One Month of Christmas, Day 6

Good evening, today is Friday, November 30th. There are 25 days until Christmas. Here’s today’s thoughts…

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Rudolph is Fine, Get a Life

So apparently, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer isn’t good to show to kids. Why? Apparently showing the other reindeer bullying Rudolph is bad for kids. I kid you not.

This is part of why America hates liberals. Bullying is something that goes on in life. Will against it if you like, it will still be there generations after I’m dead. In this particular case, the victim at least ends up being beloved and popular, a powerful lesson to kids that bullying is stupid. That kid you’re bullying will grow up to make you feel foolish for being a jerk.

Honestly, people need to get a life.

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Holy Commercialism, Aerosmith

I just watched Aerosmith’s “Dream On” in a Tiffany and Co. commercial. Aside from my burning disdain for jewelry companies, good for them. Except that I recently saw another of their songs, “Livin’ on the Edge,” in a smart phone commercial. Oh, and Aerosmith will be “in residency” in Las Vegas next year.

As they approach their 50th anniversary together, Aerosmith is clearly cashing in. And you know what, good. Bands shouldn’t feel bad about making money off their music. It just feels like Aerosmith is going to hit gold here in the next few months.

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Yes to Woodstock 2019

Yeah, sure, Woodstock 1999 was kind of a shitshow. Sure, they burned some stuff. Sure, there were kind of, sort of rioting. But we have had a 20 year timeout. And dammit, 2019 is the 50th anniversary of the original Woodstock.

I not only want a 2019 Woodstock, but I want the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Green Day back there. I want to see the bad behavior surrounding both’s Woodstock performances repeated. I’m totally in for it.

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#NC09 is a Real Mess

The only race we were involved in on Election Day in Mecklenburg County, NC that didn’t end in victory was the 9th Congressional District race. We won Mecklenburg County for Democrat Dan McCready by a comfortable margin, but the final count has put him down by 905 votes. He conceded the day after, and the race seemed over.

I have to say it *seemed* over. We now know that foul play seems to have been going on, in a county well East of where I was. In Bladen County, an individual named Leslie McRae Dowless, the Soil & Water Commissioner, worked for Mark Harris’ Congressional campaign. In that county, Harris got 61% of the mail-in ballots, but only 19% of the voters who mailed in ballots were Republicans. The North Carolina State Board of Elections now has affidavits, signed by voters that Dowless’ had people going door to door to pick up ballots and “mail them in” for them. In some cases his people filled in ballots for people, in other instances they discarded ballots for Dan McCready. Dowless standed to make a $40,000 bonus if Harris won. It appears he may have broken some rules to get it.

If that’s so, these election results cannot be certified.

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We’ll be back at it tomorrow…

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Goodbye, My Sweet North Carolina

I’m out today. I’m heading up to DC, then off to Philadelphia, home, New York, State College, home, and back to DC in a short period of time. Only the DC stops are in any way related to business, and my future is not set in stone yet. I would like to do 2020. Beyond that, I’m open.

The 2018 Election was good to me. We swept all five state legislative elections in Mecklenburg County that we targeted to pick up, so North Carolina was good to me. North Carolina was good to Democrats in general, as we narrowed the House from 75-45 to 64-56 (pending recounts), the Senate narrowed from 35-15 to 29-21 (pending recounts), and the state elected a Democrat to the Supreme Court. To top it off, I lead a victory back up in Wilkes-Barre, PA for a state house seat. I haven’t lost a race to a Republican since 2016 (so maybe I’m not bad?). It was an amazing year.

There was great vindication to coming back here and winning after 2016, and to just winning period after the primaries earlier this year. I was so disappointed after 2016. My feelings are so different after this time. This was a really great experience. This was a really great cycle.

Thanks for reading.

0- Election Day

I was in an odd place on Election Night of 2002. I was suffering from mono, and had just decided to not try to return to running track and field or cross-country once cleared. I wasn’t playing the drums anymore, and was only about 20 months removed from my last wrestling bout (a 15-0 win), after 11 years in that sport. At that time, I was simply a young political science major, driven mostly by my opposition to the Iraq War and my support for the working class and unionized labor. I had no idea that politics would replace sports and music as the central meaning in my life yet, or the places it would take me. I thought I was majoring in political science at that time as a pathway to law school, not to be heading into 2020 still working on campaigns, but life doesn’t ask permission when moving you in a direction.

What I wouldn’t give to be back on a wrestling mat today, or run down that windy back-stretch on Easton’s track, or jam out on my drum set for a jazz band competition. All of those things once defined me as a person, and their fading from my life is part of why I am where I am this morning- running a regional boiler room, over-seeing the Charlotte area for the Democratic Party. Politics has taken me all over the place, and let me see places and things I never would have expected to see. I’ve managed Congressional, county and State legislative races, been a statewide field director, run a statewide early and absentee vote program, and of course been a regional field director. I’ve worked for members of the progressive caucus in Congress, and downright conservative Democrats. I’ve been exposed to people, places, ideas, and issues that I never would have seen otherwise. Politics has come to re-define who I am, what I am, and how I see the world. It truly filled the voids I previously left.

Father Time is not my friend though. If I want to retire at 65, I need to start moving in that direction sometime soon. Politics, and yes the Democratic Party, have changed a lot since I was a 19 year old intern for the PA Dems coordinated campaign. I don’t honestly know how I feel about it, if I’m honest. It’s not what I signed up for as an anti-war, pro-union youth. At the same time, these values are who I am now, at this point.

I’m not sure how many of today’s I have left. Let’s hope this is enjoyable.

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GOTV is not a place or time for intellectual thought- you just do it. You do your job, as instructed, and just hope it works out. Freelancers who try to do their own thing and be heroes usually end up doing more harm than good. It’s a place for people who are orderly and follow directions. I find that Democrats aren’t so hot at that.

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By 11pm tonight, one of two narratives will take hold:

  1. Democratic passion and enthusiasm, buoyed by anti-Trump fever, swept the nation up in a Blue Wave that at a minimum flipped the House, and maybe more. I also imagine that inside of this narrative will be a sub-story on whether “Berniecrat” lefties or mainstream, establishment figures lead the way, which will shape the opening salvos and days of the 2020 Election.
  2. Donald Trump’s stark rhetoric, his barnstorming schedule, and the awakening of the right-wing over Brett Kavanaugh’s “treatment” by Democrats stoked Republican enthusiasm to perform better than expected. Trump’s tough talk on immigration and Republican tough rhetoric against Democratic candidates in Georgia, Florida, and more saved the day. While many races were tight, Republicans held on in Republican seats. Donald Trump looks nearly impossible to beat.

For what it’s worth, be careful to not over buy on either story. The Democratic “Resistance” of these past two years may or may not work in a mid-term, in which Donald Trump is not actually on the ballot. Either way, that doesn’t mean you should conclude the same for 2020, when the Democrats will have to pick an actual person to run against him.

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Just to make things clear, on no other level has the national political environment helped Democrats as much as the U.S. Senate. We are not talking much today about normally swing state seats like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, or Virginia. If Hillary had won in 2016, all would be in serious danger today. Even so, the road to winning a majority is brutally hard tonight. Democrats must:

  • Win tough races they currently lead in West Virginia, Indiana, and Montana.
  • Win at least one, if not two of Florida, Missouri, and North Dakota, all of which are within a point leads or much worse.
  • Pick up at least three of Nevada, Arizona, Tennessee, and Texas, all of which are razor close.
  • Get Mississippi to a run-off and hope Republicans pick a nut, if they fall short on any of the above.

To be clear, it’s possible that Republicans pick up like five seats, and Democrats get none of their pick-ups. A 56-44 GOP Senate could happen. By the same token, so could a 53-47 Democratic Senate. Neither seems likely. I still would expect the GOP to hold the Senate with 50-53 seats after this election. That, by the way, is not a bad outcome for the Democrats, relative to where they started the cycle.

