Will Clinton’s Flailing Protect Her Glass Jaw?

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, I’m sorry for the premature publication. As ever with Clinton, when I put on the yellow waders, I end up wading deeper and longer than I planned. –lambert

Is the Clinton campaign “desperate,” as Bernie Sanders suggests in his recent Washington Post interview? Even if New York Times columnist Charles blow uses the same word, “desperate” could be a little harsh; after all, Sanders is no more a telepath than I am. However, it does to me that the Clinton campaign is behaving like they’re worried, has every reason to be worried, and is reacting badly to the stress of being challenged. The easiest path to the Presidency for Clinton would have been to land a knockout punch in the first round, and that’s what they expected to do; that’s why they didn’t build campaign insfrastructure for a championship. Plan A failed, and like a boxer who’s lost control of the match, the Clinton campaign flails, seeking to land a blow by striking at random, without discipline, reverting to a natural tendency to punch, rather than box (we’ll see how in the next sections).[1] First, I’ll look at the current status of caucuses and primaries. Next, I’ll look at five areas where the Clinton campaign is flailing:

  1. Surrogate Eruptions
  2. Wall Street
  3. Red-Baiting the Base
  4. Half-a-Loaf-ist Messaging

And finally I’ll talk a little about Clinton’s glass jaw.

The Caucuses and Primaries

Let’s run briefly through the campaign Calendar through Super Tuesday.

Iowa Caucus. Real Clear Politics, which averages four Iowa polls, has Clinton up by 7.2, with Sanders closing to within less than one point on January 12, and then falling back. Which seems secure, except it isn’t. To repeat (from Links) Iowa coverage from In These Times:

The polls are irrelevant at this point,’ says [Dave Nagle, a Waterloo-based lawyer who served as Democratic state chair in the early 1980s and then represented Iowa’s third district in Congress for three terms], who doesn’t endorse candidates. ‘You cannot, unless you’re here, realize what the last week of the caucus is like—the volatility, the pressure’ and the ‘organized pandemonium’ as the campaigns mobilize their bases and undecided voters settle. ‘When that last 20 percent decides to move, it can be mind-boggling,’ Nagle says.”

Clinton may well win Iowa; Nate Silver puts her chances at 69%. But it certainly wasn’t supposed to be this close!

New Hampshire Primary. RCP, this time averages five polls, has Sanders up by 12.8, with Clinton closing to within 5 on January 7, and falling back. To be fair, Vermont, which Sanders represents, is New Hampshire’s neighbor. However, New Hampshire is also the state with “Live Free or Die” on its license plates, and it’s famously anti-tax, anti-big gummint. So if New Hampshire goes for Sanders, that says nothing but good about Sanders’ character. With Clinton, by contrast:

Put more simply, some voters do not like her or do not consider her honest. In a CNN/WMUR poll last week of likely Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire, 55 percent called Mrs. Clinton the least honest candidate in the party’s field, compared with 46 percent in December.

Ouch. The more New Hampshire voters came to know Clinton, the less they trusted her. That’s not good news for the Clinton campaign.

South Carolina Primary. Corey Robin writes that Clinton’s Firewall in South Carolina is Melting Away… I don’t think firewalls melt, but this is what the CBS poll shows: Black voters moving from 78/19/2/1 Clinton/Sanders/O’Malley/Undecided to 55/18/2/26 (!). That doesn’t mean that Clinton has lost those newly undecided votes, but they may be Sanders’ to win. Again, just as in Iowa, it wasn’t supposed to be this way.

Super Tuesday Primaries. A sure sign that the Clinton campaign is worried about what comes after Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina (which only weeks ago was supposed to be the firewall) is that Bill Clinton is worried. Politico:

Bill Clinton is getting nervous.

With polls showing Bernie Sanders ahead in New Hampshire and barely behind, if at all, in Iowa, the former president is urging his wife to start looking toward the delegate-rich March primaries — a shift for an organizing strategy that’s been laser-focused on the early states.

Bill Clinton, according to a source with firsthand knowledge of the situation, has been phoning campaign manager Robby Mook almost daily to express concerns about the campaign’s organization in the March voting states, which includes delegate bonanzas in Florida, Illinois, Ohio and Texas.

Unfortunately, the Clinton campaign can’t deliver a knockout punch on Super Tuesday, either. That’s because Sanders has implemented an innovative fundraising model[2] that will enable him to go as many rounds as Clinton can. From an interview with Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver on Vermont Public Radio:

Weaver said the campaign has revolutionized presidential fundraising efforts by receiving more than 2.5 million contributions in the past six months. That’s an all-time record for any presidential candidate.

Weaver notes that the campaign had hoped to raise roughly $35 million before Feb. 1. If things continue as they have, it will likely bring in double that amount.

Weaver says the average contribution is about $30 and that means the campaign can ask many donors to contribute again.

“Importantly, only a small fraction of those contributors are maxed out,” Weaver explains. “Meaning they can continue to sustain this campaign as we go all the way to the convention.

“We have built the infrastructure and have access to the resources,” Weaver continued, “which will allow us to go toe-to-toe with our Democratic competitors all the way to the convention next summer.”

Now, I don’t know what proportion of Clinton’s donors are maxed out (and “dark money” and contributions from influence peddling at the Clinton Foundation should help make up the numbers). Nevertheless, it looks like Weaver’s right. (We might also consider that Mike “Mayor for Life” Bloomberg is going to wait until March to make up his mind whether to run. If that keeps any big donors who care about gun control (or soda (or militarized policing)) on the sidelines, that might hurt Clinton.)

Hippie Punching. As we shall see, and in an all-too-human way (“they are who we thought they were”), the Clinton campaign is handling the stress by reverting to the time-honored Democratic establishment tactic of “hippie-punching” (a.k.a. “kicking the left”) described memorably by old-school blogger Susie Madrak in 2010, as reported by Greg Sargent:

Liberal blogger directly confronts David Axelrod, accuses White House of “hippie punching”

But hovering over the call was the obvious disconnect between this plea for help and statements like those of Robert Gibbs, who recently pilloried the “professional left” for being overly critical of the White House [not to mention Rahm Emmanuel calling the left “—-ing retards.'”]

That tension burst out into the open when Madrak directly asked Axelrod: “Have you ever heard of hippie punching?” That prompted a long silence from Axelrod.

“You want us to help you, the first thing I would suggest is enough of the hippie punching,” Madrak added. “We’re the girl you’ll take under the bleachers but you won’t be seen with in the light of day.”

At any rate, for Axelrod to plead with liberal bloggers for their help turning out the base, only to get accused of “hippie punching,” is an iconic moment in Campaign 2010.

And we all remember how 2010 turned out for master strategerist Axelrod, right? You’d think today’s Democratic establishment — and in particular, the Clinton campaign — would have learned. Guess not. They’re punching, not boxing; they’re flailing. I’ll go through what I see as categories of Clintonian flailing, and with the exception of the first (“1. Surrogate Eruptions”) they all involve hippie-punching. (I won’t go into exhaustive detail on cases with which NC readers are already familiar).

