter and not try to spend their time persuading you. In the future, if you want to reduce the number of persuasion calls you receive, you should let the caller know who you plan to vote for the first time they call, which should take you out of that campaign's persuasion universe.

Get out the vote calls, on the other hand, usually focus on voters who have an inconsistent voting history. If you don't always vote, but when you do you vote Democrat, I am going to want to make sure that you make it to the polls. Especially on election day itself, GOTV calls may also go to frequent voters, because campaigns want to take nothing for granted. The best way to cut down on the number of these calls is to simply let the caller know that you have already voted (assuming, of course, that you have.)

Except for on Election Day and barring a mistake, when voters say they have received three calls from a campaign on the same day they are either confused or exaggerating. It is more likely that they have received calls from outside organizations who are supporting a candidate with whom candidate campaigns are not legally allowed to coordinate. When it comes to get out the vote efforts in the general election, most state parties run coordinated campaigns, which should in theory reduce the number of individual phone calls you receive. (Why it may not is explained here in a post about campaign coordination.)

Yes, the calls are effective and scientific.

Inevitably, when I explain to people that live calls are (or at least can be) effective, I get back some variation of "well that's not my experience." I implore you to consider for a moment that this is not a matter of your individual experience. Maybe you do respond to these calls without even realizing it, or maybe you don't, but statistically blind experiments show the power of Get Out the Vote calls to a far greater extent than individual voters like to admit. People who claim that the science behind direct voter contact is flawed because they don't respond to phone calls, remind me of the people who deny studies proving the existence of climate change because their house is cold. This is about the big picture and while you are entitled to be annoyed by the methods that are proven to increase voter turnout, the facts and research, not to mention the far more extensive experience of political professionals, are not up for debate.

You mentioned (with pride) that callers refer to you as "super voter." This is no accident. Studies show that voters are more likely to turn out for an election when call scripts reference voting as a positive aspect of a voter's identity. For this reason I encourage my candidates to add "thank you for being a good citizen who votes" to the end of their GOTV scripts. Similar studies also found that encouraging voters to create a "voting plan," letting them know that the caller is local, and telling them that this election will see high turnout also increase participation.

When it comes to low engagement voters, political scientists Lisa Garcia Bedolla and Melissa Michelson conducted "268 get-out-the-vote field experiments...across six electoral cycles" and concluded that "what really mobilizes these voters is repeated personal contacting." In fact, studies repeatedly find that targeted phone calls with personal messages are one of the best ways to mobilize voters, second only to door-to-door canvassing. Evidence is particularly strong when calls are delivered by volunteers.

It is more difficult to find research on persuasion phone calls because direct voter contact (calls and canvassing) is almost always layered with other methods like direct mail and media. However we know that voter persuasion is effective and we know that phone calls are an effective way of changing voter behavior, so we can extrapolate that persuasion calls are probably an effective mechanism, at very least for reinforcing persuasion messages delivered in other mediums.

Traditionally field (the direct voter contact portion of campaigns) can make a difference of about 2-5%, which in many elections is the ballgame.

But they're calling me in my home!

I know none of this addresses the fact that the phone calls are annoying, so imagine something with me if you would. Imagine that you are not in a position to donate money to the candidates of your choosing. Imagine that you are chronically ill and without healthcare. Imagine you have a son or daughter who is gay and being bullied at school. Imagine you've been the victim of domestic violence and your incumbent member of congress supports repealing the Violence Against Women Act. Now imagine that you know how effective these calls are and that this is your only means of influencing how other people vote, (which, by the way, has direct consequences for you own quality of life.) How many calls would you make to save your job, your health insurance, or your child? So yes, my volunteers are bothering you at home but I bet they wish that getting a couple of annoying phone calls was their biggest problem.

These people could be resigned to do nothing, but instead they are taking what little political agency is afforded to them. The thing that I love most about field is that no matter how much mud gets slung, how much money gets spent, how many outside interests are involved, it can still come down to neighbors talking to neighbors. Given what's at stake in these elections, it kinda seems like a small price to pay.

In conclusion...

Yes, it's annoying. Making them is annoying. Like really, really annoying especially when people we're calling are hostile and sometimes even vitriolic toward the callers. Believe me, there are much more lucrative and comfortable careers than mine. But I do it, and my volunteers and coworkers do it, because we care about this country and we need your vote to help make a difference. So thank you for taking the time to listen. Thank you for being understanding when we call in the future. Thank you for supporting our candidates. And thank you, for being a good citizen who votes.

Campaign Love and Mine,


Friday, October 3, 2014

5 (Well-Intentioned?) Faux Feminist Mistakes That Need To Stop Now

Is it me or is feminism being discussed more than usual these days? Everyone wants to know which celebrities do and don't identify as feminists and there's no consensus as to what feminism really even means. It should come as no surprise then that even among self-proclaimed feminists the standards for and definition of feminism remain unclear. While this post is neither explicitly about campaigns nor elections it is on a topic we discuss with great frequency and that is integral to our work. Far be it for me to tell you you're feministing wrong, but I'm going to. Here are five behaviors masquerading as feminism (fauxmenisms) that we need to stop in order for us to truly move forward.

