Saturday, March 19, 2016

Dirty campaigning - Step by step how the rig is in and how they get away with it.

A Progressives Rant Part 2...

The tricks they use are predictable, reusable and somehow seem to work virtually every time. Step one, the party insiders pick their chosen candidate, the party donors give that candidate a bunch of money and then they start the buzz in the media about them being the front runner, most qualified, most electable or some other version of vote for him or her. The media is then complicit and frames the conversation about that one and the others as the front runner and the challengers.  But the media doesn’t stop there, they give virtually all the air time to that candidate and whenever they talk about the others, they frame it through the lens of how the challengers are affecting the leader. For example when they say Bernie is moving Hillary to the left on the issues, or saying he is making her a stronger general election candidate. Again with the assumption is that their chosen one will be the winner and the only role of the others is to affect him or her.

Now those are the old school tricks, but from there the games have changed a bit to keep up with technology and changes in election law. With Citizens United they now have super PACs which take huge sums of money from corporations and the super wealthy, trying to scare the challengers out of the race. Not only the number, but the knowledge that corporately funded Super PACs almost exclusively use their money for smear campaigns. The Democrats throw in a bonus challenge for the rest of the field, as they award almost 20% of the delegates to party insiders, elected officials and corporate lobbyists known as super delegates who don’t have anybody telling them who to vote for except the pressures of towing the party line. In the words of the DNC chair, these are in place to prevent a grassroots challenger from winning the nomination. (seriously she admitted that the rig is in). From here the parties start pressuring all elected officials in their party to endorse their chosen candidate to create the illusion that everyone is in agreement that they like the front runner and don’t like the challengers. Finally they position the primaries in a way where the more status quo states run early and the more progressive or unpredictable states run later so that the establishment status quo candidate will get all the momentum up front and they can start the conversation about how the math doesn’t work for anyone else. Naturally this last part is to put out any spark the supporters of the challengers might have and get them to just give up, disengage and accept the front runner.

From here the dirty campaigning shifts over to the candidates. With all the party, money and media attention on them, the front runners start by ignoring their challengers and wait to see if any starts to break from the pack. Whichever does becomes the target of their lies, smears, false narratives and evolutions (they start taking over the challengers most popular issues and pretend that they were the champion of those issues all along) and sending their surrogate attack dogs out to spread lies.

Since the media mostly controls people who are less tech savvy or in less tech savvy parts of the country like the deep red south, traditional media still frames all the issues and accepted realities for them and the rig is in place. If you are the chosen one, again the media tells everyone you are, they talk about why the others can’t win and then in the debates the front runner is served up mostly softballs or given an opportunity to explain their sensitive issues, while the challengers are given more gotcha questions, cut off in the middle of responses and reminded constantly that they are chasing and won’t win. No matter who wins the debate, the media will tell you it was the front runner so long as they didn’t do anything to sabotage their own campaign.

But with younger, more tech savvy voters they have learned to turn to the internet and social media for more of their information. Keeping with technology, campaigns have learned to manipulate this as well… they purchase likes on Facebook and Twitter to create the illusion that people love them and can’t wait to hear everything they are doing. They hire trolls who go online to pick fights with their challengers supporters or pretending to be a supporter of their challenger and engage in bad behavior to embarrass the candidate. Finally they buy fake news pages run by their supporters, super PAC or surrogates who create fake news stories either attacking their opponent, supporting the candidate or simply to spread lies, smears and false narratives. These are then read by their supporters and shared on social media to reinforce these lies and create the illusion that somehow they are valid regardless of how absurd they may sound to those in the know… they understand that most voters don’t really know the issues and don’t really know the record of the candidates, so they are like putty to be molded however the candidate chooses to mold them, rewriting both their record and that of their opponents.

So let’s see how that all plays in this race. I am a progressive democrat, so going to focus on how it manifested in the democratic race.

Hillary is the chosen one. She enters the race with huge sums of money in both her campaign and her Super PACs. The party gets virtually every elected official to endorse her before all the candidates had even gotten into the race. The media starts out talking about how much money and name recognition she has and how it’s her turn.

The debates begin and Bernie starts getting very popular and gaining in the polls on outsider populist issues. So Hillary starts to evolve. She has a record of free trade bragging about NAFTA, permanent free trade relations with China and calls TPP the gold standard of trade agreements, but suddenly evolves saying she has always been against them. She is for fracking, offshore drilling and supported keystone XL pipeline, but says she is the environmental candidate and always has been. She applauded the success of the ‘94 crime bill and how it took super predators and other street thugs off the streets, has private prison lobbyists fundraising for her campaign, but now claims to be against mass incarceration and the private prisons, pretending to care about poor communities and communities of color who have been devastated by the crime bill. Bill deregulates wall street, takes down Glass Steagall regulations which kept our economy safe since the great depression. Banks, insurance companies and traders merge creating too big to fail companies, then engage in super risky speculative and dishonest activities all of which were illegal under Glass Steagall and crashed the economy. Bill and Hillary make millions from these companies in speaker fees, donations to their much maligned foundation and donations to her campaign… then she tries to convince us that she is the one who is tough on wall street and the champion for for the poor and middle class, even ripping off Bernie’s stump speech word for word on a rigged economy and top 1% (even though they are her primary funders of her family and campaign)