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I don’t want to start 2020 before it needs to, but it’s worth noting- not many of the Democratic leading candidates are being invited into swing districts to close. You see some Barack Obama. You see some Joe Biden. You do see some Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, the occasional Elizabeth Warren, and a few others in blue areas to try and bump turnout, but you don’t see them going much to PA-10, NC-9, or any other moderate district we need to win the House. For the most part, this tells me that our field doesn’t have a broad enough audience to win the electoral college in 2020. A majority party that wins elections can win electorates that aren’t fully ideologically aligned with them, especially against a polarizing figure like Donald Trump.

Just saying.

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If Democrats win back the House tonight as expected, it’s important to remember all the points on the road to this victory, beginning with Donald Trump’s victory speech in the early hours of November 9th, 2016 in New York. There was the GOP’s decision to try and repeal the Affordable Care Act, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court striking down their Congressional map and putting their own fair map in place, the GOP pushing through two conservative judges after blocking Judge Garland, Charlottesville, Parkland, many Trump statements, Connor Lamb’s victory, and of course the tax cuts, to name a few moments.

When you watch tonight though, there are some key areas of the country to watch. The Philadelphia, Miami, and San Diego media markets look ripe for big Democratic gains. California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina, Texas, and Florida all look like states where major gains are happening.

What are some districts that Democrats have to win? PA-5, 6, 7, 17, CA-49, NJ-2, 11, AZ-2, CO-6, FL-27, IA-1, IL-6, KS-3, MI-11, MN-2, 3, VA-10, WA-8. These 18 seats are prime pick-ups.

What are the toss-ups that Democrats need to win some of to win back the House? CA-10, 25, 39, 45, 48, FL-15, 26, GA-6, IA-3, IL-14, KS-2, KY-6, ME-2, MI-8, NC-9, 13, NJ-3, 7, NM-2, NY-19, 22, OH-12, PA-1, 10, TX-7, 32, UT-4, VA-2, 7. These 29 seats are where Democrats would tip the House and build their margin.

What seats would signal a huge Democratic wave? There are actually 56 additional GOP seats in their likely or leaning camps, which the Cook political report is still tracking. I can tell you for a fact that at least a couple of these seats are firmly in play after early voting. All told 103 Republicans are waking up in danger today. 80 of them could win, and they would still possibly lose the House. Remember, the Democrats are flat out favored to take 18 of these seats.

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Down here in Charlotte this cycle, things have been eventful. My region has five state House races, all pick-up opportunities. It has two State Senate seats, also pick-ups. We also are doing GOTV for NC-9 on the Congressional level, a pick-up opportunity. It’s nice playing all offense, for a change. I expect us to pick up a State House seat or two, a State Senate seat, and possibly a Congressional seat tonight (though that will be tight). If things go well though, we could easily pick up much more than that. If you’re watching at home, you should keep an eye on HD’s 68, 98, 103, 104, and 105, SD’s 39 and 41, and CD 9.

Back up home, the only work I did for the general was PA HD-121. I have more than a passing interest in PA-115 (did work there last cycle) and 137 (my home district, I tried to push some personal capital with national organizations in there for our nominee). I did some Summer field work on PA’s CD-10 before it was targeted too. I am hoping for a Blue Wave to sweep them all into office.

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My three tiers of potential Democratic Gubernatorial pick-ups tonight:

  • Likely- Maine, Michigan, Illinois, New Mexico
  • Leaning- Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nevada
  • Possible- Georgia, South Dakota, Kansas, New Hampshire
  • Giant Blue Wave- Vermont, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, Arizona

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There’s less good forecasts out there for state legislatures than any other major level of government. Fortunately, the Washington Post recently published an article on this, and named the following chambers as “in play”:

  • Michigan House and Senate
  • North Carolina Senate
  • Maine Senate
  • New York Senate
  • Arizona House and Senate
  • Colorado Senate
  • New Hampshire House and Senate
  • West Virginia House

For what it’s worth, people in North Carolina think the House is at least as much in play. Carl Klarner did the forecasts for the Post, and you should check him out here.

