mykeystrokes.com

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

“An Infinite Loop Of Bullshit”: Bernie Sanders Has Some Strange Ideas About Why He Deserves The Nomination

The season-finale episode of Saturday Night Live imagines a bar-stool conversation between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in which the two candidates bond over Sanders’s stupidity in refusing to attack Clinton, and Clinton having rigged the primary system. (Clinton: “Remember all those states like Wyoming where you beat me by a lot, but I still got most of the delegates?” Sanders: “That was so stupid! It’s rigged!” Clinton: “I know. It’s so rigged!”)

The system isn’t rigged. Clinton is going to win the nomination because she has won far more votes. She currently leads with 55 percent of the total vote to 43 percent. That’s fairly close for a primary, but it’s not Bush-versus-Gore close. It’s not even Bush-versus-Dukakis close (the 1988 election, widely seen as a landslide, was settled by less than 8 percent). Clinton’s lead in pledged delegates is proportionally smaller than her lead in total votes because Sanders has benefited from low-turnout caucuses. Yet Sanders has enjoyed astonishing success at framing his narrative of the primary as a contest that, in some form or fashion, has been stolen from its rightful winner. His version of events has bled into the popular culture and fueled disillusionment among his supporters.

Sanders initially discounted Clinton’s success as the product of “conservative” states, which is a technically accurate depiction of the states as a whole, but not of the heavily African-American Democratic voters in them who supported Clinton. As Sanders has continued to fail to dent Clinton’s enormous lead in votes and delegates, his campaign has devised a series of increasingly absurd formulations to defend its theme that Sanders, not Clinton, is the authentic choice of the people.

  1. The activists love Bernie. “Any objective analyst of the current campaign understands that the energy and the grass-roots activism of this campaign is with us,” Sanders said recently. “Not Hillary Clinton.” But that’s not how you decide elections. Energy and activism are definitely part of the election process. But the way you determine the winner is by holding elections.
  2. Bernie has won more a lot of states. Sanders’s “top advisers” tell Politico that he will make “an aggressive pitch” for his nomination because Sanders “will be able to point to victories over Clinton in more than 20 states.” There are two problems with this pitch. First, unless you’re really into states’ rights, the number of states won is not a terribly useful metric — Sanders has done disproportionately well in low-population states, while Clinton’s supporters are concentrated in larger states. That is hardly a democratic basis to award him the nomination.

Also, 20 states is definitely less than half of all the states.

  1. Pledged delegates don’t count because of superdelegates. When presented with Clinton’s insurmountable lead in pledged delegates, Sanders notes dismissively that pledged delegates alone are not enough to win (i.e., “Hillary Clinton will not have the requisite number of pledged delegates to win the Democratic nomination at the end of the nominating process on June 14. Won’t happen. She will be dependent on superdelegates.”).
  2. Superdelegates also don’t count because of pledged delegates. The superdelegate system, he has charged, “stacks the deck in a very, very unfair way for any establishment candidate.” Or, alternately, “The media is in error when they lumped superdelegates with pledged delegates. Pledged delegates are real.”

The nomination is won by adding up pledged delegates and superdelegates. Clinton has a large lead in pledged delegates, and an even larger lead in superdelegates. 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 superdelegates. Ask about the superdelegates, and he changes to the pledged delegates. It’s an infinite loop of bullshit.

Sanders deserves some sympathy. He set out to run a message campaign to spread his ideas. At some point, the race became quasi-competitive, and he discovered that he needed a competitive rationale in order to make the news media cover it, and as he has failed to gain ground, his competitive rationale has gone from strained to ludicrous. Meanwhile, his message has attracted fervent supporters who like him so much they actually believe his crazy process arguments.

 

By: Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine, June 6, 2016

June 8, 2016 Posted by | Bernie Sanders, Democratic National Convention, Hillary Clinton | , , , , , | 4 Comments

“The White Entitlement Of Some Sanders Supporters”: If You’re Young, White And Privileged, You Don’t Expect To Lose

“Killary Clinton is stealing the nomination and the system is rigged against Bernie Sanders,” said the two young white guys standing behind me in line. They rambled incessantly about how she was cheating and could not be trusted. Superdelegates were their greatest frustration. Unelected delegates who could “decide” the nomination proved that the process was a sham that was intentionally set up to prevent Sanders from winning.

