Will Bernie Sanders’ Livestream Event be the Future of Grassroots Campaigns?

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Bernie Sanders seems to have a knack for gathering large crowds wherever he visits. When he spoke in Kensett, Iowa, for example, there were more people at his rally than actually lived in the town.

But Wednesday night, his campaign tried something different. Instead of physically rounding up a large crowd to hear him speak, he gathered a nationwide campaign organization meeting, digitally.

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According to the Sanders campaign and the New York Times, over 3,500 events were officially set up and more than 100,000 “would be foot soldiers” tuned in to the digital meeting, nationwide. Sanders said that this was the single most important day of his campaign thus far.

Bernie Amplifies Obama’s Model

The 2016 election cycle is not the first to utilize YouTube to reach mass amounts of voters. Howard Dean’s 2004 campaign utilized the Internet to raise small donor dollars, and then President Obama ushered in a new era of online campaigning in 2008 when he was able to effectively win “the Internet vote” by dominating the online realm.

For the 2016 election, candidates are experimenting with livestream services like Periscope and Meerkat, in addition to YouTube, with the hopes of expanding their audience for any given event.

Turning Passive Voters Into Potential Volunteers

After Sanders finished his usual speech about income inequality, healthcare and the economy, Claire Sandberg, the campaign’s digital organizing director, took control of the livestream and walked potential volunteers through the steps to get involved in the campaign.

The Sanders campaign is using tactics to make signing up to volunteer as simple as possible. By texting “work” to 826-23, a would-be volunteer is sent a link to an online volunteer sign up form.

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Sanders claims to already have over 175,000 volunteers, but can his campaign continue to keep the momentum going?

There’s Still Not Quite a Bernie Breakthrough in the Polls

Despite Sanders’ 15 minutes of headline fame, he still remains the underdog in the Democratic primary. The Vermont Senator currently trails Hillary Clinton by 40 points – though that is the closest he has polled to her so far.

This article originally appeared at I Agree to See.

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Ted Cruz Leads the War on Planned Parenthood

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Planned Parenthood has been the target of scathing headlines after two videos were leaked that suggested doctors from the organization profited from the sale of tissue from aborted fetuses.

While Planned Parenthood forcefully denies the allegations, presidential hopeful and pro-life supporter Ted Cruz was quick to comment on the scandal by releasing an attack ad calling to defund the organization.

Set to ominous music and featuring the harsh red, black and white color scheme typical of attack ads, Cruz’s new spot hardly treads lightly on the issue.

It shows Cruz speaking at the Family Leadership Summit in Iowa, declaring the content in the Center for Medical Progress’ sting videos to be “gruesome and disgusting.” He critiques the abortion doctors for showing “no empathy, no compassion, no emotion” when discussing the matter.

The ad includes the undercover footage where one of the doctors jokes, “I want a Lamborghini,” juxtaposed with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly reporting that Planned Parenthood “took over half a billion dollars in the process.”

The Planned Parenthood Controversy & Response

Individuals from the Center for Medical Progress, a pro-life group, posed as buyers from a fake biotech company and secretly filmed their meeting with Planned Parenthood officials in an effort to catch the doctors breaking federal law.

Planned Parenthood was quick to respond to the allegations. In CEO Cecile Richards’ video response, she asserts, “the allegation that Planned Parenthood profits in any way from tissue donation is not true. Our donation programs, like any other high quality healthcare providers’, follow all laws and ethical guidelines.”

She continues by apologizing for the doctor’s statements and clarifies that women and families make their own decision to donate tissue for medical research to fight diseases like Parkinson and Alzheimer’s.

Planned Parenthood supporters also argue that the viral video is a hoax and that the funds discussed were regarding the cost of transport of the delicate biological tissue, to research centers.

Opponents Call For DOJ to Investigate Planned Parenthood

ted-cruz-defund-planned-parenthood-lamborghiniNevertheless, Cruz and many other opponents are calling for the Department of Justice to spend taxpayer dollars to open an investigation to prosecute Planned Parenthood and “cut off every penny of taxpayer funds” supporting the organization.

Unfortunately for Cruz and the rest of the #DefundPP camp, a recent announcement by the DOJ stated that they will instead be investigating the group that filmed the videos in question, for obtaining the footage illegally.

This article originally appeared at I Agree to See.

An Unofficial PUNdit’s guide to Bernie-isms

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Bernie Sanders has no need for a creative team – his grassroots campaign has been coming up with some hilarious fan-made puns and slogans on their own.

His official slogan, “a political revolution is coming,” is arguably less well known than popular “grassroots” slogans, like “feel the Bern.”

This new political ad, “Signs in Iowa,” rounds up some of the fan favorites in the Hawkeye State.

Homegrown Bernie-Puns in Iowa

We see supporters sharing their own puns and unofficial slogans – among them, “Take the journey with Bernie,” “enter San-man” and “Bern baby, Bern.”

While the camera takes a tour of different homemade signs, we hear a few of Bernie Sanders’ supporters express why they support him.

An Iowa “Bern Stormer” says he appreciates Bernie’s style of “putting people first.” Then a group of college-aged voters expressed their support of Sander’s views on education. One young woman says, “We feel like we really matter with him.”

“I’ve got a quote for you,” we hear as the camera cuts to a woman holding a “Be a Climate Voter” banner. “Bernie is the only candidate who really cares about climate,” she says.

The ad cuts back to the group of college-aged supporters, and another supporter explains that Bernie’s push to get big money out of politics and “overriding Citizens United” is “the most important thing before you can do anything else.”

Finally another supporter explains he and his girlfriend deemed themselves “the Bern Unit” while they got their friends involved in campaigning for Bernie.

