After Victory, Airbnb Compares Its Influence to the NRA’s – DAVEY ALBA. 04.15. 11.3 PM


With Proposition F—the San Francisco ballot measure to restrict Airbnb and other short-term rentals—failing after votes were tallied last night, the home-sharing company at the center of the controversy invited members of the press to a debriefing at its San Francisco headquarters this morning. Chris Lehane, Airbnb’s head of global public policy and a former aide to Bill Clinton, detailed what the company felt it learned from its successful campaign against Prop F.  In particular, he said, the company realized it could organize and mobilize its enormous base of Airbnb users, both hosts and guests.

“We began to think about this election in a little bit of a different way,” Lehane said. “Was there something we could do? We had this big base of support, the light bulb went off in our heads. Could we actually organize and activize (sic) this community and change what the voter pool in San Francisco was going to look like?”

At one point, presenting the company’s prepared slides, Lehane compared the influence of the Airbnb community to the National Rifle Association. Airbnb now has over 4 million members, both hosts and guests, compared to the NRA’s 5.1 million members. “The [Airbnb] voting bloc that is growing is a formidable constituency,” Lehane said, comparing Airbnb’s numbers to the NRA, the Sierra Club, teachers in the National Education Association and pro-LGBT Human Rights Campaign members.

Article continues:

http://www.wired.com/2015/11/after-victory-airbnb-compares-its-influence-to-the-nras/

Jeb goes full Mitt Romney: Man of inherited wealth and power says African-Americans want “free stuff” – JOAN WALSH FRIDAY, SEP 25, 2015 07:11 AM PDT


The “outreach” candidate takes a page from Mitt Romney to insult black voters in one of the worst possible ways

Jeb goes full Mitt Romney: Man of inherited wealth and power says African-Americans want "free stuff"

Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush (Credit: AP/M. Spencer Green/LM Otero) `

Ah Jeb. You just can’t help yourself.

Again, on another historic day when Pope Francis quoted Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in a speech to Congress, the Catholic convert likewise tried to reach and empathize with African Americans. Only this is how he did it.

At a campaign stop in Mount Pleasant, S.C., a voter noted the event was all-white, and asked Bush how Republicans can appeal to African Americans. At first Bush seemed like the compassionate conservative he’s supposed to be. He touted the African Americans on his leadership team staff, discussed his outreach to black ministers, pivoted to the issue of Latino voters, and offered a feisty defense of speaking Spanish on the campaign trail:

If someone asks me a question in Spanish just for the record, don’t take offense that I answer it in Spanish. It’s not an offense to you, it’s respect for others. You campaign in a way that draws people to your cause. That’s what you do.

So far, so good. Then Bush totally blew it. Turning back to the issue of black voters, he said:

Think about it this way, Republicans get 4-7 percent of the African-American vote…If you double that, you win elections in Ohio, Virginia. And we should make that case, because our message is one of hope and aspiration. It isn’t one of division, “get in line, we’ll take care of you with free stuff.” Our message is uplifting, that says, “You can achieve earned success. We’re on your side.”

“We’re on your side,” black voters, though we’re not sure you’ve really achieved “earned success.” You’ve been relying a little too much on “free stuff” from Democrats, but we’re here to change that. The level of condescension and negative stereotyping in Bush’s statement is stunning, but not surprising.

After all, Mitt Romney said essentially the same thing – directly to the NAACP, in July of 2012. “Your friends who like Obamacare, you remind them of this: If they want more stuff from government, tell them to go vote for the other guy — more free stuff. But don’t forget nothing is really free.”

http://www.salon.com/2015/09/25/jeb_goes_full_mitt_romney_man_of_inherited_wealth_and_power_says_african_americans_want_free_stuff/

Why Hispanics are thanking Donald Trump – By ELIZA COLLINS 09/19/15, 09:06 AM EDT


Activists say the bombastic billionaire is going to drive huge numbers of angry Hispanic voters to the polls.

20150917_donald_trump_gty_1160.jpg

Hispanic activists have two words for Donald Trump — thank you.

“I think the greatest thing to ever happen to the Hispanic electorate is a gentleman named Donald Trump, he has crystalized the angst and anger of the Hispanic community,” U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Javier Palomarez told POLITICO in an interview. “I think that we can all rest assured that Hispanics can turn out in record numbers.”

