Project Wonderful

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Your Official CampaignSick New Year's Countdown

After this year's election I promised to keep you apprised of the things that were making me feel good and hopeful after what we'll just call a terrible election season. I've been staying away from sharing a lot of news, mostly because I still find it pretty overwhelming but also because I have been busier than expected lo these past couple months (job hunting, I got engaged!, etc). I did want to leave 2016 with you guys on a positive note though so that we can look forward together optimistically to the New Year. So while you enjoy your holiday however you plan to spend it (ours will be on the couch eating Chinese food, because we live large) please enjoy this brief countdown of things that make me feel good going into 2017.


FIVE Inspirational Quotes

Yes, I see the irony that only one of these is from a woman, but these are the thoughts I meditate on when I am in the pits of post-election despair.

"And with this faith I will go out and carve a tunnel of hope through the mountain of despair. With this faith, I will go out with you and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows." Martin Luther King Jr

"If you’re going through hell, keep going." Winston Churchill

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Teddy Roosevelt

"Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, for as long as you can." Hillary Clinton

"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it." Rabbi Tarfon

FOUR uplifting facts about women running for office from the 2016 Election

Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by almost 3 million votes AND became the first woman to secure a major party's Presidential nomination

The next Congress will see a record high number of Black women representatives.

The number of women of color in the US Senate QUADRUPLED.

More than 4500 women signed up to run office post-election and that's just through She Should Run's incubator!

THREE articles I have read in the last 24hrs that made me smile

Only three passengers on BA flight enjoy champagne and selfies

Giant panda no longer endangered

Eavesdropping Uber driver saves young girl from pimps, police say

TWO songs that make me feel powerful and inspired in such times as these




ONE picture my friend who is a 2nd grade teacher sent me from an exercise where she asked her students what they learned from the election.


One final thought: time is just a construct. Celebrities will continue to die in 2017. Donald Trump will be President. But we will get through this as we get through everything, as a community. Can't think of one I'd rather be part of.

Campaign Love and Mine,

Nancy

Saturday, December 3, 2016

A Think Piece Worth Reading


If you are like me, you have a super long queue of articles to read post-election but not a whole lot of emotional bandwidth to read them. But you should read, this one, "The Magnificent Martyrdom of Hillary Clinton." I don't have a lot to add, but in keeping with my resolution to share things that make me feel better after the election and my other resolution to make Hillary Clinton's birthday a national holiday, I just had to share. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Just What I Needed To Hear

I promised you I would share anything that is making me feel better after this horrible election but I have been remiss in sharing this conversation with a Mary Kay colleague. (BTW click here to read about why I think Mary Kay is the perfect side hustle for campaign people.) She reached out to me two days after the election and it was the first time I had felt uplifted since November 7th. I hope it makes you smile too.

NOV 10TH, 10:18PM

Molly: Out of curiosity, how did you get involved in campaigns? I'd love to get involved in Ohio and potentially run for a small office but not even sure how to start!!

Nancy: OMG you have no idea how much this made my day. You should definitely check out Emerge America. They do amazing trainings for women who want to run. What's your email?

Molly: Ok that is awesome!! I've always been huge into women's rights and equality and hate my job (hence the Mary Kay) but this election just brought out so much passion and excitement for me, I want to get involved in something I care so much about. My email is [redacted.]

Nancy: OMG Molly, I cannot even tell you how much I needed to hear this from somebody today.

Molly: I admire you so much - thank you for all of your work on Hillary's campaign!!

Nancy: Oh yeah, to answer your question I actually fell into working on campaigns...I took my first job bc I was applying to the CIA and I needed something to do during my security clearance and I fell in love w it and decided to do that instead and then a couple years ago I got my Master's in Gender and Social Policy.

Molly: Fascinating!!! I got my job bc I wanted to work for the FBI and needed 2 years of experience, wish I would have landed on the campaign trail instead lol

Nancy: OMG hahaha we are twins! Where do you work now?

Molly: [Company Redacted]I'm a Finance Director.

Nancy: That's awesome

Molly: It's awful and boring and I make no impact to anyone

Nancy: So starting out working on campaigns would...be a big pay cut, but the work is very rewarding

Molly: Totally get it - I'm hoping to cut back to 3 days a week after my maternity leave to focus on Mary Kay, I'd love to do something else that also empowers women.

Nancy: Yes!!! People think I'm nuts when I see the two jobs as related.

Molly: I totally do!!! I get it. It's all about empowering women to live their goals, regardless of how different those goals may be.

Nancy: I don't know if this is your thing, but I feel like Planned Parenthood is often hiring in OH.

Molly: Wow!!! What would I do?? That sounds exciting!
I'm terrified of what trump is going to try to do with Planned Parenthood.

Nancy: ME TOO. I have been like...catatonic since election day.
https://www.plannedparenthood.org/about-us/jobs-volunteering

Molly: Ok I'm going to look at that!

Nancy: Their website is cool in that you can put in your skills and it sends you alerts when they have jobs that match.

Molly: I can only imagine how you feel - but know your efforts were not wasted - I feel so empowered now
And I know so many others that do too

Nancy: Dude that means...everything to meCan I ask you a weird, weird question? So I have a blog for campaign operatives that is read by like 3,000 ppl.

Molly: Wow!!!!

Nancy: And I have been struggling with something uplifting to share. Can I post this conversation, anonymously?

Molly: Of course! You can even put my name.

Nancy: That's awesome. Thank you.

Molly: You are truly inspiring, don't forget it!!!

Nancy: Dude YOU are. This is the first conversation that has made me feel like hope for my work is not lost in 3 days

Molly: Awww so happy I reached out, I wanted you to know what a huge impact you've made!!! Sometimes jobs are thankless but you are empowering and we are all ready to fight!!

Nancy: Thank you! And now you are going to be sick of me because I am going to keep sending you info on trainings to run for local office 🙂

Molly: No I want the help and appreciate it so much!!! My dream has always been to run for office.

Nancy: OMG we will make it a reality. I'm going to be your [Name of our mentor in Mary Kay] but for politics!

Molly: Ok!!!I'm getting goose bumps!





Thursday, November 24, 2016

Deep Canvass Your Relatives

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I wanted to do a longer post on this but then of course time became a thing and like many of us when it comes to the election I go back and forth between being able to engage thoughtfully and turning into a ranting sniveling mess.

I first want to say that I really feel for anyone who is spending the holidays with relatives who support Donald Trump. I still feel betrayed and incensed by my relatives who voted for Clinton but propagated the misogynistic language during the primary that I feel ultimately contributed (along with a boat load of other things) to this electoral outcome. I can only imagine having to share Thanksgiving with Trumpster fires. You are sincerely in my prayers.

There has been a lot of discussion over whether its appropriate, admissible or even incumbent upon us to talk about 2016 at the Thanksgiving table. I know my boyfriend and I are dreading having these conversation with my relatives, all of whom supported Clinton, but are less politically engaged than we are and likely to come at us with their own aggressive hot takes not at all hampered by the fact that this is our field of expertise.

Our friends at the Campaign Workshop shared an interview with Episcopal Reverend Tim Schenck for those taking the "I'd rather not go there" approach.

This will shock absolutely none of my readership, but I am quite comfortable arguing with my family even on holidays. This is in part because I'm Nancy and in part because I'm Jewish. Many Jewish holidays center on wrestling with interpretations of morality, questioning what we have been taught and even arguing with God shimself. And if I can have that argument, even my relatives are a piece of cake.

One of the many things I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving is a family that loves me and whom I love unconditionally, who share my values and for the most my interpretation of how those values should present themselves in our democracy. I recognize not everyone has that privilege. I don't mean to advocate for you to participate in actions that supersede your mental health.

However, when a colleague, who it should be noted has a very different relationship with her family, shared this article with the note "deep canvass your relatives," I was immediately drawn to the idea. Deep canvass as you may remember, is a method of voter contact that essentially allows the target to persuade themselves by answering thought provoking questions. You can read more about deep canvass here. When I consider the very few people in my life who voted for Donald Trump I am inclined to ask them that which is also the title of this New York Times article, "How Could You?" which presents 19 questions to ask your loved ones on the opposite side of our bitterly fought and bitterly disappointing presidential race. Those questions are:

1. Describe your relationship to me.

2. Are we close?

3. Who did I vote for and why?

4. What was the most important issue for me?

5. Why do you feel differently about that issue?

6. How do you think our views came to be so different?

7. Has it been difficult to talk to me about this election? If so, why?

8. Do my views influence your politics at all?

9. What do you think most needs to change about this country?

10. Are you uncomfortable about any aspect of how America is changing?

11. Do you think I’m sexist or racist?

12. Do you feel ignored or misunderstood as a voter? If so, for how long?

13. What is a position my candidate held that you agree with?

14. What is a trait you find positive about my candidate?

15. What is something that you don’t like about the candidate you voted for?

16. Is there anything you are hopeful about in a Trump presidency?

17. Is there a goal Clinton talked about that you could get behind?

18. What do you think we agree on?

19. Do you still like me?

Even more fascinating, the article offers a link to The Run Up podcast, which features sets of relatives having just this conversation.

I mean this not to be saccharine but as political necessity;our current state of affairs is severely lacking in empathy. I am as guilty of it as anyone. I CANNOT put myself in the position of someone who voted for Donald Trump, insurance premiums be damned. If we can't see where the other side is coming from, we can't communicate effectively and we will continue to lose elections. As I piece together my own personal version of "what's next" I know that listening and communicating in a way that meets people where they are is essential for progress as well as my own ability to reconcile what I believe to be true about our country with what happened at the polls. I will continue to share opportunities I find to do this and most of all continue to be grateful for your friendship and your readership today and every day.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Campaign Love and Mine,


Nancy




Friday, November 18, 2016

Goodnight Mainsplaining Twitterverse [Phase Two: Anger] : A Poem By Nancy

Goodnight Mansplaining Twitterverse
Who thinks I should calm down
I'd care about your hot takes
Had you spent time on the ground

Goodnight racists who blame their basest
Urges on "economic anxiety"
Goodnight self-righteous Bernie Bros
I hope you're happy with your piety

Goodnight misogynists who tell me
It isn't sex or race but class
Why don't you take your white male privilege
and shove it up your ass

Goodnight Monday morning quarterbacks
Who "saw this coming all along"
I don't even care for football
But I know that means you're wrong

Goodnight alt-right and neo-Nazis
though you're basically the same
Goodnight media who for the sake of expedia,
we'll just call equally to blame

Goodnight 24 hour pundits
With your reporting all the time
as if assault was "trading barbs"
but sending emails was a crime

Goodnight non-voters, you freeloaders
Who protest now but didn't vote
Who condescend to then pretend
that we are all in the same boat

Goodnight majority of white women
What you were thinking I can't tell
I'll take this moment to remind you
There's a special place in Hell

Goodnight Director Comey
Who just felt the need to share
When it's time for your public stoning
You can bet that I'll be there

Goodnight Anthony Weiner
At your sex addiction place
We'll be financing the midterms by
Charging to slap you in the face

Goodnight brogressives who think now Dems
Should pander not empower
When they went low, let records show
You chose to run and cower

Goodnight colleagues posting all about
How fired up they are
I'll join you when I'm ready
You're a badder bitch by far

Goodnight old roommates, friends, and lovers
Who text me now in disbelief
Your current fears, I've had for years
I can't help you with your grief

Goodnight baby orgs and fellows
For whom this is was your first campaign
You are loved, your work is needed
I hope this soothes your pain

Goodnight broworkers new and old
"Just calling to say hi"
Your words say, "can we grab a drink?"
The subtext? "Please don't die."

I understand that Tweeting's not
The best way to convey
my anger and frustration
But I don't know what to say

At least I'm not still crying
That's a step in the right direction
So for now I'm Nancy, signing off
Fuck you, fuck this election





Sunday, November 13, 2016

So......that happened.


You know that trope in a romantic comedy when a girl thinks her boyfriend is about to propose but instead he breaks up with her and it turns out he's done/been doing something so vile that he's not even the person she thought he was in the first place? That's what Tuesday (which by the way, was my fucking birthday) felt like. Except it wasn't a rom com. It was real life. And it wasn't just happening to me. It was happening to everyone around me. There's no sassy best friend to show up with ice cream, we all have to be each other's sassy best friend.

I am heartbroken in a way I have never been before. Just as our country has no roadmap for what's about to happen, I have no roadmap for what my life is under this new reality. My identity is forged around elections, empowering women to engage politically, and believing in the arc of the moral universe. We elected a misogynist/accused rapist over the most qualified woman in history. Where do I go from here? What does it say about my fellow white women that on average we care more about preserving our privilege and our fear than our own empowerment and that of our sisters? Two weeks ago I cried with gratitude and reverence each time I read the stories of grandmothers born before women's suffrage who were voting for a woman for president. Now I'm crying because I realize I might be those grandmothers before I feel this close to the precipice of equality again; a nonagenarian whose grandchildren take her rickety ass to the polls. "She's been waiting for this ever since she volunteered for Hillary Clinton," they'll say.

For the most part, I've been avoiding social contact. I'd like to tell you it's because I'm taking part in radical self-care or plotting the new Feminist agenda but the truth is I don't know how to be myself in the world right now. The moral arc is so much longer than I ever anticipated. Social media is wave after wave of anxiety inducing reminder of exactly what these next four years will be, self-righteous Monday morning quarterbacking as if ANYBODY saw this coming, and friends whose pledges to fight on only make me ashamed of my own inability to answer, "what's next?"

I don't know. If you want think pieces about whether Bernie Sanders could have won or whether Trump means what he says or which segment of the population is most culpable for Hillary Clinton's loss you can find them, just sign on to Twitter. After commenting my way through six years of elections I feel compelled to say something, yet every time I sign on to Facebook to an "ok folks here's my take on the election," I sign right off again. I don't want to add to the cacophony just for the sake of being on record. There is nothing that hasn't been said. Besides, I'm still reeling too much to crystalize exactly what I'd want to express anyway.

More than anything, I always strive for this blog to be what I would have needed in a given moment, so that's what these next couple of posts are going to be about--just whatever is making me feel better. Like I said, the moral arc really isn't doing it for me right now, but there is a Martin Luther King quote that I've been finding comfort in lately. It's the best I can promise myself right now.
With this faith I will go out and carve a tunnel of hope through the mountain of despair. With this faith, I will go out with you and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows.
(More than ever) Campaign Love and Mine,

Nancy




Tuesday, November 8, 2016

One More Great Celebrity GOTV Video

Yo, Urban Outfitters is THE WORST

It's Election Day and I'm tired so I am mostly going to be reposting reporting on this but I hate Urban Outfitters SO MUCH and I can't believe stupid idiot hipsters still shop there.
"Yesterday afternoon, the company tweeted an Election Day “handy guide for your reference” to its 1 million Twitter followers, offering a free “I Voted” button at stores while supplies last.''

The guide is full of false information. Under a subhead titled “Requirements,” the guide says that Americans going to the polls need a “voter’s registration card” as well as an ID.

That’s not true.

In fact, no states require a voter registration card to vote. Some, but not all, states now require ID to vote. (Some states accept voter registration cards as a form of ID.)

Urban Outfitters is no stranger to political controversy. Here’s a rundown from the Washington Post.

Update, 8:30am ET: Urban Outfitters has deleted its tweet from yesterday and updated its guide."

You guys. DO. NOT. SHOP THERE. It's a wolf in sheep's knockoff marked up slave labor clothing.

Monday, November 7, 2016

I VOTED!!!


Thank you so much to everyone who reached out as I was worrying about my own enfranchisement yesterday. My absentee ballot did in fact come this morning, and I overnighted it to the DC Board of Elections for a 10:30am delivery!!! I am partially convinced that it only showed up thanks to the positive and supportive vibes from you all so thank you again so much. Special thank you to Travis Ballie, Councilmembers Elissa Silverman and Robert White and Raymond Bryan at the DC Board of Elections. Kind of embarrassed that it takes a village to get my vote out but mostly incredibly grateful.

Two things I wanted to highlight if you ever find yourself in a similar situation:

1) Contact your local elected officials. I can't believe I didn't think of this on my own. I am blaming it on GOTV brain. Travis connected me with Robert White and Elissa Silverman both of whom were ready and willing to help. This is what local government SHOULD BE and both Robert and Elissa can rely on my enthusiastic support in any and all future campaigns. (I actually got to vote for Robert on my ballot.)

2) It is in fact possible for the Board of Elections (at least the DC one) to email you a ballot if you waive your right to secrecy (which you know, not super shy about that stuff) as they would do if you were voting overseas.


You all know I firmly believe that voting should be as easy as checking your email but until technology and legislation catches up to our ideals, I am just very relieved and thankful. Happy Election Eve!


Campaign Love and Mine,



Nancy

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Why I Am Probably Not Voting For Hillary Clinton

What? Has Nancy gone mad? Has she lost her mind? Has she been hacked? No, no friends, it's true.

Here's the situation: On October 6th I accept an offer to go out and spend this last month on the campaign trail in North Carolina. I had to be here by the 10th. The second THE SECOND I know I am leaving I make a to do list which includes things like do my laundry, quit my current employment and oh yes, FIGURE OUT HOW I'M VOTING. I have all my pertinent information because the first thing I did when I moved into my new apartment was register to vote, and I carry my voter reg card around in my wallet. It's too early to vote early in DC so October 8th, an ENTIRE MONTH, before the election I fill out my absentee ballot application and mail it to the DC Board of Elections.

They do not issue my ballot until October 23rd. No big deal, still plenty of time. I ask the staff in my office to be on the lookout for my absentee ballot. Turns out we don't get mail at the office, nobody knows which mailbox is ours and nobody has the key. Shit.

Okay not to worry. I befriend our mail lady, who is delightful by the way, and explain the situation. She promises to bring the ballot up to our office when she sees it. I also put a note on the mailbox bank asking that any mail for the campaign office be left on top. On three separate occasions I see a mail truck pulling into our parking lot and race downstairs like I'm 12 and it's Mister Softee. When the mail carrier tells me they don't have my ballot today, I make them open all the boxes and look in case another mail carrier accidentally shoved it in there. No luck and they think I'm insane.

MEANWHILE, recognizing that my ballot might not get delivered, I call the DC Board of Elections FIVE TIMES. Thrice I leave a message and once that message is returned. The very nice and helpful man tells me to email him my alternate address (the campaign's PO Box) and he will reissue the ballot. According to the DC BOE website that ballot is mailed November 1st. I ask our Campaign Treasurer and Finance Director daily whether it has arrived. It has not.

You guys, I am FREAKING OUT. First of all I'm super angry because no one is going to be more persistent than I am when it comes to voting. If this can happen to me, it can happen to anybody and voting should be easy and accessible and it bums me out on principle. Second of all, I LOVE VOTING. It's kind of my thing and I have voted in every single municipal bond measure, uncontested primary and low key election since 2006. And now for PRESIDENT? For HILLARY? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Not to mention that DC Statehood is on the ballot. I have been waiting six years to vote for Hillary Clinton. I have been blogging and donating and volunteering and intermittently considered leaving my job to go work for her campaign. How can this be happening?

So here's the plan: God-willing, this thing is in our PO Box on Monday at which point I will pay money to overnight it to DC. I am also planning on calling the Post Office here in Raleigh just in case...I don't even know what. I seriously briefly considered driving up to DC to cast a provisional ballot on Tuesday but since I am down here working on a campaign that is beyond sketchy. And yes, I got here too late to register in North Carolina. I even replied to a text from the Hillary campaign for people who have voting questions, but shockingly they had other things to do besides delve into absentee ballot problems in DC.

Honestly, I am open to suggestions. I MUST vote for Hillary Clinton. What do I do?





Saturday, November 5, 2016

You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream for GOTV! (Sponsored Post)


I'm going to preface this by saying that this is my first sponsored post. I would never, ever take money to talk about something I didn't believe in but when it comes to frozen desserts (in this case gelato) I'm about as passionate as I am about voting. So when Iorio's Gelato in East Lansing Michigan asked if I would post about their election themed flavors I said "HECK YES...if I can try them." So the good folks at Iorio's sent some tasty treats to their local HFA field office per my request as well as to North Carolina for yours truly to try.

At first I was nervous that the gelato wasn't going to come in time, which is fitting because that is the current situation with my absentee (DO. NOT. EVEN. START. ME. I'm freaking out.) But luckily Iorio's is more organized than the DC Board of Elections. And I got to try some election themed flavors with my friend Jonae. Here's how that went:




If there are two things I love, they are gelato and elections. If there are three things hey are gelato, elections, and puns. So I was super excited to read the flavor descriptions...per my contact there:
So the Trump flavor is a white chocolate base (dark chocolate did not poll well with Trump). It's full of a whole lot of NUTS and has homemade orange marshmallows.

Cookies and Clinton is a play on cookies and cream with a vanilla base and a mixture of a bunch of different cookies. We don't know what the cookies are because the recipe got deleted.

This was also helpful because the Trump flavor was described to me as Trump's Rocky Road (get it? get it?) and I was wondering why the base was white. Also there were yummy little red bits in the Cookies and Clinton that I wanted to know about, but I guess I will have to have to head home to Chappaqua to figure that out.

Conclusion: I vote for Cookies and Clinton. Granted I was predisposed to be on Team Clinton to begin with but I also just really, really love cookies and cream. Which sounds better to you? Vote here!

The good news is unlike in this election you really can't go wrong so visit Iorio's website and check 'em out!


My Favorite TV Shows Tackle Elections (G.O. TV)


Life in a boiler room can be pretty boring. If you've done your job right and if your Secretary of State/Board of Elections is not behaving like dumpster fire there's very little for you to do: collect numbers, reallocate resources, and that's about it. It's hard to keep yourself entertained/distracted/from obsessively refreshing 538. I've been wanting to do this post for a while and I thought what better time than when you'll be sitting in front of a computer for several hours obsessing about an election. Unfortunately Cupcake Wars and The Bachelor have not yet done an elections episode (can you imagine though) and I didn't shows that routinely deal with electoral politics like Parks and Rec and West Wing. So, here are some of my favorite television shows of all time reviewed for how they deal with the concept of elections!

Futurama: A Head In the Polls (Also Available on Netflix)

Fry: If I were registered to vote, I'd send these clowns a message by staying home on election day and dressing up like a clown!
The plot: The episode starts out with two nearly indistinguishable candidates running for President of Earth and the gang commenting on their various political affiliations/registration status. However the Planet Express crew starts to take the election a lot more seriously when a robotic Nixon gets in the race.
Review: I started here because in my mind this is the most well done election episode around. All of their political episodes are wonderful perhaps in part because SNL writer and Al Gore's daughter Kristen Gore is on their writing staff. I love how creative Futurama can be because they are not bound by what is physically or temporarily possible. This episode tackles voter apathy, third parties and a slew of other topics that are perpetual thorns in my side with humor and insight. RoboNixon not withstanding this episode is #tooreal. If you only watch one episode this GOTV, this is the one to watch.
High points: Presidential history jokes (my soft spot).
Low points: Spoiler alert: their sudden enfranchisement doesn't go great for the crew.

30 Rock: Brooklyn Without Limits (Available on Netflix)
Jenna: If they could be bribed I would have won an award for my Lifetime original movie, 'Sister Can You Spare a Breast?'
The plot: Jack gets involved in a Congressional race to back an Independent Tea Party type candidate who he thinks will be good for business. Meanwhile Liz becomes obsessed with an Urban Outfitters type store that turns out to be owned by Halliburton.
The Review: Another excellent episode and not the only 30 Rock about elections. I would also recommend watching the episodes called Unwindulax and There's No I in America. I chose this one first because I love John Slattery who plays candidate Steven Austin ("and if you're blind, yes, I am the wrestler") but also because it feels so relevant to this election. How much crazy will people vote for in favor of their perceived economic interests?
High points: My distaste for Urban Outfitters' liberal persona with right-wing roots has been well documented. This episode expertly lampoons what Liz Lemon would refer to as that "Hipster nonsense."
Low points: Does Steven Austin's Zappos box ever arrive? They really left me hanging.

Seinfeld: The Wizard (Available on Hulu)

George: Snoopy and Prrrrickly Pete!
The plot: Kramer moves down to Florida and runs for President of Jerry's parents' condo board. George lies about owning a home in the Hamptons to avoid Susan's parents. Elaine's boyfriend is of indeterminate race.
Review: Several Seinfeld episodes touch on electoral politics most notably The Non-Fat Yogurt where Lloyd Braun is David Dinkins' campaign manager. I chose this one because it was the episode in which an election played the biggest role. Yes it's not a "real" election but the show is self-aware enough that the joke is in how inappropriately seriously the characters take it and as always they nail the old Jewish thing. It also includes two of the most quotable Seinfeld B-stories. This episode is solidly in the upper quartile of what is in my opinion the best sitcom of all time. Giddy-up!
High points: Like I said, this is an all-around amazing episode but the way Mrs. Ross nails the line "sounds grand" makes its way into at least one conversation a month with one of my best friends from high school.
Low point: The idea of a cottage cheese and egg whites comment is so gross I sometimes gag when I hear that scene.
Bonus content: Who Seinfeld characters would support in 2016. It's extremely well thought out.

Arrested Development: The Immaculate Election (Available on Netflix)

Rav Nadir: Drought, starvation, there are the things my family has had to deal with for generations...although fortunately not since we moved to Corona Del Mar.
The plot: George Michael is running for Student Body President against the much more popular Steve Holt. Michael enlists GOB's help to keep George Michael from getting crushed.
Review: There is actually a more-election specific episode of Arrested Development in Season Four but because its in that season I consider it non-canonical (I don't understand that episode and I won't respond to it). I actually appreciate that the episode doesn't go out of its way to pretend that school elections parallel actual political campaigns plus Seasons 1-3 of Arrested can do no wrong in my eyes.
High points: This clip of Buster acting out his favorite movie scenes is my happy place.
Low points: As I said it's not really that electiony.

Saved by The Bell: The Election

Jessie: Fair! Fair? What does fair have to do with it? We are WOMEN we go to the bathroom together, we VOTE together!
The plot: Jessie is running for school President which Zack thinks is totally lame but THEN Zack finds out the winner gets a trip to Washington, DC and to miss school for a week. You see where this is going. Zack gets in the race, friendships are put to the test and spoiler alert: valuable lessons are learned.
Review: I'm not a huge fan of school-elections-as-social-commentary episodes because student government has very little to do with real elections, but you know, its an easy allegory especially when your show is set in a high school. Reviewing an episode of Saved by the Bell is like reviewing a bowl of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese- you know empirically its not going to be good but its so formulaic and neon and nostalgic that you enjoy the heck out of it anyway.
High points: Mr. Dewey the sardonic and monotone math teacher/faculty advisor, delivering deadpan humor in a way that only exists in 90's sitcoms.
Low points: Zack, "As for me, I only run for buses, blondes and brunettes" Burn, Zack. I'm right here. Also could do without the sexism and the Roseanne Barr fat joke.

Bob's Burgers: The Millie-churian Candidate (Available on Netflix)
Tina: Wow brains and brawn, is what I would say if you had the brawn part.
The plot: Louise's weirdo groupie Millie runs for class President in order to get closer to her.
Review: I hate this episode so much. And I LOVE Bob's Burgers. It's pretty needlessly convoluted and just uncomfortable for pretty much every character. Also it is very low on Linda Belcher who is obviously the best character. However it does have a pretty clever twist at the end and as Linda learned the hard way, a lie is not a twist. So go ahead and watch it but don't have a crap attack.
High points: It did give us the above GIF which has been of big use this election season.
Low point: The character of Millie is so annoying that its almost unwatchable. She is so annoying that uses the idea of an improv club to make herself sound LESS gross and crazy.

Golden Girls: Strange Bedfellows

Blanche: Just because you didn't have a good time is no reason to bore your friends with a bad story.
The plot: The girls are volunteering on the City Council campaign of "wimp" Gil Chesteron, but Dorothy and Rose are dismayed and angry when Blanche appears to have had an affair with the married candidate. Meanwhile Sophia is convinced that Gil is harboring a secret.
The Review: Ughhhhhh.....okay, I'm just going to tell you. The "secret" that Sophia senses turns out to be that Gil is transgender. This is probably my least favorite episode of one of my favorite shows because it is problematic as fuck. It's also just not very good. Two cheesecakes down.
High points: Rose the whacktivist has the idea to make bird feeders with Gil's name on them and Dorothy is appropriately disgusted by this plan.
Low points: Transphobia, slut-shaming, not believing women. Take your pick.

What do you think? Did I leave something out? What's your favorite election episode and how are things going out there? What are ya hearin'?


Campaign Love and Mine,

Nancy




Wednesday, November 2, 2016

#RepealThe19th

Just when you thought it was safe....FBI email schedule! Nevermind the fact that Trump is being accused of raping a child.

A friend shared these on my Facebook wall a couple of weeks ago and now I wanted to share them with you because what would usually be an interesting piece of historic memorabilia is actually frighteningly close to what could be found on Reddit this election cycle. Take a look, share, and remember what's at stake.






Monday, October 31, 2016

Election Word Etymology


This will not shock anyone who knows me in person or reads this blog regularly, but when it comes to words I am a big old nerd. I love grammar, I love linguistics and I love finding out where things come from. When my dad asked recently where the term vetting comes from, I couldn't concentrate on anything else until I found out. And once I started, why stop?

I realize we are eight days out from an election and this is complete fluff, but I am hoping if you're as big a nerd as I am you will find it interesting and kind of relaxing. Here we go:

Vetting-"To vet was originally a horse-racing term, referring to the requirement that a horse be checked for health and soundness by a veterinarian before being allowed to race. Thus, it has taken the general meaning 'to check.'"

Campaign-Early 17th century (denoting a tract of open country): from French campagne open country, via Italian from late Latin campania, from campus level ground (see camp). The change in sense arose from an army's practice of ‘taking the field’ (i.e. moving from a fortress or town to open country) at the onset of summer.

Ballot-mid 16th century (originally denoting a small colored ball placed in a container to register a vote): from Italian ballotta, diminutive of balla (see ball1).

Poll-from Middle Low German or Middle Dutch pol "head, top." Sense extended early 14c. to "person, individual." Meaning "collection of votes" is first recorded 1620s, from notion of "counting heads;" meaning "survey of public opinion" is first recorded 1902. Poll tax, literally "head tax," is from 1690s. Literal use in English tends toward the part of the head where the hair grows.

Candidate-c. 1600s, from Latin candidatus "one aspiring to office," originally "white-robed," past participle of candidare "to make white or bright," from candidus past participle of candere "to shine," from PIE root *kand- "to glow, to shine" (see candle). Office-seekers in ancient Rome wore white togas.

Map-early 16th century: from medieval Latin mappa mundi, literally ‘sheet of the world,’ from Latin mappa ‘sheet, napkin’ + mundi ‘of the world’ (genitive of mundus ).

Gerrymander-The word gerrymander (originally written Gerry-mander) was used for the first time in the Boston Gazette on 26 March 1812. The word was created in reaction to a redrawing of Massachusetts state senate election districts under Governor Elbridge Gerry (pronounced /ˈɡɛri/; 1744–1814). In 1812, Governor Gerry signed a bill that redistricted Massachusetts to benefit his Democratic-Republican Party. When mapped, one of the contorted districts in the Boston area was said to resemble the shape of a salamander.[1]

Caucus-"private meeting of party leaders," 1763, American English (New England), perhaps from an Algonquian word caucauasu "counselor, elder, adviser" in the dialect of Virginia, or from the Caucus Club of Boston, a 1760s social & political club whose name possibly derived from Modern Greek kaukos "drinking cup." Another old guess is caulker's (meeting) [Pickering, 1816], but OED finds this dismissable.

Canvass-Early 16th century (in the sense toss in a canvas sheet (as a sport or punishment)): from canvas. Later extended senses include criticize, discuss (mid 16th century) and propose for discussion; hence seek support for.

Vote-"formal expression of one's wish or choice with regard to a proposal, candidate, etc.," from Latin votum "a vow, wish, promise to a god, solemn pledge, dedication," noun use of neuter of votus, past participle of vovere "to promise, dedicate" (see vow (n.)). Meaning "totality of voters of a certain class or type" is from 1888.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

We Will Rise


And....your daily feel good to keep you going...

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Your Daily Cry

Sometimes it's easy to feel like we live in a cold, dark world where people don't care about voting, when you are begging and they don't seem to understand what's at stake or how hard people have fought for that right.

For those moments, I wanted to share two stories of people who went above and beyond to make sure their vote counted in this historic election, both of which left me in tears. (Although to be fair I cried watching Brave so...) My spirit is more than renewed to chase down my own absentee ballot on Monday.


First a man who was about to plead guilty to a felony and, realizing he might be about to lose the right to do so forever, asked the judge if he could vote first. I will save my soapbox about the vast racist conspiracy that disenfranchises felons for another time. Read his story with tissues unless you have an iron heart.


And second, well I'll just tell you the title, "The Last Thing My Mother Did Before She Died Was Vote for Hillary Clinton" and can I say hat tip to women's magazines like Glamour and Cosmo that have been covering more and more of these type of stories that affect women's lives.

Brb. Sobbing.

Campaign Love and Mine,

Nancy

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Vote No on Lawn Signs


This no on lawn signs "campaign site" is incredibly well done.
Thanks for submitting whoever did this. Can your girl @CampaignSick get a free pin?

Voting While Trans*



These are the things I wind up wondering about when I have not had my coffee. How would a trans* person vote in a state with strict voter ID and also anti-trans laws? (And no surprise those seem to go hand in hand). Thanks to my amazing LGBT Facebook network, I got an answer pretty quick! It's not a perfect solution but it's good to know there are resources out there. If you or someone you know is in need of this information, visit votingwhiletrans.org .

So....what are ya hearin'?


Everyone knows that the ability to report timely, relevant information on election day is important for being able to redirect resources and put out fires like late-opening poll locations and illegal voter suppression. However then there is a whooooooole mess of other information that gets reported. "Don't worry, 3 people gave me thumbs up as I was waving her sign outside the library, so I think we got this." I am clearly not the only one to notice this phenomenon and thanks to my buddy JLev, I have been introduced to WhatAreYaHearin'.com a site dedicated to generating all the useless, irrelevant intel you could ever need!

Enjoy!

Google Where To Vote



If you Google "Who's on my ballot" or "where to vote" you will find the above! (Don't try to find me there, I used the address of my childhood home as an example.) Kind of hard to believe that this is new, but I am all about anything that makes it as convenient to vote as possible. A little disappointed that they don't know my polling place yet though...

From there article on USAToday where I heard about this:

"We are committed to giving people timely and comprehensive information about the voting process so they can better participate in the election and have their voices heard in November," said Jacob Schonberg, a product manager on Google's politics and elections team.

Google is responding to popular demand. Search interest for "who is on my ballot" is up 137% compared to this point in 2012, while "where is my polling place" is up 379% and "polling place" is up 216%.

Keep on voting in the free world,


Nancy

Let's Get Deep (Canvass)



(Note: This video was part of a different, similar experiment from the Los Angeles LGBT Center)

This is MUCH appreciated guest post from Amanda McLain-Snipes, an LGBTQ movement operative working at the Equality Federation, providing direct support to our members in creating successful, targeted issue education campaigns. She is based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The history of studying this kind of canvass is a little fraught, but results could have great implications for how we do field.


We all know the drill. Knock all the doors. Make all the phone calls. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. What if I told you that each of your conversations with a voter would take about 12 minutes?

Yep. 12 minutes.

Let’s dive in and talk about deep canvassing. This summer the Equality Federation, Freedom for All Americans, and the Movement Advancement Project partnered on a research project to decrease bias toward the transgender community, particularly in restrooms. You read that correctly. We spent our summer researching why people are uncomfortable going to the same potty as transgender folks. And let me tell you, what we found was very interesting. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let’s start from the beginning. At the end of May this year, about 30 operatives gathered at the Rush Center in Atlanta, GA hosted by the Georgia Equality team (thanks for all the snacks!) to train on the latest messaging best practices, volunteer recruitment tactics, and field strategies to kick off our Summer of Action. The project brought in teams from Atlanta, GA, Jacksonville, FL, Scottsdale, AZ, and Cleveland, OH. We were nothing if not ambitious.

One month later our “Summer of Action” teams on-site would be doing their first practice canvass. That means from our time in Atlanta to the week of June 20th, they had exactly four weeks to recruit and train volunteers to knock on doors in the communities they call home and discuss the experience of transgender people. Why? We want to know which methods have the best impact - long or short conversations? Over the phone or at the door?

Wait, what is this about phones? After practicing and recruiting for a few more weeks, our teams went live and started collecting door data across all 4 sites in the middle of July. Then, in August, we ran the experiment again, but this time on the phone. Yep, long form conversations sharing our stories over the phone with voters.

So let’s dive into what these conversations looked like 1 on 1. Right out of the gate, we would get a person’s rating on the issue, after getting an initial ranking and establishing a rapport, our canvasser would show a video - one that our opponents used in a previous campaign. The intention is to trigger the worst of the voter’s potential concerns. We would then have an in-depth conversation, probing fears, asking questions to explore their thoughts and fears. By actively listening and engaging with the voters, we would get to the heart of what was driving their concerns. This is where deep canvassing breaks from traditional outreach. We asked lots of questions and spent a substantial part of the conversation listening to the voter. After exploring any concerns, the canvasser directly addressed their worries, showed a video from our side, and asked for a reaction. Finally, we wrapped up the conversation with one more rating and ended the interaction.

That’s a lot to digest and we’re still combing through our findings. Clearly, the potential implications are high - we will learn how to target our conversations to have maximum impact on the people we need to reach to protect our transgender friends and neighbors from prejudice. Beyond the scientific findings of this project, there are immense implications for the organizing community. You do not build a deep canvass project overnight. We essentially built a small congressional scale campaign across 4 states (no director lived in the same state as a site) and had “election day” within 90 days. Programs like this require rigorous trainings (an avg. training was 1.5 hours), extensive actions (a shift was about 5 hours), and substantial volunteer recruitment efforts (our teams did VRPBs at least 3 nights a week) --- plus a leadership development program to put volunteers in positions to train and run actions as the scale increases (we would often tack a leadership development training onto a phone bank). Keep in mind - there was no proposition on the ballot in any of the places we did this work. That means our teams felt the urgency of the work and our volunteers were motivated by the desire to make every day life better for trans and gender nonconforming folks --- not by a call to action using election day as the prime motivator. By including folks on the ground to the research work undertaken by our movement, our communities are informing the national strategy to win equality in the communities we call home.

The juice of a deep canvass project is to move the voter to a vulnerable place where they can critically reflect on their own views and experiences of the issue --- without feeling personally judged by the canvasser. That’s a hard needle to thread. But our preliminary findings show that once we get someone to come with us who is affected by the conversation, they stay with us in the face of our opposition's strongest messages. Their support is durable. This opens up a world of whole new timelines and tactics for issue campaigns. While many groups from racial justice to gun safety to reproductive rights are working on policy change - effectiveness of the deep canvassing tactic was only publically shown for the LGBTQ movement - from reducing prejudice toward the transgender community to opening minds about the freedom to marry.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

And The Winner Is..... I HELP IN MY OWN WAY






I gotta say, I'm surprised. In a matchup between "I'm not political" and "I help in my own way" "I help in my own way" took it with 69% (heh) percent of the vote! I would have picked "I'm not political" but you guys are the boss.

I think what makes "I help in my own way" so frustrating is that it allows the speaker to retain the smug sense of satisfaction that they have contributed without actually doing anything at all. A sentence I find myself saying a lot this cycle is "I'm not here to assuage your guilt" and that's really applicable here. Look, not everyone is going to volunteer and that's okay, but you have to own that. You don't get to pretend to either me or yourself that you've done the civic duty being asked of you without doing it. Because there are people who do it and that sense of pride should be reserved for them.

It also implies that you know better than me. Like I may think knocking doors and registering voters is the right way to help, but it's actually sharing memes on your Facebook wall populated by people who already agree with you, my B.

We'll tackle "I'm not political" a different day.

Thanks so much for participating! Did you like this? Should we do another one? Comment below.

Until then Campaign Love and Mine,

Nancy

Disney Princess Electoral Maps








Two things I love. Absurdly combined. Don't overthink it.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

My Three Favorite TV Spots of The Cycle







What are yours?

Pantsuit Flash Mob


OFFICIAL "PANTSUIT POWER" FLASH MOB FOR HILLARY from Celia & Mia for HRC on Vimeo.


You all know that usually this is exactly the type of thing I'd call bullshit. Dancing in one of the bluest cities in America? Why don't you go knock doors. However, as I pointed out in a recent blog post this election is starting to feel bereft of fun. What I like about this piece, besides the awesome choreography, is the intention behind it. Read below from WaPo:
“I wanted to bring some kind of humanity to her campaign, because I think humanity and love and humor tend to get lost when we’re in the heat of all of this,” says Celia Rowlson-Hall, 32, a New York-based choreographer who’s worked on HBO’s “Girls” and other TV shows and music videos. She and her Washington, D.C.-based friend, hiphop choreographer Crishon Landers, created the pantsuit dance, and Rowlson-Hall directed the video with her partner, Mia Lidofsky, an independent film producer. The couple met on the set of “Girls.”

“We just felt the need to do something,” Rowlson-Hall says. “We thought, how can we creatively impact this election? So we made the video.”

There’s nothing like dance to convey enthusiasm and energy, so it’s a natural political tool. The fact that it’s rarely used to rally voters–and even more rarely used so well–is what makes this video feel so fresh. That, and the clarity of the choreography, the invigorating spirit and skill of the video’s massive chorus line, and the catchy tune.


Might I suggest a 5 minute campaign office dance party?

Campaign Love and Mine,



Nancy

Field Staff Bracketology: The Final Matchup


Great job, you guys! I've got to agree one of these has to be the most annoying sentence in the history of the campaign universe. But which one is it? Vote now!

Make Elections Great Again


Let me start with the obvious: I love elections. I love nearly everything about them. I love the buzz of energy at a GOTV staging location, a perfectly cut walk list and a well-designed lit piece. I love the sense of patriotism that they invoke; for a few brief, shining moments our entire country is engaged in a national conversation about what we want it to mean to be American. I love empowering people and helping them believe they have a true stake in our democracy. I love that no matter how much money gets spent and how far, for better and worse, we have strayed from the electoral vision of our founding fathers, it can still come down to neighbors talking to neighbors. As much as I make fun of candidates, a good one can inspire an earnestness in people that is long since dormant in most adults.

And of course, there are election people. I love the people. If you made a pie chart of everyone new who has impacted my heart post-college, the non-campaign-person sliver would be infinitesimal. Campaign people are the funniest people in the world. They are among the most determined and the most loyal. I love our shared commitment, our intensity, and our dichotomy of cynicism and belief that we can make the world a better place. My colleagues make me love-to-hate even the least desirable aspects of election work: the hours, the stress, the peripatetic lifestyle. I have on more than one occasion been moved to tears just thinking about how lucky I am to have these people and this industry in my life.

