Category Archives: Elections

Securing Elections From Foreign Interference

Source: Lawrence Norden, Ian Vandewalker, Brennan Center for Justice, 2017

From the summary:
Amid ongoing investigations into Russia’s unprecedented cyberattacks around the 2016 election, this report outlines specific actions Congress and local election officials can quickly take to insulate voting technology from continued foreign interference. The authors focus on assessing and securing two of the most vulnerable points in the system: voting machines, which could be hacked to cast doubt on or change vote totals; and voter registration databases, which could be manipulated in an attempt to block voters, cause disruption, and undermine confidence when citizens vote.

Democrats Are Trying to Win the 2018 Midterms in All the Wrong Ways

Source: Steve Phillips, The Nation, July 18, 2017

If there are 7 million Obama-to-Trump voters, why didn’t Trump’s vote total increase by 7 million? …. It is quite possible that Democrats are going to spend nearly $1 billion trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. By buying into a myth about why they lost in 2016, they are ignoring the underlying math about what really happened—misspending huge amounts of money, while setting themselves up to lose again in the critical contests to come. ….

Related:
The Circular Firing Squad Isn’t Amusing Anymore
Source: Danny Goldberg, The Nation, July 19, 2017

The left is tearing itself apart. …. In order to have any chance of reversing the right-wing trends that began in the Reagan years, mainstream Democrats and progressives have to find ways to disagree without destroying the ability to accomplish their shared goals. Theories and tribalism must be subordinate to knowable or probable policy effects on the most vulnerable, on the 99%, and on the planet. …. False choices are a luxury that must be jettisoned. It is neither rational nor helpful to ignore misogyny as a factor in the demonization of Hillary Clinton (and for that matter Nancy Pelosi). Sexism is still a thing. On the other hand, Obama and Clinton partisans need to acknowledge that the vast majority of Bernie Sanders voters were not motivated by his gender but by his articulation of positions that they felt were an inspiring departure from the constricted political playing field of recent years. ….

The Real Voter Fraud

Source: Zachary Roth, New Republic, July 18, 2017

As Trump investigates “millions” of illegal votes, states are rushing to limit access to the ballot box. …. As president, Trump has refused to let go of his unhinged claim that “millions” of people voted illegally last November—and has used his unsubstantiated accusation of voter fraud to lay the groundwork at the federal level for a new round of voting restrictions. Republican legislators from New Hampshire to Texas are also moving swiftly to enact a wave of new laws that would make it harder to cast a ballot. Since January, according to a recent report by the Brennan Center for Justice, at least 99 bills to restrict voting rights have been introduced in 31 states. ….

Beyond Urban Versus Rural: Understanding American Political Geography in 2016

Source: Dante J. Scala, Kenneth M. Johnson, University of New Hampshire, Carsey School of Public Policy, National Issue Brief #124, Summer 2017

From the summary:
In the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, commentators focused on the political polarization separating residents of urban and rural America. Certainly rural–urban differences are only one of several factors that contributed to the surprising 2016 outcome, but rural voters are rightly acknowledged as one key factor in Donald Trump’s electoral success. Yet, defining 2016 as the tale of two Americas—one urban, one rural—hinders a nuanced understanding of the country’s political geography. Many political commentators mistakenly caricature rural America as a single entity, but our research summarized here shows that complex variations in voting patterns persist among both urban and rural places. Rural America is a remarkably diverse collection of places including more than 70 percent of the land area of the United States and 46 million people. Both demographic and voting trends in this vast area are far from monolithic. Here we examine voting patterns over the last five presidential elections, treating rural–urban differences as a continuum, not a dichotomy.

Key Findings:
Although rural voters and urban voters are often portrayed as polar opposites, their differences are best understood as a continuum, not a dichotomy.

From the largest urban cores to the most remote rural counties, we find significant variations in voting behavior that persist over the last five presidential elections.

Hillary Clinton nearly matched Barack Obama’s 2012 performance in most urban areas.

Clinton’s defeat was due, in part, to her failure to match the performance of recent Democratic Presidential nominees in less populated areas.

Remotivating the Black Vote: The Effect of Low-Quality Information on Black Voters in the 2016 Presidential Election and How Librarians Can Intervene

Source: Andrew P. Jackson (Sekou Molefi Baako), Denyvetta Davis, and Jason Kelly Alston, The Library Quarterly, Vol. 87 no. 3, July 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
In a phenomenon that was surprising to many, given the racially charged nature of the 2016 presidential election, black voter turnout was significantly lower than the previous two elections. Donald Trump’s victory is attributable to many factors, one of which was the lower participation of black voters in several swing states. To a lesser extent, black support for third-party candidates also aided Trump’s victory. The lower black turnout itself is attributable to several factors, but one factor specifically in the LIS realm was the prevalence of low-quality information and rhetoric and a susceptibility that some black voters had to this low-quality information and rhetoric. Librarians have a stake and a role in black voter participation. This article will present two specific tactics and other general methods for how librarians can better inform black voters and help motivate them to participate in the process.

Swing Left

Source: Swing Left, 2017

Swing Districts are places where the winner of the last House of Representatives election was determined by a thin margin. Swing Left helps you find and commit to supporting progressives in your closest Swing District so that you can help ensure we take back the House in 2018. Find your closest Swing District and join the team to learn about actionable opportunities as they become available.

From the FAQ:
What is Swing Left?
Swing Left is an online community that connects you with your nearest Swing District. This is a district where the winner, an elected official who is now serving a two-year term in the House of Representatives, won the November 2016 election by a thin margin, or is otherwise vulnerable in 2018.

Why do we need Swing Left?
Voters in “safe” districts tend to feel powerless about their impact on local elections that have national repercussions. At the same time, House midterm elections, including in Swing Districts, tend to receive less attention than other races. We formed Swing Left to provide a simple way for voters living both inside and outside of Swing Districts to come together and channel their time, resources, and ideas to help progressives prevail in these critical races.

What is Swing Left’s goal?
Swing Left’s goal is to flip the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections and put a check on the Trump and GOP agenda. We will achieve this by organizing and supporting volunteers to have an impact Swing Districts across the country….