Gaius Publius: Can Hillary Clinton Beat Donald Trump? A Preliminary Look

Lambert here: Interesting question, eh? See under the Iron Law of Institutions, sadly.

By Gaius Publius, a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius, Tumblr and Facebook. Originally published at at Down With Tyranny. GP article archive here.


Listen to the first minute and a half of this NPR report? How easy will it be for Hillary Clinton to counter this argument (source)?


We’ve been looking at the electability argument lately, and it doesn’t look good for Clinton if she’s the nominee. Below are the thoughts of one more writer who thinks Democrats shouldn’t take a chance that Clinton can pull out a win against Donald Trump.

But before we get to that, consider. Clinton is beating Bernie Sanders in states that (a) will not go Democratic anyway, or (b) are filled with voters who will always vote Democratic. Sanders is beating Clinton among voters that could easily vote with Trump.

Regarding the latter, consider this, from prior to the Super Tuesday voting:

Amid Trump surge, nearly 20,000 Mass. voters quit Democratic party

Nearly 20,000 Bay State Democrats have fled the [Democratic] party this winter, with thousands doing so to join the Republican ranks, according to the state’s top elections official.

Secretary of State William Galvin said more than 16,300 Democrats have shed their party affiliation and become independent voters since Jan. 1, while nearly 3,500 more shifted to the MassGOP ahead of tomorrow’s “Super Tuesday” presidential primary.

Galvin called both “significant” changes that dwarf similar shifts ahead of other primary votes, including in 2000, when some Democrats flocked from the party in order to cast a vote for Sen. John McCain in the GOP primary.

The primary reason? Galvin said his “guess” is simple: “The Trump phenomenon,” a reference to GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, who polls show enjoying a massive lead over rivals Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and others among Massachusetts Republican voters. …

Now ask yourself — Who retains more of these voters for the Democratic Party, Clinton or Sanders? If you’re having trouble deciding, listen again to the first minute and a half of the audio clip above.

Glenn Greenwald on Clinton’s Electability

Glenn Greenwald offers his thoughts on the electability risk of nominating Hillary Clinton:

Should Dems Take a Huge Electability Gamble by Nominating Hillary Clinton?

Many Democrats will tell you that there has rarely, if ever, been a more menacing or evil presidential candidate than Donald Trump. “Trump is the most dangerous major candidate for president in memory,” pronounced Vox’s Ezra Klein two weeks ago. With a consensus now emerging that the real estate mogul is the likely GOP nominee, it would stand to reason that the most important factor for many Democrats in choosing their own nominee is electability: meaning, who has the best chance of defeating the GOP Satan in the general election? In light of that, can Democrats really afford to take such a risky gamble by nominating Hillary Clinton?

In virtually every poll, her rival, Bernie Sanders, does better, often much better, in head-to-head match-ups against every possible GOP candidate.

He notes that in most polls, Clinton loses to Cruz, while Sanders beats Cruz in all of them. Then Greenwald turns to Trump:

A similar story is seen in their match-ups against Trump. Although they both end up ahead in most polls, Sanders’ margin over Trump is generally very comfortable, while Clinton’s is smaller. Clinton’s average lead over Trump is just 2.8 percent, while Sanders’ lead is a full 6 points:

Here’s that data in chart form via RealClearPolitics (source is the Greenwald article). First Sanders vs. Trump:


Now Clinton vs. Trump:


Keep in mind, these results are prior to any head-to-head debates in the general election.

What Will a Clinton–Trump Debate Look Like?

At least one writer thinks Clinton is uniquely vulnerable to Trump in debates, and Sanders is uniquely impervious. Just a snip of this, since I’ll likely return to it:

[A] Clinton match-up is highly likely to be an unmitigated electoral disaster, whereas a Sanders candidacy stands a far better chance. Every one of Clinton’s (considerable) weaknesses plays to every one of Trump’s strengths, whereas every one of Trump’s (few) weaknesses plays to every one of Sanders’s strengths. From a purely pragmatic standpoint, running Clinton against Trump is a disastrous, suicidal proposition….

Clinton’s people are right to point out that these polls [the ones Greenwald mentions above] mean very little; after all, Sanders’s entire campaign success is a caution against placing too much weight on early polling. And they are especially right to emphasize that we should visualize how the campaign by conservatives will realistically play out, rather than attempting to divine the future from highly fallible polling numbers. But it’s precisely when we try to envision how the real dynamics of the campaign will transpire that we see just how disastrous a Clinton-Trump fight will be for Clinton.

Her supporters insist that she has already been “tried and tested” against all the attacks that can be thrown at her. But this is not the case; she has never been subjected to the full brunt of attacks that come in a general presidential election. Bernie Sanders has ignored most tabloid dirt, treating it as a sensationalist distraction from real issues (“Enough with the damned emails!”) But for Donald Trump, sensationalist distractions are the whole game. He will attempt to crucify her. And it is very, very likely that he will succeed.

Trump’s political dominance is highly dependent on his idiosyncratic, audacious method of campaigning. He deals almost entirely in amusing, outrageous, below-the-belt personal attacks, and is skilled at turning public discussions away from the issues and toward personalities (He/she’s a “loser,” “phony,” “nervous,” “hypocrite,” “incompetent.”) If Trump does have to speak about the issues, he makes himself sound foolish, because he doesn’t know very much. Thus he requires the media not to ask him difficult questions, and depends on his opponents’ having personal weaknesses and scandals that he can merrily, mercilessly exploit.

This campaigning style makes Hillary Clinton Donald Trump’s dream opponent. She gives him an endless amount to work with….

Please read the rest; it’s a wake-up call, and includes an interesting faux-Trump speech that, in tone at least, catches his voice perfectly.

The Favorables, the Climate of the Electorate & the Risk

Greenwald closes with the argument from favorables, a look at the unique climate of this election, and the risk of a Democratic loss.

Of all candidates in the race, Sanders has the greatest net-favorable rating. At the other end of the spectrum, both Clinton and Trump have the lowest net-favorable ratings. About Sanders and Clinton and their favorables:

[T]he more the public gets to see of both candidates, the more popular Sanders becomes, and the more unpopular Clinton becomes. …

Or look at the same metric for critical states. In Ohio, for example, Sanders’ favorability rating is +3 (44-41 percent), while Clinton’s is negative 20 (37-57 percent).

On the climate of the times:

Then there’s the particular climate of the electorate. While it’s undoubtedly true that racism and ethno-nationalism are significant factors in Trump’s appeal, also quite significant is a pervasive, long-standing contempt for the political establishment, combined with enduring rage at Wall Street and corporate America, which — along with the bipartisan agenda of globalization and free trade — have spawned intense economic suffering and deprivation among a huge number of Americans….

In this type of climate, why would anyone assume that a candidate who is the very embodiment of Globalist Establishment Power (see her new, shiny endorsement from Tony Blair), who is virtually drowning both personally and politically in Wall Street cash, has “electability” in her favor? Maybe one can find reasons
to support a candidate like that. But in this environment, “electability” is most certainly not one of them. Has anyone made a convincing case why someone with those attributes would be a strong candidate in 2016?

People certainly have reasons to support Hillary Clinton, and I understand them. I even agree with some of them. But if electability is the reason, preferring her seems like a risk. If winning is your goal, why take it?

Win with Sanders or Lose with Clinton?

The question I have, and it’s a serious one, is this. If the hard core of the Democratic establishment had to choose between these two results — Win with Sanders or lose with Clinton? — which would they choose?

I honestly can’t say I know. But if they do choose the riskier candidate, they must consider the cost of a Sanders win to be even greater than the cost of a Republican win, or they wouldn’t take the risk.

Food for thought.

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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. Dave

    They will go with Clinton. To do otherwise would suggest they care more about the 99% and not Wall St.. Ha!

    1. For The Win


      The loss of a presidential election does not mean the end of the gravy train, while a victory with Sanders at the helm puts that all to risk. Besides, whom ever wins this election may wind up being a one term president, the economics look likely to break bad, this makes the calculation just that much more palatable.

      It will take an internal revolt of unprecedented size and ability to seize the party away from the professional politicians. Even Jimmy Carter was hardly the risk to them that Sanders could possibly be if he seizes enough power that he can unleash a grass-root powered overhaul. This is why the Super-delegates were resigned to flow to Carter, when the party had nothing stronger to offer.

      Separately anyone have posts containing several reference links eaten by Skynet yesterday?

      1. Kulantan

        Surely though the gravy train ends (or at least slow down massively) at some point. If the Dems don’t have the House, Senate or Presidency then what use are they to Wall Street? How can you sell out if you have nothing to sell?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Cover. The gang of eight is important. Daschle, Gephart, Reid, and Pelosi were briefed on enhanced interrogation techniques in 2002.

        2. HotFlash

          Both parties, like the good survivalists they are, have a network of bolt-holes they repair to when out of office. Think tanks, policy analysts, party strategists, ‘scholarships’ at mysteriously named ‘non-partisan’ academic-sounding organizations, visiting professorships, lobby shops, consultancies or just back to the ol’ law firm.

          In the old days they got paid via donations and plum make-work jobs from well-heeled stalwarts, I expect that their place has been taken by the better-heeled SuperPACS.

      2. Praedor

        The Establishment Dems are 1%ers through and through. RICH. Like Hillary. They are rich because of their cozy nest with Wall St and corporations. That being the case, if Hillary loses to GOPer they will ALL make out big time no matter what because the GOP is just as deeply embedded in Wall St as the Dems. Deeper, in fact. Losing is winning in this case. If Bernie wins, however, their lush gravy train is in very real danger. I hesitate to say “both sides of the aisle” because both parties are on the same damn side of the aisle so I’ll just go with: both establishments make out big with a Hillary or GOP win. Both establishments START losing with a Bernie win.

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      This is going to come down to a question of if and then who breaks ranks first, the media, the DNC, or the public from it’s establishment trance.

        1. B1whois

          But then again, if the Democratic party is seen as unfairly denying Sanders the nomination, and nominates Hillary instead, who then loses to Trump… far far more people than just Sanders supporters will be angry at the resulting disaster. Under the conditions of a stolen nomination on the Democratic side, a trump presidency may mean the death of both parties in the next election. I can hardly imagine…

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Without the White House, the GOP will still own the states, local governments, and Congress. Hillary, given the Clinton track record, will shift to the right as soon as she can undermining down ticket races, so she destroys the opportunity to take the Senate.

          1. Patrick H

            I don’t think this is likely, though. The Republicans are talking about a very public fix at a brokered convention – but the Democratic fix is in at a deep & fairly invisible level, so it seems like Clinton will win without the party bosses having to do anything too flagrant…

          2. RabidGandhi

            If Trump becomes president, I’m sure Team Blue will find some way to pin the blame on Ralph Nader.

            1. Myers

              “I’m sure Team Blue will find some way to pin the blame on Ralph Nader.”
              Since you broached the subject and BTW I’m glad you did, because there are some similar dynamics at work in the, Bernie or else, line of thinking.
              Let’s put aside the subject of blame. I’m not interested in rehashing the arguments on how one comes down on the ledger as to credit or blame for 2000, especially since all sides have settled on the validity of their own truth.
              Regardless how one stands on that subject, it remains indisputable that Nader ran on and promoted the idea, that there wasn’t a dimes worth of difference between Gore and Bush.
              For the sake of brevity, I’ll reduce my list to two things, that are at least a few dollars north of a dime. Alito and Roberts, two decisions that = Citizens United= Hobby Lobby = affirmative action =Heller.
              This assumes of course that Gore would not have chosen someone from the Federalist Society and it is doubtful that Sandra D would have retired with a democrat in the WH.
              Now for a hypothetical. Suppose Sanders, between now and the convention, challenges Clinton to sign a pledge to break up the big banks or defeat the TPP. Would that change any minds?
              Do people honestly think that if Bernie became president, he would be able to snap his fingers and deliver on all his promises?
              Bernie is portrayed by the media as some freakish outlier but he is above all, a pragmatist. He is an insider in the best possible sense of the word.He believes in the institutions of government but he is not naive enough to think that his colleagues have a different definition of for and by the people.
              His presence on the national stage, in and of itself ,represents one of the most significant opportunities to stop and even reverse decades of regressive lunacy.
              It comes down to whether one believes in incrementalism or whether the system is so corrupt that it is no longer worth saving in the first place. If it is the latter then, supporting Sanders isn’t going to get the desired result, so why support him at all?
              Full disclosure, I voted for Sanders in the primary but will vote for Hillary if it comes to that.

    3. different clue

      The more primary/caucus delegates Sanders wins by ( Royal delegates excepted), the harder the DemParty establishment will conspire to make Clinton the nominee. They will do this in order to accuse Sanders and the Sandernistas of causing the election loss by Clinton. Then they will try guiltmailing and extorting the Sandernistas back into humble obedience to the Clintonite-Shitobamacrat Establishment.. At that point, the Sandernistas will have to decide what to do. Remain a disobedient “enemy within” inside the DemParty while working to take it over and purge/disinfect/bio-remediate it? Create their own party with their built-in support-base of several million people? Called the Social Democrat Party or something equally reasonable?

      1. jrs

        Maybe they should take over the Republican party – make it an entirely different party. I mean the Republicans: talk about a worthless falling apart party. Ok the Dems are also mostly worthless of course, but they aren’t in as bad shape as the Reps, that is on the verge of complete dissolution and internal collapse. They may be evil, but they are far less further along with entropy. So take over the Republican party.

        But principled conservatives will have no where to go? They’ll have to vote corporate Dems when Reps become the new leftist party. Yea, cry me a river, principled leftists anywhere to the left of Hillary have had nowhere to go forever and there are probably a LOT more of them in the population, this is a country that wants single payer afterall. There are a lot of crazy f-ist rightist in the population as well, but I really don’t want them to have much power.

    4. Greg T

      I agree. The Democratic elites would rather lose with a ” made ” candidate, than win with an outsider. They’ll tolerate being out of power for a few election cycles because after several years of GOP insanity, they reason, the public will inevitably swing back to them.
      Donald Trump poses a rather knotty problem for them, however. If he takes the Republican nomination, there’s a fair chance he could win the presidency. Maybe Hillary squeaks out a win against him, maybe she doesn’t . Know this, if it ends up Trump v. Hillary, expect significant crossover support from the GOP in Hillary’s favor this fall.
      The Republican Party elders have already signaled their intention to derail Trump. See Mitt Romney’s speech if you have any doubts. They’ll risk alienating millions of their own supporters to nominate someone acceptable to the donors. This, of course, creates their dream scenario; two pliable candidates either of whom will continue the looting no matter who wins.
      Whatever happens, the party elites in the GOP can’t nominate their preferred candidate ( whoever it ends up being ) without a tremendous cost in legitimacy.

  2. divadab

    The Clinton campaign is counting on the votes from moderate Republicans offsetting lost Sanders voters.

    But in a debate at the level of a third grade “my dick is bigger than yours” schoolyard tussle, I have a hard time seeing anything other than Trump wiping the floor with Clinton.

    We shall see if Sanders manages to win enough delegates to embarrass the supers into voting for him. I think it’s going to be a shitshow with the greater odds of convention shenanigans nominating a losing Clinton candidacy.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      I think it’s going to be a shitshow with the greater odds of convention shenanigans nominating a losing Clinton candidacy.

      I think you’re right. TPTB will dig in their heels. Nate Silver was saying that the super-delegates would go either way as long as the winning candidate for nomination was at least 5% ahead in elected delegates. I would put that number closer to 10% at this point since the DNC has succeeded in terrorizing itself along with it’s Republican partners. But momentum might also work and Sanders could pull it off if the perception the establishment is getting shows sufficient strength for Sanders toward June that forcing the super-delegates to stick to Hillary would be simply too revealing of the machinery.

      A lot will depend on just how scared the media is of having it’s own curtain ripped back to reveal their own jokers behind the scenes.

    2. HotFlash

      I think it’s going to be a shitshow with the greater odds of convention shenanigans nominating a losing Clinton candidacy.

      Yup. I am betting that he will have her in tears no later than the second debate.

      1. andyb

        The Masters of the Universe would love to see a Clinton/Cruz match up; they win with either. Don’t believe the supposed antipathy towards Cruz. He is a consummate insider, who has used smoke and mirrors to convince everyone he’s really a true anti-establishment fighter for the American people. Calling McConnell a liar and using a filibuster to shut down the government was genius and gave him his new boni fides. But..but..but, Cruz has a resume that is pure “establishment”, and his wife is Goldman Sachs and a member of the CFR; both anathema to any true Conservative. Trump will be eliminated by the neocon war mongers just like JFK.

        1. jrs

          Cruz also does genuinely seem to be a religious nutcase. He runs on a fairly reasonable platform sometimes it is true, but he’s a deceptive one. So he might be Goldman Sachs but he’s also a religious nutcase, what a combo.

  3. Brooklin Bridge

    they [establishment] must consider the cost of a Sanders win to be even greater than the cost of a Republican win

    There is the answer. The establishment, if you could talk to it at all, never mind frankly, would probably agree that a Sanders win represents the greatest threat of all to them, considerably greater than Trump who’s ego would be highly malleable by people who specialize in crack descents. Sanders opens too many doors, pulls back too many curtains and would be the least corruptible of them all.

    Except I think it is more devious than that. I suspect the Republicans AND the establishment want Hillary to win more than any of the Republican clown car clowns who have been put there precisely for their clown characteristics. Hillary is someone they can work with. She can get them every deal they want and make it look like they are fighting her tooth and nail – being dragged kicking and screaming into getting exactly what they want.

    As to Trump, I can’t help but be suspicious that he initially got into the race as a favor to Hillary but subsequently got caught up in the exhilaration of dog chasing car (Yves brilliant image, not to suggest she agrees with any of this). That would explain why the “establishment” did not go after Trump sooner – he was working his side of the street – they always knew he had flair, but assumed he would remain somewhat behaved if not fully house-broken like the others (perhaps à la Glenn Beck).

    The Democrats are identical. They want a Hillary win but would take any of the acceptable Republicans over Sanders any day of the week for exactly the same reasons. And now that they have put out the media siren of Trump Terror, they have terrorized themselves more than anyone else.

    1. flora

      ” She can get them every deal they want and make it look like they are fighting her tooth and nail – being dragged kicking and screaming into getting exactly what they want.”


      ‘Brer Rabbit’s eyes got very large. “Oh please Brer Fox, whatever you do, please don’t throw me into the briar patch.” ‘

    2. Ché Pasa

      Sounds pretty much right to me. So what will they do to ensure that Hillary beats Trump?

      Or will Trump get back on script?

      Ain’t presidential politics grand?

  4. Steve

    I am a recovering republican.
    I would vote for Bernie in a heartbeat… given the tripe offered by the GOP.
    But I could not vote for Hillary.
    Cruz is a fake. Rubio a lightweight wannabe. Trump an EGO with arms and legs. Kasich maybe?

    1. Mark Alexander

      I suspect you’re not alone in this. One of my neighbors here in rural Vermont is a die-hard conservative who voted for Kasich in the primary. He told me that he’d vote for Bernie in the general election over Trump.

    2. hreik

      I am a democrat and I won’t vote for Hillary. I live in a blue state though (CT). I’ll write in Bernie in the GE if he’s not on the ballot. And I’ll leave the party (for the 2nd time). I want to vote for him in April though.

      1. Vatch

        If Sanders isn’t the nominee, you can write in his name in the general election. But because of the Electoral College, your vote really won’t count, since we don’t vote for President in the U.S; we just vote for electors. It might be better to vote for a third party candidate (who will have electors), such as whoever the Green party candidate is. If a third party gets 5% of the vote, they qualify for general election grant money in the next election in 2020. They might even qualify for retroactive money for the 2016 election. See:

        Since no third-party candidate received 5% of the vote in the 2008 presidential election, only the Republican and Democratic parties were eligible for 2012 convention grants, and only their nominees were eligible to receive grants for the general election once they were nominated. Third-party candidates could qualify for public funds retroactively if they received 5% or more of the vote in the general election.

        But the first step is to vote for Sanders in the Democratic primary. If he’s the Democratic nominee, you’ll be able to cast a meaningful vote for him in the general election.

    3. cwaltz

      People try to paint his ideas as pie in the sky, however, many of his policies make sense from a fiscal viewpoint. If wages were to increase and we were to invest in education for our young, there is a distinct possibility we might see decreases in the need for social programs.

      Conservative Tennessee has a free college program and it invested in it because businesses were complaining they couldn’t find skilled labor. So despite cries of “socialism” conventional wisdom says that if we want businesses to hire American workers that we need to make sure they are educated.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I thought that was a good opportunity to make business pay for their ‘farm system’ or education.

        “Philosophy 101 over this way. It’s free.”

        “Introductory Fracking? That way, and do you have anything to show your future employer has already prepaid for your tuition?”

      2. jrs

        Businesses always complain about something. Do they stay in California because it has a good skilled labor pool (and it kind of does as there is lots of education). No of course not, they complain rents here and wages of skilled people here are too high and leave for cheaper states. They might want skilled labor alright, in an otherwise red state without any protections, that’s what they want.

    4. Brindle

      Just from my interactions with people who don’t pay much attention to politics I would say Hillary as nominee has quagmire written all over it—-Hillary is reviled by a large portion of voters—not just Repubs. Trump vs Hillary will have interesting dynamics but I personally don’t fear a Trump presidency more than I do a Clinton one.

  5. Steve H.

    Tony Blair?!

    My goodness. Cameron would be more appropriate.

    I’m deeply ashamed.

    Actually, that’s almost true.

  6. DanB

    I do not know what “the hard core” of the Dem Party means. However, those controlling the levers of power -the Debbie Wassermans, Black Misleadership, et al- will never opt for Bernie.

  7. Cujo359

    The question I have, and it’s a serious one, is this. If the hard core of the Democratic establishment had to choose between these two results — Win with Sanders or lose with Clinton? — which would they choose?

    It’s a question I’ve been asking, too. If Sanders wins the general election, he becomes de facto head of the Democratic Party. If he wants it to change, no doubt at least some people who are now powerful Democratic players will have to be moved aside in order for that to happen. Those people won’t want to be moved, and they can make this calculation as readily as I can. They, at least, would rather lose with Clinton than win with Sanders.

    It might seem like I’m stating the obvious, but that’s what I do…

    1. hreik

      They’d rather lose with Clinton than win w Sanders. That’s why I’ll leave the party if he doesn’t get the nod. The game is rigged. A mayor from MI was almost tossed out of the debate on Sunday. He was sitting behind DWS and rooting for Sanders. She told the ‘guards’ to escort him out .

      “The sergeant-at-arms said, ‘The people that run this want you ejected, they don’t want you here,’” Fouts said.

      When asked if it was Wasserman Schultz making the reques, Fouts said, “The security guy said, ‘Don’t say I said it.’”


  8. Code Name D

    Something not mentioned here are the unknowns. Clinton has several pending investigations that will likely blow up and take over the headlines once she secures the nomination. Hell, Republicans have already bragged about this as there strategy. It was pointed out that Trump’s Wife works at Goldmen Sacks and likely has access to her speech. How much damage would that do? And then there is the ultimate unknown – the coming economic implosion. Odds are looking very good it will hit the fan before November. I can so easily see Clinton pulling a John McCain. “The economy is sound!” (kaboom)

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      This is fascinating to watch since if Republicans go after Hillary as if by instinct in this way (much like Trump’s car chasing instincts have kicked in) , they defeat their own long term plan, much like Boehner grabbed defeat out of the Obama jaws of victory with the Grand Betrayal.

    2. Working Class Nero

      Trump’s wife most certainly does NOT work for Goldman Sachs!

      What you really mean to say is that Ted Cruz’ wife Heidi was Region Head for the Southwest Region in the Investment Management Division of Goldman Sachs in Houston. She also worked for the Council of Foreign Relations and was one of the authors of a paper pushing a North American Union, modeled on the EU, for Canada, the US, and Mexico. In other words she is a dyed in the wool globalist, just like her husband.

      If it were down to Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton would Goldman Sachs prefer one over the other enough to allow the speeches to be released? I doubt it.

      1. Ulysses

        Yep. Melania Trump is definitely no data-crunching GS drone– she’s more of a “high-class” mail-order bride.

      2. B1whois

        Ah, but if it were down to Trump and Hillary, would Cruz be enough of a jerk to release the papers gained by HIS wife’s access?

  9. bob k

    The Dem Machine cannot possibly conceive of nor run a Sanders-to-win campaign. The Party’s leadership will preside over a funeral, but THEY WILL BE THE ONES PRESIDING. That’s what matters to them.

  10. Brooklin Bridge

    Those most traumatized by Trump Terror have been members of the establishment that created the Trump Terror campaign in the first place. The original idea on all sides of the establishment was to promote Hillary by a Republican clown car of terrifying clowns. That has largely failed. Trump appears 100 feet tall and on the Democratic side, the perception that Hillary has the momentum for the nomination, other than by trickery, corrupt DNC machinery, and media bias blitz, is getting more tenuous by the day.

    The last thing anyone in power (left or right) wants is for Sanders to win the nomination. The next to last thing is for Trump to run against Hillary since he might well win for exactly the reasons Gaius gives in this article. Trump is dog chasing the WH car right now, the chase has his total focus, and anything else is the farthest thing from his mind so he is not in a communicative mood – and has everyone upset.

    Unfortunately, trying to convince the Democratic machinery, the DNC, that Sanders has a greater chance of winning in the general than Hillary ignores the fact that Sanders is their absolute last choice. He will be the nominee only and purely by popular will.

  11. Woodrow

    People certainly have reasons to support Hillary Clinton

    Like what?

    If you’re a crony capitalist and don’t care about sending young American men & women to their deaths, then sure, Clinton is your candidate. Not saying Trump won’t, but the cake he serves will be a hell of a lot better than the cake Clinton will serve…if you’re alive long enough to eat it.

    1. Praedor

      Hillary is, by far, the more dangerous of the two (Trump and herself). SHE wants actual confrontation with Russia. She tried to get it in Georgia (South Ossetia), wanted it in Ukraine, and wants it in Syria. Her calls for a “no fly zone” over Syria is an invitation for DIRECT military confrontation with Russia. I daresay that the Russians are no longer willing to be humiliated by the USA so such a confrontation could easily escalate into Cuba Missile Crisis territory, and Hillary isn’t even close to being the same caliber as Robert Kennedy. SHE would get the missiles flying.

      1. Rex Bevans

        Uhhh…ROBERT Kennedy? I think you meant to say John Kennedy. I never cease to be amazed by younger peoples’ sketchy grasp of history.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Or Bobby was advising restraint versus Jack’s gang of lunatic appointees during the missile crisis who wanted to start World War III. I will never understand how today’s seniors missed so much of their own history.

  12. Pat

    With all the pearl clutching about Bernie voters supporting Clinton after her inevitable victory, I’ve always said that the bigger problem was going to be Clinton, her supporters, and the DLC/Third Way/DNC gravy train regulars actually supporting Bernie when the voters made it clear that they were over being afterthoughts. Yes I truly think that Sanders will have to battle his rear flank even more than Trump will.

    That said, I am amazed at the people who think that Hillary will wipe the floor with Trump, especially in the debates. Considering the whining I heard about how Sanders was being misogynist in the last debate, I cannot wait for that canard to reach new heights if it is Clinton/Trump. And to watch them get flattened when he points out very correctly that he is treating her EXACTLY like he did the Republican men, and does she really think that a female President of the United States will be treated with kid gloves by the rest of the world. There is no sitting there at a table wiping lint off of her shoulder while idiots who follow the rules pepper her with questions, and they no more want the real issues out than she does. There are no rules in a debate with Trump. And he goes for the jugular. He does’t have vested interests in protecting the entrenched agencies or special interests, they don’t help him he will throw them under the bus. Finally there are her negatives. I know I am not the only Democrat who has sworn to never vote for Clinton ever again so she has lost a small but significant portion of the base, then there will be those who just aren’t interested. But my favorite delusion is the idea that the moderate Republicans will come out to vote for her will offset the ones who will crawl over glass holding their noses to vote for Trump merely because she is on the ballot.

    Even as many Dems watch the Republican disarray with glee, they don’t even see that the Tsunami is coming for them. For me the only wrench in that denial lasting long enough to see Clinton cinch the candidacy is when Trump switches to really campaigning against her.That may happen soon.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Do you mean the elites or the bulk of her voters? The 99% of Hillary voters chose her as the leader of Team Blue, and judging from results in the South, she is doing well with people who voted for her last time. They will vote for Bernie over Trump.

      The larger issue is the decline email as Hillary shifts to the right. When Planned Parenthood, the NEA, and SEIU stop working for Hillary because of internal revolts caused by Hillary’s inevitable shift, her numbers will start to decline. No one will work for Hillary. Her status as “untrustworthy” will be reinforced.

      Hillary will start to appear with the corpse of Nancy as soon as she can declare victory.

      1. Pat

        The bulk of her ‘loyal’ voters are from states she will not carry in November. I keep hearing that turn out is down (even her numbers are down) because she has the nomination in the bag, so even they are not that loyal.

        But no none of this is really about the voters. Sure some of them will stay home because first woman President not happening, but it is from the political Democratic machine I see the back stabbing. I think the listless campaign support from the Clinton political allies, the side remarks, the Democratic regular surrogates on the interview programs who don’t really make the case for him will be undermining Sanders if he gets the nomination.

        The only way I see that changing is if Sanders starts really surging with the public. Not with the Daschles or Braziles, but with the state and local politicians who know they lose if turn out is low. They want their jobs. If Sanders starts looking like he will get people to the polls, the down ticket support will grow.

    2. Steve H.

      – If Hillary thinks she can unleash her husband, with his terrible record of women abuse, while playing the women’s card on me, she’s wrong!

      That was December 28.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        “diptherio” ‘s link to an article on the links page ascribing Trump’s popularity to his similarity to Loki is extremely relevant to this.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      The status of Team Blue and Team Red elites is wrapped up in their positions within their party and party loyalty. Leaving the party without a reason or long term efforts isn’t easy. One you will always be a betrayer, and two, the loyalist apparatiks don’t want to make room for a turncoat.

  13. TedWa

    With Wall St basically controlling both parties and the democrats not being that different from the republicans in that respect, it really wouldn’t matter to the democratic establishment who is elected President as long as the ties to Wall St remain intact. That’s why I think they’ll keep pushing HRC even if it’s a losing proposition.

  14. Starveling

    I find it interesting the realignment that appears to be taking place. I know plenty of Trump voters who would cross over to vote Sanders over an establishment Republican. I know plenty of Sanders voters who would cross over to vote Trump over Clinton. Then there are the Clinton/establishment GOP types who would cross over to stop a Trump or a Sanders…

    is the real issue here not race or the normal culture war pablum, but beneficiaries of the establishment VS the dispossessed? Reminds me of the Scottish independence vote really- no real left/right breakdown, but comfortable vs those sick of status quo.

    1. jrs

      it’s easy to say none of the race issues matter if your not a race that might be the victim. I guess that’s why they call it privilege.

      Of course race issues are far from the only ones that matter, but it’s oh so convenient to say they don’t matter at all.

      1. Starveling

        This is a large part of why Bernie is the more human pick here. But if we’re choosing between Clinton and Trump, how can you really say Clinton is ‘better’ for minorities. If Trump is being honest about his positions on trade and immigration then quite a few African Americans and others would likely benefit from the rollback of NAFTA.

        You can at least see why the neoliberal snarl insult of ‘RACIST’ isn’t working quite as well as it once did, can’t you?

  15. EndOfTheWorld

    Hillary’s best shot would be to get Bernie to be her VP. That way the Republicans won’t try to impeach her.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The VP factor.

      I heard on the radio yesterday that before Bloomberg gave up on the idea of running, he had thought about running with adm. Mullen.

      And I remember when Ross Perot ran as an independent, his VP candidate was also a military man.

      Of course, there was some CIA/military type talking something about obeying or not obeying Trump.

      Maybe Trump needs an Air Force general as his running mate, one was an ace from World War II.

      No one beats Trump but Trump himself.

      To the extent one guy polls ahead of Trump (nationally, no break down electoral college wise, so we don’t really know the election outcome, for this early, very early, one snap shot in time polling), how much of it was due to Trump shooting himself…already?

      Hillary’s best strategy is one from DaoDeJing – Wuwei or No Action, more accurately, effortless effort – you just let the man beat himself.

      Perhaps there are also options available from the Art of War.

      Remember, no matter what the odds before a Super Bowl, you still have to enter the ring and fight.

      And also remember, many (including many here) think Trump is the new bombastic Leader.

      1. sd

        Will Bloomberg suddenly become Hillarys running mate to peel off Republican voters against Trump?

    2. hunkerdown

      Who at Democratic Party Inc. headquarters is selling this nauseating meme? If you want leftists taking a shot at the Queen of Babylon, that’s one way to encourage it.

  16. TG

    The horse race is always interesting, but why is it always campaign tactics, not substance?

    Hillary Clinton stands for the following:
    – Spending trillions of dollars fighting stupid wars in places that don’t concern us and leaving death and devastation behind.
    – Spending trillions of dollars bailing out and subsidizing Wall Street and starving main street of capital
    – Pushing for TPP etc. and subordinating US law to rule by unaccountable foreign corporate lawyers meeting in secret
    – Opening the border to unlimited third-world cheap labor, especially ‘guest’ de-facto slave labor
    – Letting average Americans go bankrupt with out-of-control medical and college debts.
    – Gutting social security and medicare and giving the money to her Wall Street pals.
    – She’s for gay marriage. And she’s a woman!

    Now Donald Trump speaks out against many of these things – as he has no track record in government, there is really no way to tell if he means it. But still, Hillary’s RECORD is clear as crystal. If we focus on the RECORD, Hillary looks very very beatable…

    1. EndOfTheWorld

      Hillary actually doesn’t stand for anything. She just says whatever her advisers tell her may get her elected. If Bernie was her VP, he would not sit quietly in the corner. He would talk and she would have to listen. Actually, for all her bluster she doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing. Bernie would slowly but surely take over the whole situation. It would be the antithesis of the W/Cheney situation, with the VP in this case leading us into peace instead of war.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Hillary stands for Hillary. As VP, Sanders would be nothing except on tie votes which are avoided by the fraud that is the filibuster.

        1. EndOfTheWorld

          As VP, Bernie would not be your regular run-of-the-mill VP. First of all, he would not accept the VP slot unless he was assured he would have some say-so. And I think she needs him to win the election, so she probably will give those assurances. Then if he was continually ignored, he would resign, which would be somewhat of an embarrassment for the Hildabeast .

  17. John Wright

    This election may illustrate Chomsky’s “Manufacturing Consent” argument about the democratic process.

    This is also covered in Alex Carey’s “Taking the Risk out of Democracy” in which he explained how democracy and shows of patriotism are used to get the common people to do what the elite want.

    Democracy in the USA is in effect at the local level, but at the Presidential/Congressional level, the risk to the elite is too large and that is why the USA’s elite promotes the “democratic” brand while working to determine the outcome..

    And the USA always seems to be promoting “democracy” abroad as a solution to every world wide problem, while undermining democracy at home (NSA, the bloated military , prison-industrial complex, lobbyists and special interest favoritism, crony capitalism).

    Woodrow Wilson pushed for the USA to enter WWI to “make the world safe for democracy” and we have had about 100 years of flogging this theme.

    If it is Clinton v. Trump and the aggregate well-off/connected are concerned more about Trump than Clinton, the elite Republicans will quietly support Clinton via the media and the pulling back of financial support for Trump.

    And one could argue if any political party could turn Presidential straw into gold in the person of George W. Bush and do it a second time after he launched an illegal/immoral war, they may believe they can manage Donald Trump’s defeat as well.

    One thing I remember from my public high school civics class in Los Angeles county decades ago is a statement from the instructor. “When you hear a politician is concerned about the common man, see who he plays golf with, see who he had dinner with, it’s not the common man,” .

    I believe that Bernie does have concern for the common man and that has stimulated an allergic reaction in the establishment Democrats and Republicans.

    The Democratic and Republican parties will both work, in concert, to stop his candidacy.

    1. B1whois

      John Wright wrote: Republicans will quietly support Clinton via the media and the pulling back of financial support for Trump.

      I thought Trump’s campaign was self financed?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        At his point, it doesn’t matter if Trump has no money.

        -Local news will cover the loss of larger outlets.
        -the msm turning on Trump will only underscore the narrative that a vote for Trump is a vote against the status quo. The msm isn’t exactly popular. It’s higher than Congress, but Chipotle polls better.
        -ballot access is a non-issue for a legacy party
        -Presidential horse race drive for ratings will take care of any actual need for advertising.

        Trump can only be beaten by a Sanders style candidate or the possibility the electoral map is so blue even Hillary after she reveals herself to the public at large as a crypto-fascist can’t lose.

  18. Mogden

    Clinton is unbearable, Cruz is loathsome, Sanders is an economic ignoramus, and Trump is a bloviating buffoon. Good times ahead, come what may!

  19. felonious

    I’m not convinced Trump would be able to successfully exploit the legion of Clinton deficiencies to ride to election victory but I am sure that a Clinton presidency is nothing for which to wish. Her natural political approach is to concede not confront and her natural constituency are the embedded powers that be. For those reasons she undoubtedly will be the candidate for if anyone out there has been awake the past 50 years they will surely realize that these every-four-years exercises are nothing but pageant and the actual candidates that emerge have been chosen fully by those embedded powers. Sanders might change the discussion and his sincerity certainly has appeal but he was beated before he got into the box.

  20. Cringeworthy

    I’ve noticed the blogger boys have changed their tactics. One of him shuts his account and comes back resigned, another promises Peter D they will all come gloriously together for the general and the pats on the head for trying …

    Private clubs owned by oligarchs, pre-select oligarchs and then their unpaid (ignore the donations to the blogs) labor tell you to vote for tweedlegreed or tweedlescum. The collapse of the r sect of the money cult? Really? Predators weakened by the tone of the equivalent of blog comments? The d sect of the money cult is pathetic. It’s followers are like zombies…. holding up a right wing totem for never ending war, bans to abortion (don’t worry the supreme court threats by the neoblogger boys will never abate) and privatizing social security…. and the whining and excuses to come.

    I’ll check the box as a protest for Sanders knowing he’s mediocre and isn’t a serious candidate. I could care less which oligarchs gain favor from Shit Show 2016 noxious versus putrid.

  21. Wango Tango

    Probably a lot of Dems voting for Trump because they think it destroys the Rs. I voted for him myself for that reason.

  22. Eric377

    Democrats have been telling themselves for years that the demographics of the voting pool are evolving very favorably for their party and that evolution is a fact. Whether it has the political significance expected is more of an open question. The front runner of the other party has been deliberately provocative in a manner that these demographic trends ought to convert even more effectively for Democrats. And the number 2 Republican is not a whole lot different. At this point Democrats should be thinking that they will beat anyone the Republicans settle on. But if you are the nervous nellie type I would suggest this: the single greatest risk to a Democratic win is a nominee with FBI and DOJ problems. So if you are nervous, don’t pick a door where that could be a risk. The second might be a socialist Jewish candidate. Nominate Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren is maybe what you would do if you were a worrier.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Biden would be a disaster. He’s Hillary without the sheen of celebrity. Anita Hill, Iraq, franking, the bankruptcy act of 2005, pretty much any issue pushed by Warren is in opposition to Biden’s record, the causal racism, deregulation.

      Biden is a two time Presidential lower already. Obama picked him because there was pushed on Kaine and Bayh.

  23. ian

    Call me old-fashioned but I think this overlooks gender. If Hillary were a man, Trump would beat her like a red-headed stepchild. He certainly is not afraid to “go there”. But I think if he were to do this, it would backfire with women. He can’t pull the same stuff he does with ‘Lyin Cruz’, ‘Low energy Jeb’, ‘Little Marco’, etc…

    1. Yves Smith

      I don’t agree. Hillary is old and clearly tough as nails. Hillary fans will be offended and those who don’t like her will cheer. This will break along people’s prior convictions. All the women who were offended by Hillary backers calling on the gender card would be offended by special pleading re Trump. He’s been a jerk with everyone. Why should Hillary get treated with kid gloves? If you can’t stand the heat of politics, stay out of the kitchen.

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