Thursday, September 13, 2018

What Do DCCC Corruption, M83, Beating Steve King In Iowa And Running A Modern Congressional Campaign All Have In Common?


Above is a first rate long-form video done this week by Brave New Films on J.D. Scholten, the former baseball player-- and progressive Democrat-- running against Iowa bigot and neo-fascist Steve King. It's unlikely the ad will ever be seen on television, although it's very likely it will be seen by lots of IA-04 voters. The video and shorter excerpts from it show start appearing on social media very soon. Does that count? Oh, I think so.

A campaign manager contacted me about an ad recently. She needed a small bit of a "hit song." I suggested "Outro" by a French electronic duo living in my neighborhood, M83. "Outro is the last song on the Grammy-nominated album Hurry Up, We're Dreaming (2011). You've probably heard it on the Mazda commercial but this is the actual song:

My friend said she'd never heard of the song or the band. It had only sold 300,000 copies in the U.S. and had never got into the top 10 on the U.S. charts. The single never charted at all. "How is that a hit?" she asked. Good question. The music business has changed significantly. A hit used to be determined by how much play it got on radio and, later, by aggregate sales. "Outro" has been used on a couple dozen ads, in films and trailers, on TV shows and in sporting events. The first use was in the snowboarding documentary The Art of Flight. A year later ABC used it as the promo for Once Upon A Time. It's been used to promote everything from Victoria's Secret, SickKids, NASCAR, the World Series to the Vampire Diaries, Gossip Girl and the PlayStation video game Paragon. So how many people people have heard it? Many millions more than people hearing a top 10 radio track for sure.

Things change. The nimble prosper. The sluggish and lumbering disappear. This week, writing for the Daily Beast, Gideon Resnick and Sam Stein reported that Democrats Won’t Stop, Can’t Stop, Spending Big Bucks on Television Ads. The DCCC and DSCC and associated operations define "sluggish" and "lumbering." And corrupt. Short version: powerful and corrupt DCCC/DSCC/EMILY's List consultants take a 10% cut on media spending. A huge digital campaign costs $100,000 ($10,000 commission). A huge TV campaign can cost anything but let's say $400,000 ($40,000 commission). Got it? This year's DCCC staffer is next cycle's media consultant. And this year's media consultant is next cycle's DCCC crook. You've heard of revolving doors, right? OK, Resnick and Stein:
Recent primary victories by underfunded Democratic candidates have prompted a renewed push within the party for it to finally quit its addiction to television advertising in favor of digital.

But not everyone is on board, raising the specter of bitter internal fights over strategic vision in the critical months before the midterm elections and into the 2020 presidential contest.

“There are a lot of people in the progressive community who have turned against TV advertising because they view it as the primary driver for big-moneyed politics,” said Jeff Weaver, Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign manager. “I think that’s a mistake. You are conceding a huge amount of turf to the Republican Party.”

For years, the Democratic Party has grappled with the changing media landscape and how best to allocate its resources in response to it. But what was largely a tense but civil debate has become something more acrimonious after Hillary Clinton’s loss in 2016 exposed what many saw as a painfully large digital advantage for Republicans. In the wake of that loss, some notable party luminaries have called for a dramatic reallocation of resources.

“Digital is not the future, it is the present and that’s a major problem for us,” said Howard Dean, the former DNC chair whose 2004 campaign pioneered using the internet to raise large sums through small donations. “It is a major problem because Republicans are still kicking our ass.”

Despite these fears, however, the debate remains unsettled, in part because top officials are uncertain about what lessons can be drawn from recent contests and whether they can be applied to future ones.

Dean’s theory of the case appears bolstered by primaries in New York, Massachusetts and Florida, where underdog candidates managed to win races with comparatively little money spent on television ads. Instead, those candidates relied on strong volunteer networks, compelling biographies and a mastery of the new digital landscape—from low-budget viral videos to Facebook Live and social media targeting—to reach voters outside of their television sets.

