mykeystrokes.com

"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“Bernie Sanders’s Superdelegate Hypocrisy”: What Are Sanders’s Real Metrics For Political Success?

For months, superdelegates, or unelected representatives of the Democratic Party who have votes at the nominating convention, have loomed large as a force in the presidential primary. Hillary Clinton has dominated Bernie Sanders in “committed” superdelegates (though they can always change their vote), and Sanders and his supporters are vocal about the uphill battle they’ve faced as a result of the Democratic establishment’s pro-Clinton bias.

Superdelegates aren’t small-d “democratic.” They aren’t bound to represent the will of their state’s Democrats, and in this primary season especially, many chose a candidate to support before their state’s voters even indicated their own preferences.

Still, superdelegates know that voters see them as undemocratic: in 2008, as it became clear Barack Obama would beat Hillary Clinton, superdelegates supporting Clinton switched their vote to support him in order to keep the party united. There’s no winning a general election if you defy the will of the people.

Which is why it’s especially rich that Bernie Sanders’s campaign has begun recruiting superdelegates to challenge Clinton’s increasingly large lead.

After Sanders’s huge wins in Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii on Saturday, he went on television to make his case.

“A lot of these superdelegates may rethink their position with Hillary Clinton,” he said on CNN. After such large states had supported him in such large numbers, he went on, they should re-evaluate their allegiance.

In an interview for the Washington Post, Sanders advisor Tad Devine told Greg Sargent that “Sanders would call for this [superdelegate] switch if Sanders trailed in the popular vote and was very close behind in the pledged delegate count, too.”

But in November, Devine told the Associated Press that “The best way to win support from superdelegates is to win support from voters.”

Now who’s being undemocratic?

I support Sanders’s campaign for president. But more than that, I support the “revolution” of newly-politically engaged primary and general election voters he claimed would transform American politics into a fairer arena. If such a revolution fails to win the majority of democratically-elected delegates, and even fails to win the majority of the popular vote, how can it be said to be a revolution at all?

There’s a case to be made that Clinton’s early advantage in committed superdelegate support may have discouraged would-be Sanders supporters from voting for him, but that doesn’t seem likely: First, Sanders and Clinton have long been the only two viable Democratic candidates, so why wouldn’t primary voters choose Sanders even if they knew about Clinton’s superdelegate lead? And also, as the “anti-establishment” candidate of the pair, Sanders’s populist support has more often than not been emphasized by Clinton’s superdelegate support, not undermined by it.

The question then is: what are Sanders’s real metrics for political success? If he continues with his current delegate strategy, it seems popular support isn’t one of them.

 

By: Matt Shuham, The National Memo, March 28, 2016

March 29, 2016 Posted by | Bernie Sanders, Democratic National Convention, Hillary Clinton, Super Delegates | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Many Republicans Won’t Back Trump, And Trump Voters Hate Cruz”: Could A Downballot Wave For Democrats Be Coming?

David Brooks notwithstanding, this is not a wonderful moment to be a conservative. A new poll out of California highlights the disaster looming for the Republican Party across the nation, but particularly in blue states.

The most troubling problem is that even in a big blue state like California, Trump holds a commanding 7-point lead over Ted Cruz. As Trump will certainly hold the plurality of delegates entering the national GOP convention, Republicans are currently trying to figure out whether to back him and let come what may, or wrest the nomination from him in a brokered convention. But the brokered convention strategy relies mostly on Trump’s not reaching an outright delegate majority–a question that may not be resolved until California’s large batch of delegates is determined. If the business magnate wins big in California, he will probably reach the delegate majority he needs, crushing establishment hopes of subverting his nomination.

But the even more troubling issue for Republicans is that the party is deeply, deeply divided no matter what they do. Many moderate and evangelical Republicans despise Trump and say they will not vote for him. Meanwhile, Trump’s voters cannot stand Ted Cruz:

A quarter of California Republican voters polled said they would refuse to vote for Trump in November if he is the party’s nominee. Almost one-third of those backing Trump’s leading competitor, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, said they would not cast a ballot for Trump. Voters who back Trump, meanwhile, are critical of Cruz, with only half holding a favorable impression of him.

Much of this is probably overblown, of course: when Republicans are faced with the prospect of a Clinton or Sanders presidency, the vast majority will still hold their nose and toe the line for the GOP. But these numbers constitute an unprecedented level of disaffection with their choices. That’s understandable: many ideological and theocratic conservatives don’t feel they can trust Trump on policy, establishment and future-minded Republicans know that his racist appeals will destroy their future, even as more moderate, populist and ideologically flexible Republicans are turned off by Cruz’ oily cynicism and radicalism.

Even a modest drop in turnout by the GOP in blue states and districts could lead to a downballot debacle for the Republican Party, and could even cost them the majority in the House given a big enough wave. The Cook Political Report and other prognosticators have revised their house race projections to account for the Trump effect (and quite possibly for the Cruz effect as well.)

