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How Trump made people care about politics again – CNN

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Trump’s presidency drove historic turnout and record donations to political campaigns in a country whose voters have often shown a disinterest in politics.
Twenty-four years ago, America’s political apathy seemed to reach a record high. Just 51.7% of the voting-eligible population cast a ballot, according to the US Elections Project. That was the lowest since 18-year-olds got the vote before the 1972 election. In raw numbers, a little more than 96 million voters decided to take part in that year’s presidential election.
The 2020 campaign, by comparison, had a little less than 160 million voters participate. With population growth, the US Elections Project estimates a turnout rate of 66.7% of the voting-eligible population.
It’s difficult to understate what an achievement this turnout rate is. A 66.7% turnout rate shattered the previous high since 18-year-old’s got the vote of 61.6% in 2008. (The 2008 campaign featured the election of the first Black presidential major party nominee in Barack Obama.) Turnout before 2020 never broke 140 million.
What’s amazing is how far back you have to go to beat 66.7% for a turnout rate in a presidential election. There wasn’t a higher turnout rate in either the 20th or 21st century.
It would be easy to think that the coronavirus pandemic caused record turnout. It may have played a role, though it’s been clear for more than a year that the 2020 dynamic was going to be unique.
I noted in April 2019 — long before the pandemic and before Democrats started voting in their primary — that record turnout was likely because a record number of voters said that they were extremely enthusiastic about voting in the 2020 election.
The record 2020 turnout followed record midterm turnout in 2018 — a record number where opinions of Trump were the driving factor for voters.
Half of the voter-eligible population turned out to vote in 2018. This 50.0% turnout rate was more than 13 points higher than in 2014 (36.7%). In raw numbers, nearly 120 million turned out in 2018 compared to only a little more than 80 million in 2014.
The 2018 turnout rate was by far the highest in a midterm since 18-year-olds got the vote. It had never previously topped 42% during this era.
Indeed, you have to go back more than 100 years (to 1914) to find higher turnout in a midterm election.
The strong feelings toward Trump also drove record donations to political candidates up and down the ballot.
Through November 30, 2020, the FEC reports that nearly $24 billion was raised by federal candidates, PACs and party committees during the 2020 election cycle. No other year comes anywhere close to that total. For comparison, a little more than $9 billion was raised by federal candidates, PACs and party committees during the 2016 election cycle.
Looking just at the presidential candidates, over $4 billion was taken in. Never before had more than $2 billion been raised. This cycle’s record occurred even as just one side had a competitive nomination fight, unlike, in 2008, when the previous record had been set. Keep in mind, though, that about $1 billion of this cycle’s money raised came from self-funder Michael Bloomberg.
In the House races, candidates raised $1.9 billion. Again, that’s a record for any cycle. The next highest total was in 2018 with Trump in the White House. During the midterm cycle, $1.7 billion was raised by House candidates.
Before 2018, the highest total raised was just a little bit more than $1.1 billion.
In the final major elections during Trump’s presidency, the fundraising train has shown no sign of stopping. The candidates for the Georgia Senate runoffs are raising ridiculous amounts. The Democrats alone are raising hundreds of millions of dollars.
The fact that candidates up and down the ballot were able to raise so much money is the encapsulation of what the Trump era is about. The interest in elections during the past four years isn’t just about Trump the individual. It’s about everything around Trump and everything that can strengthen or lessen the power he has.
What will be interesting to see is what happens from here. Without Trump in the White House will political interest drop? Or have we entered a new era where more Americans care about politics.
We’ll just have to wait and see.

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Newfoundland ex-pat makes waves pairing politicians with their cartoon doubles – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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An effort to shake off some homesickness led Adam DuBourdieu to mix pop culture and provincial politics — namely, taking politicians involved in this election and matching them with their visual counterparts on “The Simpsons.”

Originally from Kippens on the province’s west coast, DuBourdieu, 30, moved to Edmonton, Alta., just before the COVID-19 pandemic set in.

As with many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, he experienced homesickness in the months that followed the move.

A keen follower of local politics when living in the province, DuBourdieu set about combatting his traveller’s lament by having some fun with the upcoming provincial election.

Combining his love for “The Simpsons” and politics, he matched the politicians running in the election with the Simpsons character he saw as their cartoon counterparts.

“I always loved watching ‘The Simpsons,’” DuBourdieu. “I watched it with my dad.”

Some matchups were tough, while others were easy fits, such as the NDP’s Jim Dinn, a former schoolteacher, and his match with Principal Skinner.

“You can’t take yourself too seriously. Being a teacher, that’s par for the course,” Dinn said of that character match.

Dinn has seen the rather large social media thread containing the pictures.

He said that as a teacher, he learned long ago that you have to have a sense of humour, and it’s a lesson he’s taken with him to politics. Seeing the thread, he took it in good fun.

He said it could be worse. It could turn into a meme like a recent picture of United States Senator Bernie Sanders.

“Let’s have a laugh with it,” said Dinn. “It’s a good thing. It’s a bit of good fun.”


