Project Wonderful

Sunday, December 20, 2015

I Don't Even Know



From Independent Journal. Presented without comment.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Bernie Sanders' Campaign Manager is Gaslighting the Democratic Party

Photo credit: @JustinConley


Headline: White male politician declining in the polls and caught in a scandal makes desperate attempt at dead cat politics by suing the DNC.

No it's not a Republican, though it's barely a Democrat either; It's Bernie Sanders.

When we last left our hero, the DNC had temporarily suspended his campaign's access to Votebuilder until they could confirm that his campaign had not exploited a glitch in the system. It is important to point out that this action was not punitive, as has been wrongly reported, but temporary while they figured out the extent of the breach and what to do about it. Then, in the height of political ass clownery, the Sanders campaign FREAKED OUT, decided it was being persecuted and sued the DNC to restore VAN access, accusing the DNC of ..."actively attempting to undermine [their] campaign."

Before I get to the meat of this post, let me say I would really like to see their contract. As many have pointed out, legally it may not have been "their" data, it may have been the DNC's data. There must be an acceptable terms of use policy which one would imagine they violated, but maybe not. I don't know that they had a legal leg to stand on here, which turned out to be moot because they eventually complied with the investigation (as they should have done quietly in the first place) and their access was restored.

But here's the real rub, the point that so enraged me that it delayed me from writing this blog last night because I nearly broke my computer attempting to punch Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver in the face: In a presidential election that is increasingly about the tenuous grasp of white male power, this move on the part of the Sanders campaign is privileged, entitled, status quo politics at its best. Bernie Sanders claims to be a man of the people, to be somehow more ethical, more equitable, and yet his campaign expects different and preferential treatment; he expects the system to bend to him.

I will absolutely concede that the Democratic Party infrastructure is more partial to Clinton than Sanders. And why shouldn't they be? As I wrote yesterday, Sanders has spent his career making a point of NOT being a member of the Democratic party only to run for its nomination when it was politically expedient. Then he flaunted the rules. His campaign continued to make this a story far longer and louder than was necessary, hurling invective and conspiracy theories at both NGP/VAN and the DNC, rather than complying and letting it die, embarrassing the party while still running to be its nominee. Gee, why wouldn't we love that guy?

But at the end of they day they still broke the rules. No one made them save those lists. They got caught. And now suddenly it's everybody's fault but theirs? It's a page out of the Republican playbook. It smacks of white male privilege. You're not winning so the game must be rigged? As one friend put it, you don't get to steal something from my house because the door is unlocked, blame the alarm company and then sue the police for arresting you. (By the way, if the campaign did not intend to "steal" the data and only to prove there was a problem then they didn't need to save it. You can read the Votebuilder logs of the four staffers involved here. )

Check out this clip of abusive- husband-in-an-episode-of-Law-and-Order/Bernie Rights Activist, Jeff Weaver. In it, he suggests that the Clinton campaign stole Sanders data during a security malfunction back in October then quickly backtracks when pressed and admits he made it up and just "assumed." (Because that's how things work in his paranoid, narcissistic world.) In another clip Weaver calls the DNC's decision to temporarily suspend access an "inappropriate overreaction." Hmm does that scenario sound familiar? Every woman reading this has had the experience of being wronged by a man in some way only to have him turn it around and accuse her of "overacting." Bernie Sanders' Campaign Manager is gaslighting the Democratic party.

Finally, didn't they see that episode of West Wing where the President calls Rob Ritchie stupid? Why didn't they let the story die? My only guesses are that a) they knew they messed up and they were trying for a misdirection Hail Mary b) they are so entitled/delusional that they really can't conceive of a world in which they are not victims c) Sanders is considering a third party run for the presidency. The case of c would be disastrous for those of us who above all don't want another right wing nut job running the country. Unless of course Trump also runs as a third party candidate in which case it would be equal parts terrifying and engrossing and have the opportunity to crack the politics of our country wide open.

Should be an interesting debate tonight. God bless the poor organizers on Sanders' campaign.




Friday, December 18, 2015

DNC to Bernie Sanders : Delete Your Account


If you keep the same Facebook company that I do, you have seen this story by now. Basically, there was a short-lived glitch in Votebuilder during which campaigns could access other campaigns' data. During this time a now-former Sanders staffer allegedly took advantage of this glitch and looked at the Clinton campaign's data. As a result, the DNC has suspended the Sanders campaign VAN access until they figure this all out.

A couple of thoughts...

First, don't shoot me but can you blame the guy? (The staffer, not Sanders.) Like you're telling me I can see my opponent's data and targeting and I'm not gonna look? I'm not saying he should have. I'm just saying don't wrap my Christmas presents in the same room as me and scream "don't peek!" (For what it's worth the staffer, with whom I have 6 Facebook friends in common, maintains he did not.)

Second, the coverage of this story. No, CNN it's not NGB-VAN. Also the ridiculous assertion made in this ABC video that a data breach is akin to getting the opposing team's playbook the night before the Superbowl. The data stored in VAN has at best tangential bearing on Clinton's debate performance. Getting the playbook would be like getting internal polling, footage of debate prep or a campaign plan. Also the general election is the Superbowl MAYBE the Iowa caucus or convention, but not one of several debates. This, affirming a cycle-long tradition of lackluster campaign coverage.

Third, this is some high-level snark. I knew Nation Builder and NGPVAN were competitors, but damn, Jim Gilliam, way to kick a guy when he's down.



And finally, is it fair for the DNC to "punish" the Sanders campaign for NGPVAN's mistake? Maybe not, but I don't think the intent is to punish so much as sort out an unfortunate situation. I will say this though, Bernie Sanders' history of attacking the Democratic party certainly couldn't have helped. Bernie Sanders made a point out of refusing to affiliate himself with the DNC until such time as it was politically advantageous to do so. That can't exactly engender sympathy at such an occasion.

Michael Briggs, spokesman for the Sanders campaign, blamed the incident on the software vendor used by the DNC.

“Sadly, the vendor who runs the DNC’s voter file program continues to make serious errors,” Briggs wrote in a statement to ABC News. “On more than one occasion, the vendor has dropped the firewall between the data of different Democratic campaigns. Our campaign months ago alerted the DNC to the fact that campaign data was being made available to other campaigns.”

Yes, VAN messed up but are you really trying to make these guys your enemy? In the politics of politics it is always wise to treat those whose help you may want in the future with respect. In fact, it is best to treat everyone that way.


Monday, December 14, 2015

First Women Elected In Saudi Elections


From The Guardian:


Salma bint Hizab al-Oteibi was elected to the council of Madrakah, a region in the holy city of Mecca, the official SPA news agency reported, citing election commission president Osama al-Bar. She was running against seven men and two women, he said.

Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy with some of the world’s tightest restrictions on women, including a ban on driving. It was the last country to allow only men to vote, and polling stations were segregated for Saturday’s election.

Among the 6,440 candidates were more than 900 women, who overcame a number of obstacles to participate in the landmark poll. Female candidates could not directly meet any male voters during their campaigns.

Female voters said registration was hindered by factors including bureaucratic obstacles and a lack of transport. As a result, women accounted for fewer than 10% of registered voters. Few female candidates were expected to be elected.

Women's rights in Saudi Arabia are a fascinating story. When all was said and done it looked as if about 20 women had won seats in local/municipal office. Not sure what to say except the moral arc of the Universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Somebody Made An Oops


It's been a really busy month for me which is a shame because there has been so much to blog about. In order to make sure I share as much as possible of the oodles of interesting campaign news out there I'm lumping some items together. I'm calling this post "somebody made an oops" because it is brought to you by some notable gaffes made by Presidential candidates and their campaigns over the past month. Enjoy!

