Anti surveillance activism in an Orwellian age ? In these terror ridden times the focus of the debate tend to be about how far we should go in curtailing civil liberties. How much government surveillance is reasonable to combat criminals. How the internet is kept safe from terrorists, fraudsters and madmen. How plots and plans are spotted by intelligence agencies in advance by monitoring individuals and communities.
State Surveillance in Denmark
In Denmark it seems a small but insistent movement is attempting to turn the tide. New police cameras placed along highways in Denmark automatically register number-plates of passing drivers. Store the data and analyze the records of the drivers.
Obviously this is a classic surveillance versus freedom dilemma. A system registering and analyzing everything, suspected of wrongdoing or not, is most likely useful in tracking, finding and following people of interest. Equally clearly however such indiscriminate government surveillance without court orders or even suspicion of a crime committed is a fundamental violation of basic civil liberties considered a given not long ago.
A Danish activist, or group of activists, have decided to take matters into their own hands smashing up one of these new police cameras with a hammer. The event was filmed by the activists and spread on social media. Obviously the intention being to make the efforts and resistance to government surveillance go viral. That mission was successful. Not only is the Danish ends of Facebook, Reddit and Twitter flooded with debates about the smashing of the cameras, the Danish media picked up the story too with interviews in the biggest Danish tabloid Ekstra Bladet, a front page feature (ironically) on the Danish State TV website and many smaller outlets beside.
In a bizarre and rather courageous twist the activist wielding the hammer and destroying the police camera followed the viral news of his actions by publicly turning himself in. Thus of course maximizing the media coverage of the event.
The effect was not long in waiting. On the evening of these events a seemingly different activist picked up the mantle and destroyed the box controlling all these police cameras.
Anti Surveillance Activism
What is the point of anti-surveillance activism in particular and the small but seemingly growing movement to re-expand civil liberties ? Well. That is the point. For decades all problems in society have been met with laws, regulation and control. Thus slowly eroding civil liberties. Recent waves of terror attacks around the world has been utilized into upping the demand for safety through surveillance.
These are phenomenons and developments that the activists and debaters aim to combat and reverse. At first sight Sisyphus task of enormous proportions. Western democracies of today employ surveillance, control and intelligence collection on a level that could be said to transform George Orwells 1984 novel into run-of-the-mill social realism had it been written today.
Are these activists modern day freedom fighters or vandals ? That is entirely up to eye of the beholder. We have slowly but certainly lost the civil liberties our Western democracies were founded on in past decades and the development seems to only escalate. Liking the methods or not, putting the spotlight on this fact is an important and necessary task.
Anti-surveillance activism in an Orwellian age ? Terror ridden times breed curtailing of civil liberties. How much government surveillance is reasonable?
You can follow the anti surveillance activists directly via their twitter feed – @OnTheRunRead more
Op-ed by Jake F.
Electoral fraud in the United States. What exactly is it, does it happen, and what can we do to rectify the problem? Electoral fraud or vote rigging is defined as “illegal interference with the process of an election. Acts of fraud affect vote counts to bring about an election result, whether by increasing the vote share of the favored candidate, depressing the vote share of the rival candidates, or both.”
This unfortunate act of fraud does indeed happen and in the United States, far too often. To brush up on the history of electoral fraud, let’s take a look into the not so distant past in the Gore vs Bush Presidential election of the year 2000. The race between the two actually showed Bush at a narrow but significant lead over Gore. However, predictions of Republican strength due to the impeachment issues of the current President actually began to backfire and lean toward Gore since his platform claimed to not give tax breaks to the wealthy and cut domestic social spending. It was actually Gore that taken popularity over the industrial states of the North while Bush had the South and Southeast of the country which lead the deciding vote to fall on Florida. Keep in mind that Jeb, George W.’s brother, was governor of Florida. It came out that the popular vote sided clearly and by a vast margin Al Gore but it was the Bush’s campaign acted swiftly with intimidation to the television networks power brokers with the message that Florida would serve to be “won” by Bush. Mysteriously the networks backed down and took back their announcement of Gore’s success and stated it was “undecided”. We all know the end result from there.
Voter Fraud in Democratic Primary Arizona ?
Need a recent example of voter fraud? How about Hilary Clinton in her big “win” in Arizona? How did she do it? Russian Insider reported,
“The key to Clinton’s strategy in Arizona was early voting. In Arizona, around 70% of voters cast their ballot by mail. Why is this important? Because of the 297,714 voters who have already cast their ballots—174,706 were female, 59 percent of the total early Democratic vote. The breakdown of early Democratic voters by gender and age is shown below. The early vote by women is dominated by older age groups. Voters under 30 account for only 7 percent of Democratic early voters compared to 41 percent for the over 65 crowd. The large number of women, particularly older women, who have already cast Democratic ballots, is a good sign for Hillary Clinton….Hillary’s plan to steal Arizona was remarkably simple: Suppress voting on election day, and rely on her large lead with early voters to secure a win.”
There was also large droves of people who returned thoroughly upset because they were denied a chance to vote at all! How so, you ask? Apparently many voter’s registrations were “mixed up” and scores of registered Democrats found themselves suddenly registered as Independents which meant of course they could not vote since they were not officially registered as Democrats. Not to mention there was a need to evacuate people out of the building due to a strangely convenient bomb threat. With all of these disruptions and interference with voting it somehow played into Hillary’s benefit. Gee, isn’t that lucky for her?
How To Stop Voter Suppression
So what can be done? Can we even stop this and how do we know that efforts and strategies to stop it or not just elaborate plans to further perpetuate voter fraud? Well, when illegal crap hits the fan, lawfully make the fan bigger and stronger to blow the crap right back in the face of the fraudster! What I mean is first.
- We need to look at the current laws that are in place to hinder voter fraud and lawfully widen their scope.
- Where ever a state is holding an important election there needs to be a thorough investigation with unbiased teams checked for past track record of even the appearance of corruption.
- Why not go all the way and make voter fraud a Federal crime and vigorously enforce laws that bind under penalty of vast fines up to and possibly including imprisonment.
- It wouldn’t hurt to create some sort of database that keep track of criminal voters and criminal election ballot hosts.
- Simplify the ballots! No complicated forms or punch cards but regular paper forms to check a name and turn in. Or if it is an electronic ballot caster, then have the program run extensively through maintenance checks for ballot errors.
- It would also be great to see noisy journalists flocking to every major election location looking for the next scoop who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is when they see it! I say, the more whistle-blowers, the better!
But is all this realistic? Yes! Yes it is. It just needs to be of bigger concern to us so that we may altogether, regardless of party affiliation, bang on the doors of the Department of Justice, Capitol Hill, and hell why not, the White House to send a message, “WE WANT A FAIR ELECTION! PERIOD!”