Progressive Conservative Leader Ches Crosbie and Springfield nuclear plant owner Monty Burns were paired in DuBourdieu’s character breakdown. Photo courtesy Twitter
Progressive Conservative Leader Ches Crosbie and Springfield nuclear plant owner Monty Burns were paired in DuBourdieu’s character breakdown. Photo courtesy Twitter

 


The result was a 47-part thread on Twitter filled with pictures of the politicians and their characters side by side. It is a mixture of retiring MHAs, incumbents and party leaders of all political stripes.

“The Simpsons” and politics have a bit of history. Across its 32 seasons, the show has mixed humour and politics.

The show seemingly predicted the start of the United States presidency of Donald J. Trump, and the Lisa Simpson presidency that followed him.

Coincidentally, Torngat Mountains MHA Lela Evans is paired with the presidential Lisa.

The relationship, however, between “The Simpsons” and the political arena doesn’t stop at a coincidental presidential prediction.

The show has often tackled topics of the day, such as same-sex marriage and gun control, and it has often been accused of having a liberal bias. Springfield’s Mayor Quimby is a regularly appearing character, and DuBourdieu saw him as a perfect match for Conception Bay East-Bell Island incumbent David Brazil.


NDP Leader Alison Coffin and Bette Midler were paired together during the exercise. Midler made a cameo on the show in Season 4. Photo courtesy Twitter
NDP Leader Alison Coffin and Bette Midler were paired together during the exercise. Midler made a cameo on the show in Season 4. Photo courtesy Twitter

Homer Simpson — coupled with Topsail-Paradise MHA Paul Dinn — once fought former U.S. president George H.W. Bush after the two became neighbours. Former U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Gerald Ford have also made cameo appearances on the show.

DuBourdieu tabbed Ford as the right match with Mount Pearl North MHA Jim Lester.

“Politics has always been in ‘The Simpsons,’ and Newfoundland politics has some characters,” said DuBourdieu.

Harbour Grace-Port de Grave MHA Pam Parsons knew at once who voiced Bart Simpsons’ former babysitter, Laura Powers.

“That’s the one where Darlene from Roseanne voiced the character. Sara Gilbert,” she said.

Like other children of the ’80s and early ’90s, Parsons grew up in the early years of “The Simpsons.” She saw the show move from animated shorts on “The Tracy Ullman Show” to a pop culture phenomenon on Fox.

“Growing up as a child, I certainly watched ‘The Simpsons.’ I loved Bart Simpson. I think we all did,” said Parsons. “I even had the little toys that McDonald’s was putting out.”


Newfoundland and Labrador Lt.-Gov. Judy Foote found her Simpsons doppelganger in Mrs. Hoover. Photo courtesy Twitter
Newfoundland and Labrador Lt.-Gov. Judy Foote found her Simpsons doppelganger in Mrs. Hoover. Photo courtesy Twitter

 


Parsons is one of 10 women featured in the long Twitter thread. Of the 10, nine are incumbent MHAs and their animated doppelgangers. The remaining one is Newfoundland and Labrador Lt.-Gov. Judy Foote.

She was paired with Springfield Elementary second-grade teacher Mrs. Hoover.

“I like that (Dubourdieu) was non-partisan,” said Parsons, who appreciated the comedic break it offered. “I got a good chuckle out of it.”

The response to the sizeable thread has been favourable online.

It was something that surprised DuBourdieu at first.

Since it went online, there have been dozens of interactions between politicians and the public. People have marvelled at how perfect some of the comparisons are, such as independent MHA Eddie Joyce being matched with oil tycoon Rich Texan.

“It is something people are familiar with,” DuBourdieu said about why he chose to use “The Simpsons” as a reference point.

Liberal candidate George Murphy tweeted that he thought of himself as the lovable barfly Barney Gumble instead of Police Chief Wiggum, the character he is attached to.

Other candidates, such as Progressive Conservative candidate Kristina Ennis and the NDP’s Jenn Deon, have expressed interest in being connected to their Simpsons doubles.

Lake Melville NDP candidate Amy Hogan even went ahead and did her own. It was Jerri Mackleberry, the mother of notable twins Sherri and Terri.

“I think I’m probably the twins, Sherri and Terri’s mom, Jerri. It’s is the purple hair and the glasses,” Hogan tweeted.


Monorail salesman Lyle Lanley made the perfect visual double for Liberal Leader Andrew Furey. Photo courtesy Twitter
Monorail salesman Lyle Lanley made the perfect visual double for Liberal Leader Andrew Furey. Photo courtesy Twitter

 


DuBourdieu pledged to do a third part of the thread if there is enough interest.

In the days since it was posted, a link to the thread made its way around the Progressive Conservative email chain.

“We got a good kick out of it,” said Conservative MHA Barry Petten. “You can’t help but laugh.”

The Conception Bay South representative readily admitted he wasn’t much of a Simpsons watcher and had little background on Superintendent Chalmers or why he was paired with him.

Still, Petten said he appreciated the work and the humour it brought to the election.

“It’s all good humour,” he said.

Looking back on the process and the result of his humourous entry into the Newfoundland and Labrador political scene, DuBourdieu has no regrets about piecing everything together.

Some comparisons were easy, while others required a bit more thought, he said, and he learned a little along the way, namely, how male-dominated this province’s legislature is.

As the province rolls toward the election on Feb. 13, DuBourdieu will watch from his home in Alberta.

In the meantime, he is glad he got to contribute to the run-up in some way.

“I’m glad I did it and I hope people get a good chuckle out of it,” said DuBourdieu.

Nicholas Mercer is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering central Newfoundland for SaltWire Network.

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COVID, Politics Make Dry January Harder Than Ever – WebMD

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Sarah Moran, Chicago.

Denise Hien, PhD,  director, Center of Alcohol and Substance Use Studies, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ.

Carl Hart, PhD, Ziff professor of psychology, Columbia University, New York City.

Angela Voulangas, Brooklyn, NY.

Aaron Ahearn, Southern California.

Twitter: @RepBrendanBoyle, Jan. 8, 2021; @zachbraff, Jan. 12, 2021; @007, Jan. 8, 2021.

Instagram: #dryjanuaryfail.

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Politics Briefing: Trudeau says appointment of Payette was 'rigorous' – The Globe and Mail

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Hello,

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government will take another look at its process for nominating governors-general, in the wake of Julie Payette’s resignation last night.

Ms. Payette, an accomplished pilot and astronaut who took office in 2017, has had a rocky tenure and appeared to have struggled with the public demands of the office. An independent investigation of her office, which the government ordered last year and received this week, appeared to validate concerns of harassment in the workplace.

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Mr. Trudeau was asked at his midday news conference whether Ms. Payette should have been vetted more carefully for the job, given she had earlier left a position at the Montreal Science Centre in a similar cloud.

“For all high-level appointments, there is a rigorous vetting process that was followed in this case,” Mr. Trudeau told reporters. “Obviously we will continue to look at that vetting process to ensure that it is the best possible process as we move forward.”

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

The drop in Pfizer-made COVID-19 vaccine doses coming to Canada is set to worsen, but the pharmaceutical company insists it can still catch up by the end of this quarter.

Newly released documents show that a Montreal manufacturer that won a $282.5-million contract to make ventilators last year produced machines that initially had serious problems that caused delays to delivering on time. The case illustrates the challenges associated with companies that pivoted in the early months of the pandemic to make medical technology that they had not previously made.

The U.S. Senate will receive the articles of impeachment against Donald Trump on Monday.

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And here is your weekend reading: Power Gap, a new Globe and Mail series by investigative journalists Robyn Doolittle and Chen Wang that gives a data-driven examination of how and why so many women are held back from positions of power and prestige in the workplace. While so much attention is paid to women in the top-most positions, the series explains how the real issues are at all levels – particularly middle management.

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on the original appointment of Julie Payette as governor-general: “Less than four years ago, she was Mr. Trudeau’s celebrity pick. A former astronaut, an accomplished woman, bilingual, someone who already had schools named after her. On the surface, she was the very image of the modern governor-general the still-newish Trudeau Liberals wanted. But we now know that proper vetting might have shown her temperament was ill suited for the job.”

John Fraser (The Globe and Mail) on changing the appointment process: “Whatever anyone thinks of Stephen Harper and his Conservative administration, it had developed a good system for searching out and vetting possible candidates for all the vice regal positions in Canada – the lieutenants-governor of the provinces, as well as the governor-general. It was rejected by the Trudeau PMO, although officials there liked the system well enough to adopt it for appointments they made to the new-style Senate.”

Shachi Kurl (Ottawa Citizen) on repairing the office’s public image: “In 2021, at a time when worries about being seen as too elitist have the Prime Minister himself too scared to fix the house in which he’s supposed to be living, and given that Payette herself refused to even reside at Rideau Hall, should a home and all its associated domestic trappings still come with the job? Would Canadians be better served if the whole building were opened up to them, as a gallery, or museum, or place of learning?”

Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on Canada’s slow pace of vaccinations: ” Vaccinating as many people as we can isn’t just a matter of saving lives – although the faster we do it, the more lives we will save. It’s also a matter of some economic urgency. The country that emerges quickest from the pandemic, and from the curbs on activity most countries have adopted in response, will not only save that much more in lost GDP.”

Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on making lockdowns more targeted: “At this point in the pandemic, we should know better than to extend curfews to homeless people, close down skating rinks and issue fines to mothers in pursuit of childcare.”

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Bria Hamilton (The Globe and Mail) on why the healthcare system needs to build more trust with Black Canadians: “My grandmother, my mother and I have all had extremely negative experiences with Canadian medical care. The most atrocious story was the removal of my grandmother’s uterus without her permission during unrelated surgery.”

Got a news tip that you’d like us to look into? E-mail us at tips@globeandmail.com. Need to share documents securely? Reach out via SecureDrop

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