No, Pennsylvania is not on here. Expect solid gains though tonight. I suspect the Democrats will end up with between 92 and 95 House seats, and 20 Senate seats. This puts both chambers at least marginally back in play moving forward.

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Go vote. No, really, do it. Your country needs you, whoever you are. While I have interesting stuff to write here, none of it matters like you doing your civic duty. I have friends who are overseas right now representing our country, the least you can do is go vote.

2

Like a fool I went and stayed too long. Now I’m wondering if you’re love’s still strong? Ooh baby, here I am, signed sealed delivered, I’m your’s…

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Where was I ten years ago right now? Ripping shots in the PA HDCC headquarters, watching Barack Obama be declared the winner of the 2008 Presidential Election as the last PA House seats trickled in to give us a 104-99 Majority. It remains an iconic moment in my political memory and life, the moment America overcame an ugly history and elected it’s first African-American President. What’s come since may sew doubts, but make no mistake, that moment will never leave any of us.

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Today’s GOTV playlist:

  1. Stevie Wonder- Signed Sealed Delivered
  2. Aerosmith- Sweet Emotion
  3. Green Day- American Idiot
  4. Red Hot Chili Peppers- Dani California
  5. Drake- Back to Back

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Will the Democrats flip the House? It’s pretty clearly the question of all questions heading into this midterm. Nancy Pelosi has staked her career, reputation, and legacy on it. Democrats have put their heart and soul into it. They need 23 seats to do it, and there’s more than that on the board.

If you use Cook Political report, Democrats are playing offense in the following seats:

  • Likely Dem-4- NJ-2, PA-5, 6, and 17.
  • Lean Dem-13- AZ-2, CA-49, CO-6, FL-27, IA-1, IL-6, KS-3, MI-11, MN-2, 3, NJ-11, PA-7, VA-10.
  • Toss-Up-28- CA-10, 25, 39, 45, 48, FL-15, 26, IA-3, IL-14, KS-2, KY-6, ME-2, MI-8, NC-9, 13, NJ-3, 7, NM-2, NY-19, 22, OH-12, PA-1, TX-7, 32, UT-4, VA-2, 7, WA-8.
  • Lean Republican-28- AK-AL, CA-50, FL-6, 16, 18, GA-6, 7, IA-4, IL-12, 13, MO-2, MT-AL, NC-2, NE-2, NY-11, 24, 27, OH-1, PA-10, 16, SC-1, TX-22, 23, VA-5, WA-3, 5, WI-1, WV-3.
  • Likely Republican-27- AR-2, AZ-6, 8, CA-1, 4, 21, 22, CO-3, FL-25, IN-2, MI-1, 3, 6, 7, NC-8, NY-1, 2, 21, 23, OH-10, 14, OK-5, TX-2, 21, 24, 31, WI-6.

For those of you counting at home, the Democrats are favored in 17 GOP seats, in a straight toss-up for 28, close in 28 more, and have some shot in 27 more, leaving 100 GOP seats out on the field right now. They need the 17 they’re favored in, plus a net of 6 from the remaining 83. By contrast, they should lose PA-14 and MN-8, face a toss-up in MN-1, and have ten seats in range that the GOP is still trying for.

Let’s play fair and say the GOP wins all three toss-up or better Democratic seats, and even two more out of the ten. Democrats would need 28 seats out of 100 in play. Let’s give them the 17 they’re favored in, a quarter of the 28 toss-ups (7), and another 3 from the other 55 in play- so a floor of 27. That would give the GOP a 218-217 House Majority- their best case scenario. That’s possible, maybe as possible as any other scenario, but unlikely. It’s at least as likely the GOP picks up two Democratic seats, loses all 17 they’re supposed to lose, loses half or more (14) of the toss-ups, a quarter of their leaning favorites (7), and 2 they shouldn’t, a net loss of 38 seats.

