mykeystrokes.com

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

“Sanders Must Level With His Young Voters”: The Fickleness Of The Youth Vote Has Been The Bane Of Progressive Politics

What happened in the South Carolina primary? Bernie Sanders was asked. “We got decimated, that’s what happened,” he responded.

Here was Sanders at his best. Brutally honest. Averse to spin. Though the independent from Vermont vows to fight on, his lopsided loss in pivotal South Carolina makes his prospects for winning the Democratic nomination increasingly slim.

The question for progressives is: What happens to his passionate followers in the event he leaves the race? Or more to the point: Is there a way to keep his ardent fans ardent about participating in the electoral politics? Will they keep voting when the candidates are less charismatic, when the election’s not in a big-deal presidential year, when the solutions are muddied in the reality of two-party politics?

Sanders’ feat in electrifying younger voters has been extraordinary. And that extends to his success with many young Latinos and African-Americans, whose elders went overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton.

But the fickleness of the youth vote has been the bane of progressive politics. It is why the right wing controls Congress.

In 2008, a political rock star named Barack Obama energized the young electorate with talk of radical transformation. The voters’ idealistic fervor helped sweep him into office and expanded the Democratic majority in Congress.

The economy was in free fall. But in the first two years of his presidency, Obama helped steer America from the precipice of another Great Depression — plus he pushed the passage of the Affordable Care Act, bringing health coverage to millions of uninsured Americans. It was hard work, not magic, that accomplished these remarkable things.

Many of his younger voters, led to believe in Technicolor miracles, were unimpressed. The 2010 midterms came around, and they stayed home. Not so the older tea party Republicans, who despised much of what Obama stood for.

Here’s the thing about these right-leaning activists: Sometimes they have a candidate they adore. Sometimes they don’t. But they vote. They vote in presidential years and in non-presidential years, when the public isn’t paying much attention. They vote for the state legislators who usually end up creating districts that favor their party’s candidates.

So as older conservatives marched to the polls, many young liberals did a vanishing act. Having represented 18 percent of the electorate in 2008, voters under the age of 30 accounted for only 11 percent in 2010, their poorest performance in two decades.

Democrats suffered devastating losses, and progressive priorities went into the deep freeze.

It’s true that younger Americans tend to move more often, and that complicates the process of registering to vote and finding the polling place. But still. The youth turnout in the 2014 midterm was even more dismal than in 2010 — actually, the lowest in 40 years.

It is the nature of liberal politics to be cerebral, and with that comes the “critique.” Rather than marvel that near-universal coverage happened at all, prominent voices on the left attacked the reforms as a surrender to business interests. They bashed Obama for not slapping more cuffs on the Wall Street operators.

These complaints were not without merit, but politics is always a work in progress. One keeps plugging away.

Sanders is a no-excuses type of guy. He’s in an especially strong position to do some truth-telling to the young electorate that has rallied to his cause. If they think that the economy is rigged against them, they have to vote out the politicians who have done the rigging. They must play the long game.

One politician’s magnetism isn’t going to do it. Just ask President Obama.

 

By: Froma Harrop, The National Memo, March 1, 2016

March 4, 2016 Posted by | Bernie Sanders, Midterm Elections, Millennnials | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Marco Rubio Is Right: Donald Trump Is A Con Man”: The Key To The Donald’s Success Has Always Been A Gullible Public

Even now, as Republicans mount a last, desperate attempt to stop Donald Trump, they have to do it on his terms, not theirs.

They tried saying he wasn’t conservative enough, because, they thought, isn’t that what we’ve been arguing about for the last few years? Who’s a real conservative and who isn’t? But it turned out that while ideology matters a great deal to the elite, it’s less important to the rank and file, and it doesn’t matter at all to the plurality of Republican voters supporting Trump. Then they figured he might just implode on his own, so nobody bothered to dig up the dirt that would arm them against him. Despite the fact that there surely is plenty there.

It was the South Carolina primary that finally made Republicans realize that everything they had been doing when it came to Trump was wrong. It wasn’t just that he won, it was that he won after a debate in which he actually—brace yourself—criticized George W. Bush for not stopping September 11. Jaws hung slack as one of the most critical conservative taboos was violated, and someone calling himself a Republican mocked the idea that Bush “kept us safe.” Then Trump won South Carolina anyway, and won Nevada to boot.

