How The New Movements, Not The Old Media, Are Driving Politics

If you covered American politics between 1976 and 2012, you developed a sense of the rhythm of a party primary: A big field of candidates would rise and fall for months, as voters — guided by the media — would light upon one, appreciate their strengths, and then discover their weaknesses and move onto the next one. You’d hear talk about the “flavor of the month” and who was “hot” this week. For a manic stretch of 2012, we all believed seriatim that Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Herman Cain were the likeliest Republican nominee.

And if you were honest about it, you’d admit that the media itself drove much of this process. We got interested in a candidate and inflated their prominence; then challenged them more aggressively and dug hard into their record; then moved on to the next one. We, and the voters who cared what we thought, would sort of sip a candidacy, swirl it around our mouths, and spit it out. The candidate who got our collective attention in March 2003, almost by definition, would not be the nominee — at least, not without a dramatic collapse and rebirth. The candidate who won would be the one who built grassroots support in Iowa and New Hampshire, ignited it in December, and rode a triumphant narrative into quickly locking up the nomination. Those were the 10 presidential campaigns, give or take, dominated by what that era called the mainstream media.

And one of the reasons the political press got Trump so wrong is that his campaign didn’t work like that….

Boedeker, Jones talk politics in election

Questions and Answers
Tablet on a desk – Questions and Answers

Editor’s note: The Times-Review submitted questions to each of the candidates in the Cleburne City Council Single Member District 3 race. Candidates were given 200 words to answer each question. Their answers appear as they were submitted.

Chris Boedeker

Question: The retail and restaurants promised when The Depot opened have yet to arrive. Although a private company oversees those projects what would you do if elected to jumpstart the process?

Answer: Like most Cleburnites, I voted for The Depot, and even bought season tickets to the inaugural season, on the premise that retail was just around the corner. That retail has failed to materialize so far. The $24 million question: what do we do now? I believe we must address this issue on two fronts. We need to apply public and private pressure to the developer to move forward with development. But we also need to remove the structural barriers that businesses face when opening a new storefront. Businesses look at population density and household income before expanding into a new area. We need to focus on growing middle-class jobs in Cleburne that people will be willing to relocate and plug into our community for. When people relocate to Cleburne for good jobs, they can afford to move into the beautiful homes being built in Cleburne. That increases our population density and average household income, which makes Cleburne more attractive to investors. In short, job growth leads to population growth, which will lead to retail growth. We have to focus on job growth to make sustained retail investment possible.

Q: What should be done with the First Financial Bank building purchased by the city in 2010 that has sat empty since?

A: As the old saying goes, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, and the second best time is today. Ideally, the City never would have spent taxpayer dollars on a building that serves absolutely no purpose for the City. While it is too late to prevent that mistake, it is not too late to correct it. If the property cannot be put to a good use, it needs to be sold, rehabilitated, and restored to the tax roll. I know it may take some time to find the right buyer and the right use, but we should make that a priority.

Q: What should be done to continue reviving downtown?

A: The City has taken two important steps in reviving downtown: the façade improvement program and the proposed re-routing of truck traffic off of Henderson. By beautifying downtown and reducing traffic, exhaust fumes, and truck noise, the City has begun making downtown friendly to businesses. Now, we need to make City Hall friendlier to businesses. The City is blessed to have wonderful employees at every level, and we need to make it easier for them to do their jobs efficiently and effectively. Throughout the campaign, I have spoken with countless business owners and developers and have heard the same story from each: Cleburne is the hardest city in the region to do business with. We need to place an emphasis on the “customer service” aspect of city government. That requires a customer-first culture that starts at the top and works its way through every level of the City. We need to remember that government exists to serve its citizens, and the best way to do that is to simplify procedures, streamline approval processes, and look for ways to say “yes” to the people who want to invest in our community.

Q: What is the most pressing issue facing Cleburne and how…

Pete Buttigieg confronted by religious protester

Pete Buttigieg confronted by religious protester
2020 Democratic presidential candidate South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during a town hall meeting, Tuesday, April 16, 2019, in Fort Dodge, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) — In his first visit to Iowa since officially launching his campaign, Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said Tuesday that the state with the initial nominating votes “will be really central to our strategy.”

