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Can We Please Not Spend the Next Five Months Pretending This is Going to Be A Close Election?

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Presidential elections have become their own multi-billion dollar entertainment industry.

We all know this, of course. But this truth is both so obvious and so ubiquitous that we have become the fish obliviously swimming its waters. And so even as we are surrounded by this industry, we rarely notice one of the industry’s most necessary features: Everyone involved in a presidential election, and I mean everyone — the candidates, the parties, the operatives and strategists, the PACs, the ad agencies, the news media, the B-llist celebrity pundits, the B-list celebrity pundit wannabes, the political junkies who follow the race — all have a shared, vested interest in sustaining the illusion that no one knows what’s going to happen until the final votes are counted.

Every four years, this mass ostrich-ing to the self-obvious continues all the way to election day. This is because it is in everyone’s self-interest to convince themselves that the utterly indisputable is not staring them in the face. The candidates and the party want you to keep opening your wallet. The operatives and strategists want their contracts to continue. The media wants you to keep tuning in. Pundits want whatever dips**t theory they send up the flagpole in order to feed their column inches to seem “relevant.” Political junkies want a reason to open their browser every hour to see what new daft thing no one will remember in 12 hours some party aide said five minutes ago. Alpha-male douchebags on Twitter want to keep the CAPS-LOCK on. And so it is that everyone, either consciously or unconsciously, collectively agrees to buy into this illusion that anything can happen. But here’s the thing: a shared illusion is still an illusion.

The truth is that with one notable exception,1 in every presidential election in my adult life, it was painfully obvious long before the conventions who was going to triumph. Neither Ford, Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, H.W. Bush, Dole, Kerry, McCain, nor Romney had a reasonable shot at victory in the various years they had their collective asses handed to them. Indeed, in June of 2012 I “predicted” that Romney would lose to Obama. And the reason I put the quotes around “predicted” just now is that a Romney defeat wasn’t much of a prediction at all, in the same way that my saying it will be warmer in Portland in August 2017 than in January 2017 isn’t really much of a prediction. This is not a knock on Romney. I still believe Romney would have made a good or even great POTUS. But Romney was a candidate that was distrusted and detested by his own party’s base. As a reminder, at conservative/Republican grassroots conventions like CPAC, the Value Voters Summit, and countless Tea Party meetings throughout the land, speakers stumping for Romney wouldn’t actually say his name out loud for fear of turning off Republican voters. That everyone who gets paid to say clever things about politics was so sure this was a recipe for either a November toss up or a Romney landslide tells you everything you need to know about people who get paid to say clever things about politics.2

I bring up all of this now not as a reminder of my being right when pretty much everyone else around here was so very wrong four years ago.3 Rather, I bring all of this up to underscore what should already be painfully obvious, but which I know everyone is going to collectively pretend isn’t true until approximately 10:00 pm EST this coming November 8:

Donald Trump is not going to be the next President of the United States.

I can already hear the objections in these threads, just as I can already see the coming months of rabid insistence that we’re in the midst of a real nail-biter. People will say “Anything can happen,” mistakenly believing that just because anything can happen that anything will. They will point out, “No one thought Trump would win the primary,” as if winning over less than 40% of a group that represents less than 30% of the country is somehow a harbinger of victory. “Hillary isn’t  the most likable person in the world,” they’ll reason, as if someone who was really hoping for a steak dinner would see no difference between the choice of a kale salad or a plate of dog poop for dinner.

Collective illusions aside, this election’s writing is already on the wall, in giant, red, blinking, neon letters a mile high. Everyone is just too invested in that writing not being there to see it.

Doubters will no doubt respond to my claim the way they have for the past month:

But what about the polls? They’re so close! Look at the polls!

Yes, by all means. Let’s look at the polls.

In fact, let’s take a look at the eye-raising headlines from the two polls that broke through the daily clutter and got a lot of horse-race coverage, the ones that supposedly showed Trump could win. The first headline refers to a Fox News national poll from May 15, the latter from a Quinnipiac swing-state poll a week earlier.

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Gosh! That certainly does make it sound like we have a barnburner ahead of us!

Now, Democrats will argue that those polls occurred at a moment in time when all of Trump’s rivals had thrown in their collective towels, conservative leaders finally began to endorse him, and the party finally began the process of coalescence. And further, that Clinton was still fending off an internal rival of her own, but that she would have her own coalescence soon enough which would allow her to regain a solid lead. That’s all true, of course. But whatever speculation we might take away from that observation is still just speculation, perhaps overly hopeful.

So how can we know what’s going to happen in November when looking at these two polls? Well, we could start by actually looking at them. And I mean looking at the whole poll, not just the part that received the headline coverage by people wanting you to stay tuned for the next six months.

In the coverage of both the heavily-reported Fox News and the Quinnipiac polls, the entire focus is on the difference in percentage points between those declaring support of Clinton and those declaring support for Trump. The rest of the results were ignored by the cable news networks, the talk radio stations, and the major political blogs and pundits. This is not by accident. When you choose to focus only on the difference in percentage points between Trump and Clinton, you have a riveting story. But if you pull back and look at what the polls actually say, the results are far more mundane.

In both polls, the combined numbers of people declaring support for either Trump or Clinton only add up to about 80% of all likely voters. That leaves a hell of a lot of votes on the table. Indeed, the 20% that balked are the ones who are going to ultimately decide who wins in November. So, we might well ask, have those “undecideds” given us a strong indication of which way they will break when November rolls around?

Yes. Yes they have.

Both the Fox News and the Quinnipiac polls asked responders a lot of other questions in addition to “who are you going to vote for in November.” One of the questions both polls asked, worded slightly differently in each, was essentially, “Do you believe Candidate A has the temperament and knowledge to be the President of the United States?” And that’s a more important question than appears at first blush.

In every POTUS election, there are high-information voters, and there are high-feeling voters. High-information voters are never in play, because the reason they are high-information voters is that they are already deeply attached to either parties or litmus-test issues. Because of this, high-information voters’ votes are pretty much set in stone. The pro-life, anti-SSM, always-votes-straight-GOP-ticket guy isn’t going to vote Democrat, any more than the pro-choice, anti-NRA, always-votes-straight-Democrat-ticket guy is going to vote Republican. It doesn’t really matter how awesome or terrible either candidate is, their votes just aren’t on the table.

GOP leaders condemn Donald Trump for racially charged attacks on judge

The voters that are in play are always the ones that vote for the candidate that they feel is “Presidential,” based on whatever “Presidential” happens to mean to them. For these voters, when you ask them if a someone has the temperament and knowledge to be POTUS, you’re really asking them if that someone is fit to be POTUS. And since their votes are the only ones really in play, “This Candidate Doesn’t Have the Temperament or Knowledge to be President of the United States” are lyrics better suited to a funeral dirge than Hail to the Chief.

That’s spectacularly bad news for Donald Trump. Because in the Fox News and Quinnipiac polls, between 52-64% of likely voters said they believed that Clinton has the temperament and knowledge to be President. Trump, on the other hand, scores between 38% and 29% (!). Keep in mind, these weren’t questions where likely voters were asked to compare Trump to anyone else — they were just asking likely voters what they thought of Trump.

Look, there is no question that Hilary is, shall we say, somewhat less than popular. Her unfavorables tend to run in the low-to-mid 50s.4 But even if the country doesn’t love or even like her, a solid majority still think she’s at least fit to hold the office. Barely a third of the country feels that way about Trump.5

When only 29-38% of all likely voters think that Candidate X is fit to be President — in that candidate’s by far best-ever showing at the polls!!! — then Candidate X is not going to be elected President in November. Period.

Donald Trump doubles down on Clinton and judge (Full CNN Interview)

There’s more than that, of course.

There’s the fact that Trump, like Romney, is going into a battle with allies who won’t say his name out loud. Or, to be more accurate, they will say his name — but only when they are saying that something Trump has said or done needs to be “disavowed,” or (in the case of the party’s sitting Speaker of the House) that Trump’s current stump speech go-to is “the textbook definition of a racist comment.”

There’s the fact that the GOP is now promising voters that, if their own candidate is elected, they will work tirelessly to stop him from being the kind of president that it appears he would be.

There’s the fact that Trump’s total lack of discipline makes it so fellow Republicans have to thread needles so delicately that they defend him by saying his views aren’t racist so much as “racially toxic.”

I could go onand onand onand onand onand onand onand onand on

But even if I were able to make a comprehensive list — even if I had the time, and WordPress allowed the word-count such a list would require — Trump will only add to it tomorrow. Which, really, is kind of the point.

Over the next half-a-year, everyone involved in politics is going to look at this growing set of facts and say, with a straight face, that Trump has a really good shot at the White House. And if you want to play along for whatever reason — you hate Hillary so much you think your vote should be properly weighted, you are a liberal that doesn’t want to jinx things, you can’t bear the thought of a summer where you have to actually work at your desk rather than follow the horserace incessantly on your computer — then hey, by all means, be my guest. Go for it.

But you’ll still be wrong.

And hey, if you’re so sure that I’m wrong, and that Trump might actually emerge victorious? Well then, feel free to wager a bottle of top shelf whiskey. I have a new liquor cabinet, and I can’t wait to fill it.

  1. That would be 2000, natch. []
  2. Hey! Remember how, with just a few weeks to go before the 2012 election, everyone and their mother started paying attention to this goober so they could keep living in Horserace Fantasyland? Good times. []
  3. To be clear, not everyone here at OT was wrong because they argued Romney would win, although some certainly did. Most were simply wrong because they continued to argue through early November that there was a strong possibility that an incumbent President who was popular with independents could be beaten by a challenger whose own party treated him as an embarrassment. []
  4. And make no mistake, that’s pretty bad. If the Republicans had bothered to nominate an even halfway decent candidate, the Democrats would be in very real trouble. []
  5. Whose unfavorables are actually worse that Clintons by a very wide margin, at various times running between the high 60s and the mid 80s. []

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Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular contributor for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter. ...more →

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258 thoughts on “Can We Please Not Spend the Next Five Months Pretending This is Going to Be A Close Election?

  1. I’d quibble and add 2004 to your close list. Bush won a comfortable popular vote victory but was close enough to an electoral loss (Ohio) that you can’t really call his victory inevitable and obvious. The bad exit polls had Kerry briefly ahead in the prediction markets the afternoon of Election Day.

    Also think that some of these were like 80-90% favorites who ended up winning, making their victories look inevitable in retrospect.

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  2. First of all, this is thoughtful, well-researched, convincing, and I largely agree with it. That is, I am almost positive Hillary will win. Going to push back a little on it because I want to totally agree with it.

    As an aside, 2004 was pretty close. Bush won by less than 3 percentage points. Did we *really* know for sure going in who was going to win? I sure didn’t, although I am the worst-case-scenario pack-your-bags type.

    More important, polling is an imperfect “science” and getting imperfect-er. People don’t answer or have landlines, etc. etc. Pollsters are having to adjust for more and more confounders. Which is going to introduce more demographic guessing and thus more error-ing. There have been several state races in this cycle that were miscalled (on the Democratic side, California sticks out to me as a huge error in quantity and Michigan as a huge error in kind, and there were whoppers on the GOP side as well). 538’s predictions-without-punditry for state races was at 92%. Which is really good! But not 100%.

    Trump is also a totally weird candidate. He doesn’t have normal support from his party or factions of the country. I could see a SSM-hating, pro-life person in Utah, who has always voted GOP, whom any pollster would predict would vote Trump, actually staying home because they despise the man. The GOP GOTV may be half-hearted. Or Hillary’s campaign may be so full of “identity politics” that it revs them up. It’s harder to generalize from the numbers of past elections.

    Some people who think it will be a Hillary landslide of historic proportions might not bother to vote and thus depress the vote. More people than ever might come out to stop the Orange Specter of Fascism.

    I think we are entering some unpredictable waters here. Not so unpredictable perhaps that we still can’t predict the outcome. But it should still shake our confidence a little bit.

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    • First off, Eli, I should be clear: I am in no way predicting a Clinton landslide, let alone something historic. I suppose it’s possible, but it seems pretty unlikely, because I can’t see a huge groundswell of support for her. If I had to guess and this would be a total pulled-out-of-my-butt guess, I’d say the only way she wins in a historic landslide is if there is historically low turnout.

      As to Kerry, I humbly disagree with both of you — both now, and 12 years ago. I say this a lot here, but presidential elections are different from local and state elections, where the majority of voters know little or nothing about the candidates they’re voting for other than how they line up with issues on paper. In modern presidential elections, everyone gets to know who the candidates are pretty intimately. It seeps into everything to the degree that even people who don’t follow politics and aren’t going to vote get to know the two candidates really well.

      And the bottom line is, even though people tell themselves they vote rationally POTUS races, they vote entirely on emotion. For one set that emotion is based in partisanship, and/or wanting their team to win. For everyone else, though, it tends to just be who they like. And it’s actually pretty easy to tell in a POTUS campaign how likable the candidate is to the country, based on how the country reacts to the inevitable mud that gets thrown.

      There’s no real difference, for example, between the Swift Boat story and Benghazi. Or the Swift boat story and Obama being Kenyan. Or the Swift Boat story and the accusations that Clinton had dodged the draft and been snuck into the soviet union for training. Or for that matter, the Swift Boat story and the stories from that same election that the Bush administration was sounding false terror alerts in order to game the election. But there’s a reason why the Swift Boat story stuck and damaged and the others didn’t. People really liked Obama, Bush, and Clinton, and people really didn’t like Kerry — at all. People did with the Swift Boat what they do in every other POTUS race. They took a questionably true and questionably relevant accusation and they weighted it entirely on how they wanted to feel about the candidate. Swift Boat gave them a reason to tell themselves their emotional reaction was in fact pure reason, and they took it and ran. If the Swift Boaters had never come along, there would have been something else that would have done the same trick.

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        • Personally, and I’m not alone here, given the favorables of the two candidates, I think this general will be fought almost entirely over “negatives”, but not merely “McCain fathered an illegitimate colored boy!” type negatives. Rather negatives devolving from legitimate claims of corruption and illegality at all levels (public, private, business, governmental…). Trump is an easy target, seems to me, but unfortunately Hillary carries enough baggage of her own (she’s also being investigated for potential crimes!, etc and so on) that the gutter is where most of the grueling fight to “sway minds” will take place.

          Hillary will undoubtedly have to defend herself from some aggressive attacks, no doubt. Personally, tho, I think her best strategy would be to leave the heavy counter-punching to surrogates and merely strike back with a quick, well-timed jab. Stay outa the gutter Hillary!

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          • Btw, if (IF!) Hillary can stay outa the gutter, play a long game, and strike with well-timed jabs that land, she very well could (if she has good people!) tighten the noose by which Trump would otherwise end up hanging himself.

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          • Trump’s hobbled in this kind of fight very badly. He has virtually no campaign structure to help him respond to accusations or launch attacks for him. HRC has a massive operation and a huge web of coordinated surrogates to fire on Trump. I’d bet good money that Hillary won’t be doing much of that gutter fighting herself and if Trump doesn’t pull some kind of operation together it’s just going to be him on twitter and doing interviews trying to rebut everything.

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          • Trump is a weird as hell target, with weird as hell voters behind him.

            I think Trump could say tommorrow that he was for expanding Medicaid, eliminating social security, and is going to play nice with Mexico, and people would STILL VOTE FOR HIM.

            Fentanyl democrats aren’t actually voting for Trump Policies. They aint.

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      • Regarding John Kerry, he’s actually one of the reasons I am so disinclined to make bold proclamations. Well before 2004, I looked at him and said “That man will never be president.”

        Which turned out to be correct. But he came so close it’s obvious that my prediction was wrong. It’s also obvious Republican concerns were justified. With a uniform net flip of 1-in-80 voters, John Kerry would have been elected president. I don’t know how anyone can look at that and say that it wasn’t a live race.

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        • It’s a pity he didn’t win.

          Though I loathed GWB with the passion of a hundred Suns, I wasn’t particularly impressed with Kerry, whose middle name could be Elitist if it wasn’t already Forbes.

          And then he became Secretary of State, and he has amazed me in this role. The way he managed the relationship with Russia in Syria (starting with the disposal of chemical weapons), the Iran nuclear deal, and the restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba has been outstanding.

          I didn’t shed many tears for Kerry himself in 2004. I had little faith in the man at that time I now think the USA is worse off by not having had -nor having in the future- a President John Forbes (aka “Elitist”) Kerry.

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          • @j_a

            Although I haven’t followed his secretary of state career so I don’t know enough to comment on that, I agree with your other sentiments. In 2004 I voted for Kerry because I hated Bush and wanted to punish him for the war. But otherwise I wasn’t a fan.

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        • Yeah, I don’t get why Tod is trying to shoehorn unjustified 2004 certainty into his argument here, which is basically a lock-cinch to be correct. It just weakens what should be (and is!) a basically unrebuttable case (very well-presented by our Tod apart from the Kerry thing, I might add) for certainty about the outcome in November (barring radical new information about the players, and I’d say it would have to be about Hillary Clinton).

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      • I guess I don’t get it then. There’s a narrative that people didn’t like Kerry and so the negative stuff stuck, and sure, that’s true. But there’s the hard fact that he was 2% of the Ohio vote away from actually winning the presidency. I can’t reconcile that with “it was never gonna happen.”

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        • Too, it’s sometimes easier to put a probability number on one’s beliefs rather than go round and round with verbiage qualitatively describing whether something is impossible, really unlikely, sort of unlikely. etc.

          The betting markets have Trump at about 26% to win the presidency. I sure hope that’s too high. 26% chances of *highly* negative events are very serious threats. You’ll probably survive one, but two or more start to kill you with math.

          Tod, what’s your P on Trump winning?

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      • There is a way in which Benghazi = Swift Boat, in that they don’t represent numbered premises in a well-reasoned argument. You’re going to be swayed by them because you already like/dislike the candidate or you’re not. The number of people who hear anything about Benghazi between now and the election who switch their vote because of it is vanishingly small.

        On the other hand, there are real people beneath the media personae of John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, who are at least partially responsible for the media personae of, respectively, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump. The real people’s characters cause the personae enough such that people are ready to reject/accept such stuff as Benghazi.

        Which I think means we agree on that! But I still think all the other stuff is stuff to worry about.

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        • There is a way in which Benghazi = Swift Boat

          I agree, on both counts. I think B could be a SB not because of any coherent argument structure, but because it knocks the shine off a candidate who’s really leaning into that perception. Given that I agree with your second point: B won’t in and of itself sway an appreciable number of voters.

          What will, potentially at least, sway voters, is the degree to which Hillary’s alleged “politicization” of Libya sticks to her shine, and the way the devolving, revolving, fallout of ServerGate! undermines one of her perceived core strengths. Personally, I don’t think Trump is a politician capable of playing a tactical long game sufficient to make any of it stick without help from the courts and/or other institutional structures. Which isn’t to say, and this is my point!, that given the right political team playing a well-thought out long game that H is immune to being SBd by B and SG!.

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  3. All I’m going to say is this:

    Lot’s of folks said Trump wouldn’t make it through the various gates of candidacy.
    Lot’s of folks said Trump would never (insert whatever) because he was so outrageous/racist/etc.
    Lot’s of folks said Trump wouldn’t be the nominee.

    They were wrong.

    Do I expect Trump to win? Not really.
    Would I be surprised if he did? Yes.
    Would I vote for him? No (it wouldn’t matter anyway since my state will go to HRC)
    Would I delight in seeing the tears of anger and sadness from the left if they lost? Hell yes.

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      • Can you imagine an event happening in October (or over the summer) that would change the shape of the election?

        Just off the top of my head:

        one of the candidates giving an impassioned speech and then having a medical event in the middle of it

        One of the candidates giving an impassioned speech and then being interrupted by the authorities in the middle of it and then being handcuffed

        An attack of some sort happening at some major public place that swings the topics being discussed on the news shows from the current topics to national security

        Riots happening in major cities during the summer

        Riots/protestors/counter-protestors happening at one (or both) conventions that change the framing of the argument between Hillary and Trump

        Just off the top of my head.

        If Trump has this happen, I can see him maybe dropping out and being replaced with Jeb or something. Rubio. Cruz. Walker. Something.

        If Hillary has this happen and she drops out? Well, if Biden runs against Trump, he wins with Reagan in ’84 numbers. If Hillary has something weird happen and she doesn’t drop out… I can see odd things happen with the rust belt and the mountain west.

        (I’m back to “Trump is a disaster for the Republicans!” but… have you ever seen an election more ripe for an October surprise?)

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    • One of Hillary’s largely unnoticed strengths is that her October surprises are October 2012, October 2013, 2014, etc. surprises. They’re out there. They’ve damaged her, but it seems they’ve gone as far as they will, and haven’t put her down. I can’t imagine what information will come about about emails, about Benghazi (for God’s sake), about the CF (I do wonder about an eventual connecting of the Foundation to stuff in the Panama Papers, but nevertheless), etc., that will move those stories from where they are to derailing-the-locomotive territory. These scandals are too established in the public mind as SomethingBurgers-(or Potential-Somethingburgers)-But-NotEnoughBurgers for anything that could plausibly come out on them to vault them in that way. I think. The various messengers have been too fully discredited by the broad Clinton apparatus (Media Matters being in the lead), up to and including the New York Times, which apparently has it out for Hillary Clinton on the emails story. It would have to be, or would more likely be IMHO, something entirely new.

      A true October surprise. So I guess, yeah, you’re right. But it’s just that she’s had a ot of them already; it would take some exquisitely bad luck for the right (wrong) one to come along at just the right (wrong) time. It just seems particularly unlikely with her. And it would be just a nail in a coffin already covered by a foot or six of earth if it were to happen to Trump. So far in the general it’s looking like he’s going to be sustaining an October surprise every two weeks or so until the election. That pace has to slow down, but still.

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      • Michael,
        Yeah, every single chip that Clinton’s played is on the table.
        You hear the one about the Clinton Foundation?
        It’s not a real foundation, you know — spends about 1 in ten dollars it takes in, and it’s transparent to see the money flowing — Secretary of State makes business news ya know?

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  4. While I agree with much of what you’ve written, my Tod, I’m a little surprised. I could have sworn that you felt that Trump had a dangerously high probability of winning in the general. Maybe I misremember but I thought that was the gist of some of our conversations?

    I myself think along your lines but I was so enormously wrong about the primary that I feel a creeping anxiety about indulging in that level of certainty. The signs certainly are looking favorable for HRC: all indicators suggest that Bernie will go gently into that good night whether he wants to or not. Trump seems to be manufacturing his own problems at a time when he should be manufacturing trouble for HRC. I mean it looks pretty good at this stage of the election which can sensibly be expected to be the nadir of HRC’s popularity.

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    • No, you are misremembering. I have never believed that Trump could win in the general. What you are likely remembering that I was the guy who said I thought he could win the GOP nod in early August of last year.

      Believing that Trump can win the general basically requires that you be taken utterly by surprise that today’s Republican party could nominate someone who says (or whose campaign says) the things he does about women, Muslims, Mexicans, Jews, and blacks. I also require that you believes that women, Muslims, Mexicans, Jews, and blacks are going to look at that person and say, “Yes, he’s bogged agains me and my family, but I like his honesty about that so much I’m going to vote for him!” Neither of those lines of thinking applies to me.

      That being said

      Even though Turmp is going to lose, Trumpism is still very dangerous, and it absolutely needs to be taken seriously. There is a belief by many, including people on the left, that Trump is some magical fairy — that they only reason things came to this was Trump himself. I disagree with this point of view, and believe it’s a dangerous one to hold.

      What happens in four years, when a Cruz or a Rubio or someone we do not yet see decides to combine their personal discipline and the bigotry and xenophobia of Trumpism? How much damage to the country would someone with Cruz’s intelligence and political instincts do with a pro-Trumpism message, even if he loses?

      Trump doesn’t worry me very much.

      Trumpism terrifies me.

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      • Yeah you 100% called it August last year about him winning it. Kudos to you on that. I could have sworn over dinner (a really lovely dinner) in Portland that you said I was over confident about HRC vs Trump in the general. I may have simply misremembered though.

        Trumpism and its heirs is a verrrry interesting subject. I take a somewhat more more blasé view on it than you do viewing it as more of a toxic reaction to some very conscious conservative, conserva-media and republican decisions but I will concede readily that I could be wrong about it. I wonder, though, if the discipline of Cruz and Rubio doesn’t naturally exclude the Trump tell it like is supposedly is magnetism.

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  5. I’m going to echo Elizabeth here a bit. I’m in about 90% agreement with you but I have some nagging worries.

    First, you’re correct that “anything” can’t actually happen, but there are a couple of possibilities with greater-than-negligible probabilities that could prove troubling. Obama currently enjoys a job approval rating a bit north of 50%. This is another strong predictor for a party’s success in the POTUS race so, yay! But a big factor feeding into that is the state of the economy, whether it really deserves to be or not, and the last jobs report positively sucked. Hopefully that will prove out to be a temporary blip, but if the economy goes south over the summer that could bolster, in the minds of some at least, the argument that an apparently successful businessman is just who the country needs at the helm right now. There’s also the possibility — and I have no idea how likely this really is — that the FBI hands down an indictment against Clinton over the email thing. That would really damage the whole fitness-to-lead argument.

    Second, as Elizabeth notes, some of the state polling going into primary races turned out to be off by wide margins, by magnitude and sometimes even getting the sign wrong. I believe this can be ascribed to the fact that both contests were asymmetrical in nature, pitting an institutional insider* against an insurgent outsider. A critical factor in the dark art of polling is the turnout model; predicting how many of the folks who stated support for Candidate X will actually bother to show up on election day. In some cases you may also need to factor in a certain amount of voter suppression. I would contend that the turnout models, which are based — as they must be! — on past election experience, are ill-suited for this match up. We’re going to see more crossover voters in both directions, more new voters coming out — primarily for Trump, but also possibly against him, and more regular voters staying home out of disgust — on both sides! — than normal.

    Now I still believe that this election is essentially Clinton’s to lose. Trump has shown little willingness or, indeed, ability to pivot his message toward the general population. I’m actually not that terribly surprised that the Republicans nominated him given the way the leadership has cultivated the crazy over the last couple of decades. Sow and ye shall reap. So I don’t believe you can extrapolate his astonishing-to-many success in the primaries to hand-wringing over the same happening in the general. But I also have to keep in mind the maxim of P.T. Barnum.

    *For all that Cruz was disliked by his colleagues and presented himself as an outsider, the reality is that he is a sitting Senator with a long history in politics.

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  6. I don’t know if I would put Ford’s loss as an inevitability. That was a close election.

    My theory on why people think Romney and Trump could or can win is two fold. One political junkies are just as invested in the horse race as the pundits who need to say stuff for a paycheck.*

    The other is more psychological. The white Republican losing three times in a row shows the decline of white guy voters. Voting R tends to be a white guy thing. Even libertarians tend to bend R because of alleged small state deference.

    There is a contingent of the libertarian party that hates that Johnson and Weld are their nominees. The big issue seems to be that Johnson is a libertarian heretic because of his support of Driver’s Licenses and The Civil Rights Act.

    Yet the Libertarians wonder why they are seen as a white guys who do drugs party? They don’t seem to appreciate that sometimes Liberty is protected and enforced by government action. How can someone be free if it is a crapshoot about whether they are served or not based on race, religion, sex, ethnicity, sexuality, etc?

    I think a third loss for the white guy would be a big psychic loss for many white guys in the US. They are no longer in charge.

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    • “sometimes Liberty is protected and enforced by government action.”

      Sure, honey, I know I hit you sometimes, but I do bring home the paychecks. And besides, if you’d just stop being such a bitch I wouldn’t have to pop you, right?

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      • I do, occasionally, wonder how many people who comment here would survive a complete collapse of our systems of government.

        As a threshold matter, we’d have to pick a cause. Full-on nuclear war is a perennial favorite. A new flu bug is good too. Over the longer term, we could consider the inability of commercial agriculture to feed the global population. Starvation is always a good source of rioting and civil war.

        I figure in all of those I’m dead pretty quickly. Long Beach would be a target in any major exchange of nuclear weapons and I’m pretty susceptible to flu already. My income can probably allow me to outbid others for food for a while. But if food riots are here, I expect to end up sooner rather than later as thin strips of Objectivist jerky, as J. Scalzi once put it.

        Who among us really thinks that they would have more Liberty without government?

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          • The greatest irony being, as shown in great length on a blog that has been deconstructing “Atlas Shrugged” for some time now, that Rand’s “actual” Galt’s Gulch is, in all particulars that matter, a socialist utopia.

            Of course, hunter-gatherers were pretty communal too – it took agriculture before the authoritarian social order could really develop.

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              • I might be inadvertently putting words in the author’s mouth, this might be more of an emergent conclusion rather than coming from the direct textual criticism which is the main point.

                I don’t like to endorse a blog on another blog lest I be thought of either as a fanboi, or worse, trying to raise page hits – thus the circumlocutions when referring to even well known sites such as John Scalzi’s blog or Fred Clark’s blog (this last one despite knowing damn well that at least one other regular here is a commenter there). In any case, the “Atlas Shrugged” deconstruction is on the Patheos blog Daylight Atheism.

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        • First question is, “How long does the electricity stay on?” Without that, light, heat, water all stop pretty quickly.

          I have a friend who lives several miles inland from the Gulf Coast. She has her “Panic Pack” in the case she is stuck there while a hurricane goes through. Lightweight tent, sleeping bag, one of those Swiss Army water pumps with the ceramic filter, ten days or so worth of freeze-dried trail food, a burner with a couple of butane tanks, etc. Also a 9mm handgun, loaded, and a box of ammunition.

          Prepping for a week or two for a localized disaster is pretty easy. Prepping for the longer term sans commercial electrical power is a completely different thing.

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          • , If your friend lives only a few miles from the coast, and there is a big hurricane coming, what she really needs to fill up her car with gas and get the hell out of dodge.
            , If the effluvia really hits the whirling blades what would you rather have a ten dollar bill or a can of pork and beans? Ergo, your money is useless.
            For starters, if the is an atomic war all the computers would crash and you couldn’t get any money. If the computers crash so do all the nuke plants and the chemical plants would cause all sorts of bad things. Electrical plants would crash and you could not get gas. You would not need gas anyway because your car would not run. In other words you are in a world of hurt.
            The best thing would be if you had a horse and knew several Mike Dwyers who had a lot of guns and knew how to use them. Also it would not hurt if you lived in the woods. I would not want to be in a city during a war. Where I live there is about ten thousand pounds of meat and several large gardens within a mile.

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          • It’s common for people like us- i.e., well fed First Worlders to imagine survival as a romantic exercise in rugged heroic individualusm, where every man a Rambo.

            Yet when you look at actual wartime situations, events of chaos and crumbling governments, survival depends mostly on forming friendships and bonds of trust and interdependence.

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        • “I do, occasionally, wonder how many people who comment here would survive a complete collapse of our systems of government.”

          Sure, bitch, run away! Go ahead! We both know you’ll come crawling back after a night sleeping on the street. Oh, you thought you’d take the car? Not bloody likely when it’s my name on the title.

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      • I really wish that the anti-government people would do a demographic analysis of who actually believes like they do and wonder why they always seem to attract a particular demographic. If your claiming to be a universal truth but tend to attract the same sort of people than maybe you really aren’t that universal.

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  7. Great post. Here’s another little info nugget to support your thesis. Per TPM, as of yesterday, the gop.com home page had absolutely zero links to anything Trump. I checked the page just now. Still nothing except collective denial.

    That said, Trump has far exceeded expectations, so I wouldn’t count him out just yet. If he keeps to the themes of his Tuesday night scripted speech–economic populism, America First–and if he doesn’t shoot off his mouth or blow up his Twitter accounts insulting anybody who gets under his skin (two very big “ifs,” I grant you), he could appeal to voters in the industrial Midwest who’ve been hit hardest by globalization and capture swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania. I also think there’s merit to Jaybird’s October surprise argument. Then, there’s the Bernie wildcard. Does he bow out gracefully or does he push on to the Democratic convention, bashing Hillary and the party along the way? And what kind of damage does it do?

    I’d love for Hillary to open a large lead and keep it until November, banishing The Donald to perpetual sore loserdom.

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  8. You should put your money where your mouth is! You can make a fortune. And if you were certain all along that Dukakis would win, you apparently have a very good gut for such things!

    More seriously, Depending on how we define “close” I don’t think the election is going to be close. I certainly don’t Trump is going to win. I haven’t even expended much in the way of brain cells contemplating the possibility, apart from content for Hit Coffee and Ordinary Times.

    Defining “close” is hard, though. By almost any historical measure, 2012 was close, but it is commonly perceived as not being close and I certainly get the impression from this post that you don’t believe it was. (I don’t think 2012 was close… but I also don’t think it was “not close” either.)

    Right now I’ve got Clinton with about an 80% chance of winning, which is a lot higher than Betfair and just a bit higher than PredictWise. I’m inching towards 90%. In 2012, I had about a 70% chance for Obama, which gravitated towards 80-85% as we approached election day. I stand by that as a reasonable estimate.

    The “Unskewed” people were wrong, of course, but not for the reason often ascribed. They were wrong for saying the polls *are* wrong, but not for being poll-skeptics. The polls are going to be right until they’re wrong. It seems like we’re inching back towards a place that too much faith is being put in their veracity. I do think the polls are likely to be wrong in 2016, skewed towards Trump. That’s a (thought-through) guess, though.

    The strongest argument you lay out are the personal numbers for Clinton and Trump, which do suggest that a lot of the undecideds are poised to break in a particular way. I would add to that Trump’s inability to crawl above 44% at any point. The difference between Clinton’s wide lead and her smaller one mostly had to do with her numbers. Trump has been hanging around at 42% forever, with only a slight consolidation bump that looks pretty iffy to me.

    While I hope the DNC reads tomorrow’s post, I am really hoping that they’re not reading this and taking it to heart. I want them fighting between now and November. It’s not slated to be close, but it’s not over until its over. But more than that, the margin of victory is going to be important. If not for Clinton herself (she’s president either way) then for the country.

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  9. I don’t have a strong opinion on this question, but if you’re confident that Clinton will win, there are plenty of people over at PredictIt willing to take the other side of that bet if you give them 2:1 odds. If you’re confident that Clinton will get at least 370 electoral votes, you can get 2:1 odds in your favor.

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      • Missouri very credibly can go Dem in any election these days. Even Indiana (barely) went for Obama in 08 – for this election it depends if usual GOP voters will be as fed up with Donald as they were with Dubya (I don’t think so?) and if minority turnout stays juiced like it was in 08 (again, I don’t think so) – but it’s possible.

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  10. I’m going to agree with what most fine people said above – I agree that Donald won’t win, but that’s because of who is is now, *and* how we now know he will campaign.

    Campaigns matter. There are underlying fundamentals of economics and sociopolitical mood, but campaigns matter.

    Romney’s campaign was fatally flawed not because his own side didn’t like him, but because he couldn’t square the circle of being against Obamacare when he was also its grandfather. So the fundamentals held, and Obama won.

    Obama also had the fundamentals on his side in 2008 – but a great campaign by him and an erratic campaign by McCain turned a win into a rout.

    The fundementals were for Al Gore in 2000 – but a terrible campaign by him and a great campaign by Bush turned a win into a loss (yeah yeah pop vote – but it shouldn’t have even been *close*)

    Bill is a great campaigner, leading to a solid win in 96 that built on fundamentals – and contrary to what you say in the post 92 could have gone any which way, but with a solid camaign that leveraged the fundamentals he wound up with a pop vote plurality and an electoral vote victory.

    1988 was the mirror image of 2000, except this time the VP can a solid campaign, and the other guy never got his footing.

    Even going back to 64, Goldwater was pretty much toast from the get go, but the blowout was largely because the RNC and the Goldwater campaign (per Perlstein’s book) were not coordinating, working at cross purposes, or actively at war during the general.

    And if that’s sounds familiar, that’s happening right now and will continue to happen for the rest of the year and *thats* why Donald has no chance.

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    • I agree that there’s an important place for execution; and execution can be judged on (at least) two different variables: 1) What’s the actual strategy, and 2) How well did you apply it.

      I expect Clinton to have a solid if uninspired strategy and will similarly execute adequately… and that should be enough.

      Trump will likely gamble on a strategy and that will have a high risk/reward value… and I expect him to execute it erratically.

      That amounts to a 75% likelihood Clinton wins (in my mind).

      But, having been on the winning and losing side of extremely well executed business strategies – winning business we should have lost, and losing business we should have won – I’m still waiting to see what those strategies will be and how well they execute them.

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      • Clinton is not doing things by the book. I plan to write a post separately about this on the sub-blog, maybe late this afternoon, but her ad about Trump mocking the reporter was a direct pitch to pro-life evangelicals. Not her usual pitch to say the least. I don’t think she necessarily expects them to vote for her but she wants them to stay home.

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    • Kolohe,

      And if that’s sounds familiar, that’s happening right now and will continue to happen for the rest of the year and *thats* why Donald has no chance.

      And that’s also why I’m not particularly panicked over the larger prospects even if he should win. The down-ballot Republicans are practically in lockstep running like hell to distance themselves from him. They, the professional politicians, see him as losing and dragging them down with him. Even if he somehow wins it will be on the strength of Dem crossover and new voters specifically coming out for the anti-Establishment candidate. That doesn’t sound like a formula for down-ballot success to me. I can imagine a lot of the latter group marking their ballots for Trump and then leaving the rest blank.

      So even if he wins, the Senate likely turns over and his agenda — at least the more toxic elements — dies in Congress. Basically he would be a CEO dealing with a hostile Board of Directors.

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      • GOP keeping Senate was always at best 50/50 proposition, given how many and the location of the seats they’re defending, plus prez year turnout. (Also that the VP staying Dem means another seat they have to keep to remain at at least 51)

        The surprising thing is how many *aren’t* keeping Donald at arms length. Kirk has, but he’s toast. Toomey has been neutral mostly sidestepping Trump entirely, and has more of a shot of keeping his seat than I would have expected. Ayotte has waffled on Trump, and that may be her undoing in what was always going to be a tough reelection fight.

        The worse case scenario for Republicans (which is the best case for Clinton) is the House flipping. Which nobody really has in their crystal balls, but looking at some of the exurban major metroplex districts that the ballers still have as ‘lean R’ (downgraded from ‘safe R’ already due to Trump), the modelling for these districts depends on white women voting their usual way in their usual numbers.

        And if that doesnt happen (and the overall prediction is that they won’t) game over, man. Game over

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  11. The voters that are in play are always the ones that vote for the candidate that they feel is “Presidential,” based on whatever “Presidential” happens to mean to them. For these voters, when you ask them if a someone has the temperament and knowledge to be POTUS, you’re really asking them if that someone is fit to be POTUS.

    Interesting nugget; but the argument hinges entirely on this; and hinges on this in 5 or maybe 6 states (VA, OH, PA, MI, AZ, and FL). If we’ve already excluded High Information voters such as myself – who would answer the pollster that Clinton and *not* Trump is fit (but would never vote for Clinton) – then we’re left with low information voters. And then as far as the election cycle goes, from now until the convention will be Trump’s escalator moment. The moment when it was impossible for him to win.

    The next 5 months is then about Trump and Clinton executing on their respective presidential fitness scores. Plus their likability scores. I think Clinton is at or near her cap on both counts. Trump…well, he could and should fall spectacularly under the scrutiny. So, as long as both sides execute according to expectation, your assessment is solid. Just like it was when he came down the escalator the first time.

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    • bout Trump and Clinton executing on their respective presidential fitness scores. Plus their likability scores. I think Clinton is at or near her cap on both counts.

      That would requiring ignoring her likability scores when she was SoS, among other things.

      And giving her no “bounce” from base solidification after Sanders concedes.

      I wouldn’t say she’d hit the high-50s again, but she’s going to pick up a few points on base consolidation alone. Trump’s already had his.

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      • That would requiring ignoring her likability scores when she was SoS, among other things.

        No, not ignoring it at all… properly weighting, yes.

        Heh, if her approval ratings are high-50’s near the election night, I predict that she wins the presidency, and they throw in the premiership of Canada too.

        Of course for that to happen, Bill and/or Chelsea are probably recently deceased… so there’ll be the whole investigation she’ll have to deal with…

        Though I will say that I didn’t realize her current approvals were as low as 38% today… so yes, it’s an overstatement that that’s her cap… they will certainly rise back into the 40s after the convention.

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        • I think approval ratings have become little more than proxies for the state of play.

          When people (mostly GOP) hated Obama after inauguration, “approval” of HRC likely meant not that people actually preferred her, but that the grass was greener in a “sure McCain was going to lose, but THIS GUY is illegitmate, we would have much preferred the other one” way that was obvious at the time. Naturally, she lost all approval from GOP voters when she started running for president. Likewise, she currently gets a lot of disapproval from disappointed Bernie fans who are already starting to actually listen to Trump and get on board with HRC. I suspect her approval ratings will rebound to where they are very high among democrats, around the middle for independents, and near-zero for republicans. Likewise, I expect Trump will get to be very high among GOP voters as they resign themselves to him, but to stay low among democrats/independents for all the same reasons I expect Trump to be solidly defeated in November.

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  12. By the way, I have no feel for this. This is related to the idea that he’ll have little congressional support even if he wins. I know he has a lot of support amongst police. How does military rank and file feel about him?

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      • So you’re saying that as president his first act would be to replace all the top brass with people of his own choosing (without the usual rigamarole of attrition?). Good move by the Top Brass.

        Seriously… as soon as someone said it out loud (if they really did), they collectively would understand how stupid an idea it would be and never would act on it.

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  13. Wow, I mean, Wow.

    Take the recent Public Policy Polling survey of registered voters in Florida, for example. It was conducted in the midst of the blowup over Trump’s “Mexican” judge comments and Clinton’s speech. If there’s one swing state where this dustup should have an effect, it is probably Florida. Yet Trump leads Clinton in the poll, for the first time in any poll since March.

    Look at the poll’s internals. He’s definitely taken a hit with Hispanics. According to exit polls, Mitt Romney lost Florida Hispanics by 21 points. Trump trails by 26 among this group. The non-Hispanic white share of the electorate has also dropped 2 points.

    So why is he ahead? He’s ahead because he marginally improved upon Romney’s showing among African-American voters (Romney lost by 92 points; Trump is down 87 points), and because he’s posted gains among non-Hispanic whites (Romney won by 24 points; Trump is up 28 points).

    Moreover, very liberal Democrats are 14 percent of the Florida electorate in the poll, while somewhat liberal voters are 16 percent of that electorate. Very conservative voters are 16 percent of the electorate, while somewhat conservative voters are 24 percent of the electorate. The math works out that if Clinton brings home all of the liberal voters, while Trump brings home all of the conservative voters, his position would actually improve.

    We see the same thing, incidentally, in PPP’s follow-up poll of Pennsylvania, which shows a tied race. PPP points out that if Clinton brings home the Sanders vote, her position would improve. But Trump is losing almost 20 percent of conservative voters. If Clinton brings home liberal voters and Trump brings home conservative voters, Trump’s margin would increase. You can make a case that the NeverTrump conservative opposition to Trump will prove more durable than the liberal opposition to Clinton. You can point out that traditionally, more conservatives vote Democrat than liberals vote Republican. Will it play out this way? I don’t know. My gut tells me “yes.” But I can’t come up with any principled, data-driven reason why this would necessarily be the case. That’s a recipe for substituting what you want to happen for what is likely to happen.

    Sean Trende

    Everyone did such a grand job of picking the R primary, that I have zero faith in prognostications. Making predicions based on what you want to happen has been the story all along. Tell me, who did you pick in the primaries?

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    • 270 to win has 4 “very close” states in 2012 – pop vote margin less than 5%. Florida, Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina. (1st three Obama won, NC Romney won)

      Winning Florida is a necessary condition for a Trump win. And I do think it’s possible, that exerpt gives some data to a hypothesis I’ve had on how small changes in turnout and vote splits could enable a GOP win in Florida.

      But it’s a necessary condition, not a sufficient one. Donald needs to win the other two close states that went blue *and* hope Clinton hemmorages enough support from one other state to poach it and get the win.

      And that can be literally any other state. If Clinton wins all the states (by any margin) that Obama won in 2012 by 5% or greater – she’s already at 272 in the electoral college.

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      • Oh, I agree. But we aren’t there yet, that deciding phase. What Trende is pointing out, that during the period where the chattering classes are chattering away re: Trump at his Trumpiest, his support is going up in that battleground state.

        Looking at RCP this AM, all those states you mention are withing the margin of error and you can watch HRC’s numbers dropping in Penn. NC Trump is currently up, VA is hers right now. Her overall is going up slightly, but is that from Bernies dimise? Or is she trending that way?

        All of which to say that anyone who is calling this race over is being foolish. While the media is going to do everything they can to drag her over the line first, I am not sure that is going to matter this time, for the exact reason that no one was right about the primaries. On either side, for either party.

        HRC is going to need to completely change it up, how she runs. That big foriegn policy speach she made last week or so? Nada. Oh, it impressed the chattering class, but they are already in her bag. She needs to get out there and rope in the other class, the working class.

        This ain’t your fathers election. Totally different groups in play.

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      • But it’s a necessary condition, not a sufficient one. Donald needs to win the other two close states that went blue *and* hope Clinton hemmorages enough support from one other state to poach it and get the win.

        What is a bit sad that Trump might not be defeated because people of all races and genders are outraged at him.

        He might just be defeated because of simple demographic math.

        As I’ve mentioned before here, this presidential election, and continuing to 2020 via incumbency, was functionally the last one the Republicans *could* have won. They cannot win the presidency past 2020, without some major changes in the way various demographic groups view them. (If somehow 2020 doesn’t have an incumbent, maybe, *maybe* we could see a 2020 and 2024 win.)

        The Republicans have, frankly, lost too many states. Just completely lost them. We tend to look at demographics as a national thing, but the problem is that too many swing states have gained Hispanics or black people have started voting or whatever. It’s a bunch of very small scale things, all at the state level…but it means too many purple states are turning blue, and red states are turning purple…and almost none of them are going the other way.

        Each side used to start with ~200 or whatever. Now the Dems are starting with 230, and the Reps with 170, or whatever the real numbers are. And it just keeps creeping in that direction, starting the Republicans at more and more of a disadvantage. They had very little time to get in there, possibly change some stuff to make them more relevant to non-whites and non-men.

        And then they nominated goddamn Trump.

        Trump seems determined to throw away their last chance.

        The problem is, I fear, that Trump will merely drive slightly more Dems to vote against him. Or, rather, as it will be painted, slightly more women and minorities to vote against him.

        Thus perpetuating the Trumpism.

        I’d really like to see *white men* reject Trump. I’d like to see an election that makes it clear Trumpism doesn’t work, and was roundly rejected by a majority of all sorts of people.

        I have a sinking feeling this is not what is going to happen.

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          • If I am, it’s resulted in me *understating* the Republican problem.

            Donald Trump changed the math, but in exactly the wrong direction for the Republicans.

            Trump might have changed the ‘Republicans can never win 2020 or beyond’ to ‘Republicans can never win 2016 or beyond’…even if it *wasn’t* Trump specifically running.

            I.e., if, somehow, we have the electorate with their *current*, damaged-by-Trump opinion of the Republicans, and yet they somehow had a different presidential candidate (I know that this hypothetical doesn’t make much sense, whatever.), that other candidate would have really serious problems winning *this* election, already.

            Especially if Trump keeps…Trumping until the election.

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            • What you’re mostly missing is who is on the other side. The Democrats, if Hillary Clinton wins, ain’t gonna be the party of anyone you’re gonna like, anymore. Sell you down the river in a heartbeat, and keep you on their side by setting white man against black man (and hooboy ain’t that gonna be some sort of hoedown).

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    • If Clinton brings home liberal voters and Trump brings home conservative voters, Trump’s margin would increase. You can make a case that the NeverTrump conservative opposition to Trump will prove more durable than the liberal opposition to Clinton. You can point out that traditionally, more conservatives vote Democrat than liberals vote Republican. Will it play out this way? I don’t know. My gut tells me “yes.” But I can’t come up with any principled, data-driven reason why this would necessarily be the case.

      Wait, what? We have data from multiple recent elections that Sanders voters will swear up and down that they won’t vote for Clinton but will rapidly coalesce behind her. We have no data whatsoever that an equivalent swing can happen in support of the uncontested nominee. Even worse, every single number he discusses from the PPP Poll is within the margin of error *of the entire poll* (3.6%), which is conservative because the MoE will be much higher for the cross-tabs. It’s fine for this guy to argue that the data isn’t telling us much, but it’s pretty shady for him to mis-represent polls that are statistically identical as if they’re informative.

      [*] At the very least, if your analysis shows that Trump is doing better with African Americans then Romney you need to be *very* strict about uncertainty.

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      • I get what you are saying and it is definatly an issue. But, and its a big but, Tod is falling into the trap of reading what he wants to read, not looking at what he doesn’t want to see. Trende is trying to look at things from the other end, NOT looking for things that confirm his hypothosis but things that break them. There are not enough data sets to make any conclusions like Tod is making from a data set. If, as I believe, this election brings out those whom the chattering classes usually ignore, then all bets are off. This is precisely what sunk the R’s in ’12, predicting the AA vote would go back to trend.

        I could be toatally wrong on this, and the next 5 months will tell us. But to say it is in the bag for HRC is, again, foolish at this point. Get back to me when she is out of the MoE.

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        • It’s possible, sure, but Democrats carried the black vote at 90%, 88%, 95%, 93% in the past four elections; which is a big swing in terms of capture (i.e. Obama got half of the blacks who did not vote Kerry) but not a big swing in terms of numbers; add to that the fact that Clinton has been rock solid with this demographic and Trump is losing them nationally. All I’m saying is if you have a result that’s within the MoE and all the data-based priors are strongly against it, you’re hacking.

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  14. Last December, when Nate Silver was giving Trump a 1% or so chance to win the nomination, I argued with two very republican coworkers that Trump had the best chance to win. They laughed at my Democratic ignorance.

    RCW#1 is a conservative Catholic Kansan that follows the lead of the bishop in political matters (pity that Houston-Galveston is a fairly liberal dioceses) that supported Marco. RCW#2 is a feisty New Jersian (is that a word?) that actually went to school with -and supported- Chris Christie.

    They claimed that Republicans will chose a True Conservative (TM) candidate. One that would support the True Conservative (TM) program: Low High Bracket taxes, aggressive foreign policy, Rod Dreher style social conservatism.

    My argument was that Trump was tapping the same vein that had brought Ted Cruz to the fore: Otherism. Republican voters couldn’t hare less about the True Conservative (TM) program: They just wanted their country (their world) back. A country with no black presidents with funny Muslim names, a country with no gays parading as Army Secretaries,a world where foreigners and women did as they were told, etc. Their country (their world) had been stolen by Others. Well, they will kick the Others in the behind.

    With Trump they had all that Cruz could offer, minus the weird Dominionist religion that always lingered in Cruz’ background. It was a slam dunk

    Republican voters never voted for the True Conservative (TM) program. They had always voted against the Democrats because the Democrats were always in favour of the Other. The actual True Conservative (TM) program always polled very poorly. Finally, here comes a Man that is fully committed to denounce Obama as not American; fully committed against Muslims and Mexicans; blatantly saying the quiet parts out loud. And he’s not only attacking the Others like a bull terrier. He’s also totally unconcerned about the things Republican voters did not like of the Republican Party: tax cuts for the rich, social conservatism, imperial foreign policy. It’s like Christmas came early.

