Showing posts with label Socialism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Socialism. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Social Media for the Lindsey Williams/Jeremy Shaffer State Senate Race

On September 29, at the Homecoming parade for Shaler High School I met Lyndsey Williams who is running for the PA State Senate post for district 38.  This is a district once held by Jim Ferlo who was an outspoken advocate for single payer/medicare for all for decades.  In 2014 his district was redrawn to include much of the north hills above Pittsburgh which was traditionally Republican to drive him out of office.  It worked.  He stepped down and was replaced by Republican Randy Vulakovich.

Last may Vulakovich lost the primary for his seat to Jeremy Shaffer by 59-41%.  Shaffer is now facing Democrat Lindsey Williams.  Attention has been paid to this race as Shaffer's campaign has been running ads and distributing fake yard signs to label Williams a socialist in the same vain as Lenin.  She admits to joining the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) but did not receive their endorsement.

I thought I would take a look at what impact this "socialist" attack strategy is having on the race.  As there normally are no public polls for state Senate races I thought I would take a look at the candidates social media followings as a proxy for the strength of their campaigns.  In my last post I recorded the Facebook and Twitter followings for candidates in nine races Cambria County as I did in 2016.  Back then Facebook followings in these predicted the winner in eight of the nine races considered.  As of this writing, Williams has 1,522 followers on her campaign Facebook page and 1,339 on her campaign Twitter page.  Jeremy Shaffer has 2,034 followers on Facebook and 193 on Twitter.  

Usually candidates don't go negative on their opponents unless they see them as a threat.  I don't know what their followings were before this negative campaign began.  These numbers will have to be updated before the election to give a clearer picture of the "socialist" ads impact.  She has told her supporters to leave those yard ads alone so she may not see them as a serious threat.

I do have a new article published on Darply looking at changes in voter registration in Cambria County since the 2014 and 2016 elections.  I encourage you all to check it out.


PA Election 2018: Will Facebook and Twitter Followings Predict Winners?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

My Pre-Debate, Pre Blog Anniversary Post

It was fun comparing my high school graduating class to the class of '16 at Bishop McCort, but now I feel that I need to weigh in the election.  Since the conventions the candidates have been focusing on things like Trump's personality and temperament which I admit are pretty scary but I'm hearing little discussion of issues.  The campaign ad below shows Republicans rightly denouncing Trump.  The ad appears to be trying to get Republicans to vote for her or for the Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.  Sanders did get some concessions from Clinton on the public option and the $15/hour minimum wage in the party platform but I'm hearing little discussion of it from her now.  The closer the race gets the more she needs Sanders supporters.

On a side note Bernie Sanders has sat down for an interview for The Nation magazine on the status of his movement since the conventions. In it he argued that a Trump presidency would be a disaster for the nation and the world.  It's hard to argue against that.

My last comment is in response to a letter to the editor in The Tribune-Democrat titled "Nation Closer to Socialism than Many Believe."  In it Jackie Clark argues that the US is on a slippery slope towards socialism following Central and South American countries such as Venezuela and Brazil.  Clark argues that the socialism is just a precursor to establishing Soviet style communism.  

Clark neglects to mention that most European nations have embraced some form of democratic socialism for the past 70 to 100 years and are showing no signs of sliding into communism.  Indeed the communism that existed behind the iron curtain during the Cold War was imposed on them by the Soviets and fell apart quickly as the USSR did.  If they really intended to become communist they would have done it by now. 

As far as suppressing freedom goes, the Scandinavian countries are in a better position to take personal initiative in creating businesses as they do not need to worry about health care, child care, and education expenses.  The difficulties in Venezuela, Brazil, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and others are more due to the global financial crisis (due to unfettered capitalism), to the decline in global oil prices, and to good old fashioned corruption.

The last three paragraphs will be submitted to the Tribune Democrat in response.  I'll let you know if it is published.  Next up, the 6th anniversary post.

**Related Posts**

What Would a Trump Presidency Look Like?

Clinton 7 Times More Likely to Win in States Where Trump Wins

What Effect Do 3rd Parties Have on Trump and Clinton?

Friday, May 6, 2016

2016 Election: A Rerun of What Year?

I was going to blog about the most recent Census Bureau county and state level estimates for PA but they haven't been released yet for 2014.  I did look at some of my posts from the 2012 election titled 2012: A 1912 Rerun? (Only if you make it)The post included video/audio clips of the three main contenders for the presidency in 1912: Woodrow Wilson, William Howard Taft, and Teddy Roosevelt.  One contender I did not include in that Post was Eugene V. Debs,  He finished fourth in the vote that year with 6% of the vote. He ran for President four other times on the Socialist party platform with 1912 being the high water mark for the number of votes.  The 5th time he ran in 1920 he was imprisoned by the Wilson administration for opposing the US participation in WWI.  He still received 1 million votes that year while in prison (the first year women could vote). 

Bernie Sanders created the above documentary on Debs life with Sanders providing the voice of Debs.  Looking at the current crop of three presidential candidates it's tempting to say that there has never been anything like this year.  Looking back it can be seen that outsider campaigns were the norm rather than the exception.  The current group of candidates was whittled down to three after the Indiana primary.  Indiana just happens to be the home state of Eugene Debs.  He was followed in this tradition by Robert LaFolette, Henry Wallace, Ralph Nader, and many other lesser known candidates in running outside the two party system to promote new progressive ideas that the two major parties were not discussing. 

Anti immigrant/labor candidates like Trump are also not new.  The Know Nothing party of the 1850's is a good example.  They had nominated former President Millard Fillmore as for President in 1856.  I have written about other contemporary politicians like Rick Santorum, Tom Tancredo, and Joe Arpaio.  

Where will the current group of candidates end up?  That is up to all of us or at least the ones who participate.  Many were predicting that Trump and Sanders would both fizzle out in the primaries even as both were .  Neither has so far though the Democrats have been somewhat more adept at denying Sanders the nomination.  

**Related Posts**

2012: A 2004 Election Rerun?

Italian Americans and Today's Immigrants

Immigration: An International Issue

2012: A 1916 Rerun