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Westlake Legal Group > Presidential Election of 2020 (Page 18)

Why Everyone Is Angry at Facebook Over Its Political Ads Policy

Westlake Legal Group 22facebook-facebookJumbo Why Everyone Is Angry at Facebook Over Its Political Ads Policy Zuckerberg, Mark E United States Politics and Government Social Media Rumors and Misinformation Presidential Election of 2020 Political Advertising Online Advertising Facebook Inc Corporate Social Responsibility Computers and the Internet

SAN FRANCISCO — After Google announced restrictions on political advertising this week, campaign strategists in Washington quickly turned their attention to a different company: Facebook.

Some strategists voiced concerns to Facebook about how Google’s decision would affect it, said two people who talked to the company. They told Facebook that if it followed Google by limiting how political campaigns target audiences, it would hurt their ability to reach unregistered voters and make it tougher for smaller organizations to collect donations online, the people said.

The conversations added to the pressure on Facebook as it weighs how to handle political advertising. Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive, has made it clear that Facebook will run all political ads — even if they contain lies — in the interest of free speech. But the social network is discussing some ad changes, like restricting how precisely campaigns can reach specific groups, said three people briefed by the company.

Facebook has made no final ruling on its political advertising guidelines, said the people, who declined to be identified because the discussions were confidential. On Thursday at a happy hour discussion with roughly 500 digital strategists, campaign officials and political operatives at Facebook’s offices in Washington, company executives were adamant that they would not make any news about political ads, said two people who attended the event.

But Facebook risks being whipsawed by its indecision, especially since Google and Twitter have already rolled out revised political advertising policies ahead of the 2020 American presidential election.

“Twitter fired the starting gun, and Google just cranked it up to 11,” said Eric Wilson, a Republican digital advertising strategist. “Now the pressure is on Facebook — they’re going to have to act.”

Political advertising on social media and internet platforms has become particularly fraught in this election cycle because of how campaigns increasingly rely on the digital channels to spread their messages and reach voters. Yet few companies are getting caught in that fray as much as Facebook.

On the one hand, the company wants to curtail the spread of disinformation across its site. At the same time, it wants to avoid alienating the groups and candidates who depend on its platform for fund-raising and organizing. So in trying to find a way to please everyone on the issue, Facebook has managed to please no one.

The social network has now become an outlier in how freely it lets political candidates and elected officials advertise on its platform. While Mr. Zuckerberg declared last month that Facebook would not police political ads, Twitter said it would ban all such ads because of their negative impact on civic discourse. On Wednesday, Google said it would no longer allow political ads to be directed to specific audiences based on people’s public voter records or political affiliations.

“As we’ve said, we are looking at different ways we might refine our approach to political ads,” a Facebook spokesman said in a statement.

The pressure on Facebook over what to do about political ad targeting has been unrelenting. Organizations on both sides of the political aisle — from as large as President Trump’s re-election campaign to smaller, grass-roots groups — have tried to persuade Facebook not to rein in the ad targeting.

“Making major changes to platform ad targeting would severely disadvantage Democrats and progressives who rely on Facebook for fund-raising and currently have a much smaller organic audience and current database of supporters to engage on and off the platform than Donald Trump,” said Tara McGowan, founder and chief executive of Acronym, a progressive nonprofit group.

Some Republican strategists said they also feared losing the ability to raise significant campaign donations online if Facebook reduced ad targeting.

The company has been contacting ad buyers and advocacy groups for feedback on what changes to political ads, if any, they could stomach. In one recent call with political advertising groups, Facebook said it was considering some tweaks, such as the possibility of raising the minimum number of people who could be targeted to 1,000 from 100, according to two people familiar with the discussion. The potential change was earlier reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Facebook also is updating and refining its advertising library, a collection of current and past ads that were paid for by political candidates, in an effort to increase transparency, the people said.

On Thursday at Facebook’s Washington event with digital strategists and campaign officials, executives ticked through their current ad policies for 90 minutes, before breaking for a question-and-answer period that lasted roughly 15 minutes.

Despite Facebook’s pledge that it would not announce any new ad policies, those in attendance tried to pry out some information, said two people who were there. One member of the Trump campaign asked if Facebook was considering eliminating certain data and the ability to reach specific audiences. Facebook said it welcomed all feedback and was considering all the issues.

Another questioner professed hope that Facebook would not follow in Google’s footsteps, said the attendees. Facebook officials reiterated that they would not be making any news.

When asked if the social network would treat Democrats and Republicans equally in the 2020 elections, though, Facebook officials were quick to respond.

Their answer: Yes, everyone will be treated the same, the attendees said.

Nick Corasaniti contributed reporting from New York.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Anticipating Impeachment, Republicans Debate Trial Timeline

Westlake Legal Group 21dc-trial-facebookJumbo Anticipating Impeachment, Republicans Debate Trial Timeline United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Presidential Election of 2020 McConnell, Mitch House of Representatives Elections, Senate Democratic Party

WASHINGTON — The White House and the Republicans in the Senate, all but certain that the House will move forward to impeach President Trump, are divided over whether to embrace a lengthy trial that could give his allies a chance to mount an elaborate defense of his conduct before a polarized nation, or to move quickly to dispense with charges against him.

Several Republican senators discussed the issue with some of Mr. Trump’s top aides on Thursday during a meeting at the White House that unfolded as the House Intelligence Committee capped off two weeks of public impeachment hearings exploring whether the president should be impeached on charges of pressuring Ukraine to announce investigations into his political rivals.

The group, which included some of Mr. Trump’s closest allies in the Senate and his legal and political advisers, came to no final conclusions about what a person briefed on the matter said would be a “totally unpredictable” situation as all 100 senators meet in public session for only the third time in history to consider whether to remove a president from office.

One White House official said nothing would be resolved until closer to the time of the actual trial. Another person familiar with the White House position said that they believe there should not be a vote in the House and that they considered the inquiry illegitimate, but that they welcomed the chance to present witnesses and try the case, which they cannot do in the current setting.

Mr. Trump has told friends that he is eager to see Senate Republicans aggressively argue that he did nothing wrong, after an elaborate House impeachment proceeding that has featured a constant barrage of damaging Democratic allegations.

But some lawmakers, including Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, are pushing for a quick trial — perhaps as short as two weeks, according to people familiar with the meeting. They hope that a brief proceeding would limit the political damage to Mr. Trump and quickly lead to his acquittal, allowing him and the Republican Party to focus on winning the 2020 election.

Others believe that drawing a trial out for as long as a month early next year could bring political advantages to Republicans, especially if it forces several Democratic senators who are running for president to make a difficult choice between sitting in their seats during an impeachment trial or spending time with voters on the campaign trail in Iowa and New Hampshire.

On Thursday, Mr. Graham sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requesting documents that could signal which witnesses Republicans might call during an impeachment trial and how his allies might seek to defend the president.

In the letter, Mr. Graham asked for documents and communications with former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., his son Hunter Biden, officials from the Obama administration and former President Petro O. Poroshenko of Ukraine. The list suggests that Mr. Graham envisions a defense of Mr. Trump that focuses on shifting attention away from Mr. Trump’s conduct and onto the issue of whether Hunter Biden’s work on the board of a Ukrainian energy company while his father was vice president was appropriate.

House Republicans unsuccessfully tried to persuade the Democrats leading the impeachment inquiry to subpoena Hunter Biden.

