The frame is the name of the game

Why is the Republican candidate leading in the electoral college vote?  Because he won four states in the Great Lakes region: Pennsylvania; Ohio;  Michigan; and Wisconsin, all of which voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012.  How did DJT win those states?  By better framing his messages.  In a previous post – – it was shown that voters without college degrees – regardless of income levels – supported Trump more than they had supported Romney – and that voters with college degrees – regardless of income levels – supported HRC more than they had supported Obama.  Why?

Trump’s messaging was clear, concise, and well framed (if disingenuous) : you have lost your good paying jobs to undocumented immigrants, people of color, women, and foreigners ( appealing to lower income voters); and your security is threatened by people of color and immigrants (appealing to those with higher incomes).  ” I will take charge and fix these issues”, he said.   While education level and knowledge don’t always correspond, they did here, in the majority: his appeal was effectively anti-elite.  That his frames were racist, misogynist,  and xenophobic makes them despicable, but not ineffective.

I am not clear what Clinton’s message was, except that she was Not DJT, and while she appealed to elites, she did not even get a majority of white women’s votes.  She failed in those states because she failed to frame her messages to appeal to voters who feel they have lost ground.

An earlier post is this blog tracks the decline of the middle class to the decline of labor unions – – and we must frame our messages moving forward that to rebuild the middle class, we must organize and rebuild on the strength of organized labor, and attract the voters HRC lost…

Messaging is a key to winning over voters, and framing is a key to effective messaging – see, for example, “Don’t Think of an Elephant”, by George Lakoff.

N.B.: one of the few positive results of this election has been the exposure of the weakness of the term “midwest”.  More than 30 years ago, I said to a young colleague that we lived in the Great Lakes region, not the ‘midwest’.  He thought and replied: “The midwest consists of the Great Lakes and the Great Plains.”  “And why would you group those two together?”, I replied.

Some pundits are now calling the Great Lakes  the industrial midwest…

Republicans’ Benghazi goose chase comes up empty

Source: Washington Post

Author: Editorial Board

Emphasis Mine

ON THE night of Sept. 11 and morning of Sept. 12, 2012, U.S. diplomats and intelligence officers in Benghazi, Libya, came under attack by terrorists armed with automatic weapons, mortars and fuel to start fires. By the next morning, four brave Americans lay dead — Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens; his aide, Sean Smith; and two former Navy SEALs providing security, Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty. It was a horrific crime whose perpetrators remain for the most part unidentified and unpunished — and a setback for U.S. foreign policy in the wider Middle East.

As if all of that weren’t bad enough, the Benghazi attacks mutated into yet another of the partisan dramas that U.S. politicians — in this case Republican politicians — generate in lieu of constructive policymaking. Unable to turn the events to their advantage when they occurred, during the 2012 election campaign, Republicans have persisted in attempting to milk the “scandal” for the past four years. They have done so even though repeated previous investigations — including by a GOP-led House intelligence panel — found nothing to contradict the Obama administration’s basic account. Diplomatic security, intelligence and other preparation were inadequate in hindsight; but the violence in Benghazi was over before any effective U.S. military intervention could have been organized. Government failures before, during and after the attacks, such as they were, resulted from a combination of understandable confusion and good-faith mistakesnot conspiracy, coverup, politics or deliberate “abandonment” of U.S. personnel, as the Republican right has so often and so feverishly insinuated.

And now, after two years and $7 million, comes Tuesday’s final report of a Republican-led House select committee, which adds exactly nothing substantial to the story. It’s true that the panel’s investigation did, along the way, help trigger the revelation of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server, which is a real issue. On the most sensitive point, however — Ms. Clinton’s personal culpability for what happened in Benghazi — the committee came up empty. Its report contains dozens of pages on the now-famous early statements from the administration implying the attacks were motivated by Arab-world reaction to an anti-Islamic video on the Internet. But even this exhaustive review produces no proof that this messaging resulted from a politically motivated attempt to play down terrorism, as opposed to a genuine factual dispute among State Department and CIA officials, compounded by faulty verbal formulations by then-Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice and other hastily briefed administration spokesmen.