A PUNdits guide to Bernie-isms

bernie-sanders-campaign-store-feelthebern-toaster-bernie-isms-bernie-punsThe Internet is a hot-bed for puns, and keeping track of all the Bernie-isms can be pretty hard. So, this ad gave us an idea. Here is an unofficial Bernie Dictionary you can refer to, leading up to the 2016 presidential election.

The Bernie BrigadeUnwavering Bernie Sanders supporters. They generally tend to be white progressive Millennials.

Feel the Bern – When someone who was not already a Sanders supporter converts after feeling connected with Bernie’s message.

Bern Down for What – a play on words on the viral party-jam “Turn Down for What,” which is about large groups of friends going out to party together. This term is used when describing Bernie’s recent large turnouts at his rallies.

The Bern-Unit – Grassroots campaign organizers. Most are volunteers and they do things like host parties, canvass and organize fundraisers.

The Bernie Blackout – A term coined by frustrated Sanders supporters who feel like major news outlets don’t cover Bernie as much as they should.

Bernie Bombers – Sanders supporters who participate in money bombs, coordinated mass donation drives that last for a specific portion of time.

Yearnin’ for a Bernin’ – When Bernie hasn’t visited your area yet, but you really want him to.

This article originally appeared at I Agree to See.

Is This a Political Ad or a Political Sermon?

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Is Mike Huckabee trying to make his way to the White House or revamp his career in the televangelist industry?

In this ad, Mike Huckabee says that the United States “doesn’t have a skin problem, it has a sin problem.”

Who knew that several centuries of unabashed racism was really only a matter of semantics?

Huckabee goes on to quote the Bible, which is hardly a surprise. And while the specific verses he chose sound very nice and friendly, they are actually part of God’s warning to King Solomon. Basically, if Solomon isn’t able to keep his people united under a single religion – God promises to reduce the world to ash. We thought the Republican Primary was starting to seem apocalyptic.

This ad was released just after the rollout of the GOP’s latest ad campaign “#CommittedToCommunity” that specifically seeks to heal racial tensions and bring more minority voters over to the Republican camp.

The GOP seems to know they have a problem connecting to minority communities, but maybe Huckabee didn’t get the memo…

This article originally appeared at I Agree to See.

Jeb Bush’s Havana Affair

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Jeb Bush is ready to get on the first Carnival cruise on the way to Havana.

Just in time for the historic reopening of the American embassy in Cuba, Jeb posted this ad calling for a better “American-led alliance” with our southern neighbor – and word has it, Pitbull is stoked.

Cuban-American relations have improved greatly since the Cold War, and after 54 years, the shuttered doors of the original American embassy in Havana have reopened. Secretary of State John Kerry is set to attend a flag raising ceremony at the embassy in August.

In the ad, amidst a swirl of booing, Jeb says, “90 miles to our south there is talk of a state visit by our outgoing president.”

“But we don’t need a glorified tourist to go to Havana in support of a failed Cuba,” Jeb says to an ecstatic crowd. “We need an American President to go to Havana in solidarity with a free Cuban people and I’m ready to be that president!”

This article originally appeared at I Agree to See.

Experts Say Jeb’s 4 Percent Plan Has a 0 Percent Chance

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Since Jeb Bush’s presidential announcement, he has been promising 4 percent economic growth rate in America if he takes office in 2016. Both liberal and conservative economists are looking past the rhetoric and agree that this plan is highly ambitious and unrealistic.

According to the Bush ad, while people are accepting the “new normal” as 2 percent growth, Jeb adamantly promotes his economic vision of “4 percent growth as far as the eye can see.”

Jeb’s economic plan promises a minimum of 19 million jobs will be created over the span of eight years. To put the numbers into some perspective, over the last 40 years, the American economy has grown at an average of 2.8 percent per year. That’s not bad – but it is much slower than the 3.7 percent growth average in the few decades following WWII – the nation’s most prosperous growth period in its history.

Jeb is Sticking to the Script

But Jeb Bush says he is not going to slow his roll just because “the left, led by Hillary Clinton and some liberal economists said it couldn’t be done.”

Jeb’s biggest defense of his ambitious economic plan is his record. “I know we can fix it,” he often says. “Because I’ve done it.”

While Florida saw economic growth during his time as governor, his recent political ads don’t mention what happened towards the end of his second term.

A significant amount of Florida’s economic and job growth during Jeb Bush’s administration was driven by a massive run-up in housing prices, peaking during Bush’s last year in office and then completely tanking the state’s economy as the housing bubble burst.

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This article originally appeared at I Agree to See.

 

The GOP Is Inviting Everyone to the Party

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In 2013, Republican National Convention Chairman Reince Priebus announced a $10 million plan for increased outreach to African American, Asian and Latino communities and now we’re getting the chance to see how some of that money is being spent.

The RNC recently launched a new initiative called “#CommittedToCommunity: Engage, Empower, Uplift” directed towards the African American community. It’s the first joint venture and voter mobilization campaign between the RNC and Radio One, a black media outlet.

The GOP Wants to be “Everyone’s Party”

The ad, “#CommittedToCommunity,” starts off with Reince Priebus explaining that the party has “dramatically increased their engagement in black communities, black media and among black voters” in the past two years.

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Throughout the ad, we see clips of Priebus from 2013 talking to the African American community in Cleveland. At the end, the ad has a call-to-action for viewers to join the RNC in Ohio.

It goes without saying the Republican Party will have a lot of work to do, since they haven’t won the African American vote since 1928. But Priebus is sticking to his talking points that the GOP has “to be the party to listen to everyone, if [the GOP is] going to be the party to fight for everyone.”

This article originally appeared at I Agree to See.