After that, Marco Rubio obviously decided that the only way to beat Trump was to be Trump, or at least a somewhat less compelling version of him. So the guy who had touted himself as knowledgeable, smart, and serious went out and started tossing personal insults at Trump, with all the cleverness of your average fifth grader. “Donald Trump likes to sue people,” Rubio said. “He should sue whoever did that to his face.” Zing! Trump replied that Rubio isn’t smart enough to get into the University of Pennsylvania, where he went to school. Zap!

Ladies and gentlemen, this is your Republican Party. Abraham Lincoln would be so proud.

But in the back-and-forth, Rubio may have come upon an attack that might lead some people to reconsider their support of Trump: that he’s a con man.

At the moment, Rubio is making the case through the story of Trump University, which does indeed appear to have been a con. People desperate to change their financial circumstances were roped into seminars on the belief they’d be learning Trump’s real-estate secrets, when in fact, “The contents and materials presented by Trump University were developed in large part by a third-party company that creates and develops materials for an array of motivational speakers and seminar and time-share rental companies,” according to a lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Once they had you there, they’d tell you that to learn the real secrets you’d have to pay for a higher-level (and of course even more expensive) seminar. And the instructors “urged students to call their credit card companies during a break in the sessions, requesting increases to their credit limits.”

While Trump University may be the clearest example of a con game Trump has established, is it really that far from Trump Steaks, Trump Vodka, or the Trump presidential campaign? Trump’s business these days is less about real estate than it is about monetizing his brand. Here’s the model: Take a crappy third-rate product, slap the name “Trump” on it, and hope that rubes who are blinded by the big plane and the gold-plated furnishings will think they’re buying success.

But the idea that Trump is a con man isn’t potent simply because it’s true. Like the most successful campaign messages, it not only tells you something about who the candidate is, it tells you something about who you are if you vote for him.

The best presidential campaigns have always done this. If you voted for Richard Nixon in 1968, you were part of the Silent Majority, the ones who were sick and tired of hippies and protesters and the degradation of their society. If you voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980, you were optimistic and confident, ready to march into an American future that would be just like the past, only even better. And if you voted for Barack Obama in 2008, you were young, hip, creative, multicultural, open-minded, and future-oriented.

The story Trump tells is that his voters are fed up with losing, angry at the idiots in Washington, and ready for a strong leader who can kick the stuffing out of all the immigrants and foreigners keeping us down. But there’s another story you can tell about them: They’re marks. They’re losers. They’re suckers.

Every con man needs suckers, after all—the people who are gullible and dumb enough to turn over their money (or in this case their votes) to the one doing the conning. But a sucker is the last thing anyone wants to be.

The trouble is that America is full of suckers. We’re a nation of people who pay money to have motivational speakers tell us to reach for our dreams, who buy books describing three-year-olds who got to heaven and meet Jesus on his “rainbow horse,” who also bought millions and millions of copies of The Secret, which told you that if you wanted something, like a new Hermes handbag, you just needed to imagine yourself having it and it would actualize its way to you. We’re a nation of the Puritan ethic but also of the get-rich-quick scheme, and Donald Trump’s presidential run is the ultimate get-rich-quick scheme. Just vote for Trump, and before you know it “We will have so much winning … you will get bored with winning.”

Well if you believe that, you are indeed a sucker. The problem for Marco Rubio and the rest of the GOP is that it may just be too late to make the case. Super Tuesday is this week, and Trump may deliver a crushing blow to his opponents as all those suckers come out to vote for him, ready to make America great again. How long can he keep this con going? We’re all going to find out.

 

By: Paul Waldman, Senior Writer, The American Prospect, March 2, 2016

March 3, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Primaries, Marco Rubio | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Magic Of The Granite State Has Worn Off”: Clinton Hit All Her Marks In South Carolina; Sanders Hit Almost None Of His

If the ability to break through among minority voters is the key to Bernie Sanders’s winning the Democratic nomination, there was no good news for him from South Carolina tonight. According to exit polls, African-Americans constituted a record 61 percent of voters, and Hillary Clinton won an astonishing 84 percent of them. That’s six points better than Barack Obama did there in 2008. In some demographics, Clinton’s vote was virtually unanimous: She reportedly won African-Americans over 65 by a 96-to-3 margin. Her overall 73.5 percent comfortably exceeds Bernie Sanders’s much-ballyhooed 60 percent in New Hampshire earlier this month. The states rolling up on the calendar, especially on March 1, mostly look more like South Carolina than they do New Hampshire.

Sanders did continue to win white voters (58 to 42) and under-30 voters (63-37), though the latter margin is his lowest yet among the young. He and HRC were even among white women, and Sanders did not seem to have any special appeal to non-college-educated white voters (he won white college graduates by a slightly higher percentage). Clinton handily won every ideological category, including self-described “very liberal” voters, and beat Sanders among “moderates” nearly three to one.

Although this was an open primary (actually, South Carolina has no party registration), only 18 percent of voters were self-identified independents (Sanders won 62 percent of them), and only 15 percent were first-time Democratic primary voters (Sanders won 70 percent of them). In general, Clinton hit all her marks and Sanders hit few of his own. The polls showing a late trend towards Clinton if anything underestimated its speed.

The results leave little hope for Sanders other than slow delegate accumulation in such Super Tuesday states as Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. He’ll obviously win Vermont; he has a good chance in Massachusetts, might do well in Colorado and Minnesota, and might exceed expectations in Oklahoma. But the magic from the Granite State has worn off, and with it the idea that, as minority voters became more familiar with Bernie, they’ll trend his way, too. As Nate Cohn of the New York Times pointed out on Twitter, Sanders would need to win Latinos by the same 2-1 margin Clinton enjoyed in 2008 to make up for the margins she’s achieving among black voters. That seems improbable, to put it mildly, and I strongly suspect we’ll find out in Texas next Tuesday that he’s not going to carry the Latino vote at all.

The Bern may return in full force in some heavily white caucuses on March 5 (Kansas and Nebraska), March 6 (Maine), and March 26 (Alaska and Washington), but by then we may all be talking about when, rather than whether, Hillary Clinton wins the nomination.

 

By: Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine, February 27, 2016

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

“Unsettling Paranoia”: Despite Media’s ‘Crush,’ Rubio Sees Bizarre Conspiracy

In media and political circles, it’s known as the “Full Ginsburg.” It’s when one notable public figure appears on all five major Sunday morning shows on the same day, and it’s usually reserved for policymakers at the center of major breakthroughs.

It came as something of a surprise, then, when Marco Rubio celebrated his fifth-place finish in the New Hampshire primary by pulling off the Full Ginsburg. Then seven days later, following his double-digit loss in the South Carolina primary, Rubio pulled off the Full Ginsburg again, receiving and accepting five more Sunday-show invitations.

When was the last time someone had back-to-back Full Ginsburgs? Never. Rubio, once hailed as “the Republican savior” on the cover of Time magazine, received a media reward that no American has ever received.

Had the Florida senator actually won those primaries, the media’s adulation might have been easier to understand, but remember, Rubio made 10 appearances over two Sundays after embarrassing defeats.

The reason for this special treatment is one of those things the political world tends not to talk about, though Slate’s Jamelle Bouie recently acknowledged what usually goes unsaid: “[T]he media has a huge crush” on Marco Rubio.

With this in mind, it came as something of a surprise to see Rubio on CBS this morning, complaining about an elaborate media conspiracy – to help Donald Trump. The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent flagged this bizarre quote:

“The media’s pumping [Trump] up as some sort of unstoppable force…. Unfortunately he’s being pumped up because many in the media with a bias know that he’ll be easy to beat in a general election.”

In a separate ABC interview this morning – the conspiracy is so vast, news organizations keep putting Rubio on television so he can share his conspiracy theory – the senator said the media is “holding back” its Trump criticism in order to hurt Republicans in the fall.

“It’s important for Republicans and conservatives to be aware of what is happening,” he added.

So, from Rubio’s perspective, the same news organizations that have shown him levels of affection that border on creepy are actually conspiring in secret against him. It’s all part of an elaborate media ruse to help Trump defeat Rubio in order to help Democrats.

Remember, thanks to media hype, we’re supposed to think Rubio’s the smart one in the 2016 field.

The senator’s conspiracy theory is so crazy, it’s unsettling that he repeated it out loud on national television. Keep in mind that last night, as part of the network’s debate coverage, CNN told viewers that Rubio has “new momentum.” The network made the claim before the debate, on the heels of Rubio losing the Nevada caucuses – which he expected to win – by 22 points.

This, a week after Politico published a lengthy report on Rubio’s campaign in South Carolina – the headline read, “Rubio surges back to electrify South Carolina” – that read as if his campaign aides had written it themselves.

This, nearly a month after pundits and reporters eagerly pretended Rubio’s third-place finish in the Iowa caucuses was actually a triumphant victory.

Greg Sargent recently noted that media figures are “making it absurdly obvious that they want to be able to say Rubio is rising,” prompting MSNBC’s Chris Hayes to respond, “It’s like watching parents attempt to will their toddler into doing a difficult task.”