The first, and perhaps most notable example was the late June win by 28-year-old first time candidate and former bartender Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez whose defeat of Rep. Joe Crowley, a political institution in Queens, came despite the fact that her campaign’s only actual ad was a biographical video released online in late May from a production company formed by two Detroit members of the Democratic Socialists of America. The spot cost less than $10,000. But it garnered over 300,000 views within a single day and managed to define Ocasio-Cortez for the district’s changing demography of younger, more diverse voters.

Just two months later, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum won a crowded Democratic gubernatorial primary in Florida without ever leading in the polls prior to election day. Outpaced in the money race, the campaign’s strategy was to get him in front of as many voters as possible and spread his name via digital and social media, including Facebook Live videos. Their TV spending, around $1.5 million total, paled in comparison to competitors like former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine who spent over $26 million in part on a late-stage negative ad campaign against billionaire Jeff Greene, who was also blanketing the airwaves.

Shortly after Gillum’s win, Ayanna Pressley, a city councilor in Boston, ousted 20-year-incumbent Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA), in an election that massively expanded turnout in Massachusetts’ 7th District. The campaign’s only television investment was a modest buy on Univision and Telemundo. The 30-second version of the spot ran in late August and early September for a total cost of around $17,000. The 60-second cut was put on Facebook.

“I think 2018 is rewriting a lot of our assumptions about campaigns,” Pressley’s campaign manager, Sarah Groh, told the Daily Beast. “We knew we would be out-fundraised and we knew we would be outspent but we believed so fiercely from the beginning was the way to win was to go directly to the people. That really became kind of the north star for this campaign.”

For digital evangelists, these data points have been nothing short of affirmational.

“When you look at how particularly younger people are even consuming TV, they consume it on digital. So anyone who thinks they can spend 10 percent on digital and the rest on broadcast TV is just missing massive swaths of the population,” said Cheryl Contee, the CEO and founder of the new digital agency Do Big Things. “If TV were such a winner why didn’t the Russians use that to sabotage our elections?... They could have astroturfed the shit out of TV but they didn’t do that because it was a lot easier for them, faster, and more efficient and more powerful to engage in the techniques they did using digital.”

But while these victories do lend credence to the idea of television’s diminished influence, other Democrats-- including even some those on the recent triumphant digital campaigns-- cautioned that no two races or candidates were the same.

Florida Democrats noted that Gillum did, in fact, benefit from TV ads-- the ads that were run by his opponents against his other opponents and not him. And Kevin Cate, an adviser for Gillum, noted that his boss had the ability to connect with a younger, more diverse voter set through live-streaming, which made TV less of a necessity.

“This has been a long time coming for most people to recognize how much more genuine communication on social media can be than a television ad,” Cate said.

A Pew Research Center survey published on Monday found that 68 percent of American adults say they get news from social media at least occasionally. And a Pew survey from January found that only 50 percent of American adults get news regularly from television, and only 28 percent from cable news.

But according to campaign operatives, the vast majority of funds continues to be spent on television advertising. One top digital strategist said that conservatives are roughly spending around 40 percent of their media budgets on digital while progressives spend around 10 percent. Another placed the figure for Democrats at around 20 percent.
Goal ThermometerOne more thing-- though J.D. Scholten won his 3-way primary with over half the votes, the DCCC has decided to ignore what Democratic voters in the district want. The committee tasked with electing more Democrats to Congress has refused to back J.D. in his race against Steve King, primarily because every time King says something racist or insane-- which he does frequently-- the DCCC can send out a scary fundraising letter to ask for money for itself. If J.D. were to beat him, they'd lose a source of income. Also, they say J.D. is "too progressive, because he, like 85% of Democrats, backs Medicare-for-All." What they never want to discuss is that as of the June 30 FEC reporting deadline, J.D. had raised $755,973 to King's $506,775. So... while the DCCC works overtime for their crap conservatives from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- Blue Dogs and New Dems-- please consider tapping on the 2018 congressional thermometer above to see which primary winners, like J.D., the DCCC refuses to back and consider giving him-- and them-- a hand.

