Electomatic Political News

Gossiping The Elections, The Policians & The Electorates

New poll out from Utah shows a very different picture to the below:

Utah Opinion Poll: Cruz 53%, John Kasich 29%, Donald Trump 11% (Likely Caucus goers)

This might very well be an example of an endorsement that actually influences the votes: Mitt Romney endorsing Ted Cruz in Utah might well have been the booster Cruz needed to pull ahead. Remember as well that given it is a caucus it is very likely that some of the Kasich voters will actually act tactically and support Cruz to stop Trump. This is particularly important as anyone reaching 50% of the vote makes it winner take all of the 40 delegates from Utah (if nobody reaches 50% the delegates are split more proportionally.)

Quick update on the Trumps Path To Nomination feature which lacked recent polling from some of the states Donald Trump needs to win. Now we have a couple of polls to look at:

New York Republican Presidential Primary (Emerson): Trump 64, Cruz 12, Kasich 1  (Trump +52)
Arizona Republican Presidential Primary (Merrill): Trump 31, Cruz 19, Kasich 10 (Trump +12)
California Republican Presidential Primary (Landslide): Trump 38, Cruz 22, Kasich 20, Rubio 10 (Trump +16)

These are significant polls for sure. If Kasich is entirely unable to stem the Trump tide in the liberal north it is basically game over. There are enough delegates up there for Trump to reach 1237 if you include his other likely wins. Futher, New York and California are incredibly big delegate prizes in themselves. If Trump cant be stopped there, he needs to be stopped more or less everywhere else.

Donald Trump a Fascist ? Rally with supporters in Iowa

Donald Trump a Fascist ? By Evan Guest

 

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Dirty Campaign Techniques

Dirty campaign techniques. We hear a lot about them during these busy political campaign seasons. Candidates for public office routinely accuse each other of going negative or employing underhanded dirty tricks. But what is the truth of it all? We have compiled a little guide to the dark realm of negative campaigning, dirty political tricks and non-written rule breaking tactics.

Negative Political Advertising

It differs from country to country if political TV-advertising is allowed. Especially in Europe campaigns are often limited to radio adverts and ads in traditional newspapers, on the internet and in magazines. Such restrictions seemingly put a dampener on negative advertising but far from eliminates it.

In countries such as USA TV-advertising is integral to political campaigning on all levels and negative campaign ads take up a rather significant portion of that those media purchases. A negative TV-advert is simply a commercial spot spreading a negative message against a competing political candidate or party. Negative ads are often used to point attention to negative aspects of competing candidates records, personality or policy standpoints.

If say a Republican candidate has made negative comments about Latinos in the past, a competing candidate might decide to purchase TV-advertising in heavily Latino areas of Florida to drive up negative opinions about that candidate in the area. The idea of negative political advertising is basically to scare away voters from a candidates, drive up negative opinions about him and thus hopefully for those doing it opening up for their candidate grabbing the support later on.

Does negative political advertising work? Yes. Obviously. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent during a presidential campaign season in USA for instance on negative ads. They would not be if they did not work. They do not work universally though. First of all they often drive up the negatives of the recipient of negative ads as well as of the sender. But it also depends on the targeting, message and timing of the adverts how efficient they are.

As with other types of negative advertising it works best if it plays to a quality already known or suspected. The classic example being Joseph Goebbels painting jews as greedy outsiders leeching on society. True or not. It was a picture that resonated because it already existed. Goebbels then played to it, exaggerated it and put it to the front of peoples minds by flooding the airwaves with adverts on the topic.

A negative advert claiming something that people intuitively disagree with or fail to recognize is much more likely to backfire or go without effect. As an example a negative advert aimed at Donald Trump claiming he was a poor business man would likely fail, as he is already known as an excellent business man and has the wealth to prove it. On the other hand a negative advert showing an irate Donald Trump hitting the nuclear buttons in furious uncontrolled anger would perhaps be more likely to resonate as he is already known to have an explosive and unpredictable temper.