For now, I’m going with 35 new Democratic House members, and a 230-205 Democratic Majority.

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Tonight’s candidate of the night is a surprise to me- Andrew Gillum, the Democratic nominee for Governor of Florida. Gillum is the Mayor of Tallahassee, was an active surrogate for Hillary, and would be Florida’s first African-American Governor. He’s faced blatant racism, unfair attacks, and an active Donald Trump- but he’s still here. You can donate to Andrew here, or volunteer for him here.

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One of the hardest aspects of this job is the stuff you miss. I missed a buddy’s wedding yesterday. I’ve missed a lot of college football games I was invited to this season. I miss family birthdays, bacon and garlic festivals in Easton, the changing of the leaves back home in Easton- and just the opportunity to lead a normal life. You do so because campaigns are your job, but also because you believe in the people you’re electing.

One of these days, I tell myself, I won’t miss all of this stuff, and my favorite season of the year. Or, maybe, one of these years I won’t believe in the cause, the candidates, as much anymore. This has been an exhausting, draining election cycle, and not nearly as fun of one as years past were for me. I’m not planning on stopping before 2020, and I’m not ever planning on going apathetic, but the best thing I can say for 2018 is that it had to be done, because otherwise we’re heading for rock bottom.

One of these days.

3

I saw her today at the reception, a glass of wine in her hand. I knew she was gonna meet her connection, at her feet was her footloose man.

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Today’s GOTV playlist:

  1. The Rolling Stones- You Can’t Always Get What You Want
  2. Aerosmith- Dream On
  3. Aretha Franklin- R.E.S.P.E.C.T.
  4. Meek Mill- I’mma Boss
  5. Peter Tosh- Legalize It

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The best part of GOTV? Everybody either is slacking off or trying to be the next James Carville. Nobody seems to just stay in their lanes, do their job, and follow directions.

Hence, it’s 11:16pm and I’m writing this.

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Today’s candidate of the day is Rachel Hunt. Rachel is the daughter of a four-term former Governor of North Carolina, a fighter for quality public education, better jobs, and better health care. Rachel wants to make Raleigh work again, for the average people. Donate to help her here. Volunteer here.

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Looking at the Governor’s Mansions, This May be where Democrats make their biggest gains on Tuesday. Despite probably not winning back Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, or Maryland, Democrats are poised for huge victories.

By my count, I favor Democrats in Maine, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Florida, New Mexico, and Nevada, for a pick up of 9 seats, giving them 25 Governor’s Mansions to 24, with 1 independent. I’m not conceding defeat for Democrats in Georgia, Kansas, South Dakota, and New Hampshire too. It’s going to be a good night for Democrats at the state level.

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Is anyone cooler than Joel Embiid? He had another monster game, with 39 points, 17 boards, and 2 blocks in a win over Detroit. He did so against Andre Drummond, who is actually pretty good. Then he went on social media and dogged Drummond everywhere he could.

The Sixers don’t look like a championship team yet to me, but Embiid looks like he improved- yet again. That’s crazy.

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No feeling bad for Patrick Corbin. The Diamondbacks lefty is about to get paid. With Clayton Kershaw and Cole Hamels getting 3/$93 million and the option year at $20 million respectively, Corbin would seem to be heading towards $25 million a year and five or six years.

Cheers to that.

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Today was Baconfest up in Easton. I’m not there. It’s safe to say I’m jealous.