Clinton campaign sends out typo, supporters retweet. Gotta love her on immigation.


Forget world geography, Ben Carson's campaign got a map of the United States wrong.

Also he called Hamas, "hummus."

Leaked National Republican Senate Committee memo on how Republican candidates should run if Trump becomes the nominee. My favorite line, “Candidates shouldn’t go near this ground other than to say that your wife or daughter is offended by what Trump said,” because you know candidates can't be offended...or women.

Someone dug up Ted Cruz's raw commercial footage and while it's not an anomaly in the campaign world it is awkward as helllll.

Bonus: Not technically a gaffe, but Frank Bruni's hit job on Ted Cruz is a standout in antipathy even in professional politics. Including the following quote from his college roommate, "“I would rather have anybody else be the president of the United States. Anyone. I would rather pick somebody from the phone book.”

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!!!



I often get gifs and emails about how to talk to family about politics over the holidays. If you have not seen this SNL sketch, it's as good an idea as any.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Not Funny, Heartbreaking



I think this video is going to be in the Newseum in 30 years as evidence of how provincial we were in the time before we had a woman President. Notice that the little girls only speak up to disagree AFTER Jimmy prompts them. This is why I do what I do.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Check Out My Profile On the Gwynnie Bee Blog!


So excited to share this incredibly fun experience with you! You've heard me talk about how much I love this service before and now you know why! Click here to read and if you'd like to sign up, please use my link!

Campaign Love and Mine,

Nancy

Monday, September 21, 2015

Guest Post: Starting A Relationship With Your Consultants


Ben Holse is a Junior Account Manager at The Campaign Workshop. The Campaign Workshop has recently released its latest e-book, Ready Set, Go: Jump Start Your Next Campaign. Which you can get here for free.

Any experienced campaign manager or campaign operative can recall a bad experience working with a consultant. Perhaps the consultant couldn’t deliver what they promised, they were unresponsive or didn’t hit deadlines. Undoubtedly, a lot of what goes into a successful relationship depends on the campaigns and the consultants themselves. How you start the relationship is important. As a former political organizer turned consultant, here are my tips on how to jumpstart a successful relationship your campaign consultants.

Start Early
For campaigns, it’s never too early to begin a dialogue with your campaign consultant. Depending on the service you’re hiring the consultant for and the payment structure that is in place, there often aren’t any additional costs associated with beginning the process early. Early on, consultants can be helpful in recruiting campaign staff, putting together budgets and developing campaign plans. Beginning early is also in the best interest of the consultant, as it gives them a better chance of gauging their workload and can help to avoid learning curves.

Work Hard
In order for your relationship to be a success, there needs to be hard work and dedication on both sides of the table. Campaigns will rightfully expect their consultants to work on tight deadlines with quick turnaround. However this is a two way street. Campaigns will get out of your campaign-consultant relationship what they put into it. In order for consultants to hit deadlines, they will often need campaigns to be able to work hard and be able to get materials quickly.

Be Responsive
Without a doubt, campaigns can be hectic and chaotic. While being responsive can seem like a given in any professional relationship, in the crazy world of campaigns it can actually be tougher than you think. Emails from your consultant tend to get put on the backburner when you’re putting out fires elsewhere. While your consultants will largely drive the train on setting deadlines and timelines, it’s critical that campaigns are responsive. Even if you don’t have the time to shoot your consultant an email, a quick phone call or text message will often suffice.

Set Deadlines
In order for your relationship to be a success, there needs to be accountability. One of the best ways to set this accountability is by setting very clear deadlines. Most good consultants will ask for clear deadlines on when they need approval and feedback, and will follow up if they don’t hear back by the agreed time. But the campaign should also feel empowered to set these deadlines and ask for first drafts and feedback.

Push back when you need to
It’s important that your relationship is strong enough that you aren’t afraid to step on a few toes. In order for a consultant to do their job, they need to push the campaign to think in ways that they may otherwise not. And anytime you are asking someone to step outside of their comfort zone, there presents the opportunity for confrontation. If a campaign doesn’t think that a given tactic will be effective or if there are on-the-ground considerations that the consultant doesn’t know about, the campaign needs to feel empowered to speak up and push back. The campaign-consultant relationship needs to be collaborative and that includes not being afraid to be open and honest with each other.

Don’t overpromise
Campaigns are almost always built on short timelines. Within the context of these finite time constraints, there can sometimes exist the tendency to overpromise. But it’s important to remember that the campaign-consultant relationship is built on trust and there is no advantage to overpromising what you cannot deliver. This goes for both the campaign and the consultant. Overpromising will only serve to throw off timelines and deadlines and leave everyone frustrated in the process.

Don’t be a dick
While this one should also seem like a given, in the crazy world of campaigns, anyone can be a little on edge on any given day. Campaigns should of course feel empowered to push their consultants and expect high quality work. That said, for campaigns, there is little advantage to being a dick to your consultant. It won’t help move things along faster and it will only damage the relationship between you and your team.

Be up front
The relationship should, in some ways, be like the client-lawyer relationship. In order for your consultant to do their job, the campaign needs to be totally open and up front. You can’t hold back on things like not hitting field or fundraising goals just because they are embarrassing. Your consultant can’t help you fix a problem they don’t know exists. Not being upfront about any of the campaign’s potential negatives will only leave the team unprepared if and when these issues do come out.

Keep the lines of communication open.
Keeping the lines of communication open with your consultant is key. The best client-consultant relationships are communicative with a continual back and forth via email, text messages and weekly check in calls. You never know what connection your campaign consultant may have or when a second take on an issue can help bring a different perspective.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Campaign Fellowships for Experienced Staff Are Complete Bullshit



Here is an article about Hillary Clinton making experienced organizers who want to work for her work for free. And here is me saying it's bullshit.

I wasn't super thrilled at the Obama Fellowship program either (mostly because let's call an internship an internship) but at least that was geared toward individuals who had not been paid campaign staff before and wanted to break into "the movement." Even unpaid Capitol Hill interns are ostensibly learning a skill and theoretically have time for a second job. What are these volunteer second and third time organizers learning that could possibly justify not paying them? Don't even try to tell me it's your unique brand of organizing. Neither Barack Obama, nor Hillary Clinton, nor Bernie Sanders invented the wheel. Besides no other profession (except grad school) asks workers to go through months upon months of unpaid eighty-hour-a-week training.

Not to mention that it is antithetical to Democratic party values. I can't tell you how insulting and undermining it is to build a career out of something and have the biggest name in the business value that work at 0. I don't care how passionate you are, no reasonable person should be expected to want to work for free for the privilege of doing a job where you get crapped on all day. Field organizers have enough trouble getting respect when they are paid. They have enough trouble making ends meet when they are paid. The Democratic party has enough trouble recruiting diverse staffs when we pay them. And we wonder why we have a diversity problem. The Clinton campaign wonders why Bernie Sanders is gaining ground.

