ONTD Political



The "super PAC to end all super PACs" reached a major fundraising goal on Friday in its quest to reduce the influence of money in politics.

In an Independence Day letter, Harvard professor and MayDay founder Lawrence Lessig announced that the super PAC had reached its $5 million Kickstarter goal with 49,490 supporters. The money will be matched by contributions from deep-pocketed investors Peter Thiel, Reid Hoffman, TED’s Chris Anderson, and Union Square Ventures’ Fred Wilson and Brad Burnham.

MayDay plans to target five yet-to-be-determined congressional races in the 2014 midterm elections. But in order to get money out of politics, the super PAC ironically needs to secure its own funds. It's trying to raise $12 million overall -- $6 million in crowd-sourced funds and $6 million in matching funds from big donors.

If MayDay had missed the $5 million goal, all money would have been returned to the donors.

"The frustration with the mess we call Congress is palpable, and the desperate urge to do something about it is raw,” Lessig said in the letter on Friday.

MayDay reached its initial $1 million goal in half the allotted time, despite the fact that its website crashed under the pressure of so many visitors. Lessig said that while 2014 would offer a proving ground for the effort to reform campaign finance, supporters may ultimately have to wait until the next election to see any results.


"The pundits say 'America doesn’t care about this issue.' This is America caring. And this is America demanding something more. Ideally now. But if we have to wait till 2016, then ok: Because by 2016, we’re going to elect a Congress that will fundamentally change how campaigns are funded. You have guaranteed it," Lessig said.

By Igor Bobic. Posted: 07/05/2014 4:30 pm EDT.

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Eric Cantor Defeated By Tea Party Candidate In Virginia Primary


House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has lost his Republican primary in Virginia's 7th Congressional District to Tea Party challenger David Brat — a stunning defeat that will upend the chamber's GOP leadership.

"I know there's a lot of long faces here tonight, and it's disappointing, sure," Cantor said, speaking to supporters. "I believe in this country; I believe there's opportunity around the next corner for all of us."

NPR's Ron Elving calls the defeat of Cantor, who was widely expected to eventually replace House Speaker John Boehner, "Truly stunning and all but unprecedented for a speaker-in-waiting."

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source is conflicted but still enjoying the schadenfreude

(on another side - a state senator is stepping down which hands everything to the repubs but the dems hold the governorship. meaning mcauliffe isn't going to be able to pass the medicaid expansion very easily. oh virginia.)

eta: Two things to remember: 1) Virginia has an open primary and B) only 12% of his voting district voted in the primary today. That's it. Despite the jubilation from the Tea Party about anti-establishment and immigration, it's more likely that this is all on Cantor thinking he'd have an easy time and not doing enough to represent his home district.
How Republicans Rationalize Voter Suppression

The GOP’s claims of defending “voter integrity,” “fairness,” and “uniformity” are complete nonsense.

Since 2011, Republican lawmakers in swing states have pushed hard for new restrictions on voting, from voter identification to new rules on early voting and ballot access. “Nine states have passed measures making it harder to vote since the beginning of 2013,” notes the New York Times, and other states “are considering mandating proof of citizenship, like a birth certificate or passport, after a federal judge recently upheld such laws passed in Arizona and Kansas.”

Voting rights advocates have attacked these laws as blatant attempts to suppress the votes of low-income and minority voters, but Republicans defend their actions as justified to protect “voter integrity” and ensure “fairness” and “uniformity” in the system. Here’s Wisconsin state Sen. Glenn Grothman on a bill—signed last week by Gov. Scott Walker—to end early voting on weekends. “Every city on election day has voting from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The idea that some communities should have weekend or night voting is obviously unfair,” he said. “It’s a matter of uniformity. I don’t know what all the hoopla is over,” he told Reuters.Read more...Collapse )

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I think we could use a tag for "voter suppression". This issue was a very hot one during the last two presidential elections, and I don't see that changing anytime soon.
I suppose there are bat shit crazy Republicans everywhere across this country, but still...

Susanne Atanus, Who Blames Gay Rights For Tornadoes, Wins GOP Nomination For Congress

A Republican candidate who believes that God dictates weather patterns and that tornadoes, autism and dementia are God's punishments for marriage equality and abortion access won the GOP nomination to challenge Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) in the Chicago-area 9th Congressional District.

Susanne Atanus, of Niles, Ill., garnered 54 percent of the vote in her Tuesday win over David Earl Williams III.

"I am not in favor of abortions, I am not in favor of gay rights," Atanus told the Daily Herald, a suburban Chicago newspaper, in January.

She blamed natural disasters and mental disorders on recent advances in LGBT equality and legal abortions.

"God is angry. We are provoking him with abortions and same-sex marriage and civil unions," she said. "Same-sex activity is going to increase AIDS. If it's in our military, it will weaken our military. We need to respect God."

