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Westlake Legal Group > 2020 election

RNC still breaking fundraising records — but are they organized for victory?

Westlake Legal Group trump-ronna RNC still breaking fundraising records — but are they organized for victory? TVLI The Blog RNC Republican Leadership Initiative Fundraising donald trump dnc 2020 Senate 2020 election

If money wins elections, Democrats might face a wipeout in 2020. The RNC broke fundraising records for the third month in a row, Bloomberg and others reported overnight, more than doubling the Democrats’ best showing this year. They are also adding cash to their coffers, an advantage that might — might — be more indicative of 2020 success:

The Republican National Committee raised $23.5 million in August and ended the month with $53.8 million cash on hand as it continues to stockpile money for the 2020 election.

It was the third consecutive month that the RNC raised more than $20 million, and the biggest August total in a non-election year for the party. The Democratic National Committee has yet to crack $10 million in receipts in 2019. Both parties will report their numbers officially to the Federal Election Commission on Friday. Fox News first reported the numbers Tuesday.

The fundraising differentials are astounding, but keep in mind some context, too. First, GOP donors aren’t distracted by multiple candidates in a competitive primary contest. Democrats’ funds are getting sprayed across a couple dozen presidential campaigns at the moment. The early merger between Team Trump and the RNC helps, too. However, part of the context is that Tom Perez and his team have done a terrible job of fundraising, which might also be a result of anger over the DNC’s efforts to tank the 2016 primaries for Hillary Clinton.

Democrats might be increasing the gap in other ways, too. Ronna Romney McDaniel thanked Democrats for helping boost donations over the summer:

“Thanks to boycotts from Hollywood liberals and the Castro brothers doxxing private citizens who support President Trump, the RNC’s fundraising hit record levels in August,” McDaniel said.

That was a reference to last month’s decision by Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, to name and shame Trump donors publicly in San Antonio — a move backed by his brother, presidential candidate Julián Castro. It later emerged that some of the individuals also had donated to the White House hopeful.

McDaniel added: “The more Democrats demonize President Trump and his supporters, the more boots we can put on the ground to re-elect him. Between the President’s accomplishments and our grassroots infrastructure, Republicans are going to be unstoppable in 2020!”

What about the ground game? Bloomberg also makes reference to that in its report:

In addition to stockpiling cash, the RNC is developing its ground game and trying to expand the 2020 election map to New Mexico and other states, according to a party official not authorized to speak on its behalf. President Donald Trump held a rally in Albuquerque on Tuesday in an effort to drum up support in the state that was carried by George W. Bush in his 2004 re-election campaign, but has otherwise voted for Democratic presidential candidates since 1992.

Earlier this week, I spoke with an RNC official on background about the ground game, a subject of considerable weight in my 2016 book Going Red. In my book, I wrote about the Republican Leadership Initiative (RLI) launched by then-RNC chair Reince Priebus. The RLI was based on the same organizational model that Barack Obama built in 2008 and 2012, but within the party’s own control. Its purpose was to build up a grassroots, bi-directional organization that would not only produce superior data but also brand and candidate loyalty, effective feedback on messaging, and contextualization of agendas into the local communities.

According to this official, the RLI has transitioned into the Trump Victory Leadership Initiative (TVLI) but remains within RNC operational control. It still uses the Obama organizational model of community- and neighborhood-focused recruitment of volunteers and organizers. Because the TVLI is controlled by the RNC, its resources are available to down-ticket candidates as well as the Trump re-election campaign. The TVLI is now in twenty states, with more expansion on the horizon as resources increase.

This is “a permanent, data-driven ground game,” the RNC official told me. That matters, but so does buy-in from the candidate and the campaign. They insist that Team Trump has fully bought into the bottom-up organizational model and believe in its effectiveness. If so, that will be somewhat of a change from 2016’s campaign, and good news for Republicans hoping to keep Democrats out of the White House and out of a Senate majority as well.

Finally, the RNC official says that they see no evidence that Democrats are organizing in the same manner. The DNC doesn’t have enough resources for this kind of initiative, he says, which means it may be left to the nominee — who will have to spend lots of resources just to make it to a general election. That’s why Priebus built the RLI within the GOP in the first place, and it might be the edge Trump and Republicans need in 2020.

The post RNC still breaking fundraising records — but are they organized for victory? appeared first on Hot Air.

