[SIGCIS-Members] Shiva Ayyadurai - busy in Massachusetts but not in tech

Jonathan Coopersmith j-coopersmith at tamu.edu
Tue Sep 1 14:37:21 PDT 2020

Stay sane, keep washing those hands, and practice social solidarity as well
as physical distancing,


Jonathan Coopersmith
Department of History
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX  77843-4236
979.291.2925 (cell)
979.862.4314 (fax)

*October 5 is the last day to register to vote in
Texas:  http://brazosvotes.org/ <http://brazosvotes.org/>*

Racial disparities in waiting to vote:

To teach or not to teach:

*FAXED.  The Rise and Fall of the Fax Machine* (Johns Hopkins University
Press) is the co-recipient of the 2016 Business History Conference Hagley
Prize for best book in business history.

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: The Washington Post <email at washingtonpost.com>
Date: Tue, Sep 1, 2020 at 4:16 PM
Subject: The Trailer: Markey got the memes. Will he get the win?
To: <j-coopersmith at tamu.edu>

In this edition: The battle for Massachusetts, the downballot races that
could change Congress, and 48 hours of presidential campaigning focus on
social unrest.
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[image: The Washington Post]
[image: The Trailer]
435 districts, 50 states, one campaign newsletter.

[image: David Weigel]
  By David Weigel
<david.weigel at washpost.com?subject=The%20Trailer%20feedback&utm_campaign=wp_the_trailer&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&wpisrc=nl_thetrailer>
<david.weigel at washpost.com?subject=The%20Trailer%20feedback&utm_campaign=wp_the_trailer&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&wpisrc=nl_thetrailer>

*In this edition: The battle for Massachusetts, the downballot races that
could change Congress, and 48 hours of presidential campaigning focus on
social unrest.*

Yes, there's already a joke PAC
for antifa plane warriors, and this is The Trailer.
[image: Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) speaks to the media in Boston on
Tuesday. (Steven Senne/AP)]

Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) speaks to the media in Boston on Tuesday.
(Steven Senne/AP)

MALDEN, Mass. ― It was a ritual for Sen. Edward J. Markey, whenever the
timing worked out. His campaign bus, wrapped with an image of the senator
with Green New Deal activists, stopped at Spadafora Slush Co., where Markey
could buy a lemon ice. He walked the few blocks home, in well-worn Nikes
that have become, to the surprise of almost everybody, Internet famous.

“My interest in high-quality basketball shoes goes way back,” Markey said
on a recent Saturday here, as he turned the corner toward his home. “We
couldn't afford Chucks, which were made by Converse. But they had a second
store, where they'd sell anything that had a slight defect. So we could go
over there when we were 10, with a buck, and go buy a pair.”

Markey, 74, began this Senate primary as a slight underdog, a journeyman
liberal Democrat who never sought the national spotlight. Rep. Joe Kennedy,
39, had been talked up as a future leader for the party for much of his
adult life, and in September 2019, he announced a challenge to Markey by
saying it was “not the time for waiting” or for “playing by rules that
don't work anymore.” Voters had no problem with Markey, according to the
they just didn't think much about him.

In the year since then, Markey's image has been transformed — from the
senator from Massachusetts who isn't Elizabeth Warren into a working-class
pugilist in basketball shoes. He headed into Tuesday's primary as a slight
favorite, boosted by the young voters and college-educated liberals that
the Kennedy family had never struggled to win.

There are Markey clubs at every major college, Markey memes splattered
across social media and phone banks around the country organized by the
Sunrise Movement, the youth climate-change activists who coined the Green
New Deal shortly before Markey endorsed it.

“As soon as we realized there might be a credible threat to Markey’s
reelection we wanted to make sure we were doing everything we could,” said
Evan Weber, the political director of the Sunrise Movement. “We didn’t want
to wake up to a bunch of headlines saying Edward J. Markey lost, and voters
rejected the Green New Deal.”

There's no confusion about which candidate is younger. Kennedy, who won his
House seat at age 31, worked early on to brand Markey as a Washington
insider who was not immediately responsive to his state. That theme had
been devastatingly effective for other challengers this state, and few
candidates pushed it like Kennedy, racing between meetings and campaign
rallies and, initially, locking up key local labor support.

Kennedy and Markey met in seven debates, and in the campaign's final
stretch, Kennedy made a 27-hour nonstop campaign swing — talking to voters
at diners, greeting workers as they finished their shifts, grabbing
bullhorns and jumping on soap boxes. At a stop in Gloucester, he talked to
struggling fishermen as the sun came up, asking what sort of regulatory
reforms they needed to cut costs and boost their industry. The hard-to-miss
message: He was there, and Markey wasn't.

