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My Email to the Trump Campaign (Requests to fund 2 pro-democracy tools, which will also help Trump win)

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Here is the email I sent to the Trump campaign, with some minor editing. Fox News has Trump polling #2. (As a side note, can you imagine the debate fireworks if Trump wins the Republican nomination, and Sanders the Democratic nomination?) If anybody has any other ideas for potential funders, go ahead and leave a comment.

I'm an extremely frustrated activist, who has been listening in on the anti-TPP InterOccupy conference calls, and have been just sort of dumbstruck at how clueless these people are. I don't want to get into all the reasons why, but I'll just mention one for-instance. And that is, the "activists" didn't bother to ascertain just how ignorant the public was of TPP (and hence, how inadequate their public educational actions were.) You would NEVER run a business like that! (See my facebook page "TPP Ignorance" to grasp the extent of the ignorance.)

I would like to know if the Trump campaign would be smart enough (yeah, I just said that) to implement my ideas for public education/ meme propagation. That would take the form of creating 2 new software tools - 1 is a negative vote block platform (like votizen.com used to be like, EXCEPT that the social-network-voting-blocks are organized to vote AGAINST incumbents.) The other tool is to facilitate (primarily) face-to-face meme-propagation, using messaging vectors (=people) that "jump organizational boundaries" and allow for "redundant ownership". (E.g., a local anti-TPP activist, who is, say, 30 years old, can "adopt" a local Boy scout Troop, as well as a veteran's organization, and make sure they are at least solicited to spread the message(s) every couple of months. Another concerned citizen, who has environmental sympathies, could "adopt" the same Boy Scout troop, as well as a local church, for some environmental messages. Since TPP will jeopardize national environmental standards, redundant anti-TPP messages would get propated by two different vectors, to the Boy Scout troop. The tool would allow for the public documenting of what organizations and contact persons were hit up, and when, so that self-organizing of the meme propagation campaigns can more easily and intelligently occur.)

Why should the Trump campaign care to implement these tools (as well as give them a push, by seeding them with paid organizers?). There are 3 reasons:

1) the TPP is treason (in the sense that it subverts the Constitutional order), Trump is a patriotic US citizen, and can afford the relative pittance to at least create these tools. (If they're outsourced, my guess is that they'd cost less than $10,000 each. The optics of doing so would reflect badly on a Trump candidacy, so it'd be smarter to cough up the extra cash and just pay American programmers to do it.)

2) as Trump will be championing the defeat of TPP (or it's repeal, if necessary), an enlightened and outraged American public would forsake the hypocritical wafflers (like Hilarious Clinton) and "free traitors" (like Rubio) and flock to anti-TPP candidates (like Trump). In particular, the meme-propagation tool would be a "force multiplier" for any politician's campaign which resonated with a popular meme-propagation campaign.

Yes, expensive TV ads are usually an extremely important, even deciding tool, but note that Cantor lost to Brat even though he was an incumbent, and outspent him 26-1. You don't want Trump to outspend other candidates, then lose to them because they had a better ground game...

3) even a President Trump will be hamstrung with a Congress as corrupt as the ones we've been getting for the last 40 years (if not longer). We really need to FIRE huge swathes of them. The soft point of their smug armor is attacking with reform candidates during primaries (due to gerry-mandering, and the smallish turnout in primaries). You don't just want Trump to be elected President, you want Trump to be elected President ALONG WITH a bunch of allies.

Although I'm a web developer myself, the fastest way to get these tools made is to hire a crack TEAM of programmers, and at least 1 stellar software architect. They need only follow a specification that I would provide (more precisely, we would develop the spec together, and follow an agile methodology. I would initially provide a requirements document.) I'd be willing to donate my time, provided there was a firm commitment on the part of Trump (or the Trump campaign) to create these tools, ASAP. (Not that I'd refuse a paid gig.)

BTW, I've attended many tech meetup.com meetings, and have been far more impressed by entrepreneurs than clueless activists. E.g., one such event I attended was called a "co-founder date night" (they changed the name, later, but you get the idea), in Cranbury, NJ. People got a few minutes to pitch, and if they didn't have an ASK in there, they'd be interrupted and prompted for one.

If only activists were 1/4 as practical....

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Submitted by lambert on

.... it's rather amazing that you, letsgetitdone, claud_alexander, and myself are showing up here with these tooling ideas. Not sure what to make of it, but it's interesting.

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Submitted by metamars on

Would you provide links to diaries/comments with "these tooling ideas". I'm familiar with IVCS, but for completeness' sake, you'd do well to link to that, also.

