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There’s a Right and a Wrong Way to Talk About Trump’s Attempts to Rig the Election

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WASHINGTON — The communications guru Anat Shenker-Osorio likes to say that if liberals were writing a story about the mythical giant-slayer David, they’d end up making the story all about Goliath. Democrats and those on the left love to promise their supporters a fight and can’t talk enough about the opposition. “Do you think black people in America need to be reminded that [Trump] is bad?” she says. “Talking about Trump is what got us Trump. For people to be persuaded, they need to understand what they’re voting for.”

Shenker-Osorio’s mission is to get Democrats and people on the left to rethink how they communicate with voters. She has worked with an array of left-leaning political parties, grassroots groups, labor unions, and issue campaigns in the U.S. and abroad. She shaped Minnesota’s Greater Than Fear campaign in 2018, which helped elect a new Democratic governor and lieutenant governor, flip a statehouse chamber, and drive the largest voter turnout of any state for that election cycle. She has advised New Zealand’s Labour Party, led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and advised on efforts to reform Australia’s draconian immigration policies. She also helps lead the Race Class Narrative Action Project, which develops tactics and scripts used by grassroots activists, labor unions, and other progressives outfits across the country.

Her research typically begins with an extensive analysis of the kinds of words, frames, and metaphors already in use by liberal activists, the opposition, the media, and on social media around an issue like immigration. Her team will interview activists to understand how they want to shift the conversation (and potentially win an election or a referendum) around immigration. And from there, drawing on social psychology and cognitive linguistics, she will then craft and then extensively test different new messages using tools like online dial testing and randomized controlled trial experiments to study which ways of framing and wording a message move the needle on voters’ political preferences.

Lately, she has urged her liberal brethren to stop promoting the idea that the 2020 election will be rigged, stolen, or a coup as a fait accompli. Doing so, she wrote, feeds into Trump’s voter-suppression strategy, which forms the centerpiece of his reelection bid, and is counterproductive to turning out the low-propensity voters that Democrats need. Instead, they should make clear that Trump is attempting to sabotage the election but in the end the voters have the ultimate power to remove him from office, a subtle but critical distinction, she says.

She isn’t the only one worried about this negative echo chamber: Michael Podhorzer, a senior adviser to the president of the AFL-CIO, told New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg that the union’s polling data showed “we do Trump’s work for him when we respond to his threats rather than remind voters that they will decide who the next president will be if they vote.”

How should Joe Biden talk on the campaign trail? In the face of vicious voter intimidation and suppression, how do Democrats best mobilize their voters and persuade undecideds? I spoke twice by phone with Shenker-Osorio, who is based in Oakland, in the last week to try to answer these questions and understand why Democrats have such a persuasion problem.

Rolling Stone: This week, you urged liberals not to amplify Trump’s message about a “stolen” or “rigged” election. Yet Trump is clearly a threat to the integrity of this election. My question, then, is: How do you urge them to be vigilant without conveying, inaccurately, that their vote isn’t meaningless? How do you thread that needle?
Anat Shenker-Osorio: The advice is very specific: Don’t say “Trump will steal the election” but that “Trump is attempting to steal the election” or “trying to rig the election.” Not describing it as a fait accompli, number one.

Number two, it’s really important to keep coming back to the why. Trump knows he’s losing — that’s why he wants to keep you from voting. That’s the threading of the needle.

And then the third part is to not describe Trump in shorthand as an authoritarian strongman. A dictator. The people we still have a shot at persuading, who have a lingering attachment to Trump, what they’re attracted to is this lingering idea that “he gets stuff done, he doesn’t care what people think, he’s brash, he’s a businessman.” They’re attracted to a perception of strength on his part. They’re susceptible to his fear-mongering claims of law and order. Because that is the nature of the attraction, and because we want to use social proof to think this is a winnable cause and it’s worth doing, that’s why Democrats should call him a weak loser, a bumbling idiot who is trying to steal the election.

There has been some pushback to this notion that amplifying a “rigged” or “stolen” election has any effect on voter turnout. What’s your response to that?
Self-reporting on intent to vote is hard to credit. If you want to get good information about intent to vote, you have to run field experiments where you send postcards or some other intervention and then you measure actual voter registration or whether they actually voted.

