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“We lost to an insane person”: Democrats seek messaging help from … Hollywood

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Sort of understandable, and not just because Hollywood’s business depends upon knowing how to please Americans emotionally. In the Trump era, every dimwitted politically active celebrity secretly (or not so secretly) believes that they too could parlay their fame into high office with some money, a little luck, and tons of earned media. If the guy from “The Apprentice” can figure out how to get elected president, the guy who plays him on “Saturday Night Live” can in theory figure it out too.

But even beyond individual celebs’ ambitions, I think there’s a suspicion among the political class post-Trump that in an age of ubiquitous media, with voters newly open to flashy yet unconventional candidates in lieu of career politicians, media industries that don’t normally deal directly with electoral politics might have a useful perspective on how to win. If you want to beat a glib, image-obsessed TV star, who better to consult than glib, image-obsessed TV people?

Best of luck to them landing a big name like Robert De Niro to grunt gutturally into a mic about how much he hates Trump. It can’t not work.

“One of the first things we were at least talking about in the beginning meetings was how to improve upon the message as to what does the Democratic Party stand for, what does that represent,” said Andrew Marcus, who owns the television and film company Apiary Entertainment. “When the Republican Party or [President Donald] Trump is able to say ‘Make America great again’ and nobody that I know can tell you what the DNC or any of the leading candidates’ slogans [are], I think that’s a marketing problem.”

Alex Gregory, a writer and producer, said he has lobbied Democrats in their meetings to tie in vitro fertilization to abortion rights debates, while generally encouraging Democrats to adopt “more emotional content” in their messaging.

“It really is focused on … what do we stand for? In some ways, how did we lose?” Gregory said. “It is a moment of soul searching right now, in that we lost to an insane person … and that was more appealing than what we had to offer.”

The journey of a thousand miles begins with this first step: Run someone other than Hillary Clinton. Once they’ve got that straightened out, they’re on their way. As for scrambling abortion debates by introducing IVF into the discussion, that does … not feel like an election game-changer to me, but follow your instincts, I guess. If the goal is to make Democrats more mainstream on that issue, maybe try a rethink on the current party orthodoxy that abortion should be available on demand up until the moment of crowning.

The reason I said up top that consulting Hollywood is only “sort of understandable” is because the current Democratic leadership already shares the same identity-heavy political sensibilities as the entertainment industry. Reaching out to them essentially affirms that the party believes its policies and even its message are fine; all it needs is a little tweak with the ad copy. What they should be focused on are the white working-class voters who drifted from Obama to Trump in 2016 after showing some interest in Bernie Sanders in the primaries. They were the difference in the election, and most of them care more about kitchen-table issues than whatever this month’s progressive hobbyhorse might be. Who’s more likely to have something meaningful to say to, or about, them? A roomful of “Veep” writers or a bunch of middle managers from Bernie 2016?

Also, messaging is overrated. The messenger matters at least as much as the message. Both Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum ran variations of Trump’s working-class pitch in previous Republican primaries and didn’t get far. Berniemania might have seemed less lovably utopian and more dangerously radical coming from a younger, angrier Democrat. Obama beat the Clinton machine not because his policy platform was dramatically different from Hillary’s — just the opposite — but because he was light years more charismatic and personified a sharp change in direction from the Bush years. You want to beat Trump? Find a stellar, compelling candidate first and worry about the message second. Having a dynamic figurehead can atone for a lot (a lot) of messaging deficiencies.

But maybe the secret is even simpler than that. Modern American politics is driven by negative partisanship; convincing voters that the other candidate is garbage is your best bet for victory. It may well explain how Trump, a phenomenally unpopular candidate himself, was able to squeak by in key Rust Belt states. Populism, “drain the swamp,” celebrity — yeah, yeah, all well and good, but in the end maybe it wasn’t much more complicated than that swing voters loathed and distrusted Hillary Clinton more. If that’s true then positive messaging, even of the kitchen-table variety, will only get you so far. Especially when you’re up against an incumbent president, whose reelection bids invariably turn into referendums on their first term. Every time I see some big-name Dem like Obama or Pelosi encouraging liberal pols to ignore Russiagate and Trump scandals and focus on bread-and-butter like health care, I think it’s good sense and then a little voice reminds me that it contradicts the laws of negative partisanship. Want to beat Trump? Then convince the country that Trump is garbage. Whoever the Democratic nominee is, in all likelihood he or she will be perceived as “Not Trump” by Election Day anyway. Might as well embrace it.

Here’s De Niro apologizing to Canada on Trump’s behalf. Negative partisanship! Although negative partisanship that privileges the feelings of foreigners over those of Americans is not the smartest kind.

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Miss America complains the organization marginalized her

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A groundbreaking member of the #MeToo movement is now being accused of bullying, marginalizing, and manipulating women herself. At least one woman, anyway. The current Miss America, Cara Mund, penned a letter to 1984 Miss America Suzette Charles, now made public, that can only be described as highly unusual. The Chairman of the Miss America Organization, former Fox News anchor and pageant winner Gretchen Carlson along with the organization’s CEO Regina Hopper are called out for some very unempowering behavior.

Remember when Gretchen Carlson left Fox News and accused Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes of sexual harassment? She brought a lawsuit against him and ended up with a settlement of $20M and an apology. Eight months ago, Carlson swooped in and declared herself the savior of the Miss America pageant, working to bring the beauty contest into the modern era.

It turns out, however, that Carlson and Hopper are victimizing the 2018 title-holder with much the same verbal and mental abuse that Carlson accused her former employer of during her time at Fox if Mund’s allegations are truthful. Mund’s letter is in response to the organization’s reaction after she gave an interview in Atlantic City that included less than glowing words about happiness in her job. She takes no prisoners. (emphasis hers)

Let me be blunt: I strongly believe that my voice is not heard nor wanted by our current leadership; nor do they have any interest in knowing who I am and how my experiences relate to positioning the organization for the future. I truly felt more valued, respected, and viewed as a real collaborator within my first three months rather than these last eight months. The differences in treatment are stark.

Our chair and CEO have systematically silenced me, reduced me, marginalized me, and essentially erased me in my role as Miss America in subtle and not-so-subtle ways on a daily basis.

After a while, the patterns have clearly emerged, and the sheer accumulation of the disrespect, passive-aggressive behavior, belittlement, and outright exclusion has taken a serious toll.
She goes on to complain about talking points issued that she is expected to work into any speech or interview but most of all she is really not ok with Carlson being the face of the pageant. This stage isn’t big enough for the both of us, missy. 

Right away, new leadership delivered an important message: There will be only one Miss America at a time, and she isn’t me.

To reinforce this, they told me that I’m not important enough to do big interviews, and that the major press is “obviously” reserved for Gretchen. Step out of line there and not only do you get treated to being pulled into the office for a dressing down by Regina, but Brent Adams also joins in on the action.

Brent Adams is VP of Branding and Development. Mund didn’t like missing a trip to Cannes, either.

Gretchen and Brent went to Cannes, representing the organization at a global marketing and advertising conference where Gretchen spoke about Miss America in the era of #MeToo. While they were in France, I was back in North Dakota. If I’d been invited to attend and speak about the relevance of Miss America, I would have been able to tell the world how I, as a young leader, have firsthand knowledge and experience regarding the ways in which MAO is supposedly poised for the future. Such an invitation would require the leadership to care who I am and maybe learn why the judges selected me in the first place.

While I quickly became bored with her self-pity and complaints that she’s treated as an employee and not the boss, she does present an interesting resume which she thinks uniquely qualifies her for the job she holds. She began her full-time working career in the office of Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) and also worked in public relations for the fashion industry.

