The Rest of the Night in New Hampshire

Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr, used under Creative Commons license.

More thoughts on what went down in New Hampshire:

* First, that vaguely squelchy sound you hear in the background is the GOP pooping itself because, in fact, Donald Trump is real, and he is spectacular — or at the very least, he thumped the hell out of the rest of the GOP squad in New Hampshire. He outpolled his nearest competitor John Kasich better than two to one, and beat Iowa winner Ted Cruz three to one. Trump’s gonna come out of New Hampshire like the crowing cock he is, and he’s the favorite to win the next GOP primary in South Carolina (FiveThirtyEight says he’s got a 55% chance of winning there; Marco Rubio, his nearest competitor, is at just 19%) and he’s ahead in the polls in Nevada, too, which comes after South Carolina.

This scares the shit out of the GOP establishment — as well it should — but, as I’ve noted before, the rise of a populist demagogue was exactly what the GOP has been aiming at for years. Yet again, for the people in the back: If your party spends decades undermining the legitimacy of government, and of governance, and if you sublet your messaging to radio talk show hosts and news networks whose bread and butter is making old white people scared and younger white people angry at minorities, and if you’ve pandered to that scared and angry core to continue to undermine government and governance in a distinctly non-virtuous cycle, then a populist demagogue as your party’s presidential candidate is probably inevitable.

The GOP’s misfortune is that it comes in the form of Trump, who doesn’t need its money and doesn’t care about the Republican Party in any real sense, except as a rented mule he can whip when it suits him. Billionaires are supposed to fund, not run.  Trump is vulgar and racist and generally horrible but he’s not stupid, and he understands the moment, and the movement, the GOP has provided him. The GOP establishment gave him a car that runs on vitriol. He’s going to drive it hard until it falls apart under him, and he’s not going to stick around to clean up the exploded mess. Why should he?

In short, the GOP only have themselves to blame. They asked for Trump. They’ve been asking for him for years. And here he is.

* Trump is the GOP’s fault, but the rest of the field is the GOP’s problem. Kasich put nearly all his chips into New Hampshire and got a distant second place finish as a payout, but South Carolina as I understand it is likely to be less friendly territory for a Republican who actually thinks occasionally working with the other side is a thing that might be done, and anyway he doesn’t have many chips left. Bush left New Hampshire in fourth place with a plan to have his ads target Kasich and Rubio. Rubio has a fifth place finish and a reputation as a broken machine. Cruz has a third place finish and appeals to religious conservatives, of whom there are many in South Carolina, but if the GOP establishment fears Trump, it loathes Cruz. Everyone else in the race doesn’t matter at this point.

None of the above seem to be targeting Trump very much; they’re more content to snipe at each other for the silver, which works out great for Trump. But more to the point, Trump is vulgar and racist and generally horrible, but the people who like him really like him. Who really likes Jeb Bush? Or Marco Rubio? Or John Kasich? Nobody likes Cruz, but inasmuch as no one really likes any of the remaining undercard perfomers, this hasn’t hurt him as much as it should. So Cruz keeps at it. They’re like drowning men desperately trying to push themselves up out of the water on each other’s shoulders, while Trump is in a speedboat with a model and champagne, encouraging them to kill each other and float on top of the bodies.

I don’t know what’s going to happen in South Carolina. But it’s going to be a long ten days until then.

* On the Democratic side, you know, I’m not gonna lie, I was convinced that Sanders was going to have a larger blowout than he did. Not that 60% to 38% is anything to complain about, mind you. He did great. I just thought it would be more. I think it’s because my Twitter feed is full of Bernie supporters.

In any event, it was long known that New Hampshire was Sanders territory. I think Clinton’s people didn’t do a particularly good job of framing expectations there. For example, here’s a fun fact: Clinton’s 38.3% loss in New Hampshire this year is less than one percent off from her 39.1% win of the state in 2008. So her support in the state is pretty much the same as it ever was. The differences this year: One fewer candidate to slice up the rest of the voting pie, Sanders’ “hometown” advantage, and the simple fact that people in New Hampshire, at least, were more energized by Sanders than by her.

Sanders should capitalize on his momentum because it gets harder for him from here — the Nevada caucus is a question mark (Clinton’s got a big lead there but the state hasn’t been polled since December) and FiveThirtyEight gives Clinton a 95% chance of winning South Carolina.

There’s also this:

Clinton and Sanders have roughly the same number of pledges delegates at this point, but Clinton has substantially more “superdelegates” (i.e., party bigwigs) supporting her, so she’s far ahead in the delegate count. In fact, thanks to superdelegates, Clinton comes out of New Hampshire with more delegates than Sanders currently has, even though he beat her 60%-38% in the polls.

So, yeah. Sanders absolutely should enjoy the moment. It goes uphill now, and he’s already way behind, and his big victory ironically ended up being a loss, as far as delegates go — which, for the purposes of the Democratic nomination, are the votes that matter.

* Given her structural advantages, do I think Clinton could eventually lose the nomination to Sanders? Well, I think it will be difficult for her to lose it, but then, she’s been a front-runner before and blown it, so I wouldn’t say it’s impossible. 2016 is not 2008, Sanders is not Obama (for a number of reasons), and Clinton, in my opinion, is a savvier politician than she was eight years ago. So I suspect in the end it’s Clinton. But you never know.

One of Clinton’s bigger problems is that people don’t like her, and there are all sorts of reasons for that, many of which are external to her — two decades of conservative revilement, for a start, down to the recent phenomenon of “Bernie Bros,” i.e., ostensibly liberal dudes who still think it’s fine to crap on Clinton for the unforgivable crime of being a politician whilst female. Sexism is still a thing. Sexism isn’t the only reason for people disliking Clinton — she has her faults — but it’s flat out a lie to say it’s not an overlay, just like it’s flat out a lie to argue that racism isn’t part of why Obama has been loathed by many for the last eight years. It does complicate matters.

For all that, if I were a betting sort, I’d still bet on Clinton. But again, from my point of view, whether Clinton or Sanders wins the nomination is immaterial, since both are so vastly superior to anything the GOP has on offer that I’m pulling the lever for whichever of them make it that far.

(But what about Bloomberg? He might enter the race! Sure, and if he does I’ll think about him then. Until then, I won’t).

And that’s a wrap for New Hampshire.

93 thoughts on “The Rest of the Night in New Hampshire

  1. ” If your party spends decades undermining the legitimacy of government, and of governance, and if you sublet your messaging to radio talk show hosts and news networks whose bread and butter is making old white people scared and younger white people angry at minorities, and if you’ve pandered to that scared and angry core to continue to undermine government and governance in a distinctly non-virtuous cycle, then a populist demagogue as your party’s presidential candidate is probably inevitable.”

    The last 35 years of the GOP, condensed into a single, accurate, damning sentence. Nicely done.

  2. Stick a pin in it, it’s done. I normally vote republican, but there is no way I would ever vote for that moron.

  3. I have to admit that Bernie (from a person who doesn’t pay too close attention to politics this far out from the elections themselves…) sounds like an interesting choice and has the attraction of being His Own Man (EG not beholden to large corporate donors, or so it seems) something that no other candidate can claim. So there is that. And liking Bernie is made easier by my opinion of Hillary being interested in nothing more than Advancing Hilliary’s Career In Politics and (seemingly) willing to do anything in advancement of that agenda. Not that she is different from any other politician in that, unfortunately. But the repugnance I feel for the GOPs offerings from racist sh**bags and holy rollers to people who are under-qualified to to scrub my driveway clean with a toothbrush makes voting for a democratic party nomination a no-brainer. I just wish there were some reasonable, ELECTABLE, choices at all levels of government that I could at least admire for their honesty and accept their platform even if I didn’t agree with all of it.

    But our current two party system and our stubborn acceptance of our current yes/no voting methodology make any “choices” one that Hobson would be all to familiar with.

  4. Dangnabbit I’ve lost the cite, but a couple of weeks back Charles Pierce wrote something along the lines of “Once you’ve taken out the connection between politics and people’s actual lives, all that’s left is the show. And Trump is far and away the best show on the Republican side.”

  5. Even worse for the Republicans, if someone does manage to beat Trump for the nomination, there is a better than even chance that he will decide to run as an independent. My guess is that would result in the “Republican” candidate finishing third and a Democrat in the White House.

  6. As much as I’d be pleased to see a woman in the Oval Office, Clinton comes with an awful lot of baggage, and its name is also Clinton. Also, the whole dynasty trope is wearing thin with me. Time for fresh ideas and fresh energy. #Bernie2016

  7. One of Clinton’s bigger problems is that people don’t like her, and there are all sorts of reasons for that, many of which are external to her — two decades of conservative revilement, for a start, down to the recent phenomenon of “Bernie Bros,” i.e., ostensibly liberal dudes who still think it’s fine to crap on Clinton for the unforgivable crime of being a politician whilst female.

    Hm. I think there’s a racial component to this, since at least September. A lot of people targeted by these ‘bros were people of color. And there’ve been a lot of condescending and patronizing comments toward skeptical people of color.

  8. If Bernie does well in any state that is not 99% white,he has a shot.If not, Hillary is the nominee. The real–and continuing –question is who she will be running against, if Trump implodes. Whoda thunk Kasich in NH? (arguably the Sane Choice Not Named Bush) As for Bloomburg–we could do a lot worse. He did fine by NYC, MHO. I voted for him twice.

  9. Well, I do like John Kasich … as governor of our fair state, compared to the previous couple of governors we’ve had. I agree with our host that, of the GOP slate, he’d be my choice. Makes me sad to think that, if the ballots for the primaries and general elections for President the past couple decades had provided an option to vote “None of the above,” it would probably have won by a landslide every time.

  10. Pet peeve from Otherplacia: Hillary Clinton is in no way a member of a dynasty. Shes’ part of a tag team with her husband, which is a new thing in American politics, but that’s it. The Bushes are a dynasty; the Kennedys are a dynasty; the Clintons aren’t. Especially since Chelsea has shown absolutely no interest in pursuin a career in politics.

    That said, as long as America doesn’t vote in a Republican, it’s all good.

  11. aztraph, I’ve been wondering how many Republicans like you are out there. I wonder if a significant minority will just stay home if Trump is the nominee. Maybe some of them will vote for Clinton? Or is she too despised, even by moderates?

  12. Don’t forget it is all about delegates on the GOP side as well! It isn’t “winning” the most primaries that counts, but collecting a majority of the delegates. A string of 30% victories is not going to get Trump the nomination. To get the nomination, he’s either got to start getting 51% victories, or will have to convince other delegates to switch sides.

    We could see Trump waltz into the convention with 30% of the delegates, Cruz with 25% of the delegates and yet see someone like Bush waltz away with the nomination because 70% of delegates hate Trump with passion and 75% of delegates hate Cruz with passion. Brokered conventions tend to go to inoffensive compromise candidates.

    A brokered convention would be bad for the GOP of course, but that’s what Trump is likely forcing, more than an actual Trump nomination.

  13. A blog post over at the Washington Post crystallized something for me.
    (https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2016/02/10/the-gaping-hole-at-the-heart-of-hillary-clintons-campaign/)

    What is Clinton running *for*. I get why she’d be a good President, even above and beyond that I want none of the Republican candidates anywhere near the Oval Office except on a White House Tour. I see the competency argument, in spades.

    But I get what Sanders is running for, the deep down why he wants to be President. The narrative of his run is clear. I even get what Trump is running for (as execrable as it is). Cruz, too. Even Bush although he doesn’t often seem engaged with his own narrative, and because dynastic politics are something Americans have complicated relationships with.

    But what’s the prime mover of Clinton’s run? Why does she *want* to be President, deep inside? What’s that story?

    I don’t think its a killer for her candidacy, and I will happily vote for her over her Republican opponent. But I’d like to know, what’s really its all about for her. There has to be something. No one (okay, maybe Papa Bush did) runs for and becomes President just to be an apparatchik. Gore had this problem, and it, plus 5 Supremes, cost him the election.

    I want to know what motivates Clinton, at the core, and have her share that with all of us. Sanders has that passion and shares it with everyone, it electrifies him. I want her to do the same. I don’t want her to be like Gore–a potential third term for the Democratic Party, with a murky message of her own, who winds up helping the Republicans to take the Oval Office thereby.

  14. If Bloomberg runs, say hello to President Trump. Trump voters won’t vote for Bloomberg but some D’s might.

    Don’t know the timing on the getting on the real ballot thing, but if Trump “wins” most of the Republican primaries, i.e. by coming first, and isn’t the nominee, he will throw a temper tantrum and encourage a write-in campaign, thus (hopefully) leading to a Democratic win. No way will he settle for VP.

    Bernie over Clinton, but I’d suppress my shuddering long enough to vote for Clinton, even though she is a bought and paid for big banking shill.

    My first US Presidential election – oh joy :)

  15. If it’s Trump-Sanders, Bloomberg is definitely going to get in. Bloomberg says he’s willing to spend a billion dollars — and that’s a rounding error for the guy — he’s worth north of $40B. Can he eek out a win in a few swingy soft-red/soft-blue states to eek out a win in places like Nevada, Missouri and Virginia to cause an electoral deadlock? Because that’ll be a laugh riot. (The House would still have to chose among Trump, Bloomberg and Sanders — and I assume they’d stick with Trump — but if they can’t settle — then the Senate gets to choose the Vice President from the top two (assume VP of Trump, VP of Sanders) — and that fellow takes over — what does this do for us? President Scott Brown? President Hickenlooper? I love the Constitution.

  16. I’m not as worried about Trump as the numbers suggest. Let’s say that most of the candidates drop out this week except for three. So you’ve got Trump, NotTrump1, NotTrump2. (Probably Trump, Kasich, Cruz.) Can you imagine any of the non-Trump candidates endorsing Trump as they leave the race? Or a significant number of the supporters of those candidates switching to Trump? I don’t think Trump wins races.

    The problem with this rosy scenario is March 15th. Up until March 15th, the delegates are proportioned proportionally, so all the not-Trump candidates still get delegates and can ask them to vote for the surviving not-Trump candidate. After March 15th, most are winner takes all, so even if Trump wins with only 35% of the vote he gets 100% of the delegates.

    So the field needs to winnow soon. Since third through sixth place were all so close (and second wasn’t that far ahead of third), everyone but Fiorina and Carson can tell themselves “I still have a chance”. Which is bad.