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Don’t Be Gaslit, Last Night’s North Carolina Results Were Not Good News for Democrats

Westlake Legal Group warren-scowl-620x317 Don’t Be Gaslit, Last Night’s North Carolina Results Were Not Good News for Democrats spin republicans Politics North Carolina NC9 NC3 Joe Biden Front Page Stories Front Page fake news Elizabeth Warren donald trump democrats CNN Bernie Sanders Bellwether 2020 election

FILE – In this May 18, 2019, file photo, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks at a house party campaign stop in Rochester, N.H. Rising disagreement among congressional Democrats over whether to pursue impeachment of President Donald Trump has had little effect on the party’s presidential candidates, who mostly are avoiding calls to start such an inquiry. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

Ever notice that the moment a “bellwether” race breaks in favor of the GOP, it ceases to be a bellwether in the media?

That’s what we saw last night and this morning, as most major media put out quick tweets and the dropped talking about the much ballyhooed special elections in North Carolina altogether. Some outlets though, like CNN, are doubling down, presenting this as some kind of moral victory for Democrats.

Can someone remind me what campaign Ana Navarro has strategized for in the last decade? Just thought I’d ask that. Regardless, pretending this is the same outcome as 2018 is incredibly dishonest.

Here’s what the spin is: This was a district won by Trump in 2016 by 12 points. Therefore, a 2 point win last night is bad news for Republicans.

This ignores not only the context of the race, but also the shifts we saw at the county level.

First, Democrats far outspent the Republican in this race. Over $8M was shoveled into the coffers of McCready by liberals from across the country. He was able to dominate earned and unearned media. He was also touted on countless plugs in the national media. Meanwhile, Bishop was not only fighting a battle against massive outside money, he had to fight the perception of GOP corruption after the vote harvesting scandal that took place in 2018. Despite that, he not only won, he won by a margin no one thought he’d get. In the end, this won’t even trigger a recount.

Secondly, when you get into the internals of how this race went, you see positive movement for Republicans in an environment we are constantly told shouldn’t produce such.

Why is that important? Because this is exactly the kind of county that narrowly went for Trump in 2016 but went heavy Democrat in 2018. Last night, it nearly flipped back and that’s without a presidential race going on. Was it turnout? Changed minds? We can’t know that at such a micro level, but what it shows is that Trump has room to take back some of these counties his party lost in 2018. If he’s to win in 2020, he has to hold the blue collar, Democrat counties he flipped in 2016 and this shows it’s not a given, but possible for him to do.

Here’s another data point involving Robeson Co. This was another area that swung to Trump from Obama in 2016 but Democrats dominated in 2018. Last night, the Republican took it back with a huge shift in voting.

Cumberland Co. also went from Democrat in 2018 to Republican in 2016. Meanwhile, in the other race of the night (North Carolina District 3) the Republican actually beat Trump’s 2016 margin.

No one reading this should spin what I’m saying. I’m not saying this race is dispositive of what will happen in 2020. I’m not even saying it’s great news for Republicans. It’s the minimum they needed to do. But, what it shows is that Trump has room to regain ground the party lost in 2018 and that he’s already begun the process of doing so. It also shows that Trump has a unique gift at driving Republican turnout in the areas that can change the race (blue collar, purple state districts that normally vote Democrat).

Let’s be clear. McCready was favored to win this race over Bishop. The district itself was laiden with pitfalls for the Republican because of what happened in 2018. Despite that, the Republican won by a bigger margin than thought probable and Trump himself showed he still has the power to get Republican voters to the polls.

What this means for 2020, again, can’t be known fully yet, but in noway can this be spun as good news for Democrats. If anything, it shows that both sides have a path forward. Trump can drive base turnout in key districts while Democrats could compete in those same districts if they run moderate candidates. McCready was a blue dog, not a progressive.

BUT, here’s the million dollar question: What happens in this district in 2020 when it’s Elizabeth Warren on the ballot?

Anyone think Trump only wins NC9 by 2 points if it’s a liberal, NE socialist he’s running against? That’s what I think a lot of people are missing in all this. The candidate Trump draws in 2020 is going to matter greatly and the signs we saw last night show he’s got a lot of room to grow his support in these moderate districts IF he successfully brands his opponent as a radical. Unless it’s Joe Biden, he’s going to have a great probability of doing just that.

Democrats trying to use a blue dog Democrat losing in a special election as a moral victory are kidding themselves. If we are talking retaining the House, sure, assuming the Democrats run a bunch of moderates. If we are talking the 2020 election, last night was in noway good news for Democrats. Don’t be gaslit otherwise.

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The post Don’t Be Gaslit, Last Night’s North Carolina Results Were Not Good News for Democrats appeared first on RedState.

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Elizabeth Warren seeks counsel of … Hillary Clinton?

Westlake Legal Group 9a3c70fc-9483-4222-8ff1-7604fb78eeaf Elizabeth Warren seeks counsel of … Hillary Clinton? The Blog President Trump mentor Hillary Clinton Elizabeth Warren Campaigns 2020 election 2020 Democrat candidates

She’s not making a big deal about it publicly, but Senator Elizabeth Warren is seeking campaign advice from Hillary Clinton. Who better to help Warren in establishment Democrat circles than a Clinton?

While lots of the 2020 Democrat presidential hopefuls took the time to meet with Hillary and kiss her ring as they began their own campaigns for the party nomination, only Warren has maintained an open line of communication. That is if a report by NBC News is correct.

The two women have kept a line of communication open since the Massachusetts senator decided to run for president — though only a conversation around the time of Warren’s launch has been previously reported — according to several people familiar with their discussions who spoke to NBC on the condition of anonymity because of the political sensitivity of private interactions.

It’s hard to know exactly how many times they’ve reached out to each other — or precisely what they’ve discussed — in part because neither camp wants to reveal much of anything about their interaction and in part because they have each other’s phone numbers, and there are many ways for two high-powered politicians to communicate that don’t involve their staffs.

It’s easy to understand why this relationship would be kept hush-hush. Hillary is a deeply divisive character and, you know, she lost to the bad Orange Man. It turned out that she was a really bad candidate. She was neither as smart nor as tough as she proclaimed. Her one-time friend and supporter, a man who never held any elected office before his run for president, beat her, though she had forty years in and around public service on her resume.

Hillary Clinton is as desperate as any other Trump Deranged Democrat to make sure that he is a one-term president. It makes sense that she would encourage another woman very much like herself. Both are former Republicans, white women in their 70s who are policy wonks. Both have succumbed to the far left of their party in order to try and win elections. Contrast that to Kamala Harris, the only other viable female candidate in the field. Harris, who is fading fast, is just as bad of a candidate as Hillary, and worst of all (for her in Hillary’s eyes) she was recruited by Barack Obama. Elizabeth Warren is Hillary’s only choice for a female candidate.

At the same time, people who know and like both women say there are more similarities between them than some of their partisans would like to admit. Each is a policy powerhouse with an uncommon command of details, and possess the ability to master new material quickly with a deep intellectual curiosity. Like Clinton, Warren focused the early part of her campaign on developing a raft of policy proposals and rolling them out.

More important, an explicit or implicit blessing from Clinton could help Warren if she finds herself battling for delegates and superdelegates at a contested Democratic convention next summer.

We have no indication that this will be a short battle for the nomination. It’s clear that Warren and Bernie are battling for second place, behind Biden. Biden has begun his descent in the polls but still holds a healthy lead. Hillary supporters in 2016 can be mined by Team Warren if she and Bernie end up going all the way to the convention in a dead heat, assuming that Biden doesn’t last until the convention. Warren needs Hillary’s African-American (especially female) support.

Warren and Clinton do have a bit of history working together. Clinton sought her advice in developing policies in 2015 for her campaign. Staff would run policy ideas by Warren for her opinion or criticism. Warren had decided to not run herself and this was Hillary’s team’s way of keeping Warren in the loop. There was also talk that Clinton considered Warren for her vice-president before eventually choosing Tim Kaine.

By that point, Warren already had opted out of mounting her own campaign — disappointing many progressives — when she signed a letter, along with other Democratic women in the Senate encouraging Clinton to run. Later, as Clinton reviewed her options for a vice presidential running mate, Warren made a late ascent onto the short list on the strength of the excitement Clinton and her advisers thought Warren might bring to the ticket.

Warren told Bloomberg Businessweek this summer that she would have accepted the offer, but it went to Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.

As to what I think the scenario may look like as the Democrat convention approaches, with Biden out of the picture and Warren and Bernie fighting for the nomination, look for Hillary to come out of the shadows. Team Warren will be happy to go public with her support. Hillary could be out on the campaign trail once again, this time in support of another Democrat woman running for president.

The post Elizabeth Warren seeks counsel of … Hillary Clinton? appeared first on Hot Air.

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Kamala laughs as voter calls Trump “mentally retarded”, then backtracks

Westlake Legal Group Kamala-Harris-1 Kamala laughs as voter calls Trump “mentally retarded”, then backtracks The Blog President Trump politically incorrect New Hampshire Kendally Brown kamala harris impeachment 2020 election 2020 Democrat candidates

A voter in New Hampshire asked Senator Kamala Harris a question during a campaign rally that included a politically incorrect description of President Trump’s actions. She laughed at his language and agreed with him. “Well said, well said”, was her response.

The question was about impeachment, something the man is in favor of, apparently, and Harris saw no problem with how he framed it. That is until the backlash began. Now she is backtracking and claiming she just didn’t “hear or process or in any way condone” it.