My friend (and ironically former intern) Kate Kight put it perfectly:
We all know what this means for racial and socioeconomic diversity and that is shameful enough, but I've been a part of too many campaigns that try and foster an environment of working hard for the cause instead of for a paycheck...which is noble, but there isn't anything wrong with wanting to get paid. And if you start your career thinking that working 7 days a week for less than minimum wage is the only way to be successful, it teaches you to not ask for more in later life- and it teaches you to turn around and take advantage of youngsters in turn.
I make no secret of being a Clinton supporter. When I post articles that are critical of Bernie Sanders' campaign they are met with skepticism (or often vitriol) because I'm voting for someone else. I have no illusions that either my blog or my Facebook wall is the New York Times editorial opinion page. Most of the people who read what I write are firmly in one camp or the other and I can count the number of undecided early primary state voters I'm friends with on one hand. I'm not trying to convince a Bernie Sanders supporter to support Hillary Clinton; I'm trying to advocate that we demand better of our candidates and of ourselves.

It isn't Hillary making these staffing decisions just like I doubt that it was Bernie Sanders' idea for his supporters to shout "We Stand Together" over Black Lives Matter activists. Any staffer will tell you that the only way to be sure you can control your candidate is to run for office, but we are the ones who decide how campaigns are run. Let's make better decisions.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Deez Nuts Polling at 9%


Continuing the theme of reposting when I don't have much to add but couldn't help but share, Deez Nuts is not only running for President, but got 9% in a PPP recent poll in North Carolina.

Normally, I am not in favor of showcasing novelty candidates since they mock the very process to which I have dedicated my life. However, since Donald Trump has already turned the 2016 season into a reality TV show, why not a 15 year old boy who carries less of an expectation to, I don't know...know better? His website appropriately looks like a 15 year old in Iowa made it, although one wonders why he didn't ask a parent to proofread (a service provided unsolicited and free of charge to this blog by my own relatives) or what religion Hebrew is.

I think the real "punking" here is not by Deez Nuts, but by PPP who decided to include him in the poll in the first place, thus proving what all operatives already know: early polls don't mean anything. Lest you come to believe that Deez Nuts is some sort of child political prodigy, I will point out that he is a self-described both Libertarian and Bernie Sanders supporter which at once makes him a walking contradiction and my worst nightmare of people to be trapped in an elevator with.

You can read his whole interview at Rolling Stone.

A District With Only One Voter


I wanted to quickly share this story that's been circulating the elections community about gerrymandering gone awry and a case where one vote absolutely will make a difference.
On Feb. 28, Jen Henderson, 23, became the sole registered voter living within the community improvement district, or CID, meaning she is the only person who would vote on a half-cent sales tax increase for the district.

The Columbia City Council established the district on a 5-2 vote in April in response to a petition from a group of property owners in the CID boundaries. The “qualified voters” in a CID are capable of levying various taxes or assessments within the boundaries of the district to fund improvement projects. Under state law, decisions to impose sales taxes in a CID are to be made by registered voters living in the district boundaries. If no such registered voters are present, property owners vote.

Many homes surrounding the university-owned property where Henderson resides were not included in the district when it was drawn because district organizers wanted a district free of residents.

Read more here.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush Got In a Twitter Fight

Usually when I'm basically just sharing a link to an article with you guys, I'm at least un-lazy enough to come up with a more creative title, but Mashable pretty much hit the nail on the head.





God help me, I loved this. If these tweets were being crafted by the candidates themselves that would be a very sad waste of time, but we all know that wasn't the case. Instead I envision their tech teams having a fun day at the office, spurring each other on in a way that is almost akin to jocular camaraderie and it warms my heart. Yes, I know this happened on August 10th, but I liked it so much I had to share.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Let's Have a Little Chat About Identity Politics


A lot of (mostly male, mostly older, exclusively white) people have accused me of engaging in identity politics lately. First of all, like "liberal," "Feminist," and "sorority girl" the accusation that I am aware of the interplay of power and identity in our political system is one that is intended as provocative or pejorative but that I am proud to own. Second, the term "identity politics" refers to a broad range of movements from social to cultural to political, a very small slice of which is referenced by the fact that I am supporting a woman for President. So let's talk about that.

When it comes to women's political representation (or that of any marginalized group), we generally consider the topic in two ways: descriptive and substantive. Descriptive representation refers to the number of women in elected office. When people accuse me of "identity politics" or voting for Hillary "just because she's a woman" they are really accusing me of disproportionately valuing descriptive representation. Descriptive representation is important because women carry a different set of life experiences and perspectives than men do. American women have faced social, economic and physical oppression for decades and there is value in electing leaders who cannot just sympathize, but empathize. When we are talking about deliberative bodies, studies have shown that diversity of opinion leads to a better outcome. And I needn't explain to you the importance of having a woman in the room when we debate issues like abortion access and equal pay. For more on the merits of descriptive representation, click here. In general, I believe that being a member of any marginalized group brings with it an understanding of the nature of power and privilege that the vast majority of our traditionally cis straight white male politicians (ahem, Bernie Sanders) are without. Of course, descriptive representation is not without its limitations. Identity does not exist in a silo and one size does not fit all. If that were the case I would be equally jazzed about Carly Fiorina's candidacy as Hillary Clinton's.

Substantive representation refers to politicians advocating on behalf of women. Representative and substantive often coincide but not always. A male politician can fight for access to birth control, stronger protections for victims of domestic violence (shout out to Joe Biden), or paid parental leave. Based on their actions and statements so far, Hillary Clinton blows Bernie Sanders out of the water in this category as well. As legislators, they voted pretty much the same, but as executives it is clear to me that Hillary will be a fiercer advocate for and more likely to prioritize women's equality. Substantive AND descriptive.

I hope that helps provide a vocabulary so that we can more accurately discuss the role that a candidate's race, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, etc plays in his or her candidacy.

One final point: the vast majority of elections in this country have consisted primarily of white men voting for white men and that was no coincidence. Before you claim that you don't participate in identity politics, consider that you probably already have and white men are so the default for elected leadership that you haven't even realized it.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Dude With No Money and No Endorsements Wins Mississippi Gubernatorial Primary

From the Clarion-Ledger:

State Democratic Party leaders and politicos on Wednesday were still trying to figure out what the !@#$ happened Tuesday night, when an unknown candidate with no financial or political backing won the party’s nomination for governor, handily dousing the assumed frontrunner.

They’re also wondering what it means for the party — already flagging as the state turns more red — in the long term and for down-ticket candidates this year in the short term.

“I’m calling every political consultant, anthropologist and witch doctor in the Southeast to help me understand what happened yesterday,” said Brandon Jones, director of the Mississippi Democratic Trust. “… Anybody who offers a clear-cut formula for yesterday is probably a little ahead of their skis right now.”

Political science professor and longtime observer of state politics Marty Wiseman said, “It’s the freakiest thing I’ve ever seen. … It’s a low point for the Democratic Party, which doesn’t need any more low points. You’d like to think it’s a perfectly pulled off conspiracy by the Republicans, but that’s too far a stretch.”

Terry truck driver and first-time candidate Robert Gray, who goes by “Silent Knight” as his CB handle, carried 79 of 82 counties in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. He pulled more than 147,000 votes, or 51 percent, to presumed frontrunner Vicki Slater’s 87,000 votes, or 30 percent, in a three-way race.

Slater, a politically active attorney, raised more than $235,000 for her campaign and pumped in thousands of her own money. Gray raised and spent zero. He bought no advertising. No yard signs. He made only a couple of public appearances. His own family didn’t know he was running, and he didn’t vote for himself.

Let me get the obvious joke out of the way and point out that Gray won having purchased no yard signs. It probably did not help Vicki Slater that the other woman in the race had a similarish name (Valerie Short) nor that Gray's name was listed first. Nor did it help that no one is expecting a Democrat to win the general election, although Slater was the best candidate they've had in years. From that perspective, this is a real shame. The Mississippi Democratic Party is never going to be able to improve its standing without some real national investment.

“You hear people talk about low-information voters or elections,” Cole [Mississippi Democratic Party Chairman] said. “I think this may have been one of those.”

Oh Mississippi Democratic Party, bless your hearts.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Republicans make asses out of themselves in order to qualify to make asses of themselves


I don't know how you're reading my blog if you don't know, but the Republican debate is tonight. Because only the top 10 candidates make it to the "big kids table" the candidates did some pretty goofy things to boost their name recognition and pander to the their base. Donald Trump was Donald Trump.

Ted Cruz did this:



and Rand Paul did this:



So now you get to do this: First Republican debate drinking game.


Happy Watching!

-Nance

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Donald Trump Insult Generator


Let's be clear. Donald Trump is not running for President. Donald Trump is running for World's Most Confrontational Circus Clown. That said, I consider it a testament to my personal branding that as soon as this Donald Trump Insult Generator went viral, I got a flood of Facebook messages. I'm hesitant to blog about his many ridiculous exploits 1) because it perpetuates an air of legitimacy and 2) because there are too damn many to keep up with, but when there is humor in elections there I am.

I don't know who this Nancy Leeds is, but he should be ashamed of himself.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Laws That Prohibit ONE IN EVERY 13 BLACK AMERICANS from voting


Earlier this week, President Obama became the first US President to visit a federal prison (really? yes) and also made a very important comment in a speech to the NAACP's 2015 National Convention, “If folks have served their time, and they’ve re-entered society, they should be able to vote.”

From Vox: 5.8 million Americans weren't legally allowed to vote due to their criminal records in 2012, according to data analyzed by the Sentencing Project. Several states prohibited 6 to 11 percent of their electorate from voting. And since black Americans are likelier to go to prison, this had a disproportionate impact on the African-American electorate: While the overall disenfranchisement rate didn't break 11 percent for any state, the black disenfranchisement rate topped 20 percent in Florida, Kentucky, and Virginia.


The link between the systematic disenfranchisement and systematic incarceration of black people is real and harrowing. It is not an accident and it is not a coincidence. It is not that far a leap from other measures that have been used to reach the same ends. Breaking the link won't cure a racist system, but it is an important step. Watch for this issue moving forward and ask your candidates about it in 2016. I'm going to leave you with a quote from President Obama's NAACP speech.

“Today I’ve been talking about the criminal justice system, but we have to recognize that it’s not something that we can view in isolation. Any system that allows us to turn a blind eye to hopelessness and despair—that’s not a justice system. It’s an injustice system. But that’s an extension and a reflection of some broader decisions that we’re making as a society. And that has to change.”

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Also, Don't Be Sexist To Republicans



In the video above, Republican Presidential Carly Fiorina helps illustrate common instances of sexism in the workplace. As many comments have pointed out, Fiorina might better serve women by supporting pro-woman policies than making BuzzFeed videos, but that doesn't make the examples in the video any less real or relevant.

In fact, I came across the BuzzFeed video when I did a Google Search on Carly Fiorina to make sure she was still in the Presidential race. I had just read this article about human dumpster fire Donald Trump saying John McCain is not a war hero because he was a POW (wow) and noticed that it included a reaction from every GOP Presidential hopeful besides Fiorina. (I hate you, Politico.) Carly Fiorina, I do not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it without facing sexism. Why? See the below comment on the BuzzFeed video.


Look you know I'm supporting Hillary, and also that I would vote for Bernie Sanders over Carly Fiorina (or any Republican) in a heartbeat (and also that men can and should be vocal Feminists), but "We don't need a female Presidential candidate to be a role model for women in the workplace because we need men to do it" is about the worst argument I have ever heard and sort belies its own point. And speaking of points, here is mine: sexism in politics hurts everyone even when it's aimed at our opposition and it is never okay.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

I'm Voting for Hillary Because She's A Woman.


As an organizer for John Edwards in 2008, identity politics was not my friend. In particular, I was routinely frustrated by women's insistence on caucusing for Hillary Clinton (and challenging my choice to support of Edwards) despite the fact that I felt Edwards had been and would be a greater champion for women. Eight years later, with a Master's Certificate in Gender and Public Policy, I can see how wrong I was.

When people accuse me of supporting Hillary Clinton because she's a woman it's often meant pejoratively, the implication being that my reason is shallow, ill-considered or frivolous. Having spent the past 10 years both as a woman in politics and studying women in politics, I can promise you it is anything but. Yes, I support Hillary because she is a woman and frankly I think you should too.

Before you ask, that does NOT mean I would would vote for Carly Fiorina or Michelle Bachmann. The truth is that the Republican Party by and large does not support the rights of women. I have no intention of supporting politicians who do not support me, my rights, or those of others. In a paper I wrote in graduate school in 2012, I found that states with legislatures holding Democratic majorities favored maternity and childcare policies that supported working women while legislatures holding Republican majorities did not, irrespective of the percent of women legislators. Yet, research has reliably shown that female legislators are more likely to prioritize issues that impact women than are their male counterparts. One could theorize that Republican women could do as much or more than Republican men to jeopardize the rights of women, depending on the policy.

In the interest of full disclosure I will share that neither did I support a run by Elizabeth Warren. I am huge fan of Senator Warren, but setting aside the fact that she publicly declared that she was not interested in running, I did and do not believe her to be a viable Presidential candidate in the 2016 general election. I also believe the presence of two women in this year's Democratic primary fight would diminish the chances of either securing the nomination.

I think it's fair to assume that most readers of this blog will support the Democratic nominee for President no matter who s/he is. Whether your first choice or your last it's a good bet that whoever the Democrats choose as our standard bearer will represent your interests better than whomever is chosen by the Republicans. Yet when I wake up in the morning even before I am conscious that I am a Democrat, I am a woman. So why is it so much easier to accept me as a Yellow Dog Democrat than a Pink one?

Perhaps the fact that we have never had a woman President is the best argument as to why we need one. It is no coincidence that there is a staggering political ambition gap between men and women. In order to want to run for office and eventually ascend to the highest office in the land, women need to see role models who remind them of themselves. What does it look like for a woman to be President? Asking why so few women aspire to run for office or are recruited to run for office is like asking why so few women aspire to colonize Mars. Without a rubric or precedent or role models, why would it even occur to them? It's vicious cycle to be sure, but if women's political ambition is the egg, Hillary is the proverbial chicken cracking the eggshell/glass ceiling.

Until we have had more female chief executives, there will be little reliable research on their character as a group. However, we do know that as legislators women are more likely than men to address long under-prioritized issues that impact women, including reproductive justice, breast cancer research, equal pay, and military rape to name a few. It is worth noting that Hillary Clinton specifically mentions paid family leave and equal pay on the issues page of her website, whereas Bernie Sanders does not. Considering the amount of time I spend worrying about soft sexism and violence against women, I want a President who gets it.

Women legislators are more likely to reach across the aisle, more responsive to constituent requests, and more likely to sponsor legislation. It is easy to conclude that a female chief executive would be similarly effective. Margaret Thatcher, Benazir Bhutto and Indira Gandhi, for example are among their respective countries' most memorable and transformative Prime Ministers. Of course what is true is of women in general is not necessarily true of one woman in particular, but as clicking on the links above will help demonstrate, Hillary Clinton is far from the exception to these rules.