There’s much to be learned from the fiasco in Benghazi and from the wider breakdown in Libya that followed the U.S.-aided overthrow of Moammar Gaddafi in 2011. President Obama did contribute to this mess by his refusal to support the new post Gaddafi government’s attempt to build security; he and his administration, Ms. Clinton included, can rightly be held accountable for this mistaken policy. Yet for reasons best known only to themselves, Republicans have insisted on pursuing their own more inflammatory and conspiratorial version of events. Maybe someone should investigate that.


Trump Is Gifting Dems The Latino & Asian Vote, Costing Republicans The White House


Author: Sarah

emphasis mine

The United States of America is a nation of immigrants. It’s how the nation came to existence. No one person, outside that of the indigenous people who lived her prior to the arrival of the Pilgrims and the rest of our forefathers can say that this area of North America is exclusive to them and them alone. There’s a reason the Statue of Liberty has etched on it:

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”

Because we are the nation that was a “new world” to immigrants worldwide, and we still are. That will become very clear in the upcoming election. To win the national general election in November of 2016, the winning candidate will need to have the Latino vote and Asian American votes. In 2012, President Obama took 71% of the Latino vote and 73% of the Asian-American vote. The results are now obvious. Given the current opinions of the Republican Party candidates on the immigration issue, it appears that the Democratic Party is in a very good spot for a repeat performance.

The xenophobic reaction to Trump’s anti-immigrant spiel can be seen in nearly every Republican candidate, and their individual approaches to immigration reform are all uniquely comical. It’s almost as if they’re in a contest to out-crazy each other.

Let’s take a look at where some of the candidates fall on the issue of immigration.

Donald Trump: Besides calling Mexicans rapists, murderers, drug dealers, etc. He also wants to build a big “beautiful” wall that will keep all immigrants from coming across the border. He also wants to make sure we make it easier for European immigrants to come. But don’t you dare call him “racist,” because you will run the chance of being called an “idiot” or a “moron” for suggesting such a thing. Even though he IS a raging racist. And his nationalistic white pride is literally written across his forehead.

Scott Walker: Here’s one of those guys who will literally say anything to be popular. He was likely the kid on the school yard who hung around next to the popular kids and laughed at all of their jokes. So when Walker suggested he would build a wall along Canada’s border to try to out-Trump Trump, when it wasn’t well received and laughed off as a joke, he said it was a joke. Basically because everyone else did too.

Chris Christie: Not to be out-crazied, Christie thought it wise to compare immigrants to FedEx packages and offered up the idea that we should track immigrants in the same way we would our shipments. He probably should’ve thought that idea through a little better, because the last time a leader put tracking codes on people it was to keep order on them inside concentration camps. So now, backtracking ever so slightly, Christie has resigned to just “finger-printing” immigrants. Although, at least he admitted that using the term “anchor babies” makes the Republicans sound anti-immigrant.

Jeb Bush: With an unfortunate last name weighing him down, Bush really doesn’t know where to stand on much of anything. Does he pander to bigots? Does he stay moderate? But it seems that he’s decided to be all over the map. As far as immigration, he can’t decide if using “anchor babies” is racist or not so he tries to undo the racist remark by making it more racist and adding Asians to mix. Once considered a moderate on this issue, he sees Trump pulling ahead, and doesn’t seem quite sure how racist he should go to up his poll numbers with the Republican base.

Both Ted Cruz, an immigrant himself from Canada, and Piyush “Bobby” Jindal, a son to immigrants, also seem to be steadfast in their disdain of anyone else entering the country after their family did. Jindal labeling “immigration without assimilation” an “invasion,” and Cruz calls any form of immigration reform that doesn’t line up with what he wants, “illegal amnesty.”

When did we decide to get away from that? When did the United States put a sign on the door that said “Sorry, we’re full!” We haven’t, and we never should. Immigrants are what makes this nation what it is — so diverse, so eclectic, so rich with cultural differences that enrich our every day lives. However, to this latest batch of Republican presidential candidates, you’d think the sign on America’s door read “Whites only,” or “Mexicans need not apply” reminiscent of the treatment of immigrants back in the early 20th century.

