Monthly Archives: June 2018

Join the June 30th Day of Action

Fine a march near you tomorrow!

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Explaining Ocasio-Cortez – Michael Kinnucan – Medium

Never met Michael Kinnucan, but he keeps posting brilliant stuff. He worked on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign, the 28-year old Latina from the Bronx who was tending bar last year who went up against a 10-term incumbent who outspent her 10-1 (!!!). And she ran on a bold platform of Medicare for All, abolishing ICE, and a federal jobs guarantee. Lots for all of us to learn in Michaels analysis below of how it happened.

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Okay okay AOC debrief post:

1) You should respect my views on NY politics a little less from now on because never in a million years did I expect this to happen. I started out thinking “this will be cool because she’s surprisingly good, she’ll get 30% which will dent Crowley’s aura and loosen the machine’s grip, and most importantly it will build capacity for DSA.” I had a post ready to go for when she lost about how it had built capacity for DSA (which it did, enormously, as electoral work so often does). It was only in the last couple of weeks that I started dreaming of 40%. When she won I was blown away.

2) So, ex post facto, why did it happen? How did it happen? I mean again, don’t listen to me, but:
a) I’ve been saying for a long time that the “machine” terminology is a source of confusion. Historically an urban political machine doled out huge amounts of patronage directly to large numbers of people and therefore had the allegiance of large numbers of people. This was good, actually: delivering jobs to the working class in exchange for political allegiance ain’t socialism per se but it’s better than what the reformers were often trying to do. But in the course of history the machine lost its capacity to deliver that kind of patronage, and currently “the machine” as it exists at the county level doles out things like judgeships to a small number of people behind the scenes and that’s it. For that reason its interest in turning out votes and capacity to turn out votes has declined massively, and it has developed a strong interest in suppressing turnout and driving disengagement from politics.

This makes it vulnerable. “Double turnout and win” may not be a plausible strategy in a presidential general election where 60% of people are turning out, but when you’re dealing with a primary where 3% of voters (10% of Democrats) are turning out, well, there *are* those people who are close enough to being politically engaged that you can push turnout up to 15%. And if you can do that (by knocking on doors) you’re in a position to dominate elections.

b) Crowley was very powerful but “powerful” meant “holds the strings of power within the party,” not “magically capable of turning out votes.” These things aren’t unrelated–Crowley could and did control money, endorsements, etc.–but they’re not identical. It was foolish to think, as I did think, that just because Crowley was the most powerful Democrat in Queens he was the most invulnerable electorally. There was a tendency to think that no one *could* challenge him when in fact it was the case that no one (no sitting politician with a career to think about) *dared* challenge him.

c) Candidate quality, man. If you’ve ever been in a room with Ocasio-Cortez, you know what I mean. She has the thing. You don’t *need* the thing, lots of sitting politicians don’t have it, but when you find it–it’s something else.

d) White people representing majority-minority districts are intrinsically vulnerable. There are more of them in Queens. Make a list and come at them.

e) The Democratic base is consistently and almost universally to the left of the Democratic elected party, like well to the left. Not just DSA people but lots of Indivisible people are to the left of their reps. There’s a real gap between the politicians whose instincts were forged by Reagan-Clinton and the rest of us whose instincts changed with 2008 and changed more after Trump.

f) There is no replacement for strong volunteer canvass. Three million dollars is not a replacement for volunteer canvass. If you’re wondering what you can do to change the political situation right now, the answer is “volunteer canvass.” If you’re not sure how to get looped in DM me and I’ll let you know.

3) If anyone tells you this was DSA’s victory solely, they’re wrong. Ocasio-Cortez–a brilliant candidate at the right moment–brought in a whole mess of volunteers from all over the place, from other organizations as well as off the street. What’s true, I think, is that DSA was the biggest *organized* bloc (although certainly not the *majority*) of AOC’s volunteers. I hope Alexandria or someone else is out there organizing the rest of them! The worst thing about electoral work is that sometimes there’s no organization ready to build on the connections it creates; we need to make sure that doesn’t happen here.

Some people in DSA need to get used to the fact that its wins will almost always be in coalition.

