Project Wonderful

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Help Crowdfund CampaignSick!

I am VERY EXCITED to announce crowdfunding for CampaignSick!!! Please watch the video or click the link to find out more!

Text of the video pasted below.

Thank you for all that you do!


Patreon is like Kickstarter but rather than working toward one big project allows me to fund an ongoing project, like CampaignSick. You can pledge any monthly amount you want. Could be as low as $1. Could be more.

CampaignSick is absolutely a labor of love, but it is a labor. I view CampaignSick as a community project and that’s why I’m asking for your support.

CampaignSick readers always write in: “I wish I could buy you a beer.” So think of it like that. If everyone who reads this blog gave $8 a month, which is the cost of a beer in New York, I could quit my job, travel the country visiting campaigns and do this full time. Now I don’t expect that, but the more people who give, the more time I can spend supporting the campaign community, which is what I love.

Now that I’m working full time instead of in grad school it is hard to prioritize blogging and fostering this community that we all love. Patreon will allow me to create content on a more regular basis, answer more of your questions, involve more collaborators and maybe even do things like this, shoot videos.

I want you to know how much I appreciate you reading and also how much it would mean to me if you could give.

So, can I count on you to help crowdfund CampaignSick?

Thank you for all that you do.

Campaign Love and Mine,

Friday, January 24, 2014


Every job has its jargon and campaigns are no exception. While these idioms are not unique to campaigns, they are used so frequently that they are almost jokes within the campaign community. If you don't know them, you should.

1)"It is what it is." Used to describe a situation over which the campaign has no control.
Communications Director: "She knows she's gonna be with us eventually, she just do it now so we can add her to the press release."
Political Director: "Yeah, I wish she would endorse before her primary, but it is what it is."

2)"Throw someone under the bus." Used to describe the process of blaming someone else, usually an non-present party, in order to avoid blow-back from unwelcome information or circumstances.
Field Organizer: "Things are okay, but the county chair pissed because we won't hire his nephew to put up yard signs."
Field Director: "Ugh. Well if she comes at you with that again, just throw me under the bus and tell him I said we can't afford it."

3)"Throw spaghetti at the wall." To take a broad, non-targeted approach, inefficient approach in the hope that something sticks. Usually a non-preferred method.
Field Director "I mean the problem with just handing out literature at subway stations is that you don't know if those people are voters or actually live in the district, so it's kind of like throwing spaghetti at the wall."

4)"To have the bandwidth for.." To have the time or mental energy to properly execute a particular task.
Campaign Manager: "I guess we could schedule a debate prep for after the candidate finishes call time, but I'm just worried he won't have the bandwidth for that."

5)"At the end of the day..." Usually used to bring perspective to a currently stressful situation.
Intern 1: " I was taught that this far out we should be registering voters. Why aren't we new registering voters?"
Intern 2 : "Listen, at the end of the day people are not registering to vote for the first time because of a Controller's race."

6) "Living the dream as always." Avoidance response to questions about a campaign worker's well-being. Delivered with various amounts of sarcasm.
Organizer 1: "How ya doin?"
Organizer 2: "Oh I was here until 2am printing walk lists and then none of my volunteers showed up so you know, living the dream as always."

Happy to be here. Proud to serve.


More than Half of Congress Members Are Now Millionaires

"The milestone comes as Congress is having difficulty approving benefits for people who have less, such as extending expanded unemployment benefits, funding for food stamps and increasing the minimum wage."

This story has been written about a lot over the past week so I will just say it is INSANE and highlights so much about what's wrong with our system. You know, but let's not have campaign finance reform.

Gallup Finds That A Record Percentage of Americans Identify as Independents

Forty-two percent of Americans, on average, identified as political independents in 2013, the highest Gallup has measured since it began conducting interviews by telephone 25 years ago. Meanwhile, Republican identification fell to 25%, the lowest over that time span. At 31%, Democratic identification is unchanged from the last four years but down from 36% in 2008...

