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“How Sanders Made Clinton’s Win Illegitimate”: Simple Math, Clinton Has Been Inevitable Democratic Nominee Since April

OK, so the fix is in. In one sense, it’s too bad the Associated Press and the TV networks called the Democratic race for Hillary Clinton before New Jersey, California and four smaller states voted on June 7. Judging by my email and Facebook feed, this decision has inflamed the Bernie-cult’s belief that they’ve been cheated by the “establishment.”

Whatever the results, they’ve been rendered illegitimate in some eyes by the news media’s premature call. Never mind that news organizations feel a professional duty to report the facts as quickly as they are ascertained. Not much imagination is required to grasp the mischief that could result from their doing it any other way.

Never mind too that anybody who can do the electoral arithmetic knows that Hillary Clinton has been the inevitable Democratic nominee since April, when she prevailed in New York and Pennsylvania by 16 and 13 points respectively. There simply weren’t enough populous states left for Sanders to catch up—unless he could win California by an impossible 60 points.

Nevertheless, Bernie soldiered on. Doing his best impersonation of Prof. Irwin Corey, the Brooklyn-born comic billed as “The World’s Greatest Authority,” Sanders (and his advisors) began to make ever more absurd analyses of how he’d wind up on top. Like Corey, who appeared frequently with Johnny Carson on the old Tonight Show in professorial garb, spouting hilariously self-contradictory gibberish, Bernie sought to explain away electoral reality.

First came the argument that Clinton’s wins in “red state” Southern primaries shouldn’t count, because the South is the most conservative region of the country. These same strictures did not apply, of course, to Sanders’ victories among downtrodden white Democrats in the Cow States—Kansas, Oklahoma, Utah and Idaho, actually more one-sidedly Republican. Not to mention thinly-populated.

Notwithstanding the likelihood that several Southern states could be in play come November, as Kansas and Idaho almost certainly won’t be, his insult to African-American voters could hardly have been more ill-advised. If it was Sanders’ intention to turn himself into the white-bread college kids’ candidate, he couldn’t have done better.

It must be thrilling to be the 74 year-old Pied Piper of the campus set, because Bernie was hard at it during a recent California stadium rally. He interrupted his ritual chant about millionaires, billionaires and Wall Street to favor the crowd with some old-timey Marxist-style cant.

“’Any objective analyst of the current campaign understands that the energy and the grass-roots activism of this campaign is with us,’ Sanders bellowed, putting an emphasis on that last word. “Not Hillary Clinton.’”

“Objective,” you see, has always been radical-speak for “in my opinion.” Back in his Socialist Workers Party days, I’m sure Bernie won a lot of arguments browbeating people that way.

My own scientific view is that twenty-somethings go to rallies; older people vote. As New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait put it: “Energy and activism are definitely part of the election process. But the way you determine the winner is by holding elections.”

Meanwhile, instead of complaining about the complexity of election rules, Sanders would have been wiser to ignore Wall Street and billionaires for a few minutes to explain those rules to his supporters. No, you can’t vote in a New York Democratic primary unless you’re a registered Democrat. Too bad, but there it is, and it’s been that way for a generation.

Instead, Sanders and his minions went around kvetching that ineligible voters would have put them over the top. They seized upon every election glitch nationwide to complain that they were being cheated.

For example, 132,000 mostly black voters in Brooklyn somehow got left off the rolls. Bernie supporters all, his campaign would have you believe, although Sanders otherwise lost the borough 60-40—and African-American New Yorkers worse than that. Probably the voting errors hurt Clinton, although there’s no real way to know.

Chait acidly sums up the rest of the Sanders camp’s extended whine:  Bernie has won a lot of states, they say. Yeah, 20 as of this writing, exactly 40 percent of the total. With several small grazing states in play on June 7, this number will doubtless change.

No matter, in Electoral College terms, Sanders is nowhere.

The rest of it amounts to a shell game.

Chait: “Clinton has a large lead in pledged delegates, and an even larger lead in super-delegates. You could rely entirely on one or the other, or change the weights between them in any fashion, and Clinton would still win. Sanders simply refuses to accept the combination of the two, instead changing subjects from one to the other. Ask him about the pledged delegates, and he brings up the super-delegates. Ask about the super-delegates, and he changes to the pledged delegates. It’s an infinite loop of bullshit.”