4

I’ve been going through life, making foolish plans. Now my world is in your hands. Send in the congregation. Open your eyes, step in the lies. The jukebox generation. Just as you were…

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Tonight’s GOTV playlist:

  1. Foo Fighters- Congregation
  2. Eminem- My Name Is
  3. The Rolling Stones- Jumping Jack Flash
  4. Kanye West- Never Let Me Down
  5. The Dropkick Murphys- Shipping Up to Boston

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Tonight’s candidate of the night is Christy Clark, the Democratic nominee here in North Carolina House District 98, North Mecklenburg County. Christy is fighting for quality education, affordable health care, jobs, clean drinking water, stopping gun violence, and voting rights. Endorsed by Emily’s List, Christy has put an entrenched incumbent, in a traditionally red seat in play.

Christy is one of a group of candidates I’ve been down here in the Charlotte area trying to elect. You can donate to her here. You can come down and volunteer by clicking here.

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New York friends- I’ll be in town the 16th and 17th. Come out and join me.

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Tonight’s final GOTV story of time’s past- 2016. It was the worst of times, and the worst of times. I was here in North Carolina, but in the northeastern most 15 counties. The saving grace- waking up some mornings on the bayside of the Outer Banks, or other mornings in an Elizabeth City hotel room, hung over. I built up a lot of character in that election, but all I got to show for it was that I’m back here to get Governor Cooper a better legislature now.

It wasn’t just losing the state for Hillary, or losing the national election, but it was as much the ugly under current I saw here (and across the nation) around that election. Open white nationalism, sexism, and bigotry of all kinds was prevalent. I never had so many organizers and volunteers express fear and anxiety over voter contact.

But other than that, it was a beautiful place, and I saw some amazing sights.

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So the Senate seems pretty straight forward to me: Democrats have to win Nevada for anything to matter, and Republicans are almost certainly winning North Dakota. That probably means the Senate rides on Missouri, Florida, Arizona, and Tennessee. The Democrats probably need to sweep them to win the Senate, or they need a win in Texas, of which I’m still skeptical of (I’m not saying he won’t win, just that I’m a doubter.) Republicans are still hoping to win in Montana, Indiana, and West Virginia, but I don’t see them as likely to do that.

If I were betting today, I’m seeing a 50-50 Senate. Republicans will win North Dakota and Missouri, but lose Nevada, Arizona, and Tennessee. The Senate probably rides on Texas, Florida, Missouri, Tennessee, and Arizona this Tuesday.

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Speaking of Missouri, for as much as has changed, that state will still come down to McCaskill winning the pro-life Democrats and suburbanites in St. Louis County (not the city proper). The problem, of course, is that this cycle has seen so much discussion of social issues that I’m just not sure that holds up. Yes, Claire seems to win the close ones. This still feels like the wrong cycle for her.

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Easton won their playoff football game back home tonight, 39-19 over Easton. I saw them play in week two and was impressed. I look forward to seeing them on Thanksgiving.

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Tomorrow will be a busy day, overseeing over 500 canvass shifts from my boiler room. This is the time of year political operatives live for though. All of this Democratic energy from the last two years means nothing if we don’t turn it into seats in Congress and state capitols.

16

Happy Sunday- kind of. I’m working today, so it’s not a traditional Sunday to me. I was up early and checking in on staging locations. There’s no days off when you’re 16 days out.

Lots of good stuff for you today. My mind’s all over.

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For every revolution, there is a counter-revolution. Barack Obama’s election brought about a rise in racism and the formation of the Tea Party. The reaction to Donald Trump’s election has been a rise in left-wing feminism. This isn’t odd, it’s historical fact. The new part is the revolution/counter-revolution dynamic in our politics- because American politics were never a revolutionary thing. The question is, will there be a reaction to the reaction to Trump? Republicans are betting on it.

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I’ve had several conversations this week about a potential Hillary Clinton 2020 campaign. People seemed to divide entirely on gender lines (all were Democrats). What do I think?

I think she would probably not win, so I don’t think she should be nominated, so I don’t think she should run. If you can change the first condition in my mind, you change my mind. The problem for Hillary, of course, is that her approval hasn’t really recovered, which didn’t seem to matter for Trump, but seems to really matter for her. While I’m a huge fan of Hillary, and worked for both of her Presidential campaigns, the most important important factor in what candidates I would support for 2020 is their electability. I don’t see a good reason why a campaign run on the same themes as 2016 would get Hillary elected in 2020.

