Week 14: So, what the giant F*** just happened?

So, what the giant F*** just happened? That is basically what everyone in the media and Hillary supporters are asking. Every statistic, every poll, everything pointed to Hillary Clinton becoming President and yet we have a racist, sexist, xenophobic orange sitting in the white house meeting Obama right now. So, how did this happen? According to The New York Times article, How Did The Media-How Did We-Get This Wrong?, “What we now know is that a huge part of the country is far more upset about the ills that he was pointing to and promising to fix than any of the flaws that we were pointing out about him as a candidate.” There is a great divide in this country not just between Democrats and Republicans but between generations who absolutely hate Hillary for her past actions and those who are still so upset over things like the Vietnam War and lasting consequences from that as opposed to the people today who thought we were living in a much newer America, one that has moved on from those past atrocities and is looking to a better future. There is also mention in this article that if the Democratic party had run with any other campaign than Hillary Clinton, they would have won. I agree with this because the people who lived through some of her past mistakes and don’t agree with her choices in office, have a deep seeded hate for her that they just will never let go of. Politico’s article, How did everyone get it so wrong?, suggests hidden voters who supported Trump and were even anonymously too embarrassed to say so were part of why he won, others believed the resurgence of the Clinton email investigation by the FBI happened at just the right time even if she was cleared and no further charges were pressed, and lastly some people just believed the media were living in a bubble ignoring all the statistics that showed Trump actually had a real chance in beating Hillary and projected that message of denial to the public, and now “that bubble’s been burst” (Vogel, Isenstadt). CNN’s article, How politicians, pollsters and media missed Trump’s groundswell, says again that they underestimated their own country’s depth of anger. It also blames media being so far removed from the public because most of them are in New York or D.C. and those places are starkly different compared to the rest of the country. The Electoral College is also something to consider. Hillary won the popular vote, but Trump won the projected electoral vote. The Electoral College doesn’t actually vote until December 19th and they still could vote Hillary Clinton to be the President if they so wish, even if their votes are against they states they represent. They merely have to pay a fine. So, we shall see. Either way, if Trump is President or Hillary, we shall see how the future of this country unfolds. Right now with all the protests, stories of harassment and hate speech directed toward members of minorities, riots, assaults I am deeply concerned for myself as a woman and also for my friends who are Latino, Black, Asian, Islamic and so on. I am fearful of this America that has shown itself just three days after Trump has been in office.

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Week 13 News Post: Everybody Stay Calm. It’s Happening!

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Ok, everyone. It’s time to sit back, eat pizza and watch the world burn together. It’s happening. It is the last Saturday before the election, and Trump and Hillary are making a mad dash for those last few states. Clinton went to South Florida and Philadelphia while Trump went to Florida, Reno, Denver, and North Carolina. Incredibly though, it seems like the race is already over judging by the 33 million voters who turned out Friday for early voting. According to The New York Times article, Presidential Election: High Early
Turnout Among Latino Voters Could
Mean Trouble for Donald Trump, “Analyses of the early vote suggest a highly competitive finish — fitting for the state [Florida] that brought us the 2000 recount — but with Hispanics voting in far greater numbers than they did four years ago. If those voters break to Mrs. Clinton, it could be difficult for Mr. Trump to win Florida.” Also to Trump’s disadvantage, he pushed for Western votes in Nevada even though the voting period ended on Friday and he’s still singing his tired tune of building a wall despite what anyone says. Meanwhile Clinton is turning concerts into votes with her James Taylor concert in Manchester. Regardless, it has been and will continue to be a circus show Tuesday night.

Week 12 News Post: Facts Don’t Lie

In the LA Times article, “The good, the bad and the ugly campaign ads of 2016” there were many similarities between the date in our readings and the ones they found. A few amazing facts they discovered were that, “[s]ince Jan. 1, candidates for president and their supporters have aired more than 210,000 television commercials, almost all in those four early-voting states. The Wesleyan Media Project, a research group at Wesleyan University, has calculated that spending on ads has already reached $156 million, almost triple what was spent by this point in the 2012 campaign.” The staggering number of ads and the amount spent on them all to discredit the opposing candidate is astounding. It works though. Negative ads do have more of an effect at public recall than positive ads do, and they definitely can sway a crowd one way or the other in regards to a candidate. One of the ads mentioned is “Clear Difference” from Donald Trump’s team. In this ad he repeats his ignorant claim of how immigrants are flooding America and how we only need look at the rise in crime to see how this is a major problem when statistics show net migration has declined and U.S. citizens tend to commit crimes more often than immigrants. The facts do not lie.

