NDN Blog

Honoring César E. Chávez

Today we honor César Chávez Day on the NDN Blog with a picture of the poster hanging in our office. To learn how you can continue his legacy, visit his foundation's website. Si Se Puede.

Update: Senate Majority Leader Reid put out a great statement both honoring César Chávez and explaining why César Chávez Day isn't a National holiday:

"César Chávez came from humble beginnings and lived to become an American icon for his tireless efforts to help bring our country closer to its ideals of freedom and equality of opportunity. Mr. Chávez saw the exploitation of farm workers who harvest our land and put food on our tables, and led a courageous fight to right many of the wrongs they suffered. In his struggle for social and economic justice, César Chávez became a symbol of dignity and perseverance for all workers, whether on the fields, in the factories, or behind the counter.

"Unfortunately, Senate Republicans continue to dishonor the true legacy of César Chávez. For the second year in a row, they have decided to block a resolution to celebrate his vision and achievements. This is outrageous and disrespects the legacy of this inspirational leader. By blocking the Employee Free Choice Act, continue pushing for punitive anti immigrant legislation, blocking comprehensive immigration reform, and standing in the way of a responsible end to the war in Iraq, Republicans are dishonoring the legacy of Chávez by opposing the very principles he spent his entire life defending.

"Yet for all his remarkable achievements, the fight for equality and justice is still a work in progress. That is why Democrats continue working to further César Chávez's vision. We are fighting for economic policies that make health care, education and energy more affordable, while creating good-paying jobs here at home. We are also working to help the millions of Americans who are struggling to keep their homes amid a foreclosure crisis that affects us all. As we work to level the playing field for all working families to achieve the American Dream, Democrats remain committed to enacting tough, fair and practical immigration reform.

"In order to advance these ideals, it is important for the American people to be involved every step of the way and participate in our electoral process. That is why we can never forget César Chávez's inspiring words: ‘If you are outraged at conditions, then you cannot possibly be happy until you do everything in your power to change them.'"

Denmark teams up with Project Better Place

In case you missed it, from The Register:

Denmark has become the second country to sign up to Shai Agassi's ambitious plan to wean the world off petrol-driven transportation, with the announcement of a deal between Agassi's Project Better Place and Danish utility Dong Energy. As with the Israeli deal announced in January, the latest venture will involve mass production of electric vehicles and the rollout of an extensive recharging and battery swap infrastructure.

Speaking to The Register this afternoon, Agassi said that the Israeli and Danish projects were broadly similar in size and timescale. Both will see the first vehicles on the road next year, with production ramping up into thousands in 2010, by which time the fueling infrastructure will be starting to emerge.

Also like Israel, the Danish government will be offering tax breaks on the vehicles. According to Agassi, the average price of a car in Denmark is $60,000 (about €38,000), while the tax break could price an electric car as low as $20,000 there. So the Project Better Place formula for success so far seems to be to get the attention of a power company to provide the network, and secure the tax breaks that will make electric vehicles a compelling proposition compared to petrol. This may not play so well in countries that don't already tax motor vehicles heavily, and/or that have a substantial auto manufacturing industry.

For more on Shai Agassi and Project Better Place, check out the video below of him speaking to NDN on March 12th in DC:

Clinton willing to go to Denver

From the Washington Post:

NEW ALBANY, Ind., March 29 -- In her most definitive comments to date, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton sought today to put to rest any notion that she will drop out of the presidential race, pledging in an interview to not only compete in all remaining primaries but to continue on until there is a resolution of the disqualified results in Florida and Michigan.

A day after Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean urged the candidates to end the race by July 1, Clinton defied that call by declaring she would take her campaign all the way to the party's convention at the end of August, potentially setting up the prolonged and divisive contest that party leaders are increasingly desperate to avoid.

"I know some people want to shut this process down and I think they are wrong," Clinton said in an interview during a campaign stop here today. "I have no intention of stopping until we finish what we started and until we see what happens in the next 10 contests and until we resolve Florida and Michigan. And if we don't resolve it, we'll resolve it at the convention.

"We cannot go forward until Florida and Michigan are taken care of, otherwise the eventual nominee will not have the legitimacy that I think will haunt us," she added. "I can imagine the ads the Republicans and John McCain will run if we don't figure out how we can count the votes in Michigan and Florida."