Just my two cents…

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The Eagles should win the NFC East on talent alone, but this ain’t last year’s team. This is their third loss where the defense just couldn’t hold a lead at the end. The offense wasn’t very good, but the defense just quit. Repeating doesn’t seem plausible.

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Today’s candidate of the day is Congresswoman Jacky Rosen, the Democratic nominee for Senator from Nevada. If Congresswoman Rosen doesn’t win, it’s a certainty the GOP holds the Senate. Donate here.

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The cool thing about being in North Carolina this year is that the political energy is local. While there are a couple of competitive Congressional races, the main action is focused on legislative races, a state Supreme Court race, and proposed constitutional amendments for the state. With the Congressional map being re-drawn next year, these local elections are taking on national significance moving forward- but they’re being decided on local matters.

25

Today is October 12th, 2018, 25 days before the midterm election. It’s a beautiful, Southern Fall day- sunny and in the 70’s during the day, down into the 50’s and 60’s at night. Beautiful weather isn’t a rule though. Yesterday Hurricane Matthew rolled through Charlotte yesterday and knocked out power, dropped buckets of rain, and generally left debris everywhere. It was not really scary, but it definitely made me a bit anxious- what if a tree falls on my new car?

Fortunately, the storm came and went, and my car is in one piece. Small victories.

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Data runs the world. “Moneyball” has taken over baseball, despite the fact that Billy Beane’s Oakland A’s have not played a World Series game during his tenure. The value of moving runners and bunting has been replaced by launch angles, exit velocities, and WAR. Advanced metrics, and formerly obscure stats, now tell us who has the most value in baseball.

Politics, and particularly the campaigns, are going the same way. Data is driving everything from GOTV targets to what precincts get walked each day. An algorithm in Brooklyn picked where Hillary Clinton scheduled visits. The Russian troll farms picked targets and bought Facebook ads based on data they got by hacking (and stealing from) the DNC. Big data runs everything now, and to be fair, it does give us a way better view of where to go and what to do in order to get votes. Data definitely belongs at the table.

Political campaigns cannot run on an algorithm though, especially coalition driven, Democratic campaigns. There is a certain level of human driven, political savvy, common sense decision making that needs to be made on a well run campaign. Much as “moneyball” has failed in baseball, algorithm driven politics produced Hillary Clinton’s campaign against Donald Trump. An algorithm said visit Philadelphia a 23rd time, instead of visiting Bethlehem or Wilkes-Barre a first. An algorithm said that it was more important to do the extra visits in Miami and Chapel Hill, while not going out to Elizabeth City or some of the exurbs of Tampa. Published reports say that Bill Clinton was laughed at and brushed off as old-fashioned inside the campaign for saying the campaign needed to spend some time in Pennsylvania’s smaller cities, or in rural, Eastern North Carolina. I’d say the record says Bill was right.

Inside campaigns, data has dramatically changed how field operations run. Organizers are now there to produce the highest numbers possible, more so than to community organize. Regional field directors are more so managers for the organizers, and less so there to deal with regional political issues. GOTV Directors are largely logistical captains, and less involved as far as putting together or managing the operation. Basically, big data is increasingly driving the bus, and human capital is less crucial.

I’m not sure if that’s got a lot of positive value.

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With the NLCS and ALCS starting, I figured I’d make some predictions.

I’ve got the Astros over the Red Sox in six. Both teams will steam roll the NL Champion, but the Astros are looking to me like a next level, dynasty team.

I’m struggling with the NL. While the Dodgers don’t impress me, my head says they win. My gut says the Brewers feel like the team of destiny to me though. I’ll go Brewers in seven, stocking with instinct.

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My Eagles won big last night, and they needed it. Write this down- they will get it together and win the division in the end. They’re next level.