Has the research you’ve done shown a negative effect?
Yes. It affects the people who don’t routinely vote. The people who are having this debate online are hyper-political people. These are people in the Twitter replies who say, “Are you freaking kidding me? Of course nothing is stopping me from voting!”

Highly motivated partisans — I’m not talking about them. I’m not worried about them. My conclusions are based on a body of research, almost all proprietary, into perception and motivation among a really challenging target, which is people who don’t regularly vote.

Now, to be clear, you’re not giving out advice to the media here about how to cover Trump’s attacks on the integrity of the election.
No. It would be nice if the media would start doing some stuff better, don’t get me wrong. That doesn’t happen to be what I’m doing at this moment. The main overarching issue, which has been the issue since the 2016 election, is Trump says X, and Democrats and progressives say, “Can you believe he just said X?” That’s the problem.

That’s a daily occurrence. A minute-to-minute occurrence.
There are infinite examples. So when he says I’m not going to step down — or the “covfefe version” of that in his garbled way of talking — instead of repeating him, Democrats should say, “Over my dead body. You don’t decide how long you’re in this job. We do.”

The overarching thing is: Let’s have our conversation. If Trump believes he’s going to block us from deciding our next government, he’s got another thing coming. We’re turning out in record numbers and this will be a government by and for the people. If he needs to be ushered out of the White House by force, and that seems to be what he’s asking for — if need be, we’ll deliver.

Why is it so hard from Democrats to wrap their minds around this?
It’s a whole bunch of things. The most apt analogy is from a friend of mine, who likens it to cats with laser pointers. Everything he does, we’re like the cat chasing the dot: The dot’s over there, now it’s over there, now it’s over there. He has a map of every single button to push and he keeps using them and we just can’t help ourselves because of just how completely and totally and horrifyingly egregious he is.

But it’s a Democratic impulse that predates Trump. Mostly, racism is the reason he was able to come into this vacuum and do what he did, but his approach as a marketer meant he was able to be successful enough to get into this position because Democrats are deeply, deeply comfortable with being against things and they are far less comfortable with stating what they’re for. The entire premise of my work is: Say what you’re for, the rest is commentary.

You’ve been critical of some of Joe Biden’s messaging in response to the civil-rights protests this summer and President Trump’s fear-mongering over “law and order.” Why?
There was a correct, necessary, and politically strategic conversation going on about Trump handling of Covid-19, the death of now 200,000 people in our country, his complete and total mishandling of everything he has ever touched and also about his egregious violations, his corruption, the illegalities in his inner circle. And then… we started talking about law and order.

I’m not saying that we Democrats and progressives could get rid of this discourse. I’m not saying that we’re in charge of everything that’s said. But we are in charge of what we say. And if you want there to be a different story, you have to tell a different story. If you’re responding to law and order — rioting is not protesting, looting is not protesting — if that’s what you’re talking about, that’s what’s coming to your mind. You’re reinforcing what they’re saying.

In the testing I do, what I see is for people on the fence and who want an authoritarian president, they’re not going to want the B-minus version. Among our more important targets, what I like to call the high-potential voters, you’re making them completely and totally despondent because they actually care about racial justice and police reform and are the ones that are in fear for their lives. It’s just an all-around miss.

How would you advise Biden’s campaign on the law-and-order issue?
You’re not condemning the violence, left-wing agitators, any permutation of that question. What I would say is, “Look, no matter what we look like, where we come from, most of us just want to make it through our lives not fearing for our loved ones.” We see, time and again, how police target and even kill black people. And we see a movement rising up to demand liberty and justice for all, a cry that is as American as anything else about this country. And as people have taken to the streets to demand justice that’s long overdue, we see Trump doing what he’s always done from the moment he came onto the scene, which is try to divide. He’s trying to point the finger, he wants us to point the finger at anyone but him: at mayors, at China, at new immigrants, at black people. He’s hoping we’ll look the other way and distract us from his failures to prevent Covid, from his corruption, and from his crimes. We know that by coming together across race and place that we actually can deliver justice and we know that it’s seeing past these attempts and delivering every single thing our families need.

There’s an overarching architecture to the message that we see over and over again. The first sentence is not a problem statement, the first is an overarching value.

Why is it important to start a statement like that with a value?
You want to call people into their higher angels. Here’s a principle that you want to believe that you believe in. Here’s how it works. Here’s this thing happening today that is making this principle impossible. Would you like to resolve that dissonance?