Atanus also reached out to the Windy City Times, an LGBT publication, in an attempt to explain her views.

"Everybody knows that God controls weather," she told the news site in January. "God is super angry," she added. "Gay marriage is not appropriate, and it doesn't look right, and it breeds AIDS."

Jack Dorgan, chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, and Adam Robinson, chairman of the Chicago Republican Party, both condemned Atanus' comments and distanced the party from her candidacy.

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I'm actually posting this partly for laughs (this is a very blue district, in which someone with Atanus's views has approximately a snowball in hell's chance of winning--if that), but also as an example of just how batshit things have gotten when someone like this can actually win a GOP nomination.
A Dexter cancer patient featured in a conservative group’s TV ad campaign denouncing her new health care coverage as “unaffordable” will save more than $1,000 this year.

Julie Boonstra, 49, starred last month in an emotional television ad sponsored by Americans for Prosperity that implied Democratic U.S. Rep. Gary Peters’ vote for the Affordable Care Act made her medication so “unaffordable” she could die. Peters of Bloomfield Township is running for an open U.S. Senate seat against Republican Terri Lynn Land.

The Detroit News and fact checkers last month cast doubt on the accuracy of the TV ad. On Monday, Boonstra acknowledged which health plan she chose, offering the first evidence of cost savings.

Boonstra said Monday her new plan she dislikes is the Blue Cross Premier Gold health care plan, which caps patient responsibility for out-of-pocket costs at $5,100 a year, lower than the federal law’s maximum of $6,350 a year. It means the new plan will save her at least $1,200 compared with her former insurance plan she preferred that was ended under Obamacare’s coverage requirements.

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Also this forbes opinion piece claims the ad violates the ftc law


Every single commercial I see on youtube and hulu is one with this woman telling her story. I think it's a different version, but same general idea. Literally just had to watch it another 3 times while putting this post together. I am getting so pissed off! And the version that keeps playing for me has her saying how she's just trying to get congress to listen to us! Speak for yourself! You are certainly not trying to get them to listen to people like ME who wouldn't have any insurance to cover the expenses of our health problems if not for the ACA.

I'm actually sympathetic to her claim that understanding her new plan is confusing. I get confused trying to understand my new plan (a different one than she has) too. Trying to figure out what is covered and what isn't, what is in network and what isn't, what counts toward my deductible and what doesn't, et cetera. Insurance plans in this country are way too overly complicated in my opinion. But, not understanding it is no excuse to go on an ad and make claims that aren't true. You claimed it was more expensive, when its not, and that it put your life in jeopardy, when it didn't. You made these claims alleging you understood it and knew it would cause these issues, not saying you were confused and couldn't determine if this was better or worse for you in the long run.

I'm really broke at the moment but I'm thinking I'm going to donate some small amount to Gary Peters' campaign for ever time this commercial plays for me.

The Inside Story Of Liz Cheney's Tone-Deaf Candidacy



When Liz Cheney moved to Wyoming, in 2012, her path to the Senate seemed clear enough. Cheney had a famous name, a high-profile media presence, an impressive CV, and plenty of money. The Republican incumbent, a backbencher named Mike Enzi, was expected to retire. Most political pros would have had an easy time gaming out the next few moves: First, meet Enzi to divine his intentions. Make sure to kiss the ring. Maybe offer a nudge while you do so. Then sit back and let him to do the right thing. When it’s done, offer some gracious praise on the occasion of his retirement. And then await a coronation.

It’s a good bet that’s how Dick Cheney, a famously effective back-room operator, would have handled it. His cable-bred daughter, though, was not content to quietly make Enzi an offer he couldn’t refuse: She simply called him up and informed him she was moving toward running against him. Not for the last time in the campaign, the shock and awe approach backfired. “I think Enzi would have dropped out if she hadn’t announced so early,” one Enzi donor says. “But Enzi did not want to be seen as being shoved out.”

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HOUSTON, TX – A white Republican unseated a 24-year African-American incumbent from office in a surprise election victory that some are saying was racially tinged and deceptive.

Dave Wilson, who KHOU-CBS reports is an “anti-gay activist and former fringe candidate for mayor,” is being criticized by his opposition for his campaign that reportedly lead the overwhelmingly African-American, Democratic district to believe he was black.

The election was for the District II Trustee position on the Houston Community College Board of Trustees.

Saying he was fed up with “all the shenanigans” at the Houston Community College System, Wilson said he came up with the strategy because he knew his chances of winning the election against 24-year Democratic incumbent Bruce Austin were quite thin.

“I’d always said it was a long shot,” Wilson told Houston’s KHOU-CBS. “No, I didn’t expect to win.”