First Bernie denounced “super-delegates” as an impediment to democracy; now he’s counting upon them to begin the revolution by overturning the will of Democratic voters.

Fat chance.

 

By: Gene Lyons, The National Memo, June 8, 2016

June 10, 2016 Posted by | Bernie Sanders, Democratic Presidential Primaries, Hillary Clinton | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Our Milestone Moment”: Hillary Clinton Is The Warrior Women Have Been Waiting For

On Tuesday night, after Hillary Clinton had delivered her first speech as the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, it didn’t take long for some of us expressing our joy over this historic moment to feel the burn of reprimand.

We should show more understanding toward those who are disappointed, the critics said.

We should not “rub it in.”

We were “gloating.” We were “insensitive.” We should be “more gracious.”

I leaned back from my computer in the wee hours of Wednesday morning and thought, “Why does this feel so familiar?”

It didn’t take long for me to remember. I called up the column I wrote last June after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage. The reprimands were virtually identical.

Here we are again, expected to suppress our happiness so that we don’t injure the feelings of those who see nothing to celebrate in this milestone moment of equality. I was impatient last June with this argument, and I find that an additional year of living has done nothing to temper my resolve.

We are not trying to hurt anyone with our enthusiasm, yet it is so very female to lower our voices and dim the signs of our happiness to avoid upsetting those who have no business trying to tamp us down. Let us be done with that.

It’s not that I don’t understand the pain of Bernie Sanders supporters’ wounds. Isn’t it true, after all, that what we dislike most in others are the weaknesses we recognize in ourselves? In 2008, it took me a while to bounce back from the heartbreak of Hillary Clinton’s primary defeat to Barack Obama. Let’s just say you wouldn’t have wanted to hang out with me. If that is always true of you, I can’t help you here.

In hindsight, I can see that my injury was self-inflicted, a human response to disappointment. Nobody was looking to hurt my feelings, and no one from the Obama camp felt the least bit obligated to court or cajole me out of my sour mood. The duration and course of my recovery were up to me, and by golly, I got there.

Likewise, a lot of Sanders supporters will sulk until they get bored with their grudges, and then most of them will join the fight to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office. It’s not up to me or anyone else who voted for Clinton to do the hard work of healing for them. Soul-searching is, by definition, a solo act.

Now that we’ve had a day or so to get used to the idea that the Democratic Party is about to nominate the first viable female candidate for president, it’s time to figure out what comes next.

I am delighted by the prospect of a national discussion fueled by the assumption that every issue is a women’s issue. That’s just one of the life-altering changes sweeping in on the wings of a Hillary Clinton candidacy. Another is the full stop it brings to patronizing speculation about what women — and what girls — cannot do in this world. The reality of a female president blows that door off its hinges.

On Monday, Clinton is scheduled to be in Cleveland, where I live, to emphasize the need for unity. One of her greatest challenges in this campaign is to convince white men who feel abandoned and invisible that she sees them and that she cares. So many women in America will readily believe that she does because this is a central truth of our lives, too. We care about our men, and too many of us love men who are hurting.

We also understand the enduring legacy of negative stereotypes about strong women. Too often, we are cast as everything that is now wrong with America.

Donald Trump will attempt to exploit such suspicions of us because fear is his only strategy. He is living proof that small people come in all sizes. The last thing he thinks he should have to do is compete with a woman. He is the bully we know, the giant boor we’ve been trying to topple for much of our lives.

At the risk of sounding joyful, I think Hillary Clinton is the warrior we’ve been waiting for.

 

By: Connie Schultz, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Columnist and Professional in Residence at Kent State University’s School of Journalism; The National Memo, June 8, 2019

June 10, 2016 Posted by | American History, Hillary Clinton, Women | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Republicans Have Crippled The Supreme Court”: America’s Highest Court Is Under Severe Strain Because Of The GOP

This is what a broken Supreme Court looks like.

Three weeks before the official end of the 2015-16 term, there are 22 cases still outstanding. On Monday, with several high profile cases eagerly anticipated by court-watchers, the Court only announced two relatively minor opinions. It looks likely that the Court will need to extend its own deadline.

And then, on the same day, the bizarre news that, Oops, one of the two issues the Court said it would hear in a death penalty case next fall – it won’t actually hear.  Never mind!

