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September 05, 2008

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Now THAT's provocative....

Hmm: the link I posted to the chart version doesn't work here, but it is accessible from the EOTW post I linked to. I tried redoing the link, but it just doesn't want to work.

Anyways: I should say that I chose which states to show based on swing-ness, not on size of new registration etc. (CA seems to have acquired something like 360,000 new Dems, net, between Jan. and May, but I didn't use that, despite its being so dramatic.)

First link is broken: you have http://edgeofthewest.wordpress.com/2008/09/04/change-in-voter-registration/ , while it should be http://edgeofthewest.wordpress.com/2008/09/05/change-in-voter-registration/ .

On substance: the Obama campaign's emphasis (along with Dean and the DNC) on registration, GOTV, and party infrastructure is incredibly heartening. Even in states where it won't make a difference come November, it will help downticket in building a solid Dmocractic majority and, more importantly, sow the seeds for further gains down the road.

The Obama campaign is doing registration in settings where we (local Dems) have been reluctant to in the past, out of the conviction that we'd be registering two opposition voters for every one of ours.

Contact with the newly registered between now and election day will be the key to interpreting the results, since Virginia registration is nonpartisan (no voter preference recorded, even if you want to).

It's easy to see how this is good news for Obama and down ticket Dems, as well as being good for the future of the Democratic Party. I think that's what hilzoy was pointing out. I, on the other hand, would like to be non-partisan here for a moment (unlike hilzoy, the foaming at the mouth lefty!!!) and say how encouraging this many people registering is good for the country as a whole and the institution of democracy*.

The more voters we have, and the more we work to inform them, the better the quality of our government. More voters means politicians have to work harder to represent people who previously didn't really matter, this leads to better legislation and representation.

This should be encouraging to anyone who's a fan of democracy and good government.

*- I know the US is a democratic republic, but the more active the citizenry the better.

Bah! That's me at 10:16. TypePad has been cutting my name out lately. I chalk it up to a conspiracy.

MeDrew: actually, I'm with you. I'm a total, unreconstructed, little-d democrat.

Scott's numbers show a net plus of 680,000 for the 7 states in the post. It will be interesting to see the numbers for all of the states, especially by November. To quote from Scott's original post in his blog, "...if I were a Republican, I’d be very, very worried."

OT: We made Le Monde!

""Cela m'a révolté : à la fois l'idée d'utiliser le 11-Septembre dans ce contexte et aussi l'idée que ce soit fait par le parti de George Bush", confie "hilzoy" sur Obsidian Wings. Avant de dénoncer le bellicisme montré en 2001 par John McCain, qui déclare aujourd'hui "haïr la guerre"."

Jack: I helped find some of the numbers, and checked around some more -- Ari emailed me this last night, but I got so involved in prowling around the websites to post on it. I might have missed something, but a lot of states just don't break this stuff down by party, at least publicly. So I'm not sure how many more numbers will be forthcoming. -- It is possible to pay for voter files, but I am not prepared to do that...

hilzoy: I wanted to make an enlightening comment on how much better Jacksonian democracy is better than Jeffersonian, but I really don't know enough about the differences to do so without looking dumb. ^.^;

I do remember Jacksonians promoted expanding sufferage without the fear of mob rule the Founding Fathers had, but that's about it.

On a different note, anyone care to analyze what the big number of Independents registering might mean? My guess is that Obama excites people, but they don't want to commit to the Dems, although they're likely to vote that way this time around.

(On previewing, Le Monde? All right! Congrats!)

Google Translate says: "'I was appalled at both the idea of using the 11-September in this context and also the idea that this is done by the party of George Bush' entrusts 'hilzoy' Obsidian Wings. Prior to denounce the war-mongering demonstrated in 2001 by John McCain, who said today 'the hate war'."

Well, I get the gist. Merci.

Google did that translation ?

Whoa.

District of Columbia, Jan-Aug 2008:
+17,915 Democrats (+6.4%)
+1,120 Republicans (+3.9%)
-6 Statehood Greens (-0.1%)
+3,090 no party (+4.9%)
+1 other parties (+0.1%)

So DC has become a little more Democratic. Alert s*perd*stroyer for another canned rant about how the country is becoming a one-party state now that the Republican Party is dead!

But involving more people in the democratic process is a good thing, even if in this case the partisan effect is at best negligible.

1) To some extent, for those lists that include party switching rather than just new registrations, it might be desirable to discount a bit if the state in question required party-affiliated registration to vote in the primaries, especially if the state voted well after Super Tuesday. A lot of folks may have switched to participate in the longest, hardest-fought, and most heavily covered primary race in decades without actually feeling any great affiliation to the party, especially as there was no contest on the R side. Plus there are all those claims about Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos". 2) I read someplace about Google Translator that rather than look at bilingual dictionaries or use preexisting grammar guides, it looks at complete texts and pages for which it has versions in both languages and figures out how to do translations from first principles. Pretty neat, if true.

Call me an optimist, but a million new voters just in that sample of states has got to be a good thing.

Also, what Jack said about what Scott said. Those numbers make the post-convention (post-Palin) bump look positively anorexic.

Warren, the machine translation based on parallel text can produce some weirdnesses when it comes to country names (there are a few earlier Language Log posts linked from that one also).

It's almost as if the Democrats have been working at a local, grass roots level rather than concentrating primarily on the national picture. What was it that you call the people who do that kind of thing? Wasn't it something like "community organizer"?

To point out what should be obvious: Republicans find "community organizing" so hilarious because community organizers organize poor people. Rich people already have political power and influence. But poor people can only get it, and affect politics, by power of numbers and organizing.

So the notion is entirely foreign to Republicans. And stuff that is foreign to our lives, that seems incomprehensible, is hilarious.

At least, it is if we lack empathy and understanding of the lives of people different than us.

So: hahahahaha, community organizing! Whatever will those cute poor people and those Democrats think of next?

Gary: Wow. I think you nailed it. I was a little overwhelmed with rage hearing them mock the community bit and didn't really try to think through why they would say such things.

I think I'd add that they need to mock every positive thing in Obama's past anyways. Making him look like some 'uppity' guy who doesn't deserve to even be considered for, much less elected president is probably their best hope for pulling off a win.

I fear that we're going to here about his 'uppity-ness' a lot more in the next couple of months...

Gary: Wow. I think you nailed it. I was a little overwhelmed with rage hearing them mock the community bit and didn't really try to think through why they would say such things.

Hm right. Who organizes rich people? Peers. Or minions. Not leaders or execs.

To point out what should be obvious: Republicans find "community organizing" so hilarious because community organizers organize poor people.

I think that's true only of part of the Republican party, the part that I think of as "pull up the ladder" conservatives. (They're at the top, so now they want to pull up the ladder so nobody else can get there.) But the super rich are obviously only a small part of the party.

If the crack about community organizers is funny to the Religious Right, it's probably for a very different reason. They'd find it funny because their religious community is such an important part of their identity. The idea of a group of people who are so disconnected that they need a community organizer to get them together must be completely strange and alien to them.

My parents had a copy of Rules For Radicals in 1972, which I read sometime either that year, or the next, when I was 14-15; I suspect not so many Republicans grew up reading about community organizing and Saul Alinsky.

Oh, no, I had "ties" to radicals at that age!

Yeah, not to mention that my mother was a member of the Communist Party in the Thirties, until not long after late 1939. I must throw myself under the bus, because we can't trust leftist radicals!

And John Judis has another long account of Obama's early Chicago days that everyone might want to read. It jibes pretty well with the account in Dreams From My Father.

And, boy, that community organizing stuff is sooooo funny, so mockable!

Okay, it's not: it's moving, and insightful, and a few of the anecdotes Obama tells might even make you identify with poor African-Americans, but it's not all that hilarious.

Is it ominous that the list (at the link) has Ohio as "not released"? I read about intentions of purging up to 600000 from the voter rolls in that state and massive efforts of (illegal!) "caging".
Btw, I also do not like the argument that voter registration efforts should be targeted on "friendly towards your party" voters. I prefer a system of automatic universal (voter) registration for all citizens (of course easier in the "police states" of Old Europe where everyone is registered with the state often before even born).

If I recall correctly a Miami Herald report on the subject, the law against felons voting in Florida was mostly unenforced, particularly in Democratic areas, so formally repealing it would probably have little effect.

Now you just have to get them all to the polls.

One thought – I wonder how many registered because they were interested in the primary race but won’t actually bother to vote in November.

They'd find it funny because their religious community is such an important part of their identity. The idea of a group of people who are so disconnected that they need a community organizer to get them together must be completely strange and alien to them.

I don't think this is right.

The issue with community organizing is not that the folks being organized are disconnected. They quite often are highly connected with each other, just as co-members of a church community are.

The point of organizing is to marshal their collective energy and effort into an effective force.

Conservative religious people, of all communities, should be extremely familiar with this. They've spent the last 35 years, ever since Roe, organizing their community to generate effective political action.

IMO Palin's comments were just pissy, schoolyard trash talking. She may well have the opportunity to eat those words before all is said and done.

And not for nothing, but there is no community in this country whose religious community forms a deeper or more profound part of their shared identity than the American blacks who were the subjects of so much of Obama's organizing efforts.

The American black church (as well as most other church communities) predates fundamentalist evangelicalism by hundreds of years. The evangelicals are, relatively speaking, by far the new kids on the block.

Thanks -

"If I recall correctly a Miami Herald report on the subject, the law against felons voting in Florida was mostly unenforced, particularly in Democratic areas, so formally repealing it would probably have little effect."

I suggest you actually look into it, and come back with a reliable site, if you're going to bother commenting on a topic such as this. Either you're correct, and unconvincing, or you're incorrect. Neither serves much point compared to presenting a convincing cite, and making sure you're saying something that resembles the truth.

To be sure, I heard the above from a friend of my sister's roomate's boyfriend, so I think it's true.

OCSteve: One thought – I wonder how many registered because they were interested in the primary race but won’t actually bother to vote in November.

There is probably polling data from past elections that can tell you that. But my impression is that more people vote in national elections than vote in primaries.

Of course, if that's the new Republican talking point, it may be part of the narrative about making all those Democratic votes disappear in November...

I work with a dedicated Obama supporter who has been registering young people (18-25) here online in Delaware, using Obama's site, which I didn't know you could do and is very easy.

I've been surprised at the turndowns he's had -- young co-workers who just flatly refuse to register and have no intention of voting. Just don't get that.

On the bright side, I think the fact that nearly 40 million watched Obama and Palin at their respective conventions shows a lot of engagement.

In that respect, Palin was a game-changer. She energized -- I don't think you can use "re-energized" -- the Republican base and can draw a huge outdoor crowd (based on what I saw yesterday), something McCain couldn't do on his own. Oddly, her presence also has reintroduced the debate about Obama's experience when hers seems so questionable.

You can't escape Palinmania right now. Got home last night, opened the mailbox and there she was (minus McMain) on the cover of Time.

It will be interesting if she is on the cover again in two or three weeks and whether it's because she is still the Next Big Thing or if it's over some scandal such as Troopergate.

@Hartmut: Ohio election law forbids purging voters from the rolls within 60 (90?) days of the election, so there is no danger that any returned mail from the mail-out of absentee ballots and other election information by the state elections office on Sept. 15 will result in the automatic purging of registrations.

But such returns may subject voters to Republican challenges at the polls.

Also, I believe that a Democrat now holds the position of Secretary of State (who oversees elections) -- one who is not, as was the case in 2004, the statewide chair for one of the presidential campaigns.

I might have been a bit unclear. Caging and purging are "independent" operations (the former for challenges on election day). A huge potential problem is a clause that purged voters need not be notified of the fact.
Before I make misstatements, http://www.alternet.org/story/94977>here is a link on the topic.

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