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At 6:21 PM, Blogger edmondo said...

It's not a question of digital versus television advertising. What matters is "what does the candidate stand for?

Hillary would have lost if she had pissed away another billion dollars in advertising. She was toxic. Every time she showed up to campaign she LOST votes. The only reason Wisconsin was close was because she never campaigned there. She saturated the airwaves with ads. All it did was remind people how much they hated her. She might have won if she had fewer ads, not more. People hated her message. Ads weren't going to help.

Parley that with AOC, Gillam and Pressley. They all stood FOR something. Their opponents didn't. Something always beats nothing.

At 7:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

... But, Edmondo, the voters still cannot fathom that even though AOC and a few others MIGHT stand for something (useful; also unproven), they are rendered moot by the entrenched corrupt democrap oligarchy.

I'm pretty sure all of this portends a VERY bleak future for this cluster fuck of a shithole.

1) the fact that the instagram/facebook 'sound bite' media is more effective does not encourage me. This just means that they are catering to our ever-shortening attention span and lack of appetite for complete information. It makes it easier for charlatans to lie to the ever dumber electorate and easier for the electorate to not have to think.

2) the fact that the democraps are figuring this out only means that they might be better able to fuck with the colossally stupid electorate that they remain dependent upon to stay in power where they can serve only the money.

3) as always, sheepdogs like Elizabeth, Bernie, obamanation, the clintons and DWT (there certainly are others) will still laud the democraps for their epiphany (wrt: sound bite social media) while failing to issue the obvious disclaimers (see 1 and 1 above).

4) naturally, none of this means shit if the left electorate could spike an EEG even once in their lifetimes. The sheepdogging doesn't work; the sound-bite horseshit doesn't matter and the 40-year history of the democraps would mean they would never ever get another vote from any sentient voter.

Fortunately for DWT and its client democrap party, the left electorate has zero brain function.

At 8:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Edmondo, I must agree with your $hillbillary comment.

I wondered why their ads, even in the sky-blue state I'm in, always had $hillbillary's mug with her fake smile while $he repeated her favorite triangulated pablum. I concluded it was $imple Hubri$.

All $he needed to do anywhere but the south was to stream 30 or 60 seconds of trump's "grab her by the pussy" and how much he wants to fuck his daughter and telling every white man on his shit show "you're fired". There exists just hours and hours of video of him being a vulgar venal asshole for no reason except it amused him. Show that.

But no. Had to have her mug on the screen. what else could it have been except hubris?

No wonder $he lost. The ONLY reason it was close was trump. jeb bush would have killed her by 10 million votes.

At 8:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gillam and Pressley seem to not be progressives. Gillam has received campaign contributions from Soros and Stener. Once you receive such contributions, its all over for progressive aspect of that candidate. Pressley has a youtube movie where she says that she is not progressive and more.

At 8:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And heartily congratulations Democratic voters - Cuomo has won the primary in NY state - these voters really really are happy with how things are in Albany.

At 11:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As much as I love trashing HER! for HER! incompetent campaign, we do have far more pressing issues at hand.

The corrupt Party structure is about to have control of the nation to the Nazis for at least 40 years since they can't seem to go for broke and attack KKKavanaugh with everything they have. If KKKavanaugh gets confirmed, it isn't going to matter whether the much-touted Blue Wave happens. All Trump has to do would be to take a case to SCOTUS and let them slit its throat.

At 4:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:36, worse than being 'happy', they are fucking morons. I've been to NY. That's about all one could conclude from experience and election results.

11:31, kkkavanaugh isn't an end. He's just a symptom. You can draw a straight line from him back to the democrap party who does nothing when they have majorities and did nothing when they had the white house.

the 'craps do nothing so that the Nazis actions can contrast with theirs to make their own neoliberalism not look so horrible.

draw that line from the democraps, through kkkavanaugh and where does it lead?

History has shown us. Look back to Germany in about 1935.

Fortunately for all 'concerned', americans are fucking morons and don't know shit about history... or Santayana... or Niemoller.


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