What Trump and [Brazilian President Jair] Bolsonaro and [Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor] Orbán do, what right-wing populists do, is divide and conquer. If they have us pointing our finger at Romas in Europe, or refugees in the U.S., or rioters and looters here which is racially coded language for black people, we’re not pointing our finger at them. When Democrats take the bait and say, “We also condemn rioters and looters,” they’re lending credence to this idea and shifting the villain.

And if the Biden campaign or other Democrats say we need to condemn the rioting and looting to win over independent voters or independent women voters — the so-called middle — how do you respond?
If your words don’t spread, they don’t work. If your base isn’t willing to spread your message, it is not persuasive, because the middle isn’t going to hear it.

Democrats have a fundamental misunderstanding of the middle. It’s not just true in the U.S. but true in left and center-left parties in Australia and the U.K. and in parts of Europe. There’s this idea that we move into the middle and then we get more people. That is actually not how people come to political judgement and specifically it’s not how the “middle” works. The way the middle works, they’re by definition non-ideological and don’t have firm positions. If they did, they wouldn’t be the middle. If they had really, really strong views on immigration, they would with them or they would be with us. If they have a strong view about the flat tax or progressive taxation, they would be with them or they would be with us.

You’re not critiquing Joe Biden because you fundamentally dislike him, right? It sounds like you’re critiquing him because you want him to win.
I’m a Democrat! Do you know what I’m saying? I’m not Ralph Nader, and I’m not Jill Stein. I believe that we can win, I believe that we must win, and I believe deeply in the work that’s happening among local organizing groups in battleground states. I think that’s’ where the action is, and where the moral center of our party is.

I’m critiquing Joe Biden because I desperately want black voters in Milwaukee and Philadelphia and swing voters to vote for him. This calculus that we’re gonna chase after the man or the woman at the diner in some part of the Midwest, and the way we do that is by abrogating your values and genuflecting at the altar of law and order… That approach not only depresses the base, it also does not persuade anyone.

The biggest reason is fear. When you are terrified, you cling to what you know. You cling to what’s familiar. And you try to triangulate your way into some sort of pretzel that you think is going to be palatable enough to some people to eke out over the line. When in fact what you’re doing over time is cementing the conservative worldview — and you’re not winning. That’s the saddest part: It doesn’t even work strategically, forget morally.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

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The Advantages of Online Casino Welcome Bonuses

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When it comes to online gambling, the industry is thriving in 2020. Although casinos are banned in many countries, people still find ways to enjoy their favorite games of chance. However, considering the level of competition on the market, it may be difficult for a beginner to find a good online platform and take advantage of all offers. In this article, you will learn the benefits of casinos’ welcome bonuses.

What Is a Sign-Up Bonus?

As we have already established, the industry is growing rapidly and companies are desperately looking for new ways to attract customers. A welcome bonus is often used by online casinos to get new leads and players in the future. However, the best casino bonuses can be easily used to the player’s advantage. Here are the main reasons you should not neglect this offer.

  1. It saves your money

Quite obvious, right? Well, this is the main reason why you should always use welcome bonuses in online gambling: it is always better to not risk your own money. It is especially true for beginners. Since they have no experience, it is fairly common for beginners to lose their initial investment and be done with gambling for good. However, if you use your welcome bonus as a way of getting the basics skills, the chances of success will rise significantly.

  1. It allows you to try several games

Another common issue beginners face is a lack of understanding of which types of games they want to try: slots, roulette, baccarat, blackjack, etc. If you use your sign-up bonus, you will be able to play several games and choose the ones you like better. Moreover, you can take advantage of a welcome bonus on several online gambling platforms. That way you will try out even more options.

  1. It will make future gambling more profitable

Besides beneficial sign-up bonuses, good online casinos usually have great loyalty programs. For instance, the company may double up to five first deposits on the platform. If you invest 100 USD, you will get 200 USD to your account. More money — more games — more chances of winning.

Although a welcome bonus is a great way of upping your gambling game, there are a few things you should pay attention to. Firstly, a good bonus does not equal a good platform. Before choosing a casino, make sure that the company is legal and trustworthy. Since there are many scams right now, it is essential if you want to save your money. Moreover, check the available deposit/withdrawal methods and their terms.

