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> Campaign Insights, Noticing the ways it's done
AuthorMusician
post Oct 23 2018, 01:25 PM
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Part of my attraction to following politics in our democratic republic is learning about how campaigns are run. Each season reveals something new, and this time it has to do with stimulating voter interest. Both major parties are going at it hot guns hell bent for leather, casting the decision to vote or not to vote into imagery the strategists think will work. Examples include waves of immigrants at the border, holding back a bad Executive, and telling us this is the most important election season ever.

But that's not the insight. What I've been learning is how a seemingly unrelated idea might be impacting the electorate significantly, and that's doubting the validity of polls. I can see how the doubt can work to both encourage and discourage voting, but my feeling is that it'll encourage more than discourage this time around. So there'll be record turnout due to a ratcheting effect, where one party seems to be doing better than another, which encourages the behind party members to tell the pollsters they intend to vote, and that encourages the opposition members to do the same, and back/forth it goes.

What have you gained insight on during this midterm election season 2018?

How is it supposed to work?

How might the electorate respond?
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Hobbes
post Oct 28 2018, 09:20 PM
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Good thread, I think, AM, yet it hasn't gotten any responses. So, I'll give it a shot.

What have you gained insight on during this midterm election season 2018?

I think that the Kavanaugh process has stirred up the voters on both sides, and indications are that we'll see near record turnouts for a mid term election. The election seems to be more divisive than ever, with each side rushing to their extremes more than towards the middle.

How is it supposed to work?

Much like it is, I think. Politics has been rancorous since at least the early/mid 1800's. Perhaps even more vicious than it is now. As the saying goes, you get the democracy you deserve. I think the founders fully understood this, and that's why they came up with the electoral college...but that got swept into the political miasma it was there to help prevent.

How might the electorate respond?
We shall see. The election will be interesting, if nothing else. A very large turnout is predicted...but will that be uniform, or lean one way? Latest predictions are for the House to indeed become Democrat, with the Senate staying Republican, and likely gaining a seat or two. That would make an interesting mix...will they actually try to get anything done? Or just more posturing for the next election (go back to---we get the government we deserve)
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AuthorMusician
post Oct 29 2018, 02:28 PM
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QUOTE(Hobbes @ Oct 28 2018, 05:20 PM) *
Good thread, I think, AM, yet it hasn't gotten any responses. So, I'll give it a shot.

What have you gained insight on during this midterm election season 2018?

I think that the Kavanaugh process has stirred up the voters on both sides, and indications are that we'll see near record turnouts for a mid term election. The election seems to be more divisive than ever, with each side rushing to their extremes more than towards the middle.

I couldn't agree more. While Justice Kavanaugh kinda lost his cool while being grilled, it wasn't enough to disqualify him from the SCOTUS. Both sides of that issue went overboard, using hyperbole so much that it lost its value as a rhetorical strategy. I certainly did not support his confirmation but for reasons that have nothing to do with his alleged actions as a preppie/frat-rat sexual predator. I also doubt that he'll become a monster out to destroy the US from within. However, I do think that he won't be a very good SCOTUS member, as he seems too immature for the position. It's probably me becoming more senior of a citizen with each passing moment. Everybody is looking too immature rolleyes.gif
QUOTE
How is it supposed to work?

Much like it is, I think. Politics has been rancorous since at least the early/mid 1800's. Perhaps even more vicious than it is now. As the saying goes, you get the democracy you deserve. I think the founders fully understood this, and that's why they came up with the electoral college...but that got swept into the political miasma it was there to help prevent.

I of course hate the EC system because it doesn't work, but it looks like we're stuck with it. And from what I've seen, viciousness in politics is an integral part around the globe. However, I do get the point that it seems worse now than ever before. I'm just not sure it really is or if social media and other kinds of media have amplified the phenomenon. There seems to be a push from social media and a pull from other media that could be distorting the, um, signal. I'm obviously thinking way too much about electric guitars these days.
QUOTE
How might the electorate respond?
We shall see. The election will be interesting, if nothing else. A very large turnout is predicted...but will that be uniform, or lean one way? Latest predictions are for the House to indeed become Democrat, with the Senate staying Republican, and likely gaining a seat or two. That would make an interesting mix...will they actually try to get anything done? Or just more posturing for the next election (go back to---we get the government we deserve)

If I were to bet on it today, I'd go with gridlock in an overall sense, but some things might get done more efficiently. Thinking about budgets here and other routine government business. A Democratic House might get crazy over new bill introductions, but the Senate, even if it does end up with a Democratic majority, will likely keep things from blasting into extreme territories. And of course the POTUS has his pens that will probably not sign a whole lot of new legislation.