A longer trial might help a handful of moderate Republican senators who are eager to show independent voters that they are taking the allegations against Mr. Trump seriously. For those senators, a quick dismissal could be seen as a decision to condone the president’s actions and sweep them under the rug without due consideration. Republican leaders have told Mr. Trump that they do not believe they could get the 51 votes required to quickly dismiss potential articles of impeachment.

Mr. Trump himself is a wild card, according to several people familiar with his thinking about how to handle a trial that appears all but inevitable.

At some moments, the president has told people close to him that he wants to see a lengthy trial in which his defenders are given the opportunity to call witnesses and deliver speeches on his behalf. But at other times, as he watches a torrent of negative news on cable television, he has said he wants a quick end to a process that he finds intolerable.

On Thursday morning, he complained on Twitter about coverage of what he called the “phony Impeachment Hoax,” accusing the news media of failing to fairly report about the impeachment hearings. “FAKE & CORRUPT NEWS!”

In a separate lunch meeting with a group of eight senators on Thursday, including some who have signaled an openness to the impeachment inquiry, Mr. Trump made brief comments about his frustration with the process, but did not ask for any commitments and did not discuss the procedures that a trial might follow, according to a statement from Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine.

“He feels that whatever has come forward has been exactly what he says — useless,” Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Republican of West Virginia, told reporters after returning from the lunch.

Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, who has been one of the few members of the president’s party to criticize Mr. Trump’s conduct on Ukraine, attended the lunch but said Mr. Trump shook his hand and did not mention the comments about his conduct.

The staff-level discussions with the senators on Thursday focused on the variety of ways that a Senate trial could play out and decisions that Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, will eventually have to make about the rules that will govern it.

Those rules, which were last developed for the impeachment trial of former President Bill Clinton in early 1999, govern how the two sides present evidence, whether they can call witnesses, and what role senators would have as they serve as quasi-jurors on the Senate floor. The answers to those questions — which would have to be negotiated with Democratic senators — would affect how long a trial would last.

In Mr. Clinton’s case, senators agreed that Republicans could only call three witnesses to make their case against the president, making the trial much shorter than it might have been if they were allowed to present a longer case.

In recent weeks, Mr. Trump — who frequently calls Republican lawmakers to comment on their television appearances — has begun reaching out to them by inviting small groups of senators to the White House for lunch. While the meetings have not been billed as pertaining to a certain topic, the impeachment inquiry has come up. Mr. Trump has also had Republican lawmakers review transcripts of both of his phone calls with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, before either call was released to the public for the first time.

Mr. Trump has also weighed in with his impressions of the House proceedings, and discussed strategy during the lunches.

“They’re just waiting for the House thing to play out,” said Senator Kevin Cramer, Republican of North Dakota, who attended a lunch last week.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Campaigns Pressure Facebook to Stay Put on Political Ads

Westlake Legal Group 22facebook-facebookJumbo Campaigns Pressure Facebook to Stay Put on Political Ads Zuckerberg, Mark E United States Politics and Government Social Media Rumors and Misinformation Presidential Election of 2020 Political Advertising Online Advertising Facebook Inc Corporate Social Responsibility Computers and the Internet

SAN FRANCISCO — After Google announced restrictions on political advertising this week, campaign strategists in Washington quickly turned their attention to a different company: Facebook.

Some strategists voiced concerns to Facebook about how Google’s decision would affect it, said two people who talked to the company. They told Facebook that if it followed Google by limiting how political campaigns target audiences, it would hurt their ability to reach unregistered voters and make it tougher for smaller organizations to collect donations online, the people said.

The conversations added to the pressure on Facebook as it weighs how to handle political advertising. Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive, has made it clear that Facebook will run all political ads — even if they contain lies — in the interest of free speech. But the social network is discussing some ad changes, like restricting how precisely campaigns can reach specific groups, said three people briefed by the company.

Facebook has made no final ruling on its political advertising guidelines, said the people, who declined to be identified because the discussions were confidential. On Thursday at a happy hour discussion with roughly 500 digital strategists, campaign officials and political operatives at Facebook’s offices in Washington, company executives were adamant that they would not make any news about political ads, said two people who attended the event.

But Facebook risks being whipsawed by its indecision, especially since Google and Twitter have already rolled out revised political advertising policies ahead of the 2020 American presidential election.

“Twitter fired the starting gun, and Google just cranked it up to 11,” said Eric Wilson, a Republican digital advertising strategist. “Now the pressure is on Facebook — they’re going to have to act.”

Political advertising on social media and internet platforms has become particularly fraught in this election cycle because of how campaigns increasingly rely on the digital channels to spread their messages and reach voters. Yet few companies are getting caught in that fray as much as Facebook.

On the one hand, the company wants to curtail the spread of disinformation across its site. At the same time, it wants to avoid alienating the groups and candidates who depend on its platform for fund-raising and organizing. So in trying to find a way to please everyone on the issue, Facebook has managed to please no one.

The social network has now become an outlier in how freely it lets political candidates and elected officials advertise on its platform. While Mr. Zuckerberg declared last month that Facebook would not police political ads, Twitter said it would ban all such ads because of their negative impact on civic discourse. On Wednesday, Google said it would no longer allow political ads to be directed to specific audiences based on people’s public voter records or political affiliations.

“As we’ve said, we are looking at different ways we might refine our approach to political ads,” a Facebook spokesman said in a statement.

The pressure on Facebook over what to do about political ad targeting has been unrelenting. Organizations on both sides of the political aisle — from as large as President Trump’s re-election campaign to smaller, grass-roots groups — have tried to persuade Facebook not to rein in the ad targeting.

“Making major changes to platform ad targeting would severely disadvantage Democrats and progressives who rely on Facebook for fund-raising and currently have a much smaller organic audience and current database of supporters to engage on and off the platform than Donald Trump,” said Tara McGowan, founder and chief executive of Acronym, a progressive nonprofit group.

Some Republican strategists said they also feared losing the ability to raise significant campaign donations online if Facebook reduced ad targeting.

The company has been contacting ad buyers and advocacy groups for feedback on what changes to political ads, if any, they could stomach. In one recent call with political advertising groups, Facebook said it was considering some tweaks, such as the possibility of raising the minimum number of people who could be targeted to 1,000 from 100, according to two people familiar with the discussion. The potential change was earlier reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Facebook also is updating and refining its advertising library, a collection of current and past ads that were paid for by political candidates, in an effort to increase transparency, the people said.

On Thursday at Facebook’s Washington event with digital strategists and campaign officials, executives ticked through their current ad policies for 90 minutes, before breaking for a question-and-answer period that lasted roughly 15 minutes.

Despite Facebook’s pledge that it would not announce any new ad policies, those in attendance tried to pry out some information, said two people who were there. One member of the Trump campaign asked if Facebook was considering eliminating certain data and the ability to reach specific audiences. Facebook said it welcomed all feedback and was considering all the issues.

Another questioner professed hope that Facebook would not follow in Google’s footsteps, said the attendees. Facebook officials reiterated that they would not be making any news.

When asked if the social network would treat Democrats and Republicans equally in the 2020 elections, though, Facebook officials were quick to respond.

Their answer: Yes, everyone will be treated the same, the attendees said.

Nick Corasaniti contributed reporting from New York.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Campaigns Pressure Facebook to Stay Put on Political Ads

Westlake Legal Group 22facebook-facebookJumbo Campaigns Pressure Facebook to Stay Put on Political Ads Zuckerberg, Mark E United States Politics and Government Social Media Rumors and Misinformation Presidential Election of 2020 Political Advertising Online Advertising Facebook Inc Corporate Social Responsibility Computers and the Internet

SAN FRANCISCO — After Google announced restrictions on political advertising this week, campaign strategists in Washington quickly turned their attention to a different company: Facebook.

Some strategists voiced concerns to Facebook about how Google’s decision would affect it, said two people who talked to the company. They told Facebook that if it followed Google by limiting how political campaigns target audiences, it would hurt their ability to reach unregistered voters and make it tougher for smaller organizations to collect donations online, the people said.

The conversations added to the pressure on Facebook as it weighs how to handle political advertising. Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive, has made it clear that Facebook will run all political ads — even if they contain lies — in the interest of free speech. But the social network is discussing some ad changes, like restricting how precisely campaigns can reach specific groups, said three people briefed by the company.

Facebook has made no final ruling on its political advertising guidelines, said the people, who declined to be identified because the discussions were confidential. On Thursday at a happy hour discussion with roughly 500 digital strategists, campaign officials and political operatives at Facebook’s offices in Washington, company executives were adamant that they would not make any news about political ads, said two people who attended the event.

But Facebook risks being whipsawed by its indecision, especially since Google and Twitter have already rolled out revised political advertising policies ahead of the 2020 American presidential election.

“Twitter fired the starting gun, and Google just cranked it up to 11,” said Eric Wilson, a Republican digital advertising strategist. “Now the pressure is on Facebook — they’re going to have to act.”

Political advertising on social media and internet platforms has become particularly fraught in this election cycle because of how campaigns increasingly rely on the digital channels to spread their messages and reach voters. Yet few companies are getting caught in that fray as much as Facebook.

On the one hand, the company wants to curtail the spread of disinformation across its site. At the same time, it wants to avoid alienating the groups and candidates who depend on its platform for fund-raising and organizing. So in trying to find a way to please everyone on the issue, Facebook has managed to please no one.

The social network has now become an outlier in how freely it lets political candidates and elected officials advertise on its platform. While Mr. Zuckerberg declared last month that Facebook would not police political ads, Twitter said it would ban all such ads because of their negative impact on civic discourse. On Wednesday, Google said it would no longer allow political ads to be directed to specific audiences based on people’s public voter records or political affiliations.

“As we’ve said, we are looking at different ways we might refine our approach to political ads,” a Facebook spokesman said in a statement.

The pressure on Facebook over what to do about political ad targeting has been unrelenting. Organizations on both sides of the political aisle — from as large as President Trump’s re-election campaign to smaller, grass-roots groups — have tried to persuade Facebook not to rein in the ad targeting.

“Making major changes to platform ad targeting would severely disadvantage Democrats and progressives who rely on Facebook for fund-raising and currently have a much smaller organic audience and current database of supporters to engage on and off the platform than Donald Trump,” said Tara McGowan, founder and chief executive of Acronym, a progressive nonprofit group.

Some Republican strategists said they also feared losing the ability to raise significant campaign donations online if Facebook reduced ad targeting.

The company has been contacting ad buyers and advocacy groups for feedback on what changes to political ads, if any, they could stomach. In one recent call with political advertising groups, Facebook said it was considering some tweaks, such as the possibility of raising the minimum number of people who could be targeted to 1,000 from 100, according to two people familiar with the discussion. The potential change was earlier reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Facebook also is updating and refining its advertising library, a collection of current and past ads that were paid for by political candidates, in an effort to increase transparency, the people said.

On Thursday at Facebook’s Washington event with digital strategists and campaign officials, executives ticked through their current ad policies for 90 minutes, before breaking for a question-and-answer period that lasted roughly 15 minutes.

Despite Facebook’s pledge that it would not announce any new ad policies, those in attendance tried to pry out some information, said two people who were there. One member of the Trump campaign asked if Facebook was considering eliminating certain data and the ability to reach specific audiences. Facebook said it welcomed all feedback and was considering all the issues.

Another questioner professed hope that Facebook would not follow in Google’s footsteps, said the attendees. Facebook officials reiterated that they would not be making any news.

When asked if the social network would treat Democrats and Republicans equally in the 2020 elections, though, Facebook officials were quick to respond.

Their answer: Yes, everyone will be treated the same, the attendees said.

Nick Corasaniti contributed reporting from New York.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Bracing for Impeachment, White House and Republicans Weigh Contours of a Senate Trial

Westlake Legal Group 21dc-trial-facebookJumbo Bracing for Impeachment, White House and Republicans Weigh Contours of a Senate Trial United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Presidential Election of 2020 McConnell, Mitch House of Representatives Elections, Senate Democratic Party

WASHINGTON — The White House and the Republicans in the Senate, all but certain that the House will move forward to impeach President Trump, are divided over whether to embrace a lengthy trial that could give his allies a chance to mount an elaborate defense of his conduct before a polarized nation, or to move quickly to dispense with charges against him.

Several Republican senators discussed the issue with some of Mr. Trump’s top aides on Thursday during a meeting at the White House that unfolded as the House Intelligence Committee capped off two weeks of public impeachment hearings exploring whether the president should be impeached on charges of pressuring Ukraine to announce investigations into his political rivals.

The group, which included some of Mr. Trump’s closest allies in the Senate and his legal and political advisers, came to no final conclusions about what a person briefed on the matter said would be a “totally unpredictable” situation as all 100 senators meet in public session for only the third time in history to consider whether to remove a president from office.

One White House official said nothing would be resolved until closer to the time of the actual trial. Another person familiar with the White House position said that they believe there should not be a vote in the House and that they considered the inquiry illegitimate, but that they welcomed the chance to present witnesses and try the case, which they cannot do in the current setting.

Mr. Trump has told friends that he is eager to see Senate Republicans aggressively argue that he did nothing wrong, after an elaborate House impeachment proceeding that has featured a constant barrage of damaging Democratic allegations.

But some lawmakers, including Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, are pushing for a quick trial — perhaps as short as two weeks, according to people familiar with the meeting. They hope that a brief proceeding would limit the political damage to Mr. Trump and quickly lead to his acquittal, allowing him and the Republican Party to focus on winning the 2020 election.

Others believe that drawing a trial out for as long as a month early next year could bring political advantages to Republicans, especially if it forces several Democratic senators who are running for president to make a difficult choice between sitting in their seats during an impeachment trial or spending time with voters on the campaign trail in Iowa and New Hampshire.

On Thursday, Mr. Graham sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requesting documents that could signal which witnesses Republicans might call during an impeachment trial and how his allies might seek to defend the president.

In the letter, Mr. Graham asked for documents and communications with former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., his son Hunter Biden, officials from the Obama administration and former President Petro O. Poroshenko of Ukraine. The list suggests that Mr. Graham envisions a defense of Mr. Trump that focuses on shifting attention away from Mr. Trump’s conduct and onto the issue of whether Hunter Biden’s work on the board of a Ukrainian energy company while his father was vice president was appropriate.

House Republicans unsuccessfully tried to convince the Democrats leading the impeachment inquiry to subpoena Hunter Biden.

A longer trial might help a handful of moderate Republican senators who are eager to show independent voters that they are taking the allegations against Mr. Trump seriously. For those senators, a quick dismissal could be seen as a decision to condone the president’s actions and sweep them under the rug without due consideration. Republican leaders have told Mr. Trump that they do not believe they could get the 51 votes required to quickly dismiss potential articles of impeachment.

Mr. Trump himself is a wild card, according to several people familiar with his thinking about how to handle a trial that appears all but inevitable.

At some moments, the president has told people close to him that he wants to see a lengthy trial in which his defenders are given the opportunity to call witnesses and deliver speeches on his behalf. But at other times, as he watches a torrent of negative news on cable television, he has said he wants a quick end to a process that he finds intolerable.

On Thursday morning, he complained on Twitter about coverage of what he called the “phony Impeachment Hoax,” accusing the news media of failing to fairly report about the impeachment hearings. “FAKE & CORRUPT NEWS!”

In a separate lunch meeting with a group of eight senators on Thursday, including some who have signaled an openness to the impeachment inquiry, Mr. Trump made brief comments about his frustration with the process, but did not ask for any commitments and did not discuss the procedures that a trial might follow, according to a statement from Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine.

“He feels that whatever has come forward has been exactly what he says — useless,” Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Republican of West Virginia, told reporters after returning from the lunch.

Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, who has been one of the few members of the president’s party to criticize Mr. Trump’s conduct on Ukraine, attended the lunch but said Mr. Trump shook his hand and did not mention the comments about his conduct.

The staff-level discussions with the senators on Thursday focused on the variety of ways that a Senate trial could play out and decisions that Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, will eventually have to make about the rules that will govern it.

Those rules, which were last developed for the impeachment trial of former President Bill Clinton in early 1999, govern how the two sides present evidence, whether they can call witnesses, and what role senators would have as they serve as quasi-jurors on the Senate floor. The answers to those questions — which would have to be negotiated with Democratic senators — would affect how long a trial would last.

In Mr. Clinton’s case, senators agreed that Republicans could only call three witnesses to make their case against the president, making the trial much shorter than it might have been if they were allowed to present a longer case.

In recent weeks, Mr. Trump — who frequently calls Republican lawmakers to comment on their television appearances — has begun reaching out to them by inviting small groups of senators to the White House for lunch. While the meetings have not been billed as pertaining to a certain topic, the impeachment inquiry has come up. Mr. Trump has also had Republican lawmakers review transcripts of both of his phone calls with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, before either call was released to the public for the first time.

Mr. Trump has also weighed in with his impressions of the House proceedings, and discussed strategy during the lunches.

“They’re just waiting for the House thing to play out,” said Senator Kevin Cramer, Republican of North Dakota, who attended a lunch last week.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Campaigns Say Google Ad Policy Sidesteps Problem of Disinformation

Westlake Legal Group 21googleads-facebookJumbo Campaigns Say Google Ad Policy Sidesteps Problem of Disinformation twitter Social Media Rumors and Misinformation Presidential Election of 2020 Political Advertising Online Advertising Google Inc Facebook Inc Computers and the Internet Campaign Finance

Google’s new restrictions on political advertising, following an outright ban on such ads by Twitter, amount to a one-two punch on 2020 campaigns: The online platforms are creating a big new headache for them, while failing to address a different problem they fear most.

The decision to limit campaigns from targeting users based on political affiliation or voter record, which Google announced Wednesday night, was aimed at addressing concerns about invasion of privacy and the exploitation of voters through hyperspecific targeting.

But the policy will most likely have little impact on the thornier challenge of disinformation, which campaigns and cybersecurity experts say will be the more urgent problem facing the major social media platforms during the 2020 election.

Google’s new policy restricts a tactic — microtargeting of voters — that campaigns heavily rely on, while not aggressively addressing misinformation.

Modern disinformation campaigns that have plagued other global elections like those in the Philippines have not relied heavily on using targeted advertising. Instead, they have focused on creating so-called organic content — trolls posing as ordinary users on sites like Facebook initiate charged discussions, then amplify them through both human and automated networks to sow division and spread falsehoods.

These posts draw far more views than ads on sites like Google and Twitter. Restricting targeted ads, campaigns and experts say, eliminates a crucial tool candidates use to reach voters, but retains a system that hackers and trolls have proved adept at exploiting and that social media sites struggle to adequately police.

“It’s outrageous,” said Tara McGowan, the chief executive and founder of Acronym, a new Democratic super PAC. “Instead of monitoring and taking responsibility for the spread of misinformation on their platforms, Google has chosen to pursue a disingenuous and frankly dangerous shift in their policies so they can claim publicly to be serious about the problem.

“This change won’t curb disinformation,” she added in a text message, “but it will hinder campaigns and (others) who are already working against the tide against bad actors to reach voters with facts.”

On Thursday, two separate groups of digital strategists — a bipartisan coalition from the University of Chicago, and a group of roughly 40 Democratic and progressive strategists — released letters criticizing Google’s new policy. The letters, which were obtained by The New York Times, both fault Google for not adequately addressing disinformation.

“Policy changes by Google, other platforms, and regulators should focus on curtailing bad actors and stopping disinformation,” wrote the digital group from the University of Chicago. “Policy changes designed to limit legitimate political communications and dialogue are not the right approach for a democratic society.”

Google does have policies designed to combat misinformation, and in February it published an extensive white paper on the subject. The policy announced on Wednesday did also state that Google was willing to take down false ads, something Facebook has not been willing to do.

Officials at Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

There are numerous examples of how difficult it is to enforce misinformation policies on such a massive platform. Political operatives and campaigns have maintained that the announcement by Google is a halfhearted attempt to address the underlying issues plaguing political discourse on social media, an issue that has made tech companies a target of withering criticism from Congress, advocacy groups and some Democratic 2020 candidates.

A quick search on YouTube for Senator Kamala Harris, for instance, turns up dozens of videos that are spreading the lie that Ms. Harris isn’t an American citizen, including some with more than 100,000 views. None of these videos are ads.

“Tech companies have a responsibility to combat disinformation, and when their platforms are being abused to promote demonstrable lies, fabrications and racist attacks — some of which could lead to violence — it requires more than Band-Aids,” said Ian Sams, the communications director for Ms. Harris. “This is a fundamental problem that threatens our democracy, and what we’ve seen so far isn’t enough.”

Though Google had sent signals that important changes were coming to the platform, the announcement still sent shock waves through the presidential campaigns. Five Democratic and Republican campaigns all said they were taken aback, especially since employees from Google had been visiting the headquarters of multiple presidential campaigns in recent months, pitching them on their suite of advertising packages and targeting tools.

In 2019 alone, political campaigns and outside groups have spent $44.8 million on Google’s suite of ad platforms, according to Advertising Analytics, an ad tracking firm.

Search ads on Google and other platforms are an essential tool for building and increasing small-dollar donations, an important cash source in a year when reaching voters digitally has become more important than ever. The ads are also an increasingly vital tool to remaining on the debate stage, as the Democratic National Committee continues to raise the threshold of individual donors to qualify for future debates.

“Broad targeting kills fund-raising efficiency,” said Rob Flaherty, former digital director for Beto O’Rourke.

“If you can’t use ads to target potential donors based on your own donor data, it’s going to hurt the ability to build a list,” Mr. Flaherty added. “And if you hurt the ability to build a list, you hurt the efficiency of email fund-raising. Everyone thinks about this as a solution to fix scary persuasion ads, but most of digital ad spend is about raising money.”

The decision will also most likely make advertising on Google more expensive and less efficient, a change critics argued would hurt smaller campaigns and down-ballot candidates who do not have the war chests of large Democratic presidential campaigns.

It also removes the ability of campaigns to “re-market” ads, meaning advertising to people who had previously visited their website, an important feature to campaigns. That change is intended to address the privacy concerns that emerged after the 2016 election, most dramatically with Facebook.

Indeed, looming over the announcement from Google is a pending decision from Facebook on whether it, too, would begin to restrict political campaigns from certain aspects of its advertising platform. Facebook is by far the most popular advertising platform in politics, and presidential campaigns have spent more than $60 million during this cycle alone.

The mere hint of changes was enough to ignite the Trump campaign to an aggressive public response on Wednesday night, accusing Facebook’s decision of being more rooted in the company’s financial bottom line.

The policy announcement was praised, however, by Ellen L. Weintraub, the chair of the Federal Election Commission.

“@Google’s plan to eliminate #microtargeting is a move that – if done right – could help make internet political advertising a force that informs and inspires us, rather than isolating and inflaming us,” Ms. Weintraub wrote in a series of Tweets on Thursday.

Some digital strategists also welcomed the policy changes from Google, noting that restricting the microtargeting would cause more ads to be seen by more people, therefore most likely diluting the effect of the more insidious types of messaging.

“What they’re getting at is a lot of the shadiest stuff goes unnoticed because it’s hard to see what’s happening,” said Michael Slaby, a Democratic digital strategist. “Because now you have to buy in larger groups, it’s less easy for someone to just say, ‘Let’s put these voter suppression ads in front of all the African-American voters in Milwaukee.’”

“I think their hope is that with more visibility, people will be less bad actors,” he said.

But David Goldstein, the chief executive of Tovo Labs, a Democratic digital consulting firm in New York, said Google had simply created a new problem. The company, he said, now faces the question of “how will it discern a political versus nonpolitical advertisers?”

“Unless they’re absolutely ruthless, it’ll be a cinch to get around,” he added.

Identifying a campaign ad and restricting how it is targeted will not be a problem. “But PACs? Is that political or ‘issue-based’? And what if I just use an LLC to push political content?” Mr. Goldstein asked. “Are they going to start aggressively regulating content? That’s almost impossible to imagine.”

Nonetheless, those who have been looking for platforms to take a proactive approach considered the policy from Google to be a good opening policy, so long as it wasn’t the only one.

“I think it’s a good first step,” Mr. Slaby said. “I think if there’s no second step, I’m going to be pretty disappointed that they thought this was the magical switch they could flip.”

Shane Goldmacher contributed reporting.

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A Former Fox News Executive Divides Americans Using Russian Tactics

Westlake Legal Group 21flamebait1-facebookJumbo A Former Fox News Executive Divides Americans Using Russian Tactics Social Media Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Rumors and Misinformation Presidential Election of 2020 Presidential Election of 2016 Politics and Government News and News Media elections

SAN FRANCISCO — At first glance, the websites Conservative Edition News and Liberal Edition News have only one thing in common: Both have been carefully curated to inflame America’s culture wars.

Conservative Edition News is a repository of stories guaranteed to infuriate the American right. Its recent headlines include “Austin sex-ed curriculum teaches kids how to obtain an abortion” and “HuffPost writer considers Christianity ‘dangerous.’”

On Liberal Edition News, readers are fed a steady diet of content guaranteed to drive liberal voters further left or to wring a visceral response from moderates. One recent story singled out an Italian youth soccer coach who called Greta Thunberg, the teenage climate activist, a “whore.”

The sites are the work of Ken LaCorte, the former Fox News executive who was accused of killing a story about President Trump’s affair with Stormy Daniels, the pornographic film actress, before the 2016 election.

Their content is written by a network of young Macedonians in Veles, a sleepy riverside town that was home to a collection of writers who churned out disinformation during the 2016 presidential election in the United States. Among Mr. LaCorte’s network was one writer who helped peddle a conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton had ties to a pedophile ring.

Until now, it was unclear who was behind the sites. But an investigation by The New York Times and researchers at Nisos, a security firm in Virginia, found that they are among several sites owned by Mr. LaCorte that push inflammatory items — stories, petitions and the occasional conspiracy theory — to the American public.

While big tech companies like Google and Twitter are trying to distance themselves from divisive politics by restricting or banning political ads, Mr. LaCorte’s websites are a reminder that there is a cottage industry of small sites happy to stoke passions on both sides of the political aisle and cash in on that anger.

Conservative Edition News and Liberal Edition News forgo bylines. The only hint of their maker is in fine print at the bottom of each page: “By Bivona Digital Inc.,” a corporation whose only known address is a drop box typically reserved for transient sailors off the San Francisco Bay in Sausalito, Calif.

Mr. LaCorte acknowledged in an interview this week that he operated the hyperpartisan sites with help from young Macedonians and American editors. He uses them, he said, to drive Facebook traffic to his flagship venture, LaCorte News, a “centrist-right” website that he brands as a “digital news start-up with the stated goal of restoring faith in the media.”

“I wanted to try to find middle ground,” Mr. LaCorte said. “Unfortunately, the things that work best right now are hyperactive politics. On one hand, that’s at odds with what I want to do. But you can be more successful by playing the edgy clickbait game.”

He added: “Where does that line turn from good business to ‘Eh, that’s sleazy’?”

Exploiting American cultural and political fissures to drive traffic to his websites has worked wonders. At last count, Mr. LaCorte had more than three million followers on the social network and 30 million unique visitors to his sites. Even he couldn’t believe his success.

“One day I woke up and more than 1 percent of Americans were following my sites,” he said.

Intentionally or not, the sites are mimicking Kremlin interference in 2016, when Russian operatives used fictitious personas to inflame American discord over Benghazi, border security, gun control and Black Lives Matter.

American officials have warned that Russia is laying groundwork for interference in 2020. In a rare joint statement this month, officials at the Department of Homeland Security, the F.B.I., the National Security Agency and other agencies warned that Russia, China, Iran and other nations would seek to interfere in the 2020 election through social media, disinformation and cyberattacks. The announcement was intended to assure Americans that the government was prepared.

What is less clear is how officials plan to address the growing and increasingly profitable marketplace for politically divisive content that is being operated by Americans. In this case, with help from Macedonia.

The spreading of politically divisive content or even blatant disinformation and conspiracy theories by Americans is protected free speech. Security experts said the adoption of Russian tactics by profit-motivated Americans had made it much harder to track disinformation.

“It’s this blending we’re most worried about,” said Cindy Otis, Nisos’ director of analysis and threat investigations. “It makes it much harder to determine motivation and even the actor.”

She added, “This slow-and-steady mainstreaming of disinformation-like tactics is normalizing things we would otherwise identify as inauthentic behavior.”

Mr. LaCorte had steered clear of promoting his role in the sites. His employees were careful to omit any mention of their involvement on their LinkedIn profiles. But The Times and Nisos traced their involvement through historical internet records, state business records, web server addresses, the WordPress publishing platform, and Facebook and Google Analytics accounts.

Mr. La Corte, an acolyte of Roger E. Ailes, the former Fox News chairman, served two decades at Fox before being pushed out in November 2016 as part of what he called a post-Ailes “corporate purge.”

He soon began devising his own venture, LaCorte News, “center to right leaning, but nothing like the hard-core political sites you see around,” he said in a Facebook post.

With a $1 million investment — including $250,000 of his own money and more from friends and family — he hired executives like John Moody, who left Fox after posting a racially inflammatory column, and Michael Oreskes, a former New York Times editor who was later ousted from an executive position at NPR amid sexual harassment allegations.