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Submitted by claud_alexander on

In case the CA above referred to me, it's primarily web-scraping and interactive data visualization. Right now, animated as I am by malice and contempt, it's directed towards the explainer/vox crowd, but a lot that could be done, even for existing projects like the fracking map.

Stumbling block right now is that I'm purely a client-side guy so I have no idea where to even begin with integrating the templates I have into what look to me like pretty barebones drupal extensions for my workhorses d3.js and leaflet.js However, lambert's been doing this for a while and perhaps he'll talk me off the ledge.

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Submitted by metamars on

What sort of data do you scrape? (BTW, I've done scraping of train/bus fares using Selenium.)

Submitted by lambert on

There are modules that integrated both leaflet and d3.js

https://www.drupal.org/project/leaflet

https://www.drupal.org/project/d3

Both look current. For module integration like this, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.... Meaning, working with a Drupal site is not the same as working with a custom coded site, because indeed drupal does have a back end. Constraints fall into two categories:

1) JavaScript expectations. Sometimes, the drupal API + JavaScript version + the usual IT suckitude means that expectations cannot be met without custom coding. For example, a drupal competitor (can't remember the name, it's been a couple of years; begins with U, focus on disaster relief) had a wonderful JavaScript map plus timeline I could never manage to port).

2) Backend workflow. In general, the workflow is to create instances of a content type with the proper fields (for example, latlon) and then to aggregate the instances onto a map (or timeline, or into a table) using Drupal Views(with appropriate plugins for the JavaScript). This is nice, since the aggregation is dynamic. It's also nice, since the nodes are like blogposts, so if (say) Ezra Klein has his own node, one can comment on Ezra Klein, as well as aggregate him into the view. (This is a very different workflow from sucking up a JSON or CSV file directly into JavaScript, but with some cursing, I can take a file and use it to drive the node creation process).

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Submitted by metamars on

Thanks, but I'm basically interested in "tooling" (if that's the right word) that already have some pro-democracy, pro-civil-society functionality built in. (The votizen code base would be ideal.) More application, or application framework, than multi-purpose library.

Ideally, some groups would already have created software, perhaps open sourced, that would already provide some of the features that I'm looking for.

I think reddit has some code that might be useful for at least study, in that it allows for a distributed categorization. That's somewhat analogous to the distributed identification (for purposes of shared, redundant ownership) of local organizations that could be approached for purposes of meme injection.

If I end up writing the code, the backend is almost certainly going to be in C#, so would prefer source code in C#. (Well, I think votizen was written in django/python, and reddit is python, so maybe I should learn python!)

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Submitted by metamars on

BTW, I've done just a dollop of thinking about initial design of the negative vote bloc technology, also. I hearby christen the negative vote bloc social group object as a "posse".

YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST !!!!

So, future emails will have subject heading:

"I'm forming a posse to git Senator X (a "free traitor") out of office! Any of you righteous dudes willing to help me corral this varmint?"

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Submitted by metamars on

A relatively small amount of tinkering would have allowed for the creation of negative vote bloc ("vote the bastard out, whatever it takes"), with the same social networking capabilities.

Alas, votizen was acquired by causes.com, which seems to be not much more than a glorified front end for petitions, even if it does utilize some social networking.

Jason Putorti, a cofounder of votizen, is now with brigade.com, which is still in beta. I took a quick look at brigade, recently, and dismissed it, as it seemed to just foster political discussion. So, I imagined it to be similar to commenting on political blogs, which have generally fallen far short of evolving into politically useful organizational platforms.

However, I just took another look, and they say,

Brigade beta is the first in a series of tools built to re-energize our democracy by getting people to act together. For your actions to really make a difference, you need allies.

(emphasis mine)

So, maybe it will evolve into a useful tool. One that he won't sell out to causes.com, so that they can disembowel it.....

My own, obscure website occupythesidewalk.org (currently half broken, and soon to be superseded), had discovery of local/hyper-local allies at least half implemented. (You'd search for allies, that were interested in being "discovered", in your locality by profile tag).

Submitted by lambert on

I was trying to report on that, with the tools I built to map fracking incident reports.

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Submitted by metamars on

Sorry, I don't follow. What, exactly, were you trying to report on?

Submitted by lambert on

I was consolidating media reports, and mapping them.

So the sort of event you were trying to generate, with your tool, I was trying to aggregate, with mine. Ideally a sort of virtuous cycle.