  17. from a person who doesn’t pay too close attention to Game of Thrones side of politics, I just worry that the democrats will be too complacent in their confidence that a Republican cannot win the White House in 2016. Didn’t they think that in 2000* and 2004?

    *whether you believe Bush won or stole the WH is not germane here since the end result is the same.

  18. I think a lot of Republicans would vote for a Bloomberg candidacy. They don’t like the guy, but I think they see the existential threat to the party that is a Trump presidency.

  19. I wonder if a big problem, and I admit I’m looking at this from another country, that Hillary is not seeing is that people are energised by Trump and by Bernie, but not by her. She’s the meh-it’s-her-turn candidate, and in the face of a Republican base that hates her and is energised by its hate-everyone-else-harder candidate, is she really going to get her base out in enough numbers to win the presidency? A lot of Bernie fans, I get the feeling, will be very depressed when she wins the nomination and might not be overly motivated to turn out at the big election. That could make things a lot tighter than any of us would like. Especially with the trend for people who secretly like racist rhetoric to deny it to pollsters but plump for it in the polling place.

  20. “The GOP establishment gave [Trump] a car that runs on vitriol” is a great soundbite.

    I’ve wondered if Trump’s end goal isn’t to become President, but to accumulate enough delegates to the Republican convention that he can play kingmaker, trading his delegates for political favors down the road. Never pay taxes again, gain tax breaks and financial deals specifically slanted towards his financial interests, have business moves of dubious legality go un-investigated, etc. His end goal may, backed up by a credible threat to burn down the GOP and/or the nation, be simply to become a mega-billionaire, rather than “just” a billionaire.

    Though I expect HRC to still be the eventual Democratic candidate, I find myself (as I did in 2008) leaning more and more towards Sanders. The impression I’ve gotten from Clinton’s campaigning is that, if elected, she’ll try and keep things from getting worse. From Sanders, his goal is to try and make things better. (Again, as in 2008, with Obama’s “Hope” campaign.)

    But let’s not lose sight that the BEST way to change things for the better is to beat Republican candidates for House and Senate seats, to change the makeup of Congress back towards sanity for (one hopes) a coming Democratic administration. So let’s remember to pay attention to our respective state-level contests, as well as the Presidential race.

  21. Paul W. asked what’s in it for Clinton. I THINK that she’s in it for history. I get the impression that she started to get cold feet, especially after her grandchild was born – remember the delay in her announcing? But, there was a LOT of pressure on her to run, to be the 1st woman president. Especially, after Elizabeth Warren refused to run, multiple times. Who was left? What woman besides Clinton and Warren have the fame and stature to run for a national office?

  22. As a Sanders supporter, I will say that early on, I was digging Hillary’s new found progressivism. It’s hard to remember at this point, but she came out of the gate running left, and stayed that way for a little while. I was gobsmacked at the first debate when she said “Sometimes you need to save capitalism from itself”. It really seemed, at that time, like whether she or Bernie won the nomination, it was going to be all to the upside for liberals and progressives. It seemed like she really got it, and she was speaking my language.

    Everything that followed that first debate has seemed to me like her campaign is bizarrely spinning in place, thrashing back and forth between amazing promises to liberalism, appeals to moderation, and out and out brow-beating over any kind expectation of political change. That, the lowish nature of her attacks against Sanders, and the opportunistic umbrage taking at every opportunity (a republican tactic, imho) has caused me to sour on her greatly.

  23. Saying people “don’t like Hillary” makes it sound like she’s she’s a plucky underdog, Scalzi – it’s more appropriate, and correct, to say we don’t trust her, and that can be laid firmly at her own doorstep. Between her flip-flopping between quasi-Left and the Center-Right where she’s clearly at home, and her tendency to go nasty (what Albright and Steinem both said was unconscionable – and totally in keeping with what Hillary Surrogates Do when she’s feeling threatened!) when she feels things aren’t going her way, she’s given nobody who isn’t a Charter Member of the Democratic Leadership Council any reason to support her. The fact that she’s proud of being a Machine Politician when voters are increasingly sick of The Machine, and how it’s more about itself than us, is the icing on that rancid cake.

    Yes, she’s still got the edge, and it’s a big one – like Jonsey said in The Hunt For Red October, “A ship this big doesn’t exactly stop on a dime.” But I think the cracks in her “invincible” and “inevitable” facade are starting to show – and they’re pretty big ones.

  24. What dismays me about Hillary’s campaign is the recent development of trying to guilt women into supporting her. She should slam down hard on any big name supporter who claims that she is owed my vote because we both have vaginas. Sorry I don’t think with my vagina, I look at the whole boat of issues and Bernie most closely aligns with my beliefs. The whole “she’s a woman just like you” also does a lot to undermine the argument that male votes should support the best candidate, not who has a penis. If she does win out over Bernie, alienating a large swath of his supporters is just DUMB.

    I do believe that a lot of Bernie supporters are automatically assuming Elizabeth Warren for VP. Between Hillary now and Elizabeth Warren in 8 years (or sooner), I’m willing to wait 8 years. I’m much more impressed with Warren and she wouldn’t have to deal with the issue of being accused of Bill Part 2.

  25. I’m hesitant to jump in on a political thread, but since you mentioned your twit feed is full of Sanders supporters I’ll mention I’m on the other side of the scale: I’m a Clinton supporter. Why? Her agenda and goals most closely resemble my own (remember, no politician is ever an exact match). Also, I want an actual Democrat in the White House.

    Here is my problem with Bernie Sanders: For someone who is running on integrity, and is widely perceived as the most honest, IMO he is dishonest. He is running on promises of “Medicare for all” and “free college tuition” (at lest for state run colleges; who knows about the several million more at private unis). These are to be paid for with substantially higher taxes. When asked how these will pass his answer is “revolution”. That’s not a plan, that’s a slogan. IMO even he knows that it is impossible for these plans to make it through Congress. Best case case scenario the Dems win back the Senate in November, but not with a filibuster proof majority, and the House still stays Republican. These elected representatives will NOT vote for a minor tax increase, let alone the major tax increases Sanders’ plans would require. They are not going to vote for single payer national health care. (Even with a filibuster-proof Senate majority and House majority the “public option” couldn’t make it through for the ACA.) And good luck with getting Congress to give away at least $ 70 billion for state college tuition (even to kids whose families can afford the tuition; and what does that do to admissions policies? lots of questions on this). This “outsider” was in the House for 16 years and has been a Senator since 2007, so I don’t think he is so stupid or naive as to be unaware of these realities. So for him to run on these is, in my opinion – and I understand many disagree – dishonest, at the very least disingenuous. Last: he has represented Vermont as an Independent. He registered as a Democrat solely for this presidential run. I would have had more respect for him had he chosen to run as an Independent. He is not a Democrat.

    I realize many will disagree with me, but this is why I am supporting Hillary over BS.

  26. On foreign policy (one of the few things that a President can do in the face of congressional inactivity) Trump and Sanders are currently the two least hawkish people in the race. So what looks like a victory for the wings (or the wing-nuts, if you prefer) may actual be a clear statement against the war-hawks of the “establishment”.

    A silver lining to every cloud.

  27. “I think a lot of Republicans would vote for a Bloomberg candidacy.”

    No, because guns. Bloomberg may be to Sanders’ left on gun control.

  28. Sexism is still a thing. Sexism isn’t the only reason for people disliking Clinton — she has her faults — but it’s flat out a lie to say it’s not an overlay, just like it’s flat out a lie to argue that racism isn’t part of why Obama has been loathed for the last eight years. It does complicate matters.

    I agree. But having read 8 years worth of columns, blogs, and comments that basically distill down to “the only reason people are opposed to Mr. Obama is because he is black”, I’m sure the same template will be used should Mrs. Clinton be the Democrat nominee.

    My favorite take away from yesterday was a reference to the New Hampshire state motto. Apparently they decided “die” was the better option. I took it as a bi-partisan criticism.

    Regards,
    Dann

  29. ben:

    I think that’s a perfectly fair way to regard her. Certainly the remarks by Steinem and Albright carry all the earmarks of Clinton tin earism.

    I don’t consider either candidate to be perfect (we rarely have that), and Sanders has had his share of backsliding (with respect to communities of color), but I prefer that they compete hard and that neither group of supporters feel bitter towards the other after the nomination is won.

  30. “…and Sanders has had his share of backsliding (with respect to communities of color).”
    Can you explain that to me? I hear that repeated, but I haven’t had any luck finding any substance for it.

  31. @Ha

    Certainly her candidacy is historic. I get the feeling that was the theme of 2008 (the cracks in the glass ceiling), too. Then she should go for that. Embrace that history!

    “I not only want to crack the glass ceiling this time, I want to break it, for you, your wives, your mothers, your daughters.” Its certainly got more juice than “I’m competent and will get things done and my program is realistic.”

    What will be interesting, either for Clinton or Sanders, is who they eventually pick for VP. I can’t see Warren for either of them, but Sanders would be foolish not to go for another woman, instead. I don’t think my state’s Senator Klobuchar is quite ready, yet, but she’s ambitious AND gets stuff done.

  32. I agree with Ha up there. I think HIllary’s primary reason for running is history, because she’s decided it’s time for a woman President and that she’s the one who can do it. I don’t trust her on a number of things, but I feel like she’s never more believable than when she’s talking about fighting against the glass ceiling her entire life. And, honestly, as reasons to run for President go? I’ll take it.

  33. Sure, misogyny is a big factor behind many people’s dislike of Hillary, but just because I support Bernie, I’m not responsible for the beliefs of every other person who votes for the guy. Especially not some random chucklefucks on Reddit. Has Bernie himself, or his campaign, made sexist attacks on Hillary? No, they have not, and in fact have roundly repudiated them.

    Hell, I really wanted Elizabeth Warren to run, and would have preferred her over Sanders, but that didn’t happen, so Bernie it is. And of course, I’ll support Hillary in the General if she gets the nom. I voted for Hillary in 2008 (I thought Obama was an inexperienced lightweight, though I’ve been pretty impressed with his actual presidency), but then worked on Obama’s campaign once he got nominated.

    The knock on Bernie that his ideas aren’t politically feasible and therefore I should support Hillary is baffling to me. I mean, I’m aware that it’s actually politically impossible right now to raise taxes in order to implement universal health care and govt-supported college for everyone, but that means I ought to support the candidate that won’t even try? And a lot can change in eight years.

    The other real issue is foreign policy, and Hillary’s record shows she’s way more of a hawk than Bernie. One of the most important things we need to do as a country is not get involved in yet another goddam war, both for moral and for economic reasons. And yes, ISIS is horrible, but anything we do militarily over there will just make more people hate us and probably make the situation worse.

  34. While I think — even though I support him — that Sanders has an uphill climb, I don’t think the number of superdelegates each candidate theoretically “has” right now matters one whit. Superdelegates follow the pledged delegates of their state practically invariably… they’re usually local politicians who have no intention of giving their next opponent a free talking point by demonstrating they ignore the will of the people. Their current statements of position are in the nature of endorsements… it represents whom they’d *like* to vote for. But the overwhelming majority of the superdelegates will do exactly what they’ve always done, when it comes time to vote; they’ll bite the bullet and vote for whomever got their state’s (or local area in a non-WTA state) pledged delegates. They do not need a scandal of their own at home.

    The real problem for Sanders is going to be getting the pledged delegates. He has a lot of truly enthusiastic supporters, and I think with good reason (obviously, since I am one. But most of them are young, and many have never been actively involved in politics before, because they didn’t have a candidate they could really get behind before, and didn’t find “Vote for me — I’m the lesser evil!” to be a compelling case. It’s anybody’s guess how many of them will show up now, especially in the caucus states where it’s more difficult… and in the time while they haven’t been voting, the Republican state officials have been busy cutting off their ability to do so wherever possible, by passing assorted voter-restriction laws which especially hinder students and other young people who may have limited transportation or lack a fixed address in their own name.

    So it’s an open question yet how many of Sanders’ supporters *can* legally vote for him, under the current hodgepodge of state voting laws; and it’s even more of an open question how many will show up to do it. But that’s the real issue — can he bring the voters to the polls, not “what do we do about the superdelegates?!?” If the voters come, the superdelegates will turn around right quick.

    http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2016/02/after-sanders-big-win-in-new-hampshire-establishme.html

  35. I’m going to save your analysis just to share with friends. It sums up how I feel completely…

    Thanks!

  36. ben:

    When challenged by BLM activists, Sanders hired one for campaign outreach, but undercut her some weeks later when she tried to apologize for the previous inattention to issues facing the black community. He’s issued some statements on his position on community policing that are good, but haven’t backed them up with more solid proposals and tactics. He hasn’t kept up a broad outreach to the various ethnic groups such as Latinos and Asian Americans, and his response to Flint, MI doesn’t compare to Clinton’s, despite it being an issue that fits in his wheelhouse. And he’s been seen as more than little ambivalent toward Obama (he’s on record as wanting to primary in 2012), despite the incredibly high popularity Obama has in the black community; using Cornel West as outreach to them is more than a little tone deaf.

    That may not mean much to you, but that’s picked up on by the various communities, and it all adds up.

  37. “If your party spends decades undermining the legitimacy of government . . .”

    That’s one way to phrase it.

    In my observation, Republicans have not spent decades undermining the legitimacy of government so much as they have spent decades attacking what they perceive as the Democratic Party’s vested interest in perpetuating “Big Government.”

    Of course, to the average Democrat, there may not be much, if any, difference between attacking the Democratic Party’s view of what the role of government is/ought to be and attacking the legitimacy of government itself. . .

  38. Repubs have been nudge nudge wink winking the racists and sexists and bigots for 50 years. And now they are Frankenstein about to be undone by the monster they created.

    I keep running into Trump supporters and my gut reaction is to throttle them and ask, what the ever loving fuck is wrong with you?

    The republicans are afraid of Trump? Fuck, I am afraid of America that makes Trump their number one guy for the republican ticket. He should be getting jack for votes, but there he is, reminding everyone that plenty of biggots still exist in America. And more importantly, those bigots dont want to nudge nudge wink wink their bigotry anymore. They want it to all hang out in the open, bigotted and proud.

  39. Greg: My sense of the political play here in Washington is that while Republican Establishment may be “afraid” of Trump, it actually “hates” Senator Cruz even more. And if the Establishment had to choose between the two, it would choose Trump. . .

  40. @Pedro: I saw one interview in which some establishment type said he figured they couldn’t work with Cruz (since he’s a true believer), but when Trump entered office, he’d probably be completely flustered as to what to actually do and start calling them up for some sage advice. So Trump was a more palatable choice than Cruz.

    I don’t think I’d hold my breath waiting for that phone call.

  41. Matt: Despite his bluster, Trump likes to deal, or so the thinking goes. Of course, we are getting well ahead of events . . .

  42. Sexism is still a thing and so is hypocrisy. One of my big problems with Clinton is that every time she says she’s a feminist and is running for women, I think about Gennifer Flowers,Kathleen Willey, and Juanita Broaddrick. She’s the one who scripted the character assassinations of those women. Add to that her opportunistic reversals of opinions (TPP, same sex marriage, the Iraq War, etc etc) and I lose all trust in her as a leader. I hate that this election will probably put me in the position of voting for her…..

  43. ben: to add to gwangung’s comments:

    Sanders has one drum and hits it hard — economic inequality. But just going to any of the Scandinavian or Western European nations he references will demonstrate rather conclusively that democratic socialism, financial transfers, greater equality, etc are not solutions to institutionalized and systemic racism. At all.

    This is fact that is not lost on the base of the democratic party — which would be the minority vote, specifically black women. Clinton’s scorched-earth against Obama in 2008 makes a lot of people of color very skeptical of her, but she’s worked hard to generate proposals, mend fences, meet with community leaders, etc. Sanders has been playing catch-up, and been playing it very badly. It’s hard to make a case for being the REVOLUTION candidate when your revolution doesn’t make much effort to fix one of the fundamental problems in American society — and barely acknowledges that it’s a problem that deserves energy or focus.

    I’m a minority, and I’ve worked with a lot of second-wave feminists. Clinton reminds me of nearly all of them, and as a third-waver, it drives me nuts how myopic that POV sometimes gets. And she is clearly a career politician with a knee-jerk foreign-policy hawkishness that is of the LBJ-school of “CYA”. I know a President H Clinton could create another Vietnam. That’s a severe downside risk.

    But I also know that a President H Clinton would also have that other LBJ-like quality: the utter willingness to put a rusty spoon through the eye of a GOP congressman in order to fight for what her party and constituents ask her to fight for. Because as a career politician, that’s what all her instincts are to do. And as a minority voter in the only major US political party that cares about and advocates for minority issues, THAT is what I want in a President. Not a Goldwater-esque start to a revolution that leads to 4~8 years of horrible policies and entrenchment of systemic racism before possible change. Not a Carter-esque man with a vision and heart of gold that is incapable of actually manipulating the levers of power available to him.

    Neither Sanders nor Clinton are ideal candidates. Obama was not. But between the two, Clinton is (for me) clearly the better option.

  44. Talking about Superdelegates seems like, I dunno, something like ‘math you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better’ for Hillary supporters.

    Considering the structural changes made since 2008, it seems pretty dubious that we’d ever get to a point where they matter in a two-person race. More importantly, it requires a scenario in which Sanders has won more actual delegates, Clinton refuses to concede, we go to a contested convention at the end of July, and the party establishment overturn the popular vote.

    Is there any scenario in which that leads to Clinton in the White House? Maybe? A GOP contested convention that ends up with Trump as the nominee even after a bruising fight could, I guess. Even there, I’d consider her a serious underdog after winning the nomination this way, given the difficulty of pulling the party back together and remotivating the base in that short of a time. (Whereas, I have to think the GOP base in an “Anyone-at-all vs. Hillary Clinton” contest comes pre-motivated.)

    If Clinton is behind in the actual delegate count, I’d expect her to drop out and cut her losses, though honestly, I’d be shocked if we didn’t have a clear winner, either way.

  45. The moment has probably passed but the Republican Establishment could have saved itself a lot of trouble if they’d simply asked Hillary to run for their nomination instead of the Democrats. Minds exploding all over the place but it might have worked.

  46. @ Fabio

    I like your comment as it comes closest to my feelings about Hilliary Clinton. In particular I love your following statement.

    But I also know that a President H Clinton would also have that other LBJ-like quality: the utter willingness to put a rusty spoon through the eye of a GOP congressman in order to fight for what her party and constituents ask her to fight for.

    This is also my feeds into ambivalence about Obama. He never had this within him and it took him over 3+ years to even glare angrily in the Republican’s direction. Remember Hilliary so far has been the only on to publicly identify Americas true enemies.

  47. I did a quick check on vote totals for 2008 vs 2016 for the NH primary.
    Hillary received ~17,000 less votes in 2016 vs 2008.
    ~35000 less votes for all Democratic candidates in 2016 vs 2008.
    ~ 50000 more votes for all Republican candidates in 2016 vs 2008.
    http://politics.nytimes.com/election-guide/2008/results/states/NH.html
    http://www.wmur.com/politics/2016-full-new-hampshire-presidential-primary-election-results/37649066

    There’s a good chance that both parties will have brokered conventions.
    Steve makes a good point on the Reps, but the Dems may be forced to go that route too, especially if Bernie breaks even with Hillary on SEC Tues. Bernie has always been Hillary’s stalking horse, and I’m not sure that the super-delegates will let him be the nominee. Look for Joe Biden to be the compromise nominee, especially if the email server continues to drip, drip, drip.

  48. 1. Bloomberg is TOTALLY to left of Sanders on guns. Sanders represents a rural state with hunting and 3 quadruple homicides in the last 70 years.
    2. If Sanders does nothing but protect Clinton’s left flank, dayenu. “Bernie is Clinton’s stalking horse.”
    3. New Hampshire is the 3rd whitest state in the union. Vermont #1, Maine #2 Lands of my birth, breeding, and higher education.
    4. My sister still lives in Maine, and she points out that electing Trump will resemble having LePage as governor. Google. Be afraid.
    5. As a resident of a state with open primaries, I may vote in the Republican this year. I’ll have to wait and see how things are shaping up, but I would rather have Kaisch than anyone else.
    6. I don’t think Bill is conflicted about Hillary being president because of his ego, I think he’s tired.
    7. Hilary being a woman or Obama being black aren’t the only reasons people dislike them, but it does add to the butt-hurt-bro attitude of some people.
    8. New Hampshire unofficial motto = No Taxes, No Services.
    9. Sanders isn’t a “backslider” on people of color, but he does have a certain cluelessness. In his favor, he is trying mightily. “Tone Deaf” is a good way to put it.
    10. I think if Sanders gets the nom, HRC may be VP. And then POTUS, because Sanders be old.
    11. If I had to choose between Cruz and Trump, I would choose Trump. Cruz lies to himself, Trump lies to us. Go figure.
    12. @Fabio “I know a President H Clinton could create another Vietnam. That’s a severe downside risk.” You have just hit the nail on the head of why I am going to stay with Sanders until he flames out. Hilary believes in heart, many of the things I believe. But she lacks a weighted bottom. She is not a weeble.
    13. @Magda – she would have done it. See above.

  49. “But I also know that a President H Clinton would also have that other LBJ-like quality: the utter willingness to put a rusty spoon through the eye of a GOP congressman in order to fight for what her party and constituents ask her to fight for.”

    Citations, please. What has she ever fought for as a Senator? Her husbands instinct was always triangulation, I’ve seen no evidence of any convictions (apart from getting elected) from Hilary.

    As others have said, what does she stand for? Things not getting any worse? Big wow.

    Yes, Clinton will get us into at least one idiotic Middle East war – which is one more than Bernie and at least one less than any Republican candidate.

    Both Sanders and Clinton are too old, in my opinion, but at least they have a passing familiarity with reality, unlike the Repubs.

  50. 9. Sanders isn’t a “backslider” on people of color, but he does have a certain cluelessness. In his favor, he is trying mightily. “Tone Deaf” is a good way to put it.

    I would accept that. It would be a constant effort of reminding him about POCs and what their priorities area. You’d still have to remind Clinton every now and then, but not nearly as much. And that kind of effort is exhausting (particularly if they’re supposed to be on your side).

  51. What has she ever fought for as a Senator?

    What’s your evaluation of her performance with Lilly Ledbetter? No, don’t Google it, just tell me. If you can’t perhaps you should think about what you actually know, versus what you think you know.

    There’s a good chance that both parties will have brokered conventions

    No, there isn’t. Everybody says this at exactly this moment every four years.

    This is also my feeds into ambivalence about Obama. He never had this within him and it took him over 3+ years to even glare angrily in the Republican’s direction.

    Oh, ye Gods. Obama got more done in eight years then most Presidents do, and all people remember is that he wasn’t stern enough with the wackos.

    One of my big problems with Clinton is that every time she says she’s a feminist and is running for women, I think about Gennifer Flowers,Kathleen Willey, and Juanita Broaddrick She’s the one who scripted the character assassinations of those women

    Really? You know this how? (Except for reflexive BernieBro “Hillary is evvvillll” reaction?)

    and her tendency to go nasty

    Oh noes! You mean she’s an actual politician? Donald Trump is shooting people on 5th Avenue and no one blinks; Clinton makes (or has her avatars make) some mild criticisms and suddenly she’s “nasty”? I’m thinking you need to check yourself more than Clinton needs to check *herself*.

    The knock on Bernie that his ideas aren’t politically feasible and therefore I should support Hillary is baffling to me. I mean, I’m aware that it’s actually politically impossible right now to raise taxes in order to implement universal health care and govt-supported college for everyone, but that means I ought to support the candidate that won’t even try?

    No, you should support the candidate who doesn’t flame out in the first six months in office and doesn’t spend the rest of the time watching the opposing party do what it wants.

  52. Fabio:

    “It’s hard to make a case for being the REVOLUTION candidate when your revolution doesn’t make much effort to fix one of the fundamental problems in American society — and barely acknowledges that it’s a problem that deserves energy or focus.”

    really? I’ve watched a lot of Sanders speeches, and he hasn’t failed to spend time talking about racial injustice in any of them. You could argue that it’s more important than his economic agenda, and that he should talk about it first and foremost, but thats a judgement call. I guess you could question his judgement.

    Also, I’m biased here, but when Hillary Clinton talked about her white privilege in a question response during the black and brown forum, I got the feeling in the back of her mind she’s thinking “God damn, this is EASY, and doesn’t piss off my donors at all.” Unfair? Probably, so take it with a heaping spoonful of salt.

  53. @ DAVID

    Oh, ye Gods. Obama got more done in eight years then most Presidents do, and all people remember is that he wasn’t stern enough with the wackos.

    I keep hearing this and all I know is we’re still fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, we’ve replaced one Rube Goldberg healthcare system with another (one by the way that is actively under attack and can be dismantled by the first Republican president) and other than Wall Street I really haven’t seen the economy recover. But he did have a beer with some cops. Also, you do know that the Supreme Court is in the process of gutting his environmental policy and if you mention signing statements I’m going to have to call foul.

    Obama’s problem was he believed the Republicans were his opponents, when they are his enemies. Some people can be reasoned and compromised with, others you gut ’em like the scum they are. Clinton know this.

    —–

    P.S.
    Now that the 1950’s white man primaries are over my minority mom, sister, aunts and cousins along with their various family members and friends are probably going to vote for Clinton. Additionally my white non eeeek he so cool female friends are also going to vote for Clinton. They all vote in states that have more than 24 and 52 delegates.

    —–

    P.P.S.
    Experience is something you gain, sometimes it can be taught, but in most cases it has to be experienced. That is a handicap the young can do nothing about.

    —–

    @ ben

    I’ve watched a lot of Sanders speeches, and he hasn’t failed to spend time talking about racial injustice in any of them.

    I’m not going to degenerate Bernie Sanders’ commitment to civil rights, he seems like someone who does care, however I’ll repeat what I’ve heard in my small minority community since the start of the election. Bernie who?????

  54. Let’s not get sidetracked into a discussion of Obama and/or his accomplishments (or lack thereof), please. It’s not on topic, and he’s not running for president.

  55. Bottom line for me is that Hillary really is the best qualified candidate on *either* side. She was about even, maybe a little ahead of Obama 8 years ago, but she’s got experience at every level of government in multiple branches. Bernie talks a good game and is bringing out alot of good issues, but I don’t know that he can do half of the stuff he’s pushing for, if elected, and there are a bunch of moderates on other groups in the Dem. camp that don’t have any reason to vote for him (other than disliking the GOP more).
    Bloomberg isn’t really running, or he would have started earlier. And Mayor of NYC is a dead-end job politically. You can’t translate it into higher office because the votes you need to *become* mayor end up in different parties when it comes to national politics.
    My prediction is still that Trump will flameout once enough of the rest of the GOP field solidifies. A former gambling magnate with a shady real estate fortune and multiple divorces is going to be a tough sell with the social church wing of the GOP. And you *need* them to win the nomination. Sanders could win, but as other people said he’s gotta win over minorities and show more appeal with the center (so more general election appeal) before he even has a chance.

  56. I’ve heard a number of both Hillary’s and Sanders’ speeches by now. Hillary is all about herself – what she’s done, what she would do, the opposition she’s overcome – and whether or not it’s possible to talk so much about oneself while still inspiring people, she certainly doesn’t manage it. She was like this 8 years ago, too, when she crowed “I am SO READY to lead!!” (in a speech I heard on the radio, not long before the Iowa caucuses). This sort of talk about one’s own merits wasn’t heard from Sen. Obama when he was her opponent. Nor would it occur to Sen. Sanders to speak this way in the present campaign. If Clinton loses the nomination again, this common factor between her campaigns will be central to her self-defeat. It comes across as hubris, as well it should.

  57. The fascinating thing about this whole process is that it makes me wonder how Jeb Bush got the reputation as being the smart one. His son (following in the family footsteps having gotten himself elected Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office) is no doubt thinking “Dad! You’re not helping!”

  58. I’ve learned some things about Kasich recently, since he’s become a little more popular. The biggest one is that being Establishment has nothing to do with being Moderate in any, useful way. In just the last few weeks, I’ve heard him laughing at people who objected to his statements that Social Security/Medicare recipients would have to “get used” to lower payments (because we can’t do something as simple are, oh…raising the income limit on FICA taxes or anything). I’ve also heard him spout some incredible bullshit about LGBT people, and found out he’s a member of a splinter group of my own denomination, the Episcopal Church, who broke away because “God hates fags” or something…

    Yeah, thanks but no thanks.

