Messaging Economics: How to Win, How to Lose

Economy

Felicia Wong, Joseph Stiglitz, Rana Foroohar and Stan Greenberg

While at the Democratic National Convention (DNC), I attended an event hosted by the Roosevelt Institute. The institute explains its mission on its website:

Inspired by the legacy of Franklin and Eleanor, the Roosevelt Institute reimagines America as it should be: a place where hard work is rewarded, everyone participates, and everyone enjoys a fair share of our collective prosperity. We believe that when the rules work against this vision, it’s our responsibility to recreate them.

The event hosted by the Roosevelt Institute at the DNC was a panel discussion between Joseph Stigliz and Stan Greenberg, moderated by Rana Foroohar. The primary part of the discussion centered on looking at two economic messages put forth by Hillary Clinton and how these ideas polled relative to election outcomes. The two messages were not all that different; they just took two different approaches. Interestingly, one will win the election, and the other will lose. And, if one is implemented, it could potentially change the course of American economics. [Read more…]

Meet the Delegates: Joe Smallhoover – Democrats Abroad

Joe SmallhooverJoe Smallhoover is the Chair of Democrats Abroad France. We tried unsuccessfully to find some time together during the convention, but finally a mutually workable time a few days afterwards.

While he lives in Paris now, Joe was born in Pittsburgh and raised in Upper St. Clair, PA. He attended Washington and Jefferson College and Duke University. He holds an MA in Germanic languages from the University of Virginia and did advanced studies in Europe on a Fullbright, as an exchange teacher before returning to the US to obtain a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh. He has lived in Paris since 1985, and has practiced law in France, Belgium and Germany.

DocJess: Where did you get your interest in politics?

Joe Smallhoover: I have been involved since I was in diapers. My grandfather was the Chair of the Allegheny County Commissioners from 1934 until the late 1950’s and active in the Democratic Party all his life. I grew up in that household and was treated to seeing state and local dignitaries on a regular basis and learned the ins and outs of politics.

DJ: Democrats Abroad is a group of ex-pats…

JS: Let me stop you. Often people say “ex-patriots” instead of “expatriates” as if we are not patriotic Americans. We certainly are patriotic, and one of the ways we show that is by voting. We just happen to be living outside the country and prefer to be called Overseas Americans or Americans Abroad.

DJ: Sorry, I meant no disrespect.

JS: I know. It’s a common theme we deal with.

DJ: So. If I lived outside the country, how would I join Democrats Abroad? What exactly do you do?

JS: Democrats Abroad (DA) is recognized as a state party by the Democratic National Committee and we even have our own primary. The French and English groups are the oldest within the umbrella of DA, both chapters having been formed in 1964. We have committees in 41 countries, active but less organized committees in another 20 countries, and members from 160 countries.

If you are an American abroad, you can vote in the state primary of the state you lived in just prior to moving overseas, or you can participate in the Democratic primary as a part of DA.  Democrats Abroad, by the way, also participates directly in the DNC, with seats on various committees.

DJ: Is that true for the general election?

JS: Overall yes, in most cases. Federal law says that Americans living abroad can participate in Federal elections. There is a Federal ballot that can be used, or in some states, Americans abroad can file an absentee ballot for that state which would include all the offices on all the other ballots for that state.

However, some states will make you pay state income taxes if you vote on the state ballot because it establishes part of a residency requirement. Some states won’t charge taxes. It’s a fluid situation as states do change their rules over time. I lived in California just before I moved to France, and it used to be that you had to pay state taxes to vote absentee in state and local elections, but that was changed a few years ago.

Many states have an overseas ballot that is a Federal ballot. These ballots are both for civilians overseas as well as uniformed (military) voters. The rule is you can file one ballot or the other, not both.

DJ: What do you do to encourage voting?

JS: In France, we have an event every week across the land. We have multiple talks on issues that affect people. We also have caucuses, such as the Minority, Women, LGBT, and Youth. We have programs to discuss topics like the environment, economy, etc. We hold dinner debates, as well as social events. We are active and embedded in the American community overseas.

I started an internet site close to 30 years ago, before it was popular, after someone complained he couldn’t find Democrats Abroad. It was a nascent, flat site, but it was a start and I saw the benefit of early adoption. Now, we’re active on our websites, and we leverage social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to do as much outreach as possible so people can find us easily.

DJ: Do the Republicans have something similar?

JS: They tried, but they were more about fundraising. They’ve dissipated. They’re smaller than DA by at least a factor of 10, and they are not active in as many places. We have precincts and wards and a “county/state” structure while the Republicans have some elections but they’re relatively small, and most of their folks are involved by appointment and not election.

DJ: Was this your first convention?

1928-democratic-national-convention-ticket-valueJS: No. A member of my family has been present at every convention since 1928. I have attended all the conventions since 1996.

DJ: What did you think of Philadelphia?

JS: Each convention is a little different because of the dynamics of delegates, candidates and the city itself. Philadelphia was very welcoming. It was a wonderful feeling, being a native Pennsylvanian. The convention was smoothly organized. There were very few glitches that make being and attending difficult. Except meals were difficult. The lines were long and once you were in the arena there weren’t any other nearby options. But that’s to be expected and taken in stride.

The convention itself was absolutely spectacular. The speakers were tremendous and there were a number of surprises like Khizr Khan. When he held up a copy of the Constitution, it was one of the most powerful things I’d ever seen at a convention.

I also appreciated Gabby Giffords. I’d met her in Paris before she’d regained the power of speech, and to see her take the podium, and speak, well, all I could think was if she could do this with her limitations, imagine how much brilliance must be locked inside of her.