We hope that this article has shown the true power of online casinos’ welcome bonuses and how you can use them to your own advantage. Follow our tips while choosing a platform and enjoy the best gambling experience.

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3 Key Mistakes to Avoid When Playing Blackjack

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Blackjack is the most popular casino game in the world. The card game, sometimes referred to as ‘21’, accounts for an average of 31 percent of all casino table traffic – this is consistent both online and in physical casinos. For reference, the second most popular is roulette (24%) followed by poker (21%).

It’s easy to understand blackjack’s popularity. It’s a simple game to grasp and offers players a mix of luck and skill: luck in the cards that are drawn, skill over how those cards are dealt and a player’s eventual hand. Compare that to roulette, which is based entirely on luck, and poker, which has a huge skill element to it.

However, while the beauty of blackjack is in its simplicity, there are also a number of complexities to the game, and as is the case with almost anything in life, you learn more from mistakes than successes.

With that in mind, here are three key mistakes to avoid when playing blackjack that can significantly increase your chances of winning, while limiting your losses.

Choosing the Wrong Table

Before a single card is drawn, being at the wrong table – whether live or online – is the first mistake to avoid.

First of all, each blackjack table will have different minimum bet requirements so avoid choosing one that is out of your budget. For instance, if you choose a table with a $100 minimum bet and your budget is $200, you might only play two hands.

Secondly, check the payout odds on the blackjack table. These are typically 6:5 and 3:2 and will affect how much gets paid out when you hit blackjack and land other bonus wins. Where possible, choose a 3:2 table as it pays out higher.

Thirdly, choose between a virtual and a live table. This is not so much a mistake to avoid but more comes down to personal preference. Virtual tables allow players to play against an automated computer, so you can play at your own pace, while live tables are usually quicker paced as human dealers are keen to move the game along.

When to Hit and Stand

As a general rule, most blackjack players know to hit when the hand is 12 and to stand when the hand equals 17. However, there are plenty of variables to consider that could influence when to hit and stand. Getting these right can really boost your chances of beating the house, while getting it wrong could prove costly.

One key move to implement is to always hit on a soft 17 – when the two cards are an ace and a six. This means that if you draw a 10 or picture card (jack, queen, king), then you convert your hand into a hard 17. It also gives greater flexibility if you draw a smaller value card as the ace can be used as a one.

While many players adopt a strict ‘never bust’ policy, meaning they always stand when their hand equals 12 or more, this can be ill-advised as it depends almost entirely on the dealer going bust.

Instead, analyze the value of your two cards compared to the dealer’s first card and weigh up the risk factor in drawing another card before the dealer draws their second. As a strict rule, if your first two cards equal 17 or more, then stand – anything else can be hit depending on the situation.

When to Split and Double

If you are playing in a blackjack tournament, either online or live, learning when to split and double can make all the difference to your chances of success. The same also applies to individual games of blackjack.

Click here to check the best tips on blackjack tournament strategies: https://extra.betamerica.com/casino-news/blackjack-tournaments-rules-strategy-and-where-to-find-them/

Splitting is when you split two cards when dealt the same value cards, so a pair of eights for example. Doubling is when you are given the option to double your bet after being dealt your initial two cards.

While it can be tempting to split and double at every opportunity to increase your winning, doing at the right time is the key.

It is not recommended to split when:

  • You are dealt two picture cards or two 10s
  • You are dealt two 9s
  • You are dealt two 5s
  • The dealer holds a 10 or picture card

It is best to split when:

  • You are dealt two 8s
  • You are dealt two aces
  • The dealer holds a 5 or 6 (as this is the highest probability of a bust)

Similar to knowing when to hit and stand, take a brief moment to assess the dealer’s drawn card compared to your own two cards and determine whether the probabilities are in your favour.

Likewise, knowing when to double down – when not to double down – can change the complexities of your blackjack game. A simple rule to know when to double is if your two cards equal 10 and the dealer’s card is between 2-9. Additionally, if you hold an ace, you can consider a double as these have the flexibility of playing as 11 or 1. But if the dealer’s card is an ace, ignore the double.

Conclusion

Blackjack may be a simple game but there are some important strategies to keep in mind next time you head to the virtual or live table. The game itself is still rooted in luck so there are never any guarantees to long-term success. However, by keeping these three important rules in mind, you can at least avoid making avoidable mistakes.