Austin described Wilson’s campaign as “disgusting,” referring to Wilson’s use of fliers showing African-American faces and a caption of: “Please vote for our friend and neighbor Dave Wilson.”

Wilson admitted simply using images found on the Internet.

One of the mailers used said that Dave Wilson was “Endorsed by Ron Wilson." Locally, Ron Wilson is known as a longtime African-American, Democratic state representative who last held office in 2004. However, the fine print below the slogan states, “Ron Wilson and Dave Wilson are cousins,” a reference to Dave Wilson’s non-politically affiliated cousin who lives in Iowa.

“He’s a nice cousin,” Dave Wilson told KHOU, suppressing a laugh. “We played baseball in high school together. And he’s endorsed me.”
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Branding Bill De Blasio: The Message Machine That Made NYC's Next Mayor



It was a make or break moment for John Del Cecato.

It was early August, and the Democratic strategist had just convinced his client, New York City mayoral hopeful Bill de Blasio, to pay for and air a television ad he believed could turn the tide for a struggling campaign.

The ad featured the white candidate's biracial, teenage son, Dante, sporting a large Afro hairdo and praising his father's progressive policies. The campaign hoped it would convey the message that de Blasio's family looked like New York. Critics would later grumble the ad was a sly way of injecting race into the campaign.

But it was clear to Del Cecato that something dramatic needed to be done. Recent polling had showed de Blasio in third place in the Democratic primary. He would need to finish in at least the top two to qualify for a potential runoff.

Then the news came. The ad had only been on air a short time when Del Cecato found out the respected pollsters at Quinnipiac University would be coming out that day with a new survey of the primary. He knew he had to tamp down the de Blasio team's expectations.

"I sent an email out when they said we've got a Q poll coming out today," Del Cecato recalled in a recent interview with TPM, "and I said, 'I just want to preface this by saying that, you know, we've only had this spot up a couple of days, so don't call me and say our ads aren't working.'"

Hours later, Del Cecato changed his tune. The poll had showed de Blasio was out in front. He was polling at 30 percent of the likely vote, six points ahead of any other Democrat.

Del Cecato fired off another email.

"As soon as it came back, I was like, 'I would now like to claim credit for getting us to 30 percent,'" Del Cecato said with a laugh.

It was the most crucial moment in de Blasio's campaign, and one that catapulted him to a primary victory on Sept. 10 and eventually a win in the general election on Tuesday.

In a pair of interviews conducted in recent weeks, Del Cecato gave TPM an extensive glimpse behind the scenes at the messaging operation that sent de Blasio to City Hall by branding him as a "true progressive populist" and putting the spotlight on his diverse family.

It campaign was also a high water mark for Del Cecato, a former protege of President Obama's senior strategist David Axelrod, and one that could set him up to become a major player in next year's midterms and beyond.

What a TV commercial! What a boost with everyone who has kids! What a plus in the black community!Collapse )

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OK, OK, with some pre-election polling showing Democrat Terry McAuliffe creaming Tea Party darling Ken Cuccinelli, maybe it was inevitable that McAuliffe’s 3-point victory in the Virginia governor’s race would be framed as an underwhelming win — maybe even a symbolic defeat! — by media folks looking for the savvy, counterintuitive spin. The National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar tweeted, “Fact that fringe candidate with little money came win 5 pts of beating a pro w outside groups spending big is a sign of tea party *strength*.” Even the very smart Ezra Klein found “worrying signs for Democrats in the Virginia exit poll.”

Actually, what the exit poll found was that McAuliffe roughly tied President Obama in turning out the Obama coalition, except for young voters, whose participation dipped more than the poll’s margin of error. Given that Democrats lost the Virginia governor’s race by 17 points in 2009, winning by 3 points doesn’t seem like cause to worry. (And compared to the 2009 race, young voters increased their turnout, and Democrats did slightly better, according to Rock the Vote.)

There are two big lessons from Virginia. Abortion matters. Twenty percent of voters said it was their top issue, and they broke overwhelmingly for McAuliffe. And African-American voters continue to be the most reliable pillar of the Democratic base. Black voter turnout was identical to 2012, chastening people who suggest the Democrats won’t do as well without Obama’s name on the ballot. Where McAuliffe lost white voters 56-36 to Cuccinelli, he won nine of 10 black voters.

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still wary of McAuliffe but you know - he has openly said he's for universal background checks, openly said he believes in climate change, openly said he thinks the SOLs are scheisse, and the fact that he can openly say it and still win is good - I think?

everyone's spinning the race as a victory for Democrats (it's not) and a victory for Republicans (also not) and Virginia turning blue (not yet) but the fact that a candidate can so openly talk about social issues is kind of amazing


source is salon and has lots of evil socialism comments
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