Almost immediately, Mr. LaCorte noted that there was little audience for his centrist news start-up on Facebook. “Facebook has created an onboarding system where I could not just go out and do standard news and have that be a successful strategy,” he said.

He set up several Facebook pages on science, history and humor, anticipating that they would eventually direct traffic back to LaCorte News. The pages accumulated nearly 300,000 followers, but the traffic rarely crossed over from Facebook to Mr. LaCorte’s websites.

In time, he reached a conclusion similar to one reached by the young Macedonians in 2016. They discovered they could make tenfold their country’s average monthly salary using Google AdSense’s pay-per-click ads next to inflammatory stories aimed at pro-Trump American audiences.

In the final weeks of the presidential campaign, Buzzfeed found more than 100 Macedonian pro-Trump websites that pumped out false and inflammatory stories.

Mr. LaCorte said he hadn’t followed Macedonia’s fake-news industry until early 2017, but came to admire its ads and traffic. He reached out to a 19-year-old Macedonian on Facebook and put a handful of his friends on monthly wages to do what he called “journalism lite” — hot takes on sensationalist stories from The Daily Caller and other right-leaning sites.

Mr. LaCorte said his sites weren’t making things up. “It’s not like I went to Macedonians ‘R’ Us,” he said. “Every story went through a U.S. editor. It’s not like we were doing ‘Hillary Clinton’s Cronies Did This.’ It was fair news. It was real.”

Looking back, Mr. LaCorte said of the 15 stories that his various sites put out each day over the past two years, “I would only be embarrassed by four.”

Facebook shut down Mr. LaCorte’s pages and even employees’ personal accounts last week after researchers at Nisos and The Times asked about his business. The move, which Mr. LaCorte denounced as conservative censorship, killed off roughly 90 percent of his income.

A Facebook spokeswoman said the action had nothing to do with content. After learning of the pages, she said, Facebook concluded that Mr. LaCorte had violated its terms of service by buying and exchanging so-called site privileges, and that accounts in his network had engaged with well-known Macedonian “troll farms.”

While Mr. LaCorte waits to see if Facebook will turn the spigot back on, he is moving more content to YouTube and creating an anti-censorship Reddit-like “Free Speech Zone.”

That content will also have Macedonian help. “I wish I could have an office full of locals,” Mr. LaCorte said. “But there’s no chance I could stay alive and pay Bay Area salaries as a start-up.”

Recently, the Macedonian government began investing in media literacy, in an effort to extinguish its “fake news” reputation.

“I chuckled when I saw that,” Ms. Otis said. “It hasn’t gone away. What’s happening is they’re professionalizing into communication services that sound a lot more legitimate than teenagers just trying to make a buck. And now, Americans are hiring them.”

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Pete Buttigieg Is in Bad Shape With Black Democrats. Here’s How Bad.

Westlake Legal Group 20breakout-buttigieg-race-PH-facebookJumbo Pete Buttigieg Is in Bad Shape With Black Democrats. Here’s How Bad. Race and Ethnicity Presidential Election of 2020 Debates (Political) Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Blacks

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has 154 endorsements from current or former black or Hispanic elected officials. Senator Kamala Harris has 93. Senator Bernie Sanders has 91. Senator Cory Booker has 50. Senator Elizabeth Warren has 43.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg has six.

The South Bend, Ind., mayor has surged to first place in some Iowa polls and has built a big-money fund-raising operation that is the strongest in the Democratic presidential field.

But as his campaign has grown exponentially beyond the small band of loyalists who began it in January, Mr. Buttigieg has failed to demonstrate even minimal support among African-Americans and Hispanics, critical voting blocs that will have a much larger say after Iowa and New Hampshire, and their nearly all-white electorates, begin the presidential nominating calendar.

On Wednesday night, debate moderators questioned Mr. Buttigieg’s record on racial issues while rivals including Mr. Booker, of New Jersey, and Ms. Harris, of California, suggested he needed on-the-job training in talking to black audiences.

Mr. Buttigieg’s weakness with voters of color — he registered zero percent among black South Carolina Democrats in a Quinnipiac University poll released Monday — limits his potential in the 2020 campaign. A donor-class favorite who draws capacity crowds across Iowa, Mr. Buttigieg counts as his highest-profile black supporter either the man who lost a 2018 election to be Florida’s attorney general or the former mayor of Kansas City, Mo.

No Democrat in modern times has won the party’s nomination without claiming majorities of black voters, the most crucial voting bloc in South Carolina and in an array of delegate-rich Southern states.

“He needs to get out into the communities and countryside and let people know who he is,” said Sly James, the former Kansas City mayor, who endorsed Mr. Buttigieg in September. “That means some travel to the South, more time and exposure there and finding some key African-American leaders who can open doors for him and endorse him.”

Mr. Buttigieg has so few black elected officials and former elected officials backing him that they could all fit into a single S.U.V. The issue emerged during a meeting he held this summer with Congressional Black Caucus members who pressed him about why he did not have black officials from South Bend vouching for him on the campaign trail.

Of the black elected officials and former elected officials who have endorsed him, only Sean Shaw, a former one-term Florida state representative who lost his statewide race last year, has been to South Carolina on his behalf.

Mr. Buttigieg has far more help from surrogates on the fund-raising circuit.

Since Oct. 1, his campaign has held fund-raisers or donor gatherings with at least 13 separate campaign surrogates, including the actress Mandy Moore and the tech entrepreneur Matt Rogers, who co-founded the Nest home security company and is married to Swati Mylavarapu, the chairwoman of Mr. Buttigieg’s fund-raising apparatus.

Mr. Buttigieg has acknowledged his weakness with voters of color when he’s been asked about it along the campaign trail. He and his supporters have argued for months that he will start doing better among black voters once they learn more about him and his plans.

Win Iowa, this plan goes, and he’ll win attention and perhaps support from black voters that has so far gone to Mr. Biden.

“I welcome the challenge of connecting with black voters in America who don’t yet know me,” Mr. Buttigieg said during Wednesday’s debate. “As mayor of a city that is racially diverse and largely low income, for eight years I have lived and breathed the successes and struggles of a community where far too many people live with the consequences of racial inequity that has built up over centuries but been compounded by policies and decisions from within living memory.”

Mr. Buttigieg took only light jabs from his opponents on issues of race during the debate. Ms. Harris passed on a chance to repeat criticisms of him she made last weekend. Mr. Booker said that he had a full understanding of issues concerning black voters.

“I have a lifetime of experience with black voters,” Mr. Booker said. “I’ve been one since I was 18. Nobody on this stage should need a focus group to hear from African-American voters.”

More attacks on Mr. Buttigieg’s record on race are coming. Our Revolution, a political organization backing Mr. Sanders, is planning a Dec. 7 rally in South Bend that will highlight Mr. Buttigieg’s handling of the June police shooting and feature a black South Bend Common Council member aggrieved that two of her properties were razed by Mr. Buttigieg’s municipal government.

“When you can’t even take care of the needs of black folks in your own city, I don’t think you are in any position to be the president of the United States of America,” Nina Turner, a former Ohio state senator who is a national co-chairwoman of the Sanders campaign, said at a Sanders campaign fund-raiser Tuesday in Atlanta.

As his campaign took flight, Mr. Buttigieg was not always as responsive to inquiries from black officials as they would have liked.

Cordelia Lewis-Burks, a Democratic National Committee member from Indianapolis, said that shortly after Mr. Buttigieg announced his exploratory committee in January, she asked him to speak at a dinner celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Indianapolis chapter of the N.A.A.C.P.