    My RCWs laughed at my Democratic-ly skewed analysis. Trump will never be a candidate.

    Alas I changed jobs in April. I wish I was still there. I’m an in-your-face-loser winner.

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      • Trump is sui generis. (And by “sui”, I do mean what you shout to call pigs.) Dreher has a really telling piece here. While being interviewed by Cal Thomas, who gives Trump every opportunity to make nice to the evangelicals with some soft soap about his faith in God, Trump can’t stop talking about how yuuge The Donald is.

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      • Yes I do. He’s tapping very similar veins of resentment. Essentially any party that has the name of the country or the word National in the name.

        If you look at Western European Politics (and I acknowledge I don’t follow the Eastern European politics) you can see that the Le Pens of the world are very competitive at (i) a national level; or (II) at a municipal level in places equivalent to the USA rust belt. They get to the second round in presidential elections, or reach the mayoralty of third level places like Frejus or Villiers-Cotterêts.

        But conversely, the National Front has only two representatives in the National Assembly, out of 577. They are too dispersed nationally to swing larger constituencies (though in France they have a good presence in rust belt like Picardie).

        So, in places without National Elections, like Germany or the UK, the nationalist right doesn’t have the mechanism to aggregate all their voters to reach pole position like they do in France or Austria. The UKIP is real and has a lot of support, they got almost 4 million votes in 2015. But Farage cannot even get himself elected MP (they only got one, Clacton, an incumbent Tory that defected to UKIP in 2014).

        The mixed system in the USA allows the nationalist right to get their man nominated, while making it very difficult for him to be elected. At the end of the day, they cannot add the votes countrywide.

        A more interesting question is how will Trumpism (or the nationalist right) evolve in the USA if it doesn’t have the financial backing of the political donors?

        The Nationalist Right offers nothing to the donors, while you cannot get elected did catcher without them (*), while at the same time those who found their voice in the Trump campaign will not meekly go back to True Conservativism (TM)

        Who and how will become the avatar of the Nationalist Right in the USA is the most interesting political question of today. Cruz would like to, but I doubt he can close the deal. If not Cruz, who?

        (*) Trump could ignore (so far) the donors because (a) he’s been a household name for decades; (b) the media gave him about one billion (no citation available) in free messaging; and (c) if push came to shove he could self finance for a while. How many billionaires can an Appalachian miner or an Arizona retiree name?

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        • David Shor tweets a lot about Trumpism in the International context. He argues that in most countries having a two-party system with primaries would pull politics to the left by muting liberal populism, but in the US it pulls things to the right because it has enough strength to take over a host party.

          I think (and fear) people underestimate the future prospects of a Trump coalition. I believe it will lose this year, but if they stick with it not only could it win, but it eventually would. That’s a post for another day. (Though one that seems to be moving up the timetable.)

          I don’t know who would be the face of it. It’s worth noting that four years ago, Trump was ripping on Romney for being heartless on immigration.

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    • I believe you’re onto something here. From my reading on social-political psychology (a bit of a recent intellectual hobby of mine) the Otherism of which you speak is really the fundamental, archetypal, psychological basis for what we think of as Conservatism. The religious (what you’re calling “social”), Imperial, and economic flavors are sort of adjacent to, or even parasitical to, that core Conservatism.

      Trumpism cuts away the extraneous dross to get at that core. Christianity is useful as an identity, but not so much as an actual source of moral imperatives. Imperial military strength is a wonderful thing and warriors are idolized, as long as that power is applied strictly to advancing America’s obvious and immediate interests. Capitalism is a wonderful thing, but again, as long as it serves the interests of the tribe. America is in decline; it’s slothful, decadent, and divided. It used to be great, and it can be great again, if we unite behind the leader.

      We’ve seen this before…

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  15. Well Bernie just backed away from the ledge after meeting with the President. He’s clearly beginning the wind down so that likely means that the majority of Berners will eventually back HRC which is one hurdle jumped for her. I’d say that’s some pretty good news for her today.

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  16. A couple issues:

    1. I think Hillary wins, but without a majority, akin to Bill in ’92. Trump will be second, but only because a fair amount of conservatives and centrists decided to feel the Johnson, akin to Perot in ’92. In fact, I think pundits will get off on comparing this year to ’92.

    2. I think Trump majorly pivots center and starts making some extremely reasonable points in the coming months, such that a fair number of voters will even start to forget the pernicious nonsense that he needed to say to get the nod from team scumbag.

    3. You’re totally wrong about McCain and Obama. That election was McCain’s to lose, and he lost it – mostly by choosing a cabbage as his running mate – just as much as Obama won it. We pretend that it was a historic victory for Obama because that makes us feel better about ourselves (We’re not racists anymore!), but there was some not insignificant element of luck that led to an Obama Presidency.

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    • Despite the fact that Johnson is closer to stereotypical Republican values than Trump is, I think that the libertarian brand is too easy to attack. Based on this website’s commentors, “libertarian” is seen as a synonym for “anarchist addicted to child porn and drugs”.

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      • His appearance on “Full Frontal” didn’t do a whole lot to dissuade that. He seems genuine, likeable, and a fun guy to be around. I think he’s too deeply weird to be a good President, in a similar way to how I’m too deeply weird to be a good President.

        I’d rather have a beer with him than any of the candidates on either of the big two podiums.

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          • Sure, and it was pretty clear that he: (a) knew it was a comedy show, which a lot of pols surprisingly don’t, (b) was willing to play along, and even more impressively (c) was capable of playing along.

            I came out of it with a more favorable view of Johnson – but I’m not the kind of guy he has to convince. I expect the Libertarian candidate to be a goofy, dope-smoking, live-and-let-live kind of guy with some weird economic fetishes. To paraphrase Greg Giraldo, I’m a goofy, wistfully-non-dope-smoking, live-and-let-live kind of guy with some weird economic fetishes, so who am I to judge?

            It still doesn’t sell his brand as the kind of Presidential timber who would be played by Henry Fonda in the film version, and only shown from the back out of the deepest respect.

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    • “1. I think Hillary wins, but without a majority, akin to Bill in ’92. Trump will be second, but only because a fair amount of conservatives and centrists decided to feel the Johnson, akin to Perot in ’92. In fact, I think pundits will get off on comparing this year to ’92.”

      Gary Johnson might get 4% of the vote, because if he gets any kind of traction, the Left will remind people he wants to privatize Social Security and cut spending by 40% while also massively cutting taxes and the Right will remind people he’s in favor of open border and wants to let people kill their babies at anytime.

      “2. I think Trump majorly pivots center and starts making some extremely reasonable points in the coming months, such that a fair number of voters will even start to forget the pernicious nonsense that he needed to say to get the nod from team scumbag.”

      People have been saying, “Wait, Trump will pivot to the center now, since almost the day he entered the race.” He’s not pivoting. This is what he is and if he tries to pivot, well, ask Mitt “Self-Deportation” Romney how that works out for you in a world with TV advertising and video tape.

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      • And it’s more than the, really. Because with Trump, you’re not talking about a set of policy positions (of which he has almost none, if he has any) so much as you are talking about Trump being Trump. And he’s not going to not be Trump.

        It’s like last summer when Dan said Perry was going to win because he was going to unleash a new personality we hadn’t seen before, and last spring some liberals here maintained the Hilary was likely to “pivot” into a warm and fuzzy person for the primaries and general, or conservatives here four years ago who maintained Romney was somehow just going to magically start being more authentic to people after the primaries.

        You can’t change who you are. Especially if you’re this far along in a process that has rewarded everyone for being exactly who they have been their entire lives. And Trump might even be a more extreme example than the others, because if he has to start buckling down, hitting the books, having meetings, reading speeches, etc., I think he chooses to tank it instead.

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        • I agree with Tod. I’m not sure whether a pivot would work or not. I don’t think policy is really his problem in any event. But the bigger thing is that if he can do it at all, he can’t unless he’s highly motivated. He’s not motivated.

          There will be no pivot.

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  17. By the way, Warren’s speech tonight followed up by Biden’s is what I meant when I said Hillary has been not using all her resources on Sanders during the primary. This is what an actual full force Clinton/Democratic Machine begins to look like.

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    • She did not have Warren or Biden at her disposal to dispose of Sanders with via explicit endorsement or the kind of takedown you’re maybe imagining prior to his actually losing. Actually, quite a while after that, since in fact Bernie lost a long time ago. Not prior to it being officially official. Not a chance.

      Though Warren abstaining (I now assume in exchange for a long-in-the-works VP nod) was in fact the absolute kill shot to Sanders. Not that he’d have had a real, real shot even with Warren (hence perhaps her staying away).

      I have lost a lot of respect for Elizabeth Warren this cycle. This won’t put me in good graces with some people around here, but she had no business not either running herself, or when not, upon seeing the groundswell for her ideas being led by Sanders, endorsing him. However presumptuous that is. Those were her ideas people were lining up behind; she had made the same kinds of points about bought politicians specifically wrt to Hillary Clinton in the past. She just didn’t care. She is not who we thought she was. Bernie represented her ideas and got people lined up behind them, and she just didn’t give a shit. Looked the other way. Because it turns out she’s a basic party hack, not the ideological warrior she posed as.

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        • Many things are possible. That/if (I don’t think that’s what it really was, no) she didn’t think he was the best vehicle doesn’t mean she should have turned her back on her own ideas AND (after) failing to post in representing and fighting for them herself.

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          • …Also, to clarify, when I say I don’t think that’s what it was (bad vehicle), I’m not saying it’s unlikely she feels that he isn’t a good one. She probably does. But I don’t think that’s what actually was at work in her decisions.

            But even if it was, I just don’t care. When your ideas are in the minority, or at least neglected by leadership, pickiness about their vehicle doesn’t move me. Moreover, a better vehicle was available, and by some accounts Bernie was only in there trying to fill the void because that better vehicle refused (these are sentient vehicles with free will) to even get on the road. And that vehicle wasn’t just some other VW she might have liked to see in there. She was it!

            Pathetic.

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            • You’re welcome to your opinion, but in my view it’s nonsense.

              I think Warren actually cares about making policy happen, as she’s repeatedly shown in the CFPB context. Bernie is absolutely the last person in DC you’d want to hitch yourself to if that’s your goal. And Hillary, if given a sufficiently strong congress, absolutely WOULD make the kind of changes Warren wants.

              So if I’m Warren, I’m perfectly happy to keep a safe senate seat and be the driving force for the policies I care about (and a major voice in the senate / potential democratic leader), skip the terrible campaigning process, and try to put my party in the best position to win and control congress (though the latter is far from certain). The idea that I should give up that role simply because a crazy non-democrat who has never had a productive legislating session in his life talks about the things I care about (but frequently proposes obviously-unworkable policy solutions) is, well, laughable.

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              • I think Warren actually cares about making policy happen, as she’s repeatedly shown in the CFPB context. Bernie is absolutely the last person in DC you’d want to hitch yourself to if that’s your goal.

                Indeed. And I say that as someone who *voted for Sanders*.

                Sanders is the bomb-throwing guy. The guy who says ‘Why isn’t anyone talking about *this* problem?’ and then hijacks the entire conversation, not allowing the traditional right-of-center Dem narrative to function.

                And then he proposes absolutely dumb things, or good things that cannot possibly pass, and seems to have no ability to work with other Democrats at all.

                I know in the past I’ve argued he would start working within the system if elected, and I still think that’s true to some extent…but, frankly, some of his behavior this election is making me question that.

                But even if he would have done that, the difference in outcomes between the two of them…isn’t going to be huge. The Republicans will still control the House, as far as I can tell.

                And I can see why Warren wouldn’t hitch herself to someone who won’t work within the system. Despite all these weird projections about her…she works within the system. She just wants to *change* it.

                Additionally, a lot of people seem to be confusing this Clinton with the one elected in 1992, and assuming she’s going to be a centrist. As her campaign has moved forward, it’s become clear that’s not what she’s presenting as what she’s going to do.

                How far she *actually* is on the left is unknown…although, hilariously, thanks to Trump, she doesn’t really have to pivot to the center.

                And Hillary, if given a sufficiently strong congress, absolutely WOULD make the kind of changes Warren wants.

                Yes. Probably not as *many* as Warren wants, but some moderate and well-supported changes that actually happen.

                That said, it’s worth mentioning that Warren didn’t support Clinton *over* Sanders.

                She waited until Sanders lost, and then supported Clinton.

                And I’m really hoping that support came with a few policy promises from Clinton.

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                • She waited until Sanders lost, and then supported Clinton.

                  And I’m really hoping that support came with a few policy promises from Clinton.

                  Fully agree. I was Sanders-interested until he completely failed to present workable methods (in the wonk, not political sense) to implement his ideas. I very much support Warren’s agenda, so hope/expect HRC would too, so long as there was any political chance of achieving them.

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                  • I was Sanders-interested until he completely failed to present workable methods

                    Not only that, but even as he gained momentum during the primary he never gave any indication of even desiring to help downticket Dem candidates. And if those things weren’t worrisome enough, at some point he abandoned his stricture to not go negative and effectively campaigned on the platform of tearing down the “rigged” and corrupt Democratic party as an institution.