“There’s a political style here that rhymes a lot with my home territory in Indiana,” Buttigieg said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I think that the mechanics of a caucus really favor a style that involves a lot of engagement, which is how I like to practice politics … of course there’s a simple logistical advantage of it being the one early state that’s within driving distance of my home.”

The South Bend mayor has surged from a relatively unknown candidate in the field to a media darling who’s gained support in nationwide polling and posted a stronger-than-expected fundraising number in the first quarter. He’s drawn attention for his plainspoken style, and the…

How does simultaneous elections system influence Indonesian politics?

How does simultaneous elections system influence Indonesian politics?
Legislative candidates sit in front of a banner stating aspirations from members of the Jakarta’s Urban Poor Network (JRMK), which held a convention on Sunday, March 10, 2019 to scrutinize candidates’ commitment in representing their voice when elected. (JP/Fachrul Sidiq)

In a matter of days Indonesia will undertake the largest single day exercise of democracy the world has ever seen. The country’s 193 million voters will attend over 800,000 voting locations, run by over 5.5 million election committee staffers, to elect 40,000 legislative representatives from over 250,000 candidates.

With the legislative and presidential elections being held on the same day, all eyes are on the presidential race, between incumbent President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo-Ma’ruf Amin and Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno. Meanwhile, little attention is being paid to the contest over the 575 seats in the House of Representatives, never mind the regional and city level councils.

In 2013 the Constitutional Court ruled that beginning in 2019 the legislative and presidential elections were to be held simultaneously on the same day to reduce “horse trading” or transactional alliances made among parties following the legislative elections. One only needs to look at the 2014 elections for an example of the transactional politics the ruling was referring to: after backing the losing Prabowo ticket, Golkar and the United Development Party (PPP) later joined Jokowi’s coalition and were rewarded with ministerial appointments.

Time will tell if the simultaneous elections fulfill their purpose of reducing transactional politics. However, some legislative candidates aren’t waiting for the election outcome, with candidates in areas hostile to their party’s presidential candidate going against their party’s alliance and openly supporting the opposing candidate.

It is vitally important to understand what other potential effects holding the elections simultaneously has on the campaign and Indonesian politics more broadly. Altering the system for one purpose can bring about unintended consequences.

Take Indonesia’s move from closed list to fully open list voting for legislative elections. This move was made to increase the directedness of democracy, with voters gaining more power over who was elected at the expense of the party hierarchies that nominate candidates.

However, researcher Marcus Mietzner in 2013 has shown this move coincided with a sharp drop in the party identification levels (how strongly a voter identifies with a specific party) among voters. Open list voting has led to more personalized and less party policy-based political campaigning, as candidates from not only opposing parties but also from within the same party compete for votes. Research by Edward Aspinall and Ward Berenschot in 2019 shows this more personalized campaigning leads to money politics, as individual candidates attempt to secure voter support with bribes of cash and goods.

So, what are some of the unintended effects of the simultaneous elections? One of the expected effects is that the two presidential parties will make gains in the…

Bernie Sanders fast facts: 5 things to know about the Vermont senator

Sanders on Fox News town hall: It's important to talk to Trump supporters
Sanders on Fox News town hall: It’s important to talk to Trump supporters

Bernie Sanders made waves as a presidential candidate in 2016 — with supporters backing the Vermont senator’s call for a “political revolution” and repeating the popular campaign phrase “Feel The Bern.”

And though Hillary Clinton ultimately defeated him to become the Democratic party’s nominee, the 77-year-old is making quite a comeback.

Sanders has already hauled in a whopping $18.2 million since launching his 2020 campaign in February, surpassing his 2016 numbers. He appears to be miles ahead of his competitors, making at least $6 million more than his closest fundraising opponent, California Sen. Kamala Harris, who has pulled in at least $12 million in donations.

Sanders will join Fox News Channel for a Town Hall co-anchored by Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum on Monday, April 15, at 6:30 p.m. ET in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.


Name recognition has apparently worked in Sanders’ favor this time around.