1) Father of Daughters. The Toast really nails this one. Father of daughters feminism is the cliche that as a father you become protective of your daughters and it causes you to see women differently. It's that old adage that you should "treat every woman as if she were your wife or your mother." It's sweet, and well-meaning and couched in old school family values. It's also super problematic. (Oh yes, I'm breaking out the P word.)

First, you shouldn't need to have a female child to know not to treat women like objects. I don't need to push out a black baby to know not to be racist. Second, it reinforces the idea that women only deserve respect because of their relationships to men. As tumblr has pointed out, "Male privilege is “I have a boyfriend” being the only thing that can actually stop someone from hitting on you because they respect another male-bodied person more than they respect your rejection/lack of interest." You should respect me because all people deserve basic respect, not because I am another man's girlfriend/sister/wife/daughter/mother.

2) I'm Not Like Other Girls (aka internalized misogyny). This is a mistake of which I have been cringe-inducingly guilty. Many was the time in my early 20's that because of my sense of humor, my ambition or my majority male group of friends I proclaimed that I was "not like most girls." Again, the Hairpin nails it. The problem with "not like most girls" is that it almost always implies that other girls are trivial, superficial, insecure or just plain stupid, that being 'like a girl' is negative. It reinforces the myth that being "like a girl" means being any one thing in particular and that that thing is less than. In reality, you are both like and not like "most girls" because each woman is an individual, which is one thing we definitely have in common.

3) Being All About That Bass (aka fake size acceptance). Megan Trainor's All About That Bass, while being a fun catchy pop anthem highlights (at least) two fauxmenist problems. Warning: only read this article if you want that song ruined for you forever. First, the song fires shots in the imaginary war between "skinny" and "curvy" women. Let's look at the line, "I'm bringing booty back, go ahead and tell those skinny bitches that." As a woman who definitely falls closer to the curvy side of this spectrum, I think body acceptance, especially in popular culture is a great thing, but body acceptance means acceptance of ALL bodies. It is an absolute farce to imply that for me to be attractive or acceptable someone who looks different has to not be. The internal struggle between skinny and curvy women is entirely constructed by society to oppress women and sell things. Body autonomy is a tenets of any modern feminism and means, among other things, that my body is no one's business but my own.

This brings me to point number two. "My mama she told me don't worry about your size. She said 'boys like a little more booty to hold at night.'" My body is okay because I say so, not because "despite" its shape and size it is sexually attractive to men.

4) Intersectional Feminist "Experiments" (aka fat suit feminism). Recently a skinny woman posted pictures of herself on Tinder and then went on the real life dates wearing a fat suit. Unsurprisingly, people were outraged and not just the French showers of men whom she met up with. First of all, no one needs a social "experiment" to prove that society is cruel to fat women. We have that experiment. It's called society. This was basically an experiment in cruelty porn. Second, pulling the ol' pictoral bait and switch subtly pokes at the notion that women who don't conform to a particular standard are somehow inauthentic or not real women.

Finally, and here is the rub, SHE GETS TO TAKE IT OFF. I had the same problem reading Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed where the author goes "undercover" as a minimum wage worker in America. Integral to the experience of being fat, or black, or poor, or trans* is that the end of the day, you're still that way.You probably always have been/will always be that way. For this reason no experiment can ever even come close to replicating these kinds of lived experiences because privilege is not a fat suit you can take on and off. Laura Beck puts it perfectly in her article for Cosmopolitan.
"No matter how many times Tyra Banks puts on a fat suit and walks through public to prove ... I'm not sure what she's trying to prove ... she'll never understand the issues of being a Real Life Fat Woman. When you present yourself as a caricature of a fat woman, you don't bring yourself — or any non-fat people — any closer to understanding another woman's life, and you perpetuate plenty of gross myths and half truths about what it's like to be fat. The main one being, that fat people lie about their bodies to get dates."
5)Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminism (aka being an asshole). I've unintentionally listed these in order of the level of rage they produce in me, so please give me a moment to compose myself. Of all the fauxmenisms mentioned here, TERFism is the most difficult to write about because it is so particularly hate soaked and dangerous. Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists basically deny the existence of (and often persecute) trans* people because TERFs believe that gender is socially constructed and sex is the only real difference between women and men. The idea is that you can't be a woman if you were born with a penis, because not being born with a penis is what makes you a woman.

First, this brand of fauxmenism is particularly deplorable because it leads to harassment of trans* people. We can argue all day about the extent to which gender is nature or nurture or performance or something in between but that's really beside the point. This goes back to body autonomy. I alone own myself body and soul and I choose how I am defined, not you. Making yourself the arbiter of who is and isn't a "real" woman is a slippery and counterproductive slope. Finally, feminism should not produce discrimination on the basis of traditional expectations of sex and gender. In fact, that's the opposite of what feminism is supposed to do.

If these fauxmenisms have one thing in common, it's that they qualify the conditions under which women deserve respect. Newsflash: All women deserve respect and opportunity, because all people deserve respect and opportunity, and women and girls are half of people. For me, that's what feminism comes down to and if you've got that down then chances are you're doing it mostly right.