1. Surrogate Eruptions

First, there was campaign surrogate Chelsea Clinton. It’s breathtaking:

Sen. Sanders wants to dismantle Obamacare, dismantle the CHIP program, dismantle Medicare, and dismantle private insurance,” she said, according to MSNBC. “I worry if we give Republicans Democratic permission to do that, we’ll go back to an era—before we had the Affordable Care Act—that would strip millions and millions and millions of people off their health insurance.

Of course, as Chelsea knows or should know, Sanders supports single payer Medicare for All, and has introduced legislation to that effect. Mother Jones drily comments:

it’s unclear how a plan that would make almost everyone eligible for coverage would strip millions of health care coverage, which is what Clinton seemed to be saying. (The Clinton campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)

No, they wouldn’t have. Anyhow, I notice they’ve got Chelsea doing fundraisers, in private, now, so I guess the campaign stuffed her back in her box, on policy, at least. Rather than fearmongering (“I worry”), wouldn’t it have been smarter to show how Clinton’s incremental approach would provide universal coverage? Or even show different European models that are not single payer, but cheaper than our system (they all are) and more effective (most are)? Chelsea’s just hippie punching. She’s not boxing.

Then, there was campaign surrogate and attack pup David Brock, proposing to attack Sanders on his personal health, a suicidal strategy given Clinton’s Coumadin prescription, which is no doubt why campaign manager John Podesta yanked on Brock’s choke collar to shut him up. Flailing, not boxing.

And then, there was attack pup David Brock again, smearing Sanders as a racist (and I really don’t know how else to characterize Brock’s “From this ad it seems black lives don’t matter much to Bernie Sanders” other than as a smear, unless as the lie direct). Tellingly, this time Podesta was silent, which is all you really need to know about Podesta, and the campaign he manages. Again, punching, not boxing. If you really want to out-box Sanders, why not do on policy, say at Campaign Zero? (Here’s the policy tracking chart. It’s very wonky, so presumably Clinton should enjoy reading it. Somebody at the Sanders campaign must have, because they’ve been far more responsive than Clinton.)

2. Wall Street

A bit too strong to strong to call this a Macaca moment, but it’s certainly close; here’s Clinton slipping the punch, and dancing away, when she’s asked whether she’ll release the transcripts of paid speeches she gave to Goldman Sachs:

It’s perfectly reasonable to ask a candidate for evidence of what they said to a sector propose to regulate; and that Clinton has refused to release the transcripts doesn’t speak well of her. Nor does laughing at the question; to lots of us, the role of the finance sector in crashing the economy and ruining so many lives is not a laughing matter. Here’s Politico summarizing what Clinton said:

But Clinton offered a message that the collected plutocrats found reassuring, according to accounts offered by several attendees, declaring that the banker-bashing so popular within both political parties was unproductive and indeed foolish. Striking a soothing note on the global financial crisis, she told the audience, in effect: We all got into this mess together, and we’re all going to have to work together to get out of it. What the bankers heard her to say was just what they would hope for from a prospective presidential candidate: Beating up the finance industry isn’t going to improve the economy—it needs to stop. And indeed Goldman’s Tim O’Neill, who heads the bank’s asset management business, introduced Clinton by saying how courageous she was for speaking at the bank. (Brave, perhaps, but also well-compensated: Clinton’s minimum fee for paid remarks is $200,000).

Certainly, Clinton offered the money men—and, yes, they are mostly men—at Goldman’s HQ a bit of a morale boost.

That seems pretty damning. If it were better than it seems, then Clinton would certainly release the transcript to prove Politico wrong. She hasn’t. Therefore, it’s even worse.

And it keeps getting worse (or better, depending on your viewpoint). Clinton today:

Clinton also played up her anti-Wall Street credentials, saying, “I took them on when I was senator.”

“I took on the carried-interest loophole,” Clinton said, referring to a tax policy issue that has become a touchstone for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and other liberals.

“I took on what was happening in the mortgage markets. I was talking about that in 2006. They know exactly where I stand,” Clinton said in apparent reference to Goldman Sachs and other big banks.

Indeed they do; see above. That said, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. NC may have more to say, later, about Clinton and the “carried interest” loophole, but her claim that “I took on what was happening in the mortgage markets. I was talking about that in 2006” seems dubious.

First, in 2006 there were very few voices who even knew “what was happening in the mortgage markets”; a few hedgies, and some renegade academics. That is, after all, the theme of The Big Short. Second, if Clinton was “talking” about this, she certainly wasn’t amplifying those voices. Third, she had no incentive to “talk” about anything. In 2006, her most valued constituency, Wall Street, was as happy as a pig in clover. And her voters weren’t affected by the foreclosure crisis at that time, either; New York, unlike Florida, where the crisis hit hard, is a judicial foreclosure state. Fourth, Yves started Naked Capitalism exactly because nobody was talking about “what was happening in the mortgage markets,” let alone Clinton. Fifth, I was a strong Clinton supporter in 2008, and I remember that in 2008, she introduced her HOLC program, modeled on FDR’s, to deal with the foreclosure crisis that had, by that time, emerged. I would have expected HOLC to have been framed by Clinton’s earlier work on foreclosure, had it existed, and I can’t find any references to it. It’s very hard, of course, to prove a negative, and perhaps there is a trace of Hillary “talking” about the foreclosure crisis, but as far as anything serious, let alone legislation? In 2006? I don’t think so.

Of course, it’s a time-honored practice for one politician “to steal another politicians clothes,” but parse the words. What does “took them on” mean? What does “what was happening” mean? What does “talking about that” mean? If she were serious, there would be words like “introduced legislation.” There aren’t. Clinton’s punch is weak.

3. Red-Baiting the Base

Counterpunch lists the sad catalog of hippie-punching:

[T]he Clinton campaign’s panicky response… has been to start having surrogates go out and paint Sanders as a “red.”

They don’t actually call him a commie, but they do the next closest thing, warning that if Sanders were to win the Democratic nomination, he would then be attacked by whoever is the Republican nominee, who would “surely” call him a communist.

How, actually, does this differ from Hillary herself just calling him a commie? Well, it doesn’t. Her campaign is calling him a red.

This attempted McCarthyite hatchet job on Sanders was launched in an article in the obligingly complicit New York Times, which on Wednesday ran a one-sided hit piece headlined::”Alarmed Clinton Supporters Begin Focusing on Sanders’s Socialist Edge.”

In that article, we read the likes of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, saying of Sanders, “Here in the heartland, we like our politicians in the mainstream, and he is not — he’s a socialist. He’s entitled to his positions, and it’s a big-tent party, but as far as having him at the top of the ticket, it would be a meltdown all the way down the ballot.”

Then there ‘s Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, a neoliberal Clinton supporter, who tells the Times, “The Republicans won’t touch (Sanders) because they can’t wait to run an ad with a hammer and sickle.”

The Clintons’ fingers are all over this McCarthyite attack.

For my part, if being a socialist means concrete material benefits like having single payer Medicare for All (like Canada) and free college (like Germany), well, sticks and stones, and call me a socialist. Heck, call me a Satanist! And Clinton’s problem, here, is that single payer is very popular with most Democrats, so she’s red-baiting the very voters she needs to win over. She’s also red-baiting the younger voters enmeshed in student debt, or those who can’t afford college at all. Again, Clinton is punching. But she’s not boxing.

4. Half-a-Loaf-ist Messaging

Finally the tl;dr of Clinton’s campaign is: “This is why you can’t have nice things.” (Nice things, in fact, that the rest of the civilized world already has: Medicare for All, in Canada, and free university, like Germany. Or putting the banksters in jail, as in Iceland.[3]

Clinton’s not afraid to make the ask with Wall Street donors. But she is afraid to make the ask on policy for voters.

How do you win from a defensive crouch? You might protect your glass jaw, but you’d better have a good cut man person in your corner. Does Clinton?


Hillary’s glass jaw is her inevitablity, exactly as in 2008. When the inevitablity is gone, what remains, and what happens next? Does she really want to go the distance?[4] I’m sure her massive entourage does, but does she? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I admire Clinton greatly for her intelligence and persistence. But I’m not not sure she wants to do this.


[1]. The Interview also shows that Sanders is, in his own loveable way, a brawler. I bet the Clinton campaign didn’t see that coming. For example: “As somebody who respects Secretary Clinton, it saddens me that she would go to a professional political hit man” (like David Brock). More in sorrow than in anger….

[2] I think the Sanders campaign has victory as a goal, has defined victory in policy (not merely candidate) terms, and has deployed new tactics (not, at least not yet, technology) in search of victory. Has the Clinton campaign done really anything other than define victory in candidate terms?

[3] Not a panacea, but well-deserved.

[4] I remember how she drove to Iowa in a van; I wish she’d criss-crossed the country like that, as in the (brilliant, late, uncovered 2008 post-caucus campaign). But she didn’t. She flew back in a plane.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. edmondo

    Oh, she wants to win. She’s a Clinton after all. Power for power’s sake. And she will probably win the nomination but lose in November. She and her supporters will claim that it was misogyny and she will get tp play the victim one last time – (and that’s almost as good as winning).

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I’m not sure about this. Hillary and Bill acquired quite the collection of useless brown nosers over the years who they feel loyal to, and Team Blue elites have been asking Bill to save them since before the 2010 election. My sense is a good portion of official Washington Democrats believe Obama has led them astray and they need Bill’s legend to save them.

      The fear of being cast out by the Obots has quite criticism of the President. Bernie and Hillary are more or less running anti-Obama campaigns.

      1. An Educated Fool

        Have you watched or heard anything that Clinton has said in the debates or on TV? She is wrapping herself up in Obama policy success. There is not a lot of daylight between the two right now.

        Clinton is essentially saying that a vote for Bernie is a vote against Obama’s legacy. And again she does not understand that Obama is unpopular even in the Democratic party. Many people that I am around understand that Obama is a corporate stooge even the people who are marginally attached to politics. I live outside of Philadelphia which is Clinton territory.

        1. DixonYourFace

          “She is wrapping herself up in Obama policy success.”

          That is pure comedy gold….thanks for that!

  2. Titus Pullo

    I think the festering wound of her server scandal and the lingering FBI investigation is playing a part as well.

    Even if she’s not guilty of anything (though I think she is), the slow drip of revelations is feeding into the distrust of the politics that Clinton represents (crumbs and corruption).

    Also her tendency to take credit for everything is not endearing (one thing I remember from the debate was her talking to Snyder in MI, and then a few hours later pallets of bottled water started going to Flint. I’m sure I’m exaggerating a bit, but that kind of insincerity in the face of a humanitarian crisis, wrought in part by NAFTA … just seems sick).

  3. allan

    Firewalls aren’t all demographic.

    The reporter whose case has forced the release of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails accused the Obama administration Monday of political tampering by asking to delay making the final set of messages public until after the first four states have already voted in the Democratic presidential primary.

    1. Fiver

      While Sanders gave Clinton a pass, there is no way the Republicans will – that alone ought to snap the Dem leadership out of its stupor and recognize the smart thing to do isn’t to try to re-Clintonize the purported Obotamization of Clinton/Bush policy (eg., O did not finish off Assad) but rather to make a clean break from this sort of continuity of power altogether, as evidently is the wish of most Americans.

  4. Jim Haygood

    ‘What does “took them on” mean? What does “what was happening” mean? What does “talking about that” mean?’

    It means, “I can just make sh*t up that sounds decisive, but is actually so vague that it’s not falsifiable.”

    For years after the 1987 crash, I received direct mail from legions of market strategists, every one of whom had foreseen the crash and warned their clients to get out.

    Likewise, Hillary gave us two years’ advance warning of the 2008 meltdown, begging folks to get out the way. But they just wouldn’t listen to the one of the world’s most legendary commodity traders.

    1. Vatch

      But they just wouldn’t listen to the one of the world’s most legendary commodity traders.

      Hilarious! (Hillaryous?)

      1. ambrit

        If she doesn’t get the spot, I’d love to see her do a political show like Cramers’ financial circus.
        “I warned them all. If Bernie got the nomination, there’d be a coup with Obama set up as caretaker President. Did anyone listen? Nooooo! I saw it coming!”

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      “They just wouldn’t listen to the one of the world’s most legendary commodity traders.”

      * * *

      “I wish I’d said that.”

      “You will, Lambert, you will.”

  5. roadrider

    This situation is pointing out how incredibly lame the Democrats are.

    First, with a term-limited president’s time in office expiring they could only muster one serious (OK two if you count O’Malley who’s been all but invisible) candidate for the office that’s actually a registered member of their party (and no, I don’t count Webb or Chaffee as serious candidates). The one guy who supports the ideology and policies the party pretends to stand for is not even a registered member.

    Second, the party is doing everything in its power to rig the game against the guy who they should be backing because the leadership is completely invested in the Clinton machine and owned by the corporate/MIC/Wall St interests that fund them.

    Third, the party obviously does not have a clue about what would actually resonate with the stay-at-home voters who could help them overcome the edge they imagine the Republicans hold over them. Even worse, they are transforming people who used to reliably vote for them into stay-at-home voters by their corruption, general spinelessness and and unwillingness to fight (see under the 2010 and 2014 mid-terms).

    Fourth, the party was so invested in the “inevitability” of Clinton’s nomination that they really have no plan if she fails. They’re scared to death of a Sanders primary win, not because they think he can’t beat whatever right-wing troglodyte gets nominated by the Republicans but because it will expose them for what they really are.

    I personally find HIllary Clinton to be thoroughly revolting and I think she will lose the general election even if nominated. Not because people prefer Republican solutions but because they want someone to change the status quo and there’s no bigger defender of the status quo than Hillary Clinton (and, no, Obama-esque tinkering around the edges doesn’t count). I’m not actually on the Sanders bandwagon (yet) and not being a Democrat I can’t vote for him in the primary. But if he wins the nomination I can see voting for him provided he doesn’t sell out to the party regulars in return for their support.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      If Sanders beats Hillary, he doesn’t need the support of Team Blue party elders. Obama may not have had as many supporters among the elites, but he had Daschle and then rising stars around him, and Obama won with less votes.

      The party elites will need Sanders. Pelosi isn’t a star anymore. DWS is a first rate clown in line to replace Team Blue’s leading clown Harry Reid when he retires. Schumer is loathsome. Who is out there?

    2. PQS

      I agree wholeheartedly with points 1 – 4. While I do not find Clinton to be “thoroughly revolting” I can’t say I’m a fan for all the reasons outlined in Lambert’s article and in your comment.

      I think the Dems have the exact same problem as the Repubs, but I haven’t heard anyone say it except here on NC:

      The party machinery and the wealthy people who support it (including Clinton – $1M wedding, anyone?) are completely cut off from the reality of the impacts of the Great Recession on the vast, vast majority of Americans and are completely unequipped to provide solutions to the underlying problems, because those solutions are hugely threatening to both the status quo and their masters.

      This is why both Bernie and Trump are zooming ahead: because they each offer solutions, albeit in one case, actual, thoughtful solutions instead of pandering.

      1. Hayek's Heelbiter

        As leftist fossil, I find myself strangely defending Trump with my litmus test question.

        What is your stand on the H1-B program which the corpocrats are using to slaughter American employees?

        A. Trump: “I’m again’ it”
        B. Hilary: “Bring it on!”
        C. Bernie?

        Anybody out there in NC Land who knows Bernie’s stand?

        1. allan

          Trump’s casinos and resorts have used H2B workers (easily findable online).
          As with much else, he’s full of it.

        2. afisher

          Except that Trump did not say he was against the HI-B program – he did a circular argument to take on Rubio – but ended with – he is all for anyone who is here legally.

          Which means that Bernie is winner!

        3. grayslady

          Bernie wants to raise the wages for H1-B and H2-B workers to what companies would actually pay American workers if Americans were available to fill the jobs. He also wants the visa workers to be free to move to other companies besides the company sponsoring the visa request. In other words, he wants to prohibit U.S. companies from using visas just to find cheap, captive, offshore labor.

          1. roadrider

            The H1-B regs already state that they are to be paid “prevailing wages”. The problem is that there’s no enforcement and the regs are full of loopholes that are easily exploited. The H1-B program is a corrupt, dysfunctional, undeserved subsidy to employers seeking cheap, exploitable labor.

            Sanders’ “solution” will be gamed to death and then not even enforced. There’s only one solution and that’s to shit-can the entire program and replace it with something else that has far more limited reach. The only companies that will really suffer are the Indian-owned outsourcing companies that are, by far, the largest users of H1-B visas. The “American” companies that employ H1-Bs through these outsourcing firms or themselves can adapt by hiring the un- and under-employed citizens and legal residents that are currently sitting on the sidelines.

            1. JCC

              As far as scrapping it altogthr, you’re right, that is the only serious solution.

              But to say that Indian-owned outsourcing companies are the largest users is not necessarily true. Yes they use a lot of these Visas, but IBM averaged over 13,000 H1-B applications per year for the last 4 or 5 years anyway, probably longer. That is a very large percentage of the available Visas for just one company… and they usually have their American outgoing employees train the new incoming H1-Bs before they lay them off…. and then get loads of IRS credits in order to pay $00.00 at the end of their fiscal year.

              1. allan

                And Disney is not far behind:

                Lawsuits Claim Disney Colluded to Replace U.S. Workers With Immigrants

                Even after Leo Perrero was laid off a year ago from his technology job at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. — and spent his final months there training a temporary immigrant from India to do his work — he still hoped to find a new position in the vast entertainment company….

                Now he and Dena Moore, another American laid off by Disney at that time, have filed lawsuits in federal court in Tampa, Fla., against Disney and two global consulting companies, HCL and Cognizant, which brought in foreign workers who replaced them. They claim the companies colluded to break the law by using temporary H-1B visas to bring in immigrant workers, knowing that Americans would be displaced. …

                The lawsuits by Mr. Perrero and Ms. Moore, who each filed a separate but similar complaint on Monday seeking class-action status, represent the first time Americans have gone to federal court to sue both outsourcing companies that imported immigrants and the American company that contracted with those businesses, claiming that they collaborated intentionally to supplant Americans with H-1B workers.

        4. hidflect

          I don’t know about Bernie but I do know that Hillary took $3Million from Tata and Infosys and has some honorary executive position in a dubious American-Indian pro-business council. So yes, for Hillary it will definitely be “Bring it on” under the rubric of making American business more internationally competitive or some other such twaddle.

    3. efschumacher

      ….and not being a Democrat I can’t vote for him in the primary.

      I’m not ‘a Democrat’ because in the general case it is nobody’s business who I vote for. But I’m registering Democrat for this primary so I can positively express my preference for the (only) appealing candidate. You can surely do that too, roadrider, if this election matters to you.

      1. roadrider

        Sorry pal but I’m not registering as Democrat to vote in the primary and I reject your snide, condescending comment that I can “do that” if this election “matters to me”.

        This election does matter to me which is why I continue to support Jill Stein. If you find Bernie Sanders “the only appealing candidate”, then go ahead and do what you feel is best. I don’t agree with you. As “appealing” as Bernie Sanders is, he has already promised to unconditionally support Hillary Clinton if she wins the nomination and he is also very troubling in terms of his foreign policy stances.

        I reached my point of no return with the Democrats a long time ago. I don’t think their party is redeemable and I refuse to vote for them simply because they’re not Republicans. I also think the battle for third-party access to the ballot and national presidential debates is a fight worth fighting and the Democrats are on the wrong side of that one.

        With the abject failure of the Obama presidency and the loss of not only both houses of Congress but most state governments to the Republicans you would think that the Democrats would be ripe for a change in their corrupt, spineless, sclerotic leadership. But there’s no one in their party even willing to mount a serious challenge to Pelosi, Reid (before he decide to hang it up), etc. and I suspect its because the party itself is not very “democratic” (despite its name).

        Sorry, but they’re dead to me and as much as I like a lot of what Bernie Sanders says and is for I don’t think even he can turn them around.

        1. Left in Wisconsin

          I also think the battle for third-party access to the ballot and national presidential debates is a fight worth fighting

          Good luck with that. I sincerely hope to see the Greens as a regular presence on the ballot before I die, but call me skeptical. I am still waiting for a Green plan to attempt to bring such about. And, even with full Green commitment to such, the actual, specific rules of American politics (ballot qualification, first-past-post winners, delegation of management of elections to R’s and D’s) have convinced me the only option is to take over the D’s. Yes, it will not be easy. First, we need lots of candidates. Second, we need to force the party to listen to the voters.

          1. Oregoncharles

            If you “sincerely hoped” that, you’d be working for it.

            No, Jill hasn’t published her plan “to bring such about,” because she isn’t a fool, but her campaign is about exactly that.