Week 12 Reading Post: Negative Nancies

This whole election has been one huge Negative Nancy. There have been so many negative ads about Clinton and Trump that I cannot even begin to recall all of them. Trump pointing his finger at Clinton listing all of her faults, Clinton doing the same towards him, these ads are everywhere on every media platform. They are also so repetitive that each time I see one pop up before my YouTube videos, I hit that “Skip Ad” button as soon as possible. In our readings, my reaction is actually quite a common response after negative ads have been broadcasted too much. Negative ads are effective to a degree in their aim to sway public opinion against or towards a certain candidate, but after awhile the ads tend to get old. Too much negativity breeds negativity, and candidates do not want that. Especially with undecided voters, you do not want to annoy them to the point of disliking both candidates and running them off to where they just do not vote at all, but that is what is happening. Many people are so turned off by all the negative ads and everything else negative that has come out in the news about each candidate. Our reading said the campaigning of 2010 was the most negative up until that point. I think we have them beat with this election. On a positive note, negative ads do show to have better public recall and are more issue based than image, so people tend to be more informed about the issues being covered. Another disadvantage of negative ads are how they can create a negative feeling in voters towards the sponsors of the ads. The main issue is voters may find the negative ad, unethical or untrustworthy and those feelings could filter over to the sponsor as well. Overall, negative ads are affective but damn, are they annoying.

Week 11 News Post: Money Follows Power

What we learned from our readings is that when people run for office, many more people love to jump on that bandwagon and donate! Most of them donate large amounts to get recognition and benefits that may come in the form of gaining influential power or at least connections to those who either already have it or soon will. Their donations allow candidates to be well known among the public, share their advertisements with greater reach and effectively get the candidates’ messages and policies across to the people. Candidates who do not have great funding to back them struggle to even have their names recognized by voters. According to OpenSecrets.org’s article Top 10 Things Every Voter Should Know About Money-In Politics, “These supporters give money to politicians every election cycle. A politician who’s received contribution after contribution from a political patron is much more likely to entertain his or her concerns during a time of political — even personal — need. Money often equals access, and access equals action. Indeed, the love that comes with campaign contributions is a two-way street.” So like our readings taught, there is much to be gained when donating to candidates, especially if they win. Money follows power and power means benefits and connections. Donors recognize that and often become financially and socially invested in elections. It is oftentimes questionable what people will do to gain power in politics but that is how the game works.

Week 11 Reading Post: Nothing Is Free

It all boils down to money. Our readings discussed campaign fundraising and how donors and politicians go about raising funds. Every candidate who wishes to have a fighting chance in whatever election they are running in needs to raise funds. These donations help pay for advertisements and whatever else the candidate may need to get their message across to the public and many times to discredit their opponent as well.

Nothing is free is also a common thing when fundraising, especially when it comes to politicians. People do not just give their money over freely because they like a particular candidate and what they stand for. No, most of the time it also has to do with what the donors can gain from the politician either immediately or later on when they are in the desired position of power. Ideological donors donate because of a certain cause or value they see promoted through the candidate but more often than not, donors give based on material and solidary benefits they will receive. These benefits could include anything from having a close business relationship and therefore advantage through the candidate to receiving actual material recompense for their generous donations. Either way, millions of dollars do not just appear because of someone’s generous heart.

Donating early in the election cycle will also be beneficial for donors. The earlier and the more money donated gets you noticed and most likely grants the donor access to whatever they may be seeking such as access to the upper-class society, the actual candidate or even being able to influence policy themselves. The readings’ study shows people who give during the primary election period are more driven by these material or solidary benefits. This of course suggests more people donate during the general election for ideological purposes. Overall it is pretty interesting to study why people give to certain candidates and what all they could receive in return for doing so.

Week 10 News Post: Why Direct Mailing Still Works

In our readings we learned about the effectiveness of direct mailing voters. It allows for more information, less attacks and adds a personal quality to campaigning. Campaigns and Elections’ article “Direct Mailing is Still Here and It’s Actually Better Than Ever” explains why direct mailing is stronger than ever regardless of how we would think the digital world is the way to go. According to the article, “[c]ontrary to what some may think, the numbers show that direct mail is scanned or read more now than ever before. In a world with so much other distraction, direct mail is becoming more effective not less” (Yates, Andy. Direct Mailing). Like in our readings, statistics show that people on average like receiving direct mail and find it more reliable and more informative. According to the article, 79% of all households at least scan their direct mail and 55% claim to read all of their mail. That is a lot of reach for a seemingly dead medium. Even Millennials, the digital age group, like direct mail more than digital in regards to campaigns. It just shows direct mailing is a great way to reach voters and get candidates’ messages about their policies and views across.