Weeks later she had received no response. In April, a Buttigieg campaign staff member called and invited her to his official campaign launch in South Bend.

“I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. I’ve been trying to get the mayor to be the speaker for two months,’” Ms. Lewis-Burks said. Twenty minutes later, she said, she got word that Mr. Buttigieg would indeed speak at the N.A.A.C.P. dinner, which he did in October.

A Buttigieg aide said the campaign was not aware of the invitation until after his formal campaign launch.

Prominent black and Hispanic Democrats say they know few, if any, people of color who are supporting Mr. Buttigieg. Marc Morial, the former New Orleans mayor who is president of the National Urban League, said he knew of no one. Henry R. Muñoz III, a former treasurer of the Democratic National Committee, said he knew of just one Latina donor.

Adrianne Shropshire, the executive director of BlackPAC, a super PAC, said her organization had conducted focus groups of a few dozen black voters in six cities since August. In straw polls of the focus group participants, Mr. Buttigieg has not received a single vote.

“The missteps that get into the press, the South Carolina thing and the thing with the photograph, those are problematic because they become part of the narrative around him,” Ms. Shropshire said. “They become data points on this ongoing narrative about his inability to attract black voters.”

Even in Iowa, where Mr. Buttigieg opened a nine-point lead over the field in the latest Des Moines Register poll, the enthusiasm for his candidacy is not shared by the state’s small black and Latino community. Paula Martinez, a member of the Iowa Democratic Party’s state central committee and co-chairwoman of the state’s Brown & Black Forum, said she didn’t know of any black or Hispanic Iowans who supported Mr. Buttigieg.

“For African-American voters, familiarity and trust is extremely important because of the tendency and habits of politicians to say one thing and do another,” Mr. Morial said. “Sometimes there’s a reluctance to follow a new face who has no record of delivering.”

Black officials who have endorsed Mr. Buttigieg said they thought he had time in the three months before the Feb. 29 South Carolina primary to build a relationship with African-American voters.

Mr. Shaw, the former Florida lawmaker, said he planned to make more campaign trips to South Carolina for Mr. Buttigieg.

“The African-American community has a very long-term relationship with Joe Biden and it’s going to take some doing to get at that,” Mr. Shaw said. “But there are a lot of candidates who need to be doing better in African-American communities.”

Lamont Robinson, an Illinois state representative, said he talks up Mr. Buttigieg to constituents in Chicago, but he hasn’t come across any other black officials who back him.

“We have to be able to focus in on a comprehensive plan for the African-American community and that’s in the Douglass Plan,” Mr. Robinson said. “Surrogates like myself, we’re working toward getting that plan out to people.”

And Mark Barbee, the first black mayor of Bridgeport, Pa., is, like Mr. Buttigieg, an openly gay millennial mayor. He endorsed Mr. Buttigieg in September and said the 2020 campaign was too unpredictable to write off Mr. Buttigieg’s ability to win over black voters.

“We’re in an age where anything can happen,” said Mr. Barbee, who leads a community of about 4,600 people. “Pete Buttigieg could drop a song with Beyoncé tomorrow and change the game. You just never know!”

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Why Pete Buttigieg’s Lack of Black Support May Limit His 2020 Potential

Westlake Legal Group 20breakout-buttigieg-race-PH-facebookJumbo Why Pete Buttigieg’s Lack of Black Support May Limit His 2020 Potential Race and Ethnicity Presidential Election of 2020 Debates (Political) Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Blacks

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has 154 endorsements from current or former black or Hispanic elected officials. Senator Kamala Harris has 93. Senator Bernie Sanders has 91. Senator Cory Booker has 50. Senator Elizabeth Warren has 43.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg has six.

The South Bend, Ind., mayor has surged to first place in some Iowa polls and has built a big-money fund-raising operation that is the strongest in the Democratic presidential field.

But as his campaign has grown exponentially beyond the small band of loyalists who began it in January, Mr. Buttigieg has failed to demonstrate even minimal support among African-Americans and Hispanics, critical voting blocs that will have a much larger say after Iowa and New Hampshire, and their nearly all-white electorates, begin the presidential nominating calendar.

On Wednesday night, debate moderators questioned Mr. Buttigieg’s record on racial issues while rivals including Mr. Booker, of New Jersey, and Ms. Harris, of California, suggested he needed on-the-job training in talking to black audiences.

Mr. Buttigieg’s weakness with voters of color — he registered zero percent among black South Carolina Democrats in a Quinnipiac University poll released Monday — limits his potential in the 2020 campaign. A donor-class favorite who draws capacity crowds across Iowa, Mr. Buttigieg counts as his highest-profile black supporter either the man who lost a 2018 election to be Florida’s attorney general or the former mayor of Kansas City, Mo.

No Democrat in modern times has won the party’s nomination without claiming majorities of black voters, the most crucial voting bloc in South Carolina and in an array of delegate-rich Southern states.

“He needs to get out into the communities and countryside and let people know who he is,” said Sly James, the former Kansas City mayor, who endorsed Mr. Buttigieg in September. “That means some travel to the South, more time and exposure there and finding some key African-American leaders who can open doors for him and endorse him.”

Mr. Buttigieg has so few black elected officials and former elected officials backing him that they could all fit into a single S.U.V. The issue emerged during a meeting he held this summer with Congressional Black Caucus members who pressed him about why he did not have black officials from South Bend vouching for him on the campaign trail.

Of the black elected officials and former elected officials who have endorsed him, only Sean Shaw, a former one-term Florida state representative who lost his statewide race last year, has been to South Carolina on his behalf.

Mr. Buttigieg has far more help from surrogates on the fund-raising circuit.

Since Oct. 1, his campaign has held fund-raisers or donor gatherings with at least 13 separate campaign surrogates, including the actress Mandy Moore and the tech entrepreneur Matt Rogers, who co-founded the Nest home security company and is married to Swati Mylavarapu, the chairwoman of Mr. Buttigieg’s fund-raising apparatus.

Mr. Buttigieg has acknowledged his weakness with voters of color when he’s been asked about it along the campaign trail. He and his supporters have argued for months that he will start doing better among black voters once they learn more about him and his plans.

Win Iowa, this plan goes, and he’ll win attention and perhaps support from black voters that has so far gone to Mr. Biden.

“I welcome the challenge of connecting with black voters in America who don’t yet know me,” Mr. Buttigieg said during Wednesday’s debate. “As mayor of a city that is racially diverse and largely low income, for eight years I have lived and breathed the successes and struggles of a community where far too many people live with the consequences of racial inequity that has built up over centuries but been compounded by policies and decisions from within living memory.”

Mr. Buttigieg took only light jabs from his opponents on issues of race during the debate. Ms. Harris passed on a chance to repeat criticisms of him she made last weekend. Mr. Booker said that he had a full understanding of issues concerning black voters.

“I have a lifetime of experience with black voters,” Mr. Booker said. “I’ve been one since I was 18. Nobody on this stage should need a focus group to hear from African-American voters.”

More attacks on Mr. Buttigieg’s record on race are coming. Our Revolution, a political organization backing Mr. Sanders, is planning a Dec. 7 rally in South Bend that will highlight Mr. Buttigieg’s handling of the June police shooting and feature a black South Bend Common Council member aggrieved that two of her properties were razed by Mr. Buttigieg’s municipal government.