No matter how you slice it, Republicans are NOT embracing this topic with a level head that may actually produce a positive change and proper immigration reform. Immigration as it is, is not good enough. It’s nearly impossible for many to come here legally. Something MUST be done. And just building a wall or shooing immigrants away like they are pests is not the proper action to take. They need to either embrace immigration reform with logical thinking, or they will, without a doubt, lose in 2016.



Social Security: The Surprise of 2016?

Social Security surfaced in the very first days of the campaign, thanks to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie going after the program with the zeal of a born huckster, demanding to raise the retirement age. In 2010 equivocation and deficit-reduction obsession from President Obama squandered Democrats’ good will on the subject. But this year anything less than an embrace of expansion this time is likely to leave the base unsatisfied.

Source: PortSide

Author: Robert Eskow

Emphasis Mine

The 2016 election season is just beginning, but a surprise issue is already emerging among both Republican and Democratic candidates: Social Security. Some observers thought that conservative candidates would be inclined to avoid the so-called “third rail” of American politics this time around, but the opposite seems to be true. A lot of Republicans are eager to propose cutting it, even as many progressives talk of expanding it.

Where does that leave the Democratic Party and its odds-on favorite for the presidential nomination? Will Hillary Clinton embrace her party’s growing call to increase Social Security benefits?

It’s not an extreme idea, as some would have us believe, or even a particularly “leftist” one. In fact, Social Security expansion was a key part of the Republican agenda – in 1956. This new proposal turns out to have surprisingly old roots.

The Means Testing Bait-and-Switch

First, the Republican race: Social Security surfaced in the very first days of the campaign, thanks to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Christie, regurgitating the corporate-funded clichés of the self-described “center,” went after the program with the zeal of a born huckster. He wants to raise the retirement age, a benefit cut which would impose a heavy burden on working Americans.

Christie also trotted out some old, discredited arguments for means-testing, adding that by opposing it “the left are defending the rich.”

Nice try, Mr. Christie, but that bait-and-switch game has already been exposed. “Means testing” would deprive billionaires of a maximum monthly benefit of $2,663 in 2014. Think they care? Proposals from “the left,” on the other hand, would either lift the payroll tax cap altogether or reimpose it on earnings above a certain amount. That would add up to a significant amount for ultra-high earners.

Now who’s defending the rich, Governor?

Christie would start his means-tested cuts at earnings of $80,000 per year – but how long would that last? Conservative groups like the Concord Coalition have proposed doing it for average incomes as low as $20,000 per year.

Christie’s “bold plan” would become a race to the bottom for the American middle class. It would also convert Social Security from an insurance plan to a welfare program based on need. (And we know how Republicans feel about welfare, don’t we?)


Jeb Bush soon joined in the act, trying to see Christie’s cuts and raise him – with other people’s benefit money. Bush insisted that “we need to raise the retirement age, not for the people that already nearing – receiving Social Security that are already on it [sic], but raise it gradually over a long period of time for people that are just entering the system.” (There’s that Bush syntax again. Did you miss it?)

But if Bush thinks raising the retirement age is such a good idea, why not do it for people who are “already nearing” it? It’s simple pandering. Both Bush and Christie know that older voters lean Republican, and they don’t want to alienate them. Bush and Christie want to get elected – and both want to protect their rich patrons from the plan to lift the payroll tax cap.

Then came an unexpected ploy by Mike Huckabee, who is attempting to outflank his opponents from the left on this issue. “I’m getting slammed by some in the GOP ruling class for thinking it wrong to involuntarily take money from people’s paychecks for 50 years,” said Huckabee, “and then not keep the promise government made.”

By opposing all Social Security cuts, Huckabee has staked out a position which is more progressive than that of President Obama through much of his administration – or, for that matter, of Sen. Hillary Clinton during the 2008 campaign. That’s a politically savvy move. Voters across the political spectrum oppose benefit cuts by wide margins.