“When they say, Joe, we need you to be our champion, it's heartfelt,” said
state Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante, who had accompanied Kennedy there, as he
paused for a picture with fishermen. “If you're not meeting with these
guys, and you're just saying, oh, I'll get you money, you're missing the
essence of what their issues are.” By design, Kennedy never focused on a
single, defining campaign issue, arguing instead that he'd be a
hyper-responsive and visible senator.

“That’s why I got into this race,” Kennedy said in an interview. “Not for
generational change, per se. Not as a primary from the left, per se. It’s
straight up that you can’t tell me that the planet is on fire, that this is
the most urgent moment of our lifetime, and then not be here in

Kennedy's case against Markey, like the case for his own candidacy, was
also broad. He focused less on a single issue than on the votes he'd never
been challenged on from the left: support for the Iraq War, a vote for the
Patriot Act, and his initial opposition to forced busing as a way of
integrating schools. But any fight about records ended up as a draw, as
Kennedy, too, had moved left since joining Congress, and during that period
he'd never been more liberal than Markey, leading to some awkward debate
when the younger candidate regretted votes he'd taken just a few years ago.

The race did not become a referendum on the Kennedy family. One of Markey's
few arguable blunders came when he seemed to make fun
the Kennedy family's clout and wealth; the congressman pounced
saying he knew that a “legacy is earned.” And there's evidence that the
Kennedy family's powerful appeal to Black voters has helped the challenger,
whose closing ads emphasized civil rights.

But among the white liberals who have swung the polling in this race,
Markey built a lead and never looked back. Endorsing the Green New Deal may
have been crucial. Markey had come within a few of votes of passing
landmark cap-and-trade climate legislation in 2010. It passed in the House,
where he was still serving, but was killed by a Senate Republican

That was exactly the strategy modern environmental activists had ditched,
arguing that an inspiring catchall framework — a Green New Deal to rebuild
the economy and save the climate — could shift the public debate. Markey
reached out to Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez after her 2018 election,
a decision that would eventually reinvent his image. And although Kennedy's
traditional style of grass-roots campaigning was hampered by the pandemic,
Markey's alliance with the new left gave him armies of digital organizers.

“Not one single reporter asked Hillary or Trump a question about the in
climate 2016,” Markey recalled. “My goal was to change that dynamic. And we
see the results in the politics of 2020. And Massachusetts is an epicenter
for science, and of the desire to see something big happen, to deal with
the climate crisis. So, it's injected itself in a very significant way into
this primary. The Green New Deal is on the ballot.”

A victory by either Democrat today won't affect the party's power in the
Senate. The winner of the GOP primary will be either Kevin O'Connor, a
largely unknown attorney running as a bipartisan problem-solver, or Shiva
Ayyadurai, a gadfly scientist who won 4 percent of the vote in 2018 as an
independent Senate candidate. Both Democrats spent more than $10 million on
the race, giving Republicans a little hope for an opening, once they know
the nominee.

“There is no question that when Republicans focus on common sense and
Democrats move too far to the left — and that’s exactly the case this year
— that Republicans can win,” O'Connor told
the Boston Herald last week.

But President Trump's overwhelming unpopularity in Massachusetts has
allowed Democrats to move more confidently to the left, with popular
Republican Gov. Charlie Baker's takes on national politics usually pitting
him against Trump. In interviews last week, voters had little to say about
where they disagreed with Kennedy or Markey. Kennedy's supporters praised
his family, and his constant presence; Markey's supporters said that the
candidates seemed to agree on most issues but that the senator had earned
his job and done nothing to deserve forced retirement.

“I just think it's unnecessary,” said Sean Dacey, a 44-year-old chef whose
restaurant job was eliminated by the pandemic, after seeing Markey speak
about the threats to the U.S. Postal Service at a rally last week. “I think
it might have a bit to do with ambition and looking and seeing an
opportunity than with a chance to distinguish himself on the issues.
They're pretty close on the issues. So, why bother?”

Reading list

*“Powerful House committee chairman faces liberal primary challenger in
race that could reshape Congress,”*
by David Weigel, Erica Werner and Jeff Stein*

The stakes in Massachusetts's 1st District.

*“Trump’s popularity slips in latest Military Times poll — and more troops
say they’ll vote for Biden,”*
by Leo Shane II*

A look at whether members of the military are having second thoughts about
the president.

*“Biden calls Trump ‘a toxic presence’ who is encouraging violence in
by Matt Viser and Ashley Parker*

The meaning of the Democrat's Pittsburgh speech.

*“A GOP election dilemma: Twitter Trump keeps boxing out humanized Trump,”*
by Meridith McGraw*

Can the president stick to the image crafted by the Republic National

*“Citizenship applicants caught in backlog distraught over inability to
vote this year: ‘I feel like my voice is not going to count,’ ” *
Michelle Ye Hee Lee*

Hundreds of thousands of could-be voters are stuck in naturalization limbo.