4) We’re a lot more powerful in New York City than we were on Monday. Like a *lot*. By “we” I mean DSA, the left, and progressives–all of us. But let me be clear: we’re NOT more powerful because we have an extra vote in Congress that will do what we want. She probably will–her politics are evidently good and pretty fearless–but it doesn’t matter as much as the other thing.

The other thing is that a very powerful incumbent was challenged from the left and went down. Believe me when I say that there isn’t an incumbent in New York who didn’t watch and learn from that, and from how close Yvette Clarke’s challenger came. They’re quaking in their boots, because that *never* happens; incumbents never lose. This one did–the guy no one expected–and now they’re all looking for ways to insulate themselves from left challenge.

On the night of, I said, “this is our Eric Cantor moment.” The moment when the Democratic incumbents realize that the base is angry and no one is safe. The Republican Party has gone insane mainly because most incumbents are more vulnerable to a primary challenge than to a general challenge, and the Republican base (and its vastly wealthy donors) has demonstrated that it will come for you if you’re not a psychotic white supremacist. Now Democrats know that we’ll come for them if they’re not some shade of red. Shit’s gonna be great.

5) This totally changes the map of NYC politics; people are looking vulnerable who weren’t even thought of before. Plus there’s a massive power vacuum in Queens. I hope you’re recruiting candidates *today* for 2020 and 2021. Start now. Start making a list.

6) Obviously electoral work builds power, builds organization and builds membership. I hope that’s a conversation we can put to rest.

7) DSA in New York suddenly has a bit of cred, a bit of power. This is our first big win in New York. Let’s be careful and thoughtful about how we conduct ourselves; the world–not the world of media but the world of power–suddenly has an eye on us.”
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Inside the White House’s Quiet Campaign to Create a Supreme Court Opening

Justice Kennedy’s son did billions of dollars in business with Donald Trump. He was instrumental in getting his dad to retire.

4 of the 5 GOP justices who will roll back reproductive Rights, voting rights, environmental protection and more will have been appointed by people who installed themselves in the presidency despite not winning the most votes.

Are you willing to give up your bodily autonomy for civility? Are you willing to give up your vote for civility? Because they are playing a different game. We will be living with Trump’s SCOTUS for 50 years.

Nothing in the constitution says SCOTUS had to be 9 people. We can work toward adding seats.

“Say hello to your boy,” Mr. Trump said. “Special guy.”

“Mr. Trump was apparently referring to Justice Kennedy’s son, Justin. The younger Mr. Kennedy spent more than a decade at Deutsche Bank, eventually rising to become the bank’s global head of real estate capital markets, and he worked closely with Mr. Trump when he was a real estate developer, according to two people with knowledge of his role.

“During Mr. Kennedy’s tenure, Deutsche Bank became Mr. Trump’s most important lender, dispensing well over $1 billion in loans to him for the renovation and construction of skyscrapers in New York and Chicago at a time other mainstream banks were wary of doing business with him because of his troubled business history.”

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Former ICE Chief Counsel Facing Prison Time For Stealing Immigrants’ Identities

Via Rhick Bose:

“Friendly reminder that conservatives want to abolish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Department of Education.

#AbolishICE”
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Fed Up: The National Campaign for a Strong Economy

Hi all. Some technical difficulties, so here is a working link to our conversation with Atlanta federal reserve president Raphael Bostic. Take a look!
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Opinion | What Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Victory Means

Amazing news!

“Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s victory is a vivid sign of the changing of the guard. In addition to more liberal immigration laws, she ran on a platform calling for Medicare for all and a federal jobs guarantee. She also talked about the housing crisis in New York City, an issue that resonates deeply with many voters here. Her district, which runs through Queens and the Bronx, is majority-minority, but its leadership has yet to reflect those changes. That’s something Ms. Ocasio-Cortez was able to capitalize on fluently, casting herself as part of a new generation of young, unabashedly liberal Democrats unwilling to wait their turn any longer.”
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Supreme Court upholds Trump travel ban

Incivility means inconveniencing the ruling class in any way while they rip children from mothers and strip rights from people for practicing their religion.

So what do we call our government’s policies of family separation, family detention, and the Muslim Ban?

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