                    That won’t garner much support from Dem insiders, seems to me.

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                  • nevermoor,
                    really. you really think that a secretary of state whose actions consistently make the international business section is going to be out for anyone other that the folks that she’s already sold her shirt to?

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      • I don’t see why she had some obligation to throw her weight behind what was from the get go a blatantly flawed candidacy in the person of Bernie. She’s not playing bean bag, she’s trying to get those ideas into the mainstream of the party. Choosing not to go up against HRC was rational. Choosing not to let her ideas go down with Bernie was principled.

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        • Her ideas went down with Bernie. They were with Bernie because she didn’t take them up. She didn’t take them because she went along with her party. She went along with her party because as it turns out she’s a common hack.

          Choosing to abandon your principles when the time for fighting has come in order to advance is not principled; it’s the signal opposite. I’m sorry to see you confused about that.

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            • Single payer.

              This is a *good* thing.

              There is a limited amount of political capital, and if the president spends the rare years of a Democratically-controlled government trying to replace a *mostly* functional brand new system (Instead of just patching some obvious things like extending subsidies all the way down to get around lack of Medicaid expansion, and maybe a public option.), I’m going to start screaming.

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              • I would LOVE to have single payer happen, but it needs to be achievable. My understanding right now is that it just simply isn’t (especially after Vermont tried really hard to find a way and failed).

                That said, I think we get there by working a public option into the exchanges and watching it outcompete the alternatives. (or not).

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              • As said, even if by some miracle, Hillary walked into office in January with 60 Democratic Senator’s and 225 Democratic Housies, she’s still not passing single payer because there’s not the votes for it.

                In the long run, we’re far more likely to achieve universal coverage and access in this with something closer to Germany or Switzerland’s system of “non-profit” heavily regulated insurance companies and public options so middle class people don’t go nuts when “their good insurance” is taken away or a poor person gets care before they do it as a hospital.

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            • You really abandoned defending the original claim rather quickly. How does the fact that single payer is politically untenable change the fact that Warren might support it while HRC might not (I do not know if this is the case by the way)?

              I’d put money on Warren being much more interested in taking punitive action against the banks than HRC.

              As long as we’re going to stop pretending things, can we stop pretending that Hillary is every bit as progressive as Bernie and Warren, just more pragmatic. We can make those claims, but it really stretches the meaning of the words progressive and pragmatic.

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              • I fully agree she is less progressive than Warren who is less progressive than Bernie.

                But I would stipulate that Hillary’s progressiveness is closer to where most Americans are.

                I am probably closer to Warren than to any of the other two, but I’m definitely closer to Hillary than to Bernie.

                Not only I don’t think Bernie can win, I don’t want him to be President. Him vs Cruz? Obviously him. Him vs Trump, probably him, but only because of the Supreme Court appointments. Take that out of the picture and I might give Trump some consideration.

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              • Here is what I say:

                Sanders is very progressive in a lot of areas, including areas he probably can’t get any traction on with the American people or the rest of the Democrats.

                Warren is very progressive in a few specific areas that the American people love, and her ideas are more workable in general than Sanders.

                Of all three, *Warren* is actually the pragmatic progressive, as she often says things that sound like general condemnations of things, but then she proposes to solve them via very specific, small changes, unlike Sanders who often tries to flip the tables over. (The CFPD, despite the Republicans and banks freaking out, is a very pragmatic and small solution. The Sanders-version of that would be dissolving all big banks or something.)

                Clinton, meanwhile, is…whatever she thinks is best. She is pragmatic, but not particularly progressive. There are a few places where I think she is, but it’s pretty hard to tell what *actually* upsets her vs. what position she’s just decided to take.

                But the thing is…in 1992, that resulted in a moderate conservative for president…and at this point in time, I think it will result in someone who sounds very progressive and operates very pragmatically. That’s how she’s decided to present herself for election, and I can’t see why she wouldn’t govern that way also. (It’s not like ‘centrist’ is actually possible anymore, and she dislikes the Republicans so much it was unlikely to start with.)

                I.e., she might not actually *believe* all the stuff that Warren is saying, but draping herself in Warren’s clothing seems like a great way for her to make a mark on the country via the presidency, and get the part of the country that doesn’t loathe her to like her…and it’s currently how she’s running her campaign.

                Oh, incidentally, I misread the previous comment when I suggested single payer. As far as I know, that’s not something that *Warren* has proposed. Because Warren doesn’t propose things like that. She would (And I don’t know if she has or not, but this is what she *would* do.) make an impassioned speech about the abuses for for-profit insurance, and then propose a public option.

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              • Huh? I don’t believe Warren would want single payer unless there was a way to make it workable. I do believe that she would want to (and HRC would, if given a useful congress) introduce the public option into the exchanges.

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                • That “make it workable” is doing an awful lot of work in that sentence. And it’s worth noting that Hillary campaigned against Bernie’s Medicare-for-All proposal on the basis that it would raise middle class taxes and not on it being politically untenable. Anyway, I don’t know enough about either’s view on single payer healthcare to double down on this, but your originally claim is most certainly false.

                  Support for the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall is one very obvious example. From Warren’s web site:

                  I’ve joined forces with Senators John McCain, Maria Cantwell, and Angus King to introduce the 21st Century Glass Steagall Act of 2013 to reinstate and modernize core banking protections.

                  Our new 21st Century Glass Steagall Act once again separates traditional banks from riskier financial services. And since banking has become much more complicated since the first bill was written in 1933, we’ve updated the law to include new activities and leave no room for regulatory interpretations that water down the rules.

                  And here is Clinton, from her December NYT op-ed:

                  Some have urged the return of a Depression-era rule called Glass-Steagall, which separated traditional banking from investment banking. But many of the firms that contributed to the crash in 2008, like A.I.G. and Lehman Brothers, weren’t traditional banks, so Glass-Steagall wouldn’t have limited their reckless behavior. Nor would restoring Glass-Steagall help contain other parts of the “shadow banking” sector, including certain activities of hedge funds, investment banks and other non-bank institutions.

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                  • I find myself confused by all that.

                    Clinton and Warren and Sanders all are proposing new, different, rules. Supposedly these will stop commercial banks from investing their own money (and closing the loopholes that let them invest their customer’s money) in certain specific ways.

                    Warren and Sanders appear to be *calling* their versions ‘Glass-Steagall’, despite the fact it is not actually the same law. Clinton seems not to be calling her version that.

                    No one covering them seems to be discussing the *actual differences* in the these laws. Clinton’s *seems* to be weaker, at least that is the implication and criticism by Sanders, but no one will explain *how* it’s weaker.

                    Everything, instead seem to be talking about how Warren and Sanders want to ‘bring back’ Glass-Steagall, and Clinton doesn’t want to do that, despite the fact what is actually happening is *everyone* wants to do some sort of *new* regulation of commercial banks.

                    And there seems to be a *lot* of discussion if the old version of Glass-Steagall would have helped anything, which doesn’t seem particularly relevant. (Pointing out Glass-Steagall would have covered specific bad behavior doesn’t tell us much if there were loopholes two inches to the side the banks could have used instead if the law have been in place. These loopholes are apparently so obvious that *everyone* is covering them in their new version. So it seems clear that if Glass-Steagall had been in effect, very little would have changed, even if some things technically happened differently.)

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                    • David,
                      respectfully, but I don’t think everyone’s covering loopholes at all. I think there may be other laws that will cover loopholes, but you don’t pull an Agriculture bill out of the Banking Committee.

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                  • Is warren on Agriculture or not?
                    She’s on Banking, not on Agriculture, so I don’t expect to see her doing yeoman’s work on things she doesn’t have direct control over.
                    (Derivatives, for people who aren’t jr and may not have been paying attention, fall under Agriculture for some weird historic reason).

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          • Well I’m not that enamored with Warren’s ideals so I feel borderline dishonest trying to talk about them but trying to put myself into her shoes if I had a set of ideals that I’m pushing and some elderly eccentric longshot who is at best viewed as a bit of a lovable wacko and at worst as a socialist dingbat takes them up and gets unexpected surprising traction with them it seems to me that I have a problem. With or without my support the eccentric is most likely going to lose. If I throw in with him then I potentially go down with him. If I keep my powder dry then in theory in a few years I can try and champion them myself in a less fundamentally flawed manner.

            Leaving self interest out of the equation (and that’s a gorilla of a consideration in itself) isn’t it better for Warrens’ ideals that she push them herself, especially if she’s “paid her dues” by being a team player? Also how could she have anticipated just how much oomph Bernie got outta them and seriously, how much oomph DID Bernie get? Media screeching and social media nuttiness aside how close did Bernie come to the nomination this round? Honestly?

            And again I don’t carry a brief for Warren or Bernie beyond a neighboring tribal affection.

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            • Seriously?

              Bernie rolled along getting 40+% of the vote just about everywhere, with mass screaming crowds. I’d have picked that number to be 25% tops last fall. That’s oomph.

              It absolutely doesn’t matter how probabilistically close he ever got to the nomination; in that sense the contest absolutely was rigged. With the establishment lined up as overwhelmingly as they were, no one else ever had a legitimate actual chance at the nomination. The party simply decided to deprive its membership and the public of any real choice this year; parties do that sometimes.

              But you only have to use your eyes and count a few votes to know that Bernie had oomph.

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              • “Rigged” is either a meaningless of false claim. If it means the people didn’t get their collectively-preferred candidate, that’s simply not true. HRC won by nearly 4 million votes, and there’s no double-secret DNC strategy that could have had that large an effect. If there were, you’d see a lot more democrats in office.

                If it means that there are stupid rules infecting the primary process, then it’s meaningless. There might well be, but Bernie seemed to often profit from them (e.g. caucuses, which he outperformed in). Superdelegates may or may not be stupid (I see arguments on both sides) but they definitely didn’t pre-determine anything.

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                • New York was rigged, which shouldn’t surprise a fuck out of anyone.
                  PA was rigged, but to a far less degree.

                  Where the Party is strong, the game was rigged in Clinton’s favor (mostly out of “oh shit, I don’t wanna be on her enemies list”)

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                  • New York was rigged, which shouldn’t surprise a fuck out of anyone.

                    Oh please, Kim, explain how New York was rigged. We’re all ears for whatever fun theory pops up.

                    She won by 16 points –300,000 votes. I’m ALL EARS to whatever nefarious plot managed that.

                    Seriously, Kim, you’re in tinfoil territory here. I know you hate Clinton with a fiery passion, but for God’s sake — stick to reality.

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                    • You realize that the part of the ballot that says “Vote Here for Bernie Sanders” doesn’t really do jack shit?
                      The actual “vote for your candidate” is done in a different part of the ballot entirely (where you select delegates).
                      [This is not The Issue, it’s just How Things Work — though plebes would probably appreciate An Explanation At Some Point].

                      The rigging is in there not being enough delegates for Bernie (that and the phrasing, which generally says select 10 delegates, or whatever — it’s state by state). You literally cannot do a full pick for Bernie, but your friend (who wanted to vote for Clinton) can do a full pick for Clinton.
                      Worse, if you do choose 10 delegates, and 6 of them are for Clinton, you’ve not only NOT voted for the candidate you wanted, you’ve voted for the other candidate.

                      This is a rigged game (it only gets worse if you think there was substantial party pressure not to be a bernie delegate). Was it rigged everywhere in New York? No way in hell. But there were a lot of counties where it was.

                      Now, does this rigging mean that Clinton would have lost to Bernie? No, of course not. I wasn’t making that claim.

                      Pop Quiz question: Can you name the most corrupt members of the Democratic caucus? Three words.

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                      • You’re in Pennsylvania, right, @kim? The Pennsylvania primary system is majorly and uniquely effed up in the massive ballot of delegate selection utterly divorced from the delegate preference. In most other states, you either vote directly for a candidate, whose committee gets to name a slate of delegates pledged to vote for that candidate, or if you do vote directly for delegates, the delegates’ promised pledges are printed right next to their names on the ballot. So far as I know, only Pennsylvania makes you basically pick delegates at random.

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                        • Ya, I’m in PA. Our delegates promised pledges were printed beside them… That’s not really the issue.

                          The issue is when it says “select ten delegates” and there are only four delegates pledged to Bernie.

                          A vote for Bernie is only worth 4/10ths as much as a vote for Clinton, in that case — even if you do everything right. If you select ten anyway, you’ve just voted for Clinton.

                          It’s hard to see things like this and not see rigging for the establishment candidate.

                          [My friend on the Bernie Campaign (also working for Clinton — not on her campaign) says that PA wasn’t nearly as rigged as NY]

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                            • About as dubious as the idea that Hillary Clinton has an Enemies List, yes.

                              If you don’t understand that institutional power can be brought to bear, in order to prevent people WITHIN the institution from signing up to be a Bernie Delegate… then dude, I can’t really help you.

                              Clinton creates, again, a culture of fear. People are actively afraid to oppose her, or even to leave a sinking ship. A third of her staffers want to resign… but they’re too scared of what sort of revenge she could bring to bear.

                              [They worry for nothing, if she loses. For hillary, this is win or die.]

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                              • A third of her staffers want to resign… but they’re too scared of what sort of revenge she could bring to bear.

                                I’m sure they are, Kim.

                                Seriously, Sander’s can’t fill his delegate slots (despite those big rallies) and you blame Clinton?

                                Good god. I don’t know what happened to you, but frankly the American Spectator in the 90s was more reality-based on the Clintons than you are.

                                And you still haven’t explained how NY was rigged, but I always amused by how many secret sources you have.

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                                • NY was rigged as I explained above. There were tons of places where one was unable to give as much of a vote to Bernie as one could to Clinton, and where the wording was sufficiently “unclear” to cause Bernie supporters to give their votes partially to Clinton in droves.

                                  You decide whether this rigging is a problem, not me.

                                  Democrats and Republicans have some sort of rigging going on with who gets toplisted on general ballots, too… (natural law and constitution parties get listed way at the bottom, not alphabetically or anything).

                                  You can consider this harmful or not.

                                  Note: I didn’t really say that it was Clinton that rigged the game. Just that the game was rigged and it favored Clinton. I think that it’s fairly obvious that nobody changed the rules to help Clinton (that’s obvious, right? major shitstorm if Bernie can prove that…).

                                  What’s not completely and totally obvious is that Clinton did major arm-twisting of powerbrokers in NY. But it should be obvious, because if you were in her position you MIGHT do it too (she’s a bit more paranoid than you, but there are reasons for that).

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                                  • And, Morat, it really does kinda piss me off that you say things about me when I say that the game was rigged in favor of Clinton that you WOULDN’T say when I say the game was rigged in favor of McGinty.

                                    (which it totally was)

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                                    • Kim, honey, “rigging” implies rules changed or designed to favor one candidate.

                                      Nobody changed ANY rules.

                                      It’s like me complaining Scrabble is rigged against me because my opponent knows more words than I do. Or because I can’t outlaw the triple word score tiles at whim.

                                      Nobody rigged a freakin’ thing. Same rules as it’s always been.

                                      Your rantings on Clinton sound more and more crazy each time you talk about her. “Using the same rules as previous elections is rigging the vote for Clinton!”

                                      And, Morat, it really does kinda piss me off that you say things about me when I say that the game was rigged in favor of Clinton that you WOULDN’T say when I say the game was rigged in favor of McGinty

                                      I have no idea who McGinty is, so I wouldn’t comment on it at all. And I say these things about your rantings about Clinton because they’re flipping crazy, not because of any sort of pro or anti-Clinton bias.

                                      “The same rules as last time mean they’re rigged for Clinton” is bizarro logic.

                                      That you chain that crazy logic strand with deep musings about the evils of Clinton that you know because of “friends” just makes it tinfoil conspiracy theory crazy logic.

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                                      • The game’s rigged. It’s legally rigged and has been since time forgot. I’m not saying that Clinton should go to jail, or anything. But it’s rigged in favor of the establishment candidate, and Clinton’s the establishment candidate. Are we clear?

                                        This isn’t the same thing as “rigging the vote for which people got sent to jail.”

                                        Does it help that my friend actually works for her? I mean, really. You’re welcome to follow the money if you don’t trust me. I know most of that made the papers back when she was Secretary of State.

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                                        • *sigh*. That’s no more rigged than, as I noted, me playing Scrabble with an English professor.

                                          Yes, I’m sure Clinton had a horrible advantage being highly familiar with the Democratic party and a long-standing member of it over Sanders, who joined about a month before his run. Just as the English professor, through dint of study and lifetime experience, knows the English vocabulary better than me.

                                          Calling that rigged is stupid at best, conspiracy mongering at worst.

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                                          • LOL that last line was hilarious.
                                            “conspiracy mongering”…

                                            Jesus Christ, it’s not like Hillary is doing much more than Barbara was this election (although Barbara’s substantially less in debt).

                                            When I tell you to go look at the money and draw the lines yourself… ayiyi.

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                              • When I say that two states out of fifty were rigged (and one substantially less than the other)… you somehow get that Sanders failures are rigging… by the Clintons??

                                Hell, I didn’t even say that the Clintons did the rigging — and the Democratic Establishment has enough to hate about Bernie (and enough financial incentive otherwise) to do it their own selves.

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              • he party simply decided to deprive its membership and the public of any real choice this year; parties do that sometimes.

                How did it do this? Did it cancel primaries?

                IIRC, all 50 states got to vote. And if I recall correctly, Sanders did his best in states with caucuses — perhaps the lowest turn-out, least representative way to select a candidate.

                But surely you can explain how “the party” deprived it’s members of “choice”. Especially when a guy who joined the party solely to run for President managed to do so well.

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                • There was without a doubt, an early (between 2013-2014) consensus that this nomination was Clinton’s. The only people that broke with that consensus were one ‘real’ Democrat (O’Malley) and a bunch of people that had *not* been Democrats longer than they had been.

                  It was rigged, but no more than 2000 had been ‘rigged’ for Gore.

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                  • Personally, I think two things need to be distinguished: the “rigging” orchestrated by DWS, and the “rigging” that resulted from the Party Establishment looking out for its own interests.

                    Berners started out attacking the (pretty transparent) efforts by DWS to shut down a real challenge to Hillary, and ended up attacking the Party itself for … looking out for its own interests.

                    I do think an important fact in all this is that Sanders isn’t even a registered Democrat (unless he changed his voting registration…), which makes the accusations of “corruption” even more puzzling.

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                    • It’s pretty damn corrupt when Clinton decides to run all democratic fundraising through the Clinton Foundation.

                      Just sayin’.

                      Of course, nobody getting greased wants the Clinton Foundation to fall…

                      Obama promised Clinton the nomination — blaming any shit on DWS is just stupid.

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                      • It’s pretty damn corrupt when Clinton decides to run all democratic fundraising through the Clinton Foundation.

                        You are aware that…that didn’t happen, right?

                        What you just repeated was about ten games of telephone from a baseless Sander’s accusation that didn’t go even 1/1000th as far as what you just claimed?

                        Or are you confusing the HVC with the Clinton foundation? Which…also doesn’t do what you just claimed. (And in fact, Bernie had a VC too. He just didn’t use it. He’s not a fan of helping other Democrats).

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              • We can argue about how close, or not, Bernie was going to get but I think we can agree that Warren doesn’t have future vision.

                From where I’m sitting her failure to run this year and her failure to endorse Bernie both look like clear sighted midrange thinking about what’s best for her ideals (leavened with a thick helping of self interest as well).

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                • She’s also in her sixties, and may not WANT the rigors of a Presidential run. Calling it “mid-range thinking” is mind-reading.

                  She may have decided she can do more good as Senator, factoring in things like “her real life” and “How politics actually works”.

                  For instance, pretend she’s a super-Chessmaster and even saw Trump coming. She can try to take Clinton’s place, secure in the knowledge that if she can beat Clinton in a primary (not a given) she’s got the closest thing to a guaranteed win.

                  But to beat Clinton, she’s gonna have to get specific — she’s not Sanders, she actually has policies not just slogans. And the ugly fact of governing is what you get is compromise. The ACA was as close to a major, total victory as you can get in America.

                  So she can start getting specific — but she’s gonna get hammered. From one side on “That’ll never pass the GOP, and you’re not winning the House” and on the other side by purity police who don’t like compromise.

                  And so if she beats Clinton, she ends up in a White House where in the end — she will govern much as Clinton would, because she’s constrained by Congress. (Even with a Democratic Senate. If you recall, the ACA was constrained by Lieberman and Nelson, who are both a**holes, but also technically sort of Democrats if you squint).

                  She’d nominate mostly the same judges, push mostly the same policies (because that’s what she could get) and at best be less hawkish than Clinton (which is a big maybe because a lot of people keep thinking Clinton 2016 is Bill 1992 which is…dumb) — but overall, she won’t make a big difference over Clinton other than it’ll be “President Warren” as the first female President.

                  But if she stays in the Senate — she’s got high visibility and the proven ability to leverage it. She can wander around proposing ideas Clinton can never get passed, shoving the Overton window to the left. She’s not constrained by actually needing to pass a bill at all times — she can push for stuff that Clinton can’t, and perhaps open up more room on the left for progress.

                  Which is NOT something Clinton can do, since she’s no longer in office.

                  I have no idea if that scenario went through her mind. But it’s one possible long range line of thinking that keeps her in the Senate. (Honestly, I suspect her real reason was “I don’t want the run a brutal primary then a brutal general election. I don’t want the White House that much, and I don’t like my chances against Clinton”. I’m not sure she’d be wrong. Clinton won based on heavy ties to traditional Democratic groups. Warren would have picked up the Bernie supporters, maybe been better organized — but in the end, Bernie didn’t come very close and I don’t think Warren would have picked up 3 million more votes. That’s without getting into gender at all).

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                • This comment is ridiculously late, but I just want to make clear that I accept the view you express of Warren as very reasonable; always have. I have a different view myself, but I haven’t been arguing it as the only reasonable one; it just happens to be mine.

                  In fact, I’m not even sure i disagree with the one you express there; I’m not sure it’s not compatible with my view. Practically speaking, especially given that it was always going to be Hillary’s party, she may be doing the right thing, or at least not wrong, by her ideas. I just feel that this was a critical moment in a real fight for the soul of this part, and my understanding of Elizabeth Warren was that she was a) a fighter b) on a particular side of that fight. I believe this was a time for a fight over the direction of the party that she should have fought in. In my view, she abandoned her ideas in that fight and shouldn’t have, but that doesn’t mean I think she’s abandoned working on them altogether. That would be nuts. But she’s not what I thought she was, and I think less of her for it, because I think the party and the country needed her to be what I/we thought she was. Especially because having fought that fight would not have precluded her from continuing to work on her ideas roughly just the way she will do now – only possibly (but only possibly!) not as Hillary Clinton’s vice president.

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                  • Gotcha, I think I grok your perspective Michael and to be perfectly honest as a liberal marginally to your right I really don’t have the same dog in the fight as you do re: Warren. I mean of course -I’d- approve of her actions; from a partisan Democratic party perspective she’s been a solid team player this cycle.

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        • “I don’t see why she had some obligation to throw her weight behind what was from the get go a blatantly flawed candidacy in the person of Bernie.”

          Wow. That BernieBros thing will go down in history as the most effective political smear ever.

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      • A general response to some of the response –

        a) some good points about the particulars of why Warren’s choices makes sense for her from the perspective of her goals and motivations (I don’t concede they’e all exactly right, but some reasonable speculation – certainly as reasonable as mine.)

        b) I wasn’t saying what she’s done (and to be clear, the Clinton endorsement now makes perfect sense; it’s the prior neutrality that bothers me) didn’t make sense from her perspective. I’m saying it’s changed my view of her aims and motivations, and not for the better.

        c) Nothing about first endorsing Sanders in order to support her own ideas, then moving to endorse Clinton when she won would have precluded her from doing all the good-within-the-system starting nowish going forward that the sympathetic interpretations here say constituted the reason not to support Sanders. In fact, it would have put her in a better position to work as a bridge between the factions – a validator to Berners on behalf of Clinton. She is not that now; she never earned that role. She gave the opportunity to do so for whatever reason.

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        • In response to C) , maybe she truly believed Bernie couldn’t win a general election and didn’t want to give him any kind of boost that might lead him to actually winning the nomination?

          Also, she’s not a validator to the hardcore Bernie supporters – but hell, they’re likely to turn on Bernie when he supports Hillary in a week or so. She is a validator to the mass of Bernie supporters who haven’t fell into the rabbit hole of unironically posting up Brietbart stories as proof Hillary is the worst.

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          • That could be, but I do not think it plausible to think she thought there was real danger that he would win. In any case, regardless of whether that was a good judgement or not (either the judgement that Sanders cold win the nomination, couldn’t win the general, that it was worth ceding the direction of the party back to Clinton(ists), that if Sanders was so inadequate, that it wasn’t incumbent on her to step up etc.,), that notion supports my basic thought, expressed in the below tweet, which these comments were really just an expansion upon:

            It should be remembered that the person who most deep-sixed Bernie Sanders in 2016, other than Bernie Sanders, was Liz Warren.

            That’s the bottom line. Maybe I was wrong to have come to associate Warren with a wing of the party opposed to Clintonism. …No, on second thought, no, I was not wrong to think that. She clearly cultivated that profile. But when the time came to put it into action, she absented the field. Clinton(s)’ reascension to the top of the party will dominate its direction for another twelve to twenty years. This was the moment to press a change. We found out she was more interested in making that a smooth ride for the party than in trying to shift the direction.