In his question to Harris, the person said: “I don’t buy that argument that impeachment does not make sense, and like when — I don’t buy that argument. There needs to be accountability. I mean, what are you going to do in the next one year to diminish the mentally retarded action of this guy?” The audience laughed and applauded after the person’s question.

And just like that, the backlash came for Kamala. Kendally Brown, a disabled health care advocate, tweeted out the video and a demand for Senator Harris to do better.

In an interview with a CBS reporter, Harris said she didn’t hear him.

“It’s an incredibly offensive term,” Harris said in an interview. “It’s offensive and you would think that in the year 2019, people would have a much better understanding of how hurtful a term like that can be.”

“I heard him talk about the other stuff and then that came later and it was not something that I really heard or processed … or in any way condone, that’s for sure,” Harris continued.

The New Hampshire Democratic Party convention was held over the weekend and eighteen of the candidates running for the party’s nomination were there. Kamala Harris continues to show that she is a really bad candidate. She makes remarks and then she backtracks as though it didn’t happen when she is questioned. As Ed pointed out, she is riddled with inauthenticity. She simply doesn’t stand for much of anything. She certainly doesn’t stand by any answer for long. At the first sign of doubt, she caves. And, as in this case, she justifies her weakness with really lame excuses.

The post Kamala laughs as voter calls Trump “mentally retarded”, then backtracks appeared first on Hot Air.

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DNC Tells Huge Lie About the Odessa Shootings Just To Fire Up Their Base

Westlake Legal Group democrat-dnc-donkey-620x434 DNC Tells Huge Lie About the Odessa Shootings Just To Fire Up Their Base Texas Politics odessa-midland odessa shooting Guns gun control Greg Abbott Front Page Stories Featured Story elections douchebaggery dnc democrats 2A 2020 election

Democratic Donkey by DonkeyHotey, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0/Original

Over the last day we’ve learned how Seth Aaron Ator, the Odessa-Midland shooter, obtained his weapon.

There was a lot of early confusion because it looked like, based on publicly available court records, that Ator had a couple of misdemeanor convictions which were handled by probation. These should not have kept Ator from buying a weapon. Om Monday, though, Texas governor Greg Abbott tweeted:

This indicated that either Abbott had bad information or there was something out there that had been overlooked.Two days later it was revealed that a court had adjudicated Ator as mentally deficient and that he’d failed a background check when he attempted to buy a firearm in 2014. This got the juices flowing at CNN where James Comey’s minime, Josh Campbell, breathlessly reported that the weapon had been bought in a “private sale” that allowed him to evade a background check.

Westlake Legal Group sciutto-tapper-odessa-shooter-gun-buy DNC Tells Huge Lie About the Odessa Shootings Just To Fire Up Their Base Texas Politics odessa-midland odessa shooting Guns gun control Greg Abbott Front Page Stories Featured Story elections douchebaggery dnc democrats 2A 2020 election

Way to go guys, burning down what little remains of your credibility retweeting a story by a shill who couldn’t pick Truth out of a two-man line up.

The reason CNN and its fellow travelers were going after the private sale story so heavily was that it dovetailed very nicely with the campaign to outlaw, for all intents and purposes, private gun sales. If the guy failed a background check and still bought a firearm, well that was the “gunshow loophole” personified.

As it turned out, the shooter bought his weapon from someone who apparently was making and selling them illegally.

Betsy Vaughn breaks the whole story down here.

A great narrative shot down. Nope. Not if you’re the DNC and willing to say literally anything to push an agenda.

Putting aside the obvious lie that background checks will hurt the NRA’s bottom line (the NRA doesn’t sell weapons) and the nonsense “weapon of war” meme, universal background checks would have done nothing to prevent the shooting. If you are illegally making weapons the odds of you being deterred from selling one based on the buyer having failed a background check approaches zero.

Get used to this.

The Democrats are shut out of the White House and their stranglehold on large parts of the Judiciary is under siege. If they don’t win in 2020, their cause of destroying this nation will be set back by decades. They are desperate to win and the will say or do anything they think they have to do in order to make that happen.

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The post DNC Tells Huge Lie About the Odessa Shootings Just To Fire Up Their Base appeared first on RedState.

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Starbucks CEO shuts down independent operation — his own

Westlake Legal Group schultz Starbucks CEO shuts down independent operation — his own The Blog Starbucks independent run Howard Schultz 2020 election

In retrospect, perhaps the man who runs a massive retail operation that wipes out independent competition by the boatload isn’t the best-suited candidate to take on the two-party system. Howard Schultz had announced to great fanfare in January that he would explore the idea of an independent run at the presidency, only to disappear from the political scene like a light-roast skinny decaf with soy. Today, however, Schultz has awoken from his prolonged nappuccino to exit the 2020 sweepstakes:

Howard Shultz, the former Starbucks CEO who had been weighing an independent presidential bid, announced Friday that he will not run for president.