Goebbels - Negative Campaigning Against Jews

Goebbels – Negative Campaigning Against Jews

Negative Robocalls

Robocalls are automated phone calls. They call pre-programmed voters, deliver a pre-recorded message and hang up. Robocalls in themselves might be annoying for those receiving them. But they are not negative. That depends on the content of the call. A robocall can be simply a message or involve the voter replying by pressing options with his phone keyboard.

A usage of robocalls for negative campaigning is false-flag calls. Say phoning up. Pretending to be doing a poll. Then asking leading questions or planting a rumor with the voter. A classic example were the robocalls engineered by legendary negative campaigner Karl Rowe. They pretended to be polling. Then asking: Would it change your likelihood of voting for John McCain if you were told he had an illegitimate black child ? Thus a negative idea was planted without actually accusing anyone of anything.

George W. Bush and Karl Rove king of dirty campaign techniques

Karl Rove king of dirty campaign techniques

Negative Defining of an Opponent

You may hear pundits debating how certain statements are meant to define an opponent. This is a long game tactic that pulls on all the other methods to get the job done. And defining will be done positively by the candidate himself and potentially in negative ways by his opponents.

Defining an opponent can be defined as putting into your head the associations you get when the candidate is mentioned. Defining is hard to put exact fingers on. But incredibly important.

If a candidate is successfully defined by negative associations it can be almost impossible to break that barrier later on. Take for instance John Kerry. He was slow to respond to defining efforts by, yes him again, Karl Roves campaign team for George W. Bush. And never fully recovered. He was slowly and carefully painted as a flip flopper. He was shown as untrustworthy on his war-hero records. He was defined as wooden. All of it started long before the cameras turned to focus on the actual race. It was clever. It was vicious. And it was effective.

Defining an opponent is obviously easier if the voters do not already have firm opinions about him. This is why efforts to re-paint Donald Trump for instance will be much more difficult than say painting a fresh negative picture of lesser known figures such as Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio. People already know Trump. If you ask them to define Trump they have words ready. Much less so for the other candidates.

John Kerry Victim of Dirty Campaign Tricks

John Kerry Victim of Dirty Campaign Tricks ?

Spreading False Information

One of the oldest tricks in the book is to simply spread false information. Again, it can be done in negative ads, as part of defining and so forth. And yet again too, false information is only as effective as its spread and how believable it is.

When Hillary Clinton claimed Bernie Sanders had a record of being against automotive workers it backfired. Why? Because it wasnt believable. Like him or not. Nobody could believe Bernie Sanders wouldn’t stand with those losing their jobs. Had she claimed he was secretly a communist with contacts to the USSR during the cold war it would probably be just as false, but we would be much more likely to be believed. Why? Because we have heard Sanders mentioned as a communist, we do not know him that well, but he is far left. It rings plausible.

Personal Attacks On Opponents

If you can´t catch the man, go for the ball. Or, attacking your opponent. Not for his policy positions. But for his personality, personal life or circumstances.

Obama is a Muslim born in Kenya. Really? No! He is none of those things. But what would it actually matter if he was? If he was able to do what he promised, fix the problems and become a good president wouldn’t it matter more if we agreed with him or not? Not necessarily! If we get the idea that a candidate has unpleasant or unfortunate personal traits we are generally less likely to look the other way than if we simply disagree with him on an issue or two. We can basically forgive his political positions but not bad personal traits.

As dirty campaign techniques go personal attacks are among the most common. When Donald Trump attacks Jeb Bush for being low energy instead of say being wrong in his foreign policy positions, its a personal attack. When Karl Rove insinuated John McCain had an illegitimate kid it had nothing to do with his policies.

One of the most important factors when we vote: Who would we rather drink a beer with! When asked, none of us choose based on that. When we actually vote it plays a significant role. We want the guy we can relate to, the good guy! That is why attributing negative traits to opponents work. But as with other negative campaigning it can backfire badly. For the same reasons. Attack someone seemingly unfairly. Come across as a bully. Be seen as playing dirty politics. It can all come crashing down on the sender.