With all that said: I. hate. this. election.

At first I thought it was just me. I love the work/life balance afforded me by doing electoral work at a non-profit, but I miss being out in field desperately. I miss the pace, the sense of urgency, and of course the people. Campaigns have become such a part of my identity that being removed from them pains me. The fact that this election season is going forward without me is damaging to my sense of pride. I feel like all my friends are hanging out without me. There's a reason this blog is called CampaignSick; I am homesick for campaigns.

But it turns out it's not just me. My friends, be they in the field, at consulting firms, or at independent politically oriented organizations are by and large finding this election joyless. When voters tell us they are sick of talking about the election, for the first time ever our reaction is "you're tellin' me."

Pundits and anti-Hillary stalwarts will point to an "enthusiasm gap," but I don't think that's it or at least not entirely. I will say the lies and stereotypes originally invented by the right and gleefully propagated by performative progressives during the primary have not helped matters. With friends like these as they say. A lot of ire was expended unnecessarily on the part of Clinton and Sanders supporters alike before we even got to the main event. Still, the party went through a fairly contentious primary in 2008 and went on to wage a general election campaign that was quite literally defined by hope and enthusiasm. This...is not that.

Of course Clinton is not as charismatic as her husband or as Obama, at least not in the same way, but I don't think that's it either. She is, after all the most qualified candidate ever to run for the office and, oh yeah the first woman to get this far in the process.

Remember the good old days when Mitt Romney seemed racist? When we couldn't believe anyone would re-elect George W Bush? Those days are well behind us. The Republican party's nomination of Donald Trump, a man who looks and behaves like a villainaire in a 90's movie, whose campaign and persona are sexist, racist, xeno and islamaphobic and an affront to our national values, has changed the very nature of the conversation. With Clinton as our nominee, misogyny was to be anticipated but this is a whole 'nother level. And bear in mind I started writing this post before this weekend's "groping" tape was released. It is common for Democrats to accuse the Republican nominee of not understanding the lives of racial and religious minorities, but rarely has he so intentionally and gleefully insulted them.

Clinton has not had the opportunity to show off her policy prowess because she is too busy saying, we are all too busy saying, "Can you believe this guy?" The prospect of a John McCain or Mitt Romney presidency had me disappointed, anxious, worried about my rights, but never flat-out terrified for the very fabric of society. Donald Trump has created a state of national emergency such that even for Hillary's ardent admirers, and I count myself among them, the conversation is not about electing this extraordinarily qualified glass-ceiling-shattering woman, nor empowering would-be voters in the act of doing so, it's about stopping Donald Trump. There is no room for electoral joy here, only fear.

Brian Beutler sums it up in a piece titled "There is Only One Message for Voters to Send In This Election"

Do you want children growing up in a country where white supremacy has been re-normalized? Where misogyny doesn’t disqualify men for high office? Where erratic ignorance is placed in the running for the world’s highest award? Or would you rather send a message that if a major party nominates a fascist to be president of the United States—someone whose very character threatens national and global stability—the overwhelming majority of the country will flock to the candidate standing between him and the White House, and he will be left with the
deplorables.

Look, I get that of all the things threatened by Donald Trump's nomination, the relative fun-ness of our careers ranks very low on the list, but there is a dark, palpable shadow over this election season and I've been trying to figure out why. I think it's going to be up to us to find the joy over these last 30 days. So if you have something fun, inspiring, or exciting submit it! Let's Make Elections Great Again!

Campaign Love and Mine,

Nancy






Thursday, October 6, 2016

Loretta Sanchez Dabbed As Her Closing Statement


So the California Senate debate was last night and from the woman who brought us this and this there's now this. Rep. Loretta Sanchez pretty inexplicably ended her closing statement by dabbing. Leaving opponent Kamala Harris to do her best Hillary-Clinton-trying-to-process-something-Donald-Trump-said in response.

You can watch the full debate or just the clip over at the LA Times.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Must Watch, SNL's Presidential Debate Cold Open



Finally, something that made me laugh and not also cry this election season. This is so, so well done.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Voter Vox


Thanks to Bitch Media for pointing out VoterVox a tool to connect non-English speakers with non-partisan volunteer translators who can help them understand and fill out their ballot. Due to the Voting Rights Act, authorities are required to provide ballots in a language the voter can understand BUT local governments are not required to do so if the linguistic minority does not meet a certain threshold of the jurisdiction's population. In addition, many non-native English speaking voters are not aware of their right to have a translator present, or can be bullied out of it. The VoterVox system, though far from perfect, the program is a step in the right direction and crucial. Consider the following:

“Basically in almost every poll in every jurisdiction, Asian Americans have a lower voter turnout rate than any other racial group,” says Cayden Mak, the Chief Technology Officer of 18 Million Rising, a group that promotes civic engagement among the 18 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. According to 18 Million Rising, only 55 percent of Asian Americans are registered to vote—and a big hurdle to increasing that number is language. According to the census, the largest Asian and Pacific Island language groups in the United States are Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, Vietnamese and Hindi. But a full 1.2 million Asian Americans didn’t even see their native language listed on the census. About one-third of all Asian Americans are limited-English proficient, meaning that they have some difficulty communicating in English. Getting ballots translated from English into their native languages has proven difficult at best.


I know been posting a lot of short-share posts lately and that is because I am in a desperate frenzy to share information with you during this busy time of year. If you have a technology, story, or something else important that you think needs sharing please feel free to send it to Campaignsick@gmail.com.

CLAM <3,

Nancy

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Today In Voter Suppression: Bring Back Preclearance


When I first wrote about the Supreme Court's decision in Shelby v. Holder I wrote, "The Supreme Court must uphold Section 5 and identify this challenge for what it is: the latest in a long line of Republican attempts to rewrite the rules of a game they are losing." The Court did not uphold Section 5 and now we are seeing the results.

This excellent New York Times piece starts out in Sparta, Georgia telling the terrifying but true story of law enforcement tracking down citizens to challenge their right to vote.

When the deputy sheriff’s patrol cruiser pulled up beside him as he walked down Broad Street at sunset last August, Martee Flournoy, a 32-year-old black man, was both confused and rattled. He had reason: In this corner of rural Georgia, African-Americans are arrested at a rate far higher than that of whites.

But the deputy had not come to arrest Mr. Flournoy. Rather, he had come to challenge Mr. Flournoy’s right to vote.

The majority-white Hancock County Board of Elections and Registration was systematically questioning the registrations of more than 180 black Sparta citizens — a fifth of the city’s registered voters — by dispatching deputies with summonses commanding them to appear in person to prove their residence or lose their voting rights. “When I read that letter, I was kind of nervous,” Mr. Flournoy said in an interview. “I didn’t know what to do.”

The board of election claimed that these actions were taken to protect the sanctity of the process, not as form of voter suppression, but the facts tell a different story.

By October, a month before the city election, the board and a private citizen who appears to have worked with its white members had challenged the legality of 187 registered voters in Sparta. The board removed 53 of them, virtually all African-Americans — roughly one of every 20 voters. As a “courtesy,” court papers state, county sheriff’s deputies served summonses on the targeted voters, commanding them to defend themselves at election board meetings.