The increased independence adds a greater level of unpredictability to this year's congressional midterm elections. Because U.S. voters are less anchored to the parties than ever before, it's not clear what kind of appeals may be most effective to winning votes. But with Americans increasingly eschewing party labels for themselves, candidates who are less closely aligned to their party or its prevailing doctrine may benefit.

Does anyone see in this study whether they surveyed "voters?" or just "Americans?"

Throwback Friday

"The Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List, which works to elect politicians who oppose abortion rights, argues that an Ohio statute penalizing false political speech prevented it from launching certain ads against then-Rep. Steven Driehaus (D-Ohio) in 2010."

I blogged about this case in 2011 and I clearly didn't feel that badly for Dreihaus, but the principle at stake is fascinating. However, as the article points out, the court will not rule on statute itself only whether SBA List has standing. By the way, pretty sure Susan B. Anthony is rolling in her grave.

Big Block of Cheese Day

Fellow West Wing nerds, rejoice! BIG BLOCK OF CHEESE DAY IS AN ACTUAL THING. January 29th. And Twitter is apparently dead-set on messing with my cognitive dissonance.

Required Viewing: A Conference Call in Real Life

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Why We Need More Women In Our Legislatures

I want to talk to you guys about something that is very important to me. Women make up slightly more than half of the United States’ adult population and have outperformed men in voter turnout in every election since 1980, yet they make up less than 24% of state legislators and only 18.5% of Congress, hardly representative for a representative democracy. From a global perspective, the United States falls below the international average for percent of female elected officials in the lower house, ranking 79th a tie with Albania.

I've posted a lot about HOW we get women in elected office, but I wanted to go in depth as to why. Please note a lot of these lessons are transferable to other historically underrepresented groups and I plan to keep discussing these kinds of studies and theories on my blog.

1) We need more women to get more women. One thing some of my more skeptical friends have asked about recruiting women to run for office (or LGBT people or people of color) is "Why ask people to run if they don't want to? Maybe women just don't want to run." As I've said before it's very difficult to aspire to something that you can't envision. In order for women to be inspired to run for office we need possibility models who remind us of ourselves and whose paths we can imagine following.

2) We need someone looking them in the eyes. When a legislative body debates an issue like maternity leave, it helps to have a mother in the room. When we're talking about restricting access to birth control, cutting funding for breast cancer research, or ensuring equal pay, don't you want someone in that room who will actually be affected by that legislation? It's one thing to vote to cut funding for breast cancer research in the abstract, it's another thing to do so in front of a breast cancer survivor. Unconvinced? Consider that no state has passed marriage equality or a an inclusive non-discrimination bill without at least one out member in the legislature.

3) Women are more likely to pay attention to issues that impact women. Not only is there value in having women present when legislative bodies deliberate issues that disproportionately impact women, you will be unsurprised to learn that women are more likely than men to bring these issues to the forefront in the first place. We see women taking the lead on bills confronting sexual assault in the military, to equal pay legislation. Note, when we say "women prioritize issues that disproportionately impact women" we do not mean, as I had to explain to skeptical friend "women disproportionately prioritize issues that impact women." Women legislators ensure that issues that impact women are not ignored.

4) Diversity is good for leadership. Studies consistently show that groups comprised of individuals with diverse experiences, in this case in terms of gender, are more successful at solving problems than homogenous groups, even when those homogenous groups are comprised of experts. Ideally our legislatures would be both.

5) Women are better at compromise, more likely to pursue institutional legislative reform and more responsive and more persistent in the quest for solutions to constituent requests than their male counterparts. I feel like this last one should come with a disclaimer because I'm loathe to promote gender stereotypes or gender essentialism. At the same time we've been socialized how we've been socialized and God knows gender stereotypes have worked against women in politics, so why not let them work for us? We saw evidence of this phenomenon during October's government shutdown when women from both parties lead the way on seeking consensus.