Saquon Barkley scored my fantasy team over 30 points last night. Saquon didn’t beat my Eagles though. I’m really happy with that outcome. Let’s see that for a while.

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Today’s candidate of the day is my Governor, Tom Wolf. Governor Wolf was elected four years ago, against the worst Governor human-being in the Commonwealth’s history, Tom Corbett. That would be the same former Governor who cut education funding, taxed natural gas producers at a lower rate than Texas or Alaska, and completely botched the Sandusky/Penn State scandal every which way imaginable.

The problem Governor Wolf has faced though is that Corbett’s 2010 legislature has remained in place for the last four years, making life difficult for the Governor. Even so, he’s managed to restore funding to education, better fund our human services, and protect our natural resources. He’s signed legislation to expand expungement for reformed offenders and protected women’s health care services. He’s done this in spite of the Republican legislature. He’s done a good job.

One of the big road blocks in Harrisburg, one of the least productive members of the State Senate, up to his resignation earlier this Summer, was Scott Wagner. That would be Scott Wagner who said today that he will “stomp all over” Governor Wolf’s “face, with golf spikes.” You can’t make this up. Does this guy seem like he has the temperament to lead, to you?

Governor Wolf needs your help. Donate to him here. Volunteer with the PA Dems coordinated campaign here.

The Carolina Blues: Reprising 2016 in 2018

November 8th, 2016 might have left many other people triggered, but the shock it left me with was something completely different. I worked for Hillary Clinton in South Carolina and Ohio in 2008, and had spent eight years essentially waiting for her political return (in bliss, I’m a fan of President Obama). Election Day of 2016 was going to be my last day as a campaign operative- she was going to be elected, I knew who I wanted to follow into the administration, and I knew I was done with this- until it all just wasn’t. I remember almost every detail about the hotel room in Elizabeth City that I watched Trump’s victory speech in. I remember where we had the cases of beer that we were all going to celebrate with. I remember what spots on the floor which organizers were laying in, either sobbing or in total disbelief, as Trump was declared the winner.

I could sit here and wax poetic about my time in North Carolina in 2016. The Outer Banks are paradise. I could also complain about the difficult politics of the northeastern portion of the state, the crazy things I saw there, or even the problems the Clinton Campaign had. On the whole, I probably had 30 or 35 good days out of the 42 days I worked there. I got to see my cousins, my aunt and uncle, and towns and places I never would have seen. It was overall a great moment in my life. The ending just sticks with me.

It’s always the ending that you remember most in anything. Trump’s victory speech has stuck with me for almost two years. Him walking onto the stage to “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” one of my favorite songs of all time, was just a double f**k you, frankly (You know it’s a f**k you to the Stones for this.). Watching that unqualified ignoramus ramble, sounding as shocked as the rest of us, was appalling. I still remember the sobbing sounds in the hotel room, the honest fear I felt, and the moment I just burst out laughing as I watched. It enrages me yet.

Alas, I’m back in the Tar Heel State. In the wreckage of Hillary losing so close, Roy Cooper won for Governor that night, and the Republican lead legislature has been trying to strip him of his power ever since. I’m back in North Carolina, this time leading the charge in Charlotte, trying to help him get a more friendly legislature, and maybe help flip a major Congressional race here too. I’ve set a goal on this trip of getting across the border to South Carolina’s Gaffney while I’m down here too, to see the mythical home of “House of Cards” President Frank Underwood. It’s the little things, right?

One thing I will assure you of is that this is not going to be my last rodeo this time. If I think back on the times I turned down taking a job “inside the government,” or the times I planned to and came up agonizingly close (like 200 votes close, or losing because of the electoral college close), I’d go crazy now. That’s not happening this time. I’m here to do winning. Then I’m ready for one more bigly, huge rodeo in 2020 where we elect a real, truly great President. Once again, my career has purpose.

But for now, I’ll enjoy this great city, some Bojangles, and the opportunity for some sweet affirmation.