New strategies for mobilizing Latinos

Interested in new ways to turnout the Latino vote? Then you might want to turn to a new issue brief from Tova Andrea Wang, Democracy Fellow at The Century Foundation, entitled, "New Strategies for Latino Voter Mobilization: The Nevada Democratic Caucus as a Case Study." It is largely based on the efforts of our own Andres Ramirez, who was the Outreach Director for the Nevada State Democratic Party prior to NDN. He was also in charge of engaging and mobilizing Latinos in the January 19th Caucus.

But back to the brief, which justifies itself by acknowledging the Latino community's potential influence in American politics, something we at NDN look at in our recent report, Hispanics Rising. It then justifies Nevada as a state whose particular role in the primary process provides a way to test and measure the power and passion of the Latino community:

No place was this more true than in Nevada, a state that the Democratic Party specifically chose to have a contest very early in the process in 2008 because it had a large Latino population. Nevada's caucus was held before the contests of any other states with big Spanish-speaking populations. At the same time, the party in Nevada had the cards stacked against it in terms of attracting high voter participation. The state had no history of great political involvement; caucuses have proved to be much more difficult to attract voters to than primaries, for a number of reasons; and most voters in the state, particularly those who were relatively new Americans, had no experience voting in nominating contests, let alone taking part in the Byzantine ways of a Saturday caucus.

Up until Nevada, the strategies typically employed involved face-to-face canvassing and Spanish-language phone banks that engage callers. Yet given the challenges mentioned above, Andres and his team had to get creative:

In a major break from traditional get-out-the-vote strategy, the party did not rely solely on contacting voters at home, but took their efforts to the workplaces of Latinos. The party did not focus only on door-to-door outreach trying, to make contact at times people might be at home- instead they went to where they work. They went to Latino businesses, such as construction sites and restaurants, and talked to employees and customers. They posted information in the mercados and supermercados. They worked with employers to get information to and make contact with the employees.

Staff and volunteers placed 1,657 posters and distributed 8,963 brochures in all types of businesses that were Latino-owned or had a large Latino customer or client base, including taco shops, tienditas, beauty salons, and swap meets. But they did not just focus their efforts on the obvious and easily accessible storefront operations-they also delivered materials to the offices of lawyers, insurance agencies, doctors, accountants, and notary publics. They went anywhere they could think of that might have a large Spanish-speaking clientele and worked with the heads of such businesses to get the information out to the community. They then made an effort to build and then maintain relationships with these business owners and employers who might not be the usual political partners, but had influence in the community in other ways.


The Latino outreach team also went to work in the places where the Latino community went to socialize, and brought voting and politics to those events.

"Los Democratas": For example, early on the party established a soccer team, "Los Democratas," that played games in a major Latino league. The name itself was picked to prompt a conversation-players and fans might wonder what does "Los Democratas" mean? At games, volunteers wearing team t-shirts engaged in voter education about the caucus, registered voters, and handed out citizenship applications. They were able to engage the community in a nontraditional, very friendly setting, and have dialogues with them that were more in depth than they might have been at some other kind of event, on the street, or even going door to door (most of these people would never have attended an event that specifically was politically oriented). These encounters were in an environment that was fun, not so serious, making discussion of the political process perhaps less daunting.


Party staff and volunteers also went to picnics, Cinco de Mayo festivals, and other Spanish fiestas. They crashed private quinceaneras (a girl's fifteenth birthday party, similar to a sweet sixteen), went to posadas (celebrations during the week before Christmas), and made a major effort on a weekly basis at courthouse naturalization ceremonies to encourage new citizens to register and take part in the caucuses.

The party held several mock caucuses all over the state, had a complete Spanish-language Web site up and running, and had a Spanish-language hotline up and running in the weeks before the caucus and on voting day.

Free media: The staff of the Latino outreach operation also was able to develop unique relationships with the Spanish language print and broadcast media. In brief, the staff was able to make the case successfully to media executives that the caucuses were the single most important thing happening in the Latino community. The Democratic Party had its first media training with the Spanish-language media, explaining how the caucus worked and why it was so newsworthy. They built a relationship with the Spanish media that would pay dividends in later coverage.

For example, the Spanish-language cable news station Univision put the staff of the Latino outreach effort on the air at least once a week. Univision reported on the caucus everyday. This prompted viewer questions, and Univision had the outreach staff answer those questions on the air. The staff was also often on the television station Telemundo. El Tiempo Libre, the largest Spanish newspaper in the state, had a column in every edition for months leading up to the caucus talking about it, and published a multi-page insert with all the information a voter would need to participate shortly before caucus day.

Paid media: Many believe the paid media was particularly effective in getting the message out. The party used a Hispanic marketing firm, Language Sources, rather than a political consulting firm. The company did not specialize in politics, but rather in taking information, translating it, and most important making it understandable and accessible to the Spanish-speaking audience. 

Turnout was historic, despite the problems that occurred:

Overall, Democratic turnout was 117,599, which amounts to about 30 percent of all registered Democrats in Nevada- compared to a turnout of 9,000 four years ago.32 About 30,000 people registered to vote at the caucuses.33 Much was made of the fact that Clinton won the Latino vote by a two-to-one margin, and won most of the caucuses held in the hotels, where the Culinary Workers Union's endorsement of Obama had been expected to be a major influence.   

It is quite clear that the methods employed by Andres and his team were done in a way that were innovative and culturally respectful. While Ms. Wang offered suggestions for further research, and touched upon the challenges faced by Latinos on caucus day, she nonetheless portrayed the efforts in Nevada as encouraging, saying that they should serve as a model for other groups and candidates trying to reach the Latino voter. Of course, we at NDN agree, having engaged in award-winning media campaigns targeting Latinos, including our "Mas Que un Partido" Futbol campaign, as well as our efforts to encourage Spanish-language advocay.

(Friendly reminder: NDN was in Las Vegas in the days leading up to the caucus, leaving our blog with a good deal of caucus-related posts, including one from Tom Schaller.)

NDN Blog coverage of the 2008 presidential election

While NDN will not be endorsing any candidates in the 2008 Presidential primaries, we will be analyzing the tools they are using in the context of The New Politics, and the ideas they are offering to meet the challenges of the 21st Century. Specifically, we will look at what candidates on both sides of the aisle are saying, how they plan to tackle the governing challenges we face, how they are using new technologies, and how they are speaking to key constituencies.

Quick '08 Update

- Jonathan Lemonnier from AdAge reports on the rise in ad spending on alternative media. I'm sure Obama's Google buy helped show that politics is coming around to this trend, which we will touch on at our May 9th event here in DC. From the article:

Alternative advertising, including online, mobile, entertainment and digital out-of-home advertising, saw spending rise at a compounded annual growth rate 25.8% to $39.22 billion in 2007, accounting for 17.7% of all ad spending that year (compared with 7% of all ad spending in 2002), and grew at a compounded annual growth rate of 26.2% from 2002 to 2007.

Online and mobile advertising spending --including search and lead generation, online classifieds and displays, e-media, online video and rich media, internet yellow pages, consumer-generated ads, and mobile advertising -- reached $29.94 billion in 2007 (up 29.1% compared with 2006), a compounded annual growth rate of 31.4% over the 2002-2007 period.

- Meghan McCain, daughter of presumptive Republican nominee John McCain and writer of McCainBlogette.com, the clever blog which happens to be a guilty pleasure of mine, was featured in two interesting pieces. GQ's Greg Vais was first with "Raising McCain"; and the Washington Post's Libby Copeland followed suit with "Fortunate Daughter".

- Meanwhile, John McCain attempted to separate himself from the President ever so slightly in a foreign policy address delivered yesterday in Los Angeles, CA. Jonathan Martin from The Politico has more.

- Between John Murtha's laudatory remarks the other day and her packed fundraiser last night at Constitution Hall, Hillary Clinton is not letting up. Yesterday she gave a speech on retirement security and today she just wrapped up a speech on rebuilding the middle class in Raleigh, NC. As Susan Davis from the WSJ blog Washington Wire shows, her donors, who happen to be major Democratic Party donors, aren't letting up either.

- Fresh off potentially good news (here and here) from a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, Barack Obama is delivering a major economic speech at Cooper Union in New York City. Obama's speech comes after he has criticized McCain numerous times for his lack of attention to the economy. (View a PDF of the entire WSJ/NBC News poll here. Also be sure to check out Josh Marshall on the poll's legitimacy in addressing the Wright remarks.)

- Finally, I'm sorry I didn't touch on this in Tuesday's update, but in a Washington Post piece called "The Next President's Plan...", advisers from the campaigns argue what their candidate would do to turn the economy around. Perhaps they are attempting to answer just criticism from folks like Mark Halperin and Simon who feel like the candidates could do a better job in talking about the economy. Update: Maggie has more in her post.

For more information on NDN's coverage of the 2008 Presidential election, click here.

Obama dropped $1m on Google search

Yikes. Via Ken Wheaton at AdAge and Mark Walsh at MediaPost here's a quick update on an earlier post on the use of search ads in the 2008 campaign:

BARACK OBAMA AGAIN FAR SURPASSED Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in online ad spending, according to the candidates' latest spending reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

The Obama campaign spent more than $1 million with search giant Google compared with only about $67,000 by Clinton during February. The $1 million paid to Google in February was also more than a 10-fold increase over what his campaign had spent with Google in January.

The big jump in search spending by Obama could be tied to the Super Tuesday primaries that took place on Feb. 5 in 24 states.

Obama also continued to outspend Clinton on Web portals and social networking sites. The campaign designated $4,900 to Facebook, for instance, which has been a major source of online support for Obama from the start of his campaign. Obama also paid $99,341 to Yahoo and another $58,000 to Yahoo Search Marketing.

Clinton, by contrast, spent only $9,186 with Yahoo.

To varying degrees, it seems evident that both campaigns have seen the work our New Politics Institute has done on online advertising, particularly paid online search advertising. To learn more, be sure to come to an event we're holding on May 9th to discuss the role new tools like search have played in the presidential nomination process and that they can be expected to play in the general election in the fall.

New message, old Liberalism?

Alec MacGillis from the Washington Post builds on a theme present in Robin Toner's piece below with an article entitled, "In Obama's New Message, Some Foes See Old Liberalism." Be sure to check it out, as the next conversation Senator Obama (or Senator Clinton, for that matter) could have with us describes what a Liberal really is.

Quick '08 Update

- Nancy Reagan endorsed John McCain today. From her statement, as reported by the NYTimes:

John McCain has been a good friend for over thirty years. My husband and I first came to know him as a returning Vietnam War POW, and were impressed by the courage he had shown through his terrible ordeal. I believe John's record and experience have prepared him well to be our next president.

- Senator Clinton weighed in on the Wright remarks today during an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Related but not specific to Pittsburgh and Hillary Clinton, be sure to read Rep. John Murtha's endorsement of the Senator, who also got a boost from the Out of Iraq Caucus not too long ago.

- And in case you missed it, check out this video of Trinity's new pastor, Rev. Otis Moss, III, responding to the scrutiny the Church is coming under due to Rev. Wright's remarks. In a greater effort to not sit silent during the debate, the Church also started a YouTube channel where it posted some of Reverend Wright's prior sermons. (Via Peter Hauck and the fine folks at PrezVid.)

- The New York Times has two interesting stories out regarding Senator Clinton's chances of winning the Democratic nomination. The first from Adam Nagourney, the second from David Brooks.

- To be fair, Robin Toner of the NYT also asks a critical question of Obama observers: Can a Liberal Be a Unifier? It brings us back to reality, particularly given all of the positive press Obama has received since his speech. (For all you Francophiles out there, check out this piece on "Obama and the return to the Founding Fathers" from Le Monde, courtesy of my friend Nicolas. Thanks, Nico!)

- While in CA today, John McCain talked economics. More from Salon, the Washington Post, and the AP.

- And for those who may have missed it, check out Casey Knowles, who appeared in the pivotal 3 AM ad run by the Clinton campaign, in this video "rejecting the politics of fear".

For more information on NDN's coverage of the 2008 Presidential election, click here.

Fund race and the virtuous cycle

New fundraising numbers further emphasize the advantage Democrats have in what we call the virtuous cycle of participation. From CNN:

John McCain raised around $11 million last month, according to federal filings released this week - about one-third the sum raised by Hillary Clinton, a fifth of Barack Obama's February haul, and slightly less than he'd raised in January as a primary candidate. 

The overall gap between the three senators also increased: McCain has now raised just over $60 million, compared with Clinton's $156 million and Obama's $194 million.

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