Bernie Sanders Calls Out Arizona Voting Process, Discusses Primary Results
Take note that op-ed´s do not reflect the opinion of Electomatic. Op´eds are written by readers, pundits and debaters wishing to voice an opinion. We happily facilitate such contributions to the debate and do not censor which opinions can be voiced. If you disagree with an op´ed, simply take the debate in the comments or write a counter piece.
Bernie Sanders had a grand day in the caucuses in Alaska, Washington and Hawaii. The left-wing hero of progressive politics ran up amazingly impressive numbers in all 3 states. The foregone conclusion of Hillary prevailing is suddenly replaced by debates about a Bernie Sanders path to victory. An 69,8%-30,0% win in Hawaii. Washington voted for The Bern at a 72,7% to 27,1% ratio. Finally the biggest win of the night came in the Alaska Caucus where Bernie Sanders grabbed 81,6% to Hillary Clintons 18,4%.
In terms of delegates Bernie Sanders netted an approximate 56 delegates to Hillary Clintons 20. A commanding win of proportions large enough to catch up with Hillary Clinton were it repeated in all coming states.
The state of the Democratic Race
In terms of delegates the state of the democratic race obviously narrowed a bit with the huge Bernie Sanders wins in Hawaii, Washington and Alaska. Hillary Clinton has won 1251 delegates whilst Bernie Sanders reached 1012 delegates with this weekends additions. If we include the already pledged superdelegates the totals are 1733 for Hillary Clinton and 1039 for Bernie Sanders.
It is worth cautioning a bit about the numbers including superdelegates. First of all plenty of superdelegates have not yet pledged and as such a shadow pool of delegates exist. Further, should Bernie Sanders actually overtake Hillary Clinton in won delegates it is very likely that some of the pledged delegates will simply change their allegiance to Sanders as happened in 2008 when Hillary had a similar lead in superdelegates until Barack Obama overtook her at the ballot boxes, thus picking up the superdelegates as well.
Bernie Sanders – The Comeback Kid ?
A comeback kid? Well yes and no. He won big. Impressively! But he was in fact favored to win and had been all along. Obviously 3 out of 3 wins will energize his supporters, bring in fresh donations and add some positive news cycles to an already well spinning campaign. In reality though we are talking a “comeback” that added maybe 10 or 15 more delegates than expected in must-win states.
Nothing changes the media narrative like a fresh landslide victory. Bernie Sanders got 3. We are suddenly examining the Bernie Sanders path to victory. It was not really a comeback though, given he performed brilliantly exactly where he was supposed to. His campaign in fact has nothing to comeback from. It has outperformed expectations massively. It rakes in unbelievable amounts of small donor contributions. It drums up enthusiasm in young voter like never (well save Obama) before. And in pledged delegates the Bernie Sanders campaign has managed to stay within somewhat realistic striking distance of Hillary Clinton all along. A Hillary Clinton who was declared ready for coronation even before any voting began given the opposition, primarily Sanders, she faced.
Bernie Sanders Path To Victory
Given all the positives and sweeping victories, does Bernie Sanders have a path to victory ? Indeed he does. But it is as narrow as ever. The road ahead is severely bumpy in terms of the realistic delegate catches for Bernie Sanders. The trouble is clearly visible in the Democratic primary calendar:
|Democratic Primary Calendar|
|Apr 5||Wisconsin||86||10||96||Open primary|
|Apr 9||Wyoming||14||4||18||Closed caucus|
|Apr 19||New York||247||44||291||Closed primary|
|Apr 26||Connecticut||55||16||71||Closed primary|
|Rhode Island||24||9||33||Semi-closed primary|
|May 3||Indiana||83||9||92||Open primary|
|May 7||Guam||7||5||12||Closed caucus|
|May 10||West Virginia||29||8||37||Semi-closed primary|
|May 17||Kentucky||55||5||60||Closed primary|
|Jun 4||Virgin Islands||7||5||12||Closed caucus|
|Jun 5||Puerto Rico||60||7||67||Closed caucus|
|Jun 7||California||475||73||548||Semi-closed primary|
|New Jersey||126||16||142||Semi-closed primary|
|New Mexico||34||9||43||Closed primary|
|North Dakota||18||5||23||Open primary|
|South Dakota||20||5||25||Semi-open primary|
|Jun 14||District of Columbia||20||26||46||Closed primary|
Bernie Sanders will likely win several of these contests. Plenty of the caucuses especially are tailored to his strengths. However, Bernie Sanders is not just in need of symbolic wins and performances spinnable as momentum. He needs to make up significantly more than the 200 delegate Hillary Clinton lead in order to construct a narrative going:
Bernie Sanders leads the delegate count now. Handing it to Hillary Clinton by use of superdelegates would be undemocratic and wrong.
To do that he needs to catch, pass and continually outdo her. Is that possible? Well there are plenty of delegates still to be awarded and as such of course it is. But in realistic terms the answer is no. Primaries in delegate rich states such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and California are on the menu. It is not a tasty one for Sanders. He is behind in all polls in these states whilst what he needs is something like 25% percent wins across the board. Without the collapses he experienced in southern states, letting Hillary drive up her lead.
Making up deficits is harder in the Democratic race as there are no winner-take-all contests. Deficits are made up by big wins awarding huge proportional parts of the states delegates. Sanders has momentum and could do it in quite a few places, but so far we have no indications that he is even within reach of a win in the big states that really matter.
Bernie Sanders path to victory ? It exists. But it still requires a serious game changer making him surge far ahead in current Hillary Clinton firewall states.
Democratic Primary Race Facts
The democratic candidates compete for a total of 4,051 pledged delegates primarily awarded proportionally on a per state basis. On top of that 721 individuals are appointed superdelegates by the DNC.
You can follow the latest American Opinion polls here to see if the Bernie Sanders momentum starts to manifest in crucial upcoming races.
The 3 latest contests were all caucuses:
Alaska Democratic Caucus
Hawaii Democratic Caucus
Washington Democratic Caucus
The GOP nomination battle is raging at hitherto unseen intensities and ethical lows. However beyond the noise it is relatively clear that the GOP establishment has finally made a decision: They are reluctantly supporting the Ted Cruz campaign in order to avoid the nomination of Donald Trump as their presidential candidate. The clearest manifestation of the Republican establishment rallying to Ted Cruz is obviously the endorsement from no other than Jeb Bush.