Until next time.

Feminist Campaign Love and Mine,

Thursday, October 2, 2014

THIS is How You Do a "Girly" Themed Political Ad to Appeal to Young Women

So yesterday I freaked out about patronizing Republican ads for talking to me like I was literally a dumber less independent version of Polly Pocket. But hey, I like funny things! I like parodys! This one really nails it. The difference between Megan MacKay's parody and this and this is that MacKay talks about real issues and uses her make up tutorial to satirize the myth that young single female voters are superficial.

Also I learned from watching this that #CosmoVotes is a thing, so look forward to more on that soon.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Me Thinks The Party Doth Protest Too Much

I get what this ad is trying to do, but I'm not sure that calling attention to the fact that your party is so lacking in diversity and compassion that your humanity is in question is the best way to go. How about addressing the inhumane aspects of your party platforms so that this isn't an issue in the future?

Say No To Patronizing Republicans

This "Say Yes To The Dress" style ad produced by the College Republican National Committee has my blood boiling again. I get that Republicans are trying to reach young female voters and in fact I think the Republican party would be better if more of its membership were young and female BUT ads like this only reinforce the reasons the Republican Party doesn't appeal to young women in the first place.

Don't get me wrong, I love Say Yes to the Dress, but I don't want your pink legos of political advertising. Stop dumbing things down for me; stop assuming I can only understand politics through the lens of marriage and babies, and talk to me like the multidimensional, educated consumer of information that I am. If you can't do that then maybe the issue is with your policies, not my ability to understand them.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Supreme Court Reverses Injunction to Block Early Voting Cutbacks in Ohio

I'm too displeased to come up with anything creative to say and you've heard it all from me before. Here it is from Talking Points Memo:

The Supreme Court said early voting cutbacks in Ohio can go into effect on Monday, reversing an order by a federal judge to block the state's restrictive voting law.

The Court's decision came within one day of when Ohioans would have been able to head to the polls to cast their ballots in the 2014 midterm elections.

The Supreme Court's decision to reverse the injunction — which was upheld by an appeals court last week — was divided 5-4 along ideological lines. The request was submitted to Justice Elena Kagan, who turned the matter to the full court.

The next step is for the lower courts to consider whether the Ohio law is valid on the merits.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Senator Survivor

"Discovery Channel on Thursday announced that “Rival Survival,” featuring Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) as dueling colleagues turned desert-island teammates, is set to air Oct. 29.

Filmed over a week on Erdu in the Marshall Islands, the show will follow the senators as they try to work together (see America, it can be done!) 'as they attempt to spear fish, build shelter and find enough water to survive for one week.'"

Devotees will remember that I am not a huge fan of the reality show contestant/politician. However, I would tune into this mostly because it's only one episode and it's a trip at least one of them would have taken anyway; this is a trip Sen. Flake has taken twice before. No doubt this is a publicity stunt, but the Teddy Roosevelt enthusiast in me loves the idea of two disagreeing Senators putting partisan politics aside and bro-ing out in nature.

The show will air on October 29th.

This Ad Though (Second Installment)

As election season wears on, the ads are getting weirder.

Bizarre, Sexist Ad Makes My Brain Explode

Ignoring for a second the misleading implications it contains about Obama and his presidency, and there are more than a few, this ad still infuriates me. Although Americans for Prosperity funder John Jordan claims the "the purpose of this is to treat women voters more like adults" the effect is quite the opposite. What this ad implies to me is that women are incapable of understanding anything outside of their burning desire to be loved and protected by men. "It's understandable that women got tricked by Barack Obama because he's a man and women are simple and gullible."

I didn't actually know I could want to vote for Democrats more than I already did, but now I do just to spite the sexist assholes who produced this ad.

Art Imitating Life Imitating Congressmen

Most of the time I find the Onion obnoxious, but there are times when it is really spot on. Why are some men so gross?

Happy National Voter Registration Day From George Takei

Monday, September 22, 2014

What I Wish I Had Known At 30 With Ed Espinoza

Ed Espinoza, 41, Executive Director of Progress Texas

I have worked with Ed two times and yet somehow we don't have a picture together! Ed has always been super generous about sharing advice with me and it is my honor to share some of that with you! Some gems in here. Take it away, Ed!

1) Tell us a little about your career path.
I fell in to politics by accident when I was 19 by volunteering for a campaigns that had been tabling at my school, Santa Monica College. I loved it, changed my major from marine biology to political science and transferred to UCLA. I eventually got a job working for the Clinton/Gore re-elect, which opened the door to staying employed with the California Democratic Party in one way or another for six years. I've since worked on 51 campaigns in about 15 states. I was the western desk at the DNC from 2009-2011, I was a political analyst for CNN from 2011-2012 and now run an organization called Progress Texas based in Austin.

I left the business a few times to work for a couple of big PR firms to sharpen my media skills (you know, to have a respectable private sector career), but I always came back to politics. It took me about 10 years of working on campaigns to not be shy about the subject with my non-political friends and accept the fact that I am a political professional. It was great, it was like coming out of the closet for politics.