Trump has rankled the Hispanic community from Day One of his presidential run when he called many illegal Mexican immigrants “rapists” and drug peddlers during his rambling announcement speech in June. Since then, he’s driven the GOP field further right on immigration issues, in part with his aggressive proposal to have Mexico pay for a wall along the border with the U.S. and to deport 11.3 million undocumented immigrants in short order.

While many activists find his comments downright offensive, they also see an opportunity. Trump has managed to get Latinos engaged with the 2016 race, and activists plan to exploit that to the fullest extent possible.

“He really is just outrageous, he’s built his entire campaign on attacking our community and really playing to the worst element of American society,” said José Calderón, president of the Hispanic Federation, a nonprofit membership organization. “In some ways, he’s helping us out, the base is energized —I think people are really eager to stand up and say this is not who we are and show that through our electoral process.”

Calderón said in nonelection years, the Federation, which represents 100 community-based organizations across the country and is leading voter outreach efforts, can register about 25,000 Hispanics and on election years it’s about 60,000. But with Trump’s comments driving people to the polls, Calderón believes they can register even more.

“It’s become easier, right, to do it now. The community is very mobilized, there is this anger,” Calderón said. “We will respond in kind, through our votes.”

For the 2016 race, the organization has partnered with 20 member organizations across the U.S. in order to increase direct contact with Hispanic communities. Calderón expects to triple previous outreach in this coming cycle, bringing it to 600,000.

Efforts are going to really crank up on Tuesday, when the White House will make Voto Latino’s “Voter Registration Day” official. The nonpartisan organization, along with 2,000 partners across the country, plans to increase outreach through social media, door-to-door canvassing, tabling and online campaigns to encourage everyone — not just Hispanics — to vote.

 

Article continues:

California Is About to Fix Democracy – —By Inae Oh | Mon Sep. 14, 2015 12:59 PM EDT


Andrey Burmakin/Shutterstock

On Thursday, California’s Senate advanced a new reform bill that would automatically register all state residents to vote when they apply or renew their driver licenses.

Residents will also be able to opt out of automatic registration.

The 24-15 vote, which follows the Assembly’s approval in June, now awaits the signature of Gov. Jerry Brown, who is expected to adopt the measure. If signed, California will become the second state in the country to have automatic voter registration, after Oregon.

Supporters of the bill say it would dramatically increase voter turnout in the state. Secretary of State Alex Padilla reminded her fellow lawmakers on Thursday that nearly 6.7 million California residents remain unregistered, despite being eligible to do so.

“We ought to do anything and everything possible to ensure that people participate,” Padilla said ahead of the vote.

In March, Oregon became the first state to pass an automatic registration law. Soon after that, lawmakers in 17 states proposed similar measures. While speaking to an audience in Texas back in June, Hillary Clinton announced her support for universal automatic registration.

California Republicans voted against the bill, citing warnings of potential voter fraud. However, such claims have been overwhelmingly disproved. Restrictive voting laws, as demonstrated in the last midterm elections, have been found to create significant obstacles that prevent minorities and the poor from voting.

http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/09/california-verge-passing-automatic-registration

Rage Against the Machine – By Jamelle Bouie AUG. 2015


Voters are fed up with American politics. But are they willing to do anything about it?

Riding the wave of anger: Donald Trump addresses supporters during a political rally at the Phoenix Convention Center on July 11, 2015, in Phoenix. Photo by Charlie Leight/Getty Images

Riding the wave of anger: Donald Trump addresses supporters during a political rally at the Phoenix Convention Center on July 11, 2015, in Phoenix.
Photo by Charlie Leight/Getty Images

Joe Biden’s closest allies are donating to Hillary Clinton. There’s a very good reason. – Updated by Jonathan Allen and Soo Oh on July 31, 2015, 4:10 p.m. ET


In a capital city defined by its cutthroat politics, no commodity is more precious than loyalty. That’s especially true in Clintonworld, where every favor and every slight is carefully tracked.

And it helps explain why scores of federal workers, including several members of Congress, would make maximum contributions of $2,700 to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The donations won’t buy jobs in the West Wing, but they are a time-honored way for Washington’s most ambitious players to prove their loyalty to the person they think will be the next president of the United States. And the earlier they give, the better.