In the states
[image: Williams College senior Niku Darafshi sanitizes voting booths in
Williamstown, Mass., on Tuesday. (Gillian Jones/Berkshire Eagle/AP)]

Williams College senior Niku Darafshi sanitizes voting booths in
Williamstown, Mass., on Tuesday. (Gillian Jones/Berkshire Eagle/AP)

The Kennedy-Markey primary is the highest-profile race in Massachusetts
today, but it may not be the most important. In the *1st District*, Rep.
Richard E. Neal is trying to fend off Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, and defeat
would create a scramble for the most powerful committee chairmanship in the
House. In the *4th District*, which Kennedy vacated to run for Senate,
seven Democrats are in a tight race where the winner may get less than
one-third of the vote. And in the *8th District*, Rep. Stephen F. Lynch is
facing the latest and best-organized left-wing challenge of his 19-year
career in the House.

The Neal-Morse race was rocked last month by a scandal that fell apart
as members of the state's College Democrats made vague accusations of
misbehavior by Morse that were later retracted. (The 31-year-old mayor has
taught some classes in the district's branch of the state university
system.) Although some of Morse's endorsers initially recoiled at the
accusation, they returned to help him, his fundraising surged and he
brought the campaign's focus back to his original message: Replace a
Washington insider with a liberal mayor who supported Medicare-for-all and
the Green New Deal.

“These last two weeks have been the best two weeks of fundraising in this
entire campaign,” Morse told volunteers in northwestern Massachusetts last
week, during a campaign swing to promote early voting. “I have trusted the
people of this district to come to their own conclusions: That there was no
coincidence that this happened three weeks before the most competitive
primary in Congressman Neal's entire life.”

Neal faced a primary challenge in 2018, too, and won it handily, but those
results offer some insight into how a close race would go. Around 70,000
votes were cast overall, and Neal won by around 29,000. Much of that came
from the district's three biggest towns: Springfield, Pittsfield and
Chicopee, which he won by nearly 13,000 votes. He did worse in the
district's college towns, but he carried many of them, such as Holyoke.

The race for the 4th won't be so simple. Polling has found the highest
support for three very different candidates: Newton City Councilor Jake
Auchincloss, nonprofit organization leader and former gubernatorial aide
Jesse Mermell, and Newton City Councilor Becky Grossman. Auchincloss
quickly established himself as a favorite, emphasizing his service as a
Marine, touting endorsements from the sometimes-ignored coastal part of the
district, and leaning into his work with Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican
who is popular with Democrats.

“People here want somebody who has the ability to build coalitions for the
day after Donald Trump leaves office,” Auchincloss said in an interview
last week. “I’ve led Americans from all walks of life as a Marine officer.
I have built coalitions as a city councilor.”

Auchincloss's opponents were running, to varying degrees, to his left, on
everything from Medicare-for-all (which he doesn't support as is) to the
Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (he is a steadfast supporter of
Israel). The Boston Globe's support for Auchincloss helped him, while
giving opponents openings to attack his record. Mermell, who is backed by
Rep. Ayanna Pressley, won the biggest range of liberal endorsements but did
not clear the field ― though she benefited when an eighth candidate quit
the race last week and endorsed her.

Grossman, who's also a corporate attorney, is the most moderate
non-Auchincloss candidate in the field, emphasizing her support for gun
safety laws over other ideological priorities.  But other Democrats may
split the liberal vote. Former regulator Ihssane Leckey, an immigrant from
Morocco, said in an interview she was inspired to run by Rep. Alexandria
Ocasio-Cortez of New York, and her focus on taking corporate influence out
of politics was unmatched by any other candidates.

“You have so many people talking about these amazing progressive policies
and have absolutely no clue about the corporations that we’re up against,”
she said in an interview. Three other candidates have pitched themselves as
insurgents, too: attorney Ben Sigel, physician Natalia Linos and City Year
founder Alan Khazei, who is making his third run for office.

The commonwealth's Democratic-friendly gerrymander put four big liberal
suburbs of Boston in the district: Newton, Brookline, Needham and
Wellesley. Half the vote may come from there, with the rest coming from
towns no candidate has competed in before this race, such as Attleboro,
Taunton and Fall River.

The race in the 8th more closely resembles the Morse-Neal contest, though
it has attracted a fraction of the spending. It starts in Boston and cuts
through traditionally working-class towns down the highway, such as Quincy.
Lynch faced two challengers in 2018, and they won a third of the Boston
vote, but he dominated elsewhere. Challenger Robbie Goldstein has outspent
Lynch on the air and has bet that informing reliable Democratic voters that
their congressman opposed the Affordable Care Act and the legalization of
marijuana can change the dynamics.

“He doesn't have friends in Washington,” Goldstein said of Lynch. “So
they're not coming in on their horses to save him in the last days of this

None of these races are expected to be competitive in November, and
Republicans are not even contesting the races in the 1st and 8th districts.