            1. Left in Wisconsin

              I did 2 years in the Greens in Michigan in the early 90s and left. I haven’t seen anything in the last 20 years to suggest ANY progress has been made.

        2. hunkerdown

          With the abject failure of the Obama presidency

          For whom? The designated winners have done just fine, for the most part.

          and the loss of not only both houses of Congress but most state governments to the Republicans

          For whom? The designated winners have done just fine, for the most part.

          you would think that the Democrats would be ripe for a change in their corrupt, spineless, sclerotic leadership.

          The Democratic Party serves its owners, like any other corporation.

          Sanders on “Assad’s” CW is the canary, I think. If he dredges up that arrogant conceit again, it might be time to write him off, along with the arrogant mendacity of Platonic republicanism in general.

        3. Plenue

          I’m aware I sound a lot like an Obamabot making a ‘lesser of two evils’ argument, but the fact is that Sanders isn’t evil by any measure. The Green Party aren’t qualified to run an empty warehouse, much less any form of government. Their sole function is to be a repository of progressive protest votes; a place to dump your ballot in the vain hope that it will apply some small amount of pressure to the Democrats in charge and shift them slightly to the left. It’s basically a way to burn your ballot without literally doing that, so you can hopefully sleep better at night.

          But in Sanders we finally actually have someone running as a Democrat who isn’t utterly toxic. And while he may often leave much to be desired he’s worlds better than anyone else our mainstream politics has produced in decades who is also genuinely viable. You have a choice here between someone who could actually win and is eminently decent, or stubbornly wasting your vote on someone who says all the things you want to hear but who really shouldn’t be trusted with power and who will never, ever win anyway. Any other year I would say vote Green, but I can’t say that in good conscience this time.

          1. JCC

            I remember reading the same sorts of comments back in 2008 regarding Obama vs voting Green, “lesser of two evils”, etc., so I “hoped” and voted for Obama.

            Within two months of his taking office, when he set up his economic team with Geithner and the rest of the Wall St criminals I realized that I had, yet again, voted for evil – lesser or not.

            I may vote for Sanders if he gets the shot, but I can flat out say if it’s Hillary vs Trump I’ll be hard pressed in my decision as to whether to vote for Trump or Stein. History will repeat itself for me – a repeat of 2008 I’m afraid – toss one away or vote for the “lesser of two evils” and Trump would win that one for a lot of this country’s voters.

            That’s one of the few remaining great thing about this country, you can vote for who you believe in, Jill Stein included, whether your friends like it or not.

            1. Plenue

              The difference is that Sanders has a long record of progressive action, whereas Obama was mostly an unknown blank-slate that people projected their hopes onto (and the few that actually looked seriously at his record didn’t much like what they found).

              Also, I wasn’t aware inability to vote freely was commonplace in modern democracies. Please, do tell me more.

              1. JCC

                I can’t tell you more.

                Like you, I wasn’t aware that the inability to vote freely was commonplace in modern democracies either!

            2. AnEducatedFool

              Anyone that seriously followed politics knew that Obama was a trojan horse. He was surrounded by neo-liberals and Brzezinksi disciples. Comparing Obama to Sanders is disingenuous. On economics Sanders has clear policy and a clear history. Foreign policy is a different matter.

              Personally I think Stien is an overbearing matriarch. I do not know how she managed to make it to the top of the ticket. Her major electoral win is her election to a town council.

              In the past the Greens have been used to stifle progressive politics. I do not know if the more radical wing won but it was well known during the Obama run that they Greens were there to influence the Democrats. Not form an independent 3rd party.

              If I were to vote 3rd party I’d go with Rocky Anderson over Stein.

  6. Crazy Horse

    re the Clinton stainless steel jaw:

    It is instructive to look back upon an arch-typical Clinton perception management operation— the email “scandal.” With only a few slight of hand moves it has been relegated to the dustbin of history, forgotten by the MSM and off limits to her Republican enemies.

    The facts:

    As Secretary of State, Clinton had access to the most sensitive national security information, much of which was classified at the highest level.

    Clinton set up her own private, unsecured email system and server and used it for personal and government communications. This communication was thus susceptible to hacking by any skilled individual or foreign government, a fact that she knew in advance through her security briefings.

    Clinton transferred national security information to her private server, including transcripts from the Bush administration of conversations between President George Bush and foreign leaders. Some were classified at the time of the transfer, while others contained information that was subsequently classified.

    Clinton initially refused to grant government access to the server documents, and did so only after there had been the opportunity to sanitize it.


    At the very least her behavior constitutes proof of unsuitability for any public office.

    Transfer of national security information to a private server is theft.

    If previous case law were followed her actions constitute treason.

    So why haven’t the Republican attack dogs been unleashed? One of the communications she inherited from the Bush administration and moved to her private server records a conspiracy between George Bush and Tony Blair to fabricate the Weapons of Mass Destruction fraud and use it to deceive the American and British people into backing a war against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. And what good Republican or MSM mouthpiece would want to charge one of theirs with treason and conspiracy?

    It’s called a get out of jail free card.

    1. LarryB

      The attack dogs haven’t been unleashed because the Republicans would much rather face Clinton than Sanders in the general election. (Probably why no one is talking about Benghazi, either) Wait until after she’s nominated for the attacks.

      1. Crazy Horse

        You don’t get it. Both Clinton and George Bush are guilty of treason, and the Clinton server contains the evidence that proves it. Precisely the reason both parties (including Sanders) and the MSM want to sweep it under the rug and avoid making the flock restless.

        1. Fiver

          Good argument, but there are already a horde of independent Trump supporters doing their best to crack the MSM with the story, and as Trump himself apparently isn’t bound to anyone, I can easily see that guy seeing it as the golden opportunity to seal the deal with ‘the people’ by purging Washington – fry Bush and Clinton with the e-mails themselves, and Obama for not prosecuting Clinton. Trump as transformational agent – like some carrot-derived neurotransmitter dumped in the nation’s water supply.

      2. fajensen

        She used it for communicating with foreigners so at least the NSA – if they are indeed competent – would have “owned” the server.

        Maybe there is enough “Kompromat”-stuff in there to “own” Clinton if she manages to get elected, thus making Hillary a better Republican President than Trump, maybe they hold the silver bullets back until they are really needed?

    2. ex-PFC Chuck

      The email security scandal is not totally in the dustbin of history yet. There was a piece on it in the NY Post over the weekend and which served as the fodder for a post at Sic Semper Tyrannis blog. Host Pat Lang, and many of the commenters are current or retired military people very familiar with the pertinent regulations and laws, and the consensus is that what she did was felonious. You might want to take a look at the links.

      1. JCC

        An estimated 5.1 million people in this country hold some type of Clearance, they are all of voting age, and every one of them knows without a doubt in their minds that if they all did what she did, the Fed Correctional Institution would be short a lot of beds.

        Based on the talk I hear around work, she has lost quite a few votes because of that very obviously illegal, let alone bone-headed, move.

        It may not be front page news right now, but people in the trenches don’t usually forget how their leaders led.

    3. Pavel

      And now, in absolutely typical HRC fashion, she has the gall to blame the Republicans for the email issue!

      Hillary Clinton blamed Republicans Sunday for using her decision to communicate on a personal email account while secretary of state against her and her presidential campaign.

      “I cannot control what the Republicans leak and what they are contending,” Clinton said on NBC’s Meet the Press.

      Clinton noted that Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, who has questioned Clinton’s email use, said at a rally in his home state Saturday that he wanted to defeat her.

      “Senator Grassley…announces he’s there for the simple reason to defeat me,” she said. “I can’t control what the Republicans are doing. But I know what the facts are, and I will just keep putting them out there.”

      Clinton blames Republicans for email troubles

      Breathtaking gall. Imagine how much courtroom time, Senate time, and State Dept time and money has been wasted simply because Hillary (according to her) thought two devices would be “inconvenient”.

    4. hidflect

      The only logical reason I can think of for Madame Clinton to take such risks breaking the law would be the enormous temptation to trawl the tons of juicy information for the purposes of personal influence peddling, one eye on building up the now massive fortune of her foundation and the other on rewarding the handlers and enablers who helped her get to where she was.

  7. phichibe

    I think if HRC loses Iowa it will because (at least in part) of a video I saw on NBC nightly news last week, of her meeting with the editorial board of the Des Moines Register and, in response to a question as to whether she regretted giving 3 speeches for $600,000 to Goldman Sachs, she said “not at all” or words to that effect. The only thing that is preventing her buck-raking from being a bigger issue is that Bill has been doing it since 2001 and the Democratic establishment deems criticizing him and the 90s is impolitic, to coin a phrase. I remember watching in slack-jawed amazement in 2013 as she hit the gravy train alongside her husband, and thinking two questions: does she not care how this will look to potential voters in 2016? And how much money is enough for these people? After Sanders mentioned the $600,000 from Goldman Sachs in the South Carolina debate I Googled her speaking “earnings” (ahem) and found one article that said from 2007 (not 2001) to 2014 she and Bill had netted $139,000,000. Hillary accounted for maybe $25,000,000 of that. What is the marginal utility of the 115th million dollar after you’ve pocketed $114,000,000? And this, of course, does not include the Clinton Foundation money raised.

    Harry Truman would hang his head in shame.


    1. 3.14e-9

      It would be interesting to see how much of that total Bill Clinton earned while his wife was SoS. He gave more than 200 speeches during that time. He was supposed to clear all his speaking engagements with State Dept. ethics lawyers for conflict of interest, but the State Dept. e-mails show that they virtually rubber-stamped every request.

  8. PlutoniumKun

    First off, as was alluded to in a post a few days ago, Chelsea Clinton’s comments were no accident. Des Moines is an insurance company town, a huge proportion of the population work in health insurance. It was a deliberate and high profile attempt to highlight that Sanders policies would annihilate jobs in private insurance. It strikes me as a clever and perfectly legitimate (if cynical) electoral tactic.

    But apart from that, I do find it striking at how poorly disciplined the Clinton campaign has been. It hardly takes a political genius to see that attacking Sanders is a bad strategy – Sanders has positioned himself as part of a movement – attacking him is attacking a good chunk of your own party. A lot of liberals who would vote for Hilary as a pragmatic move will be infuriated by the attacks. The primary rule surely for any campaign manager is to have a strategy and stick to it – every campaign will have sticky moments, good campaign managers know the importance of holding your nerve and sticking to your core message. It doesn’t reflect well on her team, or Hilary herself, that they are indulging in this sort of half in, half out attack strategy (if they wanted to attack Sanders, they should have done it early and with real conviction).

    1. Yves Smith

      Actually, Lambert and readers did some digging, and insurance is only the #7 employer in Des Moines, and a lot of that is not health insurance. But that’s not to say that the people working in other parts of finance (Wells Fargo in the biggest employer IIRC) won’t understand that Hillary’s anti-bank talk is all noise to appease the rubes.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Oh, thats interesting – the Wikipedia page on Des Moines suggests otherwise, but it may be I suppose that they are mostly shadow HQ offices without too many employees. It still seems to have a disproportionate number of jobs in that sector.

        I suppose it is another reflection of poor strategy by the Clinton campaign if they are basing their strategy on an incorrect supposition about employment in Iowa.

  9. Dave

    Stale, pale female.

    Clinton v Trump = “President Donald Trump”

    Sanders v Trump = “President Bernie Sanders”

  10. grayslady

    But I’m not not sure she wants to do this.

    Whatever her feelings, she just boxed herself into a corner over the weekend by saying that Bloomberg wouldn’t have to run since she was going to win the nomination. Last time out, she finished her campaign because she felt she owed it to all the women who were supporting her. This time, it’s not the women supporting her, it’s Wall Street.

    Bloomberg’s shot across the bow was aimed at Hillary’s ship, not Trump’s, since Trump has never been part of the Wall Street in-crowd. I imagine she thought that she could fend off Bernie with a centrist, I’m-the-safer-choice campaign. Now that Bloomberg is threatening to join the race, she has an unexpected opponent who is part of the moneyed set in a way she and Bill Clinton never will be. About now, Hillary has to be furious with Bloomberg’s trial balloon, and I suspect she’s taking it personally. Revenge on Bloomberg means she’ll stay in as long as possible.

    She needs to keep the dollars rolling into the Clinton Foundation, and her donors need to feel that they’ve at least received their money’s worth. Clinton is just as much about brand marketing as Trump.

    1. Watt4Bob

      The way I read it, Bloomberg is offering to save the Country from having to accept a Sanders presidency.

      What a patriot!

      Evidently, both the Democratic, and Republican elites would prefer Trump to Sanders.

      1. grayslady

        Oh, I agree that Bloomberg sees Sanders as the ultimate threat. However, I think he’s letting Hillary know that he doesn’t think she’s going to the one to take Sanders down unless she gets her act together.

        1. Yves Smith

          Not so sure. Bloomberg may not like Hillary. As Mayor, he most certainly dealt with her a lot and from what I can tell, Hillary did nada for anyone other than Hillary when she was Senator.

          Bloomberg HAS to be smart enough to know that his trial balloon will lead a lot of Hillary backers to pull back or not gives as much because they’d support Bloomberg over her as the more solid friend of Wall Street. Remember that was the effect of Biden’s toying with running. By contrast, the Bloomberg announcement won’t dent Bernie in the fight over the nomination. It would later if he entered, but I think he’s too late. He’s not known outside the business community, and being from New York City plays badly in wide swathes of the US. He’d need to kiss a lot of babies to overcome that.

          1. grayslady

            As a local New Yorker, I bow to your superior knowledge about relations between Hillary and Bloomberg. I agree that Bloomberg is too late, and, even if he weren’t too late, in most of the country he’s associated with either police brutality, preemptively arresting blacks in NYC, or trying to take away people’s soft drinks.

            Does Bloomberg even do retail politics? I thought he was all about using money to buy time on the airwaves. Still, Open Secrets reports that in 2014 (they don’t have any data on Bloomberg for 2016), 95% of Bloomberg’s staggering millions of donations went to “liberals” or “liberal PACs”. So I still suspect that he sees himself as the viable Hillary alternative to stop Bernie, all the time dressing himself up as an “independent”.

            1. Jim Haygood

              After retiring as mayor of New York, Bloomberg bought a palatial residence in London.

              Likely Bloomberg is envious that Greenspan was knighted, and has put out feelers to Buckingham Palace about recognition for his good self.

              Then he can run as “Sir Michael” … saddled facing backward over a horse’s ass, clutching a pink plastic lance.

    2. flora

      “opponent who is part of the moneyed set in a way she and Bill Clinton never will be.”

      The Third Way was always about offering political ‘middle managers’ to the moneyed set. Perhaps Bill and Hillary and the rest forgot that.

    3. Fiver

      ‘Bloomberg’s shot across the bow was aimed at Hillary’s ship, not Trump’s, since Trump has never been part of the Wall Street in-crowd.’

      Disagree. I think Bloomberg’s ‘shot’ is intended to help Clinton now versus Sanders simply by threatening to ruin a clean Sanders run at Trump if Clinton foundered and withdrew. Bloomberg would certainly take more voters from Sanders than he would from Trump, handing it to Trump.

  11. Roquentin

    If nothing else has been accomplished by the Sanders candidacy, it’s bringing these closet reactionaries out of the woodwork. I think you’re absolutely right that this is their biggest fear. It’s not even losing, it’s being exposed for what they are. I don’t think they realize that regardless of whether Sanders wins or loses it’s much too late for that. I recently read that Rick Perlstein book on the ’64 election, about how Goldwater lost but was the wave of the future. I really and truly hope the same is true about Sanders. Even if he lost, he’s what the political future looks like. Even if he loses the organization and voters he mobilized will live on, maybe even more fervently because the potential of his policies would be untainted by the challenges of actually being in office.

  12. Left in Wisconsin

    Excellent analysis.

    I think Bloomberg is in. He is definitely in if Bernie wins the nomination – trying to actually win. And I think he gets in if HRC wins the nomination because he is willing to be the Perot-type vote-splitter to ensure her victory in November. I think head-to-head with whoever emerges from the clown-car the winner, she is no sure thing. Wall Street can’t have that. In that case, Bloomberg siphons of the business R’s who can’t bring themselves to vote for her and she wins a 3-way, like Bill did twice (in politics).

    One reason I really, really want Bernie to win the nomination is to see if there really is anything the matter with Kansas, or if the problem is, as most of us here presume it to be, the D’s. I would predict Bernie runs well beyond expectations in deep red flyover land, regardless of who the R’s nominate.

  13. flora

    I re-watched Sanders’ and Clinton’s ads. Odd thing. Sanders and Clinton both have youtube channels and both have ads hosted there. Sanders has this ad hosted there. You can see the number of views, the likes and dislikes, read comments. Clinton has a lot of her older ads hosted on youtube but her new ad is hosted on the NYTimes video site. Can’t see the number of views or likes or dislikes. So a couple of things spring to mind: Clinton doesn’t want feedback from the hoi polloi. And maybe this ad is aimed particularly at Wall St and Bloomberg himself. (NYTimes video channel serving as “endorsement” of sorts. Does her campaign have to pay to run it on the NYTimes site (advertising). I don’t know.)

  14. freedomny

    I think Clinton clearly f’d up on the infrastructure of her campaign. I went on a volunteer training call Sat for Sanders and was completely blown away by their technical capabilities. I was also blown away by the diversity of people on the call – from the millennials to seniors – from wall street to students. I’m starting to believe that the sheeple may be finally “getting” it – that they are being conned big time and that we no longer have a democracy. My niece, who just got her masters from an IVY league, spoke to me after the call and she clearly is a Sanders fan – and she says most of her friends are – especially interesting when most of their parents have consistently voted Republican. Sanders ad is so superior to Clinton’s – it has soul and it is authentic and genuine, which has been sorely missing for many years. Ironically, I never voted for Obama because I never felt he was authentic – I believe he is a masterful actor. The oligarchs are nervous – Bloomberg will announce his run only After a Clinton nomination defeat …. how obvious is that…

    And no – I actually don’t believe Hilary “really” wants this….I believe Bill does.

    1. Pavel

      Congratulations, freedomny — the first time the words “authentic and genuine” deserve to be used in the same sentence as “Clinton”:

      Sanders ad is so superior to Clinton’s – it has soul and it is authentic and genuine, which has been sorely missing for many years.


  15. katiebird

    I did not know this:

    From Bernie Sanders Uses Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘America’ in New Ad

    David Brock, who founded the pro-Clinton PAC Correct the Record, told the Associated Press that the spot was a “slight” to the Democratic base, suggesting that it features too few people of color.

    “From this ad it seems black lives don’t matter much to Bernie Sanders,” Brock was quoted as saying.

    That drew a rebuke from the Sanders campaign, which issued a statement calling Brock a “mudslinger.”

    Briggs said that Sanders “doesn’t need lectures on civil rights and racial issues from David Brock, the head of a Hillary Clinton super PAC. Twenty-five years ago it was Brock – a mud-slinging, right-wing extremist – who tried to destroy Anita Hill, a distinguished African-American law professor. He later was forced to apologize for his lies about her. Today, he is lying about Sen. Sanders. It’s bad enough that Hillary Clinton is raising millions in special-interest money in her super PACS. It is worse that she would hire a mudslinger like David Brock. She should be ashamed of her association with Brock.”

    Emphasis mine, I am actually a little shocked.

    1. wbgonne

      Brock is the one who coined the memorable slur against Anita Hill: a little bit nutty and a little bit slutty. Fine company for the Clintons.

  16. Plenue

    >For my part, if being a socialist means concrete material benefits like having single payer Medicare for All (like Canada) and free college (like Germany), well, sticks and stones, and call me a socialist.

    “You some kinda socialist, boy?”

    “I’m a socialist. I’m a leveler. I’m a digger. I’m a gay atheist Jew. I’m whatever threatens you most.”

    The fact is that the people who were most affected by red-baiting are literally dying off; people under 30 increasingly don’t care about being called socialist, and in fact embrace it.

  17. kimsarah

    Great column.
    The vagueness of Hillary speak is a killer:
    Re: What does “took them on” mean? What does “what was happening” mean? What does “talking about that” mean? If she were serious, there would be words like “introduced legislation.”

    1. Pavel

      Hillary’s strategy for Wall Street regulation: I’ll tell them to “Cut it out!”

      BTW, I think that Intercept short video of her laughing off the Goldman Sachs speech transcript question is going to come back and haunt her. If she gets the nomination, the Repubs will have a field day with her video gaffes… remember “What difference does it all make?” (Bengazi) and “wiping the server with a cloth” (Emailgate). I guess she thinks she is being clever with these quips, or maybe it is just the first deflection that comes to her mind.

    2. ilporcupine

      Hillary’s use of “took them on” is probably more in the “Debbie does Dallas” sense of the phrase.

  18. Code Name D

    Clinton can’t lean on the spoilers this time.

    This is what I have observed in past primaries. There would always be one golden child and a host of alternatives – usually genuine progressives and liberals. The more – the merrier.

    The alternative vote usually ends up getting split – spoiling the race for the golden child. But not always. In the more rebellious states, the gold child simply spends a token effort and lets the alternatives take the state delegates. But with early momentum, the gold child will start soaking up all the attention and campaigns funds.

    The alternative candidates begin dropping out. And when they do, they always end up giving their hard earned delegates to the golden child. This has the effect of laundering the vote – turning those who voted in opposition to the establishment into delegates in support of the establishment. As the alternates drop out, the activists try to rally behind the strongest survivor, but too little, too late.

    The stronger the anti-establishment vote in the beginning ends up making the establishment candidate just that much stronger. A classic example of using the enemy’s strength against themselves.

    Obama broke this trend. One) He had Howard Dean’s 50 State Strategy behind him, bringing in a lot of new blood and energy into the primary. Two) Rank and file Democrats were learning how to use social media to communicate and organize, giving Obama a way around the media blockade suppressing his message. And three) Obama likely had his share of establishment supporters.

    This time is different however.

    Clinton, not wanting to face another Obama, decided to pull a King Harried and suppressed the alternative candidates. She was to be the only “viable” candidate running. That being the case – why schedule a bunch of expensive and pointless debates? This had the effect of making the list of real alternative candidates really short. This made it easy for anti-vote activists to find and organize behind Sanders very early on in the season.

    I also suspect that activist learned a number of lessons from the Obama campaign. To be more selective and perhaps even actively seeking out the champion for the alternative vote and recruiting them to run. Better social media organizing aloud activist to select and line up behind the champion just that much faster and more effectively.

    Sanders is also a savvy and shroud candidate. He is very old school on campaign style, using techniques that probably hadn’t been seen sense the 40’s.

    One such technique is not defining your opponent’s position. Reporters would always ask him, “What is Clinton’s position on Keystone?” Sanders would instead define his own position and tell the reporters that they will need to ask Clinton for her position. This put her on the defensive early – forcing her to engage Sanders early on and go into chameleon mode. So really, Sanders has been in control of the race for some time now.

    Now, there are only two candidates running, Clinton, and Sanders. She can’t count on spoiler this time, making the fact that she doesn’t have a long term game plan very conspicuous. No more free delegates from the spoilers.

    I get the sense that after New Hampshire, her campaign will implode in very short order. She will simply run out of campaign money as well as ground game and she will simply end up being crushed by Sander’s momentum.

    Clinton will – but she will go down ugly.

    Sander’s real opponent will be the media. There is really no telling what they may try. And let’s not forget about the right. This year they are more fanatical than ever. For all of our sakes – I hope he beefs up his security. One bullet could very easily change history at this point.

    1. ilporcupine

      Goodness! Bernie is a little on the old side, but he surely is not the “shroud” candidate!
      (just kidding)

  19. mrtmbrnmn

    Hillary’s campaign is nothing more than a political 3-card monte con. The 3 cards in her rigged deck are: Wall Street, War Street and Women. There is no Red Queen. Every card is a loser for the rubes who fall for her trickerations.

  20. Malcolm MacLeod, MD

    I’ve been following Mrs Clinton for a good long time now, and she’s the reason why I was star
    struck by Mr Obama and donated and campaigned for him times one, donated and voted times
    two. Reading all the verbiage about Hillary, whom I already know too well, is a waste of time.
    If this were a healthy nation, which it is not, there would be no excuse for her even in the race.
    I apologize for being disenchanted with the current political scene, but it is, quite frankly,
    enough to make my dog sick. I shall vote with clear conscience for Julie Stein.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      Whose qualifications for running an entity the size of the United States government are what, exactly?

      I’m not being sarcastic. I seriously want to know why people are so determined to vote for someone I’ve, frankly, never heard of and suspect the same can be said of 95% of the population.

      If the Greens want to be a viable third option, they need to stop wasting their money running people for president and start focusing on the local and state levels where they can begin generating a voter base that’s actually useful. To do that, they need to develop an actual position statement and back it up with pragmatic means to achieve that position. And they need to understand that while noble principles are wonderful things, they’re a place to start, not the be-all and end-all of political viability.

      I would love to see more options available for voters. The two-party system has clearly outlived its usefulness, and maybe having multiple parties where coalitions must be made before the work gets done would be an improvement. However, prospective additional parties aren’t going to overcome 230-odd years of legacy by running single-issue platforms or noble intentions.

  21. Pespi

    The upside of a Clinton presidency is that we can know what’s going to happen by running down Clinton foundation and Clinton campaign donor lists. The people and states who gave the most money will get what they desire.

    No need to wait 8 years to see all the various tax breaks, covert ops, wars of aggression, bail outs, etc.

  22. Fiver

    It appears only some sort of scandal, some brilliant move The Donald made that left a mark somewhere in the Total Record he wished it hadn’t, he is the Republican nominee. If he wasn’t serious before, it appears he’s convinced himself he can win, and will go for gold – President just might be a big enough job for The Donald.

    The people who ought to be keel-hauled are the Dem leadership that so completely failed to deliver, then has the unsurpassed gall to attempt to simply hand Clinton the keys as if a baton passed smartly from one spent Hero to the next, racing up mighty Olympus to serve. Is she, and are they, not entitlement incarnate? Thus Sanders.

    As noted above, I see Bloomberg’s balloon as aimed at prospective Sanders voters now, in aid of Clinton, as Trump would be the beneficiary of a Bloomberg run. I also see Trump beating Clinton, but not necessarily Sanders. Again, thanks to a Democratic leadership happy to cede Congress so long as they have a President who can sign over the money to all the right people, Sanders will have to contend with a terribly corrupt, hostile Congress unless Democrats nominate slates that can ride with Sanders. I regard this as a crucial election for Americans – if not Sanders, and a decisive victory for simple human decency and fairness as the central goal of public policy at home and abroad, there will virtually certainly be new and expanded and much more ferocious, deadly, costly wars along with another major bust that so shocks the population it finally reacts in 2018 or 2020 to sweep the stage – or succumbs to high-tech fascism and global havoc.

  23. Erwin Gordon

    LOL! One has to wonder for what Lambert Strether “respects” Hilary Clinton??? It cannot be for her work as Secretary of State or as Senator for New York? Or for being a fine example of a woman in a relationship. It would be interesting to see what he has to say.

    1. HotFlash

      Mr Gordon, please read more carefully. That is a quote from Sen Sanders, who is a consumate gentleman, not from Lambert. Who, I hasten to add, is also a consumate gentleman. But a *different* one..

      BTW, in debate-speak, we understand phrases such as “my esteemed opponent” to mean “that ignorant ignoramus”.

  24. mike

    jesus fing christ!! can someone PLEASE explain to me WTF is a “cut person”?

    i mean really.



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