At first I tried to ignore the conversation and thought they were Trump supporters (“Killary” is usually a right-wing thing). But once it became clear that these guys were Sanders supporters, I had to jump in. For years, these guys had been “my people.” I have been a fan of Sanders long before his presidential run and have made many friends due to our mutual admiration of his policies. Surely, I’d be able to have a civil, rational conversation with these guys, right?

When, I chimed in it was evident that we were speaking different languages. We agreed on most of the substantive policy issues, and I told them how I even interned for Sanders about a decade ago. We should have been able to see eye to eye, but we could not. The main source of their frustration was merely the fact that they had lost. The fact that she is ahead in the popular vote, has won more primaries and caucuses, and has earned more delegates was to them a minor nuisance. They had their absurd talking points and were unwilling to deviate into reality.

The more I reflected on them, the more I realized the key point: They felt entitled to win, and a defeat meant that someone must have cheated or that their opinions did not matter, which of course couldn’t be true. They preferred to suspend reality and fabricate injustices rather than concede that Sanders has lost fair and square.

Essentially, we disagreed on what America supposedly promised or owed us. They felt success was promised to them. The entitlement to believe that you should always win allowed them to overlook how the system in many ways has always been unjustly rigged in their favor because they’re white. I brought up race during our conversation and how I’m very aware of how a system can be rigged against you. These guys acknowledged my point, but it was obvious that this reality did not factor much into their thinking. They felt aggrieved and cheated, and that was all that mattered.

They could not understand the perspectives of blacks, Latinos and other minorities in America who are regularly treated as threats to society before their voices can be heard. We are often silenced before we even have the chance to win. And as a result, we know that losing is a reality we will confront and that success can be a difficult and long process that may only show its face in the lives of our children or grandchildren who have more opportunities because we’ve spent a lifetime fighting for positive change.

These guys could not understand this struggle. They wanted immediate success and gratification, and they were not used to things not going their way. The issues and the lives of others had become irrelevant. All they wanted was for me to agree that they had been unjustly cheated, and that “Killary” and the DNC had rigged everything against them. I could not agree, so I had to walk away.

Sanders’s message has resonated mostly with a younger, predominantly white electorate like those two guys. Their message and frustrations have been heard loud and clear, but their electoral defeats have resulted in an intensified pack or tribalist mentality that unfortunately has similarities to the white tribalism that has guided Trump’s campaign. Sanders and Trump are mining similar disaffections amongst the white electorate.

On Face the Nation, Sanders recently attempted to pour cold water on some of the rage and rhetoric of his supporters, “I wouldn’t use the word rigged…I think it’s just a dumb process which has certainly disadvantaged our campaign.”

Trump on the other hand regularly feeds and emboldens these sentiments. He is speaking to voters like a commenter to The Atlantic whose perspective was so striking that the publication published his unsolicited comment in their Notes section, which regularly incorporates a more conversational and untraditional approach to covering the news. The commenter is a Midwestern, working-class white male in his late 30s who intends to vote for Trump if Sanders does not win the nomination because “if it is all going to be tribal politics, then well, I guess you have to go with your own tribe—if not for your sake, then for the sake of your kids.”

Sanders has broadened the Democratic electorate to include voters who may not normally participate in the primaries and caucuses, but now they need to combat the tribalism that could negatively impact Clinton and other Democrats in the general election. Sanders, unfortunately, has said that he has no obligation to convince his supporters to throw in with Clinton.

A beguiling component of Sanders’s campaign is how the unintentional white tribalism that has been forged on shared economic hardships has boosted his campaign, while at the same time rendering him unappealing to the minorities he needed to win the nomination.

Sanders’s class-based, inequality and economy focused agenda was not intended to stoke racial divisions, but even progressives are impacted by the class and race-based structures that American society has been built upon. Minorities agree with Sanders’s commitment to crack down on big banks and Wall Street, but many of the economic and social injustices we face exist on Main Street and within the police precincts that are supposed to protect us. And while Sanders may see this distinction, some of his supporters appear not to.

As an African American I could not join the tribe of Sanders’s belligerent, incensed supporters. But I should not have to as long as both they and I are committed to working together to combat structures that disenfranchise Americans electorally and economically. The fact that we could not should be incredibly disconcerting to Sanders, Clinton, and the DNC.

