USA Today on Beto's Use of Facebook; Early Voting Breaking Records; Ft. Worth Star Telegram Endorses Beto!
By Stephen Fox
Beto's Early voter strategy works. In Harris County including Houston, 181916 voters turned out in first 3 days of early voting, compared to 83347 for the same period during 2014 midterms according to Texas Tribune~ Travis County counted 83162 votes first 3 days compared to 27116 votes in same period of 2014- USA Today publishes fierce OpEd declaring that Trump is lying about migrant caravan to intentionally scare voters!
Big wonderful news: For U.S. Senate: Electing Beto O'Rourke is good business
O'Rourke's "new way" campaign against politics-as-usual has drawn attention, and also money. But much of what he says, particularly about immigration and healthcare, sounds like what Texas business conservatives used to say before the emergence of New York Republican Donald Trump.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn says we shouldn't deport Dreamer students over their parents' mistakes. Former Gov. Rick Perry, now energy secretary, has said a border wall "doesn't make sense." President George W. Bush endorsed a path to legal status for those who came illegally but worked peacefully, supported the economy and showed good character. These are the same Texas values that O'Rourke now defends. Cruz was elected with no experience in any council or legislature, and it shows. His intransigence prevents him from currying support or
negotiating deals to help Texas.
This Editorial Board has recommended conservative Republicans such as George W. Bush and Mitt Romney for president, along with U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison. But Cruz does not measure up. This office needs a reset. The Star-Telegram Editorial Board endorses Beto O'Rourke for U.S.
Early voter turnout: O'Rourke's strategy appears to be working. In Harris County, which includes Houston, 181,916 voters turned out in the first three days of early voting, compared to 83,347 for the same period during the 2014 midterm elections, according to the Texas Tribune. Travis County counted 83,162 votes the first three days, compared to 27,116 votes in the same period of 2014.
Introductory note: USA Today, the Megabehemoth of Journalism, with its 4.4 million readers, the largest in America, sometimes foreknown for deep penetrating articles and sometime known for superficial news-lite coverage, has taken note of Beto O'Rourke's extensive use of Facebook and other social media tools. They call him the "Facebook candidate," but I think that is superficial and misses the point of Beto's campaign using every imaginable social media tool to reach voters (except until recently asking his supporters to use letters to the editor to register their support and to also bring about eventual endorsements on the editorial pages of Texas newspapers. He has done very well with that, by the way, with 4 out of 5 of the major Texas papers endorsing him: Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, El Paso, with Austin still not there yet!)
Beto's candidacy is definitely New Age, the beginnings of politics at its best in the New Millennium; he is directed towards young people, and his ideas and approach are brilliant, so, of course, he will use Facebook. Major factors are that Facebook is free until you start advertising, plus the fact that Facebook spreads information at the speed of electronics and NOT at the speed of editors and printing presses, and voluntarily, not depending on what the corporate sponsors want use to read.
Plus, national journalists sometimes seem to have trouble comprehending his own tailor made campaign and the fact that his registration of voters has led directly to more early voters in this midterm than voted in Texas in the last presidential election.
Texas and the Nation are going to be in for a big surprise the day after this election, and that presumes that no cheating will go on, no manipulation of voting machines as so often occurs.
If you doubt that or don't know what I am talking about, watch on YouTube the 80 minute documentary, "Uncounted~the New Math of American Elections."
In USA Today's article by Jessica Guynn, Rick Jervis and Christopher Schnaars October 26: they wrote:
In deep-red Texas, a state that President Trump carried by nine percentage points in 2016 and where a Democrat hasn't won statewide elected office since 1994, Beto O'Rourke needed an edge beyond his polished television spots and enthusiastic crowds. He found one in Facebook.
Thousands tune in as O'Rourke live streams behind the wheel while high-tailing across Texas, air drumming in the drive-through lane to The Who's "Baba O'Riley" and skateboarding in the Whataburger parking lot after the debate with Republican rival Ted Cruz. Comment after comment from Facebook supporters scroll alongside videos even when he's just knocking on doors in between loads of dirty clothes at a laundry mat, speaking fluent Spanish to residents and asking week-old mewing kittens in McAllen, Texas: "Cats, can we count on your vote?"
O'Rourke's not just tapping Facebook to build an email list of millions of supporters, he's also raising money there -- and a lot of it. In the past three months, O'Rourke brought in more than $38 million, the most of any Senate candidate in history. Political strategists say his Facebook pipeline to supporters across the country helped fill O'Rourke's war chest.
He's not the first political candidate to jump on Facebook to mobilize supporters, raise money and get out the vote, but his campaign bet heavily on digital, establishing a direct line of communication with voters and donors in a bid to create the feeling of intimacy candidates usually can only get standing on someone's stoop. That strategy helped elevate the relatively low profile of the 45-year-old El Paso congressman as he takes on Cruz who has national name recognition and fundraising chops.
Making a social connection
O'Rourke's turn in the social media spotlight came in the summer of 2016 when, after Speaker Paul Ryan ordered C-Span cameras turned off during Democrats' 25-hour sit-in to pressure Republicans to hold votes on gun-control measures, he was one of the Democrats to broadcast the sit-in live on Facebook.