2) What are you most proud of?
I've been fortunate to be a part of many milestones, having a small part in the election of the first black president as a California superdelegate and as a campaign worker, and working on the passage of healthcare reform while working at the DNC. And of course being a part of the Stand With Texas Women movement supporting the Wendy Davis filibuster at the Texas Capitol during the summer of 2013. Important events, and I feel fortunate to have been a part of all three while working with very impressive people.

3) What is the best advice you've received?
Two pieces of advice have stuck with me for years. They are conflicting, but they make sense in their own ways:

Grandpa Mike: "Do what you love, otherwise you'll spend 40 years of your life just workin'."

My best friend from back home: "Do what you're good at, and know that it might not be the thing you love to do."

I guess the solution is to either fall in love with what you're good at or get really good at what you love. I really like communications and have built a fine career in it, but I'm very good manager. I don't really enjoy managing, though I like that I know I'm good at it. Lucky for me I guess that I'm currently directing a communications shop.

4) What is the worst advice you've received?
Hard to say specifically, but you'll get a lot of good and bad advice in your life - the key is in knowing the difference between the two.

5) What lesson are you still trying to learn?
How to not get too worked up over things, not letting the constant flow of electronic media keep me from paying attention to the people I'm spending time with, and most of all that whole work/life balance thing.

Hobbies are important, they keep us from becoming one dimensional and we actually use our brains better when we are able to turn them away from work for a while. It also helps you see that you are more than the sum of your day job. I try to get out on the water, see more live music, and am working on being an awesome iPhone photographer.

6) What was the best thing about being in your 20's?
Being able to make mistakes, and in general just not knowing any better. You can accomplish so much when you don't have any preconceived notions holding you back.

I started doing political analysis on national TV in my 20's because I didn't know that such commentary was supposedly reserved for experts. I went on the air and had good segments but also some bad ones, one interview was so bad they cut away from me to cover a gas leak in Missouri.

But that's the thing, you're gonna fuck something up and it's not going to be the end of the world. You learn from it and you get better.

7) What is one thing I should absolutely do before I turn 30?
I feel like an easy answer here would be to say "skydive" or "go to Tahiti!" My best suggestion on what to do before turning 30 is to develop a good sense of who are (and who you aren't). Know what you're good at, what you enjoy doing, know who you want to be. Maybe you want to be an expert on an issue, or someone who is a great fundraiser, or the next David Plouffe. Once you can visualize who you want to be, you'll figure out what to do and where you should be working.

And if you do go to Tahiti...think about going solo. You learn a lot about yourself when you're on your own (plus you get to set and change your itinerary your own way).

8) What's the best thing about being 41?
After 20+ years of doing this I know who I am and what I'm good at doing.

And if someone thinks differently, I don't let it hold me back. In general, things got a whole lot easier when I stopped giving a shit about things like that.

9) What are you looking forward to?
Packing up my carry-on and getting on a plane. Watching UCLA football. Going to see a band that I love.

But above all the one thing I always look forward to is catching up with old campaign friends. You meet a lot of smart/funny/interesting people in politics.

Coming from campaigns is like coming from a bad neighborhood - it makes you tough. And you develop a similar bond with the people you came up with, if only because you all managed to survive it.

10) What else?
Emulate people you admire. More than just what they know - learn how they think. Study the intangibles; how they make decisions, build bridges, diffuse conflict.

Return calls.

And if a bartender ever asks "what's in that?" you don't wan't him making it. Order a bottle of beer.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Organizer Store- My Current Obsessions

You guys, I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this, but when I was an organizer, we had to canvass in the snow uphill both ways. Alright not really, and thank God I came into the game just about the time VAN started printing dot maps, but there is a lot of really cool stuff out there (ahem, Iphones, prolific use of GPS, minivan) that I wish had been around when I was an organizer. Then there are the things I have and enjoy now that I can still enjoy now but really wish I had had access to as an organizer. Sorry campaign bros, because these are the things I’m currently into and I am who I am, the first three are just for us ladies (or you know people who wear dresses and makeup, you do you.)

Gwynnie Bee
Those of you who know me know that when it comes to fashion I have what might described as champagne taste and field organizer budget. I also really, really hate doing laundry, which is why it’s incredible that it took me so long to subscribe to Gwynnie Bee. What is Gwynnie Bee you ask? It’s a clothing subscription service for women sizes 10-32. You sign up for a subscription plan (which start at $35/month) and put as many items from their inventory as you like in your virtual closet. Then they send you clothes! You wear and keep a garment for as long as you like and when you’re finished you just send it back and they send you a new one!

As much as this sounds like one, this is not an ad for Gwynnie Bee and they have not asked me to promote their service in any way. I just think it’s a really good idea, especially if you’re on a campaign. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to be able to stress shop online all the time (because who has time to go to the store) and have an endlessly rotating wardrobe without ever doing laundry (because who has time to do anything?). Since signing up for Gwynnie Bee 2 months ago I must have saved at least $100 on dry cleaning. Anyway, I use it and I think its great. If I had had Gwynnie Bee back in my organizing days it would have spared me a lot of days of wearing yoga pants in the office. If you think this might be something you’d be into they offer a free month trial AND if you use this link you and I both get a free upgrade (so please use my link) happy shopping!