Social Security would seem like a natural issue for the Democrats. Their party created this popular and successful program, after all, and Democrats led the fight to thwart George W. Bush’s unpopular and potentially disastrous privatization plan.

But in recent years Democrats have had a knack for giving away the advantages Social Security brings to their party. That’s what happened in 2010, after two years of equivocation and deficit-reduction obsession from President Obama squandered their good will on this issue.

Polling figures from that time tell the story: a 20-point advantage on Social Security in 2005 had been turned into a dis-advantage of several points by the time the 2010 election rolled around. That’s the year the ever-cynical and ever-inventive Republicans invented something called the “Seniors’ Bill Of Rights,” ran to the rhetorical left of Democrats on Medicare and Social Security – and recaptured the House.

Changing Places

How is this year shaping up for Democrats? Secretary Clinton had this to say when asked this week about Social Security:

“I think there will be some big political arguments about Social Security. And my only question to everybody who thinks we can privatize Social Security or undermine it in some way – (is) what is going to happen to all these people …? … It’s just wrong.”

While that’s a firmer defense of the program than she offered in 2008, it’s not likely to satisfy voters on the left – or across the political spectrum. They’re likely to remember that Barack Obama offered similar reassurances in 2008, only to reverse himself once elected.

Obama the campaigner talked of lifting the payroll tax cap to protect the program, while then-Senator Clinton said “I don’t want to raise taxes on anybody.” Clinton called lifting the cap “a one trillion dollar tax increase” and said “I am for getting back to fiscal responsibility.” She talked of a plan to “rein in the budget” – that is, to impose benefit cuts – and proposed a “bipartisan commission” to ensure that the program was “solvent.”

We know what happened next. Obama won the nomination and the presidency. He then pivoted to Clinton’s approach, by convening a bipartisan “deficit commission” empowered to look at Social Security (Social Security does not contribute to the deficit) and appointing two longtime benefit-cut advocates to co-chair it.

These reversals may give rise to greater voter skepticism this time around.

Where The Voters Are

That means generalities and vague reassurances are less likely to be effective this year, especially when Social Security has become such a hot political issue. An endorsement of its expansion represents a firmer, more concrete commitment to the program. And expansion isn’t just a nod to the “Warren wing” of the party, as pundits have suggested. It’s also a nod to voters across the political spectrum.

Social Security expansion has “overwhelming” support, regardless of party affiliation, according to political consultant Celinda Lake. Lake’s research on this issue showed that 90 percent of Democrats, 73 percent of Republicans, and 73 percent of independents support “increasing Social Security benefits and paying for that increase by having wealthy Americans pay the same rate into Social Security as everybody else.”

To her credit, Secretary Clinton has been talking a lot about wealth inequality this time around. But how is that problem addressed? One concrete way is by increasing Social Security benefits.

Where The Party Is

Anything less than an embrace of expansion is likely to leave the base unsatisfied. And a refusal to commit to expansion would put Clinton at odds with most or all of the other potential candidates currently being discussed, most of whom (including Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, and reluctant draftee Sen. Elizabeth Warren) have already endorsed the idea.

Anything less than expansion would also place Secretary Clinton to the right of Senate Democrats, 42 out of 44 of whom voted to expand Social Security in an amendment which resembled the one studied in Lake’s research.

Tell ‘Em Ike Sent You.

Come to think of it: If the Democratic nominee endorses anything less than Social Security expansion, that would place the party to the right of Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Republicans.

The GOP boasted about its accomplishments in the 1956 Republican Party platform. “Social Security has been extended to an additional 10 million workers,” said the platform, “and the benefits raised for 6 1/2 million.”

Eisenhower’s platform goes on to say: “We are proud of and shall continue our far-reaching and sound advances in matters of basic human needs – expansion of Social Security.”

Benefits increases? Social Security expansion? Ike’s 1956 Republicans sound a lot like today’s Democratic “Warren wing.”

If the Democrats want to win on this issue in 2016, they might be wise to follow the trail Republicans blazed for them 60 years earlier