Last year, Beto set out on a 1,600-mile, 36-hour road trip alongside Republican U.S. Rep. Will Hurd from San Antonio to Washington after flights were grounded due to snowy weather. Tens of thousands -- including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg -- tuned in as the pair talked health care and border security, took questions and music suggestions and dropped by Graceland via Facebook and Periscope. A video of O'Rourke's response to a question at a town hall gathering in support of NFL players kneeling for the national anthem went viral.
Carrie Collier Brown, 42, an Austin lawyer, said she became aware of O'Rourke by watching one of his Facebook livestreams a few years ago following a school shooting. She tuned in regularly after that. When he announced he was running for U.S. Senate against Cruz, Brown began organizing fundraisers and volunteers for O'Rourke's campaign. Today, she helps run about 60 volunteers -- "a bunch of pissed-off mamas in Southwest Austin" -- on his behalf. Brown said "It's the type of thing Texans respect, that type of honesty and authenticity."
A fundraising tool
More than a third of O'Rourke's ad spending over the past three months has been on television. His first ad, though, was shot on an iPhone and ran only online. O'Rourke has primed his fundraising machine with Facebook ads appealing to individual donors. He has spent more campaign money on Facebook ads than any other candidate in the midterm elections, $5.3 million since May, while his rival spent just over $400,000 in the same period. As Cruz surges in the polls, buoyed by the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and rallies with President Trump and Donald Trump Jr. in Texas, O'Rourke is doubling down.
O'Rourke must motivate voters who stay home during midterms, get Latinos to the polls and have a "historic turnout" of 18- to 29-year-old voters, said Mark Jones, a Rice University political scientist. Texas' older voters reliably vote Republican, he said. Only 13 percent of registered voters age 18-29 voted in Texas during the 2014 midterms, compared to 56 percent for the 65-69 age range, Jones said. O'Rourke is betting on this aggressive social media push to reverse that trend.
The Cruz campaign has run about a dozen ads, most of which invite Facebook users to attend rallies, others that cast O'Rourke as a dangerous liberal and extremist. He's spent less than $200,000 on ads viewed fewer than 4 million times.
In 2016, Bernie Sanders "broke through the noise of presidential politics" with Facebook posts that drew tens of thousands of likes and shares, establishing his image as a straight shooter with younger voters. His campaign raised most of nearly $230 million total online.
Regarding Beto: "It's the Obama playbook, the Sanders playbook and the Trump playbook all rolled into one," Dan Schnur, professor at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School of Communications, said of O'Rourke's campaign. "Over the last decade and a half, there has been a gradual evolution of how candidates use social media to motivate supporters. The thing to remember is that all the online activity in the world doesn't make a difference unless it results in offline activity. All those supporters watching Beto O'Rourke's videos are going to have to hit the streets and turn out friends if he's going to pull off the upset."
Blanketing social media
Other midterm races are tighter, but for Democrats nationally, this is the contest to watch. It doesn't hurt, says Republican strategist Thomas, that O'Rourke's facing off against Cruz, who is the biggest bogeyman next to Trump for Democrats and isn't that popular with many Republicans either.
Robert Stovall, a San Antonio-based Republican activist and former chairman of the Bexar County, Texas, GOP, had heard of O'Rourke's social media blitz. But he got his strongest indication three weeks ago when his 27-year-old son called to alert him that O'Rourke was all over Instagram, Snapchat and pretty much every other social media platform. Stovall predicts Cruz will still win the race but O'Rourke's social media strategy is reminiscent of President Trump's strategy in 2016 and could be the wave of the future.
An excellent PodCast video, with the Founders of Pod Save America, which includes a visit to Beto's Austin HQ and a brief visit with Field Director, Zack Malitz:
How Are Republicans Getting Away w/ Voter Suppression? | Pod Save America | HBO
The bluntest statement from the San Antonio Express News had to do with the issue of O'Rourke's viability. "Cruz," the paper explained, "has gone all out to characterize O'Rourke's views as too extreme for Texas. Untrue."
We'll have to wait for the election results to settle the ultimate question of whether Texas is ready for a new politics. But the fact that newspapers across Texas are endorsing Beto O'Rourke--so enthusiastically, and with such consistency--should settle the debate about whether his challenge to Ted Cruz and the politics of the past is a serious one.
The consensus from Texas is clear: Beto O'Rourke is for real.
In today's extraordinarily candid opinion/editorial in USA Today, one true expert, Bishop Garrison, has pointed out that Trump is trying to manipulate voters just before the midterm elections about the Migrant Caravan, and outright lying:
The migrant caravan is not a threat. This needs to be stated plainly and clearly, because Trump is working to convince Americans of the opposite. Earlier this week, he tweeted that "criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed" into the caravan, implying that those unknowns are terrorists. There is absolutely no evidence to this claim, and contradicted by a senior counter-terrorism official within his own administration.
Like many of the president's falsehoods, the seed of this claim seems to be a Fox News segment. In this case, it was Fox and Friends co-host Pete Hegseth who referred to Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales' claim two weeks ago that his government had arrested and deported close to 100 people "linked to terrorists, with ISIS."