Sometimes the electorate wants gridlock to slow the rate of change. Looks to me that's the way it is today, and yes, we shall see. This will be my first midterm election that I watch in real time. Yep, fascinating stuff thumbsup.gif
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Hobbes
post Oct 30 2018, 09:34 PM
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QUOTE(AuthorMusician @ Oct 29 2018, 08:28 AM) *
Sometimes the electorate wants gridlock to slow the rate of change. Looks to me that's the way it is today, and yes, we shall see. This will be my first midterm election that I watch in real time. Yep, fascinating stuff thumbsup.gif


Yep. That also goes back a ways. Will Rogers said 'Thank god we don't get all the government we pay for', and Cokie Roberts on This Week many many years ago talked about how, during midterms, we the voters always seemed to do things to create a split in power. Indicating that yes, voters seem, unconsciously or not, to favor gridlock. I can see why it might be that way...skewing too far one way or the other probably not generally what the voters really want. It's its own form of checks and balances.

I too will pay more interest in this midterm...possibly more so than all the others put together!
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AuthorMusician
post Nov 3 2018, 02:35 PM
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Someone in the news broadcasts I catch made the comment that gridlock leads to compromise.That's a viewpoint that I'd not considered before, but it makes sense.

Maybe it's better to look at gridlock as actually being competition. The idea fits into multiple branches of government being checks and balances on one another as well.

Then there are the media that are supposed to act as watchdogs. Good stuff if based on truth, less so if based on alternate facts and outright lies.

Bottom line becomes politicians needing to learn how to work together again and media needing to more clearly demarcate reporting facts from expressing opinion. This viewpoint also sees one-party rule as being bad no matter what the party.

I'm finding the viewpoint to be more comfortable than always wanting to dominate. However, if a party does want to always dominate, then I can see the wisdom of crushing it. Whether the dominatrix party survives then depends on its ability to change into something less aggressive, more tuned into compromise.

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AuthorMusician
post Nov 5 2018, 02:56 PM
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Seems the Demos have finally figured out how liberal baiting works and have consciously decided not to respond:

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-n...ch-bait-n930326

It's the only tactic that works against baiting, at least from what I've discovered, having an older brother who baits without realizing what he's doing most of the time. I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt on motivation.

Anyway, it's about time the Demos got a clue about this very common behavior. It might mark a turnaround for the party in that baiting is a paper dragon not worth spending any time, effort or money on attempts to refute it. That leaves the real stuff, such as health care insurance and environmental concerns.

Also different this time around is the media having done lots of fact-checking, in effect rebutting fake claims coming from the POTUS and others. This takes the burden off Democratic campaigns.

Mudslinging in politics might be going obsolete too, which would be a nice breath of fresh, clean air. However, it seems important for motivating voters who want to believe the opposition is somehow dangerous to the nation. The Information Age can't change this basic principle of human nature -- you can lead horses to water but can't make them drink. On the other hand, it's become impossible to fool the horses into thinking muck is actually water.

Fact-checking can of course be abused to confuse people or convince them that some fake situation is true, so there might develop a demand for checkers of fact-checkers, if such a thing doesn't already exist.

People in general might evolve to be less gullible too. I kinda doubt it but hope it happens.

This post has been edited by AuthorMusician: Nov 5 2018, 02:57 PM
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Gray Seal
post Nov 5 2018, 04:42 PM
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Political advertisements (TV, radio, shiny car) are almost entirely attacks against opponents. While negativity is nothing new, the dominance of this type of ad seems to have exploded.

Why?

As admen are experts, I believe the experts have observed that the average voter is more concerned that something about government is amiss. Voters do not know what is wrong but they know something is wrong. Admen propose to play upon the unsettled voter by giving the reason that the opponent is what is wrong.

I also see ads which are push-ads. Some of you, maybe most, are familiar with the mailer that ask you to answer a questionnaire about political issues so the sending party or politician can put that on their agenda. Of course the questionnaire only has issues which the sender already promotes. The questionnaire is there to push you to putting the sender's issues as your own. You are not suppose to have issues other than what the sender is giving to you.

We essentially have the same thing with advertisement. The ad will condemn some platitudes while praising other platitudes. None of the platitudes are of real importance. It is just an attempt to control what people think. As big money does not really care which of the big money candidates win, it is win-win to promote big government ideas as a guise for significant criticism.

None of what I have presented is new. It is more prominent. I expect it will work. Voters are naive. They are easily persuaded by big money advertising. The uneducated voter is an adman's dream. They make a lot of money from elections. Big money wins. Again.

It is working like incumbents want it to work.

The electorate will respond differently. Those who support their favorite club will rejoice or whine. Many others will be resigned and confused as to what it is all about. A very few may be thinking and getting a sense that the whole think is a farce and something has to change.
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Curmudgeon
post Nov 8 2018, 07:50 AM
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What have you gained insight on during this midterm election season 2018?

Four years ago, we spent days working as volunteers, mostly entering data that had been gathered in the fields by volunteers walking door to door.