“When you can’t even take care of the needs of black folks in your own city, I don’t think you are in any position to be the president of the United States of America,” Nina Turner, a former Ohio state senator who is a national co-chairwoman of the Sanders campaign, said at a Sanders campaign fund-raiser Tuesday in Atlanta.

As his campaign took flight, Mr. Buttigieg was not always as responsive to inquiries from black officials as they would have liked.

Cordelia Lewis-Burks, a Democratic National Committee member from Indianapolis, said that shortly after Mr. Buttigieg announced his exploratory committee in January, she asked him to speak at a dinner celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Indianapolis chapter of the N.A.A.C.P.

Weeks later she had received no response. In April, a Buttigieg campaign staff member called and invited her to his official campaign launch in South Bend.

“I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. I’ve been trying to get the mayor to be the speaker for two months,’” Ms. Lewis-Burks said. Twenty minutes later, she said, she got word that Mr. Buttigieg would indeed speak at the N.A.A.C.P. dinner, which he did in October.

A Buttigieg aide said the campaign was not aware of the invitation until after his formal campaign launch.

Prominent black and Hispanic Democrats say they know few, if any, people of color who are supporting Mr. Buttigieg. Marc Morial, the former New Orleans mayor who is president of the National Urban League, said he knew of no one. Henry R. Muñoz III, a former treasurer of the Democratic National Committee, said he knew of just one Latina donor.

Adrianne Shropshire, the executive director of BlackPAC, a super PAC, said her organization had conducted focus groups of a few dozen black voters in six cities since August. In straw polls of the focus group participants, Mr. Buttigieg has not received a single vote.

“The missteps that get into the press, the South Carolina thing and the thing with the photograph, those are problematic because they become part of the narrative around him,” Ms. Shropshire said. “They become data points on this ongoing narrative about his inability to attract black voters.”

Even in Iowa, where Mr. Buttigieg opened a nine-point lead over the field in the latest Des Moines Register poll, the enthusiasm for his candidacy is not shared by the state’s small black and Latino community. Paula Martinez, a member of the Iowa Democratic Party’s state central committee and co-chairwoman of the state’s Brown & Black Forum, said she didn’t know of any black or Hispanic Iowans who supported Mr. Buttigieg.

“For African-American voters, familiarity and trust is extremely important because of the tendency and habits of politicians to say one thing and do another,” Mr. Morial said. “Sometimes there’s a reluctance to follow a new face who has no record of delivering.”

Black officials who have endorsed Mr. Buttigieg said they thought he had time in the three months before the Feb. 29 South Carolina primary to build a relationship with African-American voters.

Mr. Shaw, the former Florida lawmaker, said he planned to make more campaign trips to South Carolina for Mr. Buttigieg.

“The African-American community has a very long-term relationship with Joe Biden and it’s going to take some doing to get at that,” Mr. Shaw said. “But there are a lot of candidates who need to be doing better in African-American communities.”

Lamont Robinson, an Illinois state representative, said he talks up Mr. Buttigieg to constituents in Chicago, but he hasn’t come across any other black officials who back him.

“We have to be able to focus in on a comprehensive plan for the African-American community and that’s in the Douglass Plan,” Mr. Robinson said. “Surrogates like myself, we’re working toward getting that plan out to people.”

And Mark Barbee, the first black mayor of Bridgeport, Pa., is, like Mr. Buttigieg, an openly gay millennial mayor. He endorsed Mr. Buttigieg in September and said the 2020 campaign was too unpredictable to write off Mr. Buttigieg’s ability to win over black voters.

“We’re in an age where anything can happen,” said Mr. Barbee, who leads a community of about 4,600 people. “Pete Buttigieg could drop a song with Beyoncé tomorrow and change the game. You just never know!”

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Tulsi Gabbard’s White Pantsuit Isn’t Winning

Westlake Legal Group 21tulsi-sub2-facebookJumbo Tulsi Gabbard’s White Pantsuit Isn’t Winning your-feed-fashion Women and Girls United States Politics and Government Uniforms Suits (Apparel) Presidential Election of 2020 Gabbard, Tulsi (1981- ) Democratic Party Debates (Political) Atlanta (Ga)

What has happened to the white pantsuit? Watching the Democratic debate held in Atlanta on Wednesday night, it was one of the questions that stuck with me. It’s not as important as Medicare for All, obviously, or economic disparity. But given the role white pantsuits have played in the national conversation for the last three years, it’s not immaterial. (No pun intended.)

It was only a mere presidential election cycle ago, after all, that the white suit was thrust into the limelight as a symbol of so much: women’s advancement and opportunity, and the possibility of change. That it became not an item of clothing but a placeholder in a continuum that began with the suffragists, continued through Geraldine Ferraro, and resonated today. That it sparked mountains of text and tweets and entire Facebook groups dedicated to celebrating its meaning and urging adoption — and then designating it the outfit of the opposition.

That Hillary Clinton made it a cause celebre, #WearWhiteToVote made it a hashtag, Melania Trump made it a pointed subject of speculation, and the women of the 116th Congress made it a gauntlet.

Now Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, underdog presidential candidate, has, by all indications, made it her uniform. And yet no one really seems to care.

Wednesday evening marked the third time Ms. Gabbard appeared in a white pantsuit during a debate.

Though she wore a red jacket for her initial appearance, back in June, by late July she had changed to head-to-toe white (not ivory, not cream), a look she repeated in October — she didn’t make the September debate, to her very vocal chagrin — and again this week. She is also pictured in white, looking soulfully into the future, on the home page of her official campaign website. When she filed her official declaration of candidacy in New Hampshire, she was wearing a white jacket and shirt.

That kind of repetition, especially during events geared toward the public eye, does not happen by accident. There’s a reason she is opting for the imagery; a calculation behind the choice.

She should, by all counts, be seen as the standard-bearer of the tradition, so recently embraced by so many women. Yet reaction has been muted at best; more along the lines of “Hey, she looks really good in white,” than “our champion!”

Do we so quickly forget? Or is something else going on?

It’s not Ms. Gabbard’s relatively small slice of support in a large field; both Andrew Yang and Tom Steyer, with similar polling numbers, have managed to parlay visual symbols (math buttons and tartan ties, respectively) into an easy form of engagement and associative shorthand.

Part of the muted reaction probably has to do with the fact that Ms. Gabbard has engaged in a pretty public battle with Mrs. Clinton, calling her “queen of the warmongers” after Mrs. Clinton suggested Ms. Gabbard was the favorite Democratic candidate of the Russians.

It may also have to do with the fact that instead of a single female candidate on the stage, there are still four (plus Marianne Williamson), making the imagery of a woman standing in white less loaded with portent.

But it most probably also has to do with the fact that Ms. Gabbard herself doesn’t seem particularly interested in connecting with the suffragists, but rather is using her white suits to tap into another tradition, latent in the public memory: the mythical white knight, riding in to save us all from yet another “regime change war.”

Her white suits are not the white suits of Ms. Clinton, nor even the white of Ms. Williamson, whose early appearances in the shade often seemed tied to her wellness gospel and ideas of renewal and rebirth. Rather, they are the white of avenging angels and flaming swords, of somewhat combative righteousness (also cult leaders). And that kind of association, though it can be weirdly compelling, is also not really community building. It sets someone apart, rather than joining others together. It has connotations of the fringe, rather than the center.

And it is a reminder that clothes, especially when it comes to the optics of politics during an era of the ubiquitous screenshot, are only as meaningful as the content that fills them.

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