“My belief in the need to reform our two-party system has not wavered, but I have concluded that an independent campaign for the White House is not how I can best serve our country at this time,” Schultz said in statement.

Schultz added that the money he would have allocated to a campaign “will instead be used to invest in people, organizations and ideas that promote honesty, civility and results in our politics, and that move the country beyond two-party gridlock.”

Hardest hit: Donald Trump. Schultz had bragged earlier this year that an independent run would soak up so much of Trump’s moderate voting support that the incumbent would be left with only 28% of the vote, tops. Trump, who knew better, responded by attempting the rare immediate jump to the triple-dog-dare:

If Schultz had run, he would have pulled most of his votes away from the Democrats. His appeal to Trump skeptics and “moderates” wouldn’t have found much traction with voters who might not like Trump’s antics but support the policies he’s pursuing. Schultz might have lowered Trump’s floor to 42-45%, but in a serious three-way race with a multibillionaire independent, that would probably have been more than enough to win. Just ask Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush.

Anyway, one has to wonder what took Schultz so long to make this decision — and why he bothered to make an announcement at all. It’s been months since anyone heard from him, and people stopped asking about him before the summer started. He had earlier promised to make a decision by June, but that deadline came and went without anyone noticing. What’s the point of making this declaration now? Schultz would have been better off pulling a Garbo than making this weak claim that he’s going to fight against two-party gridlock by, er, not putting his own rear end on the line to fight it. Stick to the lattés, pal.

The post Starbucks CEO shuts down independent operation — his own appeared first on Hot Air.

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Trump 2020 targets swing state beaches with flyover ads

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Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the water….along comes a presidential re-election campaign. In a clever move, PresidentTrump’s campaign will take advantage of the Labor Day holiday and use flyover banner ads in beach areas.

Not just any beach areas, mind you. The campaign is targeting cities that went blue in 2016 in hopes of gathering about 30,000 phone numbers to add to its list of supporters. The cities include Milwaukee, Wisconsin., Erie, Pennsylvania., Cleveland, Virginia Beach, Va., Detroit, and Fort Lauderdale and South Beach, Florida. All of them delivered Hillary Clinton with the majority of their votes. It will cost about $20,000 to do. Planes will fly the banners for a total of 21 hours.

On Labor Day, President Trump’s re-election campaign plans to fly banners urging beachgoers in cities that largely went blue in 2016 to add their phone numbers to the list of supporters the campaign has been cultivating. That list already has contact information for more than 33 million voters or about half of the number of Americans who voted for Mr. Trump in 2016, and campaign manager Brad Parscale expects to have at least 50 million by Election Day.

Trump won these states, except Virginia, but not the cities in the 2016 presidential election. Much to the chagrin of bitter Hillary voters, she lost the electoral college and the election over her neglect of three states in particular – Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. She concentrated on the urban areas, and won them, but failed to win the rest of the states’ voters. She didn’t even bother to go to Wisconsin at all. Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania have 75 electoral votes altogether.

Including Detroit, a solid Democrat stronghold, in the operation is a show of the level of seriousness the campaign has for going into unfriendly areas.

Detroit backed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton with 95% of the vote in the 2016 presidential election, while Trump won Michigan by 10,704 votes or two-tenths of a percentage point.

The ads are expected to be towed over the Detroit area after the scheduled conclusion of the annual Labor Day parade — roughly from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday. Trump made inroads with union households during the 2016 election.

As I wrote Saturday, the Trump campaign is thinking outside the box and using unorthodox advertising to capture the attention of voters. Just as holding big-dollar fundraisers in California during Emmy week in September will take attention away from celebrities patting themselves on the back, flyover banners over the beaches of swing states is a smart move. It’s cheap and will certainly garner attention by the local press. Who doesn’t look up to read the banner when one flies overhead?

The Trump campaign has already targeted these areas with digital advertising.

The Trump campaign has already focused much of its digital advertising on Facebook on the swing states the flyovers are targeting, according to analysis of Facebook ad data by Bully Pulpit Interactive, a Democratic digital firm that tracks spending in the 2020 presidential race. Between March 30 and Aug. 24, the campaign spent the second-most amount—$484,467— on Facebook ads in Florida and the fourth-most—$276,421—in Ohio, followed by $266,853 in Pennsylvania and $211,490 in Michigan.

Flyover banners aren’t the campaign’s most unconventional advertising, either. That title is safe with the campaign’s use of plastic straw sales to raise funds. Remember the hubbub over the Trump straws when some cities began to ban plastic straws in restaurants and other public venues? The campaign is laughing all the way to the bank, having raised about $750,000 from the straw sales.

So, if you are planning to head out to one of these spots for Labor Day and see a plane in the sky with a banner trailing behind it, just wave. Some pilot is working while you are enjoying a day at the beach – a wave is a friendly thing to do. We know the kind of hand gestures that the Trump deranged beach-goers will make.

The post Trump 2020 targets swing state beaches with flyover ads appeared first on Hot Air.

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Democrats to presidential hopefuls: Don’t you dare outorganize us

Westlake Legal Group TomPerez Democrats to presidential hopefuls: Don’t you dare outorganize us The Blog Hillary Clinton donald trump dnc Barack Obama 2020 election 2016 Election 2008 election

Understandable in theory, but counterproductive in practice? Earlier this week, the Democratic Party announced that all of its presidential candidates had finally agreed not to create their own outside political organizations and to publicly disavow such organizations. In doing so, they are attempting to apply one set of lessons from 2008 and 2012, while perhaps willfully ignoring the lessons of 2016:

The Association of State Democratic Committees announced Tuesday that every leading presidential contender has vowed not to create “any organizing or messaging infrastructure that is parallel or duplicative” to the DNC or state parties. The signed pledge also binds candidates to publicly call on their supporters not to launch outside groups on their behalf.

It’s an enormous change for the party, one that will likely strengthen the DNC and state parties after what many Democrats considered neglect of the party infrastructure during the Obama years. It also throws into question the future of Our Revolution, the Bernie Sanders-created grass-roots organization, which state party leaders say would appear to violate the agreement if Sanders wins the general election.

“It’s a huge shift,” said Jane Kleeb, chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party. The move sends two messages, she added: “You cannot create another OFA,” and “the DNC is an important national infrastructure, but it’s not in the states — we are.”

“[State parties] are never the shiny object that gets funded with all the appeals from podcasts or big donors,” Kleeb added.

The OFA reference is to Barack Obama’s notorious defenestration of the DNC and state parties to build his own independent operation. In 2008, Barack Obama dispensed with campaign spending limits and created a massive and innovative campaign that won him two presidential elections. However, Obama built that in large part by cannibalizing the DNC, which has struggled ever since to rebuild its operations. And when he was done winning two elections, Obama kept his organization to promote his ongoing agenda rather than reinforce the DNC and state parties.

In that sense, the DNC and state parties are only acting in self-defense. However, they may end up hobbling the nominee, thanks to a lack of resources for an Obama-style organization and a lack of understanding of its importance. The DNC is already falling behind Trump’s efforts to organize in battleground states, according to numerous sources who spoke to The Daily Beast on and off the record. Former Obama field director Joy Cushman declared earlier this week that Trump had learned the lessons from 2008, but Democrats still have not:

Before Republicans send their organizers into early primary states, the organizers reportedly must read and pass a test on “Groundbreakers,” the story of how Barack Obama revolutionized campaigning by putting his faith in hundreds of thousands of volunteers.

I was a top organizer in his 2008 campaign and trained thousands of the campaign’s staff members. The book’s authors and I fear that the wealthy elites on the left have less respect than ever before for the strategies that got Mr. Obama elected. If Democrats want to win in 2020, they must get back to investing in the power of everyday people through organizing.

Republicans know how President Obama won, yet there is a contentious debate among progressives about how to run campaigns.

The DNC’s move here strongly indicates that Cushman has accurately diagnosed the Democrats’ failure in this cycle. In my column for The Week, however, I write that she may be giving Team Trump too much credit for having learned from Obama’s organization — and the RNC’s efforts might not be enough because of that:

This was the most important and surprising lesson I learned in researching my 2016 book Going Red. The most common misconception about Obama’s organization in 2008 was that it used social media only as a communications channel for national messaging. Instead, the use of social media — Facebook in particular — was much more sophisticated. The campaign used it as a tool to find allies in key precincts and neighborhoods and create social circles of volunteers and supporters around them. That allowed the campaign to develop a ground-up feedback loop and to contextualize Obama’s agenda at the neighborhood level. For instance, they told Tampa supporters that their infrastructure plan would help resolve a chronic issue with street lights, an important local issue that went directly to quality-of-life concerns that helped create an emotional connection between those voters and Obama. The campaign knew what messaging worked, and could quickly adjust when it didn’t — and the engagement drove millions of new voters to the polls.

Rather than emulate that model, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump relied much more heavily on national messaging and data analysis. Both are needed in modern campaigns, but both fall far short of turning out the voters needed to swing an election. The results speak for themselves; Clinton lost the three “blue wall” states by losing hundreds of thousands of votes that Obama turned out in 2012, while Trump barely gained at all from Mitt Romney’s performance in the previous election.

Cushman credits the Trump campaign with having learned this lesson, but it’s not at all clear that they have. The RNC did learn that lesson after 2012 in its famous “autopsy,” and then-chair Reince Priebus created the Republican Leadership Initiative (RLI) to emulate the Obama model in key battleground states. That effort has continued, helped along no doubt by the RNC’s fundraising dominance over the DNC. However, the Team Trump advantages cited by Democrats in Trudo’s article deal with the same kind of traditional, top-down messaging and organizing, perhaps not surprisingly since Trump won his last election with that strategy. Even if the RLI is fully funded and activated, it still requires a presidential campaign that values contextualizing their agenda into local messaging and trusts its grassroots at least as much as its top strategists. Trump is not temperamentally suited for that kind of nuanced presentation, and neither was the team he built in 2016. It’s still not clear whether his 2020 team will be any different.

Rather than pursue the loosely connected voters Obama found, both parties still seem oriented toward base-turnout strategies. We have some time, and thanks to the lack of a primary campaign, the GOP has a lot more room to maneuver on strategy. At the moment, however, this looks like another cycle of lost opportunities for both parties — with one in particular determined to make sure its nominee can’t take advantage of them.

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Mattis: I owe Trump “a period of silence” — for now

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James Mattis’ new book hints at his distaste for his former boss Donald Trump. An interview with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg hints at a master plan for making it public. Goldberg has to tease it out of the former Secretary of Defense, who remained reluctant to relay disparaging information about Trump and largely avoided doing so. Mattis insisted that he owed Trump his silence — to a point:

“Do you know the French concept of devoir de réserve?” he asked.

I did not, I said.

“The duty of silence. If you leave an administration, you owe some silence. When you leave an administration over clear policy differences, you need to give the people who are still there as much opportunity as possible to defend the country. They still have the responsibility of protecting this great big experiment of ours. I know the malevolence some people feel for this country, and we have to give the people who are protecting us some time to carry out their duties without me adding my criticism to the cacophony that is right now so poisonous.”

Goldberg tried to argue that Mattis had a duty to the rest of the country as well as to Trump. If that leadership becomes a danger, Goldberg wondered, doesn’t Mattis have a responsibility to warn people? Mattis snapped back:

“You don’t endanger the country by attacking the elected commander in chief. I may not like a commander in chief one fricking bit, but our system puts the commander in chief there, and to further weaken him when we’re up against real threats—I mean, we could be at war on the Korean peninsula, every time they start launching something.”

It’s an intriguing argument, one apparently based on potential to do damage to the office as well as the officeholder. Goldberg had argued that everyone has a First Amendment right to speak out against Trump, to which Mattis “absolutely’ agreed. Critics of Trump could do damage to Trump personally and politically. If Mattis, as a former SecDef and military officer, was to speak out in the manner that Goldberg suggests — casting Trump as someone “endangering” the country — Mattis seems to argue that it would damage the office itself and the system of having the people choose the head of state and head of government directly.

Instead of focusing solely on Trump, Mattis offers a prescription to pull America out of the cycle of bitterness and distrust that produced Trump. Trump isn’t the problem, Mattis insists; the problem is the disintegration of the public accord in America. That problem preceded Trump and it will outlast him as well if we don’t start offering some grace and affection across ideological trench lines:

“You’ve got to avoid looking at what’s happening in isolation from everything else,” he said. “We can’t hold what Trump is doing in isolation. We’ve got to address the things that put him there in the first place.” Mattis speaks often about affection: the affection that commanders feel for their soldiers, and that soldiers ought to feel for one another—and the affection that Americans should feel for one another and for their country but often, these days, don’t. “ ‘With malice toward none, with charity for all,’ ” he said. “Lincoln said that in the middle of a war. In the middle of a war! He could see beyond the hatred of the moment.”

So attacking Trump directly outside of the electoral cycle is out, as far as Mattis is concerned. How about working within the electoral system? Goldberg relates part of an earlier conversation with Mattis, when he suggested that devoir de réserve has its functional limits:

I thought back to what he’d told me earlier in the summer, when I had asked him to describe something Trump could say or do that would trigger him to launch a frontal attack on the president. He’d demurred, as I had expected. But then he’d issued a caveat: “There is a period in which I owe my silence. It’s not eternal. It’s not going to be forever.”