His name remains on the top of polls, typically behind former Vice President Joe Biden who has stayed silent about his 2020 plans thus far. In an early March Monmouth poll, Sanders sat just 3 percentage points behind Biden. Weeks later, in a Fox News poll, Democratic primary voters once again voted him as their second choice — with Biden at 31 percent and Sanders at 23 percent.

Before Sanders discusses his political record, economic policies and ideas on stage during Fox News’ Town Hall next Monday, take a look at five fast facts to know about the self-described Democratic socialist.

He’s the longest-serving Independent member of Congress in U.S. history

Bernie Sanders calls Democratic socialism a 'vibrant democracy'

Sanders has served as Vermont’s senator since 2007. Before that, he spent 16 years as a lawmaker in the U.S. House of Representatives. His combined years of service in the government makes him the longest-serving Independent member of Congress ever, according to his official bio.

His political career kickstarted in 1981 when he was elected mayor of Burlington by just 10 votes. Sanders often points to his narrow mayoral victory as an example that every vote…

Tories invite candidates to contest European elections

European parliament.

The Conservative party has told potential local election candidates it is preparing to fight in the European elections in May, and asked potential MEPs to put themselves forward.

An email to prospective Conservative candidates, seen by the Guardian, says the party “will be contesting the European elections on May 23” and formally opened applications, asking would-be candidates to return their CVs before nominations close on 24 April.

Conservative MEPs were warned in a meeting last week that they faced “annihilation” in European polls, igniting fury among some at the prospect of having to spend money and time on standing again to either lose their seats or spend an unclear length of time in post, with a number considering whether they want to bother at all.

“We will be absolutely annihilated. That’s what was said in the meeting,” one Tory MEP said. “We are probably looking at about half the current number of MEPs. It is going to cost all of us to stand again as the party has very little money for it at the moment.

“Many of us are asking: what’s the point? Everybody is going to have to make up their mind soon whether it is worth taking part.”

Theresa May has repeatedly insisted the UK will not be taking part in European elections. In her request to the EU for an Article 50 extension until 30 June she has said the UK should be able to withdraw from the poll if a Brexit deal was passed by 22 May.

Legal preparations are under way for the elections. On Monday, the Cabinet Office laid a “Day of Poll order” in parliament to give notice to returning officers. A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said that it remained the intention to pass the necessary legislation so the UK did not need to participate in European…

Andrew Yang: What you need to know about the political rookie, White House hopeful

Andrew Yang, one of the candidates who made an early entry in the 2020 field, might not have much name recognition now, but his popularity and presence have netted increased prominence among the crowded bench — due in part to his unconventional proposals to resolve income disparity and warnings of a robot takeover of America’s job sector.

Yang, an entrepreneur who mounted his long-shot bid for the White House back in February 2018, has crafted a campaign platform around the issue of universal basic income — proposing that the government provides all Americans 18 and older with $1,000 per month that would be funded by a value-added tax.

“I’m a capitalist,” he told the New York Times in the interview that launched his campaign, “and I believe that universal basic income is necessary for capitalism to continue.”

“If you have a town in Missouri with 50,000 adults and they’re all getting $1,000 a month, that’s another $50 million in purchasing power that comes right into that town’s local economy — into car repairs, tutoring or food for your kids, the occasional night out, home repairs,” he told “Rolling Stone” in January. “And that money ends up circulating all through that town.”

(MORE: Who is running for president in 2020?)

(MORE: Who is running for president in 2020?)

At the National Action Network conference in New York in April, the tech industry veteran underscored the importance of addressing the needs of the future — as motivations for his candidacy.

Technology and capital are “about to come and verge in historical ways,” he said Wednesday, which he added will cause many jobs to disappear.

The 44-year-old New York businessman speaks frequently about both income inequality and the economic transformation that has enriched certain parts of the country while disproportionately harming regions that have failed to keep pace.