Some did, and were restored to the rolls. Others reacted differently to a police officer’s knock on their door.

“A lot of voters are actually calling to say they no longer wish to be on the list, so now we have people coming off the list who no longer want to vote,” Tiffany Medlock, the elections supervisor for the Hancock County elections board, told a Macon television reporter in late September. “It’ll probably affect the City of Sparta’s election in a major way.”

What does this have to do with Shelby? As the Times points out:

[T]he purge of Sparta voters is precisely the sort of electoral maneuver that once would have needed Justice Department approval before it could be put in effect. In Georgia and all or part of 14 other states, the 1965 Voting Rights Act required jurisdictions with histories of voter discrimination to receive so-called preclearance before changing the way voter registration and elections were conducted.

Three years ago, the Supreme Court declared the preclearance mandate unconstitutional, saying the blatant discrimination it was meant to prevent was largely a thing of the past.

But since the Supreme Court’s 5-to-4 ruling in the voting-rights case, Shelby County v. Holder, critics argue, the blatant efforts to keep minorities from voting have been supplanted by a blizzard of more subtle changes. Most conspicuous have been state efforts like voter ID laws or cutbacks in early voting periods, which critics say disproportionately affect minorities and the poor. Less apparent, but often just as contentious, have been numerous voting changes enacted in counties and towns across the South and elsewhere around the country.

The article then goes on to point out similarly tragic and avoidable racially motivated voter suppression schemes in other parts of the country previously covered by the preclearance statute.

They appear as Republican legislatures and election officials in the South and elsewhere have imposed statewide restrictions on voting that could depress turnout by minorities and other Democrat-leaning groups in a crucial presidential election year. Georgia and North Carolina, two states whose campaigns against so-called voter fraud have been cast by critics as aimed at black voters, could both be contested states in autumn’s presidential election.

The local voting changes have often gone unnoticed and unchallenged. A June survey by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund found that governments in six former preclearance states have closed registration or polling places, making it harder for minorities to vote. Local jurisdictions in six more redrew districts or changed election rules in ways that diluted minorities’ votes.

Alabama moved last year to close 31 driver’s license offices, almost all in rural areas with large African-American populations, as a cost-saving measure. After lawsuit threats and complaints that the closings would severely curtail local voter registration, the state chose to open the offices at least one day a month. Gov. Robert J. Bentley, a Republican, has strongly denied that the closings were racially motivated.

In Hernando County, Fla.; Cleveland and Watauga Counties in North Carolina; Baldwin County, Ala.; and elsewhere, elections officials eliminated or moved polling places in largely minority districts; a state court overturned the Watauga County closure.

The Republican majority in North Carolina’s General Assembly redrew the political districts last year in Wake County, whose main city is Raleigh, concentrating black voters in the city center into a single voting district. (A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that map unconstitutional.) In Pasadena, Tex., officials eliminated two District Council seats in largely Hispanic areas in 2014 and replaced them with at-large seats chosen largely by white voters. Hispanic voters have filed a federal lawsuit seeking to undo the change.

In Macon-Bibb County, Ga., in February, the elections board moved a polling place in a predominantly black neighborhood from a gymnasium that was being renovated to the county sheriff’s office. Officials changed the location to a church after a petition drive legally forced a reversal.

It isn't difficult to make the connection between the recent wave of police violence toward black people with the criminalization of black people voting. This is voter suppression and racial injustice at its most base. Would you register to vote if you knew that it might result in the police at your door, even though you didn't do anything? If you lived in an environment where police shot people like you for driving, walking, and shopping? Preclearance needs to be reinstated and our country needs a good long look in the mirror.






Some Points About Hillary Clinton Being "Sick," From the Point of View Of Sick Person



I know, I know is my hot take machine broken? What's next for me to post about, "Eve Eats Apple?" As always happens as we round the bend into the electoral homestretch, the amount of stuff I want to write about expands inversely to the time in which I have to write it. Some of those posts have just gone by the wayside whereas others I still feel are worth addressing even though they are (thank God in this case) past their moment in the sun. For those who were taking their annual vacation under a rock that week, let me refresh your memories:

On September 11th, Hillary Clinton left early from a ceremony honoring victims of 9/11, saying she felt overheated. Breitbart "news" reported that Hillary had been rushed to the hospital after fainting which was (shockingly) not true. But video did show her faltering. Later her doctor reported that Sec. Clinton was suffering from pneumonia and was recovering nicely. This incident couldn't have come at a worse time since the Trump campaign has been pushing the narrative that Clinton was sick, weak, and frail. I'll let readers dissect the obvious misogyny of trying to insinuate that Hillary "lacks stamina" while I ask another question; what if Hillary were sick? So, what?

This story interested and angered me not only as a staunch Clinton supporter, and a Feminist, but as someone who has struggled with chronic illness her entire adult life. We have so much (important) conversation in the progressive community about destigmatizing mental illness (a charge that's been leveled at both major candidates with impunity) but what about physical? Somewhere in the heart of every "sick" person lies the fear and shame that we will be judged as incapable, as weak, or as lazy when in fact just the opposite is true. As many have now pointed out, Hillary Clinton should be commended for attending this ceremony despite a temporary physical ailment; It shows her commitment and her fortitude. Even as one who greatly admires Secretary Clinton, as a sick person I couldn't help but think, "I hope Hillary Clinton is sick. I hope she becomes an excellent President and it changes the way we think about illness."

After all, what does "sick" mean anyway? It seems clear that the Trump campaign was hoping to imply, if not discover, something more lasting and insidious than pneumonia. Exactly what physical ailment would have disqualified Clinton from executing the office of the Presidency? We now know that FDR was in a wheelchair, LBJ had heart problems, and JFK had Addison's Disease. Even my boy, Teddy Roosevelt, suffered from Asthma. And of course, no one could watch this story unfold without wondering, "Have you people even seen The West Wing?" All of these Presidents, both real and fictional, were exceptional leaders who, despite their obvious fitness for the job, strove to hide their physical ailments from the public. Why?

Well in Clinton's case it may have something to do with the fact that she knew she might be criticized just for having a real human body. After all this is a woman who has been pilloried for preparing for a debate, accused of corruption for using her connections to combat childhood AIDS, and lampooned as morally bankrupt for having been cheated ON. As a woman, she is socialized not to complain about physical discomfort perhaps because she is less likely to be believed if she does. Obvious and pervasive misogyny aside, I think there is another reason why Clinton was vulnerable to this line of attack. Despite the fact that about half of American adults suffer from some form of chronic illness, and the despite the vast body of evidence to the contrary, we still labor under the misperception that sickness equals weakness, not just a physical failure, but a moral one. My many colleagues who have campaigned with anything from the sniffles to a burgeoning cancer diagnosis can tell you that that is anything but the truth.

As we move further and further into an age of forced full disclosure, we need to reexamine what exactly is shameful to disclosure. To what standards do we hold our leaders that we don't hold ourselves and why? What are we reinforcing by doing so? I think the scariest thing about our leaders being sick is the idea that they are vulnerable and the scariest thing about that is that it means we are too. When we tell our children they can grow up to be anything, imperfect should be included, particularly when it comes to forces irrelevant to the task and beyond their control. Think about what message we send when "sick" is not a concern but an accusation we level at a candidate.