Had anyone predicted a few month ago the Jeb Bush or Lindsey Graham endorsement of Ted Cruz the immediate recommendation would have been a reality check or indeed psychiatric treatment. That is however the situation today. Ted Cruz happily describes it as proof of momentum for his campaign. The devils advocate might instead label it a sign of complete GOP establishment panic.
Nobody among the powers that be in the Republican party would volunteer a single kind word for Ted Cruz without a gun to their head. Thing is. They have a gun to their head. The strongest field of Republican candidates in several decades have produced the unlikeliest and most unwelcome outcomes imaginable. The Republican shot callers having to back what they consider an un-electable and inflexible evangelical with few positive traits only to desperately attempt to avoid the even bigger evil is a nightmare scenario.
GOP Establishment Vs Ted Cruz
Are the GOP big Whigs going to attempt to nominate Ted Cruz then ? No! In a small piece of poetic justice they are setting him up to fail. The logic is fairly simple:
Donald Trump might well win outright by gaining 1237 delegates. In that case the choice is either rallying to Donald Trump despite his flaws and make the best of it. Or, alternatively run a third party candidate. Would that third party candidate be Ted Cruz? No. Obviously not. The third party candidate would be someone mainstream GOP candidates in primarily vulnerable blue states could cling to in their own election battles.
Donald Trump could fall short of 1237 delegates. Ted Cruz would have won significant victories in the primary battles against Donald Trump in this scenario. Thus turning up at a contested convention with a strong following of delegates in his own pocket, though not within reach of 1237. Would Ted Cruz be a potential nominee in this scenario ? Very unlikely. Cruz would have played his role as spoiler for Trump but few or no of his current reluctant backers would enter the mudwrestling contest of the convention with the intention of getting Cruz to 1237. Why would they? Largely every other option aside from Trump would be more attractive to the GOP establishment and besides Ted Cruz would be one of the hardest sells to unbound delegates. The Cruz delegates would be used to stop Trump and since captured to attempt to nominate an acceptable candidate such as Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, John Kasich or similar.
Ted Cruz could reach 1237 delegates himself. Well no. Mathematically it is not entirely impossible yet, but in practical terms he has no path to reaching the magic number. The failure of Ted Cruz path to nomination happened long ago when he missed the low-hanging fruit for an evangelical candidate in the Southern and strongly conservative states. Having missed those Ted Cruz would have to largely clean the table in primary battles much less favorable to him.
The Ted Cruz Path To Nomination
If we look at the Fivethirtyeight delegate target tracker Trump is currently at 96% whilst Cruz is at 53% – check the Fivethirtyeight Delegate Tracker to see it in action. The point of that tracker is that Ted Cruz has currently secured only 53% of the delegates he should have won in order to be on track to win at least 1237 at the end of primary season. The tracker takes into account where each candidate should secure delegates based on demographics, ideological makeup of the electorate and so forth. As such, the 53% is a mathematical expression of Ted Cruz having missed his best opportunities already. It is extremely hard to imagine a Ted Cruz surge to victory in places like New York and California. Such a surge is exactly what he would need though.
Where does it all leave Ted Cruz ? As very close to a sure loser. He can not win outright. A Donald Trump win earns him nothing and the paper thin support from the GOP establishment will vanish the second they have even a remote alternative. Nothing is certain. Especially not this year. But Ted Cruz looks set up to fail.
PS: Yes. We are aware that we are breaking current election cycle rules by not including any nude photos depicting family members of those mentioned. We have also failed to question the mental health, looks or endowment of the presidential candidates. We will leave that to the candidates but you can snoop in the Dirty Campaign Technique feature to see what they are up to or simply have a look at the Political Meme and Negative Campaign trackers. Largely everything uttered seems to fit there these days. Sadly. One day we will have a look at the potential effects. Not today.Read more
Far Right Rise In Europe. Europe is seeing a wave of far right parties getting their breakthrough with voters primarily based on anti-immigration policies, nationalism and anti-EU sentiments usually. The far right rise in Europe is seen more or less across the continent. Inside the European union and outside.
Almost every European country has seen a far right, dirty right or fascist party getting an electoral breakthrough in recent years. The wave of far right populism is carried by anti-immigration policies beyond anything else. Fueled by the fear of Al-Queeda, terror and ISIS. Driven by the crisis of the EU in general and refugee streams in particular.
Far Right Parties In Europe
All of those parties should not be considered equal in nature or policies. Merely part of the same wave of far right populism in Europe. Golden Dawn and the Slovak National Party are actual (roughly) examples of self declared nazi-parties whereas lots of the others try and maintain a veil of mainstream reasonableness, while pursuing far right agendas.
Far Right Parties in Greece: Golden Dawn. An actual national socialist party in Greek politics. They march under fascist banners. plays a Greek version of the Horst Vessel song at rallies and have armed gangs of thugs attacking political opponents, immigrants and refugees. Several members of parliament and the entire leadership of Golden Dawn have spent much of the last couple of years in jail following a judicial crackdown. The crackdown came after a Golden Dawn activist killed a political opponent.
Golden Dawn peaked at around 20% in the polls, but have dropped off to around 12-14% after their legal problems. Golden Dawn was the first nazi party since world war II to win seats in an European election. They currently hold hold 18 seats in the Greek parliament and several seats in the European parliament.
Far Right Parties in France: Front National. An old player on the far right scene is the French anti-immigration and anti-EU party Front National. The far right nationalists are democrats and do not officially subscribe to fascism or nazism. They were led by legendary leader Jean Marie Le Pen for decades, but received their final electoral breakthrough in recent years after his daughter Marine Le Pen took over leadership of the party.
Front National made it to the final round of the presidential elections but ultimately lost. They have however won several local and parliamentary elections and have mayors in multiple French cities, seats in the European Parliament and such.
Far Right Parties in Denmark: Danish Peoples Party and New Right. The Danes are a bit nicer about far right populism than most of the other European nations. The Danish Peoples Party (Dansk Folkeparti) actively weed out party members stating positions too radical in nature publicly and the party acted as backers of the Anders Fogh-Rasmussen government from 2001 till 2011.
Dansk Folkeparti is nationalistic, anti-EU and anti immigration but they go to great lengths not to come across as extremists. They sugar over the more hardline stances with strong support for Israel, demands for better public services to the elderly and the fight for the little man against the system the Danes so enjoy. Currently the Danish Peoples Party have shot up to 20% support at elections and could become the biggest party in Denmark according to current opinion polls.
Far Right Parties in Sweden: Sweden Democrats (a feature on them: Sweden and The Refugee Crisis )
Far Right Parties in Finland: True Finns. The true Finns are very similar to the Danish Peoples Party and Swedish Democrats, must be a Scandinavian thing. They muster strong support for a closed-borders policy and anti EU campaigning.
The True Finns gained approximately 18% of the vote at the latest general election in Finland but are currently polling somewhat below that on average.
Far Right Parties in Germany: Alternative For Germany (a feature on them: Far Right Breakthrough in German Politics)
Far Right Parties in Hungary: Jobbik is about as close as we get to a fascist party without it actually itself as such. They declare themselves radically nationalist, anti-establishment, anti-immigration, antisemitic and of course anti-EU. The visuals of Jobbik make them look like a classic fascist or nazi party with parades of uniformed supporters waving flags looking suspiciously like versions of the Swastika.
Jobbik scored a massive 21% of the vote in the latest Hungarian elections and have become a force to be reckoned with. Not only in the streets. But in parliament too. As the far right rise in Europe goes Jobbik is one of the more extreme parties in the same category as the Slovak National Party and Golden Dawn.
Far Right Parties in Slovakia: Kotleba – People’s Party Our Slovakia and The Slovak National Party (Slovenská národná strana – can be translated as the Slovak Peoples Party too it seems) openly declares itself nationalist and socialist. They have the classic far right and outright fascist stances. They use the traditional fascist symbolism of uniformed political rallies, flags and marching.
After the 2016 elections in Slovakia the Slovak National Party entered into coalition government after coming in as the 4th biggest party. SNS has been riding the wave of far right rise in Europe but has not managed to reach 10% of the vote in Slovakia in the past 25 years. They have however gained more direct influence than most European far right parties by entering and supporting coalition governments in return for political influence.
Far Right Parties in the United Kingdom: The traditional far right party in the UK is the British National Party, BNP, they have never achieved wider support in the electorate or gained seats in parliament. In recent years a new form of right wing populism has been seen from Nigel Farage and his UKIP party. They are most certainly among the softer of the far right parties in Europe with far fewer authoritarian elements.
UKIP would have gained an electoral breakthrough more or less anywhere else in Europe. Nigel Farage secured 12,6% of the vote in the latest general election in the UK and a stunning 27,5% in the 2014 European Parliament elections. The European Parliament result is a consequence of UKIP being the only mainstream party in the UK opposing further EU integration. Whilst the 27,5% result secured UKIP a strong platform in the European parliament they still have not achieved electoral success in general elections in the UK. The reason is simple. A non-proportional electoral system. Their latest election result would have secured Ukip 60-80 seats elsewhere in Europe in a proportional system, but in the UKs first past the post electoral system it was only enough to win a single seat. Party leader Nigel Farage even failed to secure a seat for himself.
Several other far right groupings exist in the UK such as offspring’s of Pegida, the English Defence League. But none of them have achieved wider appeal.
Other Far Right Parties in Europe
The above walk-through of political parties with radical far right platforms in Europe is far from comprehensive.
We could have examined Brothers of Italy and Lega Nord in Italy. The Austrian Freedom Party. Order and Justice from Lithuania. Vlaams Belang (Flemish Nationalist Party) in Belgium. The Party For Freedom from Holland. The SPD (Freedom and Direct Democracy Party) of the Czech Republic. The examples are basically endless.
The new thing is not the amount of radical parties though. Both extreme flanks have always been covered. The new thing is the width of support for anti-immigration, anti-establishment and anti-EU sentiments that has led to the far right rise in Europe.
Far Right Rise In Europe
The Anti-Immigration Wave over Europe have provided wind in the sails for the populist right across the continent. Clearly, attacks reminiscent of those in Brussels and Paris will increase the support for all of those far right parties. The same might be stated for the refugee crisis on the whole.
The individual far right parties across Europe tend to mix a few general themes with locally tailored populist positions. In Sweden the right to shoot wolves. In Denmark a ban on animal sex. In the UK a repeal of smoking bans in pubs. In Hungary strong anti-Roma policies. It all depends on the local area. The common denominator is local political populism.
On top of the local issues most of the far right parties in Europe share positions on a range of issues:
- Closed Borders / Stop to all immigration
- Deportation of immigrants and refugees
- Anti Turkey joining the EU
- Anti EU in general
- Anti Islam / Islamism
- Pro restoration of national culture, independence and pride
- Anti freedom of movement within the EU
- Anti government and establishments
- Better service for the elderly and veterans
- Lower / No foreign aid
A policy issue such as the future of Israel on the hand divide the populist right-wing parties. Several of the Eastern European far right parties are more or less classic antisemitic, whereas for instance the Danish Peoples Party is strongly pro-Israel.
Same Populist Wave As Donald Trump in the US ?
Several people have asked if the right wing trends, the populism and the anti immigration stances of European populist parties are in fact part of the same populist wave that has brought the rise of Donald Trump in the US. We have looked at the question Is Donald Trump A Fascist previously. But. We haven’t explored it in detail yet and as such it is only fair to give an as of yet unsubstantiated opinion:
Yes. At first look. It does appear to be the same issues. The same form of rhetoric. The same segments of voters. The same economic conditions. Similar problems used to propel the arguments. But if it holds up to closer scrutiny is not yet certain. That will have to wait till another time. The Far Right Rise In Europe is a fact. So is the rise of Trump. They look similar.Read more
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.
Sweden is known as one of the most stable and uneventful democracies in the western world. For decades the country has maintained a Scandinavian welfare state model based on high taxes and low income inequality. The center-left Social democrats have been the giant in Swedish politics for as long as anyone care to remember, however only minor adjustments have been made politically doing intermittent periods when the center-right Moderates have managed to take power in the cold northern European country stretching up beyond the arctic circle.
Neighboring countries refer to Sweden as the definition of politically correct, as the land of the forbidden and similar. It all boils down to a political system in which everyone has had a basic consensus about priorities, agendas and economic policies.
Swedish Corrosion of Consensus
New winds are blowing over Sweden and the political system however. An ever increasing pressure on the borders from refugees during the last few years have seemingly corroded the long lasting consensus about the fundamentals.
The Social Democrats won the latest general election on September 14. At least on paper. New party leader Stefan Löfven was elected prime minister after receiving support from 31% of the voters for his party. The Social Democratic government is further backed by normal alliance partners the Miljöpartiet (The Green Party, an environmentalist left leaning party), further left wing democratic socialists of Vänsterpartiet (the Left Party) and the Feminist Party (yes, they have a feminist party in Sweden), though the latter failed to gain any seats in parliament.
This time around however the Social Democrats, the Green Party and the Left Party failed to gain a majority in parliament. Normally that would spell a period of ministerial seats for the center-right alliance consisting of the centrist conservative party Moderaterne (the Moderates) led by former primeminister Fredrik Löfkvist at the time, the conservative Christian Democratic Party, the agrarian liberal Center Party and the classic economic liberals of The Liberal Party.
Not this time! The center-right coalition chose to hand the prime minister-ship to the Social Democrats in return for collaboration, some would say control over, on economic matters. An unprecedented abstention from power. What led to it? The Swedish Democrats!
Electoral Breakthrough of The Swedish Democrats
The Swedish Democrats would likely have backed a center-right government given the alternatives. But the center right parties preferred being in opposition when faced with that or Swedish Democrat influence on their policies. Why? Because the Swedish Democrats is part of the so-called dirty right or far right wave that has been sweeping Europe in recent years.
The policy of Swedish Democrats is classic far-right populism. They demand a complete stop to acceptance of asylum seekers first and foremost. According to the Swedish Democrats special rights for minorities such as the Sami people must be revoked. Legal penalties must be significantly heightened to include the possibility of life without parole. Anti-EU sentiments are integral to the nationalist tone of the Swedish Democrats who among other things reject the EURO, oppose Turkish membership of the EU and demand renegotiations of Swedish membership.
On top of the normal far-right anti-immigration, nationalistic, anti-EU and tough on crime stances the Swedish Democrats have several locally tailored political messages as well such as lower taxes for Swedish elderlies, allowing hunters to shoot wolves and much more besides.
In the general scheme of things the Swedish Democrats are thus a far-right party along the lines of French Front National, German Alternative For Germany, the Danish Peoples Party, the Austrian Freedom Party, the True Finns and many more besides.
Significance of The Swedish Democrats
There are far-right parties on the fringe all over Europe. What is the significance of the Swedish Democrats ?
First and foremost they are an abrupt and complete break with the normal running of things politically in Sweden. The debate is usually incredibly civil, politically correct and cautious. Not so with boisterous Swedish Democrats. They yell what few others even dared to think until recently. Secondly the political topics thrown on the table by SD signify a break with all consensus policies on immigration, asylum seekers, EU and much more besides.
This is something entirely unseen hitherto in Swedish politics. Few political leaders seemingly have a clue how to deal with it or respond to it either. So far the establishments on both sides of the aisle have tried to simply silencing the unwanted voice by attempting to exclude them from debates, not joining in discussions raised by SD and keeping them from power by the two usually competing sides joining to keep them from influence.
The Swedish Democrats became the third largest party with 12,9% of the vote. In itself a fairly limited success one would think. However it gave them the swing seats between the two traditional blocks in Swedish politics. Thus creating a necessity for unity across the aisle to keep them from power.
Preserving Status Quo in Swedish Politics ?
The efforts to preserve a status quo by all establishment parties has so far proved a boomerang. Prime minister Stefan Löfven has labelled the Swedish Democrats neo-fascist. All parties have refused to debate them, enter into any deals or coalitions with them locally or in the national parliament. In short: They have been sidelined completely.
The effect? They have been handed the gift being able to portray themselves as victims of political oppression. As the ultimate anti-establishment party daring to voice the truth covered over by the mainstream parties.
The voters reactions? They are flocking to the Swedish Democrats like never before. Polling is often showing the Swedish Democrats as the largest party in Sweden come the next election with an opinion polling peak of staggering 28.8%. The average of polls have them closer to 20-22% making them a likely second party in Sweden, but it still raises serious questions.
Can a party with perhaps a quarter of the vote be kept away from influence continuously ? If they were, would they simply keep growing ? Are the established political parties particularly from the center-right block gonna start making overtures to the far-right Swedish Democrats in order to regain power themselves ? Or are they instead gonna attempt stemming the tide by moving their own policy positions closer to those of SD ?
Time will tell. For now. Nobody seems to have a viable strategy for stopping the wave of far-right populism from the Swedish Democrats. Most even seem scared to try. Swedish politics have been upended by the refugee crisis. It remains to be seen how much political capital the Swedish Democrats will muster on the coattails of the crisis. For now. They have upper hand. The momentum.
UPDATE: Latest Swedish Opinion Polls
The latest opinion polling data in Sweden. It paints the picture described above. Sverige Demokraterne peaks at 28.8% but are generally in the low 20s. Neither side look like they have any chance of forming a working majority government without the Swedish DemocratsRead more
In Ted Cruz´words: It is now officially a two man race! In the sense at least that only Ted Cruz and Donald Trump still have the opportunity to reach the magic number of 1237 delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination outright. In reality though only Donald Trump does in fact have a path to nomination by pure strength of delegates. To even come close to 1237 delegates Ted Cruz would need to win several states that are outright hostile territory demographically.
Donald Trumps Path To Nomination
Donald Trumps path to nomination is not easy either, but he does have a road ahead.
Current Republican Delegate Counts:
Donald Trump – 691 delegates
Ted Cruz -412 delegates
John Kasich – 146 delegates
Needed to win: 1237 delegates
Now lets look at the path ahead. All the future contests are listed below.
First lets have a look at the states where Donald Trump is an overwhelming favorite to grab winner-take-all or winner take most: Arizona 28, New York 95, Pennsylvania 71 and New Jersey 51. If Donald Trump wins these 4 and adds around 220-240 delegates he will have 920-940 delegates behind him, making him 200-220 delegates short of clinching the nomination.
The easiest way to close the remaining gap obviously goes through California with its massive 172 delegate winner-take-all prize. If he grabs that one the is home safe with other wins and proportional delegates grabbed elsewhere.
The Republican Primary Calendar
|Mar 22||American Samoa||9||Caucus (open)||(No allocation)||N/A|
|Mar 22||Arizona||58||Primary (closed)||Winner-take-all||N/A|
|Mar 22||Utah||40||Caucus (semi-closed)||Winner-take-most||15%|
|Apr 5||Wisconsin||42||Primary (open)||Winner-take-all||N/A|
|Apr 19||New York||95||Primary (closed)||Winner-take-most||20%|
|Apr 26||Connecticut||28||Primary (closed)||Winner-take-most||20%|
|Apr 26||Delaware||16||Primary (closed)||Winner-take-all||N/A|
|Apr 26||Maryland||38||Primary (closed)||Winner-take-all||N/A|
|Apr 26||Pennsylvania||71||Primary (closed)||Winner-take-all||N/A|
|Apr 26||Rhode Island||19||Primary (semi-closed)||Proportional||10%|
|May 3||Indiana||57||Primary (open)||Winner-take-all||N/A|
|May 10||Nebraska||36||Primary (closed)||Winner-take-all||N/A|
|May 10||West Virginia||34||Primary (semi-closed)||Direct Elec.||N/A|
|May 17||Oregon||28||Primary (closed)||Proportional||3.57%|
|May 24||Washington||44||Primary (closed)||Proportional||20%|
|June 7||California||172||Primary (closed)||Winner-take-all||N/A|
|June 7||Montana||27||Primary (closed)||Winner-take-all||N/A|
|June 7||New Jersey||51||Primary (semi-closed)||Winner-take-all||N/A|
|June 7||New Mexico||24||Primary (closed)||Proportional||15%|
|June 7||South Dakota||29||Primary (closed)||Winner-take-all||N/A|
Polling For Upcoming Republican Contests
In general you can follow the latest primary polls here in our tracking. We highly recommend visiting 538s Primary Forecasts as well – a very useful and clever tool for looking at and beyond the polling data to get an idea of where we are headed.
We have very little and rather old polling data for the 22 March contests in Utah and Arizona. They are both states where one would expect Ted Cruz to have a fair shot at beating Donald Trump based on endorsements, amounts of evangelicals and other demographics. Throughout April on the other hand we move north to more blue collar and/or liberal leaning states that should be tailor made for Donald Trump to inch very close to the magic number with wins in say Delaware, Connecticut, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and New York.
In the April contests the contender to look out for would presumably be a reinvigorated John Kasich backed by the entire GOP establishment in his attempts to take away wins from Donald Trump. Yet again we have too little solid polling data in most of these states to make any kind of predictions. Particularly since most of the polling is from times with a massively larger field of contenders. However, one thing we can note by looking at some of the polling we do have is that Donald Trump will not be a no-show in any of these contests.
Pennsylvania Polling (from Real Clear Politics) – RCP Average (3/2): Trump 28,5, Rubio 18,5, Cruz 16,5, Kasich 13
New York Polling (from Real Clear Politics) – Siena 3/3: Trump 45, Rubio 18, Kasich 18, Cruz 11
Maryland Polling (from Real Clear Politics) – Baltimore Sun 3/8: Trump 34, Cruz 25, Kasich 18, Rubio 14
Wisconsin Polling (from Real Clear Politics) – Marquette 2/22: Trump 30, Rubio 20, Cruz 19, Kasich 8, Carson 8
As you can see the polling is less than convincing for the April contests. Look out for better pointers in coming days and weeks. If Trump pulls ahead in the big winner-take-all states or in certain regions it could all essentially end in late April. If on the other hand it tightens against Kasich in the north and Cruz elsewhere, we could be counting single delegates till the day of the convention
Could Trump Blow It ?
You might be sitting there thinking Donald Trump has every possibility of winning those 60% of the remaining delegates he needs. The map does seem to favor him. But remember the field has narrowed and the opposition to Trump has solidified to an extent where GOP establishments are willing to back former pariah Ted Cruz.
Tactical voting has come to the republican races, meaning Cruz supporters are likely to vote Kasich in areas where the latter threatens Trump and vice versa. Further plenty of Super Pacs will be flooding American TV screens with negative advertising aimed at Donald Trump. Non stop. In every upcoming state.
So. The race is actually Trumps to loose by now. At first sight it sounds hard to win 60% of remaining delegates. But plenty of huge winner-take-all prizes in places that favor him are coming up. He could still end up falling short of 1237 delegates. It is very hard to see anyone else getting there though meaning it is basically Trump or a contested delegation.
Does Trump Lose A Contested Convention ?
Does Trump Lose A Contested Convention ? Lets say Trump turns up having won say 1100 delegates and a majority of states and the highest % of the popular vote (which is a fairly likely bet if he misses the outright path).
Right now there are no rules for the coming convention. As they havent been written yet. There are no “standard” or “ongoing” rules for the conventions. Last time they were worried about Ron Paul so they put in the 8 state rule to avoid him putting his name in the hat on the convention floor. This time, given the committee is filled with GOP establishment you can be pretty sure the rules will favor whatever plan they have. In this (imagined) case the rules for the convention will probably be something like allowing anyone holding a GOP position to put in a bid for the nomination and setting everyone free on second vote. Thus the establishment will hope Paul Ryan, John Kasich, Mitt Romney or whoever they are plotting grabs the win on the second vote.
If that happened defeat in november would be more or less guaranteed (you do not stick a finger in the eye of 30-40% of your voters without losing some to the sofa) … and Donald Trump + supporters would go nuts and the convention might well dissolve into madness. In fact, Donald Trump has already started prepping for exactly such a situation by declaring it would lead to “riots“, “a GOP civil war” and similar.
However, Trump is a chess player too. If he has 1100 delegates in his own pocket – nothing is stopping him striking a deal with say John Kasich for VP – or with those uncommitted after the drop-outs of Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush etc … to clinch 1237 on the first or second vote by including those.
So no. The establishment might blink first and hand him the nomination if he is close enough. To avoid a convention war. Alternatively Donald Trump might do the work himself by collection enough extra delegates on top of his own wins to clinch it. A future president Trump would have plenty of cabinet posts and other goodies to throw on the table to do the latter.
Will Donald Trump Be The Nominee ?
Yes. If I had to put my money anywhere it would be on Donald Trump becoming the Republican nominee. Donald Trumps path to nomination is neither simple nor easy but it is doable, realistic and the only possible outcome save a contested convention.
And a contested convention does not equal a Donald Trump loss either. He can fall short of 1237 delegates and still clinch the nomination by striking deals, bullying the establishment and a variety of other ways. He is far from a certain winner. But he has a path. He is the likely winner.
The stuff nightmares are made of. At least if you consider yourself a moderate or establishment republican. A Trump / Cruz 2016 ticket! But are we in fact seeing such a ticket potentially taking shape? Obviously nobody would officially say such a thing from either campaign. Though the Donald Trump campaign actually have gone on the cable news channels pointedly saying “or vice president Cruz as I prefer to call him”. A hint, hint, hint ?
In fact it could be a hint. And it could be something to consider seriously in the Ted Cruz camp. Basically Ted Cruz has almost no possible way of winning the nomination by now. He missed too many opportunities in Southern Evangelical races. Donald Trump ate into his voter base. Right now Ted Cruz is a sure number 2 in the race, but the future looks rather bleak for him with few obvious opportunities for wins on the horizon.
Ted Cruz Has No Path To Nomination
Why not stay in the race in second place and aim for winning a brokered convention ? Because Ted Cruz is probably the least likely of all candidates to emerge a winner of a brokered convention. If the race ends up in a convention mess there is simply little reason left to hand it to a universally disliked candidate such as Ted Cruz. He knows this. Thus. With a path to winning outright closing fast he has few options left.
But imagine this: Donald Trump is entirely inexperienced policy wise. Trump has a few solid points he really wants to move forward with such as building a wall against Mexico and redoing all trade deals. Aside from that he is a blank piece of paper on most policy issues. In such a situation there is a huge actual power vacuum to be filled out by those actually filling in all the blanks. That puppet master holding onto power on the majority of policy fields could indeed be no other than vice president Ted Cruz.
In other words Ted Cruz may have the choice between being left with nothing at all and approaching a spot on a a Trump / Cruz 2016 ticket. Indeed a ticket that could bring him influence on a hitherto unseen level given the traits of a president Trump.
Benefits of a Cruz Vice President
Would Ted Cruz be interested in a VP spot on the ticket ? Well for now he has to say no. But in reality he should start considering his options. The senate brought him little influence and fewer friends. Unless the cuts a deal with the eventual Republican president somehow he is extremely unlikely as the nominee for the supreme court that he might also have craving eyes on.
Why would Donald Trump want Ted Cruz ? To clinch the nomination, secure the republican base and be able to say he has someone politically experienced on his team. The downside would be how poorly Ted Cruz is viewed in the senate, how stoic he is when it comes to refusing compromise. Both making him a bit awkward for the guy striking deals with the senate and congress. Trump needs someone to smooth things behind him and that might not be a profile fitting Ted Cruz very well. However, the ups may still weigh in heavier than the downs in favor of offering Ted Cruz a place on a Donald Trump ticket.
A Trump / Cruz 2016 ticket ?
Are we gonna see a Donald Trump / Ted Cruz republican ticket then ? It is way too early to say. But in dark smokey backrooms there may be plotters and planners puffing on large cigars who have started considered such a constellation. In both camps! A Trump / Cruz 2016 Ticket is obviously still way in the future. But the thought may be taking hold. A nightmare in some minds, a potential way forward in others.
The two republican candidates were said to have a bit of a bromance for many months until falling out as the primary race tightened. As we have seen with the Ben Carson endorsement of Donald Trump that does not rule out a reunification. A Trump / Cruz 2016 ticket might be in the making.Read more
On a jollier note today. We have started a small political satire tracker. Our mailboxes are flooded with political cartoons attacking Donald Trump, satire ridiculing David Cameron, small meme pictures poking fun of Hillary Clinton and much more besides. So. For the sheer fun of it we have started the Political Meme Tracker
Have a look and a laugh.
Political Satire and Memes
Obviously political humor is exactly that. In the age of internet campaigns it is used to get serious messages out, spreading negative information about opponents and attempting to make attack ads go viral as part of dirty campaign tricks of various sorts.
However. Humor should be taken as such first and foremost. The best of political humor has some truth to it. But it should never be taken as gospel or proof. When you see homemade fact sheets making outrageous claims, they are just that. Ourageous claims. Nothing becomes facts because someone photoshopped it onto a fact sheet. And Donald Trump does not become a Hitler incarnate because someone draws the cartoon. Take it all with a pinch of salt and a laugh.
Satire Cartoons in Politics
In fact political cartoons have been part of the debate for as long as print media has existed. Newspapers have published political cartoons since the dawn of political debates. The new thing these days is that anyone with an eye for drawing and mind for satire can join in. Draw his own cartoon. Spread it on social media and watch it go viral.
Suddenly some guys homemade cartoon poking fun at some political candidate has reached millions of viewers. And many times more people have laughed at it than any cartoon in a print media newspaper would ever achieve.
Follow our collections of political satire cartoons
Submit a political satire piece
[contact-form-7 id=”127″ title=”Contact form 1″]
- You are welcome to submit any type of political satire, meme or cartoon. But obviously we can not guarantee to feature your submission unless it is sourced.
- You are welcome to attach photos or documents, but please state if you do not hold the rights to them so we know if they can not be published
Local elections were held in three of Germany’s powerful states. The headline from all 3 of them is the electoral breakthrough of far-right party AFD. AFD stands for Alternative Für Deutschland (Alternative For Germany). The party is a youngster on the German political scene. Being founded in 2013. Why are they worthy of big headlines?
Because it is the first real breakthrough of the far-right or as some term it dirty right since the fall of the nazis. Are AFD nazis then? No! They are indeed far-right in a more modern sense. Any actual nazi parti would be outlawed in Germany as has happened to plenty of such over the decades. What Alternative Für Deutschland is, is a populist party hammering home anti-immigration and anti-EU sentiments.
As such they can be compared to the Austrian Freedom Party, the Danish Peoples Party in Denmark, the Front Nacional in France which are similar anti-immigration and anti-EU political parties on the far-right, who all still work within the boundaries and rules of the established democracies. Equally, AFD does not seem to deserve comparison to actual fascist or nazi parties around Europe such as Golden Dawn in Greece, Jobbik in Hungary or the Slovak National Party (Slovenská národná strana)
Election Results in Germany
Lets have a look a the actual results. The Germans went to the polls in three local states. But the results sent a message to all of Germany. Indeed, to all of the world.
Baden-Württemberg Election Germany
Grüne 30,3% – 47 (+11) Seats – (The Greens)
CDU 27,0% – 42 (-18) Seats – (The Conservatives)
AfD 15,1% – 23 (+23) Seats – (Alternative For Germany)
SPD 12,7% – 19 (-16) Seats – (Social Democrats)
FDP 8,3% – 12 (+5) Seats – (The Liberal Party)
Die Linke 2,9% – 0 Seats – (The Leftwing Party)
Rheinland-Pfalz Election Germany
SPD 36,2% – 39 (-3) Seats – (Social Democrats)
CDU 31,8% – 35 (-6) Seats – (The Conservatives)
AfD 12,6% – 14 (+14) Seats – (Alternative For Germany)
FDP 6,2% – 7 (+7) Seats – (The Liberal Party)
Grüne 5,3% – 6 (-12) Seats – (The Greens)
Die Linke 2,8% – 0 Seats – (The Leftwing Party)
Sachsen-Anhalt Election Germany
CDU 29,8% – 30 (-11) Seats – (The Conservatives)
AfD 24,2% – 24 (+24) Seats – (Alternative For Germany)
SPD 10,6% – 11 (-15) Seats – (Social Democrats)
Grüne 5,2% – 5 (-4) Seats – (The Greens)
FDP 4,9% – 12 (+5) Seats – (The Liberal Party)
Die Linke 16,3% – 17 (-12) Seats – (The Leftwing Party)
These results follow strong showing for Alternative For Germany in other local elections. However, these results really are spectacular. Almost a quarter of the vote in Sachsen-Anhalt and beating SPD in 2 out of 3 elections. The leader of AfD Frauke Petry will be celebrating tonight. Angela Merkel will not. This is a strong thumbs down from German voters to an open-door policy on immigration, a rejection of enthusiastic German support for a federal development of the EU and to some extent a negative vote of confidence on Angela Merkel herself.
Alternative For Germany in Power?
Are we gonna see Alternative For Germany in power? No! All other parties have sworn not form coalitions with AfD. At least for now. However, AfD have gotten themselves a strong wave of momentum and a powerful political platform ahead of the 2017 general elections in Germany. There is no doubt AfD are looking at an electoral breakthrough on the national stage next year too. They narrowly missed the 5% barrier at the previous elections in 2013 but are already polling consistently above 10% for the next general election.
Policy wise. What does the introduction of a far right political party in Germany mean? It probably has Angela Merkel considering a swing to the right. Her governing party CDU is bleeding voters to Alternative For Germany. She can try countering by arguments. Or she can try countering by approaching AfDs policy positions. As such, do not be surprised if Angela Merkel strikes a slightly less immigrant friendly tone in the coming month.
Do not be shocked if the chancellor chooses less enthusiastic messaging about the EU. Is it going to be enough to stop AfD? Judging from other European elections the clear answer is no. Alternative For Germany are very likely to get a thunderous victory in the 2017 elections in Germany, but are equally likely to be sidetracked by the traditional political parties in terms of influence. Nobody wants to touch Frauke Petry with an iron barge. But they will be scrambling to stem her tide. Even if it means copying significant parts of her rhetoric and policy.
Elections in Germany – Far Right AfD Won Big
The elections in Germany were a milestone. Not since the fall of the third reich has any far right party won any significant portion of the vote in Germany. Last night far right AfD won big.
Almost a quarter of the vote in Sachsen. Momentum. Plenty of media focus. By all accounts Alternative Für Deutschland is a new power to be reckoned with in German politics. And the “we will not work with them” tactic has been tried. And failed. In Sweden the Swedish Democrats of a similar nature as AfD have been kept from influence and kept growing as a result. In Denmark The Danish Peoples Party were labelled “not house-trained” and kept from power. Until the dam burst and they became perhaps the most influential party in the country.
What is the German political establishment going to do ? For now. They too will attempt the “unclean” labeling of AfD and hope they go away. In the 2017 elections they are likely to find out just how disastrous that tactic can be.Read more
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rubio … And The Damage Done. Isn’t that an awkward distortion of a Neil Young quote? Yes, it is. The needle and the damage done applies to senator Marco Rubio these days. Is Marco Rubio Dropping Out then ? Well no. Not just yet. Maybe.
Marco Rubio has struggled to gain traction in the polls and the voting booths for quite a while. In fact, he has never really capitalized on the narrowing of the republican field at all. The junior senator from Florida looks like the perfect candidate for the GOP. He is young (in political terms). He is good-looking. He is well spoken. He is of Latino ancestry. He holds office in a swing state. He is fairly mainstream (in Republican terms).
In other words Marco Rubio should be the perfect establishment backed frontrunner. Right now should be time when he was wrapping up his nomination with only a show-piece of a race left to excite the media against an ultra-conservative evangelical of the Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum or Ted Cruz left. Instead. Marco Rubio has lost 18 out of 20 states so far. Usually not even making it to second place.
Rubios Newscycle From Hell
This week some good news was finally heading Marco Rubios way. The polls were narrowing in Florida with the local senator closing in on frontrunner Donald Trumps lead. Marco Rubio further grabbed a resounding victory in Puerto Rico with almost 75% of the vote and all 23 delegates in the back. Obviously Puerto Rico is no essential part of any reasonable path to the nomination. But a win is a win. And most campaigns would expect a good few positive newscycles from an almost 60 point win anywhere.
Not Rubio. He had his worst news yet.
First. A leading Florida newspaper announced they wouldnt endorse any GOP candidate. Trump doesnt have the temperament to be president. Kasich simply can not win. Cruz is too scary. And the local boy Marco Rubio? He does not have the work ethics to be president. Wow. Where did that come from? The work ethics. In other words Rubio is too lazy. He wouldnt get things done. Exactly as the Attack Ad Donald Trump is currently running in Florida says: Marco Rubio is lazy, his senate record is worst among all senators.
In fact. Being absent from senate votes often could by all accounts be a sign of excellent work ethics. If Marco Rubio turns up mainly for crucial tight votes and spends the rest of his time investigating problems, talking to voters and constituents, drawing up grand proposals and negotiating across the isle to find common ground – well then he is doing wonderfully well. Is he actually doing that? We have no idea! And neither do the Florida voters. All they know now with a fair amount of certainty is that the young charlatan Marco Rubio rarely turns up for work. Was that a coordinated attack? Not likely. More likely one picked it up from the other. But the effect is strong and damaging.
Is Marco Rubio dropping out then from the Republic race for presidential nominee ? He says no. But that is problem in itself! The state of the Republican race is volatile. And Marco Rubio is the most likely next victim of a rough American campaign season. He lacks tracktion. And the news is terrible!
Marco Rubio Dropping Out ?
Speaking of damage. Here comes the needle. The needle that might poke a finale hole in the balloon that is the Marco Rubio campaign. Suddenly CNN fired up a banner live on air:
BREAKING NEWS: Marco Rubio Considers Dropping Out Of The Race for Republican Nominee
The story was backed by anonymous sources suggesting the Florida senator might drop out prior to voting in his home state of Floria for the sake of his political future. The Marco Rubio immediately went on air to dismiss any thoughts of dropping out. But the damage was done. The entire news narrative since that moment has been about whether or not Rubio should drop out, what the effect might be for the other candidates, when he might do it and so forth.
As the former leader of the Socialdemocratic Party in Denmark said after being dramatically ousted by his second in command Poul Nyrup Rasmussen: Never Threaten To Leave, Threaten To Stay.
The wisdom buried inthere is that the second people think you might leave, you become irrelevant. Nobody needs to worry about the guy who is about to leave. Nobody wants to spend time campaigning, donating to or voting for the quitter who is about to run away.
So what happened? Marco Rubio had a media-narrative knife jammed thoroughly in his back. Who did it? All arrows would point at Ted Cruz. The senator wants and needs Rubio out. Cruz has been caught in similar and rather dirty campaign tactics previously. And he has the most to gain. However. It could also simply be someone disgruntled within the Rubio campaign itself. The problem is it does not matter if the story is pure fantasy, the needle and the damage done. Once people speculate about your leaving. You might as well leave.
Is Marco Rubio dropping out then? Well yes. I think he is now. But probably not until the night of his defeat in Florida.Read more