Ahead of national elections, India's authoritarian ruling party loses a key regional battle

India's national elections are only a year away, and things aren't looking good for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the ruling party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an authoritarian war criminal who has a mutual love affair with US President Donald Trump. Read the rest

Bumblefuck Watch: Rob Ford's brother hired his own "reporter" to ask him scripted softball questions for literal fake news spots

Doug Ford -- alleged hashish kingpin and brother to the dead, racist, violent, sexist, rapey crackhead ex-Toronto-Mayor Rob Ford -- stole the nomination to lead the Ontario Conservatives in an upcoming provincial race. Read the rest

Revenge of the Laughable Bumblefucks: Rob Ford's brother admits that actors were hired to pretend to be his supporters at rally

Doug Ford is the leader of the Ontario Provincial Party, a job he got through outright fraud; and it's only getting better: on Monday night, Ford -- brother of the dead, disgraced, crack-addicted, racist, sexist, rapey, violent, lying former mayor of Toronto Rob Ford -- showed up for a leadership debate in Toronto, cheered on by throngs of supporters, who turn out to have been paid actors pretending to be Conservatives. Read the rest

UK local elections: Conservative party forgets to alter placeholder text before distributing campaign literature

Prospective voters in Redford, part of the East London district of Ilford, found a flyer from the local Conservative Party in their mailboxes, in which the boilerplate text, which opens with "what we're doing/have done for ward/area name" had not been replaced with local talking points. Read the rest

Koch is abundant and low value: how the super-rich are buying American politics

In Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century, he advances a theory that as the rich acquire a critical mass of the national wealth, they are able to influence policy in ways that diverts even more of the national wealth to their benefit, getting even richer, and giving them more opportunities to buy policies that increase inequality. Read the rest

Cambridge Analytica data-raid: the number is "much greater than 87 million"

Brittany Kaiser is an ex-Cambridge Analytica employee who gave written testimony and answered questions at the UK Parliament this week in which she revealed that the Facebook apps that Cambridge Analytica used to covertly gain access to millions of users' data went far beyond the ones disclosed to date, and that the number of total users implicated is "much greater than 87 million." Read the rest

Trump will never, ever be impeached and removed from office

For Trump to be impeached and removed from office, 67 Senators would have to vote in favor of impeachment; assuming no Democrats voted against impeachment, the only way Trump could be impeached is if every single 2018 Senate election was won by a Democrat, and nine Republican Senators voted in favor of impeachment. Read the rest

Analysis of all the elections since Trump produces no clear answers on the class and suburban/urban correlates of flippability

Fivethirtyeight studied every election since Trump -- 99 special elections plus regular state elections in NJ and Virginia -- and checked whether there were any strong predictors of whether Trump voters would support a Democratic candidate. Read the rest

On the junk science and excellent PR of Cambridge Analytica

Cambridge Analytica claimed that it could sway elections thanks to the devastating power of psychometric profiling, and they may have even believed it, but those claims should be read with a critical eye, because they're marketing hype aimed at people whom Cambridge Analytica was pitching as client; and because Cambridge Analytica is not a scientific enterprise, but a secretive corporation whose researchers never had to subject their experiments and results to critical, peer-reviewed scrutiny, opening up endless possibilities for self-deception and truth-shading. Read the rest

Referendums and low-engagement voters produce catastrophic outcomes (but what about corruption?)

The idea of representative democracy is that we pay lawmakers to give serious attention to the nuances of policy questions and cast votes on our behalf in accord with their understanding of our preferences, applied to those nuanced understandings. Read the rest

The Rich and the Normal

A few weeks ago, the Italian people finally broke the political framework that dates to the end of World War II. The M5S Five Stars Movement, a party without a heritage, won the most popular votes. The M5S has been on a wave of growth since winning mayoral control of some Italian cities.

Swing district poll suggests that progressive policies could deliver a 2018 "blue tsunami"

Democratic pollster Celinda Lake surveyed 600 likely voters in 30 "swing" districts (districts that are considered too close to call in the 2018 midterms), along with 300 "surge" voters (who are less likely to turn out for the 2018 midterms), and found that a platform that advances policies like "Medicare for all," cheaper prescription drugs, and cracking down on Wall Street would deliver these swing districts for the Democrats. Read the rest

In Chicago primaries, a string of defeats for the Democratic establishment at the hands of progressive Democrats

Four Democratic challengers backed by United Working Families (linked with the progressive Working Families Party) have successfully challenged establishment Dems backed by Chicago's legendarily unassailable "Democratic machine," effectively winning their offices at the same time, because the Democrat candidate always gets elected to those offices, thanks to Republicans not bothering to field candidates (leaving a vacuum that is sometimes filled by Holocaust-denying Illinois Nazis). Read the rest

White House Chief of Staff in a rage after leak reveals that Trump congratulated Putin against Cabinet advice

After Vladimir Putin stole another Russian election, Trump placed an official call to the Kremlin; his national security advisors' briefing notes for the call included the all-caps instruction "DO NOT CONGRATULATE" -- naturally, Trump congratulated Putin. Read the rest

Just because Cambridge Analytica tells its customers it can sway elections, it doesn't follow that they're any good at it

Unilever founder John Wanamaker famously said, "I know that half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. My only problem is that I don’t know which half." It's an odd testament to the power of advertising, an industry whose executives are incredibly effective at selling their services to other executives, even if they can't prove they're any good at selling their customers' products to the public. Read the rest

Facebook once boasted of its ability to sway elections, now it has buried those pages

Facebook maintains a repository of success stories trumpeting the advertisers who have attained greatness by buying Facebook ads; most of these are businesses, but until recently, Facebook also trumpeted Florida Governor Rick Scott's use of Facebook ads to "boost Hispanic voter turnout in their candidate’s successful bid for a second term, resulting in a 22% increase in Hispanic support and the majority of the Cuban vote." Read the rest

Democrats, citing Hayek, introduce Net Neutrality bill to force lawmakers to take an on-record position prior to the midterms

Calling the FCC's decision to kill Net Neutrality the "road to serfdom" Senator Ron Wyden [D-OR] introduced the legislation he'd co-sponsored with Senator Ed Markey [D-MA] to restore Neutrality. Read the rest

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