Apart from her gender, Clinton is exceptionally qualified. She is a Yale educated lawyer and children's advocate. Yes, she was first lady of the United States, (a position of diplomatic and political import, especially the way she held it, that should not be trivialized and discounted), but she is also an effective and accomplished former US Senator and Secretary of State. Given the extra scrutiny applied to women in the public eye, Clinton's biography is doubly impressive. Her resilience in the face of public inquiry into her marriage, media sexism during her 2008 Presidential campaign, and decades of partisan witch hunts prove not only her viability, but a strength of character that is extremely desirable in a Commander in Chief.

If you remain unconvinced to support Hillary Clinton for President in 2016, that is your right. But at very least I demand that you accept the validity of my choice and reasons for supporting her. For the overwhelming bulk of our country's history women were barred, on the basis of our gender, from becoming President either explicitly or implicitly. Consider my insistence on supporting the first viable woman for the office (who also happens to be the most qualified) a minor attempt to level the playing field.






Sunday, May 17, 2015

Ask An Election Nerd: Is There Such A Thing As Campaign Career Life Balance?

Hey Nancy, is there any area of the campaign world where a reasonable work-life balance is possible? I'm in my mid twenties, and for now I've made a conscious choice to forgo that balance... but I know that I can't keep that up forever. After a few years I may want some kind of personal life. Is there some niche that allows that without leaving campaigns entirely?
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This is suuuuuuch a good question and one I have asked a lot over the past few years, beginning in my own mid-twenties. It's part of the reason I went to grad school and started this blog. I think I have some really good advice on this topic, not because I am a genius but because I have been asking really smart people about it. Here's what I've learned:

1)Stay on the trail for as long as you can. When I left grad school and started doing informational interviews, maaaaaany people advised me to go back on the campaign trail just one more cycle before moving to Washington. For health, logistic, and personal reasons that is not what I decided to do and we'll get there in a second. What I have found, and was warned about, is that you can really hit a wall in your career if you don't have a big marquee race on your resume. It's not that you can't overcome that, but it makes the path much, much, much, much more difficult. As good as your instincts may be, no one wants to take advice from someone who hasn't been there. In addition, the more time I spend with colleagues who do have one or two more cycles under their belt, the more I realize there's a lot that I don't know and probably won't know until I manage another cycle.

2)Yes, but it comes with some trade-offs. I'm obviously still involved in campaign world, but I just told you I haven't been managing races. Here's why. In my experience the best work-life balance available in the electoral realm is working at endorsing organizations. In my current role, I still get to work with and advise candidates, run campaign trainings, and interact with consultants BUT I work from 9am to 6pm on most weekdays and rarely on weekends. From that perspective, it's a pretty sweet gig. The frustrating part of my job is that while I don't have the stress of managing a campaign, I also don't have the control. My candidates can make decisions that I don't agree with and I have a limited arsenal of carrots and sticks to influence that. When my candidates win, I don't get credit for it even if I basically wrote their campaign plan. It's also just not as exciting as being on the ground. I work at a desk in an office, which has a different energy than being on a campaign and most of my coworkers are not campaign people. In addition (and this is a biggie) most organizations like the one I described are non-profits, which means they probably won't be able to pay you as well as other avenues and funding for your work is often contingent on factors outside your control.

3)As you advance in your campaign career you can negotiate better work-life balance. It's true, no good campaign manager is working 9 to 6pm throughout the cycle. At the same time, most managers, finance directors and communications directors aren't working field organizer hours. Especially if you're on a campaign over a long period of time, you don't have to work weekends in the beginning. You can ask for vacation, housing (paid, not supporter) and stipends. I know a statewide campaign manager who negotiates up front that she gets time for an hour run in the middle of each day. However, the most comforting advice I got on this subject is that you are a different person at 32 than 22. You know yourself better; you know what you need to stay healthy mentally and physically; you are better equipped to advocate for yourself and you will have self-control to keep from burning yourself out.

4)You will never stop asking yourself this question. When I was considering taking a semester off grad school to go on a campaign, a friend who has been on and off the trail for the past 10 years advised me that no matter what I decided, my decision would never be final. (I wound up taking 6 weeks to go be a GOTV Director on a race he was managing.) Whether or not to go out on a race is the eternal struggle precisely for the reasons I just mentioned: races are more exciting and advance your career, but they are also unpredictable and draining. Take it from me, even if you decide to spend a couple years elsewhere, campaigns will always be in the back of your mind. Conversely when you’re campaign staff you will always hear the siren song of stability. It’s not necessarily an either/or, so if you are feeling like you need a time out, you can take a cycle to reevaluate and still go back.

Thanks for asking this question! It’s been a dialectic in the back of my mind for a long time and I’m really glad you prompted me to share some of the great advice I’ve collected. I hope it helps you as much as it’s helped me.

If YOU have a question for the blog, email me at CampaignSick@gmail.com

Campaign Love and Mine,


Nancy
















Monday, May 11, 2015

Rand Paul's Campaign is Licking the Competition.....Literally



In the video above Rand Paul's New Hampshire Political Director, David Chesley, LICKS the camera of an American Bridge tracker. I don't really know what to say because the absurdity of this story speaks for itself. Here are some thoughts:

1) From a campaign staff perspective, this is pretty funny. Having and being a tracker is an awkward situation, and nothing cuts tension like licking something.

2) If you are the kind of person who thinks Rand Paul is a good decision, I guess it is not that surprising that you also think licking strange recording equipment is.

3) The irony is that without the camera lick, this tracker probably would have gotten nothing from this meeting. As it stands, this video is all over my Facebook feed.

So moral of the story, unlike in real life, as a campaign staffer it's not usually a good idea to do something just because you think it's funny.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Organizer Store: Subscription Edition


Hello my beautiful amazing friends! I am miss blogging with you so much! I am in the process of moving and starting up a little side hustle so things have been nuts, but I wanted to share some great finds I've been loving over the past couple of months, all of which are subscriptiony in nature.


1) The Skimm: Love it!! The Skimm is a daily (on week days) publication written by two Tufts alums (Go Jumbos!) It basically synthesizes what's being talked about in conversation and the Internet into an easy, digestible, conversationally toned email that gets sent out before you get up in the morning. Oh also, it's free. It is great for campaigners (or really anybody) because it gives you a reference point for the things people are talking about without getting you bogged down into details or having to wade through a bunch of articles yourself. Basically, it helps me stay human and have an idea of what's going on in the world outside of my little political bubble. Click here to sign up!


2) Nature Box: Speaking of Nature! Remember when I told you about Graze and also that I was trying another snack subscription that I'd review for you later? Well I'm doing that now. The thing about Nature Box is that it only comes once a month, as opposed to weekly like Graze, but the portions are bigger and purportedly for a month (although hi, have we met?) You can order frequently more if you like. Nature Box is $19.95/month for 5 gourmet snacks, which are definitely bigger than a snack size bag of chips you'd get at a 7/11 but about half the size of a family size bag (classy no?). But also...way healthier and more delicious and you don't feel like a greasy nap monster after eating one. The two things I like about Nature Box more than Graze are the taste and the variety of snacks. They are much, much tastier AND you can choose exactly what you get (depending on availability). My favorites are the Sea Salt Sun Crunch and the Double Berry Fruit Peels. The reason I think these are great for campaigns is that they are healthy snacks to have on hand that you don't have to go out and buy. I have a couple free trials to give away so if you are interested in trying Nature Box, be the first to email CampaignSick@gmail.com!