Take, for example, Tony Blinken and Evan Ryan, who are married to each other. He’s a deputy secretary of state; she’s an assistant secretary of state. They both donated to Clinton in late June, just before the most recent deadline for campaigns to file finance reports with the Federal Election Commission. Given the tradition of giving for political gain, it’s not surprising that one of the rare true power couples would part with a total of $5,400.

It’s really a small investment when you think about it. Blinken could be in line for any number of jobs in a Clinton administration, including the one he has, secretary of state, or national security adviser to the president. Ryan would certainly be under consideration for at least an undersecretary post at State or perhaps a high-ranking White House job.

What’s surprising about their contributions to Clinton is that Blinken and Ryan couldn’t be much closer to Vice President Joe Biden, who hasn’t said yet whether he will seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. Blinken was a top aide to Biden on Capitol Hill and the vice president’s national security adviser. Ryan handled intergovernmental affairs for Biden at the White House. Both of them moved over to State after Clinton left. The facile read — and one we admit was our first thought — is that they just unintentionally signaled that Biden won’t run.

But Blinken and Ryan are too smart for that. After all, he plays the 195-dimensional chess of international politics for a living, and she’s one of the more capable unelected politicians in Washington. Blinken declined to comment for this story, but it doesn’t take much training in game theory to figure out his basic incentive structure and the optimal choice.

Article continues:

http://www.vox.com/2015/7/31/9078755/biden-allies-give-to-clinton

Election Results and Post-Poll Violence: Burundi On The Brink (Dispatch 8) – Vice News Published on Jul 27, 2015


Though the presidential elections in Burundi have concluded, political violence surrounding the controversial vote has not simmered. On the night of July 22, members of the Imbonerakure, the youth wing of the African nation’s ruling party, are alleged to have murdered a member of the FNL opposition party in the capital of Bujumbura.

On July 24, the results of the election were announced and as was widely expected, Pierre Nkurunziza was declared the winner of a third five-year term as president.

Following the announcement, VICE News visited opposition and pro-Nkurunziza neighborhoods in Burundi’s capital, where residents have vastly different opinions about the legitimacy of his third term.

Watch “Violence and Protests on Polling Day (Dispatch 7)” – http://bit.ly/1S7xRVm

There’s a simple way to end gerrymandering. Too bad Congress made it illegal. – Updated by Matthew Yglesias on July 20, 2015, 7:12 p.m. ET


Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at Jul 21, 2015 3.26

Years back, a law professor told me that when she teaches a class on the drawing of legislative districts, she leaves the issue of multi-member districts for last because it solves all the problems too well and makes the rest of the material uninteresting.

I was reminded of that when I read Kim Soffen’s Upshot column about the way geography rather than gerrymandering disadvantages Democrats in Florida when it comes to the US House of Representatives.

Even Democrats can’t draw Congressional districts in Florida that don’t favor the GOP. http://t.co/v1IlLHwoRJpic.twitter.com/aclgyE5bAH

— The Upshot (@UpshotNYT) July 14, 2015

Everything she writes is true. Given the concentration of the state’s Democratic Party voters in high-density, deeply blue areas around Miami, it is extremely “natural” to draw a map that has a heavy GOP tilt.

But even though every state in the union does it this way, it’s not a law of nature that you have to allocate Florida’s 27 House seats by dividing the state into 27 equal population slices. You could easily treat the state as one 27-member district whose members are elected proportionately. That’s how they do it in Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, and many other countries that prefer not to be beset by highly politicized district boundary questions. A really big state like California or Texas you might want to split into two or three multi-member districts. And there are always some thorny issues to work out, like the choice of the D’Hondt Method or Sainte-Laguë method of tallying the votes.

The point, however, is that how to create a fair system, in which the number of seats in a legislature that a party receives is proportional to the number of votes it receives, is a solved problem.

The trouble for the United States is a deeply misguided 1967 law that banned multi-member districts. The government’s concern was that a state like Georgia might say, “We’ll just elect all 14 of our House members at large,” and that way no African Americans would get elected. Of course this concern doesn’t apply to a proportional system, which, if anything, would have the opposite result — you could ensure that black and Latino members would get elected without needing to resort to funny-looking majority-minority district boundaries. So the problem of holding fair elections in Florida isn’t unsolvable, but it will take an act of Congress to fix — which is almost as bad.

Article continues:

http://www.vox.com/2015/7/17/8980137/fix-gerrymandering-multiple-member-districts