That kind of sloppiness is rare.  On the merits, it’s not that important, but procedurally, it’s a highly unusual screw-up.

It’s impossible not to see these events in the context of a short-handed Court, now four months without its full complement of judges, doing its best to stay on top of things.  And not always succeeding.   All of this, of course, is due to the completely unprecedented stonewalling by Senate Republicans of a perfectly qualified candidate to fill that vacancy.

In recent weeks, there have also been more subtle, but more destructive, consequences of the Senate’s oath-breaking, Constitution-scorning inaction.

Last week, the liberal advocacy organization People for the American Way published a report analyzing the effects of two tie decisions that have come down since February.  In one, the Court left in place a split between the Sixth and the Eighth Circuits regarding spousal guarantees for bank loans.  Despite all the resources invested in resolving this legal issue, federal law now remains uneven; requiring such guarantees is legal in some circuits, illegal in others.  To be sure, bank loan guarantees is not a high-profile issue, but it is one that affects thousands of people every year.

More politically charged was the Frierichs case, which the Court left unresolved on March 29.  That case was about whether public-sector unions could require non-union employees to pay a “fair share fee” to pay for collective bargaining and other costs.  Without such fees, progressives argue, the unions might go out of business, ultimately hurting employees.  With them, conservatives complain, they compel public employees to effectively join a union and support its political activities; that violates the First Amendment.

Who’s right?  The Court was deadlocked, so we don’t know the answer.

Then there are the cases like Zubik v. Burwell, in which the Court, rather than decide a contentious issue about religious exemptions and Obamacare, proposed and ordered its own makeshift compromise, resolving the particular dispute but leaving key questions unresolved about religious exemptions, which is driving controversies in North Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Indiana, and around the country.

It’s also quite possible the Court will either deadlock or punt on some of the major cases remaining this term, including Whole Women’s Health, a case about Texas’s abortion restrictions.  Assuming Justice Kennedy votes to uphold the regulations, that will place the Court in a 4-4 split, and leave the Fifth Circuit’s decision – which mostly upheld the restrictive rules – in place.

But here’s where it gets even more complicated.  Last June, the Supreme Court placed an injunction on enforcement of the law, pending the outcome of the case.  So what happens if the Court deadlocks?  Is that an “outcome,” or no outcome at all?

Functionally speaking, allowing the Fifth Circuit opinion to stand means the Texas law is Constitutional.  And that, according to experts, would require the majority of abortion clinics in Texas to close. A 4-4 decision may sound like a tie, but there’s no tie when it comes to those clinics, and the women who use them.  They’re either open or they’re closed – and it’s not at all clear why one side should prevail in a tie.

Worst of all, this supreme dysfunction may become the new normal.  As Laurence Tribe and Joshua Matz wrote recently in the Washington Post, it’s quite plausible that confirmation stonewalling will become commonplace anytime there is divided government in Washington.  It’s not as if the Democrats are just going to forgive and forget – they’ll fight fire with fire.  (This, incidentally, is one of many reasons Fred Barnes’s ludicrous celebration of the anti-Garland stonewall was so myopic.)

And it’s not even just the Supreme Court; as we reported earlier, the Republican-created “judicial emergency” extends to lower courts as well, with a record number of vacancies going unfilled.  Mainstream GOP leaders may be criticizing Donald Trump for attacking a Mexican-American judge, but they are attacking the entire judicial system.

So this is what a broken Supreme Court looks like: behind schedule, making careless mistakes, deadlocking, contorting itself to achieve consensus, and sometimes failing to fulfill its Cconstitutional responsibility to maintain the rule of law.  Senate Republicans have acted like the Garland stonewall presents just a small inconvenience in the service of “letting the people decide.”  But in fact, it is a full-on fiasco.  Its only positive outcome would be the generation of enough rage to throw the bastards out.

Several years ago, a judge wrote that when, as in cases of recusal, “The Court proceeds with eight Justices,” it “rais[es] the possibility that, by reason of a tie vote, it will find itself unable to resolve the significant legal issue presented by the case” and “impairs the functioning of the Court.”

That judge was Justice Antonin Scalia.

 

By: Jay Michaelson, The Daily Beast, June 7, 2016

June 10, 2016 Posted by | Judicial System, Republicans, U. S. Supreme Court | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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