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“Bernie Sanders’s New Plans To Win The Nomination”: Convince The Corrupt Establishment That He’s Their Man

After a less-than-super Tuesday, Bernie Sanders’s campaign faces a virtually insurmountable deficit in pledged delegates. With her blowout wins in Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio — and narrow victories in Illinois and Missouri — Clinton could lose the vast majority of remaining states and still earn the nomination. But to keep his political revolution churning as the primary shifts to friendlier pastures, Sanders needs to offer his supporters and donors some vision for how a come-from-behind win could come about.

The best one his campaign has come up with is … not great. According to Politico, Sanders’s plan is to get as close in the race for pledged delegates as possible, and then convince the very Establishment that he’s been disparaging for months to override the consensus of voters and throw the primary to a socialist insurgent.

“The arguments that we’re going to muster are going to be based on a series of facts,” Sanders campaign manager Tad Devine told Politico (emphasis ours). “People will look at different measures: How many votes did you get? How many delegates did you win? How many states did you win? But it’s really about momentum.”

The Sanders campaign is not explicitly calling for superdelegates to negate the democratic will — a notion that it recently condemned. But Devine’s emphasis on momentum implies as much. Sanders has little chance of overcoming the delegate advantage that Clinton wracked up in her southern landslides, but he has a decent shot of winning more states than the front-runner between now and the nomination. Which is why, in Devine’s view, “it’s really about momentum.”

It seems doubtful that Sanders has genuine faith in this cockamamie scheme. The superdelegate system pretty much exists to prevent the nomination of someone like Sanders, a socialist insurgent looking to chase the money lenders from the Democratic temple.

Most likely, his campaign is merely looking for any narrative that can keep its supporters mobilized from here to the convention. Even if Sanders isn’t going to be the Democratic nominee, his political revolution has plenty to gain in collecting as many delegates as it possibly can. Sanders’s surprising strength in the race thus far — and, in particular, his dominance among millennial voters — has led many pundits to predict that his social-democratic vision represents the future of the Democratic Party. The next month of primary contests looks like the most Sanders-friendly stretch of the race thus far. According to FiveThirtyEight’s demographic projections, Sanders is favored to win seven of the next eight primaries or caucuses. If Sanders wishes to demonstrate the broad appeal of his ideology, there’s little sense in dropping out with those potential victories still on the table. Thanks to his campaign’s incredible fund-raising apparatus, the democratic socialist should have plenty of cash to keep fighting, even if donations slow down in the wake of last night’s losses.

Sanders is not going to convince the Democratic Party’s elders to back the candidate with fewer pledged delegates and Establishment connections. But suggesting that such a thing might be possible will allow him to send a louder message to the party’s younger politicians and operatives: Economic populism works. Clinton, for one, seems to have heard that message quite clearly.

 

By: Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine, March 16, 2016

March 20, 2016 Posted by | Bernie Sanders, Democratic Establishment, Democratic Presidential Primaries, Hillary Clinton | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“From Reagan Democrat To Trump Republican”: It Is Way Beyond Time To Stop Calling These Voters “Reagan Democrats”

Heather Digby Parton took a look at some data from Alan I. Abramowitz, Ronald Rapoport, and Walter Stone about Trump supporters and reached a conclusion that has seemed obvious for a while now. Parton zeros in on the fact that these voters display an embrace of nativism, authoritarianism and economic populism. She adds nationalistic militarism to the list.

I guess I don’t really understand why this is such a mystery. This the profile of Republicans who used to be called Reagan Democrats. They’ve been part of the GOP coalition or more than 30 years. And their views have always been the same. Nativism/racism, authoritarian/lawandorder, nationalist/militarist, economic populists. These are blue collar white people who used to vote for Democrats until Democrats became the party of civil rights, civil liberties and anti-war protests. In other words, the party of black and brown people, gays, and feminists, globalists and critics of authoritarian police agencies and military adventurism.

After that happened Democrats remained more responsive to economic populism although they foolishly muddied their message so that their differences with the GOP were obscured. But it wouldn’t have mattered, not really. People who hold that set of beliefs are Republicans because they do not want to be in multi-racial, multi-ethnic coalition where “liberal peaceniks” and uppity feminists are equal partners. The GOP’s fundamental nativism and racism and “patriotic” militarism are the reasons they prefer the Republicans and they are the reasons they prefer Donald Trump. They love him so much because they’ve finally found someone who boldly expresses all those beliefs.

While Ronald Reagan made a direct appeal to these voters via finely-tuned dog whistles, the Republicans began wooing them to their party after passage of the civil rights laws of the 1960’s via their Southern Strategy. Because of that focus, it is tempting to assume that these voters all reside in the South. But as we’ve watched the rise of Donald Trump, it is obvious that they are also to be found in so-called “Rust Belt” states as well as the Mountain West.

Ever since the inception of the Southern Strategy, Democrats have been attempting to determine how they can entice these voters to return to their party. To the extent that their passions are ignited by Trump’s nativist, racist, sexist, militaristic appeal, it is safe to assume they aren’t coming back. That should have been clear from the fact that they were willing to remain Republican despite the fact that the GOP has never supported policies that address their economic populism. But if there were ever any doubts, it is now obvious what is driving their political leanings…it is nothing more than an appeal to tribalism.

It is way beyond time to stop calling these voters “Reagan Democrats.” To the extent that they now support Donald Trump, they make up what we often refer to as the “base” of the Republican Party – a base that has been catered to for so long that it is now threatening to take control away from people who still pine for the days when they were the party of Lincoln and Eisenhower.

 

By: Nancy LeTourneau, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, March 14, 2016

March 16, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP, Reagan Democrats | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Racism By Region”: Donald Trump And The Rise Of The New Dixiecrats

There is one man who might be able to beat Donald Trump. But it would involve amending the Constitution, exhuming former Alabama governor George Wallace and re-constituting his ashes.

The current Republican frontrunner has been able to accomplish something that Wallace, in his living days, could not. In the months since Trump announced his candidacy for the GOP presidential nomination, he has singlehandedly built a bipartisan, largely white coalition of conservatives who are attracted to his nativist brand of economic populism. For them, the fine details of actual policy proposals appear to be less important than the notion that Trump is the one who can take their country back.

Much like Wallace—who was a Democrat—and despite his inconsistencies on the issues, Trump has tapped into a reservoir of resentment. He gives voice to the grievances of his supporters in a way that no other viable candidate for national office arguably has or can. As Trump continues to intensify his rhetoric, he has revealed deep fissures between the Republican establishment and the party’s grassroots. But his support does not stop at the water’s edge.

Those measuring Trump’s electoral “ceiling” should look again. There was certainly a ceiling on how much support Wallace received nationally. And, without a doubt, there is a cap on how high Trump’s stock will rise. But Trump is getting some unanticipated help—from Democrats.

Feasting on a public mood that is strikingly similar to what fueled Wallace, backing for the billionaire businessman has crossed the partisan aisle. The Trump voter is buoyed by his proclamations that he can “make America great again.” One constant refrain is that he “tells it like it is,” a thinly veiled reference to the way Trump eschews politically correct speech and frequently deploys bigoted, divisive language.

Among his electoral strongholds are so-called “blue dogs.” According to The New York Times, Trump carries a full 43 percent of voters who are registered Democrats, but who lean to the right.  In the mold of Wallace, Trump has given rise to a modern-day Dixiecrat—only this one is not contained to the American South.

Up North, he is drawing support from “Reagan Democrats”—those who are disaffected by the broadening diversity of the Democratic Party. Reminiscent of Reagan, at least one poll shows that 20 percent of Democrats would defect and pull the lever for Trump this November.

His promises to rebuild the nation’s manufacturing base, hunt down Muslim terrorists and stop “illegal aliens” at the border have earned him deep support across the South, in rural areas in the country’s mid-section and in rusting smoke-stack cities in the North and upper Midwest. Never mind the fact that many of his proposals are unworkable and others would bust the national bank or qualify as war crimes. Trump’s “us versus them” mentality has attracted substantial support from white evangelicals and catapulted him into what is likely an insurmountable lead.

Without question, Trump has shocked the chattering class, energized his base and driven up turnout numbers in Republican primaries and caucuses. As the real estate denizen steamrolls through states like Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee on Super Tuesday, it is worth noting that he polls strongest among working class-whites who are less educated and who were the least likely to vote. His reach also extends to north to Massachusettes and his home state of New York.

Nate Cohn says it is a “familiar pattern.”

“It is similar to a map of the tendency toward racism by region, according to measures like the prevalence of Google searches for racial slurs and racist jokes, or scores on implicit association tests,” Cohn writes for The New York Times.

Trump may also be benefitting from the election of the country’s first African-American president. Once thought to be an augur of a post-racial America, the 2008 election instead gave rise to tensions thought by some to be already resolved. For some people, that clear demonstration of black voting power within the highly diverse Obama Coalition was something to be feared rather than embraced.

Wallace, a segregationist who is perhaps most famous for the assertion, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever,” would later come to rebuke that ugly ideology, but he never let go of economic populism.

However, what some political prognosticators miss about Wallace is the way in which he and his contemporaries used racial animus and economic fears to destabilize the Democratic base after the passage of the Civil Rights Acts. While Wallace never actually became a Republican himself, he helped to inspire the party re-alignment that would last for generations. That schism would become the precursor to the “Southern Strategy” adopted by Republicans to maintain national political power.

Trump appears to have taken up the mantle in a way that separates him from Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, who continue to trail him in the polls.  But even as he benefits from the old Southern Strategy built by Republicans, Trump is remaking the tactical approach in his own image. He has rejected critical elements of the modern-day conservative doctrine.

