The Democrat Establishment Plan for a Three-Front Anti-Trump, Republican-Splitting, Anti-Left Campaign

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

We march up, moody or good-tempered soldiers – we reach the zone where the front begins and become on the instant human animals. — All Quiet on the Western Front.

If the leaks from HillaryLand are to be believed, the Clinton campaign has already pivoted to the general, and will target Trump, who they apparently are betting will be the Republican candidate, on three fronts with World War II-scale artillery barrages, followed by millions of identity politics-driven activists going “over the top,” with NGOs running the show from chateaux far behind the lines.[1] I’ll just drop this here:

The Clintons and the Trumps in happier times. Sad! But to return to our theme–

First, I’m going to give my working theory of what victory looks like to the Democratic Establishment; that is, the outcome of what would be for them a successful campaign. Next, I’ll describe the three fronts on which their (hoped-for) anti-Trump campaign would be waged, and briefly comment on each. Finally, I’ll zero in on one of the fronts, if only to pose some questions. Obviously, this is all from my armchair at 30,000 feet, so any concrete detail will be very welcome in comments.

What Victory Looks Like to the Democratic Establishment

Here is my “theory of the case” for the Democrats and the Clinton campaign. It’s totally without evidence since, luckily for us all, I have no access whatever. I do think, however, that it’s not inconsistent with Democratic (and Clintonian) behavior or motives (insofar as we understand them). I’m putting this out here since this theory informs my writing here and elsewhere, and so I’m at grave risk of confirmation bias. So I hope that you, readers, will correct me!

(1) The Democrats (and the Clintons) don’t want to give Sanders a thing. They don’t want him personally to be part of the campaign, and they are willing to write off his supporters, in classic Democrat “they have no place to go” fashion. I would bet they’d love to prevent Sanders from being nominated from the floor (and Clinton allowed herself to be in 2008), and I don’t think they’ll want him near the platform or on the trail (unless they can lure him into a small plane. Kidding!) This is partly because the Democratic Establishment and the Sanders campaign really do not have the same goals (Clinton lied about that); neoliberalism and socialism are antithetical, even a milk-and-water democratic socialism that amounts to bringing American public policy up to first world standards on health care, higher education, and wages. More importantly, the Sanders small donor-driven funding model disrupts the Democratic Establishment’s Citizens United-style funding model: It’s clearly no longer necessary to suck up to major corporations and squillionaires if you have the right message. In other words, the Sanders model could put the Clinton’s (and the Democratic Establishment) out of the influence-peddling business. This must terrify them, which is why they never mention it. As a corollary:

(2) The Democrats (and the Clintons) would rather appeal to “moderate Republicans” than Sanders voters. This is sensible realpolitik if the number of moderate Republicans who would vote for Clinton is larger than the number of Sanders supporters who would sit this one out or vote Green. Of course, the “moderate Republicans” isn’t one of those nasty working class types; why, many of them are just as credentialled as we are! (Note that the neocons are already making noises that they’ll vote for Clinton — from Trotsky to Bush to Clinton; what a journey! — and one sees and hears anecdotal evidence from ordinary Republicans of the same. (I don’t know how this would work out at the precinct level, because I can’t see any from my armchair, but I bet the Democrats would capture a lot more suburbs with this strategy, and also open up a new vein of campaign contributions.

(3) Victory for the Democrat Establishment means the left is screwed (again) and the Republicans are split (for the first time since 1964), which, when you think about it, is a DLC-style wet dream. (I don’t know if this would translate into a 1964-style landslide or not. Somehow, I doubt it. First, a campaign as vicious as this one will be would tend to depress turnout; Goldwater, after all, never had a real counter to LBJ’s daisy ad or anything else. Second, and related, I don’t see how a candidate with Clinton’s trustworthiness numbers earns a landslide, even against a crazypants opponent. (You peruse the menu at the “Exit, Voice, and Loyalty” café. In Column A you have a bowl of steaming crap. In Column B you have a steaming bowl that you can’t trust not to be crap. You have no voice to change the menu. Do you exit, or do you hold your nose and make a choice? Will the restaurant be crowded?)

War on Three Fronts

The three fronts I see in the papers are Merrick Garland, the Clinton Campaign proper, and Anti-Trump front organizations. (Note that none of the sources I’m about to quote categorize matters this way; I don’t have any access, so all I can do is go with what I see.)

Merrick Garland

From the Times, “Obama Mobilizes Campaign Veterans to Push for Court Nominee”:

Using a tactic straight out of the president’s 2012 campaign playbook, a new group [“the Constitutional Responsibility Project”] formed by those aides to fight for Judge Merrick B. Garland’s confirmation hosted Mr. Obama on Thursday on a “strategy call” for thousands of supporters and activists. …

Established in recent weeks as a nonprofit organization, the group will solicit donations, develop advertising, coordinate messaging, help manage operatives in the field, respond to attacks on Judge Garland and collect opposition research on Republican opponents.

It is essentially a miniature version of Obama for America.

Boggles the mind, doesn’t it? The Democrats cut OFA of at the knees in 2009, virutally the instant Obama is elected, and don’t use it to bring pressure to bear on the bailouts, single payer, or any policy issue whatever. Then, in 2016, they reconstitute it, for the purpose of filling a judgeship. (The parallel between the Democrat’s refusal to use the nuclear option on the filibuster in 2009, when it might have made a difference on policy, and Reid’s later use of it, in 2013, to fill judgeships, is exact.)

Here are the advantages of opening this front for Democrats in 2016 (taking “Jobs for the Boys”[2] as a given):

(1) Merrick Garland is a moderate Republican judge, so he appeals to “moderate” Republicans. That helps with Democratic branding.

(2) “Constitutional Responsibility” seems focus-grouped to appeal to “moderate” Republicans as well; after all, the case for not giving Garland a hearing and a vote pretty much boils down to “because we can,” and if there are any Republicans out there who still find governance important, they must be feeling some pangs of conscience.

(3) The project creates a second, parallel “horse-race” narrative immediately, which sucks yet more oxygen away from the Sanders campaign (to the extent the press is willing to give him any oxygen at all).

(4) The project creates a second, parallel site for the exercise of activist energy, which also sucks energy away from the Sanders campaign.

So far as I know, spinning up a project like this at the close of an administration is unprecedented, a word I’m going to be using a lot in what follows.

The Clinton Campaign

(Gaius Publius has a good round-up of the leaks from Hillaryland here; the links that follow are taken from it). HillaryLand being HillaryLand, the Trump Front will be a ginormous hairball of unprecedented dimensions, but here’s what they’re warning about now.

First, the tone — and I know this will surprise you — will get Cersei Lannister-nasty[3]. From Buzzfeed:

If Hillary Clinton manages to beat Bernie Sanders, the early primaries have already revealed that there’s only one strategy for the general election against a Republican, be it Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, or Ted Cruz: Scorch the earth.

There was a scenario, which looks more like a fantasy, in which Clinton was a movement. Women in their twenties, thirties, and forties would rally to her the way black Americans rallied to Obama; she would run on her own mantle of change.

In reality, nobody is that excited about Hillary Clinton, and young voters, women and men — the foot soldiers of any Democratic Party movement — aren’t coming around. She lost a resounding 82% of voters under 30 in Nevada. Her campaign now rests on the hope that voters of color like her well enough, if nowhere near as much as they like Obama. And that means that when she faces a Republican, she will have to destroy him — something the people who will be doing the destroying acknowledged when I asked them earlier this month.

“The slogan is ‘Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid,'” said Paul Begala, who is an adviser to the pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA.

This too may be unprecedented. I’m trying to think of a campaign where both parties ran Daisy/Willie Horton/Swiftboat/3:00AM campaign ads all the time, and can’t bring one to mind.

Second, the oppo. It seems that the Clinton campaign has been amassing it, but holding off, in order to sandbag Trump with it in the general. From the Wall Street Journal:

A pair of super PACs loyal to Mrs. Clinton have already accumulated a vast trove of research on Mr. Trump’s business dealings. Using financial experts, Correct the Record and American Bridge have dug into his business career and pored over his personal-disclosure forms looking for material to exploit in a general election.

he groups haven’t released any of this research as the GOP primaries have unfolded. They didn’t want to assist Mr. Trump’s GOP rivals, whom they believed would give Mrs. Clinton a tougher challenge in November, according to a person familiar with their work. Now, they will look for an opportune time to try to put Mr. Trump on the defensive.

Of course, two campaigns can play at that game. Master of the Dark Arts Roger Stone — whose recent rift with Trump was entirely too visible to be anything other than cover, and who makes Mike Murphy look like a choirboy — just piped up on NPR:

[Stone] is also a cheerful advocate of scorched-earth politics, and that is just what he proposes as a strategy for Trump, if he’s nominated.

“While [Clinton’s] unfavorables are only in the 50s, that’s largely because Bernie Sanders has not attacked her at the point of most vulnerability,” Stone said. …

Stone said Trump could attack Clinton’s “tenure as secretary of state,” as well as “her husband’s sexual history” and what Stone called her “abuse of women.” The latter phrase is how Stone describes the criticism of women who said they had had sexual relations with former President Clinton….

Is Stone saying that Trump’s hope would be to tear down Hillary Clinton?

“That’s one way to capsulize it,” Stone said. “This will be a slugfest.”

Stone is a master of the peccadillo — he initiated the train of events that brought Eliot Spitzer down — and no doubt of the peccadilla as well. This too, is unprecedented: I can’t recall two campaigns using scorched earth tactics simultaneously and successfully, Generally, somebody takes the high road.

Third, Clinton will — unprecendently — have two Presidents campaigning for her. The Times again:

To fight Mr. Trump’s ability to sway the news cycle, Mr. Clinton would not hold back on the stump, and President Obama has told allies he would gleefully portray Mr. Trump as incapable of handling the duties of the Oval Office.

And, of course, identity politics (or, more correctly, clientelism):

The billionaire George Soros and other liberal donors will bankroll a new $15 million campaign to mobilize Latinos and other immigrants this fall, hoping to channel outrage at the political rhetoric of Donald J. Trump and other Republicans into a surge of votes for Democratic candidates in November.

The outreach, which will be coordinated through a new “super PAC” called Immigrant Voters Win PAC, will be more explicitly political and partisan than past efforts, the strategists said: The goal was to not only turn out committed Latinos already voting Democratic but also find and persuade immigrant swing voters. Ultimately, organizers hope to get at least 400,000 new Democratic voters to the polls in November.

Nothing unprecedented about about a last-minute voter registration drive for Democrats at all. You’d think they’d make party-building a year-round priority, but n-o-o-o-o-o.

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of using these tactics on this front for Democrats in 2016 (taking “Jobs for the Boys”[2] as a given):

(1) Presumably, “moderate” Republicans have no issues with immigration, any more than Democrats of that class do. They don’t see Hispanics as competing with them for resources; the Hispanics are resources (human ones).

(2) Presumably, each campaign already knows the worst about its own candidate (on the general principle of don’t lie to your lawyer) and figures it can handle the pass and fell incensèd points of mighty oppo research. Will whatever is dug up about Trump scare the “moderate” Republicans into Clinton’s camp? Quite possibly, especially if his (newly disclosed) business practices turn out to be criminal or fraudulent; unlike his base, they won’t see that as beating the system. Will whatever is dug up about Clinton scare the “moderate” Republicans back to Trump? Probably nothing about Bill, though who knows. But I’m not a believer that everything about Hillary is already “out there.” She’d have no reason to hide half the mail on her private server if that were true.

Anti-Trump Front Organizations (“protests”)

Lots of walking around money here! The Wall Street Journal:

A coalition of 22 liberal groups—including some that have endorsed Mrs. Clinton and others that back her Democratic rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders—have united behind a campaign to stop Mr. Trump.

Among their plans: anti-Trump demonstrations, possibly including protests at the Republican National Convention this summer in Cleveland, and marches in major cities.

A senior Democrat who has spoken with Clinton campaign officials and others in the party in recent days said the multi-pronged strategy under review includes enlisting the Muslim, Hispanic and gay communities in an effort to paint Mr. Trump as a divisive force in American politics.

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of using these tactics on this front for Democrats in 2016:

(1) Decapitating any effective Sanders organizers who participate and turning them into Democrats.

(2) Getting Trump’s enforcers to over-react to protests and — for example — beat up a nun, or an old lady, or (best of all) a female Hispanic real estate agent. General revulsion by the “moderate” Republicans and the Sanders voters (as a bonus).

(3) Reinforce the identity politics model.

(4) Frankly, I’m not sure Brooklyn is going to be able to manage this successfully. 22 organizations seems awfully unwieldy, and organizing and protesting is not at all the same as advancing, or GOTV. And HillaryLand is not notably effective at co-operating with entities outside HillaryLand.

About those Protests…

I’m reserving judgment on the anti-Trump demonstrations, although if we have a long, hot summer, they could end up being very important. The difficult is that demonstrations and marches, if they’re to be spontaneous enough to look real — and I can’t imagine they could be organized by Brooklyn and not look fake — have no, as it were, immune system. As we learned from Occupy, they’re easy to infiltrate, whether by Black Bloc types, or cops, or trolls from another campaign. It’s also important, if you hope/expect/plan to have any sort of telegenic event, to have it recorded (which is why streamers are so important). It’s also clear that “telegenic” means violent; the press has been treating more or less routine pushing and shoving (and, granted, a sucker punch) so openly as “ZOMG!!!! Violence!!!!” that it’s clear what narrative they expect to be able to construct. (The contrast between that “violence” and black people routinely getting whacked by cops couldn’t be more clear; the first is a story; the second is not.)

Again, I just don’t see how Brooklyn controls this. I think the key thing to watch for will be tactics (new, or well-worn) and faces (“We don’t want nobody nobody sent”).


No plan survives contact with the enemy. The future lies ahead!


[1] And of course, gas. OK, so you make up the jokes!

[2] From Yes, Minister!. The sound seems a little off, I’m afraid:

An antidote to ZDT, perhaps….

[3] It may be that Clinton will have to work through proxies, because Trump punches back. Wall Street Journal:

Taking aim at Mr. Trump’s statements about women poses risks, as Mrs. Clinton discovered when she faulted his use of a vulgar Yiddish term in December. Referring to his remark that she got “schlonged” by Barack Obama in the 2008 primaries, Mrs. Clinton said Mr. Trump has “a penchant for sexism.” Mr. Trump quickly invoked former President Bill Clinton’s history with women, including his impeachment for allegedly lying about his affair with a White House intern. That retort ended the back-and-forth.

And following that exchange, the Clinton campaign is going to keep their candidate wrapped up in tissue paper, as usual:

“I think that she has to be above it all,” said Alan Patricof, a Clinton fundraiser. “To me, running against a bully, an egotist, a screamer, is a very difficult challenge, because you can’t deal with a person like this in a normal fashion.”

The Democratic front-runner’s aides are planning to keep her out of a war of insults, concluding that independent voters will recoil at Mr. Trump’s heated rhetoric and reward her discretion.

Good luck with that.

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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. Pavel

    I just read the most breathtakingly disingenuous comments by DWS re Clinton and Sanders:

    “This election is not about Hillary Clinton’s emails,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) told host Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business Network’s “Mornings with Maria.” “It’s about whether or not we’re going to be able to help people who feel like they’re not on the firmest ground right now have more confidence that they can help their kids be better off and reach the middle class.

    “[Clinton] handled the email process correctly and according to the letter of the law. In terms of what she was doing with compliance, she was compliant. She has released 55,000 pages of emails. She’s actually said she would not have used private email.”
    Wasserman Schultz also rejected suggestions that she has Clinton over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the Democratic presidential primary.

    “There is no just no shred of evidence to suggest that I’m favoring Hillary Clinton,” she said of the Democratic presidential front-runner.

    “I’m not doing a very good job wrapping up the nomination for her if I were favoring Hillary Clinton. If I wanted to support a candidate, I would do exactly that — leave the DNC chair and go support a candidate.”

    The Hill: DNC chief: ‘This election is not about Hillary Clinton’s emails’

    Regarding the emails, DWS is being deliberately obtuse here. As for not favouring Hillary, that statement just leaves me speechless.

    At this stage I am just praying for an FBI criminal referral of HRC.

    1. EndOfTheWorld

      The Democratic Party is a sad sad situation. I used to think the dems were slightly less bad than the repugs. Now I don’t believe that. I think DWS and HRC might be surprised when people don’t vote for them in the general election, unless they have the voting machines totally fixed.

      1. hreik

        Ty for that comment. I was going to go to the polls in November but I have discovered I cannot write in Bernie’s name here in Connecticut. Maybe I won’t vote at all.

        1. Bullwinkle

          Consider a third party candidate then. Jill Stein (Green) shares Sanders’ positions on many issues (for example, single-payer) but goes even further than Sanders when it comes to cutting the military and the endless wars.

          1. hreik

            ty. I will. I usually vote down ticket candidates but honestly, I am afraid of those machines and hacking. I don’t trust them Clintons at all.

        2. Vatch

          Please pardon the repetition (I posted this information a few days ago).

          I hope people continue to vote for Sanders in the primaries. But if he doesn’t get the nomination, they should seriously consider voting for a third party candidate, such as the Green Party candidate. Even though a third party Presidential candidate won’t win the election in 2016, if a third party’s candidate 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.

          1. fresno dan

            Thanks for that – good article.
            Who do you trust on social security “reform” ??? Hillary of the Donald?
            It will be interesting to compare and contrast Hillary and The Donald’s remarks at AIPAC – who REALLY is more statesman like and realistic???? (I wish American working men could have as much concern expressed for them as a foreign country…)

      2. Jason

        Fortunately for the Dems and Hillary Clinton is particular, just as they reach their worst, along comes Donald Trump to be the boogie-man to end all boogie-men. If we don’t like Clinton’s (accurately described) steaming bowl of shit, we can try ordering the Trump bowl instead. Did you notice that it has a bio-hazard warning on the bowl, and comes with side-order of Russian roulette? Sure, maybe it’ll end up being chemotherapy, but who wants to take that wager?

        I suppose the answer is: the desperate. Which I’m fortunately not, yet. Faced with the above choice, my answer is rapidly becoming “Move to Canada”. (I’m one of the lucky few who, between family and career, can do so relatively painlessly. I feel for those who don’t have such an option. If I couldn’t leave, I don’t know what I’d do when or if Clinton finally secures the nomination. Maybe spinning the revolver on Trump would start to look better than the alternative. Either way it’s sadness and despair.)

      3. Bev

        Five Democratic Primaries: Exit Poll Discrepancies and Win Probabilities
        Richard Charnin

        Effects of Election Fraud on the Delegate count

        Officially, HRC has 8,653,327 votes (58.6%), Bernie has 6,115,550 (41.4%).

        Applying the approximate 6.6% exit poll discrepancy (972,168 of 14,768,877 total votes), HRC has 8,167,189 votes and Bernie 6,601,688 (55.3-44.7%).

        Clinton leads by 306 delegates (1119-813). Applying Clinton’s adjusted 55.3% share of the current 1932 delegates, she leads by just 204 (1068-864). Super delegates are excluded.

        Clinton’s votes appear to have been padded in the RED states to increase her delegate count.

        Primary Votes/Exit Polls


        View the spreadsheet:

      4. Tyr81

        Oh, the Democrats ARE slightly less bad, but only because the Rethuglicans keep finding new and interesting ways of being worse.

    2. steelhead23

      At this stage I am just praying for an FBI criminal referral of HRC.

      I am afraid that won’t happen until after Trump is inaugurated, if ever. It will be easier for Obama to quash indictment of Hillary than it was to avoid indicting Bush et al. and the bankster mob. Given the general disregard of Bernie Sanders by corporate (and yes, even NPR) media, I believe our elite oligarchs favor Hillary over Trump, but are most put-off by Senator Sanders – with good reason. I doubt Obama would even allow Lynch to impanel a grand jury.

    3. Damian

      The Great unraveling in Motion:

      NYPost-03-22-16-2:22AM –Bill Clinton says:

      “Bill Clinton has gone off the reservation again, apparently ripping President Obama while campaigning for Hillary on Tuesday.

      “If you believe we’ve…come to the point where we can put the “awful legacy of the last eight years” behind us and the seven years before that when we were practicing trickle-down economics, then you should vote for [Hillary],” he said in Spokane.”

      So the need for Obama has already past now that the southern states blacks are no longer needed – The Clintons are very very scared

      now Trump has Muslim bombers working for him as well this morning – Close the Borders will resonate further

      Game looks like Huuuge Momentum for Trump!

    4. Procopius

      I simply refuse to believe that there is even a minuscule chance that Hillary will be indicted for anything. If the minimally connected Gen. (ret.) David Petraeus can have a thirty-five year felony sentence reduced to a few months probation for a misdemeanor, how much less is the kerfuffle around the emails of the former secretary of state and senator going to be a serious criminal matter?

    5. Chmeee

      I was watching Al Jezzeera last night and they were talking about additional ‘interviews’ with Hillary from the Feds regarding those emails, and that it wasn’t looking like it would be a nice interview. I’m thinking that we won’t see that news in the US MSM.

        1. allan

          I hope so. But in case Clinton is nominated and does go on to win the general,
          this is what her campaign workers can expect.

        2. Bill Butler

          They could both lose under different scenarios, all requiring a strong third party (or indy) candidate. Which throws the election to the U.S. House operating under the 12th Amendment rules (the U.S. Senate chooses the Vice President in that case).

          The scenario has multiple possibilities. 1. Three candidates, say Clinton, Trump and the GOP anointed. 2. Four candidates, the fourth being Sanders. 3. The House cannot get 26 states to agree on a winner, which means the Vice President becomes President; the 12th doesn’t say whether it’s the sitting VP or the one the Senate picks, but I think it would have to be Joe Biden, since the House votes first, then the Senate, and thus the only VP is the current one.

          1. Larry Headlund

            3. The House cannot get 26 states to agree on a winner, which means the Vice President becomes President; the 12th doesn’t say whether it’s the sitting VP or the one the Senate picks, but I think it would have to be Joe Biden, since the House votes first, then the Senate, and thus the only VP is the current one.

            I would disagree: the relevant portion of the 12th is

            And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President. The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice.

            Nothing explicit there about the House voting first. I expect much hilarity will ensue. By the way, the House votes by state (Wyoming = California) and as currently constituted the Congress has 30 Republican controlled states. There is also the potential for more fun in the 12th’s requirement for a quorum of 2/3 of the states (2/3 of the Senators).

            The relevant dates for seating of the congress and inauguration of president/vice-president were changed by the 20th and by implication the voting in the 12th.

      1. meeps

        Yes, they can both lose. It’s time to get up and leave the restaurant. But what of our friends who haven’t yet arrived (running late, stuck in traffic)? Better call them first to agree on another venue and then make another reservation.

        The Real News Network recently featured a piece about The Rightward Shift in Regional German Elections that showed the similarities between European power struggles and those in the US. A key observation regarding the rightward lurch was that the progressive leaning groups in Europe are divided. Although a range of issues might unite them, they’ve opted to let one or small differences reduce their numbers just enough to be impotent against the advancement of crazypants. Americans are making the same mistake.

        Americans could look outward and take a hint from what’s happening in the world. 40ish years of neocon/neoliberal drift won’t be corrected by starboard steering. If Sanders doesn’t get the D nomination, a strategy to outnumber both the Ds and Rs in the general should be COORDINATED. Time, will and maths…

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > the progressive leaning groups in Europe are divided

          Whenever I list a large number of progressive/”progressive” organizations (the 22 in this post, or a similar number of environmental organizations in a TPP post a few weeks ago) that’s implicitly my point.

          We aren’t in 1860. Yet.

  2. fedUp

    You really think Sander’s supporters will turn out to protest and vote for Clinton? Or that republicans will vote for Clinton? I keep running into disillusioned voters who claim they won’t bother showing up at all. Many who didn’t and who still don’t like any of the candidates running. Very strange election cycle.

    1. Yves Smith

      1. I doubt any Sanders supporters would protest for Clinton. However, our comments section suggests ~10-15% would vote for her, and polls indicate over 50%. But polls have been lousy at getting a reading on young voters, which is Sanders’ base.

      2. I do think a lot of business-minded Republicans, particularly those working in or dependent on multinational corporations, would vote for Clinton. She’s a neocon and very much pro business. She’s not even very strong on abortion rights. Her remark about abortions is they should be cheap, safe and rare. So only the hard core Evangelical types would have a problem with her.

      1. voxhumana

        That’s my take on it too.

        But a quote from InTheseTimes that Lambert put up at today’s Water Cooler makes me wonder about something else… how many people would vote for Trump but never admit to it:

        “[T]he assumption [is] that white people who have graduated from college are less racist, less anti-immigrant, less anti-feminist, less homophobic, and generally more tolerant of diversity than people who have not. As a college professor, I very much hope this assumption is valid, but I could find no solid evidence that it is. At least in political commentary, the question is never asked,” and you have to wonder why not.”

        1. Yves Smith

          I personally know one Sanders voter who is under 40, the child of illegal Mexican farm workers, now married to an immigrant (legal) who will vote for Trump if the Dems refuse to nominate Sanders. So you are telling me this individual is racist? Or that the real issue is the complete untrustworthiness of the Dems? I’ve heard reasoning along these lines from Dems who voted for Scott Brown in Mass and LePage in Maine. It’s basically progressives doing what gays threatened to do but never had to execute: “We really will not vote for you if you screw us over yet again.” Now “not voting for you” can take many forms: staying home, a third party vote, or voting for the Republican. But some Trump voters would simply be anti-Clinton voters as opposed to pro Trump.

          1. voxhumana

            D’accord! I think there are many who’ll cast an anti-Cinton/anti-Dem vote for Trump who aren’t racists, and I think there are legal immigrants who aren’t racists who, nonetheless, feel somehow apart from and perhaps sullied by the “illegal” other and will vote for Trump… and I think there may be secret, unsuspected racists who will vote for Trump but who’d never publicly claim to support him.

            I personally can not imagine voting for either the Donald or the Hillary and if Lambert is right here – I think he’s spot on about the Dem establishment – Hillary will be foregoing my vote anyway and splitting the GOP all the way to the WH.

            The failure of liberalism – writ large.

            I think I’m moving to Spain…

          2. Ed

            Its occurred to me that the supporters of Nader in ’00 may have made a mistake in not just endorsing George W Bush, if they were visible, and encouraging people to vote for him. The objective would have been the same, to punish the Democrats for all the damage done to left wing causes by the Clinton administration. But there would have been no mistaking the strategy, and we would have been spared the “you really wanted to vote for a Democrat but you were deluded” rhetoric we got for over a decade from the machine Dems.

            Presidential candidate George W Bush was actually to Gore’s left on foreign policy, though admittedly the actual administration didn’t work out that way, and his administration was much better than the surrounding Dem administrations on financial fraud.

            1. hunkerdown

              It’s telling that, in the Democratic partisan’s eyes, it’s a worse crime to vote outside the duopoly than to vote for the approved competitor.

            2. EndOfTheWorld

              Yes, Ed—that’s the way I feel about it. I used to think the Democratic Party was for peace… at least more than the repugs. But HRC is a devout war monger. What I want to do is punish the Democratic Party in the only way I can,,,,voting for the Republican. Of course if there is a third party candidate with a possibility of WINNING, that would be a good option. I will vote the straight repug ticket, because if HRC does get elected, I don’t want Congress to cooperate with her in any way, shape or form, and I hope she gets impeached.

            3. Strangely Enough

              But there would have been no mistaking the strategy

              But, the interpretation always seems to be the same.

          3. Benedict@Large

            If you are not in a swing state, do whatever you want with your protest vote. Your vote doesn’t matter anyways after the primaries are over.

            If however you are in a swing state and are opposed to Hillary, the way to maximize the effect of your vote is to vote for whomever the Republican candidate is. That’s simply election math. [Vote for Hillary = +1. Green/No Vote = 0. Vote for GOP = -1.] A vote for the GOP candidate is TWICE as powerful at defeating Hillary as voting third party of not voting at all.

          4. notabanker

            To me it’s even simpler. There is no worse choice than her taking office. To vote against Clinton is to vote for someone who can actually win. Trump is the only option.

          5. Lambert Strether Post author

            > So you are telling me this individual is racist?

            No. The implicit assumption of the chattering factions of the political class is that racism is only occurs in the white working class. Assumes facts not in evidence.

          6. EB

            Just a bit off topic here, but would it be possible for Sanders to run as an independent in the presidential election if he loses the democratic primaries? I mean he has had a lot of exposure now, much more than he ever would have got when he would have run on an independent platform. Clearly, I don’t know enough about the US election system, so can anyone enlighten me on this? I also noticed that Sanders is still gaining in the polls. Exciting times.

          7. casino implosion

            Long time NC reader, white, mixed race marriage and child, will be voting for Trump over Clinton. (And would vote Sanders over Trump). I am a nationalist and view destruction of the destructive neoliberal system as more important for the well being of my child than a feel good “anti-racism” vote for a NAFTA hack like Clinton.

          8. andyb

            Is everyone forgetting that Independents are the largest voting block, and they tend to be far better educated on issues than the average R or D? The real question is which way will they go. The die hard cognitively dissonant voters will continue to vote their registration, but the Indies will determine the outcome. In many states the I’s could not vote in the Primaries, but they will come out in droves in the General.

          9. Mattski

            Add to this the many, many people who won’t tell pollsters they’ll vote for Trump because of the smug shaming that will attach to Trump support and take place in accelerated fashion on Hillary’s behalf come the general; we’ll all be wringing our hands, is my bet, at a much, much tighter race than prognosticators suggest. . .

        2. RUKidding

          Just talked w/a white female friend this weekend, who very much in support of Trump. Friend is a teacher; works with a lot of minority and disadvantaged kids. Has friends across the ethnic spectrum. Probably mostly a feminist.

          Just sick of the Wash DC bs. Thinks Trump has “good ideas,” but I didn’t have a chance to get her to elaborate on that. I asked about his very racist comments. She claims it’s just “for show to get ratings.” She is not really in favor of the Wall, but thinks it’s just another “gimmick.”

          She really doesn’t like Clinton at all. Thinks Clinton is more of the same old, same old. Can’t stand Cruz bc of his religiousness. Thinks a lot of Rs don’t like Trump bc Trump isn’t religious enough (I tend not to agree w/her here). Thinks Trump will “shake things up.”

          Didn’t have enough time to get more info, but I suspect that there’s people out there like my friend, who are not ugly white supremacists, who are just damn sick and tired of the status quo. I’m not so sure that Trump is NOT part of the status quo. In fact, I think he is, but he certainly presents himself as an “alternative.”

        3. tony

          The college educated might never use a racial slur, but it was not high school drop-outs who directed the police to go around fining black people to avoid raising taxes for the whites.

        4. Lambert Strether Post author

          > how many people would vote for Trump but never admit to it

          I remember from high school that if a teacher or the adminstration put out a really absurd questionaire, that people would game it or raise their middle fingers to it by giving fake or absurd answers. Why not feed a rigged system bad data?

          So I wonder if this could be happening this year, in polls.

          1. bh2

            Nice piece, Lambert. Well reasoned and well stated — with no evidence of confirmation bias.

            As to the polls….

            Given the absurd forecasts by pollsters leading up to the recent British election, it’s probably better to go with whatever odds the bookies are laying on, instead.

              1. bh2

                Not a problem I’ve noticed with you, Lambert. People don’t readily succumb to self-deceit who habitually guard against its many temptations.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      I think some Sanders voters might turn out to protest against Trump, out of a misguided sense of idealism. That’s not the same at all as voting for Clinton. I think, as I said, that it’s decapitating any leaders that’s the real danger. (“We’re really after the same thing and on the same side,” to which the proper answer is “No, this is a temporary alliance for tactical convenience.”)

      Adding, yeah, with 22 organizations, some Sanders voters will turn out to protest for Clinton. Will they turn out as Sanders voters (e.g., bearing signage?) No, for Clinton. Yes, against Trump (they already did in Chicago.)

      1. JohnMinMN

        As a Sanders supporter, I’d be much more likely to protest a Clinton rally than a Trump rally (post convention).

        1. washunate

          Ha, that was the first thing I thought of when I heard about Democrats protesting Trump. Why not protest Clinton?

  3. Roquentin

    Your analysis seems pretty spot on, to me at least. I completely agree that they’d rather take the supposed “moderate” Republican vote than Sanders supporters. The Democratic attitude towards the left is and has been “You’ll get nothing a like it.” Pivoting right 15 minutes after the primary is over will sideline any and all questions about big money and interest peddling because those Republican voters won’t give half a shit, which is all the better for her. The HRC campaign likes it that way.

    Perhaps the more important question is, how much shilling for the Democratic party does Sanders do if and when he loses? You can calculate how well he and the movement he has behind him does after the election based on that ratio. Imagine how depressing it would be to see Sanders, after all everyone’s been through, to shill for HRC and the Dems for the rest of the year. It will make all his talk of reforms look like empty lip service too, which is very, very bad because people will think all this talk about social democracy is just empty and the cynical support of HRC was right from the start. I really, really hope Sanders has the integrity and good sense to stay quiet and not do this if and when he loses, but I’m not convinced. There was that talk a little while ago from Jill Stein suggesting he get involved with the Green Party, but I don’t see that one happening either.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I don’t think Sanders has to shill, and I certainly hope he doesn’t. I don’t mind a certain amount of lip service, if only to avoid some yammering from loyalists like “Nader!!!” but as I’ve repeatedly urged, a standalone independent organization is what I hope comes out of this. That’s what victory looks like to me.

      1. jo6pac

        a standalone independent organization is what I hope comes out of this.

        Isn’t the Green Party this already? It would be easier for true progressives and members of the left to help fiancé and work for The Greens. They have been raising enough money every month to get matching funds and have been able to get on the ballots of a few more states. The demodog party is dead and should receive no help from anyone.

        My conservative neighbor will be voting Green, as a long time union member they are closure to his beliefs.

        Back to getting the fireplace going.

        1. Yves Smith

          The Greens are not effective, not a national party, and not good strategic thinkers.

          If they wanted to exercise power in American politics, as opposed to feel good and be useless, they’d target getting a Senate seat or two and stop wasting their time and energy on the Presidency. Perot got 19% of the popular vote and not a single electoral college delegate. All the Greens can come of with is Jill Stein, who has never held an elective office nor had any professional responsibilities that involve either coalition-buildig. legislating, or being an administrator. And this is the best the Greens can put on the ticket?