White entitlement is shaping up to be a critical issue during this election for both the Democrats and the Republicans. Trump and the GOP are championing the entitled white life of yore. But the Democrats have another dilemma and must figure out a way for their diverse electorate to converse and unite around the shared goals of equity and progress without the archaic divisions and privileges of the past. Thus far it looks like the Democrats and the Sanders campaign still have a lot of work to do.

 

By: Barrett Holmes Pitner, The Daily Beast, June 5, 2016

June 6, 2016 Posted by | Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Sanders Supporters, White Privilege | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Virtually No Path To 271”: The Electoral College Will Be Trump’s Downfall, Even If Clinton Falls Flat

I can say with some satisfaction that I have never underestimated Donald Trump. That’s important. While most every other pundit was writing his political epitaphs, I was predicting early on that Trump or Cruz–and probably Trump–would take the nomination over anyone in the establishment lane. (I also predicted that Sanders would do better against Clinton than most gave him credit for and for similar reasons–a prediction that also more or less came true.) Voters are angry, and angry voters usually try to jolt the system by choosing unpredictable candidates outside the status quo.

So when Hillary Clinton gives a speech to rave reviews that calls Trump “dangerous” and “risky,” I can’t help but roll my eyes. Most voters want dangerous and risky right now, or at least they want someone who won’t just keep doing the same things for the next four years that we’ve been doing for the last two decades. The differences between Bush and Obama are enormous, of course, but a great many Americans on both the right and the left want a greater range of policy options than that on offer by the centers of the two parties.

So it’s entirely possible that Trump could end up doing better against Clinton than almost anyone suspects, even without an exogenous event like a recession or terrorist attack. But I wouldn’t go so far as to predict even a decent likelihood of a Trump victory.

The problem for Trump isn’t that he couldn’t possibly win the popular vote. The problem is that he has virtually no path to 271 in the electoral college. Greg Sargent has more, cribbing from an analysis by Dave Wasserman at FiveThirtyEight:

Wasserman ran a simulation designed to calculate what would happen in 2016, relative to 2012, if whites turned out at the same rate they did in 1992, while assuming that the vote shares of every other group remain constant. The good news for Trump: This really could theoretically bring in some nine million additional white voters, which could be enough for him to win the national popular vote (again, assuming that everything else remained consistent with 2012).

But here’s the catch: Wasserman finds, remarkably, that “these ‘missing’ white voters disproportionately live in states that won’t matter in a close presidential race.” In only three battleground states — Florida, Ohio, and Nevada — would full activation of these “missing” white voters be enough to potentially make a difference. But even in Ohio and Nevada, Trump would still have to win whites by overwhelming margins to overcome Obama’s 2012 edge in those states.

Of course, even that analysis is overly kind to Trump, who has no prayer of reaching Romney’s 2012 totals among minority voters in a country that has gotten significantly browner since then.

It’s not at all clear how Trump or the GOP plan to deal with this problem. No matter how you slice it, Democrats are almost a lock to win the White House even if their presidential candidate is struggling. The blue wall remains virtually unassailable even for a Republican with some crossover appeal along race and gender lines–and Trump is definitely not that. If the election were held today, either Clinton or Sanders would demolish Trump in the electoral college in a landslide.

And about that popular vote total? That’s not looking too good for Trump, either, as the latest national poll puts Clinton up by 10 points on the presumptive GOP nominee.

That doesn’t mean it’s impossible for Clinton to lose. But it does mean that Trump would have to do something miraculous to beat her.

 

By: David Atkins, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, June 4, 2016

June 5, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Electoral Colege, Hillary Clinton | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Power Of Sisterhood”: Trump, Clinton Could Post Record Numbers With Opposite Corners Of White America

The stereotypical Donald Trump voter is a non-college-educated white man. Hillary Clinton’s base of support is much more diverse, but in terms of general election swing voters, her stereotypical voter is probably a professional white woman. Stereotypes are always over-generalizations and are sometimes misleading. But depending on how the general election develops, the impressive strength of the major-party candidates among downscale white men and upscale white women could prove to be the key match-up.

Veteran journalist Ron Brownstein looked at the internals of some recent general election polls and found that adding gender to education levels among white voters produced a shocking gap between the two candidates.