  59. Ugh not a great past 24 hours for Sanders. His photo op with Sharpton did not go well. And the outreach effort in SC was not something you’d want publicize.

  60. Since host’s coverage has been excellent (beating out a lot of paid pundits), just a heads up:

    Hillary 2016 (it’s a given, but it’ll be tight, esp. if Bloomberg weighs in or Kasich gets an A team insert from the people backing Jeb!), 2016-2020 are just going to be a grim set of gridlock, grind and stock market slump / global economy slump. Don’t expect sweetness and light for the next four years.

    2020 is when things get wild.

    Smart people might look to the younger GOP like Sean Duffy and consider that a shoe in.

    Lawyer, ESPN, TV experience (yeah, ancient GOP start noticing that “charisma” is actually a thing) and doesn’t have the cash to disobey the Party, but willing to butt heads with the old guard like Yellen etc. He’ll be 49, and all the optics about that election are about the age of the majority of contenders (outside Rubio the Robot). Plus, major one: Jeb! (and Romney) have burnt so much cash from the real power-players without much impact that they’ll put the boot in and demand a return on it.

    Plus, by this election cycle, he comes off as a moderate and business savvy – 10-1 odds he’s their Golden Boy.

    2020 is when the USA goes full mania. Know any young democrats? Get training them, ’cause the 2020 pro team are already strategizing.

    HOST, WE APOLOGIZE FOR TRUMP – THEY SUMMONED AN EGYPTIAN GOD CALLED KUK, TAKES TIME TO STOMP THE TRUMP AND EAT ANOTHER OUTSIDER BEING. BUT STOMP WE ARE, DEVOURING IS OUR THING, AND EVER UNDER THE STARS SHALL BE.

  61. I am always surprisd by the level of distrust the Clintons inspire. Especially HIllary. Why are people ( and in particular the Repubs ) so afraid of her? Millions of dollars in lawsuits and we have nada. Just the lingering shadow of constant doubt that there must be something there.
    . She talked to people at Goldman Sacks ( the devil incarnate) and we don’t know what they talked about.
    I am guessing business climate in the USA and it was dead boring. Not a big bank fan myself at all…but talkng to a communist does not make you one I hope. Because she could make a whole lot more money lobbying ( and revealing the dead bodies she must know about ) than running for president,which, lets be honest, is a horrible, body, mind and possibly soul destroying job,unless you are lucky enough to have Michel Obama as your spouse, or have a diamond plated ego……or a cause.

    Talking to people is a good skill really. People coughed up a lung when Nixon went to China and Obama talked to Iran and Cuba. So far, so good on those.

    Which lead me to doubt my own doubts. Is it just a case of the ” duplicitous woman,” Eve the evil that we keep subconciously suspecting might arise at any moment, that must be there?
    And I recalled the very fine Doctor Who episode with David Tenant and Harriet Jones, Prime Minister ( yes, we know who you are).
    ” I can bring down your goverenment with just….six words.”
    “You can’t. You wouldn’t.”
    The Doctor to her aide…..”Don’t you think she looks tired?”

    So looking at Ms. Clinton’s work for women’s rights globally ( if you want to know what she stands for this is one thing, but you might have overlooked that), in Africa and her work as Secretary of State and all those lawsuits, I just cannot find anything.
    As for being a hawk and starting a war….she voted like many people, most people, in the the aftermath of 911 in our common grief and shock, to attack Al Queda in Afghanistan. Those other two wars in Iraq belong to the Senior and son Bush Presidents. As Secretary of State I did not notice her starting any wars or even being particularly hawkish.
    Also, I am curious to see what she would do with all that experience.

    As for Mr. Sanders…I like him, but his stand on gun control….voting against the Bradey Billl and stcking with it being a state by state issue, is naive. It is an issue that will make it hard for me to choose him if he is nominated. For the first time since my first vote for Shirely Chisolm in the primary, I might not vote.

    He is idealistic and gutsy, but too naive. Like this:

    He added, “I can understand if some Democrats or Republicans represent an urban area where people don’t hunt, don’t do target practice, they’re not into guns. But in my state, people go hunting and do target practice. Talking about cultural divides in this country, you know, it is important for people in urban America to understand that families go out together and kids go out together and they hunt and enjoy the outdoors and that is a lifestyle that should not be condemned.”

    A. No one is condemming hunting for food. Deer where I live have lost predators, so it is neccessary to reduce populations.
    B. Most states have BOTH urban and rural areas.
    C. Urban people own guns and hunt and target shoot.
    D. Urban people also enjoy being outdoors, hiking, fishing, hunting, camping with their families.

    So that is as far as I have gotten.
    Except whenever I see Trump I see a Junior Berlusconi.

  62. I know I haven’t been here in a while, but I just wanted to come by to tell you all just how much I adore soft and fluffy kittens, who are the reason I get up in the morning. I just love to smell their adorable kitten breath!

    [This message has been kittened — JS]

  63. I should begin by saying that I’m one of those west coast black people who doesn’t quite understand the “Feel the Bern” thing. I was walking today near the Berkeley campus and passed a place full of Sanders signs; they all said something about the cost of tuition. I thought to myself: is that the problem… your Starbucks barista can’t afford her PhD? Here, we have a local glut in college graduates. I realize that Sanders is not an economist so I grade his economic stuff on a curve and he comes from a state that isn’t too ethnically diverse but I expect that he should have knowledge that he should be understanding and listening to minority issues rather than having lunch with Al Sharpton (what is the fascination with him?) and trying to take the financial load off the people lucky enough get their kids in college.

  64. @mk101: Except whenever I see Trump I see a Junior Berlusconi.

    And if he wins, a junior Berlusconi with a nuclear arsenal. Good times.

  65. I’m a Republican still leaning towards Sanders, but its hard to reconcile his bluster/anger towards the financial sector with the fact that he had taken money for fundraising from the same financial sector (saw a story at CNN about it)/

  66. Back in October 2015 Time Magazine published an article on the Republican Nomination Calendar.
    http://time.com/4059030/republican-primary-calendar-2016-nomination-convention/

    The many interlocking rules of the various Republican primaries and caucuses make predicting what will happen hard. At some point I may do a spread sheet of the rules, but the overall gist of many rules is to favor the front runner. It is possible that someone like Trump could win the nomination without ever getting 50% in any contest. It is not as likely as a brokered convention, but it is possible as long as he keeps having 3-4 opponents dividing the rest of the field and he comes out on with just enough of a lead to keep being a “huge winner”.

    In South Carolina (for example) the winner of the plurality can end up with 89-90% of the delegates. New Gingrich with 40% of the vote took home 89% of the delegates in 2012.

    If it gets down to two opponents of Trump, say Bush and Cruz, then it is almost assuredly going to be a brokered convention because Trump will not win a plurality everywhere. If it actually comes down to one opponent it is very likely that Trump will lose. The problem for Republicans is getting to that one opponent when it is Cruz vs. the others for the not-Trump vote. The strength of Cruz could be an illusion, but right now it seems like there is no way for the all of the other reindeer to make him drop out.

    Right now I would almost bet on brokered convention, but it all depends on who drops out and when.

  67. @ gottacook: “Hillary is all about herself – what she’s done, what she would do, the opposition she’s overcome – and whether or not it’s possible to talk so much about oneself while still inspiring people, she certainly doesn’t manage it.”

    One of the guests on the Diane Riehm show dissecting the New Hampshire primary vote the morning after talked about this. The commentator was saying that Hillary’s message is all about Hillary, it’s lots of “I” statements, lots of “me” statements. It’s all about how she’d like us to see her or think of her. It was something I hadn’t thought about before, and it struck a cord.

    Similarly, the article Paul Weimer linked to above, about the “gaping hole” in Hillary’s campaign also resonates with me. As for why she’s running?… My impression, much as it was in 2008, is that her reason or her core message is, “Because it’s my turn to be president now.”

    I think this sort of thing is probably what pundits mean when they say she’s not a good campaigner.

    (All that said, none of it is actually why I prefer Sanders to Hillary. His platform matches my politics better than Hillary’s does, and the Clinton’s have a lot of baggage that I do no relish seeing unpacked in the White House again. However, Hillary is indeed VASTLY preferable to anyone on the GOP ticket, and I will vote for her if Sanders doesn’t get the nomination. But I would much prefer to see Sanders get the nomination.)

    Meanwhile, on the GOP side, I’m curious about what Rubio will do. I’m still puzzled by him as the GOP “establishment” pick. He’s a Tea Partier who holds positions unpopular with the majority of Americans (such as his insistence that a rape victim should be denied an abortion and gay couples should be denied the right to marry), and he’s a mediocre candidate with a short and unimpressive Senate record. Nor has he shined in debates (especially not in NH). He also isn’t in first place in any primary poll that I have seen, and surely nominating him for the US Presidency is untenable if unless he actually wins some primaries. (Note: I am using “win” here in the old-fashioned sense of “comes in first,” rather than in the Iowa/Rubio sense of “places third.”) He has declared he won’t run for Senate re-election this year, but he’s got until May to change his mind–by which time, his fate in the primary race will probably be clearer.

  68. @ Paul Weimer
    I think what Hillary stands for is the old-fashioned Democratic belief that government should make people’s lives better, with the emphasis on disadvantaged people, e.g. people of color and particularly women and children. I can and do differ with her on some issues, but I deeply admire her work ethic, her focus on practical solutions and her service.
    I contrast this not with Sanders, whose commonalities with Hillary are larger than his differences, but the whole Republican field, who say government is the problem, even though most of them are currently paid by it. This seems to me like being a plumber who objects to toilets. They all support big government regulating the activities of vagina-Americans, however. Even Kasich, who seems sane against the background of a flock of raving loonies, wants to defund Planned Parenthood, even though PP has been cleared of wrongdoing.

    All this said, I hope all the Americans commenting here are registered to vote, and will take part in the election. Silence equals consent to the result, you know.

  69. @ Laura Resnick – Rubio is the GOP’s attempt to duplicate the Obama ‘miracle’ of 2008. Young, minority, ‘some’ Senate experience, and we can be vague on specifics, hey.

    Living in Mass. I can only vote for form, because the vote here will go to the Democratic nominee, no further discussion necessary. I usually vote for a third party candidate simply as a protest. This year there is a LOT to protest.

  70. @Laura Resnick: “the Clinton’s have a lot of baggage that I do no relish seeing unpacked in the White House again.”

    No need to wait for her return to the White House. Her baggage is already being unpacked as we speak. Just google It Feels Good to be a Clinton.

  71. Miller: Sanders, but its hard to reconcile his bluster/anger towards the financial sector with the fact that he had taken money for fundraising from the same financial sector

    http://www.factcheck.org/2016/02/clintons-exaggerated-wall-street-claim/

    Also, Sanders’ top 20 campaign contributers are… labor unions… which means people, not corporations-are-people-too money.

    https://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/contrib.php?cycle=Career&cid=n00000528

    Hillary’s top campaign contributers are maybe half wall street, a quarter unions, and a quarter miscellaneous.

    https://www.opensecrets.org/pres16/contrib.php?cycle=2016&id=N00000019&type=f

  72. What Hilary mainly stands for, these days, is Wall Street money:

    (watch the entire video, btw, and also remember that when it was filmed, Elizabeth Warren was a law professor, not also a politician)

    It’s what she has stood for the past decade, or more. Which is not to say that she’d be a terrible preside. She’d be *okay*. She’d be the status quo. Nothing would really get any better, but nothing would get worse. That’s still light years ahead of the gibbering insanity the GOP is offering.

    “Okay” is not a good reason to vote for someone, though.. Of course, I live in Texas so my vote doesn’t matter anyways, because the state will go red no matter what. But if that’s the case and my vote is symbolic anyway, I’d rather vote for Sanders out of pure principle. He actually wants things to change, regardless of whether his plans are feasible or not.

    I suspect that this is the same reason so many young people like myself *are* going to vote Sanders, because we feel (whether accurately or not, depending on state) that our votes don’t matter. If not, why not vote for ideals?

  73. Greg: Why is it better for a candidate, like Sanders, to be indebted to Labor Unions, than it is for a candidate, like Clinton, to be beholden to Corporations?

  74. Hillary’s top campaign contributers are maybe half wall street,

    Is that the Wall Street PACs, or is that from employees of Wall Street? (Because many organizations, including Open Secrets, aggregate individual contributions under their employers).
    It kinda makes a difference to the argument.

  75. @ Mr Manny
    I disagree: “okay” is a fine reason to vote for somebody in the general election, when “horrible” is the alternative. Everyone should vote their preferences in the primary, and try their hardest to make their vote count in the general. A vote not cast is worthless.
    Turnout in the 2014 congressional elections was 37%, and look at the results: a congress not even bothering to hold hearings on a budget submitted by the President (too exhausted from voting 60 times to repeal Obamacare, perhaps). If you support Sanders, do that, but if he isn’t the nominee, support Hillary, as she and her supporters worked for Obama after he was nominated in ’08.

  76. “Okay” is not a good reason to vote for someone, though.

    Okay is a perfectly good reason to vote for someone.

  77. Okay is a perfectly good reason to vote for someone.

    Well, depends if it’s a comparative or an absolute measure.

    TBH, I lean Clinton, because while I think Sanders has the right issues, I’m far from convinced that he’s the right man to pull it off. Too many unforced gaffes, some head scratching tactical plans and some dubious strategies.

  78. Well, depends if it’s a comparative or an absolute measure

    In elections, it’s always* a comparative measure.

    *okay, 99% of the time.

  79. Pedro: “Why is it better for a candidate, like Sanders, to be indebted to Labor Unions, than it is for a candidate, like Clinton, to be beholden to Corporations?”

    Because unions represent all the union workers. If a corporation contributes, that might represent no one but the CEO.

    Corporate donations are oligarchy.
    Union donations are democracy.

    And I like democracy. Most of our current problems can be traced back to the steady turn toward oligarchy by america for the last 50 years or so.

  80. I agree that Trump is a populist demagogue, but so is Sanders. If either wins the nomination, or the White House, its a sign that the population is fed up with everyone in elected office. I think it’s a general sentiment across the country that too many politicians put party before people. The problem is that we all look at only the other side as the problem, instead of a pox on both our houses.

  81. Erick: “I agree that Trump is a populist demagogue, but so is Sanders. ”

    Demagogue: a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument.

    Horseshit.

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