I have prepared for ups and downs and challenges not just for this job but for any job. My first full-time job was working in Washington, D.C. for Senator John Hoeven. This experience brought me in touch with a wide range of constituents, witnessing their passion for legislation and policies that positively impact their lives. I was working for the Senator during two major events of controversy: 2016 Election and North Dakota’s Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). I know the importance of communication because I was listening and responding to all sides of issues. From that job, I was inspired to continue being an advocate as Miss America. I did everything I could this year to take advantage of this opportunity. I even personally paid part of my airfare to attend the 2018 State of the Union because I wanted Miss America represented!

The final insult to Ms. Mund is the organization’s decision to whittle down her appearance in the 2019 pageant to only 30 seconds. Ouch. She calls it retribution for her interview with the Atlantic City press.

This is all very unusual. Miss America and other beauty pageants strive for an atmosphere that is non-controversial. They are only made possible with the help of corporate sponsors and have to appeal to middle America for television ratings. Though recent years have brought more and more openly political tone in the questions being asked of contest finalists, which is really the wrong path to take in my opinion, usually scandals come from past personal behavior of a winner that surface.

The Miss America Organization released a statement in response to Mund’s letter Friday.

“It is disappointing that she chose to air her grievances publicly not privately.  Her letter contains mischaracterizations and many unfounded accusations. We are reaching out to her privately to address her concerns,” says the statement. “The Miss America Organization supports Cara.”

The Miss America pageant is a business. It looks like Cara Mund had to find that out the hard way. Her first mistake was believing that a beauty contest was going to be all about empowering women in today’s world. Carlson made the decision to eliminate the swimsuit competition but it’s still a beauty contest. Most of the young women are pursuing educational opportunities and that is where the importance of the scholarships awarded to the winners comes in. Many winners have taken their time in the spotlight and made the most of it. Good for them. Make no mistake, however. When the audience looks at Miss America, the first thought is not about her intelligence.

Mund is learning a lesson that young people have to do as they get into the working world – in return for the paycheck, the boss calls the shots. Publicly calling your boss a bully isn’t a smart path to career advancement.

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MAYHEM IN SEATTLE: Police Toss Antifa Around, Make Arrests After They Harass and Threaten Conservative Group in Restaurant (VIDEO)

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Proud Boys, Patriot Prayer members, Bikers for Trump and others attended a Patriot rally in Seattle on Saturday, and as expected, masked Antifa thugs showed up.

The Proud Boys did not back down. At one point, one of the Proud Boys unmasked a cowardly Antifa thug and mocked him.

Seattle police eventually arrested several Antifa thugs.

Antifa and other leftist protesters began instigating after they followed a few Proud Boys into a restaurant in downtown Seattle called “Juno.”

The bartender explains to the Proud Boys and Antifa that everyone can stay in Juno so long as they remain civil. Seattle Police officers are also inside the restaurant to make sure things stay civil, reported, Mike Bivins.

VIDEO:


Proud Boys left Juno and a little verbal back-and-forced followed after a Proud Boy yanked off the Antifa thug’s mask! (language warning)

Notice the Antifa coward did NOTHING after he was unmasked and mocked.

Seattle police are starting to get involved (language warning)

All hell broke loose after a few dozen police officers on bikes rushed over to arrest several Antifa thugs.

VIDEO:

The left always falsely accuses the Proud Boys of being racists when in reality they are patriotic American men from all walks of life.

Twitter recently banned all Proud Boys accounts including founder Gavin McInnes.

After the Twitter bans, McInnes told the Gateway Pundit that “the dumbasses on the left are saying we were banned ‘before Unite the Right rally.’ I clearly disavowed that. It’s not our bag.”

In fact, the day before his suspension McInnes tweeted, “it goes without saying the Proud Boys won’t have anything to do with this. We are a multiracial club that eschews the alt-right and everything they and #occupyWallStreet’s Jason Kessler stand for. He’s a DNC operative.”

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Michelle Wolf’s staff: It was “classless” of Netflix to cancel us without telling us first

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“Classless.” These people once threw a parade for abortion on the show.

All in all, it lasted three months. Don’t think of it as being canceled, conservatives sniffed last night on Twitter after the news broke, think of it as being terminated in the first trimester.