3) Wantable: Wantable!! (Aaaah! Queue angels singing music). Wantable is a monthly subscription service that takes your likes and dislikes and curates a collection just for you. There are a couple of different options but the one I get is the accessories box. I love Wantable as opposed to another accessories box because it is highly customizable. You can choose the styles you like, the TYPES of items you like (rings, necklaces, sunglasses, scarves, etc), the finishes you like (gold, silver, etc) and even specifics like the necklace length you prefer. Unlike other companies if you put that you don't like something, you NEVER get it. They really take your feedback seriously. You also have the opportunity to skip a month and to return individual items from your box if you don't like them. Your first box is $40/ month and they are $36 after that. I know that's a little pricey, but what I like about it is that it's like getting a thoughtful present delivered to you at your campaign office. I was having a blah winter (because winter in an East Coast city is the actual worst, except for Christmas decorations) and this was a total pick me up! To get your own Wantable Box (using my referral code) click here!



4) Gwynnie Bee An honorable mention, or more like an honorable re-mention, has to go to Gwynnie Bee. Even though I already talked about it in a an earlier Organizer Store, I couldn't write a subscription edition without mentioning my favorite subscription service of all time! Gwynnie Bee is a clothing subscription service for women sizes 10-32. You sign up for a subscription plan (which start at $35/month) and put as many items from their inventory as you like in your virtual closet. Then they send you clothes! You wear and keep a garment for as long as you like and when you’re finished you just send it back and they send you a new one! It’s a relatively inexpensive way to be able to stress shop online all the time (because who has time to go to the store) and have an endlessly rotating wardrobe without ever doing laundry (because who has time to do anything?). Since signing up for Gwynnie Bee 2 months ago I must have saved at least $100 on dry cleaning. Anyway, I use it and I think its great. If I had had Gwynnie Bee back in my organizing days it would have spared me a lot of days of wearing yoga pants in the office. If you think this might be something you’d be into they offer a free month trial AND if you use this link you and I both get a free upgrade (so please use my link) happy shopping!


Until Next Time!

Campaign Love and Mine,


Nancy

Thursday, April 30, 2015

May The Odds Be Ever In Hill's Favor



According to Yahoo Finance, the odds of Hillary Clinton being the next President of the United States are 11:10 which means if you bet $10 on her winning and she does, you get $11 back. On the other hand candidates like Chris Christie and Rand Paul are 16:1. Keep in mind there are a lot more Republicans duking it out for their nomination and that polling at this point is basically meaningless. That said if I were a bettin' man, I'd be betting on Hillary.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Today I voted for Teddy Roosevelt


You gotta hand it to the Republican Party, everyone once in a rare while they actually have a good idea, (broken clock etc.) This time their constant looking to the past brought them to the idea of a straw poll for best Republican President in history. It can't come up with any worse than the yahoos they have running currently! Obviously, I voted for my main man, Teddy Roosevelt, but there are some other strong contenders like say...Abraham Lincoln. Republican wasn't always synonymous with regressive! I think it would be amazing if there was a coup and Harding ran away with it, but my guess is it's going to be Reagan or Lincoln.

In either case, if it got a hardcore Democrat like me to give them my contact info, it sure as heck was an effective list building campaign!

Here is the link if you'd care to make your voice heard!

Hillary Clinton Announcement Video!!!



Putting it up here for posterity more than anything! I am, of course, over the moon that she finally announced! Would you believe I just watched it? I could have been a monkey washing a cat and I still would have been all in for her, so seeing the actual video wasn't a huge priority.

For what it's worth though I thought it was extremely well done. It wasn't until 30 seconds into it that I realized the announcement video had started and I wasn't watching a commercial. I actually liked that about it because it felt different from what I was expecting and it was just one of those head on candidate talking to the camera announcements that I'm used to when someone announces over a video. In any case it is, as the kids say, officially on and I am definitely ready for Hillary!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Too Late to Rand Paulogize

Rand Paul just launched his presidential campaign and it is already a laugh outloud shitshow.

As the National Journal's Matt Berman points out there are a few issues with Paul's "Show Your Support" page.

By far the crowning achievement has to be the inclusion of "Jew for Rand." To quote Louis CK, "Jew is a funny word because Jew is the only word that is the polite thing to call a group of people and the slur for the same group." "Jews for Rand," would have been more acceptable, but as a colleague pointed out, why bother making it plural when there is no indication that it will apply to two or more people? Neither the liberal nor the conservative Jewish political base is fond of Paul, albeit for different reasons, so maybe this was made for one specific Jewish person.

Apparently the graphic has since been changed to "Jewish for Rand which also sounds ridiculous. ("Oh man you donated to Rand Paul? You're totally Jewish for him.") For the curious, since "Jew" is both a religious and an ethnic identity, the best bet would have been "Jewish American" for Rand. (because you wouldn't say "Black for Rand" or "Mexican for Rand"...for, well a variety of reasons.)

In fairness, the lack of consistency extends itself to other constituency groups as well. There are Iowan, South Carolinians and Nevadans, but simply "New Hampshire" for Rand.

More telling are the constituency groups that are absent from the selection including Women, Muslims and the LGBT community, presumably because he has no intention of appealing to them. He did find time to include "musicians" though. Thankfully the good folks at Americans United for Change decided to help him out on that front.


(You know because of how he is always shushing lady reporters or as I call them, reporters.)

Also it is not very intersectional of him. I mean, what if you are an Italian American, Catholic Fisherman? How do you decide?

This is going to be one hell of a primary.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Worst Humans: Buckley and Tucker Carlson


Something has been bothering me for a couple days now and I haven't been able to blog about it because every time I read the story it pretty much ruins my day, or at least my hour. It's not just the story, it's what the story represents. And what is the story? An absurdly misogynistic tale of a political professional asking for a story correction. Please read about it here.

It is almost Passover and on that holiday we sing a song called "Dayenu" which means "It would have been enough." The song lists miracles that God bestowed on the Jewish people and after each the refrain is "Dayenu" as in "if just this one thing had happened on it's own it would have significant enough to be celebrating and glorify God, and yet there's more." If God had led us out of Egypt, it would have been enough, if he had led us to safety it would have been enough, etc. That's basically how I felt about the Carlson brothers and my overwhelming disgust for them as I read this story.

1) If Tucker Carlson had just founded the Daily Caller which is a lies-printing right wing news publication, it would have been enough.

2) If he had said things like this about Wendy Davis and this about equal pay. It would have been enough.

3) If Buckley Carlson had sent this email to his brother in response to a female public affairs director (and friend of friends and Tufts alum) asking for a correction to a story, it would have been enough.
Great response. Whiny little self-righteous bitch. “Appalling?” And with such an ironic name, too… Spitalnick? Ironic because you just know she has extreme dick-fright; no chance has this girl ever had a pearl necklace. Spoogeneck? I don’t think so. More like LabiaFace.
4) If one of his employees had threatened Spitalnick that if she "“annoyed” him “with another whiny email..., I’m muting this thread, thanks.” It would have been enough. Can you imagine him saying that to a male spokesperson? Don't think so.

5) If he had sent Spitalnick this condescending email in response to her complaint (and frankly I think because number 3 is so horrific, this piece isn't getting enough attention for how egregious it is) it would have been enough.

Dear Amy,
Thanks for your email. You believe our story was inaccurate and have demanded a correction. Totally fair. We are going over the transcript now.
What Bedford complained about was your tone, which, I have to agree, was whiny and annoying, and I say that in the spirit of helpful correction rather than as a criticism. Outside of New York City, adults generally write polite, cheerful emails to one another, even when asking for corrections. Something to keep in mind the next time you communicate with people who don’t live on your island.
Best,
Tucker Carlson

6) If Tucker Carlson had logic-defyingly defended his brother's misogynistic email (on which Buckley Carlson mistakenly cc'd Spitalnick because he is not only an idiot but also an idiot) by saying "he assures me he meant it in the nicest way." It would have been enough.