(MORE: How Andrew Yang Could Win The 2020 Democratic Primary)

“I was stunned when I saw the disparities between Detroit and San Francisco or Cleveland and Manhattan. You feel like you’re traveling across dimensions and decades and not just a couple of time zones,” he added in that interview with the magazine. “None of our political leaders are willing…

Seeking ‘Tougher’ Direction for ICE, Trump Withdraws His Nominee

Sarah Silbiger/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Trump said on Friday that he withdrew his nominee to run Immigration and Customs Enforcement because he wanted the agency to go in a “tougher” direction, a surprise decision before the president’s trip to the southwestern border.

Ronald D. Vitiello, who was nominated last summer by Mr. Trump to run ICE, the agency that arrests, detains and deports people who are in the United States illegally, has been serving as the agency’s acting director since last June. He had planned to accompany the president on his trip to California, but was left behind.

“Ron’s a good man, but we’re going in a tougher direction,” Mr. Trump said to reporters as he left the White House en route to Calexico, Calif.

Mr. Vitiello’s nomination had been awaiting approval by a second Senate committee and confirmation by the full chamber. In an email to ICE employees on Friday afternoon, he signaled that he planned to remain at the immigration agency. No replacement has yet been named.

“While I will not become the permanent director of ICE, I look forward to working alongside you in serving the American public…

2020’s underdogs battle for donors to get on debate stage

2020's underdogs battle for donors to get on debate stage
2020's underdogs battle for donors to get on debate stage

The fiercest battle for campaign cash is playing out between the presidential candidates who might not be on your radar.

Ahead of Sunday’s fundraising deadline for the first quarter, the underdogs of the Democratic primary were in a mad dash to coax as little as $2 from grassroots donors. It’s all part of their bid to clear a new threshold from the Democratic National Committee to earn one of 20 highly coveted spots in presidential debates that begin in June.

“I’ll be blunt,” former Obama Cabinet member Julian Castro told prospective donors in one social media ad that was running as late as Thursday. “The Democratic Party’s new debate rules mean I might not make it onto the debate stage.”

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand sent multiple fundraising emails pleading her case, telling recipients in one that they could chip in $5 “to become a founding member” and “help get Kirsten on the debate stage.”

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee urges donors in a Facebook ad to “chip in … at any amount to make sure” his call to combat climate change “is on the stage in June.”

John Delaney, a little-known former Maryland congressman, is going a step further. He promised to donate $2 to charity for every new donor who donated on his website as Sunday’s fundraising deadline approached.

At issue are the rules that DNC Chairman Tom Perez announced in February for the first two debates in June and July: The debates will take place over two back-to-back midweek evenings with 10 slots each night. Candidates have two paths to the stage: They can either achieve 1 percent support in three reputable national or early nominating state polls or they can collect contributions from at least 65,000 donors, with a minimum of 200 in at least 20 states. The amount raised doesn’t matter. It’s all about how many voters are contributing.

It’s not immediately clear how many candidates are short of the fundraising threshold and how many…

Q&A: District 15 Madison City Council candidates

District 15 candidates
Grant Foster, left, and Angela Jenkins are running for District 15.

Grant Foster and Angela Jenkins are running for the District 15 seat on Madison’s City Council. Whoever is successful would replace David Ahrens, who currently represents the district.

Grant Foster

Grant Foster

Because I love Madison and I want to do everything I can to make it an even better place to live. My professional experience and skills combined with the knowledge and experience I gained working within Madison’s city government have prepared me to be a very effective leader on the Council and a strong advocate for District 15.

I’ve been very involved with city governance for the last five years and have an in-depth understanding of city processes, the work of the council, and the major issues facing our community. While all new alders will face some sort of learning curve, I’m in a very strong position to hit the ground running in April on behalf of District 15 residents and businesses.

The Royster Clark area is under development right now, construction will begin soon on the Cottage Grove/Atwood area, and proposals are in for the area just outside District 15 boundaries at Acewood/Cottage Grove. The Milwaukee Street Special Area Plan was also just approved by the Common Council and it looks to capitalize on the excellent public transit access by adding significant housing as well. While all of this development has the potential to bring some negative impacts (loss of open space, increased traffic congestion) there’s also an opportunity to make our district more vibrant and create better access to retail and service amenities. It…