Campaign Love, Women Power and Mine,


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

So you think you've asked everyone...

Candidates often claim they exhausted their options when it comes to fundraising. Here is a handy reference for you to say "Oh really? Have you tried..."

Personal Connection Asks
Christmas Card List
Family, Extended Family, Extended Extended Family (eg your Aunt by marriage’s cousins)
Current boyfriend/girlfriend/partner's family
Your former teachers/professors
Family friends/Friends of Parents/Parents of childrens’ friends
Workout Buddies/Gym Trainer/People in classes with you at the gym
Your haircutter/manicurist etc
Your online social network Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn universe

Community Connection Asks
Day school classmates
Middle school classmates
High school classmates
College/Grad school classmates
College/Grad school alumni
Community Organizations of which you are part (Volunteer orgs, Rotary Club, etc)
Church/Synagogue/Religious Community
Fellow PTA parents/teachers
LGBT community, activists, people you know through GLAD, GLSEN, etc, local leaders
Local business owners who are impacted by legislation (use your town’s yellow pages and reach out to the owners, regardless of their politics)

Political Connection Asks
Donor lists from electeds/former electeds/candidates who have endorsed you
Unions that might endorse your campaign
Local PACs that might endorse your campaign
Former and current elected officials
Local community or issue based activists
Party activists/board members in your area/city/state
Local issue based clubs (eg chapter of Sierra club)
Political enemies of your opponent
People whose political campaigns/causes you have supported in the past
People with whom you have volunteered on political campaigns in the past
Anyone you have identified as a supporter (a “1”) of your candidacy

Professional Connection Asks
Coworkers/Former Coworkers
Unions of which you are a member
Professional organizations (Bar Association, etc)
Your professional network (other colleagues with whom you may not have worked directly)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Hillary Watch: One Step Closer?

Time Magazine just told me
that Ready for Hillary rented and emailed Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign distribution list leading to the biggest day in Ready for Hillary online fundraising to date. I thought you should know too. (Exciting!)

Happy 60th Birthday, Daddy!

I know it is not like me to do a post like this, but I felt in this case it was fitting.

If you have ever benefited from my writing, my work ethic, my high standards or my Star Trek references, this is the face you have to thank (and not just because, as I am often told by my family, our faces are the same). Even though he is a busy-pants lawyer in New York City, he still sends me a postcard every day since I left home for college. So birthday shout out to my dad, who in spite/because of the fact that I'm told I get all my faults from him, is pretty great.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Why do we drink? 'Cause it's better than to think.

Political operatives love to drink. In this town, cocktails and shop talk have gotten so they could barely be less extricable. Don't worry, Reid Wilson at the Washington Post was like, "I'm on this" and created the above infographic detailing adult beverage consumption by party affiliation and voter turnout.

At first I thought "this is bullshit," but then I saw that my go-to victory drink, Jameson, is one of the only whiskeys that leans Democratic, whereas my preferred vodka for a dirty martini (my drink after a long, LONG, day at the office) is one of the few Republican leaning vodkas. Also, Republicans, what is up with peppermint schnapps? Talk about poor choices.

Anyway, the findings are actually pretty interesting.

Bottoms up!

Move Over Colorado! Vermont Now Has Highest % of Women in State Leg.

Hat tip to Vermont Public Radio (can you imagine the calmness of those voices?) who had the story, and my Pumpkin, Lee for bringing it to my attention.

"When the 2014 legislative session convenes next week, there will be one more woman taking a seat. Marjorie Ryerson, of Randolph, is replacing Representative Larry Townsend, who died in June.

With her appointment, Vermont becomes the fourth state legislature in the nation where women hold the majority in the party that holds the majority—in this case, the Democrats. Also, 41 percent of all Vermont’s lawmakers are now women, and that’s the highest percentage in the nation."

Hey other states, step up your game!