I'm just going to have to hope that if you're reading my blog you understand how revolting this is on both and a macro and micro level. How many of these exchanges about female political professionals happen that we are not accidentally CC'd on? How many times are we not sure if we're being talked down to or dismissed because of our gender only to realize in retrospect "yes, of course it was that!" but have had the moment pass us by? How many women are not in positions to call out sexism and misogyny in their work environments for fear they won't be supported? I am absolutely sick over this story both because of what it is and what it is emblematic of.

As for Buckley and Tucker Carlson, they are the human equivalents of diarrhea mixed with gas station sushi. I want to make a one time reversal of my feelings on the death penalty and demand that they be hung from the gallows while feminists throw stones at their rotting corpses. And I assure you, I mean that in the nicest way possible.










Monday, March 23, 2015

Always Buy The .Org

And every other possible iteration of your website. To wit, I present tedcruz.com.


Buckle up, ladies and gentlemen! It's going to be an interesting ride.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Some Handy Tech and Statistics Jargon


In February I went to the Analyst Institute Persuasion Retreat, which was absolutely amazing. (If you don't know what the Analyst Institute is, you should.) At the same time even with a (albeit limited) history of graduate level statistics I found myself intimidated by the jargon. I figured if I was, so were others so I enlisted the help of friends in defining some basic, and not-so-basic terms that were bandied about. Enjoy!

Cryptography - how we keep important data, like credit card transactions, safe from prying eyes.
Cookies- Used by tech and data geniuses to track where you go on the web.
P-score/P-value- Say do did a statistical test using a sample population and you confirm or reject your hypothesis using that test. The p-score is the chance that even though you ran the test right, the conclusion you came to is actually wrong, kind of like a margin of error.
T-test- Statistical test used to determine a p-score
N- Size of your sample in a statistical test
Neyman sampling- A survey tool used to find the number of people needed to represent people just like them in the whole populationAn example: Suppose the population is 10% African American; random sampling may put 0%, 15% or whatever percentage of African Americans in your sample. Neyman sampling would mean you would only select from your pool of African Americans (randomly) until you get to 10% of your sample size, then stop.
Simpson's paradox- This paradox occurs when a statistically significant trend occurs when looking at groups of data, but disappears when you look at those groups individually – or vice-versa. The most famous case was researched by Bickel et al, and had to do with gender bias in 1970s grad school admissions at U.C. Berkeley (go Bears). When looking at all of the grad schools together, women had a much lower overall acceptance rate, but when looking at individual grad schools (i.e. English, engineering, public policy) women had similar by-school acceptance rates; the paper concluded that the lower overall acceptance rate came from women applying to schools which were more selective (without mentioning why women didn’t apply to STEM grad schools.)
R package- a piece of software, like Excel, that is used to perform complex statistical tests
C code- As in the programming language. Some people do statistical analysis by writing a proprietary code each time.
Heterogeneity- You want heterogeneity within your sample so that you can use it to make an inference about the population at large. This is why people use Neyman sampling.
Bayestree It's a statistics thing that helps you determine how to organize your data. For example, "Imagine you're trying to predict life expectancy of animals using characteristics across species. Your variables might include: Number of offspring per birth, isWarmBlooded, weight, isMammal, avgTempOfClimate, isOceanDwelling, and probably others I'm not thinking of. There will be collinearity between these variables (I'm guessing Mammals have higher weights than non-mammals, etc). A Bayestree would help you identify the hierarchy of the variables (for example, isMammal is actually a subset of those who are warm blooded, if I've got my science right). The resulting hierarchy can then aid in variable selection/combination."


Big thank you to Adam Briskin-Limehouse, Mario Ben Bonafacio and especially Will Matthews who was the only person who could explain to me what a Bayestree is.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

How to Look Professional *and* Non-Boring! Guest Post on Your New Washington DC Look!


(Who wouldn't take fashion advice from these two? ;) Note: this picture was taken after the campaign.)

CampaignSickles,

I am super excited to share a post from my friend, political/fashion badass and plus-size fashion blogger, Renee Cafaro. When shopping my clothing mantra is basically "WWRD?" (What would Renee do?) Check out her amazing tumblr here. Below Renee gives her tips for dressing for success for job hunt or non-campaign job in Washington DC. AND if you are size 10 or higher and looking for an affordable convenient wardrobe check out my post on GwynnieBee and use my code to subscribe. Take it away, Ren
ee!

Dear Campaignsick fans,

You do not know me but we have a mutual love for Nancy. My name is Renee and a couple years ago, I had the pleasure of working with the brilliant and revered woman behind Campaignsick on a major citywide campaign. We shared a passion for social justice and skirts, so I knew would be friends for life. I am so excited to do this crossover post between her blog and mine: plus-size fashion blog, FoxyRoxyFashion. Whether you are plus or not, a lot of these rules will apply to you. Before we begin, repeat after me: You CAN be a feminist and be fashionable. The Fox-propagated stereotype that I must be a man-hating, bra-burning troll just because I would like congressmen to stop legislating my body is truly absurd. So now that we have gotten that over with, I hope you enjoy this article.
As I get ready for another advocacy summit in my old home, Washington D.C., I am forced to re-examine my wardrobe. The Nation's Capitol,or as I fondly remember it as "The Town of Blue-Shirts-and-Khaki-Pants", is less tolerant of quirky workwear than NYC. Even with a career in politics, I can still get away with wearing knee-high boots, patterned tights, sweaters and the occasional dark-wash jean and still look work-appropriate in the city.

In the halls of Capitol Hill or power-lunching on K Street, you need to bring your business wear A game. Let's call it "House of Cards couture". Tailored. Classic. Neutral. Powerful.

The only problem is that with plus-size women this is a tall order. The crisp white button down either looks bizarrely vulgar as it strains to stay buttoned over your big boobs or it buttons properly and rest of it looks dumpy. There was an unforgettable moment in my fashion life when I found myself on the verge of tears in a Lord & Taylor while shopping for suits for the 2012 Democratic National Convention. This sent me on a quest for things that look sharp enough for the Senate floor and still kinda sexy.

SUIT UP:

Why?! Why can I not find a power suit that flatters my full figure and not plague me with baggy butt or uncomfortably tight thighs? Even my slim friends have the same problem finding a suit that fits their top half and bottom half equally well right off the rack. Well I found the answer! Suit Separates! Sounds obvious, right? Actually many do not carry perfectly coordinated suit separates in a range of sizes and lengths. I found that Anne Klein and Rafaella are the best for those who are harder to fit. Ann Taylor is spectacular if you are an 18 or under and do not carry your weight all in you middle.


PRO-TIP: Look for 2-button or 3-button jackets to avoid the lapels bunching out around the bust. If need be, take the jacket to a tailor to get it taken in around the waist since the jacket sets most of the silhouette of the suit. Speaking of silhouette, avoid wide leg or straight let pants. Boot cut or curvy fit skim your curves and balance out hips without an excess of fabric.

ACCESSORIZE LIKE A BOSS:

Madeline Albright isn't the only woman who can own a room and an Hermes scarf. You can too! I like traditional accessories like chunky gold or pearl necklaces, nicely structured handbags and some oversized shades like the ones made famous by the "Text From Hillary" picture. Now that I think of it, we have had some pretty stylin' Madame Secretaries. If you are a fan of CBS' brilliant new show, Madame Secretary you will note that Tea Leoni also always looks impeccable. Perhaps diplomacy and designer duds go hand in hand?