Maybelline 24 Hour Super Stay Lip Color
I warned you this was gonna get girly! I’m by no means implying that makeup is something you need to be spending your time/money/energy on out in the field, BUT if it is something you choose to wear all or some of the time this is a really good one. This sucka stays on ALL DAY LONG. It goes on like a lip gloss packs a big color punch and stays on (and comfortable) through multiple diet cokes or trips to Starbucks. It comes with a clear gloss chapstick thing so your lips never feel dry the way they can with other long lasting lipsticks. Best of all, it’s a drugstore brand so it’s readily available and cheap. One tube will cost you around $6 and it’s a perfect way to add a little glamour to your day with a less than 1 minute investment of time.

Diorskin Airflash Foundation
Sadly, Diorskin is on the opposite end of the price spectrum when it comes to cosemtics, but in my opinion it is worth the price. You simply mist it on your face in sort of a Z motion and in 20 seconds you have pretty much flawless coverage. (Warning check under your eyes or anywhere you might scrunch up your face during application because you might require a quick smoothing). Yes, it’s $60 a bottle (I have tried the Sephora knock-off and it is nowhere near as good quality) BUT if you are someone who a) wears foundation anyway b) feels self-conscious about redness or dark circles that are basically inevitable in the life of an organizer or c) is out canvassing a lot and therefore should be protecting your skin anyway, it is well worth the investment. That bottle lasts a long time and is an amazingly quick/convenient way to brighten your face without spending precious sleep, shower or organizing time “doing your makeup.”
Unlike the aforementioned items on this list, is gender expression neutral and absolutely free. You simply link your debit and credit cards to a secure account and Mint tracks where you spend your money. It allows you to set budgets (so you don’t go over your bar or coffee allotment for the month), flag items for reimbursement so you always know what you should be getting paid back, and dings you when you’re about to go over your spending. This is an extremely helpful tool for those of us who never seem to be able to save the money we intend to, and instead let it get eaten away by a Pumpkin Spice Latte here and a drunken plate of nachos there. It’s not that I condemn thccese occasional treats (quite the contrary! You need to indulge yourself in the little moments you can) but Mint does make you more aware of where your money goes so that when the urge strikes you can make an informed cost benefit analysis. (By the way for money saving on the campaign trail tips, check out this post from my friend Ed Espinoza here.)

Okay if you’re not using Spotify who even are you? Sometimes headphones are the only escape you have from your coworkers and when my headphones are in, my Spotify is on. Think of Spotify as if Itunes and Pandora had a baby, and that baby was free. Spotify hosts a huge library of songs (I‘d say 95% of anything I ever search for) that you can listen to, save to playlists, or create radio stations from. Spotify is also home to your official CampaignSick collaborative GOTV, Field, Finance and Data playlists. This means that if you have a Spotify account you can subscribe to these lists and had share songs for other campaign nerds across the country to enjoy! For a little more a month you can enjoy these same features on your phone, including the ability to download songs, which I find well worth my while as a frequent airplane/Amtrak passenger and pedestrian commuter, but not necessarily an investment I would have made when I basically lived life in a 20 mile radius of my office. So your call on that one.

Until next time! What are your organizing must haves? Don’t forget to use my Gwynnie Bee link if you’re interested and as always…

Campaign Love and Mine,


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Ask An Election Nerd: Coordination Frustration

I am an FO on a coordinated campaign, and it is my first show. I am finding that local campaigns seem to hate us! Also, each of the candidates seems to have their own low-key field team outside the coordinated, and they keep reaching out and confusing my volunteers! Is this common? I have one vol who probably won't come out again because he thinks the coordinated is just not a thing. I don't know what to tell him!

Ah the eternal struggle of the coordinated! This is a great question and one I have addressed more or less in the past, but it comes up every year and it’s something I wish I (and almost everyone I’ve ever worked with) had better understood.

When it comes to coordinating (as in most campaign inter-personnel matters) empathy is the name of the game. I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess both from the tone of your question and the necessity of your situation that you believe your campaign is the most important, if not in the country then certainly in your office. Good! As well you should! Organizing is a job where sometimes in order to get through the day it helps to believe with certainty that your work has dire consequences for the state and the nation. Well guess what? So does everybody else there.

Let’s talk a little bit about how a coordinated campaign works. Various candidate campaigns “buy in” to the coordinated through the state party to be part of the coordinated effort. The amount they pay is usually dictated by their budget, which generally varies by the size of the race. Thus a gubernatorial candidate who is running statewide is sure to contribute a greater amount toward the coordinated budget than a state senate candidate who is running only her in own district.

Naturally, campaigns that contribute more to the coordinated effort have a greater influence over its direction and content. This means that while a coordinated campaign might ID for all of its candidates, canvassing and phone scripts only include persuasion for the one or two candidates “at the top of the ticket.” Likewise, while canvassers and callers might be trained to ID for all candidates, the reality is that the number of IDs collected for each candidate dwindles as you move down the script by which time voters get annoyed and callers get lazy. This, by the way, is why coordinated campaigns are at their best during GOTV when you’re just turning out rather than ID’ing and persuading voters.