She does all the aforementioned internet and social media dirty tricks, the trolling, buying likes and trending, has her surrogates buy fake news sites (Daily Newsbin and Blue Nation Review) to smear her opponents and to create false narratives about her inevitability and electability. The media gives all TV coverage to her, dismisses and ignores her opponents while it belittles her opponents supporters telling them from day one to give up and keep telling them to give up until they finally do. TV pundits talk about her as if she has already won and the challengers as if they were little more than obstacles she has to get past so get out of the way so she can focus on the general election. Formerly respected papers like NY Times and Washington Post act like the corporatist democrats version of FOX news and spread propaganda to push the chosen one and discourage the supporters of her opponents.

So up to here I have mostly covered how the system comes pre rigged for the party chosen one. But remember we are talking about the Clintons, the dirtiest campaigners in my lifetime… the ones who created or perfected much of the rigging process. But beyond stealing every popular issue and pretending to have evolved (Bill did the exact same thing to Jerry Brown), she is also the queen of the smear. She has lied not just about her own record, but blatantly lies about her opponents as well. She cherry picked big bills which had dozens if not hundreds of provisions to attack Bernie on the poison pills within the bill… She used this completely disingenuous methodology to somehow frame big labors biggest champion as flip flopping on labor issues and opposing the auto bailout. She used similar lies and cherry picking to frame him as a gun nut who hates poor people… she basically tried to pin all of her conservative, greedy and selfish tendencies, votes and speeches in her record on Bernie. Even if she doesn’t sell the it’s not me it’s him, she at least wants to sell the idea that it’s not just me.

So with all of this being so predictable and obvious and so easy to prove or disprove it couldn’t possibly work could it? Yes it can and yes it does. It does because people only pay attention for a few months every 4 years. They start off wanting the populist with the great record and the great issues, but eventually let the system convince them that they were wrong… ooops. Oh yeah and give up on hope and settle for what they are told is pragmatism and the illusion of electability.

So when us populists and progressives become so outraged by the lies being spread by the media and on social media, it might have something to do with the fact that we understand what the truth is because we were paying attention between the election cycles, we watched the congressional fights and remember how things actually went down, not how they were rewritten. We know who the champions have been on the issues, who the allies were, who stood silent and who stood in opposition. When Hillary supposedly misspoke about the Reagan’s being champions for the gay community on the issue of AIDS, we weren’t so quick to write it off as a misspeak. We understand she didn’t know because she wasn’t a champion, wasn’t even an ally, we know she was on the wrong side of the issue and that’s why she didn’t know. We know she has been on the wrong side of free trade, of the environment, private prisons, wall street deregulation, racial and criminal justice. We know her record and we know Bernie’s record and yes when we see well intentioned and even intelligent people spreading these lies and false narratives, forwarding factually inacurate smear pieces, we do become outraged and sometimes we snap. We can't understand how anyone can believe these often times not even well crafted lies, that logic let alone facts should discredit. 

And worse yet, we know that we are getting the government that the ill informed and ignorant deserve, not the one we deserve. That's what this revolution is about... not falling for it anymore, taking back our government. Never give up and never settle again. Continue to engage, phone bank, donate, canvass and keep your friends and family engaged. The establishment is counting on us giving up and letting them win... Every win we get takes us one step closer to exposing the lie and breaking the two party system that has stolen our democracy. Fight On! This is the closest we have been to winning back our democracy in generations.

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  1. Thank you for writing this article. It's all plain as day to anyone paying attention but most people just assume the MSM must know what's best for us. It's painful to watch the primary results come in and realize what an amazing opportunity people are ignoring. Of course, we have more favorable terrain coming up and there's always that FBI criminal investigation that's not going away, despite what HRC, the DNC and MSM want us to believe.

    1. If we are to have real choice again, we need to start at the top of the ticket... the rig is in, but the people can defeat the establishment when we stand together. We stood together for FDR and he gave us a similar agenda to what Bernie advocates... and we need another FDR now as much as we needed him then. They won't give up the power easily, but if we stand with the issues and fight to the end, we can send a strong message that we will make Bernie our President... but if they continue to rig the primaries, they just might end up with worse case scenario of a President Trump or a President Cruz. Im not necessarily advocating for a Bernie or Bust... but I am realistically pointing out what the establishment is ignoring... people dont like Clinton and her base isn't big enough to win without a lot of help... and the people she will be looking to for help (young voters, Independent voters and disillusioned republican voters) have all been clear they don't like her.