            As to the value of being a validator, first of all, you’re wrong that the Berniacs will turn on him for coming into the fold. They’ll turn on the party for forcing him to fold. Which might still mean voting for Stein, but let’s not get who & what they’re rejecting confused. Now… You’re right; they won’t do that in important enough numbers to have made Warren making herself that validator necessary. That’s cold, hard calculation behind this approach from Clinton-Warren. Just Warren’s profile is enough to brig enough potential hold-outs along to make them not a real problem (they may not ever really have been large enough in number). That’s what makes it so cynical. Warren could have bridged that divide had she endorsed Sanders. But Clinton calculated that wasn’t needed; better just not to give him the boost. I still think it would have been a good thing for a party seeking to respond to the call for a different direction, even while choosing the nominee that represents the same direction.

            But such response is not in The Party’s (now synonymous with the Clintons’) plans. Just listen to the sections of Clinton’s speech(es) on/since clinching. It’s not about how we see your energy; we see the challenge you posed, we will respond. It’s about how Actually We Believe The Same Things; You Were Mistaken To Think Otherwise And Challenge Us On That Basis. You’re Just Confused. We’re Progressive. Or As Progressive As Anyone Is Justified In Asking Us To Be. That’s the essence of the response: denial of actual ideological dispute. In the real world that is nearly pure dismissal, not responsiveness. Ultimately, Sanders will not wrest any real ideological concessions from the party or the Clintons.

            And Warren, by not running and withholding/denying support for Sanders (and indeed suppressing the degree of her ideological assonance with Sandwrs until adopting her self-appointed role as attack dog against Clinton’s sole remaining obstacle to the White House (a righteous role given his identity, but still not the role she had cultivated in politics to that point – a distinctly new one, in fact), has borne this reality forth and ushered it in. I would go further to say that she may be in the midst of an overall profile renovation designs to accommodate herself to the restoration of Clintonian politics. She may not be, but it certainly looks that way to me right now. We’ll see where this goes.

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            • Fair enough. If your view was that she was simply anti-Clinton (which you found admirable) then I do understand why you’re disappointed.

              My view is that she is an excellent liberal legislator who wants to improve the country. So my worldview isn’t changed at all by her refusal to support Bernie, who has no particular legislative achievements and no particularly persuasive plans to implement his ideas.

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            • That’s the bottom line. Maybe I was wrong to have come to associate Warren with a wing of the party opposed to Clintonism. …No, on second thought, no, I was not wrong to think that. She clearly cultivated that profile.

              And this, right here, is the problem I’m having with a certain amount of Bernie supporters, who decided the enemy this election was *Clinton*. The enemies are, and have always been, the Republicans.

              And, uh, no.

              No ‘wing of the party’ is opposed to ‘Clintonism’, which is not, in fact, even a thing. No, not even Sanders. In fact, there are barely wings of the party at all. There are a few conservative Dems, of which Clinton is *not* one of.

              But when the time came to put it into action, she absented the field. Clinton(s)’ reascension to the top of the party will dominate its direction for another twelve to twenty years.

              And this is just…a dumb and lazy understanding of events.

              Even assuming that Hillary Clinton is Bill Clinton 2.0 (Which is actually a pretty sexist assumption), the situation of 2016 vs. 1992 is *utterly different*. We’re an *entire generation* later. We’re over Reagan-era coded racism. Half the old conservatives have died off. None of the issues are the same at all.

              Also, perhaps most important, the Republicans in Congress are completely insane. Batshit crazy-pants insane. And loathe her.

              Oh, and let’s not forget the surreal choice of Trump and *his*…uh….liberalness(1), means she doesn’t have to ‘pivot’ to the center….in fact, she *shouldn’t* do that, because she risk losing those extremely stupid previous Sanders voters who don’t see a difference between him and Trump.

              But let’s take the most cynical view of Clinton possible: She is someone who firmly positions herself where she’s most popular, and has very little policy goals she actually care about. It’s all making a mark and chalking up victories, no matter what they are.

              But, she…isn’t becoming more popular with the right, no matter what she does. And (Unlike Obama at first) she actually *understand this*. There is absolutely *no* incentive whatsoever for her to present herself as a centrist. There’s no way that could possibly work. This *is* *not* *the* *90s*.

              And the most popular figure on the left right now? Warren. So where’s do I think she’s going to position herself?

              Exactly on top of Warren. I wouldn’t be surprised if she announces that Warren is an economic adviser to her campaign.

              How much she actually *believes* the policies she’ll be pushing is a fun question. But she *will* be pushing them, at least the ones she thinks she can win. (And I’d rather have lesser victories than giant defeats.)

              1) Trump: Seriously, ignore the idiotic xenophobia and racism and dumbass foreign policy, and ignore the fact he has no clue what he’s talking about, he’s…uh…liberal. A really ignorant one who doesn’t seem to understand how anything about the economy works, but he basically, in one nomination, demonstrated how Republican voters don’t actually care about *any* of the stuff the Republican leaders have been pushing, and are in fact huge fans of liberal-sounding policies.

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              • No wing of the party is opposed to Clintonism, and Clintonism is not a thing.

                Well, so much for taking you seriously on the subject of the Democratic Party anymore. At least for another twelve years or so.

                FTR, Clinton is not the enemy, and neither are the Republicans. That’s the word armies use to refer to the people they are trying to kill. That – not even the peaceful political equivalent of that – is not how I feel about either group (or individual). To me it was time for a fight inside the party over what it was for. But the whole party essentially begged off, led by Elizabeth Warren, and is now trying to paper over real ideological and associational differences. It’s funny that you think if you can find overlaps, there’s not the basis for a fight. You’re wrong. The basic direction of the party (within being very generally at least a center-left party) was up for debate. You can always find overlap, and being that both Sanders and Clinton are nominally on the left, there will be some. But there were real directional questions at stake. I believe that fight should have happened, and not been left to the likes of Bernie Sanders. I’m disappointed in Elizabeth Warren for not joining that fight. It needn’t have been scorched earth – an intra-party fight like that ought to be able to happen and the combatants still run on the same ticket. But that’s not how the Clintons play, and nor did they want to face that challenge. So hey co-opted it. And good for them; I’m disappointed in those who said, Okay, I’ll play along.

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      • “I have lost a lot of respect for Elizabeth Warren this cycle. This won’t put me in good graces with some people around here, but she had no business not either running herself, or when not, upon seeing the groundswell for her ideas being led by Sanders, endorsing him. ”

        And just maybe she’ll continue to do good work in the Senate.

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        • Just out of curiosity, what concrete good has she done in the Senate that is of a scope and kind that I shouldn’t hope for from whatever Democrat might replace her if she left?

          Few Senators ever manage to develop the kind of national profile that she had even before taking her seat there.

          Truth be told, at least before this year, as a national figure from the left, she was rather slumming it in the Senate to the extent that would turn out to be the limit of her ambition. It’s fine as a platform from which to operate, but her place is not as a Senate workhorse. She had the profile, she had the ideas; my only contention is that she had the moment but didn’t take it. That’s what I’ll always admire Barack Obama for: understanding when his moment was, knowing he’d ruffle feathers for jumping the gun. Well, no one even would have said she jumped the gun! She just would have been getting in the way of a path the party wanted to go down with Clinton. Big time. Well, she said Okay to that. There’s a lot in it for her. She did what they wanted. Hack may be too strong a word. But it’s in the ballpark. She’s just not what I thought she was.

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      • I have lost a lot of respect for Elizabeth Warren this cycle. This won’t put me in good graces with some people around here, but she had no business not either running herself, or when not, upon seeing the groundswell for her ideas being led by Sanders, endorsing him.

        So you feel she had some sort of obligation? To either run for the Presidency or endorse Sanders?

        Was it some sort of moral obligation? Political? Would you say it’s more or less an obligation than, say, providing first aid to someone injured nearby?

        I’m just trying to feel out the contours here, to understand this strange debt you feel she owes America, or Democrats, or you, or Sanders. (I’m a little confused on who she owes or what she owes, but you’re very clear she failed to meet some form of obligation).

        Or perhaps it was a test? Did she fail a moral test?

        It’s just such a weird claim to be making. How DARE she not do exactly what you wanted? Who does she think she is, a grown adult with a mind of her own or something?

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        • I’m mainly just gonna let you be pissed that I expressed an opinion that a politician should have done something, and because they didn’t, I think less of them. (Hm, changing the pronoun changes things a bit, doesn’t it? What if I changed it even further?). What an extreme, presumptuous stance to take.

          But to offer just a small bit of perspective: to me “has no business” is a strong expression of what the speaker feels, from her perspective, another should or shouldn’t do. It’s just short of saying there is an objective obligation.

          Ultimately though, if you think it’s okay to think politicians should do certain things, you don’t really have any ground to stand on here, as you phrase the objection. Because you didn’t say it would be one thing to think she should do this or that, but these other things, those are beyond a fair expectation.

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          • You seem to be projecting. I’m not pissed at all. I’m just curious. You used the phrase “t she had no business not either running herself, or when not, upon seeing the groundswell for her ideas being led by Sanders, endorsing him”.

            That sounds like something owed, not a difference of opinion.

            Even taking you at your word, your vehemence is…interesting. Her failure to do as you wish can’t possibly be a sign of things like “Not wanting to run for President in the first place” (I hear it’s an exhausting task and a thankless job) or a different opinion of the merits of Sanders v Clinton (Such as “I like Sanders ideas, but find his proposals lacking in detail. I think Clinton is pragmatic, even if she falls short of my goals. I think I’ll stay out of it”) but clearly hypocrisy.

            didn’t vote in the Democratic primary this year. I was okay with either candidate, and while I leaned Clinton it wasn’t sufficient to motivate me to vote, so I can understand Warren stepping back. I’ve heard some unhappy people claim Warren withheld her support so she could play “Kingmaker”. You know you’re not handling loss well when you think someone who endorsed AFTER a winner was chosen was playing some sort of back-room power game.

            Which really made me think Warren might have refused to endorse for the same reason Obama did. She felt it’d place a larger thumb on the scale than most Senators, and decided to let the process play out.

            In another post you go on to say you thought Warren was some sort of anti-Clinton figure. You DO know they get along pretty well, right? That they have massive overlaps in their goals? (Heck, for that matter Sanders and Clinton do).

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            • Oh gee, sorry I read your last paragraph as being annoyed with rather than just having an issue with what I’m saying. The point is, your objection is dumb. I think a politician should have done something, and think less of them for not doing it. That’s how the public is supposed to relate to politicians.

              Sure, she could have not wanted to run, or seen Sanders/Clinton differently. But my view is that not running or endorsing one of them was an abnegation to bring some clarity to what was a real fight. She was unwilling to engage the basic question facing the party, which was on issues right in her wheelhouse where the ideological lines were very clearly drawn. She was not up to being heard on the subject; she avoided taking a stand. She had been clearly staking out the profile of a party leader, and she had me convinced she had the stuff for it. Well, that’s not leadership. And I think less of her for it.

              And yeah, I do think that pisses you off. I’m not an important or intetesting enough person for mere curiosity to make asking after my thoughts worth your time. Besides, your last paragraph makes it clear you object. Pissed/not pissed? Who really cares. But I bet you were; that’s why it was worth your time.

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              • I think you see the ideological lines as a heck of a lot sharper than most people do.

                Especially people like “Senators” who realize that democracy — whether inside a party or inside Congress — is the art of consensus building.

                And yeah, I do think that pisses you off. I’m not an important or intetesting enough person for mere curiosity to make asking after my thoughts worth your time. Besides, your last paragraph makes it clear you object. Pissed/not pissed? Who really cares. But I bet you were; that’s why it was worth your time.

                So just to sum up: The only reason I’d ever respond to what you wrote would be because of anger? Like…no other reason whatsoever would make me want to communicate with you? Not curiosity, not a desire for conversation, debate, or communication? Not even “Boring day waiting on something to finish building so I’m passing the time”? Only burning anger enables my fingers to strike keyboard?

                That’s your thesis?

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  18. I am of the same mind, but the way you put the case together (apart from thinking it was this way in Bush-Kerry or Ford-Carter, but that’s peripheral to the actual substance of the case here) is the best I’ve seen. Totally overwhelming. Very well done.

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  19. “Most [Romney-boosters here at the OT] were simply wrong because they continued to argue through early November that there was a strong possibility that an incumbent President who was popular with independents could be beaten by a challenger whose own party treated him as an embarrassment.”

    who here was actually predicting a Romney victory in 2012?

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  20. With all due disclaimers about early days, etc, this Zogby poll is interesting. It shows Clinton leading Trump in Kansas by a plurality of 43% to 36% with 21% undecided. If a poll like that, in a state that hasn’t gone Democratic in just about forever, doesn’t tell you something about this race, then I’m not sure what would. FWIW, Sanders and Cruz won their respective caucuses here.

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      • I suspect it’s the inverse of the HRC problem in that a huge portion of the undecideds are GOP folks who will come to terms with Trump once he starts smearing HRC in earnest (and she says something disqualifying to them, whether about abortion, immigration, or whatever).

        57-43 seems like a perfectly rational GOP victory in Kansas in a bad-candidate year. That said, I may be underestimating the effect of the GOP’s state-specific financial disaster there, so who knows.

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    • Zogby is pretty much the worse pollster in the world (there’s an nice 538 article about it), but the fact they couldn’t even get this result is a sign of some problems, even if the truth is Trump is probably up by a few.

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