Negative Internet Campaigns

In the age of the internet we have of course seen negative campaigns spread onto the new medium too. And everyone has joined in. Dirty campaign tricks are no longer exclusively reserved for plotting at candidate headquarters. Everyone can launch a negative video and attempt to make it go viral. Everyone can define negative tags on twitter and attempt to make them trend. Everyone can make political memes and spread them on facebook.

The internet can be used for all the other methods. But many more people can take part. A campaign can spread nasty rumors, false information or defining “facts” from seemingly anonymous accounts and have thousands of supporters doing the grunt work of spreading it all.

Check our Political Meme Tracker for more examples.

better-together-campaign-meme2

Dirty Campaign Techniques

Dirty campaign techniques. They are integral to political campaigns. Like it or not. The above walk through is far from comprehensive. We could mention plenty more. But the basic idea always is to define opponents negatively. Thus weakening their support.

A full article could be done on scaremongering political tactics. Maybe we should. But for dirty campaign tricks you will most likely have plenty of fodder for the cannons in the Presidential Campaign in the USA and the referendum run up for the Brexit vote in the UK.

We have taken baby steps to making a Negative Campaign Monitor. You are very welcome to help expand it.

donald-trump-graffiti - dirty campaign methods

Donald Trump Graffiti – Dirty Campaign Methods

 

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Is Donald Trump a Fascist ? A short little article today inspired by several people writing in with statements like “Look at the fighting at the Trump rally tonight, he is clearly a fascist“, “What Trump says about muslims is no better than what Hitler said about jews” and so forth.

However. Let us stop for a second. Fascist is such a buzzword these days. It is largely applied to anything we do not like or agree with. Does it apply to Donald Trump?

Donald Trump rally

Donald Trump rally By Marc Nozell

Fighting At Donald Trump Rally

First. Tonights rally saw thousands of Donald Trump supporters getting into skirmishes with at least hundreds of protesters inside the venue. All of it live on all the network news channels. For a while things were out of control, it seemed like punches were thrown. The protesters were shouting “Bernie, Bernie, Bernie” whilst the Trump supporters replied with chants of “USA, USA, USA

All such polarized events are cancerous tumors on the democratic process. Obviously. But they do not equate fascism. They indicate high tension, high polarization and perhaps a rhetoric gone too confrontational. It is entirely true that it is classic nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels gospel that skirmishes at political events are to be encouraged as they draw media attention, enthusiasm from supporters and nits the core of followers together. However. It is a tactic seen on all flanks of politics since the beginning of times. It says nothing about the ideology in itself.

In practical terms the events at the rally were actually bad news for Donald Trump. Last nights debate saw Donald Trump trying to be reasonable, amicable and presidential. This morning he had a joint venture event with Ben Carson in a tone of reconciliation, understanding and unity. Riots, violence and cancelled events obviously undermine such efforts.

Donald_Trump_mural

Donald Trump By Thierry Ehrmann

Is Trump a Fascist ?

Is Trump a fascist ? Basically no.

Trump has far-right views on a number of issues. His suggestion of deporting millions of illegal immigrants is obviously rather radical. His “Muslims hate America” statements are severely divisive. Building walls isolating America from other countries is nationalism and isolationism on a higher symbolic level. But again it does not equate fascism.

Fascism is a merger of conservatism and socialism whereby the good of the state stands above the good of the individual. As such production and industry for instance is allowed to function privately only as long as it serves the purpose of the state. One might say its a perversion whereby socialist thoughts and authoritarian leadership are stuffed inside the traditional conservative thought of the state as an organism.

If we pick out single issues it is possible to paint Donald Trump as a fascist. He has authoritarian views on the role of government. He is clearly influenced by nationalist sentiments and obviously uses divisive us against them rhetoric. Not only when it comes to immigrants but in terms of USA vs other countries, on trade issues and many others.

