Archive for November, 2014

Howard Dean and the DNC

Great interview in Salon with Howard Dean and how he remade the Democratic Party in 2008.

Tell me about the origins of the 50-state strategy. What was the goal?

My experience from having campaigned and from being governor is that there are Democrats everywhere, and if you want to nurture the party you have to nurture all of them. If you focus only on the states that are mostly Democratic, it’s demoralizing to the other states. So you never get any growth. So the origin of the 50-state strategy was to be prepared to go anywhere. The idea was, if you ever wanted a Mark Begich, you had to invest in Alaska before a Mark Begich came on the horizon so you could be ready. Mark Begich is the example that I use. Nobody expected Ted Stevens to be indicted, but when he was, we were ready. So the origin was to invest in the party throughout the country. There was also another aspect to it. My strategy to win the presidency was to find a way to win without Ohio and Florida. Obama came along and ran an incredible campaign, which was great and very metric-oriented to get votes out. But I was prepared to preside over a Democratic campaign in 2008 where we didn’t win Florida or Ohio, but we win in the West, we’d win in Colorado, possibly Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada. That would put us over the top, and would have as well for Kerry in 2004. So, that was another part of it.

Yeah, 2008 and 2004, but not 2010 or 2014. For as smart as Dean’s strategy is, the Democratic Party is forced to operate on two different arenas. The one used in Presidential years don’t work in the midterms. I’ve been working on a much longer piece to fully flesh this concept out which I hope to publish sometime.

NBA Commissioner supports sports betting

Adam Silver, Commissioner of the NBA, is the first sports executive to stop denying the reality of sports betting: that it currently operates in a gray zone, free of regulation, consumer protections, and financial transparency.

For more than two decades, the National Basketball Association has opposed the expansion of legal sports betting, as have the other major professional sports leagues in the United States. In 1992, the leagues supported the passage by Congress of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or Paspa, which generally prohibits states from authorizing sports betting.

But despite legal restrictions, sports betting is widespread. It is a thriving underground business that operates free from regulation or oversight. Because there are few legal options available, those who wish to bet resort to illicit bookmaking operations and shady offshore websites. There is no solid data on the volume of illegal sports betting activity in the United States, but some estimate that nearly $400 billion is illegally wagered on sports each year.

While gambling exposes citizens to a lot of challenges, these problems already exist in a sort of black market that only makes such problems more difficult to resolve. Good for Commissioner Silver for speaking the truth.

Elizabeth Warren rumored to move into new leadership role

Huge news for the soon to be Senate minority. Unlike the GOP, who’s messaging seems to be top notch (and often times better than the underlying policy), Warren is the rare Democrat that knows how to effectively frame messages. Should hopefully provide some much needed clarity and level the discourse of the parties.

Slice of Life #8: Super Majority SuperPAC

Idea: SuperPACs more or less seem to focus narrowly on pushing an agenda focused upon a particular interest or theme of policy goals. How about one that’s purpose is pushing for passage of legislation and executive action that polls show a supermajority (say at least 75%) of citizens support and built upon policy ideas supported by objective data and common sense.

For instance:

Only 35% of Nightly News Election Coverage Covered Real Election News

Speaking of an ignorant electorate,

A study conducted by Media Matters revealed that in the network news coverage of the midterm elections from September 1 – November 3, only 35 percent of segments mentioned key policy issues. Media Matters looked for discussions of issues including the economy, federal deficit, health care, climate change, foreign policy, immigration, same sex marriage, reproductive health, gun safety, campaign finance, voting rights, and equal pay for women…

Bloomberg finds American’s not quite as ignorant as Italians

It’s quiz time, people. Let’s start with an easy one: What percentage of working-age Americans are unemployed and looking for work?

If you guessed about 6 percent, give yourself a pat on the back. You have a pretty good understanding of the unemployment rate, one of the basic measures of economic well-being. If, on the other hand, you guessed 32 percent — which would rank America among the most desperate nations on Earth — then you guessed just like the average American!

That’s one of the findings of a survey released this week by U.K. pollster Ipsos Mori, which interviewed 11,527 people. In the 14-country Index of Ignorance (Ipsos Mori’s name, but we approve), Americans are second only to Italians in how little we understand some of the stats that track the most basic contours of our society.

How can democracy work when at least a third of the electorate is using completely different “facts” than what is reality? Whose fault is this?