In early polling, the class inversion between Clinton and Trump is scaling unprecedented heights. In the national CBS/NYT poll, Trump led Clinton by 27 percentage points among non-college-educated white men, while she led him by 17 points among college-educated white women, according to figures provided by CBS. The ABC/Washington Post survey recorded an even greater contrast: it gave Trump a staggering 62-point advantage among non-college-educated white men and Clinton a 24-point lead among college-educated white women. State surveys reinforce the pattern. In the Pennsylvania Quinnipiac survey, Trump led among non-college-educated white men by 43 points, but trailed by 23 among college-educated white women. In Quinnipiac’s latest Ohio survey, Clinton’s vote among college-educated white women was 20 points higher than her showing among blue-collar white men.

Brownstein argues that each candidate is reaching or in some cases exceeding the all-time records for their party in these demographics — which means the gap could be larger than ever, too. What makes the trade-off potentially acceptable to Democrats is that college-educated white women are a growing part of the electorate while non-college-educated white men have been steadily declining for decades. What gives Republicans some hope is the theory that blue-collar white men, who are usually somewhat marginal voters, will turn out at record levels for Trump. Sean Trende, the primary author of the “missing white voters” hypothesis explaining a big part of Mitt Romney’s 2012 loss, thinks Trump is a good fit for these voters despite his weaknesses elsewhere in the electorate.

To be very clear: even though these two opposite corners of the white vote are significant, in the end a vote is a vote and there are many dynamics that could matter more. Most notably, if Hillary Clinton can reassemble the “Obama coalition” of young and minority voters with the same percentages and turnout numbers as the president did in 2012 or (even more) 2008, she has a big margin for error among all categories of older white voters. And within the universe of white voters, racial polarization could give Trump a higher share of college-educated voters than currently appears likely, while Democrats have high hopes of doing very well among non-college-educated white women by hammering away at the mogul on both economic and gender issues.

In the end, Democrats have won the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections and have a coalition that is growing while that of the GOP is shrinking. They also have a nominee who, for all her problems, raises far fewer worries among both swing and base voters than does the Republican.  Trump’s carefree attitude about who he offends could be more problematic in a general than in a primary election, and his disdain for the technological tools necessary to carefully target voters could prove to be a strategic handicap.

If the election does come down to a contest between women and men of any race or level of educational achievement, a Clinton victory would be not only historic, but a demonstration of the power of sisterhood against an opponent who’s a cartoon-character representation of The Man.

 

By: Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine, May 30, 2016

May 31, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, General Election 2016, Hillary Clinton | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“You Hear This One A Lot”: Is History Really Against a ‘Three-Peat’ for the Democrats?

At the end of a post listing various and sundry ways that Hillary Clinton could lose to Donald Trump in November, the Washington Post‘s James Hohmann offers this familiar “reminder”:

Don’t forgethistory is not on Hillary’s side. Since World War II, only once has a party controlled the White House for three consecutive terms. (George H.W. Bush succeeded Ronald Reagan by beating Mike Dukakis in 1988.)

You hear this one a lot. Truth is, it’s an example of a conclusion reached via taking a very small sample and ignoring the details.

The argument excludes the first post–World War II election, in 1948, since that was an election that gave Democrats control of the White House for a fifth consecutive term. There are five elections that meet the definition: 1960, 1968, 1988, 2000, and 2008. As Hohmann noted, the incumbent party won one of these, in 1988. But then the incumbent party also won the popular vote in 2000; I imagine Democrats this year would settle for that precedent, given how incredibly unlikely it is that the Supreme Court will again step in to award the presidency to the popular-vote loser. So we’re now up to 40 percent of the elections defying “history,” even if you don’t count 1948.

Democrats won in 1960 and Republicans in 1968 in two of the closest presidential elections in history. And neither victory was the product of a straightforward election following some iron law of political science. Republicans lost in 1960 in no small part because JFK attracted a very high percentage of the Catholic vote — a classic onetime event. And you may recall many crazy things happened in 1968, including assassinations, riots, and the turning point of an unpopular war.

That leaves 2008, where Republicans failed to win a third consecutive term not because history shouted “STOP,” or even because voters were naturally restless after two GOP terms. Two events always viewed as “fundamental” game-changers both occurred: a war dragging on and becoming deeply unpopular, and the economy falling apart.

So, truth be told, there’s no “normal” two-terms-is-enough pattern we can point to that makes a GOP win — much less a Donald Trump win — this November significantly more likely. But we’ll keep hearing about it. And if Clinton wins, the next time the situation recurs we’ll hear “Since World War II, only twice … ”

 

By: Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine, May 17, 2016

May 17, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Presidential Elections | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: