LTO Links #42

What happened to Obama's '08 grassroots army?

Your weekly must reads

Be sure and spend some time with Micah Sifry's piece on the death of Obama's grassroots army, called "Inside the Fall of Obama's Grassroots Army." It's a long read but has important lessons for a successful movement.

LTO Links

Issue #42 |


Trump PAC Keeps Spending to Push Supporters to Call Senators

"A Trump Super PAC that says it built a list of 3 to 5 million active supporters during the 2016 election using tactics including direct response 1-800 number TV ads has spent around $175,000 this month alone to keep the pro-Trump momentum rolling."


Inside the Fall of Obama's Grassroots Army

"Instead of mobilizing his unprecedented grassroots machine to pressure obstructionist lawmakers, support state and local candidates who shared his vision, and counter the Tea Party, Obama mothballed his campaign operation, bottling it up inside the Democratic National Committee. It was the seminal mistake of his presidency—one that set the tone for the next eight years of dashed hopes, and helped pave the way for Donald Trump to harness the pent-up demand for change Obama had unleashed."

How the Cool Kids Killed Obama's Grassroots Movement

"So New Media was dead, but a corpse called 'Digital' rose to take its place. It was bloodless, technocratic, and made of big data. It rolled its eyes at narrative, on the ground feedback, and human political instinct. In place of late nights talking to dairy farmers in their kitchens, there were algorithms. It was a sure-fire, can’t-lose, totally smart approach to crushing the competition."


The recent explosion of right-wing news sites

"Facebook, in particular, algorithmically favors content that appeals to user bias and interest. According to comScore Vice President Andrew Lipsman, to elicit high engagement and repeat visitation, 'sites must usually speak to a very specific audience.' Although this limits the appeal to a broader readership, it creates a sustained and engaged audience that appeals to advertisers."


The Truth About The Trump Data Team That People Are Freaking Out About

"But interviews with 13 former employees, campaign staffers, and executives at other Republican consulting firms who have seen Cambridge Analytica’s work suggest that its psychological approach was not actually used by the Trump campaign and, furthermore, the company has never provided evidence that it even works. Rather than a sinister breakthrough in political technology, the Cambridge Analytica story appears to be part of the traditional contest among consultants on a winning political campaign to get their share of credit — and win future clients."


President Trump, with RNC Help, Raised More Small Donor Money than President Obama; As Much As Clinton and Sanders Combined

"After including the money from joint fundraisers, $238.6 million of Trump’s campaign funds came from donors who gave a total of $200 or less. This was 69 percent of the campaign’s individual contributions and 58 percent its total receipts."


How Trump’s campaign staffers tried to keep him off Twitter

"The key to keeping Trump’s Twitter habit under control, according to six former campaign officials, is to ensure that his personal media consumption includes a steady stream of praise. And when no such praise was to be found, staff would turn to friendly outlets to drum some up — and make sure it made its way to Trump’s desk."

How to Run a Rogue Government Twitter Account with an Anonymous Email Address and a Burner Phone

"If the FBI opens an investigation aimed at de-anonymizing you, one of the first things they’ll do is simply ask Twitter — and every other service that they know you use — for information about your account. So a critically important countermeasure to take is to ensure that none of the information tied to your account — phone numbers, email addresses, or IP addresses you’ve used while logging into your account — lead back to you."