Ad watch

*Jake Auchincloss, **“Lead in Crisis.”*
The Democratic congressional candidate's campaign has heavily emphasized
his military service, branding him as the candidate who can work best with
anybody — a strategic choice in a Democratic primary that independents get
to vote in. “The Marines train you to lead in crisis,” he says here. “I'm
running for Congress because we're in a crisis of Donald Trump's making.”

*Justice Democrats, **“Morse.”*
final ad that the left-leaning group may run this year, this casts the
primary between Rep. Richard E. Neal and Alex Morse as a chance to remove
an outsider and make “health care a human right.” The ad's language shows
just how much the left's political tactics have evolved across two years of
primary challenges: always focused on the working class, but with messaging
that translates the rhetoric of street organizing (“a better world is
possible”) without buzzwords.

*Tom Cotton, **“Liberal mob grows more violent.”*
the third time, the senator from Arkansas has used his reelection fund to
buy ads attacking Joe Biden in a swing state, this time in Minnesota and
Wisconsin. (His lone Democratic challenger pulled out of the race because
of a late-breaking scandal, giving Cotton no challenger this year.) This
follows the themes of recent Trump campaign messaging but goes even
further, warning that “the liberal mob” is “coming for your homes” and
insisting that Democrats would unleash violent protesters if the president
isn't reelected.
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Poll watch

It's the question more and more people are asking: Where are the polling
updates in this newsletter? The true and unexciting answer is that no polls
have been released since the Republican National Convention that meet the
standards of The Washington Post. That leaves out some national tracking
polls that get a lot of coverage elsewhere, such as the rolling Morning
Consult poll or the USC Dornsife-Los Angeles Times poll.

When will we know the effects of the conventions, and the rest of this
unsettling news cycle? Sometime this week. Averages of national polls found
the president trailing Joe Biden by seven to nine points ahead of the
conventions, and no president has been reelected who did not lead in the
polls in the week after his acceptance speech. Past isn't prologue, and
Democrats will freely, nervously admit that the president could win 270
electoral votes again even if he loses the popular vote decisively. Any
lead for Trump would be the first since Biden became the nominee.

So we'll soon be looking closer at movement in state polls. The first
reactions to the unrest in Kenosha were colored not by any new data, but by
an Aug. 11 poll
Marquette Law School that showed public support for the Black Lives Matter
movement falling from a clear majority to 50-50, as Republicans soured
again on BLM activism. Private data has found Republicans generally doing
better at the end of August than they did one month earlier. But it's not
clear yet what happened because of the usual convention bounce, and what
trends from earlier in the year may be reversed.

Candidate tracker

The first half of this week was dominated by the events in Kenosha, Wis.,
with *President Trump* visiting the city to survey damage and talk to law
enforcement and *Joe Biden *delivering a speech in Pittsburgh to link the
president to rising crime and unrest.

“I want to be clear about this: Rioting is not protesting,” Biden said.
“Looting is not protesting. Setting fires is not protesting. None of this
is protesting. It’s lawlessness, plain and simple. And those who do it
should be prosecuted. Violence will not bring change, only destruction.
It's wrong in every way.”

It was the second set of public remarks Biden had made that condemned
violence while defending the right to protest, and it ended a somewhat
surreal news cycle for the campaign, where Biden's decision not to mention
violence at the Democratic convention was touted, by Republicans, as
evidence that was not condemning radicals on the left. Biden is approaching
the issue differently from how he did in the 1990s but similarly to how he
did in the Obama administration: arguing that racial reconciliation and
criminal justice restructuring would lead to healing.

Trump derided the speech and went to Kenosha on Tuesday, briefly surveying
damage from the looting and getting a report on the safety situation.
(Protests in the city since Wednesday have been peaceful.) Before that, he
gave an interview to Fox News host Laura Ingraham where his law-and-order
focus sometimes careened into conspiracy theory, as when he suggested that
antifa rioters had been seen arriving in airports.

“We had somebody get on a plane from a certain city this weekend, and in
the plane it was almost completely loaded with thugs, wearing these dark
uniforms,” Trump said.

Biden's Pittsburgh trip, which included a stop to deliver pizzas to
firefighters and a local news interview, was planned in a hurry ahead of a
more intentional campaign strategy: to get him out into swing states next
week. Trump would return to Pennsylvania on Thursday, with a stop in
Latrobe, while *Vice President Pence* is in the Scranton area today. *Kamala
D. Harris *called
into an online voting telethon on Monday and is also expected to head back
onto the trail.


… three days until North Carolina begins sending out absentee ballots
… seven days until primaries in New Hampshire and Rhode Island
… 14 days until the Delaware primary
… 19 days until early voting begins (in Minnesota)
… 28 days until the first presidential debate
… 63 days until the general election

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