DJ: And Larry Sanders?

JS: We had all seen him tear up in private, and were overwhelmed by the pride he had for his brother. It was very powerful, and then, we got to see his brother react. It was a moment that won’t soon be repeated.

DJ: One last thing. Some of my readers either live overseas or have kids who live overseas. How do they connect with you?

JS: Our site is www.democratsabroad.org and if they need to register, they can go directly to www.votefromabroad.org/vote. As long as someone makes the deadline, which differs in the various states, a ballot should be automatically sent, although one can download a Federal write-in absentee ballot as a substitute. All the instructions are available on the website.

See our full series of delegate interviews.

Angry Words From the Father of a Muslim-American Patriot

Mr. Khan with Pocket sized Constitution. Photo: Freeze Frame from DNC Video Feed.

Mr. Khan with Pocket sized Constitution. Photo: Freeze Frame from DNC Video Feed.

Editor’s note: Attacks and counter attacks are raging over this speech. Updates have been added at the end of this article.

One of the most emotional moments during the last night of the Democratic National Convention centered around the story of fallen Army Captain Humayun Khan and the convention address by his bereaved father. Captain Khan, a University of Virginia graduate, was killed in action in Iraq in 2004. He was one of 14 American Muslims to give his life serving the United States during the decade following 9/11.

In a video released at the convention, Hillary Clinton is shown paying tribute to Captain Khan during a speech on national security that she delivered shortly after Donald Trump called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States.

The video was followed by a stirring speech by Khizr Khan, the fallen captain’s father. Khan slammed Donald Trump for his divisive and discriminatory policies. Holding a copy of the Constitution, he asked whether the Republican nominee had ever read it and also whether he had ever been to Arlington Cemetery. “Go look at the graves of the brave patriots,” he said, “who died defending America — you will see all faiths, genders, and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing and no one.”

Donald Trump should fear the wrath of Khan for scapegoating a religion and giving ISIS exactly what it wants.

Editor’s Note:

Since Mr. Khizr Khan’s respectful and dignified speech explaining why he disagreed with Donald Trump’s plan to ban Muslims from entering the United States, Trump has hit back describing himself as having been “viciously attacked.”

Senator John McCain and veteran’s groups have strongly criticized Trump for disparaging the family of a brave fallen soldier.

Expressing Your Politics with Swag

In addition to the eloquent speeches by high-profile members of the party, Democrats of all stripes have been touting their political messages around town with great creativity. People are exuberantly exercising their First Amendment right of self-expression through slogans on t-shirts, caps, socks and the ubiquitous political buttons. From Trump toilet paper to “Chillary” iced coffee to the sold-out “Presidential Election 2016 — Moving to Canada” t-shirt, politically themed merchandise can be found all over the city. [Read more…]

Wednesday Night: The Speeches

It was surprising how hard last night’s speakers went after Donald Trump. I had thought they would all stay positive, in diametric opposition to the RNC’s no-ideas-only-hatefest last week. But the main speeches were intertwined with condemnation of Trump, and positiveness of we Americans, democracy, the Democratic Party, and Hillary Clinton. It’s hard to pick a favorite between Mike Bloomberg and Joe Biden. It really is. For different reasons, both were masterful. Mike, for being a billionaire and an Independent talking honestly about what a con artist Trump is, and for showing all of us how the rich really act. Uncle Joe, for reminding us what it means to be proud, patriotic Americans with liberal values. [Read more…]

At Democratic National Convention the Sky is the Limit

People have come to Philadelphia from all over the country to attend the Democratic National Convention (DNC). In addition, the international press has followed our election, and the delegates from Democrats Abroad represent American expats who voted in over 140 countries.

_87569069_c0097730-international_space_station,_2009-splWhile interest in the convention spans the globe, the DNC may be having an additional observer pass overhead. The International Space Station (ISS) will be flying 249 miles over Philadelphia at 9:20 pm, from West-Southwest to Northeast, rising to 19° from the zenith, probably around the time that Chelsea will be getting ready to introduce her mother, Hillary Rodham Clinton, as the first woman to be nominated for president of the United States by a major political party.
[Read more…]

Meet the Most Senior PA Delegate: Benjamin Franklin

Ralph Archbold as Benjamin Franklin at the National Museum of American Jewish History

Ralph Archbold as Benjamin Franklin at the National Museum of American Jewish History

The Philadelphia Jewish Voice bumped into Pennsylvania’s most senior delegate at the National Museum of American Jewish History, before the Bend the Arc reception during the Democratic National Convention. To our delight, Benjamin Franklin took the opportunity to chat with us about the convention and his relationship with the Jewish community. [Read more…]

#DNC Wednesday Night Schedule

 

Official DNC Agenda for Wednesday Night 7/27

President Obama hugs Hillary Clinton.

President Obama hugs Hillary Clinton.

President Obama is the Keynote Speaker.

On Wednesday night, speakers will discuss how Hillary Clinton has the experience and steadiness to bring Americans together to get real results for our families. Her strong leadership will deliver economic results for all Americans and keep us safe. While Donald Trump is in over his head and reckless, Hillary can provide the leadership we need for the country we want to be. [Read more…]

Climate Change Video: “Not Reality TV”

dnc2016Tonight, the Democratic National Convention Committee will release a new video on climate change, called “Not Reality TV.” The video was produced by James Cameron and Maria Wilhelm and is narrated by Sigourney Weaver. It features former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jack Black, Don Cheadle and America Ferrara from “Years of Living Dangerously,” the Emmy Award-winning series on climate change. [Read more…]