It is worth noting though that overall he does not fit the picture of a fascist. We have to squeeze him into the box of fascism by picking out issues that fit the picture. But on many other issues Donald Trump stands by liberty rights in the American constitution, he holds more or less libertarian views on plenty of other policy topics and he has a long history of supporting policy positions that would even put him on the left wing of the democratic party.

This is no endorsement of Donald Trump. Being divisive, populist and avoiding specifics of policy positions is not necessarily a good place to stand. It just does not equate being fascist. Calling Donald Trump fascist is about as accurate as calling Bernie Sanders a communist. You can make a facebook meme making it look that way by picking out a few policy issues, but it really does not fit the general picture.

Donald Trump a Fascist ? Rally  with supporters in Iowa

Donald Trump a Fascist ? By Evan Guest

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Unstoppable Trump ?

The results from the Nevada republican caucus are in and Donald Trump took it in a landslide.

Currently the count is:
Donald Trump 45%
Marco Rubio 24%
Ted Cruz 21%1,
Ben Carson 6%
John Kasich 4%

These are the numbers with only 14% counted but victory has long since been declared for Donald Trump. Ted Cruz yet again has declared himself victorious after a rather disappointing display. His argument is that Marco Rubio still hasnt had a win and should have done so in his Nevada firewall. This, however, is getting old. The argument is stretched too thin. Third place again without victory anywhere but Texas in sight. Basically Ted Cruz looks finished.

Can Donald Trump be Stopped?

Yes! Donald Trump can be stopped. He still might have a ceiling too low to win a one on one contest against an establishment candidate. He might still finally do something that outrages his supporters sufficiently to make them look elsewhere. Some external event still might switch the focus, priorities and ultimate choice of candidate.

But. We are approaching Miguel Indurains black cat territory. The legendary Spanish Tour De France winner always argued that victory could be snatched from him at every turn of the road by a crossing black cat. However, the black cat never came. Indurain kept winning. And by all accounts so will Trump.

It is fully possible that Ted Cruz will carry the Texas primary. He should. It is his home state and base for his entire operation. It is equally possible that an upset happens here or there. But overall, everything points to Donald Trump having a cruising time past super tuesday. He is building a commanding lead in delegates. He is polling impressively across the board in upcoming primaries. He keeps ruling the media cycles. He seems unstoppable!

donald-trump-rally

Rubio or Cruz ?

Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are still battling to be the alternative to Donald Trump. But, as we debated in the past they are more or less already too late to settle that score – Rubio and Cruz should have united prior to letting Donald Trump run away with the momentum, delegates, attention and winning narrative!

But still. Ted Cruz is not gonna bow down to Marco Rubio, though Cruz has the hardest path to victory. Instead, he is spoiling for a fight. Marco Rubio isnt going anywhere either. He is consolidating establishment support, donors and endorsements. But. Neither of these two look like they have anything up their sleeves which might rattle the Donald. Even if Kasich and Carson drop out they are unlikely to pick up enough steam to be competitive.

Super tuesday might well be the end of the line for anyone hoping to stop Donald Trump!

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The South Carolina primary is in the rear view mirror for the republican candidates for president 2016. However, Jeb Bush took the bus(h) straight home after another disappointing result.

Basically, as we discussed prior to the primary the South Carolina republican primary was make or break for Jeb Bush – and he broke! After a ferocious campaign effort by Jeb Bush splashing out million of dollars on advertising, wheeling out his big brother George W Bush and even his mother all failed to pay off. Jeb Bush badly needed to at least tie up with Marco Rubio to have a way forward as the establishment candidate. Instead, Marco Rubio surged to an impressive 22% of the vote and a second place ahead of Ted Cruz – whilst Jeb Bush only just squeezed home a distant 4th place with 8%. Slightly ahead of John Kasich and Ben Carson.

Thus, Jeb Bush graciously suspended his campaign. Thanked his supporters. Went home. And turned the lights out for the Bush dynasty that has dominated American politics for decades.