To be sure, this isn’t unprecedented. We can probably all think of election cycles in which the media obviously adores a candidate (John McCain in 2000, for example) and obviously scorns another (Al Gore in 2000, for example). It certainly seems as if the “crush” on Rubio is real, but he’s not the first to enjoy such affections.

Rubio is, however, the first candidate in recent memory who benefits from the media’s overt fondness, but who nevertheless believes the media is engaged in a conspiracy to help one of his rivals, in order to help one of his other rivals.

Such paranoia says something unsettling about the presidential hopeful’s perspective.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, February 26, 2016

February 27, 2016 Posted by | Conspiracy Theories, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Media | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Donald Trump Is The Product Of Our Failed Political System”: Questioning The Traditional Liberal Vs Conservative Paradigm

Donald Trump’s shocking transformation from reality-show host to Republican presidential front-runner is not some random and bizarre twist of fate. It grows from the failure of our political system to adapt to demographic change, economic disruption and a reorganizing world.

Trump’s victory Saturday in the South Carolina primary appears to have cleared away the cobwebs of denial. However improbable, outlandish or frightening it may be, Trump has a very good chance of becoming the nominee. He can still be beaten, but the debilitated Republican establishment does not seem up to the task; poor Jeb Bush bowed out after winning less than 8 percent of the vote.

Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz essentially tied for second place, 10 points behind Trump’s winning 32.5 percent. Since John Kasich and Ben Carson turned out to be non-factors, the Republican race is left with three leading candidates — none of whom offers viable solutions. Trump is a wrecking ball, Cruz is a conservative ideologue, and Rubio tries to be all things to all people.

None addresses the nation and the world as they really are. Rubio promises an aggressively interventionist foreign policy of the kind that gave us more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Cruz pledges to double down on failed economic policies — deregulation, tax cuts, tight money — and turn back the clock on social changes such as same-sex marriage. Neither offers much that sounds new or promising.

So it should be no surprise that substantial numbers of Republicans are seduced by Trump, who proposes knocking the house down and starting over. His demagoguery succeeds not just because of his fame and charisma. In sometimes appalling ways, he addresses the hopes and fears of much of the Republican base.

His pledge to build a physical wall along the border with Mexico hits a nerve with white voters worried about the “browning” of the nation. His disparagement of free-trade agreements gives hope to blue-collar workers left behind by the flight of manufacturing jobs. His advocacy of restraint in the deployment of U.S. troops, even with the Middle East in flames, draws nods from war-weary military families and veterans.

And Trump’s diagnosis of what is wrong with our politics — that the politicians are bought and paid for by special interests — is essentially correct. His supporters may disapprove of his extreme rhetoric, some of which is racially tinged, but still appreciate the fact that he is beholden to no one.

Can either Cruz or Rubio stop him? It looks doubtful. Trump’s support in the party may be well short of a majority, but he is far ahead of the others. Cruz’s showing in South Carolina was a disappointment; the evangelical Christian vote, which he desperately needs if he is to stay competitive, went narrowly for Trump. Rubio would seem to have wider appeal and thus be the more potent challenger, but there is no guarantee that he will scoop up all of Bush’s support — or that of Kasich and Carson, assuming they eventually drop out. At least some of those votes will go to Trump. And perhaps most ominously for the others, a majority of Republicans now believe Trump will be the nominee.

If he is, however, his appeal to independents should be limited. The Democratic nominee — and that is likely to be Hillary Clinton, following her decisive win over Bernie Sanders in the Nevada caucuses — would begin the general election campaign with a big advantage.

To be sure, Clinton has exploitable weaknesses — notably the fact that so many voters do not consider her trustworthy. But her long record leaves no doubt that she would be a steady hand in the White House, as opposed to Trump, who would be anything but. Passionate anti-Trump sentiment could boost turnout and give Democrats a sweeping victory.

Such a result would not mean, however, that the Democratic Party has done a significantly better job of responding to new realities than the GOP has. It would just mean that most Americans believe putting someone with Trump’s views and temperament in the White House would be unthinkable.

Sanders’s core message is the same as Trump’s: that the system is rigged to favor the rich and powerful. Trump offers himself as an autocratic strongman; Sanders promises a “political revolution.” Together, they have shown that the establishments of both parties have lost touch with big segments of voters.

Many Americans seem to be questioning the traditional liberal-vs.conservative paradigm. The parties might want to pay attention.

 

By: Eugene Robinson, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, February 22, 2016

February 24, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Establishment Republicans, GOP Primaries | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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