How an Election is Actually Won

With two weeks to go, the election is pretty much in the can. The number of “undecideds” is dwindling. People are ready to vote for the “lesser of two evils,” Clinton, and be done with it. There isn’t much left to do in the final weeks of the campaign because it’s already a lock.

While they may seem to be true, the statements above are about as wrong as they can be. The number of “undecideds” is indeed pretty low, but even with a big Clinton lead they number more than the current average polling margin. Clinton’s supporters are considerably more positive on their candidate than Trump’s, however, and that is indeed a good predictor of the final result.

Most importantly the last two weeks are when the real work comes if you are doing it right. It’s worth discussing if for no other reason than the popular media never talks about how an election is actually won.

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Under Attack – From Who? And Why?

Thursday, 20 October, seemed like an ordinary day for many people. Waking up, getting the kids off to school, and driving to work all went like any other day. But once anyone tried to use the internet for anything, something seemed a bit off. Twitter was pretty much down all morning and a lot of email simply stopped flowing. Placing orders at companies was simply not working. Everything was at least … slow.

This was the day the largest yet Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack took place. The target appears to be Dyn, the company that provides instructions for routing traffic around the ‘net to keep it moving. But the exact target and who was doing the targeting remains a mystery. The attack actually continues, allbeit contained for now.

In order to understand today’s news and get a sense of what tomorrow’s news might be this attack is worth examining in what little detail we can muster. This is all far from over.

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What to Watch on Election Night

Who will win the election? If you haven’t been paying attention lately, well, good for you! But beyond that it’s all about Clinton at this point at the top of the ticket. As Barataria said many times, everything changed with the debates. People may not feel that they like Clinton, but the alternative is horrible in far too many ways. But this is far from what’s up on 8 November.

We also have the Senate, under Republican control with 54 seats going into the election – and 24 of the 34 up this year are held by Republicans, last elected in the big 2010 sweep. And let’s not forget the House, which hardly anyone thinks is in play except … well, Paul Ryan is more than a little nervous.

If you were thinking that election night might be boring with a Clinton landslide in the cards, think again. There is a lot to watch on election night if you know what you are looking for.

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The response came as you might expect in a flurry of angry tweets, but it included a cynically combative ray of hope. “It is so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to.”

The Trump campaign has been compared many times in the past to a kind of fire – a dumpster fire, a tire fire, perhaps even a landfill fire. But with this great “stab in the back” by Republican leaders desperate to save their own skins there is little doubt the fire will indeed spread. Call it a funeral pyre, if you want, but eventually we can see it will ignite the highly flammable Republican panoply of Gods and Heroes alike.

We’ve seen such an epic blaze before – first in the stagecraft of Wagner and later made real through Hitler. Yes, we’ll go there. It’s all going there, all going ablaze.

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Over the Lines

Apparently, bragging about predatory sexual assault is over “the line”. I have been wondering where the line was for some time.

We all knew this election was going to get ugly. We all knew this was going to plumb the depths of personal attack and warped reality, straying far from the many things we need to work out as a people. We all knew that it was going to be sick, weird, and ultimately just unreal.

So here we are, adrift in that spot on the map labeled “Here be Dragons”. Taking a metaphor from Columbus Day, we’re in that terrible moment when there is no sign of land and just about anything can happen. Our biggest fear should be that we’ve seen this story before and we can only hope that it doesn’t wind up with new horrors far away from the civilized authorities – horrors like genocide, slavery, and plunder.

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The Final Countdown

This is a critical week in the Presidential election. No, that’s not because of the Vice Presidential debate, which will start right after this is posted. You can decide for your self just how important it is and then revise your estimate downward a week later. Don’t worry, we live in a time of negative interest rates so there is indeed a lower standard of importance than whatever you are thinking.

No, this is the week for the final jobs report. Not the last one before the election – that comes out the Friday before. That will be too close to the election to really sink in, so this is the last one that we can be sure will count. Will it be good and favor Obama III: The coming of Hillary? Or will it be a disaster and herald the arrival of, well, a much worse disaster named Trump?

Bet on a solid 180k gain that will seem decent enough to be called a win. But you never know with these reports. Here’s why.

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Ending Institutional Racism

My thesis is this: there is nothing more important to the future of our nation than ending racism, particularly institutional racism. This has become a desperate matter of survival for far too many people when it comes to the issue of police killings. These tragedies happen disproportionately to minorities largely because of racism.

Yet the problem goes far beyond that. There is not a single issue in this nation which does not ultimately become polarized and frozen by race. Much of the resistance to government intervention and assistance comes down to a belief that “They” are getting the benefits – the mysterious “other” that is easily blamed for everything. It prevents us from having a useful discussion about “Us”, a free and united people ready to tackle the changes of our world bravely and directly.

But let’s stay with police killings for a moment. Let’s talk about how we get from where we are to a world where no cringes in fear when the disco lights and sirens blare, a world where Black Lives Matter. Let’s talk about how complex issues with hardened battle lines are taken on so that we can get past the problem. Let’s talk about tactics, or how a battle is won.

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