We digress. Again, Ann Taylor is a great resource for coordinating, quality jewelry at an affordable price and we are obsessed with Coach and Kate Spade bags. They are timeless and nearly indestructible! On a budget? Charming Charlie has something for every trend in every color.

PRO-TIP: Remember that the running around the halls of Rayburn burns your feet. ALWAYS shop Aerosoles, EasySpirit, Sofft and other comfort brands for pumps. Other shoes will not last the day without damage to your feet and we try to avoid flats with skirts unless you have long legs.



INVEST IN INFRASTRUCTURE:

OK, we know this is something you may be discussing in a budget hearing, but what we mean is: be sure to buy all of the foundations you need for a solid wardrobe. This includes smoothing foundation garments, perfectly structured dresses and control-top panty hose (NOTHING beats L'eggs control toptights for comfort, shape and wear). Any avid reader of FoxyRoxyFashion knows that we are obsessed with the style and ease of dresses. If you find one that fits well in a classic shift or 3/4 sleeved shape, you are ready for any meeting with only a few accessories. For 12+, Go to Kiyonna for a huge selection of sleeved dresses. They are the hardest working items in my closet without ever wrinkling or looking old.

PRO-TIP: Shift dresses can be boxy too, so look for ones with a bit of stretch and/or get the darts tailored like we suggested for your blazers. An ill-fitting shift can make you look heavier so it is worth the effort. Also, be sure dresses are never too tight and hit just at your knee.

You are looking fierce, woman! Now, go show the good old boys at the Old Ebbitt Grill who's boss!


PS. Want more awesome guest posts AND to help me afford the beautiful clothing Renee recommends? Help support CampaignSick!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Think NYC Is A Liberal Paradise? Think Again.


Devotees will remember my devotion for (and erstwhile employment by) Working Families Party, a fairly powerful union-backed progressive third party in New York State. From their website:
Working Families is New York’s progressive political party. The Working Families Party is focused on tackling the political, economic, and educational inequality that deprive working and middle class families of opportunity. Our vision is to build a New York that is fair for all of us, not just the wealthy and well-connected.
Part of the genius of WFP, and why it has been able to be effective, is a mechanism known as fusion voting. As I explained in a 2011 post:
Here's how it works: WFP, or another third party, endorses a candidate already in the race. For WFP it is usually, but not always, a Democrat. Voters can vote for the candidate on either the Democratic or the Working Families Party line, and the votes for the candidate from both lines are tallied together. For example, if candidate X receives 30% of the total votes cast on the Democratic Party line and 20% of the total votes on the WFP line, while candidate Y receives 45% of the total votes on the Republican line, candidate X still wins!
This allows voters to exert pressure on politicians to vote in line with the politics of a progressive workers party without risk of "spoiling" the vote. Fusion voting is only legal in a handful of states, most notably New York and Connecticut. New York WFP has had an impressive track record of playing in Democratic primaries.

Although New York City votes overwhelmingly Democratic, it is home to several iterations of the Democratic party (and of course some Republicans). I don't know if you've ever heard this, but quite a few rich people live in New York- rich people who have socially progressive views, but also a vested interest in opposing things like paid sick leave and raising the minimum wage.

It can come as no surprise then that some Scott-Walker-in-sheep's-clothings have been on a cycles-long crusade against WFP, under the guise of enforcing clean elections. There are literally dozens of examples; here is one. But it did come as a surprise to me this morning to find out that the latest phase of this witch hunt involves the impending arrest of my friend and mentor in NYC politics. (I am not including her name to minimize her current Googleability but you can click the link to read.) This person hired me to manage my first campaign, for a WFP-backed candidate to whom she is now Chief of Staff.

These accusations have been around since 2009 and WFP's political opponents have desperately and unsuccessfully been trying to get anything to stick. As the Daily News
reported in December,
"Some close to the Working Families Party [including me] accuse Adler [the special prosecutor in the case] of having a longstanding political vendetta against the labor-backed political organization — dating back to his membership on the Kings County judicial screening committee for former Brooklyn Democratic Leader Vito Lopez, a frequent WFP advisary [sic].

Adler critics also note he lost his race for a civil court judgeship partially as a result of a reform ticket pushed by the Working Families Party.

They also point to a never before released 2012 letter from lawyer David Brown to a party official — obtained by the Daily News — which indicates Adler made up his mind two years ago that crimes had been committed and was threatening to expand his probe unless the party agreed to a settlement in the Rose case."

So you know, no conflict of interest there.

Yesterday's New York Times article explains that
for all parties, this is a matter that could have been an episode of “The Twilight Zone,” full of weirdness: what appears to be a first-of-its-kind case brought over errors that happen in many, many campaigns across the city. Normally, these errors are caught by the Campaign Finance Board, which audits political spending. The paperwork is then refiled with the proper information. Everyone lives happily ever after, with no handcuffs or police cars involved.
The article mentions that eight of nine campaigns that were subject to spurious campaign finance accusations were cleared with evidence of either no reporting errors or trivial ones. One of those eight was the campaign I managed. So for several reasons, these accusations hit close to home.

In a world where money is increasingly influential in our elections, the idea that anti-union politicians are persecuting and intimidating pro-union activists under the guise of campaign finance violations is an absolute farce. This is no better than the "beat 'em or cheat 'em" politics that Republicans use to disenfranchise their opponents through voter registration restrictions and voter ID laws. This is some horseshit. Roger Bennett Adler and the corrupt politicians he represents should be ashamed of themselves.




Monday, March 2, 2015

Arizona Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission

From the Brennan Center:
On March 2, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Arizona Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, which will decide whether Arizona voters had the power - through a citizen ballot initiative - to establish an independent redistricting commission to draw the state’s congressional maps every ten years.

The case could invalidate congressional redistricting commissions in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, New Jersey, and Washington and, depending on how the court rules, also could throw into doubt the tie-breaking procedures used in four states to resolve legislative deadlocks over maps as well as redistricting commissions in New York, New Jersey, and Maine. A measure approved by Florida voters in 2010 to tighten redistricting standards also could be at risk.

The ramifications of the case extend beyond redistricting, however. The Arizona Legislature's constitutional challenge to the commission is based on the Constitution’s Elections Clause and contends that the clause should be read to mean that the “times, places and manner” of federal elections can be set only by state legislatures or by Congress. That clause governs not just redistricting plans but a wide range of laws related to federal elections. If Arizona’s independent commission is struck down as unconstitutional, dozens of other state laws also could be at risk. These include 21 state laws adopted by ballot initiative and another 45 that needed approval by voters via a legislative referendum or constitutional amendment. Examples of such laws include Mississippi's voter identification law, Oregon's vote by mail ballot elections, and Ohio's ban on straight party voting. In short, the ruling, expected in late spring or this summer, could be a blockbuster.
Does anyone else see a huge problem with elected officials being the only ones who draw the lines deciding who elects them? Hello gerrymandering! Partisan redistricting only provides a vehicle for the party in power to solidify its hold on a state and its Congressional seats. Not to mention the fact that bipartisan and non-partisan commissions are almost always more favorable to Democrats than partisan gerrymandering schemes hmm... Partisan gerrymandering dilutes the will of the people, serves to disenfranchise voters and favor politicians. The idea that the Supreme Court would consider banning alternative redistricting methods CHOSED BY THE VOTERS is ludicrous to me. But ya know, what do I know?