So far, the GOP has latched itself to the hope that even if it must throw away the presidency this cycle, it can count on control of the House, the Supreme Court and most legislatures. With Scalia’s passing the Supreme Court is lost given a Democratic win in 2016, the Senate will likely change hands, and their House majority seems set to shrink or even disappear. Many legislatures may also flip as well given a wave election.

Things can change, of course: an economic downturn or major terrorist attack could alter the landscape significantly. But as things stand, circumstances are ripe for a GOP debacle up and down the ballot.

 

By: David Atkins, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, March 27, 2016

March 29, 2016 Posted by | Conservatives, Donald Trump, Establishment Republicans, Ted Cruz | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Nuff Said”: Rogue State And Misogyny: Trump’s Foreign Policy

Since I did my due diligence and slogged through Donald Trump’s interview with the Washington Post, I have no desire whatsoever to try and get through the one he did with the New York Times. But Max Fisher did the work for me and tried his best to understand Trump’s foreign policy. Here’s the part of that analysis that stood out to me:

Trump’s favorite word in his New York Times interview is “unpredictable.”

“We need unpredictability,” he says. “Would I go to war? Look, let me just tell you. There’s a question I wouldn’t want to answer. Because I don’t want to say I won’t or I will.”

Unpredictability is central to the Trump foreign policy doctrine. So is an emphasis on zero-sum relations with all nations, a disdain for allies, a status quo position of belligerence and uncooperativeness, a strategy of using leverage and bullying to extract concessions from other countries, and an innate suspicion of the international order.

What Trump is describing, in his vision of American foreign policy, is what we might otherwise call a rogue state.

Trump’s America is, like North Korea or at times Putin’s Russia, a rent seeker leeching off the international order rather than upholding it.

Frankly, I am at a loss for words beyond that. It is incomprehensible to me that rational people would seriously consider voting for a man like that to be Commander-in-Chief. The anger/fear that drives those folks must be some powerful elixir.

Kevin Drum also waded through the interview – which was conducted with David Sanger and Maggie Haberman of the New York Times and noticed something extremely telling.

Trump spent the entire interview practically slobbering over Sanger. Haberman might as well have been nonexistent for all the attention she got and the number of times Trump interrupted her to turn his attention back to Sanger. You may draw your own conclusions.

Here’s my conclusion: Franklin Foer is right when he says, “But there’s one ideology that he [Trump] does hold with sincerity and practices with unwavering fervor: misogyny.” Nuff said.

 

By: Nancy LeTourneau, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, March 28, 2016

March 29, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Foreign Policy, Misogyny | , , , , | Leave a comment

“We Weren’t Really Trying”: Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Offers Awkward Take On State Of The Race

Presidential campaigns are long, exhausting exercises for the candidates and their teams, and the fatigue invariably leads otherwise competent people to slip up. It happens in every race, in both parties, whether things are going well or going poorly.

A few weeks ago, for example, Tad Devine, the top strategist in Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign and an experienced consultant, mentioned in passing the idea of Hillary Clinton adding the Vermont senator to the ticket as her running mate. Asked if Sanders would consider such an offer, Devine replied, “I’m sure, of course.” Soon after, Devine realized that this made it sound as if the independent lawmaker wasn’t really running to win, so he walked it all back. Staffers everywhere had a “there but for the grace of God go I” moment.

The strategist obviously just made a mistake, said something he didn’t really mean, and reversed course quickly. Today, however, I think Devine slipped up again in a way he’ll soon regret. Mother Jones reported:

“[Hillary Clinton’s] grasp now on the nomination is almost entirely on the basis of victories where Bernie Sanders did not compete,” said senior strategist Tad Devine. “Where we compete with Clinton, where this competition is real, we have a very good chance of beating her in every place that we compete with her.”

Devine named eight states where he said the Sanders campaign did not compete with a big presence on the ground or much on-air advertising: Texas, Alabama, Virginia, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, and Arkansas.

According to a report from Business Insider, Devine added, “Essentially, 97% of her delegate lead today comes from those eight states where we did not compete.”

No matter which candidate you like or dislike, I think it’s fair to say Team Sanders has generally run a strong campaign, exceeding everyone’s expectations, and positioning the senator as one of the nation’s most prominent progressive voices for many years to come. Sanders isn’t the first presidential candidate to run on a bold, unapologetic liberal platform, but he is arguably the first in recent memory to do in such a way as to position himself as a leader of a genuine movement.

But whether or not you’re impressed with what Sanders has put forward, his campaign’s latest pitch is an unfortunate mess.

As a matter of arithmetic, there’s some truth to Devine’s assessment: when it comes to pledged delegates, Clinton leads Sanders by about 250. Add together Clinton’s net delegate gains from Texas, Alabama, Virginia, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, and Arkansas, and it’s about 250.

But as a rule, presidential campaigns don’t get to lose a whole bunch of key primaries by wide margins and then declare, “Yeah, but we weren’t really trying.” If these eight nominating contests have left the Sanders campaign at a disadvantage they’re unlikely to overcome, it’s actually incumbent on his top aides and strategists to explain why they didn’t make more of an effort in these states.