Mattis has spent his life in service to his country, defending it from all threats to the full extent of his capability. If he truly sees Trump as a threat, will he remain silent in the next election about it? That earlier conversation hints that Mattis might have his own timetable for confronting the threat, although it probably won’t be as a candidate. Mattis would certainly make a formidable challenger, but he’d probably see his effectiveness enhanced by not trying to promote himself at Trump’s expense. Mattis could choose to start laying out a case for Trump’s political defeat by going public with what he knows, but that could also depend on who Democrats nominate to challenge Trump. If they select an angry progressive, Mattis might just figure six of one, half-dozen of another and keep deploying his devoir de réserve for another four years.

In that sense, Mattis might be firing a warning shot across the bows of both parties: Either clean up your acts or I’ll force you to clean them up. It might be worth it to see how well Mattis can implement that battle strategy — and as always, it’s risky to bet against him.

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“Dramatic escalation”: FBI raids homes of two UAW presidents in corruption probe

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A four-year probe into union corruption kicked into high gear yesterday as the FBI raided the homes of two United Auto Workers presidents. Both Gary Jones and his predecessor Dennis Williams are targets in a Department of Justice investigation into payoffs that might upend the auto industry. It might also disrupt Big Labor’s political standing before the election, as the UAW is one of the biggest unions in the country, especially in the private sector.

CBS News called it a “dramatic escalation” last night:

Federal agents on Wednesday descended on the homes of top officials with one of the nation’s largest unions. FBI raids on the homes of Gary Jones — the current president of the United Auto Workers (UAW) and Dennis Williams his immediate predecessor — signaled a dramatic escalation of a four-year probe into illegal payments to union officials.

The corruption investigation has so far led to the convictions of eight people linked to the UAW and to Fiat-Chrysler involving bribes and kickbacks designed to influence the nation’s sixth largest union’s bargaining position at contract talks with automakers. …

In all, the FBI raided six locations in four states: Michigan, California, Missouri and Wisconsin. These operations could undermine the confidence of nearly 160,000 UAW members in their negotiating team at the beginning of a new round of contract talks.

“Obviously something is going on and it needs to be cleaned up, period,” UAW employee Joseph Johnson said.

The FBI isn’t talking about what they found, but the neighbors are. USA Today reports that one of Jones’ quick-thinking neighbors grabbed some binoculars at the start of the raid to see what law enforcement wanted. “Wads of cash” was part of their haul:

One neighbor, 47-year-old J. Kevin Telepo, became so intrigued that he grabbed his Swarovski binoculars, sat in his dining room and zoomed in on Jones’ garage. That’s where he saw FBI agents combing through all sorts of stuff: cash, a golf bag and what appeared to be a safe, he said.

Telepo said he saw the agents counting “wads” of cash. He texted his wife and neighbors about the raid.

“FBI raiding neighbor’s house” read the first text.

“What did he do?” responded his wife.

He wrote back: “Not sure. FBI & IRS. Pile of cash in garage.”

Until now, both Fiat Chrysler and the UAW have insisted that the corruption scandal only involved “a few bad actors.” The DoJ has secured convictions on seven lower-level people, but this looks as if the FBI suspects that the corruption goes all the way to the top — in the UAW, at least. Jones, in fact, won election as an outsider who would clean up the UAW:

Throughout the two years since the corruption probe became public, the UAW and FCA have insisted that the illegal payment scheme involved just a few bad actors.

Jones, a certified public accountant, was elected president last year. Previously based in Kansas City, Missouri, as a regional director for the union, he was seen as an outsider who could help the organization move past the payments scandal.

But federal prosecutors have aggressively expanded the corruption probe.

If this goes to the top of the UAW, then it’s likely to go to the top of the automakers, too. That should have everyone nervous, especially the workers. They have a contract negotiation going on at the moment, with their current contract expiring in mid-September. If union leadership has been taking payoffs, good luck getting that contract passed by the rank and file.

Others see a more nefarious reason for the “dramatic escalation,” and it’s spelled T-R-U-M-P. Still, they want new leadership at the UAW anyway:

UAW member Sean Crawford, who works at GM’s Flint Assembly plant, said the news will have a “really negative impact” on bargaining.

“Call me cynical but I feel the Trump administration willfully timed this to coincide with our negotiations so that the union would lose faith in the leadership,” said Crawford. “We’re getting ready to go into one of the biggest negotiations of our lifetime and we’re possibly going to lose faith in our union.”

Crawford said the union leadership is to blame and should take responsibility for its actions in the corruption scandal.

This escalation could put one of the biggest private-sector unions on the sidelines as the 2020 election heats up, so conspiracy theories about Trump ordering the expansion may gain some credit. It’ll be tough to lay the timing on Trump, though, since the investigation started well before he was elected. The UAW might still adopt that as a defense, but if the FBI hauled out “wads of cash” from the homes of its present and past presidents, it’s not going to stick.

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