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Top 5 Entertainment Activities for College Students

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The life of college students is sometimes too complicated. They have to face tons of homework assignments that steal their time. Many students get stressed because of continuous learning. They seem to forget how to relax. If you’re a busy student, you should remember that you’re still young and shouldn’t waste this precious life stage. You can undertake some entertainment activities sometimes. Take your friends and organize funny games to unwind and let off some pressure. We asked writing experts from a professional essay service Smart Writing Service to share their ideas and provide you with top-5 entertainment activities for college students you may like. 

Who Are You?

Students, especially freshmen, don’t know each other perfectly. They may be taken by surprise when some of them tell something quite unexpected about their hobbies, preferences, and so on. If you want to know other students better, suggest playing a game called “Who Are You”.

Form at least three teams. If there are many folks, you can form more teams. Choose a speaker of the game. It may be even one of your teachers or professors. All groups will be given topics to discuss. The speaker is supposed to announce a new topic every few minutes. You may discuss and answer the following topics:

  • What is the greatest challenge you are facing?
  • What do you like or hate most about yourself?
  • What is your greatest value in life?
  • What emotions do you express easily?
  • What is the most valuable thing in friendship?
  • Who you want to become in five years?
  • What is your major objective for next year?
  • Is there something you want to improve about yourself?
  • What motto do you try to live by?
  • Where would you like to travel?
  • If you were to study abroad, what country would that be?

Students should write their answers on index cards. The speaker should gather the answers of every student and shuffle them. Afterward, he/she redistributes them randomly to students. Each person should guess whose card he/she is holding. Play this game after you spend some time together and already know at least something about one another.

Sentence Completion

Another fun activity is “Sentence Completion.” Most people like it because it’s commonly accompanied by laughter and good mood. It’s necessary to prepare a list of sentences. Those sentences should have a beginning, but with no end. Every student should finish the sentence he/she gets. Oftentimes, students give funny answers. At times, they are quite serious, and we can learn something important about other students. Here are several sentence beginnings you may choose:

  • Before I came to college, I was interested in…
  • When I was a child, I wanted to become…
  • The best moment I remember most about high school is…
  • My favorite pet is…
  • The things I value most are…
  • Five years from now I hope to be…
  • My greatest personality trait is…
  • My favorite subject at high school was…
  • If I could change one thing in the world, it would be…
  • My greatest fear is…
  • After I graduate from college, I…

The Reception Line

You may likewise try another entertaining activity for college students. It is called “The Reception Line.” Gather all the mates eager to participate. Divide yourselves into two groups. If you form more, it won’t fit the rules of the game. Each person talks to the person in front of him/her until he/she must move. The person at the end of one line goes to the end of the other line. This method makes it possible to meet new people. Thus, students will learn more about each other. You can make shifts every next topic or set a limit. For example, the pair should discuss 5 topics and afterward move to change partners. Here are some interesting topics to discuss:

  • Where would you like to travel?
  • What motto do you try to follow?
  • What is your favorite movie?
  • What music do you like?
  • What is your favorite hobby?
  • Why did you choose this college?
  • What do you like about college life the most?

Take Sides

You can likewise suggest a game, which offers only two options. It’s called “Take Sides.” Create a list of questions with two answers. Students should obligatorily choose one of them. Afterward, you may discuss the answers. Let everyone explain his/her choices. Thus, you’ll learn more about each other, and it will bring you closer. Here are several suggestions:

  • Watermelon or banana?
  • Sweat or bitter?
  • Short trips every weekend or a journey around the world for three months?
  • Partying or hiking?
  • Listen or speak?
  • Rock or pop?
  • Morning or night?
  • Superman or Batman?
  • Robocop or Terminator?
  • Harry Potter or the Lord of the Rings?
  • Los Angeles or New York?
  • Liberal or conservative?
  • American football or ice hockey?

My Most Embarrassing Moment

You can likewise tell each other about the most embarrassing moments. It’s important to be honest and don’t imagine a story that never took place. All the participants should agree on this term. Commonly, it is a very entertaining activity. Students tell funny stories they’ve been through. It commonly makes them closer.

These activities for college students are very simple to follow. They are really entertaining. Mind that we have mentioned only 5 of them. However, you can try a hundred activities more. Use our examples to have fun and relax. They may inspire you and your friends to look for other entertaining activities.

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