Trump 'solutions' will create chaos
El Salvador has one of the world's highest homicide rates, Honduras is the second poorest country in Central America, and almost half of the children in Guatemala under age 5 are malnourished. Many are running from gang violence which threatens to drawn in and destroy their children.
Parents and children who are running for their lives are not an imminent threat to the United States of America, nor are they an army hell-bent on invasion. The last caravan, which Trump baselessly insisted was a danger to our nation, dissipated to a fifth of its original size by the time it arrived at the border.
Those who do decide to continue the rest of the more than 1,000-mile journey will seek asylum, legal under U.S. law. Our nation's national security professionals will assess their claims, because we have a system in place that allows us to stay safe while welcoming those who want to build a better life.
Still, the president proposes drastic solutions to his imaginary threats. He has floated two chaos-inducing ideas: cutting off all development aid to El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, and deploying the U.S. military to close the border. The first would remove the funding meant to alleviate the economic and security challenges that are causing migrants to flee northward. The second would be stretching our military thin when it should be facing down real challenges around the world.
Trump is lying to frighten voters
We've been living with the national security implications of a president who doesn't tell the truth for some time now. The damage that this president has done to the credibility of his office is approaching incalculable levels. Our public officials must tell the truth. But Trump and his allies are far past the Boy Who Cried Wolf by now.
That's why there is no room for equivocation or debate. The president is lying in order to frighten voters, and that is unacceptable. Our nation must be better than his xenophobic fear-mongering, and it is up to all of us to make it so.
(Bishop Garrison is a U.S. Army veteran, former civil servant in the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security, and the Interim Executive Director of Truman National Security Project)
USA Today published two short letters of my own, one in 2016 and one in 2017; it is a great feeling to have access to 4.4. million readers.
If you want to read my own USA Today letters, here they are:
Otto Warmbier's death cries out for retribution: #tellusatoday
Early in the 2016 Primary campaign, I started a Facebook group: Bernie Sanders: Advice and Strategies to Help Him Win! As the primary season advanced, we shifted the focus to advancing Bernie's legislation in the Senate, particularly the most critical one, to protect Oak Flat, sacred to the San Carlos Apaches, in the Tonto National Forest, from John McCain's efforts to privatize this national forest and turn it over to Rio Tinto Mining, an Australian mining company whose record by comparison makes Monsanto look like altar boys, to be developed as North America's largest copper mine. This is monstrous and despicable, and yet only Bernie's Save Oak Flat Act (S2242) stands in the way of this diabolical plan.
Now, we have added "in 2020!" to the group name, as at this point Bernie Sanders is still the best to succeed Trump.
I am an art gallery owner in Santa Fe since 1980 selling Native American painting and NM landscapes, specializing in modern Native Ledger Art.
I have always been intensely involved in politics, going back to the mid's 1970's, being a volunteer lobbyist in the US Senate for the Secretary General of the United Nations, then a "snowball-in-hell" campaign for US Senate in NM in the late 70's, and for the past 15 years have worked extensively to pressure the FDA to rescind its approval for aspartame, the neurotoxic artificial sweetener metabolized as formaldehyde. This may be becoming a reality to an extent in California, which, under Proposition 65, is considering requiring a mandatory Carcinogen label on all aspartame products
Bills to ban aspartame were in the State Senates of New Mexico and Hawaii, but were shut down by corporate lobbyists (particularly Monsanto lobbyists in Hawaii and Coca Cola lobbyists in New Mexico).
For several years, I was the editor of New Mexico Sun News, and my letters to the editor and op/eds in 2016 have appeared in NM, California, Wisconsin, New York, Maryland, the Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, and many international papers, on the subject of consumer protection. Our best issue was 10 days before Obama won in 2008, when we published a special early edition of the paper declaring that Obama Wins! This was the top story on CNN for many hours, way back then....
My highest accomplishment thus far is a UN Resolution to create a new Undersecretary General for Nutrition and Consumer Protection, strongly supported ten years ago by India and 53 cosponsoring nations, but shut down by the US Mission to the UN in 2008. To read it, google UNITED NATIONS UNDERSECRETARY GENERAL FOR NUTRITION, please. These are not easy battles, any of them, and they require a great deal of political and journalistic focus. OpEdNews is the perfect place for those who have a lot to say, so much that they exceed the limiting capacities of their local and regional newspapers. Trying to go beyond the regional papers seems to require some kind of "inside" credentials, as if you had to be in a club of corporate-accepted writers, and if not, you are "from somewhere else," a sad state of corporate induced xenophobia that should have no place in America in 2017. This should be a goal for every author with something current to say: breaking through yet another glass ceiling, and get your say said in editorial pages all over America. Certainly, this was a tool that was essentially ignored in 2016, and cannot be ignored in the midterm elections in 2018 and in the big elections in 2018 and 2020.
In my capacity as Editor of the Santa Fe Sun News, Fox interviewed Mikhail Gorbachev: http://www.prlog.org/10064349-mikhail-gorbachev