“Trump has called for abolishing the carried-interest tax loophole for hedge-fund and private-equity managers,” writes James Surowiecki for The New Yorker. “He’s vowed to protect Social Security. He’s called for restrictions on highly skilled immigrants. Most important, he’s rejected free-trade ideology, suggesting that the U.S. may need to slap tariffs on Chinese goods to protect American jobs.”

Trump’s impact on party alignment is unknowable today. But Democrats and Republicans are right to fear the result. Like Wallace, Trump is shaking the table and there is no telling where the pieces might fall.

 

By: Goldie Taylor, The Daily Beast, March 2, 2016

March 3, 2016 Posted by | Dixicrats, Donald Trump, George Wallace, Regional Racism | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“They’ll Kiss And Make Up”: Prophecies Of A Divorce Between The GOP And The Christian Right Are Very Premature

So here’s TNR’s Elizabeth Stoker Breunig with another of her provocative, eerily confident, and ultimately questionable meditations on the intersection of religion and politics. The headline she or her editors chose seems more or less appropriate to what she seems to be saying: “The Deterioration of the Christian Right Is Imminent.” Last time I wrote about one of her articles she seemed to be saying “the culture wars are over.” So it’s clear she sees a trend.

To parse her argument very succinctly (if you want the scenic tour of Bruenig’s piece, check out my colleague Martin Longman’s take at Ten Miles Square, which arrives at a similar destination by a different route), Bruenig views the rising conservative attacks on Mike Huckabee for economic policy heresy as a sign the Corporate Wing of the GOP has lost patience with the Christian Right, and is willing to do without it, substituting instead a watery commitment to Christian evangelical rhetoric they can get from any number of less troublesome presidential candidates. Bruenig hopes that in turn that the scales will fall from the eyes of true conservative Christians, who will finally realize they’ve sold their birthright for a mess of pottage and turn elsewhere–where I’m not sure–for vindication of their values.

I wish I could agree with this analysis, but it depends crucially on the belief that support for capitalism is extrinsic to conservative evangelical Christianity, and has been undertaken as part of some sort of bargain–corrupt, perhaps, but still a bargain–between the agents of God and of Mammon. If the bargain is broken by the merchants of greed, then presumably their half-willing Christian allies may bail. But from everything I’ve read and seen, the spirit of capitalism and many of its associated impulses have deeply sunk into the American Christian, and especially conservative evangelical, world view. And that’s not at all surprising, since the people we are largely talking about have in the mean time traveled from farm to small town to city to suburb, and are living lives fully integrated with the market economy and mentality. They’re as likely to object to Huckabee’s heresies on trade and entitlement as to support them.

And that leads to the other problem with Bruenig’s case: I don’t know that Huckabee’s (or for that matter, Rick Santorum’s) economic “populism” has any particular religious foundation. He’s trying to exploit a very simple contradiction between the economic views of Republican politicians and of their voters: the GOP “base” is heavily concentrated among older and non-college-educated white folks. Few of them care for “entitlement reform,” if it comes at their perceived expense, and a decent number have never supported “free trade,” either. Huckabee is clearly trying to break out of his conservative-evangelical political ghetto into a broader neighborhood of potential allies against the GOP Establishment people who rejected him back in 2008. Whether or not it works, the Christian Right has no inherent dog in this fight, and as Bruenig acknowledges, there are plenty of other candidates who are willing to check all the boxes on the Christian Right’s agenda.

Yes, as Bruenig notes, some businesses are breaking with the Christian Right on the scope of “religious liberty” laws, as are some Republican politicians. But let’s not forget that the victorious plaintiff in the most important recent Supreme Court case in this area, which expanded the ambit of “religious liberty” significantly, was the self-consciously Christian business Hobby Lobby. The Christian business Chick-Fil-A has been an enormous symbol in the culture wars. The pulpit-pounding leader of the wildly popular (on the Right) Duck Dynasty clan, Phil Robertson, called himself a “Bible-believing, gun-toting capitalist” to screaming applause this year at that libertarian-dominated event, CPAC. Huck himself is hardly William Jennings Bryan.

As Martin Longman says in the title of his post: “The Christian Right Ain’t Populist.” Nor is it uniquely represented by Mike Huckabee. Nor has it lost faith in the GOP. Nor is the GOP showing it the door.

Other than that, Breunig’s essay is, as all her articles are, quite stimulating. In this particular case, she kind of reminds me of an adult child whose parents have divorced, with one marrying someone the child regards as a despicable scoundrel. Any sign this second marriage could be on the rocks will quite rightly stir up the child’s hopes. But nine times out of ten, they’ll kiss and make up.

 

By: Ed Kilgore, Contributing Writer, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, May 14, 2015

May 15, 2015 Posted by | Christian Right, Evangelicals, GOP, Mike Huckabee | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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