As you can imagine, state legislative campaigns want an opportunity to persuade and voters as well. In addition, while targeting for most Democratic campaigns is similar, it is far from identical. Race, religion, gender, record and opponent might all play into a local campaign wanting to target a slightly different group of voters from the coordinated, which is driven by the state party and top of the ticket candidates. Let’s say you live in a conservative part of a swing state and the top ticket candidate has a moderate Republican opponent for an open seat. In a statewide race, your vote goal might only call for you to win 35% of your county. However in a race where your county encompasses 80% of the district, 35% isn’t gonna cut it. Now let’s say a conservative Democrat is running for State Senate in that area and her opponent made insensitive comments about sexual violence, and was caught using cocaine and having a sexual relationship with one of his interns. She might try appealing to moderate Republicans, or Republican women, people who you probably don’t want to remind that there’s an election at all.

My point is yes, there is truth to the axiom that a rising tide floats all ships, but not in all cases. Everyone here has a job to do and no one wants to give up control, for reasons that vary from valid to ego-driven. Remember, they’re no more “your” volunteers than theirs.

So, what to do? I wrote a post about coordinating campaigns at a slightly higher level than you’re talking about last year, but I think a lot of the same advice still applies.

First off, I highly recommend coming up with a calling/canvassing schedule. If your field director hasn’t already mandated this make up a calendar of where your volunteers will be knocking/calling when and work it out so this doesn’t coincide with other campaigns. Not only will you avoid turf wars, but you’ll get a better response rate and be more efficient as you benefit from each other’s data collection.

When it comes to volunteers, you’re dealing with a limited pool of resources so occasional conflict is inevitable. With a volunteer in the situation you described I would propose one of the following solutions. Either 1) If this is a regular volunteer set up a weekly schedule with her and the other campaign where she volunteers for you on Monday and them on Weds (or whatever.) 2.) Agree with this other campaign’s organizer/field director to have this specific volunteer call your list when she comes in but make sure she uses a script that to includes (or even begins with) their candidate’s persuasion message. This type of stuff happened on the ground from time to time when I was an FO/Regional . As long as it’s only one or two volunteers (and of course you can’t do this with all of them) for the sake of peace in your office, what your field director doesn’t know won’t hurt her. (Sorry Coordinated Director/Statewide Field Director friends…Sorry! Sorry! I love you!)

Another important rule of thumb for keeping a peaceful coordinated office is when you say you’re going to do something, do it.
If you promise not to call a certain volunteer list on Wednesdays and you are then compelled by your field director to call that list, be upfront about it and work out a solution with your office mate. She will trust and like you a lot more if you keep her in the loop rather than go behind her back and create more tension.

Finally, we’re back to empathy. Acknowledge that you are all in a stressful situation with finite resources and nerves are gonna get frayed, but at the end of the day you have way more in common with each other than you do with most people. The more you can foster a “we’re in this together” mentality in your office the better off you’ll be.

I hope that helps! Thank you for all the amazing work you’re doing out there and thanks for reading.

Campaign Love and Mine,


Friday, September 5, 2014

Kansas Secretary of State Refuses to Remove Democrat From Ballot

Remember yesterday when I wrote that Democratic candidate Chad Taylor's withdrawal from the Kansas Senate race could lead to a possible upset in Pat Roberts' bid for re-election? Apparently Republicans were thinking the same thing.

Not only the did the national party dispatch top Republican strategist Chris LaCivita to take control of the campaign but Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach is trying to block Taylor from removing his name from the ballot. Taylor says he did everything he was supposed to do to legally withdraw his name, Kobach says he didn't. Sounds to me like yet another example of Republicans trying to change the rules to the game when they stop winning.

Six Senate Forecasts Combined, Plus Meet My Friend Pete!

If you're like me, when you hear the phrase "Senate forecast" your first reaction is "cloudy with a chance of boring." It's not that I don't care what's going on in elections across our country (hi, have we met?) or that I don't appreciate a good data nerd out. It's just that there's so much information out there, so many numbers flying around, that it's hard to parse it all out- especially when it's your job to figure out how we're going to win rather than what the actual likelihood of doing so is.

Luckily there are some people not like me, including my good friend Pete Solecki (to be clear Pete also cares about how we're going to win but that's another blog post.) Pete, in addition to being my bro back from the whoa back, is a data and digital strategist of the Democratic persuasion. He has helpfully compared, contrasted and finally combined six leading forecasts for the 2014 Senate elections. (That's what you're looking at above.) He maps it all out for you on his new website here. He's very smart that Pete Solecki. Look forward to more links to Pete's page from CampaignSick or why not follow him all on your own?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Planned Parenthood Shuts Down Ridiculous GOP Pro-Women/Labor Claim

Are you f-ing kidding me? Republicans claiming labor day is like them taking credit for a gay marriage. And for WOMEN no less? Prominent Republicans won't even acknowledge that a wage gap exists. It would be like Britain tweeting "You're welcome, also we have great food" on Independence Day. Picture above and supporting HuffPo article here. (About Republicans' record on pay, not the British thing.)