This year, we spent half a day chatting with three professional staffers who were relying on data gathered by volunteers who used cell phones to ask questions, enter data on smart phones, and never actually visit the campaign office. The sounds of silence were discouraging. My Post Office Box was stuffed with ads daily weeks after we had reported that we had voted by absentee ballot. It has become a system that is automated to respond to e-mails and twitter. The Republican Party has somehow identified us as wealthy donors. PE still answers a phone every time it rings.

I am not certain there is still any role for voters other than to show up. Being over 60, I can vote absentee from the comfort of my easy chair, and return the ballots a day or two later. With no newspaper available, what was on the ballot was a surprise... On Friday the TV was reporting on the difficulty medical marijuana dispensaries had getting licensed and staying open. On Tuesday, legislation to legalize personal use was passed statewide. Now that it is legal, will it be available? Will employers still be able to test prospective employees?
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AuthorMusician
post Nov 9 2018, 05:27 PM
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QUOTE(Gray Seal @ Nov 5 2018, 12:42 PM) *
Political advertisements (TV, radio, shiny car) are almost entirely attacks against opponents. While negativity is nothing new, the dominance of this type of ad seems to have exploded.


That requires people to view TV, listen to radio, or care about automotive signage.

I only watch TV via Hulu and You Tube. Haven't seen a single political ad all season long. The only radio I listen to is NPR, and if it carried political ads, I didn't hear them. Automotive signage is sometimes noticed, mostly not. Same goes for political signs, just noise in the landscape.

I do run a browser with the ad blocker turned on. Those sites that insist I turn it off get ignored. There hasn't been a single news story carried on the ignored sites that hasn't turned up elsewhere, such as on You Tube, throughout the season. I can tell because the headlines show up in the news lists I go to, mostly Google and Bing. I click on them to get the whole headline, and that's when the demand to turn off my ad blocker shows up. But now I know what keywords to use in search.

I bet the new generations, who are learning that voting isn't just one more adult thing to ignore, have even better skills at foiling advertisements. And with the Internet answer machine, they are probably better informed than previous generations.

There are fools out there who believe all sorts of strange things on the Internet, but I don't think they're more common now than before. It takes a certain kind of psychology to believe the Earth is flat or that aircraft contrails are a government conspiracy, and from what I've seen, it's like 10% of a large population. That's how many have addiction problems too, so there's probably a connection.

Bottom line is that either political ads will eventually go away or the ad people will have to get more creative with their craft. But it'll take a few more generations to get there, probably when the Millennials are ready to retire.

Meanwhile, negative ads work, mostly. The appeal to emotion is fear mongering, and fear is one of the strongest human motivators. The trick is to motivate votes without making people afraid to do anything. Negativity can go too far, causing unintended results.

The negativity also has to be believable, at least for the target audience. This means that the negativity has to change with the times -- it won't work to get people fearful of space alien invasion or all those heathen savages lurking in the woods lusting after pioneer scalps.

Fear of AntiFa, yep; fear of small pox, nope; fear of losing healthcare insurance, yep; fear of socialized medicine, nope -- on its last legs. Fear of communism, no; fear of authoritarianism, getting there. Fear of climate change, developing; fear of socialism, waning.

It is kinda interesting to look at it this way -- what are people afraid of now, were afraid of but no longer, and what will scare them in the future?


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AuthorMusician
post Nov 11 2018, 09:46 PM
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I'm noticing more yellow journalism in the MSM this time. Either there actually is more or I'm paying closer attention, but it's getting harder to distill the true facts from the various tricks used in story presentation. It's annoying like flies in the summer.

It is interesting to see the fights over vote counts in the still contested elections. Maybe the politicians and their staunch supporters should drop all pretense about what's going on. I don't think anyone is fooled -- those who need more votes want every stinking one counted; those who don't want to lose their thin wins curse the efforts, in political ways of course.

Florida seems to have the biggest problems. Huh, how about that.

Colorado elected an openly gay Democrat as governor. Yet around here, public officials remained Republican. I think the Demos have given up on this cow town, since there were mostly unopposed Republicans on the ballot. And that's probably due to the changing economics bringing in a more wealthy population. Housing prices are very high, but there's still a lot of demand from the lower elevations to move up into the mountains.

Other things changing include a mega-church, a Christian college, and a related exodus of what we call mountain people away from an expanding urban area. Mountain people live on small incomes and don't need to do things like put in lawns. They tend to like small digs rather than sprawling estates and are just fine with anachronisms like outhouses (toilets). So a primitive hunting shack fits the bill for a lot of them.

Contrast that with the new builds around town that have thousands of square feet and landscaping, your million dollar mansions with three-car garages by default.

Getting harder to hard scrabble it, but there are a lot of places way out there to try. We'd do that if we were 40 or so years younger thumbsup.gif
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