Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Last Call For McCrory's Nemesis

Tom Jensen at Public Policy Polling takes a look at why NC GOP Gov. Pat McCrory lost his bid for re-election, finally conceding yesterday to Democratic state AG Roy Cooper.  PPP is based in NC, and Jensen notes a lot of credit for McCrory's defeat needs to be given to the Moral Monday movement in the state.

McCrory really could claim somewhat of a mandate when he was elected. He won by 12 points in 2012 even as Mitt Romney carried the state by only 2 points, and our polling found him winning independent voters 2:1 and winning about 25% of Democrats. He was seen as being a different kind of Republican, and he got significant crossover support because of that.

But despite going into office with all that popularity and goodwill, he had a negative approval rating by July of 2013, just 8 months after his triumphant election. And he stayed with a negative approval rating every single month until this October in our polling- 39 months in a row of an under water approval rating. Only positive reactions to his handling of Hurricane Matthew got him back in positive territory at the very end, but in the end hostility towards his tenure as Governor was deeply ingrained enough in voters that it only allowed him to lose by a smaller margin than he would have if not for the Hurricane.

What happened in the summer of 2013 to make McCrory so permanently unpopular? He allowed himself to be associated with a bunch of unpopular legislation, and progressives hit back HARD, in a way that really caught voters' attention and resonated with them.

And that's where Moral Mondays came in, constantly protesting against the NC GOP's agenda in a visible and effective manner.

McCrory spearheaded or went along with all of this. And he might have gotten away with it without much impact on his image. Most voters don't pay close attention to state government.

But the Moral Monday movement pushed back hard. Its constant visibility forced all of these issues to stay in the headlines. Its efforts ensured that voters in the state were educated about what was going on in Raleigh, and as voters became aware of what was going on, they got mad. All those people who had seen McCrory as a moderate, as a different kind of Republican, had those views quickly changed. By July McCrory had a negative approval rating- 40% of voters approving of him to 49% who disapproved. By September it was all the way down to 35/53, and he never did fully recover from the damage the rest of his term.

Moral Mondays became a very rare thing- a popular protest movement. In August 2013 we found 49% of voters had a favorable opinion of the protesters to only 35% with an unfavorable opinion of them. And their message was resonating- 50% of voters in the state felt state government was causing North Carolina national embarrassment to only 34% who disagreed with that notion.

The lesson for the Trump era, according to Jensen (and it's a good one):

Pushing back hard on McCrory worked. The seeds of his final defeat today were very much planted in the summer of 2013. And it's a lesson for progressives in dealing with Trump. Push back hard from day one. Be visible. Capture the public's attention, no matter what you have to do to do it. Don't count on the media to do it itself because the media will let you down. The protesters in North Carolina, by making news in their own right week after week after week, forced sustained coverage of what was going on in Raleigh. And even though it was certainly a long game, with plenty more frustration in between, those efforts led to change at the polls 42 months after they really started.

A national version of the Moral Monday movement is what we need to help push back against Trump. North Carolina's progressives showed us the way.

All The President's Trolls

Trump campaign spokesperson Kellyanne Conway has been mentioned as Trump's new WH press secretary, but Conway has indicated that she wants something far more powerful than to be just the Trump's stenographer.  It looks like Conway has found her goal: we're getting "Trump TV" after all, only it will have the full power of the presidency behind it.

Senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said in an interview Monday that she is considering leading a group being formed that will provide “a surround-sound super structure” to bolster the new administration’s political and policy goals
The entity, whose legal structure has not yet been determined, will serve as the outside hub to support President-elect Donald Trump’s agenda. Discussions about the formation of the group have been underway for several weeks. 
People familiar with the planning said that some helping organize the as-yet unnamed group have a working motto: "Unleash the Potential," a moniker to describe the quick start they are expecting of Trump administration and the Republican-led Congress in the first part of 2017. The new president and GOP leaders are preparing to enact sweeping changes to the nation's tax, immigration and health-care policies. 
Conway told The Washington Post that she is still deciding whether to join Trump at the White House or run the organization, which will seek to harness his most fervent supporters in political and policy fights. Republicans will have a smaller but still dominant majority in the House and will control 52 seats in the Senate. On legislation, however, the Senate filibuster is a factor, requiring at least 60 senators to vote to clear procedural hurdles and move to final passage. 
Conway said it will be important for the organization to be run by someone “close to the president” who understands Trump’s priorities. 
“He’s going to be a very active president who wants to accomplish things quickly,” she said, adding: “We want to honor that by being ready.” Conway said she and her family are considering relocating to Washington from New York and have been house-hunting.

Who needs FOX News, CNN, or even Breitbart when Trump will literally have his own propaganda machine?  If you thought "Organizing For America" was somehow a creepy cult of personality or something, meet the new boss's giant loudspeaker, and please note how the "legal structure has yet to be determined".

Time to catapult the propaganda, kids, with the help of Trump's "most fervent" supporters.  A paid, presidentially-sanctioned army of trolls. It doesn't get any better.

Dispatches From Bevinstan, Con't

KY GOP Gov. Matt Bevin's "higher education model" and across-the-board cuts are having their intended effect as Kentucky colleges and universities are eliminating "non-profitable" major programs and expanding college athletics. Eastern Kentucky University is no exception.

French and comparative humanities degrees got the ax Monday from the Eastern Kentucky Board of Regents. 
Other programs that had been recommended for suspension, including journalism, geography and horticulture, will instead be redesigned to become more “marketable and efficient.” 
After almost a year of discussion, EKU faculty and administration created a list of possible program cuts aimed at reducing a $13 million shortfall. However, the final list will winnow only about $614,000. 
Officials cautioned that French will be taught at EKU, but students won’t be able to major or minor in it or in French instruction. Current majors will receive their degrees.
All the regents voted for the cuts, except for the two faculty representatives, who cited conflicts of interest. 
Still, board of regents chairman Craig Turner took an angry swipe at faculty over the length of deliberations and recent commentary about the cost of EKU’s rapidly expanding athletics program. 
“The decision to engage all parties has not had the success I had hoped,” he said, reading from prepared remarks. “We lost focus on the task at hand ... if you don’t participate, you lose your voice.” 
After the meeting, Turner said he was expressing frustration that the faculty senate declined to make program cut recommendations. 
Turner also defended recent commentary and meetings about EKU’s athletics program, which has expanded in recent years. According to EKU officials, athletics programs generate about $2 million to $3 million a year but spend about $14 million. The rest is paid through the school’s General Fund
Athletes “contribute greatly to better retention and graduation rates,” which will become even more important under the state’s proposed funding model for higher education, Turner said.

Football and basketball are losing millions, but that's okay.  We'll just get rid of French. I mean, who majors in a dead language, am I right?  Pass the popcorn and go Colonels!
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/local/education/article118938858.html#storylink=cpy


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