Proving once again that saying something doesn't make it true.

Two Percent of Americans Report Having Run For Office

Office seekers are overwhelmingly male (75%) and white (82%). Imagine my surprise. You can read the Pew Report here.

Kansas Could Have An Independent Senator. So That's Exciting.

If you're a Republican Senator, you'd think your Democratic opponent dropping out before the general election would be a good thing. Not so for Incumbent Republican Senator Pat Roberts who just survived a tea party primary challenge. Democrat Chad Taylor's surprising announcement that he was withdrawing from the Kansas' US Senate race paves the way for a potential galvanization of anti-Roberts sentiment behind Independent Greg Orman.

Fox News (I know.):
"A recent poll from Democrat-leaning Public Policy Polling showed Orman had a 43 percent to 33 percent lead over Roberts if the race was just between the two of them.

On the other hand, if all three candidates were in the race, 32 percent of voters picked Roberts, 25 percent picked Taylor and 23 percent picked Orman, according to a Public Policy Polling poll.

Orman had positioned himself as Roberts' most formidable opponent, and his fundraising was more robust than Taylor's...

Orman, the co-founder of a business capital and management services firm, ran for Roberts' seat in 2007 as a Democrat but dropped out early in 2008. He said he grew unhappy with both parties.

On Wednesday, Orman received the endorsement of Traditional Republicans for Common Sense, a group of former moderate GOP state legislators unhappy with the party's conservative leanings."

Huh. This just became a race to watch.

NAACP v. Husted

Despite what the picture on his website might have you believe, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted REEEEAAALLLLY doesn't want more people voting. Like really, really. You may remember some of his greatest hits like getting sued by OFA and getting hauled in front of a judge for deliberately disobeying the court's order to restore early voting. The ACLU brief sums it up nicely.
"In Ohio, targeting early voting has become a pattern. In 2011, the Ohio General Assembly passed a law eliminating both Golden Week and the last three days of early voting before Election Day. Voters responded by organizing a ballot referendum to strike down the law, prompting legislators to repeal it on their own.

In 2012, Husted continued the pattern by issuing a directive that cut the same three days of early voting for all non-military voters. The Obama campaign responded with a federal lawsuit and the court forced Husted to restore the early voting days, allowing an additional 67,000 voters to cast an in-person ballot before the election."
May of this year rolled around and Husted and his bros in the legislature were like, "You know what we should do? Cut early voting. That's gone awesomely and been totally legal before." Enter NAACP v. Husted.
"The lawsuit names Husted and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine as defendants. It seeks to strike down Ohio Senate Bill 238, a 2014 law that eliminated the first week of early voting in Ohio. This period, often referred to as "Golden Week," enables voters to register and cast a ballot on the same day. The suit is also challenging a 2014 Husted directive that further slashed the early voting period by eliminating all Sundays, the Monday before Election Day and all evening voting hours."
Thankfully, and unsurprisingly, a Federal court granted injunctive relief this morning ruling that the law violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act(the part prohibiting laws that have a racially discriminatory effect) which means Golden Week (weird name) will be restored for the midterms. Can Ohio please stop now?

Florida Congressman Holds Sexist Weirdo Fundraiser

Let's tackle the first thing that every campaign manager notices about this invite: the text is so tiny! Who is gonna read all that?

Now that that's out of the way let's examine the content of the text. "Good men sitting around discussing & solving political & social problems over fine food & drink date back to the 12th Century with King Arthur’s Round Table" WHAT?

"Tell the Misses not to wait up because the after dinner whiskey and cigars will be smooth & the issues to discuss are many." And the sentence structure will be awkward.

"Whatever you do, don't tell her the night's menu includes Irish Cheddar, Whiskey Cheddar [Yeah! Because bitches hate cheeses!] salt & pepper potato cakes...[Democrats just call them latkes.]... and Green Irish Whiskey Sour Jell-o [You know, how King Arthur used to do Jell-o shots.]"

Look, I love a good theme party, but the implication here is a nostalgia for when women didn't participate in public life, and that doesn't work for me.

Campaign Manager Luke Strickland says, “It is laughable that an issue is being made over an invitation to a private event hosted on Steve’s behalf six months ago. We have also participated in events with women, young professionals, doctors, sportsmen." First of all Luke, nothing in politics is private. Second of all, you don't get a free pass for having done in the past what you are supposed to do always; that is represent ALL the people in your district.

Source: Buzzfeed

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Small Town Sues ALL of Its Voters

What do you do when you live in a small town and the election numbers don't add up? Haul everyone in for questioning. I have to say despite the ridiculousness of this headline, there's something kind of quaint and endearing about this story. I love the idea of democracy so local that you can sit all the voters in an election down together to sort out any irregularities. The town in question is Montezuma, Colorado (a place I have actually been) and the details are so priceless that I just quoted a large chunk of the Denver Post article below.

The matter of a town suing its voters began with a highly controversial election for mayor and town board. It was held April Fools' Day.

In a town of 65 residents where a draw for a short straw used to decide who had to serve as mayor, an unprecedented dozen candidates ran for office. The hot-button issue that led to this kind of participation involved second-home owners.