          By contrast, if they targeted low-moderate population states that skew liberal (basically the Northeast and the Great Plains states with relatively high Scandinavian immigration back in the day), and got a couple of Senate seats. they’d have serious power on contested issues.

          Sanders has mobilized far more voters despite the Democratic party doing everything it could to neuter him than the well meaning but misguided Greens ever will And the Sanders bloc skews young. Better to build on something that worked than something that isn’t.

        2. Uahsenaa

          If the Iowa Green Party is any indication, the Greens are woefully ineffective at organizing, especially given how their party platform is, to an item, all the popular progressive planks numerous surveys show a majority of people support. I will admit that any third party has to struggle mightily against how profoundly rigged the election system in this country is, but if a dyed in the wool socialist can get elected in Seattle with lots of dark money fighting her, I have hope that the task isn’t impossible. As the groundswell of support for Sanders seems to indicate, if you take the time to speak to the people your message already appeals to, then it will eventually get through.

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          At least in Maine (unlike New York and perhaps elsewhere, like Oregon) the Greens are an utterly dysfunctional organization, despite their ballot access. It’s perilous to get involved with such entities. Often, they cannot be fixed (like a bad corporate merger).

        4. Knute Rife

          I agree with the other comments: “Green Party” and “organization” do not go well together. It runs a nonexistent presidential campaign every four years but can’t show it can consistently win state and local races, let alone congressional seats. Greens would rather make a statement than actually accomplish anything.

      2. washunate

        yammering from loyalists like “Nader!!!”

        That’s the delicate matter, isn’t it? Fear is the tool to keep people in line.

        Until it doesn’t.

      3. JohnnyGL

        By “lip service”, I’m expecting some quote about how Trump is racist, xenophobic and sends the wrong message. I’m NOT expecting him to say how wonderful HRC will be for this country. Also not expecting him to campaign for her actively or fundraise for her.

    2. aj

      “Pivoting right 15 minutes after the primary is over will sideline any and all questions about big money and interest peddling because those Republican voters won’t give half a shit”

      Maybe if Cruz is the nominee, but not so for Trump. Trump would make it a hot topic just like he’s been doing to the other R front-runners. A Trump v Clinton general is going to be something like we haven’t seen in a long time. You’ll see a Democrat going to the right of a Republican on many issues.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        If Trump understood what he was saying at AIPAC and hasn’t walked it back (if Trump can be said to do such a thing), he’s to the left of Hillary on Israel. We give Israel (a $300 billion economy) $3 billion a year to buy weapons, and Trump said they should pay it back. I hate it when Trump’s right.

    3. Eddie Torres

      I’d think Bernie would have at least a mild self-interest in using his new-found national brand to stump for a larger Democratic presence in the Senate; Russ Feingold etc. Doesn’t necessarily have to ask the DNC for permission.

    4. Samuel Conner

      That’s another argument for Sanders to stay in the race right
      through to the convention and try to get his name offered for a vote
      alongside HRC’s,

      He will be badly treated and that will make it easier to not hill-shill
      in the aftermath.

    5. Thor's Hammer

      Delusional political junkies wake up!

      There is only one political party party in the US. It is called the Property Party, and the only people who have a real influence in it’s policy formation are bankster oligarchs, medical system extortionists and the war profiteers.

      If voting mattered they’d make it illegal. What individual politicians say to get your vote has no relationship to what they will do after elected. Party platforms aren’t even built on sand anymore. In its dying stages the Roman Empire staged circuses to amuse the rabble, and in contemporary America elections have exactly the same function, along with football and the Kardashians.

      In this episode the script has a lot of unpredictability because the cattle tend to get restless when they have eaten the grass down to the dirt and there is lightening in the sky. At the fringes a New York cowboy with orange hair has emerged who thinks leading the country into a new future consists of tweeting a barrage of random comments and insults to see what gets the most response. And on the other edge an old man talks a great line about challenging the bankster overlords while remaining a card carrying member of the military/industrial Empire of Chaos. And at the center is the incarnation of pure ambition and corruption, so evil that calling her a prostitute would be an insult to an honorable profession.

      Meanwhile the rate of release of carbon into the atmosphere is ten times as great as it has ever been since the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) 66 million years ago. Better to watch the clowns in the circus ring than to think about what that might mean—.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        That certainly wasn’t true in 1854 – 1860. I don’t think the, er, contradictions are as sharp now as they are then. But I would argue the great issue of our time is human rental (work for wages) as it was then human sale (slavery).

        I’d urge the idea that the “one political party” in the US is similar to the Great Moderation. It works until it doesn’t.

        (I’m also trying to be nice, but I think the “one political party” framing is just plain dumb and wrong. We have a two-party system, with one system. If you think of a party as a coalition of factions, and you think of factions as being driven by property interests, Republicans and Democrats look much more distinct. They also hate each other. The reason “one political party” doesn’t fit people’s experience on the ground is that, well, it’s not true.)

        1. Thor's Hammer

          Of course we can play the semantics game. Patriots fans and Broncos fans may hate each other, but its still football.

          Meanwhile there is a real climate and paleontological history of the planet, and humans are driving it at breakneck speed toward a condition similar to the one where dead acidic oceans filled with algae laid down the foundation for our carbon burning self destruction.

          1. Ché Pasa

            There is one Neolibcon Government Party, has been for quite some time now. Others need not apply.

            That Lambert denies it is astounding.

            As for the crises imperiling the future, it appears that the Highest of the Mighty don’t think they themselves are in peril. Only the Little People. Too bad, so sad.

      2. Ché Pasa

        Heh. You’re not supposed to know or notice these things, but instead you are to be dazzled by the Electoral Show.

        One correction, though. These are the Dying Days of the Roman Republic, not the End of Empire, not by a long shot. We’ve been in a transition/consolidation period for decades, since the collapse of the Soviet Union at least.

        The empty husk of the Roman Republic remained and elections continued long after the Empire arose and fell. And rose again.

        The function of elections was to keep the rabble entertained and occupied… squabbling among themselves… and out of the way…

      3. jrs

        Well how do we think about what it might mean? (as if thinking was enough) Do we think by protest in the streets? But then we may as well protest economics, for it’s the economics of day to day survival that make the average person unable to even think about human survival. It’s too esoteric for the masses of people who don’t know where their next meal is coming from, nor have any leisure time to think if they did, due to the economic system.

      1. James Simmons

        Sanders and his supporters have no place in Clinton’s “Third Way” Democratic Party. More in common with a “mellow” Trump once he gets the nomination.

        1. Yves Smith

          Only people who are high on Trump brand fumes can persuade themselves that Sanders and Trump have common interests.. Sanders has decades of backing the same political position, at real personal cost. Trump is all about Trump.

          Sanders has never been part of the Democratic party ex his recent formal affiliation (which is a legitimate reason for the hacks’ pitched battle against him, but the lack of any serious internal opponent to Clinton shows what a hollow shell the Dems have become). In other words, Sanders and his supporters have no illusions about the Democrats. This is your straw man.

          1. Fiver


            You and Lambert I gather both see Clinton as a done deal for 2016, with the hope that some portion of the Democrats finally break away as a new progressive entity going forward. But that it had happened in the ’60’s. The benefits of Party status could prove a crucial means of protection against State abuse of rights of all kinds Democrats no longer debate.

            Considering that HC was in a primary role right at the centre of an Administration that took and adopted en masse the already hopelessly illegal, immoral and insane powers enacted and actions undertaken by the prior Admin and driving War on Terror as ‘legitimate’ and meant to be used, and soon found itself (her self) changing several more regimes – with utterly horrific consequences. Donald Trump, whatever piddling wrong relative to Wall Street thieves (now mostly Clinton supporters) he may have committed, he is, so far, granted the moral high ground.

            There is also the crucial matter of her e-mails – and who may have gained access to them if not secured properly on her private server at the same time Chelsea Bradley, Snowden and many others were/are being treated as enemies of the State.

            While no Trump fan I’m not sure a clever package from Trump – no war of choice: no TPP, no ‘cuts to SS’, ‘nobody left behind’ on health care, and a couple of other measures creating an entirely achievable, but by no means ‘radical’ (except maybe TPP) mix of priorities, would necessarily be rejected by at least a number of Sanders supporters. Maybe Trump’s role really is to be the Destroyer of Worlds for both Parties. Is there really no deal Trump could propose that Bernie wouldn’t take if he got solid assurances he trusted? What would it be worth to not have another war, for instance? Or another bubble bail-out?

            For some reason he seems to have become much more serous about the whole thing. Expect some real curves tossed.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              I do not see Clinton as a done deal in 2016, and I should have made that more clear in the post. I’m talking about victory as the Democratic Establishment defines it, but Sanders is an independent agent, and may force them to accept conditions short of victory, or redefine it.

              To do that, Sanders needs to win votes, and delegates! Leaving aside “Events, dear boy, events!” like Huma lawyering up or Roger Stone coming up with a peccadill[o|a] or some sort of economy meltdown or a medical crisis (Trump’s word is “stamina”), if Sanders wins California, or New York (“The Democratic establishment wants the race to be over before you cast your vote! Let’s send them a message!”) then the power equation would look very different.

              NOTE I define Sanders victory as a standalone pro-Socialist organization that persists beyond the election. I don’t know if that’s how Sanders defines it, though!

              1. Knute Rife

                Well we did the best we could in Utah last night. Meanwhile, the one that Clintstone pulled off last night appears to have been riddled with voter suppression fraud. Hmm.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Chris Matthews of “liberal” MSNBC made this suggestion when he wasn’t reminiscing about Ronnie Raygun.

      2. Synoia

        Yes and No.

        On a coldly logical level Trump is to the left of Clinton on domestic issues. If the democrats are going to throw the left under the bus again, it would be an object lesson for the ages for them to discover there is a place for them to go.

        Trump says he will not sign TPP. Given the level of pearl clutching in the Republican Establishment, and their expressed enmity of Trump, that make me believe there is some benefit for us in Trump being the Republican nominee. But, IMHO, with a Clinton Presidency and we might as well all vote for Cruz (at least the D senators would oppose Cruz, and probably half the R senators).

        Am I wishing for a Trump win? No. I want Bernie to win. I am ABC – Anyone But Clinton.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          If you think that Trump is actually talking policy, yes. I view Trump’s policy pronouncements as having the same testimonial value as posters on a carnival barker’s tent.

          That’s no knock on Trump! Trump is about Trump. Maybe that’s a good thing!

  4. Eddie Torres

    Outside of the ‘War On Trump’ 2016, I gotta think some sort of “deal” will be done between the Democratic Establishment and Bernie camps at the convention regarding Senate campaigns. There’s plenty of races Bernie could lend a hand to — Feingold in Wisconsin, Hassan in New Hampshire, Strickland in Ohio, and maybe Bennet in Colorado? It benefits ‘all sides’ to have more D’s in the Senate regardless of Corporate Neoliberal or Progressive affiliation — committee chairs, SC confirmations, etc.

    There a recent “scorecard” summary of 10 flippable Senate seats at The Hill by Lisa Hagen titled “Senate seats most likely to flip in 2016”

    1. Yves Smith

      I beg to differ. The Democratic establishment has gone to great length to do the equivalent of piss all over Sanders. Why should he trust an olive branch from him? Their posture has been that he and his voters can go to hell. I think he and they are smart enough to get the message.