Republican Primary Satire

Republican Primary Satire – Clown Car Parade

Republican Primary Satire - Clown Car Parade

Photo By DonkeyHotey -Republican Primary Satire – Clown Car Parade

They started out with a colorful lineup of 17 hopeful Republican candidates for presidents. Since then all but 5 have dropped out. Donald Trump leads the race followed by Ted Cruz and Marco Rubi – with John Kasich and Ben Carson still in but hoping desperately for traction.

Welcome President Trump ?

Hillary Clinton looks like the democratic nominee to be. Bernie Sanders has gotten some traction with his far-left message, enthusiast youth supporting him and a fairly positive media coverage of his campaign. However, the Sanders numbers do not add up. He can stay in the race to get his message out, but it is basically more than difficult to see a path to victory for him. His base is too narrow. The states he has a chance of winning to few.

So, right now it is looking like Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton in the general election. However. Donald Trump is far from a certain winner of the primaries yet. As the field of candidates narrow he needs to pick up support from those dropping out – and he is not first in line for it. Fivethirtyeight had an analysis showing him doing extremely poorly as second choice – meaning, he is less likely to pick up the majority of say the now homeless Jeb Bush voters, whereas Marco Rubio is in a better position to do so and thus closing the gap to Trump.

Much depends on Ted Cruz. He is very unlikely to actually win the nomination. He has a solid core of support among very conservative voters, evangelicals and so forth. But Trump eats into his base. And it is too narrow to begin with. But Ted Cruz is unlikely to drop out anytime soon – and when he does, where do his voters go ?

For now its all unknown. But a first clue will be found in the next contests. Does Rubio add approximately the volume of Jeb Bush´ to his column or are they going somewhere else? Does John Kasich gain traction or is he about to drop out too? Does Donald Trump break the 40% barrier ?

Time will tell. From what I see the field is narrowing too slowly and Donald Trump grabs solid portions of too many groups to make him an easy one to overtake – and Ted Cruz, John Kasich and Ben Carson are simply spoilers in a game that favors Donald Trump. If I was Donald Trump i would hurry up and send the Kasich super PAC a few million dollars, just to keep him going beyond super tuesday.

President Trump ? The Clinton vs Trump match up in polls are more less tied. Slightly tilting to Clinton usually. But, that is before the Republican party has to rally behind their nominee – even if his name is The Donald! Once that happens he might well have a shot at winning. Hillary is not a strong candidate and Trump has many sore points he can shamelessly attack.

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I was watching post New Hampshire speeches last night .. a quite bizarre experience indeed.

The Donald … he was obviously thrilled about his win, thanking a lot of seemingly random – mostly dead – people. Aside from that it was a strange stream-of-consciousness goldfish attention span speech … “Hey we are gonna make america great again, remember that, hey you overthere I love that sign, lets build a wall, you know i have experience building things, oh I should thank my brother, he´s upthere, dead, but we should rebuild the military so nobody messes with America ever again, omg lets make america great … and on and on …

Second in line came Kasich, who seemed like a very friendly and likeable guy. He spent his 30minutes speech telling us how we all need to hug a bit more. And that was as close as he got to a political idea or suggestion.

Rubio took the blame for his blatant failure in the primary and pointed the finger at himself for messing up at the debate by using robotic talking points over and over. He did this by using obvious talking points. And then rescinded and blamed the media the day after.

Hillary lost by 22 points, bigger than expected and gave an upbeat victory speech with Chelsea and Bill clapping happily in the background. She has clearly been told to try and look human, it really is a struggle for her.

…and finally a 74-old nerdy looking guy called Bernie with a 50yo career in Washington promised change and a socialist revolution, yelled at all the nasty insiders, promised that in future everything (university tuitions, health care and many other things) will be free. All paid for by taxing Wall Street. All his teen fans seemed to love it and for a while I feared he was gonna start doing Footloose dancing.

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