New Montezuma Mayor Lesley Davis, who was elected by a three-vote margin, claimed that 13 of the voters and at least two of the candidates were not really residents of the town.

'This is our only option to have an objective judge take a look at the election controversy and give us his advice on how to move forward,' Davis said.

Locals say it is easy to tell who doesn't really live there by the piles of unplowed snow in driveways. Montezuma sits at 10,200 feet, 5 miles up a dirt road from the Keystone ski resort.

The lawsuit states that an investigation by the Summit County district attorney's office found that at least five voters were not qualified to vote because they weren't residents.

The lawsuit also cites a number of mistakes in the ballots, including the fact that there were no removable stubs to protect the anonymity of the voters. To try to rectify that, town Clerk Helen Moorman sewed stubs to the ballots but didn't realize the ballots still contained numbers that gave away voters' identities.

The upshot to all the mistakes is that no one in Montezuma knows if the current elected officials were elected properly. No challenge was filed within the 10-day window following the election. Thus, the lawsuit filed by Denver attorney Kendra Carberry. She did not return calls seeking comment.

"Now I'm paying someone to sue me," Montezuma voter Chris Baker said. "It's fairly disturbing that the town is using our tax money to sue us."

How can you not love this story?

Federal Court Hearing Arguments in Texas Voter ID Case

Arguments over the legality of Texas' notorious ID law are being heard by a Federal judge in Corpus Christi.

What's super interesting about this case is that the law was originally rejected during preclearance but with preclearance effectively off the table the Justice Department will argue its case by proving that the law intentionally disenfranchises minority voters. (This, by the way, is emblematic of the shift in burden of proof in an post- Shelby County v. Holder world.) It is worth noting that under still intact Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, a law is prohibited if it has the effect of discriminating against voters on the the basis of race. However, the Justice Department seeks to meet a stricter standard and prove that the law was enacted with the intent to discriminate. As you may remember, it was the formula used to determine which jurisdictions were covered and not preclearance itself that was stuck down in Shelby County v. Holder. If the DOJ can prove intent to discriminate then the federal judge can place Texas back under preclearance.

My favorite quote from a New York Times article on the case, "Texas alleg[es] that the Justice Department has gone after “only Southern, Republican-led states” and suggesting that the agency ignores the concerns of white Republican voters and favors minority Democratic voters. The allegations have outraged lawyers for the Justice Department and several minority groups, voters and Democratic lawmakers who are part of the agency’s lawsuit against Texas." Man white Republicans just can't catch a break in the disenfranchisement game.

This Ad Though

I can't tell if this ad is great or terrible.

Really Mitch, not 9/11?

Black Guy Gets Arrested For Distributing Voting Rights Literature, Everything is Terrible

From Think Progress: The stars of North Carolina’s Moral Mondays movement took the stage on Labor Day at Charlotte’s Marshall Park to condemn the state’s record on voter suppression and racial profiling, and urge the community to organize and turn out at the polls this November. Just a few hundred feet away, police cuffed and arrested local LGBT activist and former State Senate candidate Ty Turner as he was putting voting rights information on parked cars. The whole story can be found here.

Video above is of the arrest and pretty hard to watch. There's an initial visceral reaction of "why doesn't this guy calm down?" and then you realize what exactly is happening and it is hard to remain calm yourself. What year do we live in?

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Joe Biden or The Onion

Either I am particularly susceptible to amusement today or the Internet is just killing it lately! This WaPo quiz asking users to identify whether the headline is about actual Joe Biden or Onion Joe Biden is difficult. Like not-giggling-when-someone-says-erect difficult. I only got 11/15.

One of the answers also includes (spoiler alert), "Ben Smith, the editor in chief of BuzzFeed, reports his son drenched New York Times columnist David Brooks because 'Biden told me to!'" Eat it, Ben Smith.

Take the quiz here.


Remember when I said, I love that people send me funny voting stuff? My friend Lee sent me the above picture from his Washington State mail in ballot last night. (Let this be a warning, Snapchats are capture-able!)

You can read about GoodSpaceGuy's policies here (click under Congressional District 7) but I think Lee summed it up when he told me, "Basically, I'm against his 'abolish the minimum wage and let the free market decide' platform but I'm pro his 'let's colonize space' platform."

GoodSpaceGuy, whose email is, is apparently a perennial candidate. Though this time he's running for Congress, I found this little tidbit on The Stranger (love them) from when he was running for King County Executive.
"Our meeting is over, and we didn't get around to many space-related questions, a fact that Goodspaceguy lamented. "There aren’t that many people interested in space," he told us. He also referred to tall buildings exclusively as "skyhomes." But we did ask if he had changed his name (he used to go by "Goodspaceguy Nelson"), and he explained that, in fact, his full name is still Michael George Goodspaceguy Nelson. Which sounds a lot like Wham! star George Michael, we said. 'I like stars,' he replied, 'both music stars and the stars in the sky.'"

Missouri GOP Fears The Choas

One of my favorite things about running this blog is that people send me things like this. Let this be a cautionary tale. Always proofread your campaign communications, guys. Always.