      And Bernie has never been part of the party. He’s merely aligned himself regularly with the Dems when they’ve been within hailing distance of his positions while the Republicans have been on another planet. If he had wanted to be part of the hackocracy, he would have gone that route decades ago.

      1. participant-observer-observed

        And they’ve been pissing over those Sen Sanders represents for the past 8 years!

        After watching the national media ignore events with tens of thousands of people turning out to see Sanders, his supporters know very well DNC is the new GOP.

        DNC can apply power and force to Sanders supporters but they will never get authentic authority. Some things cannot be bought because they are more valuable than money.

        1. Knute Rife

          8? DLC has been in charge of the party for the last 30 and done nothing but enable Republican agendas.

      2. JohnnyGL

        As true as this is, and I think both sides know it. I think Bernie and the Dem elites still have an interest in maintaining at least an arms-length relationship. But it will be no warmer or frostier than just that.

        Now, something could happen to change that dynamic, but I don’t see it really breaking down quite yet, even if he emerges from this campaign a much more powerful (and empowered) figure than he was a few years ago.

    2. Tiercelet

      It benefits ‘all sides’ to have more D’s in the Senate regardless of Corporate Neoliberal or Progressive affiliation

      I actually think you’re being too charitable to the DNC elite here. They’d much rather have Blue Dogs than Rabid Progs. In fact, I think you could make a pretty good case that the Obama/Clinton Neoliberal wing would rather have a Republican-controlled Senate, to “force” them into more “compromises” (that they wanted to do anyway), rather than having to give red meat to the progressive wing or look like clowns who can’t deliver to their corporate masters.

      It takes a Republican Senate to throw Brer Clinton into that briar patch.

    3. petal

      I can’t imagine him ..going out of his way to help Hassan in NH. Hassan did all she could to campaign against him and for HRC leading up to the NH primary. Both Shaheen and Hassan pretty much told Sanders to get lost. I won’t be voting for either of them ever again.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      “There’s plenty of races Bernie could lend a hand to”

      What’s in it for him?

      And what’s in it for his small contributors?

      Adding… If they want Sanders do this, what’s the deal? (“The power to destroy a thing is absolute control over it.” –Frank Herbert, Dune.)

      * * *

      In addition, “It benefits ‘all sides’ to have more D’s in the Senate”. No, it doesn’t. Neo-liberalism and socialism are antithetical. Liberal is not left. Sanders and the Democratic Establishment do not have the same goals (even if the Democrats could be trusted to act in good faith (*** cough *** Debbie Wasserman Schultz *** cough ***). If the only way to instigate a thorough management housecleaning in the Democratic Party is for them to lose, have at it, say I.

  5. Michael Robinson

    “This is partly because the Democratic Establishment and the Sanders campaign really do not have the same goals (Clinton lied about that); neoliberalism and socialism are antithetical, even a milk-and-water democratic socialism that amounts to bringing American public policy up to first world standards on health care, higher education, and wages.”

    Ouch. That’s gonna leave a mark.

    “Vote Hillary, because more markets! And developing-country social indicators, because more markets!”

    Timing couldn’t be worse, really. “More markets!” is past its sell-by date, and lately has been failing the sniff test.

  6. washunate

    Nice Lambert. Will have to digest this over time. Interesting though to have some gut reactions. Those points 1 and 2 seem consistent with all sorts of data about the Democratic establishment.

    What I wonder at a big picture level is if/when pursuing them causes point 3 to flip? Right now, it’s a benefit to the establishment to abuse ‘the left’, whatever exactly that is, because leftists have completely and wholly accepted lesser of two evils voting. At some point, though, ‘the left’ will have to openly break with ‘the Democrats’ because they are losing credibility for actually standing for anything.

    1. steelhead23

      Lesser of two evils? Are suggesting that Sanders is the lesser evil when compared to Clinton? That he really isn’t a democratic socialist, just a less evil neoliberal? Or that we lefties will mostly hold our collective noses and vote for Clinton should she get the nomination? I certainly won’t. While I would prefer that if the Dems do not nominate Sanders, he goes Green and openly supports Jill Stein and hands her the remains of his campaign war chest, I don’t expect it – he needs Dem support in the Senate to get committee assignments. If Hillary is the nominee, I would vote for Stein. I suspect that many disillusioned Sanders supporters will do the same. But, it isn’t over.

      1. washunate

        Or that we lefties will mostly hold our collective noses and vote for Clinton should she get the nomination?

        This. What struck me after the 2000 election was how vociferously the Dem establishment went after Nader and Nader voters and the silence with which educated liberals generally accepted that whining. Or more recently, of the 107 million voters who saw the Green party in the 2012 election, 0.44% voted for them. (Interestingly, that’s less than half the 1.04% collected by the Libertarian party). More people voted for Sanders in the primary election in Illinois than all voters combined who voted for the Green party in the entire country in 2012. The Dem party establishment thoroughly controls the leadership positions of many of our major urban areas. It is safe to mildly criticize Democrats in liberal circles, but there is an enormous cultural taboo against a more comprehensive critique. The Stop Trump Express has left the station and very few people in positions of influence are willing to stick their neck out, to risk their own reputation, to challenge the underlying construct.

        But, it isn’t over.

        I disagree here. A potential independent movement isn’t over, and a protest vote within the primaries is valuable in its own right, as is forcing Clinton to continue appealing to liberals rather than pivoting to the general election this early, but Sanders winning within the Democratic party is over (it was always a long shot, and absent some kind of monumental collapse, like the Obama Administration unleashing the DOJ to prosecute Clinton for some impropriety or other, nothing is moving that needle sufficiently). Maybe this is the year that large numbers of people show up to vote for somebody not representing the D/R label in the general election? But to date, it hasn’t happened, and the fact that even Sanders has been playing nice with Clinton rather than fully running against her suggests this will be another election cycle where the dkos mentality wins. It’s okay to criticize Democrats a little bit, but we all better hold our noses to prevent [insert evil Republican here] from becoming [insert government official here].

        That’s not to denounce Sanders specifically or be happy that his odds of winning are low; he possesses no more of an obligation to more openly break with the Democrats than any of the rest of us. It’s just an observation about the systemic challenge that lesser of two evilism is very deeply engrained and at some point change will require either a coup within the Democratic party or a split of critical mass from it.

  7. ScottW

    Hillary cannot survive the email server scandal. Sure, her supporters will probably stay on board even if she is indicted, but when Donald keeps chanting, “You are going to be indicted,” it is going to disarm Hillary and on the fence voters. No one wants to vote for another Richard Nixon who is forced after being elected.

    The facts seem very clear. She is the only government official in history who set up a private email server in her residence basement to exclusively handle all of her public email correspondence. The intent was to avoid public oversight and she subverted security protocols in place for protecting confidential communications from hackers. Thousands of “confidential” and tens of “top secret” email communications were maintained on that server. Had she stuffed those documents into a briefcase and taken them home for storage, the case would be open and shut against her. Any lower level government employee doing the same with similar material would lose his security clearance, be fired and likely prosecuted. The abuse would be too widespread to ignore.

    And if the DOJ does not pursue indictments, Donald will characterize it (correctly so) as political cover from a friendly administration. Another power elite avoiding prosecution because of position and friends in high places. That’s how the Clintons’ roll.

    In the end, being under investigation by the FBI is enough. Donald will have a field day with this topic and it will cause those who might support Hillary to understand the day she is inaugurated will be the first day of House hearings without end.

    The reality of the Clintons never ending scandals will kill her chances of ever winning. Bill was one too many.

    1. Pavel

      A boy can dream…!

      Thank you for the clarity. Contrast with DWS’s “summary” in the quote above: “[Clinton] handled the email process correctly and according to the letter of the law.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Anyone who still thinks the elite suffer the consequences of their lawbreaking any more has just not been paying attention, if stealing trillions or smashing the Constitution no longer gets a cop on the beat then a pesky email or (30,000) certainly will not.

        1. Thor's Hammer

          Anyone remember Jon Corzine? Investing in political favors is the ultimate get out of jail free guarantee.

          However it’s just possible that all the gold in Saudi Arabia funneled into the Clinton Foundation coffers won’t be enough to sweep treason under the rug because the list of people who hate Hellury is endless.

    2. Pespi

      FBI is part of the executive branch, if Obama quashes it, it’s quashed. She won’t go to jail. It would be nice, but it won’t happen.

      1. Yves Smith

        The FBI seems to have more independence than just about any other branch of the executive. Maybe they are still keeping dossiers on powerful people like they did in the days of J. Edgar Hoover?

        For instance, the FBI has been leaking like a sieve on the Clinton e-mails. The Administration is famously vengeful about going after and prosecuting leakers, yet there has been nary a sign of action against the FBI leakers.

        The FBI can do almost as much damage with leaks as it can with a criminal referral. And if it makes a secret criminal referral and the DoJ fails to treat it seriously, you can almost guarantee some unhappy people in the FBI will tell the press. Now that may mean the DoJ ups its game and looks like it is treating a referral seriously when it is killing it. But the FBI has more cards here than you think.

        1. JCC

          Yves, you said it! Add that to the fact that there are approx 4.2 million voters in this country holding some level of US Govt Clearance and, based on my own local and very informal surveys among those of us who hold Clearances where about 90% feel that Clinton should be criminally charged, these ongoing FBI leaks are going to do a lot of long-term damage to Clinton, Inc.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          “The Administration is famously vengeful about going after and prosecuting leakers, yet there has been nary a sign of action against the FBI leakers. ”

          Excellent point.

  8. Jim

    All of those idealistic Sanders supporters ought to begin to seriously think about a future political vision that could unite the populist right (decimated working and middle class) with the populist left (some of this same constituency along with Black, Hispanic and White youth).

    The Clinton Pro-Democratic groups are thinking strategically(and are assuming that Clinton will win the nomination) and are putting into operation a plan to co-opt and decapitate any autonomous moves by Sanders supporters.

    And many Sanders supporters will allow themselves to be co-opted by these Clinton forces because
    they, thus far, have not shown any inclination to reassess their own cherished political assumptions and therefore can’t see a path for a genuine and broad-based populist revolt against neo-liberalism.

    1. Starveling

      This would be my dream. I could see it too. Oddly, I wager it would require a more ‘masculine’ leftism than we have seen in the States in some time. More swagger, bravado, firebrand rhetoric- a bit more crass, to suit 21st century America. I imagine this form of leftism would repulse the Acela riding hacks more than Trumpism does. The NPR liberals and the NRO conservatives have much more in common with one another than they do with the prole portions of their respective parties, after all. This primary season has made this abundantly clear.

      The modern Dems are a neutered party when it comes to lunch pail issues, beyond useless and in most cases actively working against the wage earner’s interests. Just the way the ownership class likes it.

  9. alex morfesis

    sounds about right…but…while watching another florida senior spend my/our tax dollars on more lottery tickets instead of helping the grand kids…it hit me that the donald is immune because of who he is…biff the gambling boss…his supporters like him because he is a grifter and a big part of this great country has become a nation of corner cutting grifters…

    “I got mine, f*&q u get your own”…

    and any attack on el donaldo will only enhance his core and the anti-hillary crowd will respond by thinking, if she thinks he is that bad, he must be better than we imagined…this post is about what hillbill will do to el donaldo…but perhaps a detour to acelanistani distopia for a moment…

    does sanders really want the nomination…?? why does he not just shut down the senate with a massive filibuster…five day coffee inspired marathon to force the republicans to do their constitutional duty…they do not have to accept the nominee for supreme court justice, but there is no question they are required to take a vote…writ of mandamus anyone ??

    the Clintons are among us due to ross perot…otherwise there is no hillary to worry about…

    as to el donaldo and his “hispanic” problem…the hispanic community is not a singular organization…the majority are mexican, yet they have little political power…cubans have outsized power as seen by not one but two First Born american cubans(ok…teds dad intended to be american) running and failing in the republican race…and all donaldo would need to do is do some youtube with him speaking spanish, basically saying, the need to shut down the border is because of muslims and mexico having become a narco-state…that would get nods of approval…remember…mexicans come to america because mexico does not function for all mexicans…

    he can pivot around his “hispanic” problem because hillbill aint no abuelita…

    she has no hispanic base and the clintons did not do much except watch henry cisneros get killed off by ralph nader operatives(don’t ask me why i know…I know…)

    what troubles me about this great nation of ours is the lack of brains at most of the purported third parties…as we speak…sanders and trump may be pushed out of their victories and certainly neither party seems to want the followers and voters who have brought these two to the nations attention…although no one party seems to have all 50 states, if my calculations are correct, there are certainly third party positions in just about all 50 states…why do these baby farts not have a giant convention in the first week of august…and place four names on the nomination and open up to anyone else who can make the argument…sanders, trump and then maybe my two choices…rfk, jr and steve largent…and then jill stein or whomever else is running in the green machine…and all 3rd parties agree to whomever gets the vote…clothes pins included in ballot box…this might be a once in a lifetime opportunity for the third parties to grab hold of the momentum and make good use of it…if the third parties can garner 25% in this election by such an action, and go into it knowing the net result is to use the gale force winds to build something for the future as they go their separate ways after the election…

    ah…never mind…
    maybe its just the pixel dust of the passing comet tails today and tommorrow…

    1. Mark P.

      ‘…a big part of this great country has become a nation of corner cutting grifters’

      Has become? Most classical American lit makes very clear America always was a nation of grifters. See forex: Melville’s The Confidence Man, much of MarkTwain, Fitzgerald’sThe Great Gatsby, Sutpen in Faulkner’s Absolom, Absalom, Heller’s Milo Minderbinder, and on and on

  10. DakotabornKansan

    Hillary Clinton The Inevitable campaign has arrived!

    Wall Street, neoliberals and neocons, war zealots, AIPAC lobby, they all rejoice!

    Clintonistas and Obots rejoice!

    Bernie ignored.

    Clinton’s and the Democratic Party’s evils are widely ignored.

    “In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956

  11. geoff

    What “moderate Republicans”? Maybe Mrs. Clinton can win among Independent voters (i.e. those who pay no attention to race until October), but given the candidates the GOP primary voters have supported so far, I don’t really think there’s such a thing left.

    1. geoff

      Sorry, “…those who pay no attention to THE race until October”. Hell, the Democratic party “establishment” for the most part ARE moderate Republicans.

  12. grayslady

    Shorter Hillary: a “stop Trump” campaign will have all the independents voting for Cruz or Kasich rather than Bernie. That’s what happened in Ohio.

    On his blog, Benjamin Studebaker showed that in Ohio, only 37% of the voters selected a Dem ballot and 63% selected a Repub ballot, yet in 2009, 55% of Ohio’s eligible voters were independents and had not registered for either party. Bernie’s support typically comes from young voters and independents–both by large margins. Anyone who supports Bernie should concentrate on electing Bernie and ignore anything having to do with stopping Trump; because Trump’s numbers thus far are so favorable that he doesn’t need major victories in any remaining states in order to gain enough delegates for the nomination. There’s plenty of time to vote against Trump in a general election.

    Want to do something positive? Stop Hillary.

    1. J Bookly

      Thanks for the Ohio analysis and for pointing out that supporting Bernie is priority one. It’s frustrating to see all the attention paid to Trump at this stage of the election.

      As I explained to a friend this morning, there are two candidates who understand that our country is in deep trouble, and only one of them is sane. If that one doesn’t get nominated, then in November we can either 1) pick the nutty one, 2) choose somebody who’s both untrustworthy and wrong on most issues, or 3) vote third party.

      And is Trump really the worst the Rs can do? Have you checked out Cruz? He is major league scary.

      1. tyr81

        I keep saying Cruz is worse. I’d rather have a secular dictator than a religious one backed by an American Inquisition.

    2. washunate

      Agreed, but that’s one of the primary challenges with Sanders’ campaign. He is playing nice within the Democratic establishment. That is useful for giving us a case study of a good faith effort in changing things that way, but it muddles the message considerably.

      Every time he talks about Trump negatively or Obama positively, he plays into the subtle Red Team vs. Blue Team framework that ultimately supports establishment policies generally and Clinton in particular. A stop Hillary campaign would have been very interesting three or four months ago, but at this juncture, he’s committed on his line of cautious attacks that don’t critique the system too much. Sanders’ only shot was bringing Democrat-leaning independents into the primary. He has brought in a lot and that should be celebrated, but the only way to bring in enough of them to matter is to reject the premise that Clinton is better than the Republicans. Once his campaign accepted that mindset*, it set itself up for an inherently difficult fight for minds within the Democratic party base since that base is Clinton’s base**, not Sanders’.

      I suppose there is theoretically time for Sanders to more forcefully critique Clinton, but the delegate math is so difficult at this point it may not move the needle sufficiently unless something external happens.

      *Of course, this assumes that Sanders’ plan is to try to win the Democratic nomination. It could be that his campaign understands that is a herculean task and is instead laying the groundwork for future independent activity, which would be very interesting but isn’t really corroborated by anything we can see publicly.

      **For example, there has been some back and forth about Sanders’ tone deafness on racial issues, and to a certain extent that is true and to a certain extent it is just his generational experience. But the issue with the base is that you either go after the local Democratic officials that entrench a militarized, racist criminal justice system, or you don’t. There is no middle ground because the Hillary campaign owns the mayors, Senators, Representatives, prosecutors, and so forth.

      1. grayslady

        Yes. Sanders needs to take the focus off Trump and put the focus on Hillary. Interestingly, he doesn’t mention the name “Trump” in his speeches. He simply says, “America will never elect someone who criticizes Mexicans. America will never elect someone who criticizes women.” (etc., etc.) What he needs to do is adjust that speech to something like the following: “Do Americans really want to elect someone who is paid millions for speeches from special interest groups? Do Americans really want to elect someone who supports offshoring jobs through pretend trade deals?” It would be easy enough for him to do, and he still wouldn’t be calling Hillary out by name.

  13. Ed

    First, to get the Garland selection out of the way, I wouldn’t read too much into it.

    Obama made the selection to win the news cycle, which is how modern day politicians make nearly all of their decisions. The thing to remember that the Senate Majority Leader and Judiciary Committee chairman announced publically that they wouldn’t consider ANY nomination of Obama. The obvious play to win the news cycle for Obama would be to nominate the same judge that Romney would have picked if he had won in 2012. There is little chance of Garland actually making it to the Supreme Court. The worst case scenario is that the Republicans do a very visible and embarrassing climb-down, they confirm Garland anyway, somehow getting past attempts at a filibuster by Senators like Cruz and defections from Senators like Sanders, and Garland, who is quite old for a nominee, winds up on the Court for around fifteen years, and someone like him or worse wouldn’t have been appointed and confirmed anyway by the new President and Senate. The delay was in finding a judge like Garland would for some reason would actually agree to take part in the photo-op, which is why Obama didn’t just nominate McConnell himself. This will all be forgotten by November.

    Also, Cruz was correct in pointing out that this sort of thing -the Senate just refusing to consider any presidential nominee for a Supreme Court vacancy for a year- has happened in the past. Congress has not been above in just changing the number of justices on the Court to remove or create vacancies. These episodes are not considered to be high points of American governance, but there is also an argument that too much deference was given to the Supreme Court in the twentieth century.

  14. curlydan

    Here’s the Dems strategy:
    “Ain’t no faking your money I’m taking
    Going coast to coast watching all the girlies shaking…
    We got a safe in the trunk with money in a stack
    With dice in the front and Brooklyn’s in the back”
    -Beastie Boys, No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn

  15. Ed

    I went to the 538 site and fooled around with the parameters on the election model, to create a Democratic establishment wet dream in a Hillary Clinton -Donald Trump race to see what it would look like.

    The 538 model doesn’t handle strong third party candidacies, but after the Perot campaigns the states changed their filing procedures to make these almost illegal, at least if done at the last minute. I don’t expect to see any this year.

    Using the 538 model, I can get a Clinton win by an 11.8% margin, which is high but realistic in situation where a strong incumbent president isn’t running for second term. This gives her 31 states, the Republicans being left with their low population deep South/ Appalachian/ High Plains/ Mountain states fortresses, though it should be kept in mind that a majority of the states don’t really deviate that far from the national vote an any candidate that gets at least a 5% national popular vote margin should win at least thirty of them.

    The parameters I set were:

    College Educated White: 62% Democrat on 77% turnout. Last time this group went 62% for Romney on about the same turnout.

    Non-college educated white: 68% Republican on 62% turnout, both figures slightly higher than last time

    Black: 87% Democrat on 57% turnout, both figures slightly lower due to Obama not being on the ballot.

    Hispanic: 71% Democrat on 55% turnout, both figures slightly higher.

    Asian: 71% Democrat on 57% turnout, turnout higher, % Dem about the same.

    The big change would be flipping the college educated white vote. Even in a situation where voting for Trump is considered to be socially horrendous, I think he will push up the GOP % and turnout of non-college educated whites slightly.

    I’ve used the same model to produce a Trump victory, by about 10% of the popular vote, winning 38 states. You have to get the non-college educated white turnout and GOP% both about 70% or higher, have the candidates split the college-educated vote 50-50 (still an improvement for the Dems), and it helps to have Trump eat into the Black vote a little, which I think he would in a campaign which he ran well enough to win. This gets a GOP victory not dissimilar to 1980, though with the same popular vote percentage margin Reagan carried all the big states that year and 44 states, in this case the Dems still keep California, Illinois, and New York.

  16. Katniss Everdeen

    “Scorched earth.”

    Has hillary ever been subjected to a “scorched earth” campaign? Her senate runs were walks in the park. Undoubtedly her most difficult race was was the 2008 primary during which she was reduced to tears before the second state primary. And the “earth” wasn’t even warm yet.

    Hillary is famous for surrounding herself with sycophantic yes-men (and women.) Some have speculated that that’s how she got herself into the situation with the basement server–no one would tell her what a bad idea it was. She does not like to be countermanded.

    I suspect The Donald will not oblige. While most presidential campaigns devolve quickly into slinging “oppo research” at each other, it’s not so much the actual information that matters, but how well each candidate can handle the incoming. My money’s on The Donald here.

    Right now I’m watching a Trump press conference. In response to a question from the audience, he invited a young black woman onto the stage, allowed her to talk about her resume and, get this, wound up possibly giving her a JOB! She gave him a kiss!

    The man is a tough businessman and knows how to play to a camera. He is also reputed to be quite charming when he wants to be, a skill hillary will literally NEVER possess. It can’t be learned or, in her case, faked.

    In a country where some base their votes on whom they’d like to have a beer with, she’s got her work cut out for her. After a blistering, longer than anticipated fight with Bernie, I don’t think she’s up to the job.

    Trump is not going to fight fair, and he’s not going to apologize for it. Even if it makes hillary cry.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      She’s had one tough campaign in 2008. She lost. Except for the Perot election and the reelection in 1996, Clinton style politics always loses.

    2. RUKidding

      I agree. While I don’t like Trump and think he’s a flim-flam artist, I think a GE of Trump v Clinton is going to be really really bad for Clinton. She is not good at this type and style of campaign. I may despise Trump for who he is, but he is very nimble and agile and media savvy.

      It could be a real political blood bath, and people who are voting for Clinton bc they think she will be “better” at beating Trump are, I think, deluded. I feel that Sanders would do better running against Trump. JMHO, of course, but I think he’d be more calm and collected about the whole thing. Clinton’s gonna fold under the pressure, and Trump is just warming up.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The entire Clinton strategy of dumping on the left and by extension voters with registration issues in favor of moderate republicans is insane. 59 million people voted to put Palin a heartbeat away from the Presidency. Hillary won’t win those “moderates.”

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        Clinton at aipac this morning criticizing Trump:

        “Yes,we need steady hands. Not a president who says he’s neutral on Monday, pro-israel on Tuesday, and who knows what on Wednesday because everything’s negotiable.”

        Yeah, that flip-flopping, finger-in-the-wind thing’s gonna fly when a clinton says it. It’s just better to say it was a “mistake” and “apologize.”

        TPP was the “gold-standard” before it wasn’t. Before I knew what was in it. Before I read it.

        Trump will make mincemeat out of her.

                1. fajensen

                  Human (a) and Practical (b) reasons, I think.

                  a) Because organizations already follow the “way of the slime” in being able to efficiently and almost instantaneously solving the fascinating question on how to optimize the ratio of ressource extraction by the insiders, how many “extraction gateways” to have, and what is actually delivered to the “customers”. I.O.W. Solving a problem quickly in a very efficient way does not answer the “What’s in it for *me*”-questions that the solvers have, so this is normally not the path taken ;-)

                  b) It is hard to formulate a general “gradient descendent” optimization as a slime-mold solvable problem. If its a good problem, one worthy of heavy lifting by many CPU’s and tricky algorithms understood by only a few phd’s, the “solution surface” will often change by the optimizer moving the “blob” of problem parameters through “parameter space”.

                  In many cases these are the kind of problems we solve with politics, like Taxation. We fix parameters for taxation to achieve some positive social goals, then “society” will adopt to the taxation rules, some people even start gaming the system, etcetera, and “we” are no longer in an optimal location because the fitness landscape changed. Then we need to change the parameters again – and set off for a new optimum.

                  Politics (and taxation), even when cleansed of corruption and graft, will always be a mess because they are really algorithms designed to solve messy and intractable problems with lots of internal networks.

                  Optimizations sometimes get stuck around a local optimum. In gradient descent or simulated annealing, we “kick” the parameters, making the whole bundle take a jump in “hyperspace” and hopefully land in a spot where the “view” to an optimum is better.

                  In politics we have elections and, in the final case, revolutions for that.

                  But, if a revolution lands us in a sucky place, we can’t just revert to before the jump and try another one like we can with computers. So, there is that.

        1. fresno dan

          Good Analysis here and with your comments at

          Katniss Everdeen
          March 21, 2016 at 4:09 pm

          One thing commenters at NC have to remember is that most people don’t pay any attention to what politicians say, except for very broad things (Trump doesn’t believe in “free trade”). Trump can turn on a dime I think without penalty – it actually makes him look more reasonable, flexible and realistic. Hillary flip flopping makes her look dishonest, devious, and scheming and so fits that media “narrative”.

          Nixon said you had to run hard right in the repub primaries, and than sprint to the center in the general. The question I have, is how smart is Trump really? How much of what he says is all show ONLY to get free media and ALL the media attention? Maybe, just maybe, the Clintons are facing someone who is as unconcerned with what they themselves say as the Clintons are – and who understands that what is said in a campaign is worthless EXCEPT for NEGATIVE things the media believe about your opponent.

          TODAY’s LAUGH: You know, I saw the Bloomberg political commentators say that Trump will be demolished in the general election because he will have to say something substantive on policy…..which made me spit out my wine. Did they pay ANY attention to “Hope and Change???????”

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Yep, I remember when Obama ran to Hillary’s right on health care. Market-based solution, universal coverage, and no mandate. Even Krugman couldn’t take it.

    3. fajensen

      I also don’t think “a scorched earth campaign” would work out the way the democrats imagine it would.
      Trumps Brand is something like this: “I am an arsehole, A RICH arsehole, and your FIRED, so suck it down, clown!”

      I think Trump can pretty much out-bastard anyone*, and, with Hillary, I also think a lot of people just want to see her suffer and they are up for whoever will make that happen.

      *) Except, maybe, a standup comedian. Every brand of authoritarian buffoon can be reduced to impotent tears of rage by skillful mockery.

      1. Yves Smith

        I agree. Trump manages to be engaging even when he is offensive. By contrast, while male bullying is well accepted, displays of anger, chest-beating, and other dominance displays are very very hard for women to pull off. And Hillary is not skilled on her feet. She gets brittle when under attack. Trump by contrast goes at worst into a familiar male loutishness “On, you’re an even bigger [fill in the blank]” which is sometimes on target and largely forgiven when not. By contrast, not only would Hillary lose if Trump manages to pull her into playing his game, it also undermines her effort to depict herself as a cool-headed technocrat.

  17. armchair

    I got in some trouble, last weekend, for suggesting Hillary made a calculated blunder when she extolled Nancy Reagan’s positions on the AIDS epidemic. My position is that this was a big hug for the David Brooks / Rich Lowry / Ross Douthat / Lindsey Graham type of Republicans. It tells them that Hillary understands what a classy lady Nancy was and that her secret thoughts were in the right place at the right time. It is a pivot. It is an invitation to those moderates to come join-up with Hillary for 2016. It could also be a minor stroke or appalling ignorance.

    1. RUKidding

      I’m inclined to agree w/you. I felt that HRC’s praise of Nancita was just that: to appeal to a certain rightwing demographic that wishes to distance itself from déclassé Donald.

      I don’t care if Clinton felt that she “should” say something positive about Nancy. It was a stupid way to praise Nancy Reagan, and I don’t feel particularly forgiving about it. The AIDS crisis was huge. Both Reagans chose to ignore it for as long as possible while my friends died. When Clinton said that, my utter contempt for her just got more contemptuous. I didn’t think it was possible, but I am tired of feeling personally insulted by Clinton and her Gang (like Rahm: f*cking ret*rded that I am).

      1. polecat

        I can imagine, in a bygone age,… when no one was looking, Hellary placing a fried egg over each of Nancys’ eyes, in deference to ‘just say no to… whatever’ ……….AFTER stealing the coins!!

      2. Michael

        Clinton made a mistake. She has made a few gaffes this cycle. Watch some of her town hall meetings. She seems to get lost but no one will question her because she is a policy wonk. I am starting to believe the rumors of her stroke.

    2. washunate

      Well said. It’s very similar to what Obama did in making positive noises about Reagan back in 2008. Except somehow it just feels even dirtier coming from Clinton.

    3. Synoia

      It could also be a minor stroke or appalling ignorance.

      I’m looking forward to the Minor Stroke.

      1. farrokh bulsara

        “I’m looking forward to the Minor Stroke.”

        Yes, I am also. I expect it will happen about midway through the 3rd televised “Clinton v Trump” presidential debate. Kind of like the time I watched Lee Harvey Oswald get shot on live tv when I was a teenager.

      2. crittermom

        Only a minor one?
        Forgive me, but I hope for something more major. BEFORE the nominations.
        I’d love the see the Dems then scrambling to support Bernie, as they should be. Fools.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      That was the same weekend she compared (putative) violence at a Trump rally to the people shot in Charleston.

      At first I thought it was just a tone-deaf blunder. But then I saw it as the first pivot to the right for the general. After all, the (majority of) blacks already did their firewall thing, so who needs ’em?

  18. Kokuanani

    Goldwater, after all, never had a real counter to LBJ’s daisy ad

    I’m wondering when the DNC is going to get smart enough to update and run that daisy ad again?

    Youngsters, if you haven’t seen that, please go do so.

  19. ChrisPacific

    Trump can’t handle the duties of the Oval Office? As far as I can tell, the main duty of the President is to tell people what they want to hear while selling them out behind their backs. Trump would seem to be eminently qualified.

  20. Daniel Kloke

    Not at all disagreeing with Lambert’s projection of a double-negative general campaign, and at least one recent Clinton SuperPAC ad is in that direction, if not very far. But I think that would be a serious mistake for HRC to go hard negative, because negative campaigning suppresses the vote on both sides, and H needs every vote she can get, which is why she’ll appeal the mod-Reps; they’re more reliable voters, something the Left can’t offer right now. Trump’s negative tactics in the primaries won’t work as well in the general either, he’ll stand to lose more or less as much as he gains from it, past a certain point. If he doesn’t start pivoting positive at some point, he’s toast, all ideology aside.

    But the Sanders coalition? aggregate? grassroots movement could be in real trouble. Being recruited to protest Trump casts them negatively, as just another identity/constituency, and shills. Using nominally pro-Sanders activists to front for protests at Trump rallies is a poison pill. Bernie has promised to support the eventual Dem nominee in the general, that could be a tough row for the fledgling movement to hoe, they signed up to breathe not so they’d have to hold their noses yet again. Exactly how and to what extent the Sanders radicals (ClintonNoWay) separate themselves from the Sanders moderates (ClintonOK) remains to be seen, but this could kill or damage the movement in its infancy.

    So for HRC, throwing the Sanders people at Trump kills two birds at once. But going or staying negative too long herself is very high risk, and something of a rookie mistake. I’m no fan of her team but they’re not noobs.

  21. cripes

    Considering the known, and anticipated, ill effects of oligarch-managed technology consequences; sergey brin driving my car, the internet of toilets and babycams, big stupid intrusive stolen data, etc., I would be interested to know of a possible alternative history where technology serves us all, providing greater leisure, creativity and health, and less environmental destruction.
    I’m not thinking HG Wells here.


  22. ira

    Given Mark Ames’ expose about Trump’s history of working with Republican operative Roger Stone to fund and support third party/alternative candidates in order to guarantee the election of more mainstream candidates, does anyone think that the whole point of Trump’s candidacy is to get Clinton elected ?

    There’s often something not quite right about Trump when he speaks — if you listen carefully, his cadence is like that of a comedian constantly setting up a punchline.

    I don’t know — maybe the only way he knows how to speak is like an entertainer, since that essentially is what he is.

    Regardless, if the maxim in life is to minimize harm, IMHO Hillary would be VASTLY more harmful than he would be.

    1. Lord Koos

      I thought this too. Apparently Bill Clinton once told Trump he should run for president… and I read that he called Trump personally in 2015.

  23. Gareth

    I say Hillary talks Sanders into taking the VP slot on the ticket by promising to really, really, really nix the TPP. She picks up his voters and some impeachment insurance in the bargain.

    1. Yves Smith

      Hell will freeze over before that happens. Hillary would never make that offer. And Sanders would not accept. Plus they are both old, white, and (nominally) from the Northeast. She wants a younger male of color from a key state like Ohio.

            1. craazyboy

              Not from mine yet. I was still enjoying some residual euphoria from when we were assured it would not be Clinton vs. Bush. But you’ve just ruined that feeling. And they are both “moderates” too, which makes it even more likely.

  24. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

    More like WWI style artillery barrages. Which were not all that effective compared to the resources expended.

    If Bernie goes down, I’ll be voting Jill Stein or if it’s Trump, I’ll vote for the short fingered vulgarian. Maybe he’s got big feet. Luke Ice Cube. Hillary needs a trip to the same island as Number 6

    1. Bern

      Yup – nothing in that ‘joke’ at the top had anything much to do with WWII… ‘going over the top’, and (especially) ‘gas’…so not only was it not funny, it was just inaccurate…

      If there’s any fronts to be assaulted, I vote for beachfront, riverfront, and lakefront…I’m certain it will all go swimmingly…

      Gluteus Maximus knows what he knows, and because he has already proved he is the most worthy person in the room/nation/universe (by which he means ‘richest’, and in our post-post-modern culture many not only believe this but are convinced it could be no other way), there’s no reason to think that whatever he does or says would ever be off-putting to his base. He’ll do whatever he feels like doing and if it doesn’t bring Hillary down he’ll rouse the base with the fury of a million nixons…

  25. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

    “Like” not “Luke” I curse the Clintons for the poverty that keeps me on antiquated and laggy equipment! Yes, in libertarian eyes, I’m a Gen-X loser who should go die.

  26. Too late

    you are making this way to complicated. This is nothing other than a repeat of the brilliant pseudo- triangulation meme that we have seen the past 10 years with BO. Right wingers call him a socialist more loudly each step he takes in a neo-liberal direction, his defenders and those who finally embraced the long civil rights struggle to see an African American in the White House feel compelled ever more to defend him, irregardless of who he sells down the river.

    Lather rinse repeat

  27. Too late

    And what to make of Bill today,throwing his old pal BO under the bus?
    Makes one wonder if he might not just be hoping for some fbi action

    1. Kurt Sperry

      I immediately read that as a comment on Republican obstructionism rather than a criticism of Obama. That being said, the notion that a HRC administration would in any way alter that obstructionist dynamic seems based in fantasy.

  28. EoinW

    Nice opening piece for the #1 issue of 2016. The big question is: how much of the old narrative has any relevance now? It may be time to think totally “out of the box”. A big factor will be the Culture War. Let me explain:

    The Left won the Culture War back in the 1970s. Unfortunately the Left has not been satisfied with just shaping society in its image, it has also insisted on the complete oppression of any dissent. In other words, the Culture War is over. Conservatives don’t get to launch any counter attacks, they are not even permitted to publicly question the successes the Left has won. Seeing Toronto’s outspoken mayor Rob Ford tiptoe around the Gay Pride Parade issue and not even he would dare to be critical of it, speaks volumns about the power of the Left to intimidate all opponents. Four decades of this means forty years were all dissent has been driven underground. And then Donald Trump turned to politics!

    The key this autumn won’t be about what moderate Republicans/Democrats will do. Given the performance of the two war parties can anyone be a Republican/Democrat and really be moderate? The key will be the Culture War and how many voters forced to be silent for so long feel they can now find their voice through the protest vote for Trump. You could just as easily call it anti-establishment voting. After all, the establishment has supported the results of the Culture War all along. The thing is: the less it is about Trump and the more it is about getting rid of the establishment then the better it is for a Trump success. If voters are using Trump to take down the establishment then Trump will not suffer from attack adds. In fact, the more money thrown against him could have the opposite effect and boost his support further. Likewise these anti-Trump protests. Many voters will view them as more of the usual Left intimidation to silence dissent. if anything, the protests will push more voters off the fence as they’ll feel a need to take a stand against such undemocratic tactics. Spin the protests all you like but their #1 goal is to silence Trump!

    Come November we may find out America has a new silent majority.

    1. washunate

      I’m not sure backlash against gay rights specifically is a good example of the trend you’re describing? It is largely a faux wedge issue created and stoked by establishment Republicans (and certain evangelical preachers and media outlets and so forth who find conflict useful for their own purposes as well as electoral politics), not an actual widespread movement to oppress those outside the hetero-normative mainstream. The “silent majority” drinks, swears, uses drugs, watches porn, has premarital sex, embraces family planning/reproductive health, and tolerates such activity amongst others even when they refrain from engaging themselves. Those wedge issues aren’t substantive social divides; they’re part of the kabuki theater of elite-driven divide and conquer.

      But I do think the overall commentary you present is valuable. Dissent has been so constrained, the groupthink has been so heavily enforced, that we have arrived at a rather unpredictable situation. Maybe 1) Trump truly runs as the anti-establishment candidate, and 2) this ends up the time that the stars align for such a brand. But those are still two major questions that must both be satisfied before there’s any real chance Clinton as the annointed establishment candidate loses a general election matchup with him.

      I guess my money is on Clinton being the last of this breed rather than Trump being the first of a new coalition, but as they say, time will tell.

  29. oho

    Apologies if someone already mentioned this in one of the many comments above…..

    a vote for Hillary is a vote for more US interventionism by the 0.1% using the sons and daughters of the bottom 99%.

    See Bill Clinton’s interventionist record 1993-2001. See Hillary’s chicken hawkishness: Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, Syria.

    See neo-cons tripping over themselves to support Hillary.

  30. crittermom

    From those I’ve spoken with who are *choke* voting for Trump, their reasons given are that despite the fact they like what Bernie has to say, they’re tired of “minorities getting all the benefits” & they “want someone who is not a politician”. I’ve heard those same 2 things from all of ’em. Wow.

    They like Bernie but still consider him a politician (despite the fact he’s been more for the people than any other politician).
    And I think they fear Bernie will support minorities while ignoring whites.
    Not true, but they see him as someone for the underdog, & to them that means minorities. Very sad.

    I continue to (slowly & carefully) try to persuade & educate those I’m in touch with.
    I actually have one friend who’s a staunch Republican who says “she’d never vote for a Democrat!” now considering voting for another Republican other than Trump. Ta Da!

    When I told her that I envisioned race riots once again if he’s elected, but now involving not only blacks, but Latinos, Muslims, & everyone else he’s unashamedly bashed, she just smirked & replied “so what?”.

    I then pointed out to her that 3 of her grandkids were fathered by a Mexican & each bears a strong resemblance to him. Her response was once again, “so what?. They’re American citizens.”
    I told her they looked Mexican, which she fully admitted. She said they had birth certificates to prove they were citizens, however.

    I went on to say that if we have a president with such views of bigotry in office, citizens of the same mind may see it as a “free for all” on minorities.
    I then asked her if she would apologize to her gorgeous teenage granddaughters for voting for him if they were victims of rape of violence due to their appearance? I pointed out to her that any white supremacists who meant them harm wouldn’t take the time to look at a birth certificate.

    That’s what got her thinking, when I asked her to crawl out of her perfect little box & think of others, including those closest to her & the consequences that might arise from his election.
    I think I succeeded in Trump losing her vote, as well as that of her husband.

    If they still vote Republican, but for anyone other than Trump, all the better for Bernie, right?

    I’ve yet to talk with even one person who supports Hellary.

  31. Code Name D

    I may be a bit late to the party, but here are my notes none the less.

    The Democrats (And the Clintons)
    Ha ha ha ha! Lambert, you are slaying me here. This is one of those it’s funny because its true kind of things.

    I was recently educated by a friend of my who is one of the insiders. He basically schooled me that while the DLC still has its offices and even a small staff, it’s no longer the nexus of power in the Democratic Party. The new nexus would be the Clinton Foundation. This raises the question of just how separated the Democratic Party is with the will and agenda of the Clintons.

    One of the changes is has brought however is making the payola scam worse than ever. The common assumption is that the Democrats have to spend so much time raising money in order to fund TV ads and campaign staff. But the reality is that more and more fundraising is needed just to grease the palms of those higher up the ladder. And the Clinton Foundation is at the top of the pyramid. While no one really knows where the money is going (and certainly there is no evidence to prove it.) But the open speculation is that it’s the Clintons who get a cut of the party revenue through the foundation.

    This raises the question; even if Sanders should win the Primary and is put on the road to the Whitehouse, it would remain to be seen just how much power and influence he would have over the party itself. Working with the Republicans may be the least of his problem.

    This is why they are so terrified of Sanders fundraising model. If he should find a way to replicate that model for down ticket candidates – it could break the power that payola has over the party machine.

    The Democrats (and the Clintons) would rather appeal to “moderate” Republicans than Sanders voters.

    It would be more accurately said that Clinton will be compelled to appeal to “moderate” Republicans because of her world view. Keep in mind she lives in a world where every voter can be quantified along a one dimensional chart; with Sanders at the extreme left, and Trump at the extreme right. By the law of averages, the majority of voters (ie the moderates) resides in the center. Thus, appeal to the center, and you get the majority of voters.

    Just like how economist will over-simplify the average consumer in order to make their economic models work. Democrats over-simplify the average voter in order to make their political theories work.

    Clinton’s “scorched earth” campaign
    Ha! Boy does that paint a picture in my mind. Here she is, ready to set fire to the ground – when along comes Trump sporting the biggest flame thrower you have ever seen and looking he is about to orgasm from the flames. Opps.

    I am not sure what a “scorched earth” campaign will look like in practical terms. Usually Democrats just try to paint the Republican as “outside the main-stream”. (Too-far to the left, as per their world view.) “Scorched Earth may be just a more extreme version of that strategy. Instead of calling Trump “outside the main-stream”, we go strait for the Hitler references.

    Still, the depth of incompetence we see from the Democrats never fails to amaze me. We just saw nearly the entire Republican field try this very strategy to stop Trump from winning the nomination; and not only fail spectacularly but ended up making Trump just that much stronger. Of course Clinton will do it right and I am sure it will work for her. Yay, right.

    This strategy never works against Republicans because it plays right into their world view. Conservatives always stand for “what’s rite”, even if it isn’t popular; especially if it isn’t “popular” with Democrats. Such a strategy would super-charge Trump. So yay, Clinton will blow it in the general election. President Trump might as well get use to saying it right now.

    In contrast, Trump is not going to try and paint Clinton as being too far to the left. Trust me, they will assume that he will try and do this – it’s what their centrist world view demands of them. But no, Trump is going to paint Clinton as a corrupt traitor – and the e-mail scandal plays right into this narrative.

    Trump will split the GOP.
    Bwahahahahah. Oh that old canard again. Yay, I remember the same thing being said with Romney, remember him? The Republican establishment did everything in their power to stop him too. And the Democrats predicted that Romney would split the party then as well. Not only did it not happen – it seems the Dems forgot they ever made that assumption.

    By all appearances from the outside, it does appear Trump is splitting the party. But this is just the power dynamic at work. Lots of wealth is changing hands and loyalties are re-aliening all the time. But this is just now how the Republican brain works.

    Trump will be like the King being crowned. The captain of the guard may fight to the death to keep him from the coronation. But once the crown lands on the King’s head, the captain of the guard will swear loyalty to the King. And any reservations they may retain become completely irrelevant. The struggle for power continues of course – but in the shadows and behind closed doors.

    I am willing to bet that once Trump gets the nomination, the party will rally behind him. The establishment has other means of keeping Trump in check.

    1. washunate

      Clinton knows the ‘center’ is far to the ‘left’ of her. That’s why her rhetoric is so different from her actions. She can’t talk plainly because the majority of Americans don’t support her policy positions. It’s deception, not a genuine placement of voters along some reality-based continuum.

      It’s why Democrats so vociferously fight anyone to the left of them – that’s the actual center of political preferences, so the only way to defeat such a candidate is to prevent their existence.

  32. Lord Koos

    In the media there is a lot of talk about the Republican party splintering into pieces, but little notice is paid to what is happening on the Democratic side. That party too is beginning to come apart at the seams, if it doesn’t crack up in this election it will in 2020. Decades-old political alignments and demographics are shifting in a way not seen during my lifetime time (and I’m 64). Over at dailykos there is a lot of glee about the Republican train wreck, but their heads are buried in the sand when it comes to their own party.

  33. Knute Rife

    The ultimate in Clinton triangulation. Cue “Molasses to Rum to Slaves”. Oh what a beautiful waltz.

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