Tough day for liberals, though. Where will they go now for comic affirmation of their deepest political prejudices?

[W]hen The Break premiered in May, Wolf was riding higher than pretty much any other comedian in the country after her breakthrough performance at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. As recently as last week White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was still talking about how much her jokes stung…

“None of us can believe how classlessly Netflix has handled this,” a source connected to the show told The Daily Beast after the news broke, noting that the entire writing staff and even the showrunners found out they had been fired on Twitter…

The utter opacity of Netflix’s model makes it impossible to know how many people were watching The Break on a weekly basis, but the show’s cultural impact could be felt on a near-weekly basis.

Both the Hollywood Reporter and Deadline cite sources who say that ratings weren’t what execs were hoping for. God only knows how bad your numbers have to be to get canceled on a platform with unlimited server space and no time-slots to worry about. As such, Wolf’s alleged “cultural impact” was the same as Lena Dunham’s “cultural impact,” a big zero among the general population but a reliable preoccupation of two tiny, marginal slivers of society — entertainment critics who loved her because they shared her sensibilities and righty media types like me who disdain them. Some impact.

Every piece on Wolf’s misfortune today mentions two points. One: Political comedy, already dominated by white men, is a little whiter and more male today. (Matt Wilstein of the Daily Beast, noting that Hasan Minhaj has a show in the works for Netflix, notes with relief, “He may not be a woman, but at least he’s not another white guy.” Whew.) True, although the very white and male Joel McHale had his own show liquidated by Netflix yesterday. Should Wolf have been given a longer leash in the name of diversity? Three months ain’t much time to build an audience, in fairness, but maybe a company that’s famously willing to greenlight nearly anything is, ironically, prone to shorter leashes than other platforms. Netflix doesn’t need to worry about server space or time slots but it does need to worry about money. If Wolf’s ratings were bad and there are literally dozens of other show ideas on the table that they’re looking to bankroll, why continue to plow cash into her show?

Two: Wolf is a “hot commodity” after her White House Correspondents Dinner barrage against Sarah Sanders and others, or so we’re told. I guess that’s true — she was in the news for a few weeks — but my memory is that Colbert’s attack on Bush at the 2006 WHCD drew much greater buzz afterward than Wolf’s set this year did. That has less to do with their comparative merits than with the fact that Bush was sitting right there for Colbert’s broadsides while Trump skipped Wolf’s gig. If she had goofed on him to his face while he grimaced for the cameras, that would have satisfied the lefty id more fully and durably than taking a few potshots at Sanders did. I wonder too, though, if Wolf’s WHCD performance mattered less because people expect this sort of thing after the Colbert/Bush episode a dozen years ago. If you’re a woke comedian asked to do a set at an event attended by a Republican administration, you had damn well better hit hard or you’ll hear about it from your industry friends. How hot a commodity can you be for doing what everyone expected you to do, and which virtually any comedian except Dennis Miller would have done?

The real problem for Wolf, though, was saturation. If “The Break” were something novel, it’d be a magnet for liberal audiences. As it is, not only do you not need a streaming service to see this sort of thing, you don’t even need cable. Colbert himself hosts CBS’s late-night flagship show, for fark’s sake, and still dines out nightly on jokes about a Republican president. Kimmel has tried to get into the act to some extent too. If they’re too timid for you, though, you can get stronger, more Stewart-esque stuff from John Oliver on HBO or Samantha Bee on TBS. (“The Daily Show” isn’t what it was but it’s still chugging along too.) Even for someone who shares Wolf’s politics and enjoys “clapter” theater, how much can you take? When you’re bored with regular TV and flip over to Netflix to see what’s on, and you’re greeted with 47 new shows on a weekly basis, what would lead you to pass on all of that in order to carve out more time for Oliver-Bee “own the cons” stuff?

Here’s what America will be missing going forward. I’ll personally miss having a little extra outrage content on slow news days.

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