It’s easy to imagine folks from Team Clinton saying they weren’t exactly going all out to win in Idaho and Utah – states Sanders won easily – but competitive candidates for national office don’t get to use that as an excuse when things aren’t going as well as they’d like.

At its root, Devine’s argument is that Team Sanders identified a series of early, delegate-rich states, but they chose not to bother with them. That’s not just a bad argument; it’s the kind of message that’s probably going to irritate quite a few Sanders supporters who expect more from their team.

Making matters slightly worse, Tad Devine’s pitch isn’t altogether accurate. In Virginia, for example – one of the eight primaries in which he says Team Sanders chose not to compete – plenty of campaign watchers know the senator actually made an effort in the commonwealth and lost anyway. The senator also campaigned in Texas, which is another one of the states Devine said the campaign wrote off.

As for the argument that Sanders wins “in every place that we compete with her,” even taken at face value, it’s not an especially compelling argument: Team Sanders made a real effort to win in states like Arizona, Nevada, Ohio, and Massachusetts, but he lost in each of them.

Don’t be too surprised if Devine walks back his comments today. It’s just not a message that does Team Sanders any favors.

Update: Devine also said the Sanders campaign chose to compete for state victories, rather than compete for delegate victories. I have no idea why the campaign would deliberately choose to compete by the wrong metric that would lead to defeat, but if I were a die-hard Sanders backer, this kind of rhetoric would be incredibly frustrating.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, March 28, 2016

March 29, 2016 Posted by | Bernie Sanders, Democratic Presidential Primaries, Hillary Clinton, Tad Devine | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Simply Has No Idea What He’s Talking About”: Trump’s Newest Dubious Boast: ‘I Do Know My Subject’

Last week, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump had a fairly long conversation with the Washington Post, which tried to explore his views on foreign policy in detail. The discussion made it abundantly clear that the GOP candidate simply has no idea what he’s talking about. It’s not just that Trump’s arguments are wrong; it’s also that he seems lost when it comes to basic details.

On Friday afternoon, it was the New York Times’ turn. Alas, it appears efforts to teach Trump about international affairs aren’t going well.

In criticizing the Iran nuclear deal, he expressed particular outrage at how the roughly $150 billion released to Iran (by his estimate; the number is in dispute) was being spent. “Did you notice they’re buying from everybody but the United States?” he said.

Told that sanctions under United States law still bar most American companies from doing business with Iran, he said: “So, how stupid is that? We give them the money and we now say, ‘Go buy Airbus instead of Boeing,’ right?”

But Mr. Trump, who has been pushed to demonstrate a basic command of international affairs, insisted that voters should not doubt his foreign policy fluency. “I do know my subject,” he said.

It’s quite clear, of course, that he doesn’t know his subject. The full transcript has been posted online, and honestly, it’s hard to even know which parts to highlight – because so much of the interview is incoherent. Andrea Mitchell noted on “Meet the Press” yesterday that Trump “is completely uneducated about any part of the world.” The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg added on “Face the Nation” that it’s “remarkable to imagine that someone who shows so little interest in understanding why the world is organized the way it is organized is this close to the presidency of the world’s only superpower.”

Trump noted, for example, that countries with “nuclear capability” represent the “biggest problem the world has.” Soon after, however, the candidate argued that the United States has to “talk about” allowing Japan and South Korea to have a nuclear arsenal of their own. He also referred to his fear of “nuclear global warming,” whatever that is.

Asked about U.S. policy towards China, Trump added this gem: “Would I go to war? Look, let me just tell you. There’s a question I wouldn’t want to answer. Because I don’t want to say I won’t or I will…. That’s the problem with our country. A politician would say, ‘Oh I would never go to war,’ or they’d say, ‘Oh I would go to war.’ I don’t want to say what I’d do because, again, we need unpredictability.”

In other words, just take a guess, American voters, before casting a ballot about the possible intentions of the country’s next Commander in Chief. Trump won’t tell you before the election, but don’t worry, he promises to be “unpredictable” – in a “winning” way.

Trump spoke with pride about his “take the oil” posture related to Iraq, but he conceded that would require deploying considerable U.S. ground troops, which he’s not prepared to do. “Now we have to destroy the oil,” he said articulating a new position.

I saw some comparisons over the weekend between these Trump interviews and the infamous Sarah Palin interview with Katie Couric in 2008. The parallels matter: both made clear that the Republican seeking national office was manifestly unprepared to lead.

But there are differences. First, Palin’s difficulties were televised, which tends to produce a different public reaction – along with excerpts that can be re-aired, over and over again, by a variety of networks – as compared to long print interviews.

And second, in 2016, it appears Trump’s ignorance, no matter how brazen, just isn’t seen as a problem among his Republican supporters.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, March 28, 2016

March 29, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Foreign Policy, International Affairs | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: