Yves here. This post is important because it is contrary to conventional wisdom, particularly the thinking of the Clinton campaign.
By Gaius Publius, a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius, Tumblr and Facebook. Originally published at at Down With Tyranny. GP article here.
I want to start taking a look ahead, not in a long essay but in chunks. “Ahead” means what happens at the Democratic convention, what those outcomes may be, what happens in the general election, and furthest out of all, what happens in 2017 and beyond. So this will be a series of sorts.
I think the first main point is this:
1. Clinton, if she is the nominee, must win Sanders supporters or risk losing to the Republican, whoever that is.
Everything in this analysis flows from that. Look at the chart of poll results at the top. If you are among those who think that a presidential win can be crafted from party loyalists alone, I guess I’ll leave you to your thoughts and we can meet again in December and figure out who was right.
Naturally anything at all could be true in the future (Schrödinger’s future cat could be a dog), but some futures are more likely than others, and it seems clear just from the numbers that no one wins in November without winning independents.
More from that poll:
The recent rise in political independence has come at the expense of both parties, but more among Democrats than among Republicans. Over the last six years, Democratic identification has fallen from 36% — the highest in the last 25 years — to 30%. Meanwhile, Republican identification is down from 28% in 2008 to 26% last year….
The decline in identification with both parties in recent years comes as dissatisfaction with government has emerged as one of the most important problems facing the country, according to Americans….
The pollsters speculate on the reasons for this “dissatisfaction with government,” using language like “this is likely due to…” etc., most of which involve standard-issue conventional thinking — “what everyone knows to be true” because the media repeats it constantly. For example, “partisan gridlock” comes up as one of the guesses. (A much-repeated conventional explanation, but inaccurate — on matters that matter to the 1%, there is no gridlock, as any neutral observer can see, unless party rebels block a bipartisan move like cutting Social Security benefits.) The polling itself is accurate though and should not be dismissed.
For the Democrats especially this is a problem. Gallup again:
Democrats’ Edge in Party Identification and Leaning Shrinks
Although independents claim no outright allegiance to either major party, it is well-known that they are not necessarily neutral when it comes to politics. When pressed, most independents will say they lean to one of the two major parties. For example, last year an average of 17% of Americans who initially identified as independents subsequently said they “leaned” Republican, 15% were independents who leaned Democratic, with the remaining 11% not expressing a leaning to either party.
Though Democrats-plus-“Democratic-leaning” independents slightly outnumber their Republican-plus-Republican-leaning counterparts, it’s not by much. In addition, people are increasingly party-independent for reasons, and we don’t have to speculate what those reasons are. This is a campaign season with votes, not just polls; two candidates are making great inroads with “independents,” especially Bernie Sanders; and both of those candidates are promoting radical messages, not “radically moderate” messages.
Which leads to a corollary:
1a. “Independents” aren’t “moderate Republicans.” Independents are pretty radical these days.
If you look at the swell of new voters in both parties, the increase is for the “change” candidate, not the one promising to retain and refresh the status-quo. The presidential candidate who wins this election will be the one who best appeals to the new “radical independent” — the voter, in other words, who agrees with the following, a quote included in a New Yorker piece by Ryan Lizza (my emphasis):
Sanders “is tapping into something that is very deep and very profound inside the Democratic Party, which is this discontent with the system that is no longer producing for everyday people,” Simon Rosenberg, a Hillary supporter and the head of NDN (formerly the New Democrat Network), a liberal think tank in Washington, told me. “He has characterized Hillary as a champion of that system and as somebody who is actually a leader of the system, while he is the one that wants to change it.” Rosenberg added, “He’s not being perceived as a leftist. He is being perceived as somebody who is deeply in touch with a sense that something has gone wrong and that the system isn’t working.”
The key quote again: “He’s not being perceived as a leftist. He is being perceived as somebody
who is deeply in touch with a sense that something has gone wrong and
that the system isn’t working.” This is a Clinton supporter talking.
Today’s independents aren’t “moderates” who want conventional, faux-centrist policies and less “gridlock.” Political partisans want less gridlock around issues of disagreement, because it advances individual party agendas and careers in addition to those issues. But in the main and with a few important exceptions — women’s health and rights, racial justice, gun violence — both parties have agreed and cooperated on broad policy goals.
Leaders of both parties, for example, broadly believe in the current military style of policing. Both believe in a justice system that coerces defendants into plea bargains, guilty or innocent. Both believe in the “importance of Wall Street to the economy” and that big financial institutions should be defended, not broken up. Both parties have offered and enacted a long and strong diet of lower taxes, spending austerity, war and more war. We’ve had these policies, delivered in a fully bipartisan way, for decades.
Partisans and leaders of both parties believe, in the main, that the status quo needs a tweak, but should be kept in place. Today’s independents, in contrast, are done with that.
Which leads back to my first main point — that to win, Clinton must win Sanders independents. If she fails, she is likely to lose. The problem for Clinton is, how to do that.
A Preliminary Look at the Electoral College
Let’s look at that Clinton problem through the lens of the electoral map and electoral college, courtesy of Earl Ofari Hutchinson writing at the Huffington Post (my emphasis):
Hillary Must Win Over Sanders Supporters — or Else
The general consensus is that Hillary Clinton will beat out Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination. The almost general consensus is that Clinton may not make it to the White House without Sanders. The numbers and the states that she has won are the starting point to figure out why. She’s trounced Sanders in Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas, Mississippi, North Carolina and Arkansas. With the very iffy exception of North Carolina and Virginia, these are states which she has absolutely no chance of winning in November. She also trounced Sanders in Florida, Ohio and Arizona. These are states that will at best be a tough slog to win. All three have GOP governors, and top heavy GOP controlled state legislatures. All three have been deeply implicated in putting on the books blatant voter suppression initiatives, laws, and ploys. The states that she has a lock on are the states that are lock down Democratic states anyway such as California and New York. George Bush Sr. was the last GOP presidential candidate to win California in 1988. Ronald Reagan was the last GOP presidential candidate to win New York in 1984.
Clinton will net close to 200 electoral votes from the Democratic lock states. But after that she’ll need to find 60 to 70 more electoral votes in states that have gone either way in general presidential elections the past two decades. That makes it a brutal, grind em’ out, numbers game to bag enough of those states to put her over the top. She’ll make a huge, all out drive to squeeze every African-American and Hispanic vote that she can get out of the swing states. That’s absolutely crucial. But that won’t be enough to insure a win in a state such as Michigan — also with a GOP governor, embattled yes, but still a GOP governor — and a state in which the GOP candidates combined got around 130,000 more votes than Clinton and Sanders in that state’s primary.
There’s only one place she can get the votes from to close the gap and that’s from Sanders’ impassioned backers. Yes, there’s lots of loose talk and some polls that claim that if Sanders isn’t the nominee, many of his supporters will write in Sanders name, stay home, or vote for a Green Party candidate.
Some may well do just that. The betting odds, though, are that most won’t. However, that doesn’t tell the story of what Clinton needs to do to insure Sanders’ supporters are on board with her. They have to be mobilized to actually believe that Clinton will be a president who will fight not to extend Obama’s programs, but fight for Sanders’ program
And that last sentence, for Hutchinson, is the problem. As I pointed out here, Clinton would have to become Sanders if she wants his voters, and Sanders has intimated as much about his own support of her.
On that problem, first Hutchinson:
As it now stands, Clinton would be hard pressed to find many of Sanders’ backers who believe that she will crack down on Wall Street, reinstate the Glass-Steagall firewall on the banks, fight for hard-nosed regulations on the financial industry and back Sanders’ oft-stated demand that the big banks be broken up. There’s disbelief that she would try to slap a hefty tax bill on the wealthy and major corporations and that she can deftly pivot and call for a single payer health care plan. Clinton’s answer to each of Sanders’ proposals has been a mix of cautious reform and protest that his programs are too starry-eyed, costly and absolutely impossible to get through any Congress.
But that’s the dilemma. These are the exact proposals that Sanders repeatedly has shouted to crowds that stand in line for hours to see and hear him, and that pack arena after arena in the states; the very states that top the list of the handful of states that will decide the White House.
He may not play his strongest hand himself when the time comes, but he may not have to. As Hutchinson suggests, every Sanders-supporting independent (as opposed to Sanders-supporting Democrat) will play it in her mind for him, and each will judge Clinton on the outcome.
Two Questions for Clinton
The questions then, if Clinton is the nominee, are these:
- Will she embrace Sanders’ policies or not?
- If she does embrace them, can she do it in a way that’s convincing?
Either of the answers could be Yes or No. With respect to the first, I have no idea what Clinton will choose to do, and perhaps she doesn’t yet know herself. With respect to the second, I have no idea what she’s capable of doing.
Nevertheless, everything that happens at the convention, then in November, then still later as the next administration takes office and the parties adjust to the new political reality, will flow from those answers.
We’ll look at the convention, the November election, and what comes after that in future installments.
There is nothing honest Clinton will ever be capable of doing to get informed voters to follow her off the cliff. If she wins the nomination, she deserves to lose. At that point it is more important to fight against the strong arming Democratic establishment than it is to run around like the sky is falling because of Republicans. The Democrats will lose because they are out of touch and apathetic to anything but their own agenda, and because they deserve it. At least the Republicans are consistent and straightforward, that is easier to fight against in the long run. The Democrats must not be rewarded.
Right, Hillary will not crack down on Wall Street in any way, shape or form. Her son-in-law is a hedge fund dude. No way will she seek prison sentences for Wall Street criminals. On foreign policy she will continue to be her warmongering, Henry-Kissinger-worshipping, self. She thinks that’s smart. Bernie can’t “throw his support” to Hillary. He has no control over how his supporters will vote. Her only hope in the general is that the repugs will put up a weak candidate, and there is a high probability that will happen.
Over at SST, Pat Lang submits the following scenario:
And he recalls that if there is no majority, the House elects the President, and the Senate elects the Vice-president.
This summer could be hot.
Write-in votes in a U.S. Presidential election are purely symbolic, and don’t elect a President, because we don’t directly vote for Presidential candidates in the U.S. We vote for electors. Admittedly, it is possible for electors linked to other candidates to vote for whomever they choose, and that person could be Sanders. But that’s extremely unlikely.
I hear the excitement in that scenario, but it seems incredibly unlikely to play out that way.
Just like people were saying Obama wasn’t electable in 2008 but actually won in a landslide, in an election with Cruz as the GOP nominee, Trump running an organized independent campaign, and Sanders supporters writing him in, Clinton almost assuredly would win in a landslide, both in terms of the electoral college and the popular vote.
You might have something like 65 million Clinton votes, 50 million Cruz votes, 20 million Trump votes, and 5 million Sanders votes, give or take. For Sanders to have an impact, he has to be running an organized independent campaign, which means organizing electors, voter signature petitions, a VP candidate, and so forth relatively quickly after the California presidential preference primary. And for Trump to have an impact in a way that actually challenges Clinton and Cruz, he would have to create a more organized campaign than he has to date. The issue isn’t just getting people out to vote, which perhaps he could do. The first issue is getting on state ballots as an Independent. Even the Green Party isn’t on every state ballot (not saying that’s a great example of organization, just pointing out that there’s a reason the Dems and Repubs have such a lock on a two-party system).
Obama and McCain were neck and neck in 2008 — until Lehman.
That’s the misconception I’m challenging, though. In the establishment view that wants a horse race, maybe they were close. But that wasn’t an objective prediction of disinterested observers; it was political operatives and media salesmen talking their book.
In reality-land, Obama was the de facto President by June. In national polling, Obama consistently led McCain from spring all the way through the fall, the energy was all on the Democrats’ side, and in the electoral college map (which is all that really matters in terms of deciding a winner) Obama was blowing McCain out of the water. Obama had a huge convention rally in Denver while McCain was so desperate he was picking Palin as a running mate.
The notion that Lehman single-handedly shifted the election strikes me as a rather odd description of the 2008 cycle.
Trump is too late to run an independent campaign. Even Bloomberg thinking that in March was too late.
The process of getting on the ballot in many states is onerous. For instance, to sign the petition to get a candidate on the ballot, you have to NOT be a registered Dem or Republican. And many states have pretty early cut-off dates too.
If Clinton is the nominee, which i expect, she might (1) sound like she’s embracing Sanders’ policies, but (2) no one will believe her. And if she is the nominee the number of democrats will further decline.
I usually register independent because it is nobody’s business who I vote for. But since Maryland is a closed primary I registered Democrat for this cycle. Bernie is the only credible candidate, because of his policies.
If Clinton wins the nomination what will “unifying the party” look like? If it is the usual matter of rhetoric, repudiated when it comes down to specific day-to-day action, then it will be easy to disbelieve. That scenario leads to either a Bernie write-in campaign, or not turning out at the general. Or maybe voting for Jill Stein. The trouble with a Presidential system with a fixed term is there is no effective mechanism for establishing and enforcing a coalition. Perhaps the Bernie-block at the Democratic Convention can force the VP pick, but VPs can be sidelined, and are only one member of a twenty some member cabinet, so the lone voice will be consistently drowned out.
There needs to be a way that Bernie through the very substantial force of the Bernie-block gets to choose a credible proportion of the members of the Cabinet. This might be up to 40%, or at least 8 members. These would include the VP and very ideally the Treasury Secretary also.
But it is ultimately the prerogative of the President to hire and fire Cabinet members, so once the candidate is through the door, s/he can craft the Cabinet that the big donors expected.
This is the problem in a 2-party Presidential system with fixed terms: getting to and establishing an accountable coalition.
Some will believe anything she says. It’s unfortunate, but the continuing existence of Obama supporters, despite his numerous betrayals of those same supporters, shows that this will happen. Faith isn’t just a religious phenomenon — it’s present in politics, too.
And loyalty. Clinton has loyal followers who identify strongly with her struggles and successes – she has, after all, survived fifteen years or more of coordinated attacks from the most vicious and irresponsible scum on the planet. I mean, why would anyone put themselves into this toxic destructive mess in the first place unless supremely motivated? How do you get thoughtful sensible people to enter the arena when mendacity and greed are general and unpunished?
I would disagree. Clinton’s core base is those Americans who have retained Democratic Party identification. If either Trump or Cruz win, or a boring GOP elder is forced in at the convention, Clinton has a very nice angle not to go after Sanders supporters who are independents to the ‘left’ of the Democratic Party but rather to go after a significant chunk of Republican and Republican-leaning individuals. Her coalition in the general will be triangulation, not uniting core Democrats with Sanders supporters.
This strategy of running to the right will work until leftists vote en masse against it.
I agree. There is a lot of good material in this post but this sentence is, I think, not correct:
She clearly can, and will, target moderate Repubs and middle-of-the-road and low-info independents, of which there are still a good number. She will make the “you have no alternative” play for Sanders supporters but nothing more. The post seems to take for granted that all registered Repubs will for sure line up for Trump or Cruz, which seems less likely to me than all Dems lining up for HRC.
Clinton’s “core base” are her campaign contributors. The voters are just a means to the end.
Oh, agreed. But I think the transmission mechanism for converting money into votes is important. Or perhaps to say it differently, the Clinton campaign wouldn’t receive the dollars in the first place if they didn’t have the overwhelming support of the party infrastructure. And of course thanks to selection bias and other forces over time, the more that has pushed people to identify as an Independent rather than a Democrat, the more the remaining Democrats orbit around this type of organized control. It has reached such hilarious extremes that competitive states like Missouri or Sanders wins like Colorado have not a single superdelegate that supports Sanders.
that’s quite a hierarchy: superduperdelegates delegate the superdelegates who in turn delegate the delegates.
Oh, very good point. I think you are right. Voter loyalty is part of the “investment prospectus” that Democrats will hand off to “investors”, and “customers.” This may offer possible insight into Clinton’s behavior of late as her voter support is clearly collapsing; she now has to convince “investors” that she still has a good chance at winning the general election to try and keep them from bailing out. Especially when she likely needs more money.
While she has amassed a formidable war chest, I think it was intended for the general election. Instead, she had to burn through it for the primary, comprising her funding for the general election. Her resent “fundraising” is likely trying to fend off concern that the money is disappearing.
I fear you are correct. Clinton carries the 10% and the paycheck-to-paycheck 10% wannabes.
Republican turnouts include those who got off their asses in a primary for the first time to vote against Trump. In a straw poll of my Repug friends, all two of them reluctantly support Clinton in a Clinton/Trump election, and are undecided on Sanders/Trump — Kasich guys who fear the Communist as much as the Fascist.
Even though internals show Sanders with more Republican crossover, 15% to her 10%, she still beats Trump soundly on all cards. If evidence of her “shenanigans” sees the light of day in November, a strong elect-then-impeach contingent wouldn’t surprise.
IMHO tea leaves say Clinton in an acrimonious pit fight with the bought-and-paid-for supers carrying the floor. At that point I double-down on Sanders: start giving twice as much and won’t take “no thank you” for an answer. A strong write-in campaign would give him a legitimate shot.
It can’t happen in the U.S. I’ll leave the reason why as an exercise for the reader.
Clinton can not win Republicans. That is absurd. True many do hate Trump, but he’s unlikely to be the nominee, and maybe if he was they would just stay home. If this is her strategy, it’s not much of one. It doesn’t depend on what any powerless (well they are usually) people on the left do, Republicans can’t stand Hillary Clinton. In fact there are probably at least as many Republicans who back Sanders as Clinton (they like his honesty if not his policies) and neither is that large a crowd.
I note that there was a massive any-body-but Mitt Romney too. Once he won the nomination, Republicans fell in line almost instantly. I am always a bit skeptical when they say Trump will split the party.
Or how McCain was basically a Dimmiecrat.
as a left wing independent i approve this message.
I too disagree with GP, along the same lines as washunate. The path to the White House for either establishment candidate is based on voter suppression, and the DNC has thus been doing very effective work on KITV (keep in the vote) since at least the turn of the century. If both Sanders and Trump supporters are shut out, it would be highly unlikely for them to be able to see the many common policies they share and form a platform that could topple the D-R hegemony (at least this year).
This means that HRC has in fact been implementing the more effective strategy: keep the hippies at home and triangulate hard to the right.
When I ran for office, I was at a polling site and a transport van drove up. A group of elderly disembarked, wandering confused until directed to the door. One held a piece of paper showing how to vote (illegal but unenforced).
IIRC, keeping an old customer is ten times (sigfig?) more efficient than getting a new one. I suspect the same applies to voters. On another thread, concern is expressed that gdp is a poor marker of general prosperity. Likewise, the feels of donating feeds the machine, but the only, repeat only, thing that counts is votes. Even those are discounted at the superdelegate store. But they can be turned, as happened last time HRC lost a presidential nomination.
The independents count for nothing until the general. The status quo is fine winning with a plurality. Or losing to a non-reformer. Hope? Here’s the hope: that those who bought O’s marketing are now 8 years wiser, and will not fall for ‘best liar wins’ or wallow in a puddle of bile and salt tears. This is the solution to GP’s last questions, the answers to both are No, and the rebuttal is a verifiable record.
Sigh…all of this is making my brain hurt.
In no particular order, here are my thoughts:
1. I don’t believe anyone in the Clinton campaign is treating the Sanders variable with the importance it deserves; I think there’s still a belief that a majority of voters, when faced with the possibility of a President Trump or a President Cruz, will put on their hazmat suits and vote for Clinton. I think they are wrong.
2. I don’t believe anyone in the Clinton campaign is paying enough attention to the significant demographic deficits she clearly has; after trying to convince young people that she’s for them, even if they aren’t for her, and that falling with a resounding “thud,” she has now resorted to telling “back in the day” stories that may or may not be true in an effort to forge a bond. It’s not working, and she appears irritated and annoyed by that.
3. I get the sense that Clinton is just getting sick of trying to be something she’s not and can’t wait to kick Sanders to the curb so she can go back to where she is most comfortable.
4. I’ve come to see Clinton as one of the most inauthentic figures of our time, whose ambition has nothing to do with the people she purports to want to represent, and everything to do with the power she will have and the opportunities for the unlimited accretion of wealth that will attend to it. She is the poster child for all that Sanders has been campaigning against, and is one reason why she will not get the votes of as many Sanders supporters as she thinks.
5. Even if she wins, a Clinton presidency will never be about her “getting things done,” it will be about special prosecutors, impeachment, the corrupt family foundation. A dollar says we will go to war somewhere. Another dollars says she will staff her WH with friends from Wall Street, former Bush administration military minds, and there will be little trace of anything remotely Sanders-like. I expect her to get the full Elizabeth Warren treatment; she won’t like that much, but oh, well. If Clinton does win in November, I look for her to get a Democratic challenger in 2020 – she won’t get a second term.
6. If I never have to hear about the Children’s Defense Fund again, it will be too soon.
7. I’m tired of being expected to preserve and protect the Democratic establishment’s hold on power at the expense of my own interests.
Guess that’s enough ranting for this morning.
Pretty cogent arguments, no cuss words – more of a confession than a rant! Can;t say I disagree with any of your points…..
That was spot on Anne. You should write the follow up articles.
Spot on indeed… my thoughts/fears precisely but more expertly stated :) Thank you.
5. Even if she wins, a Clinton presidency will never be about her “getting things done,” it will be about special prosecutors, impeachment, the corrupt family foundation. A dollar says we will go to war somewhere. Another dollars says she will staff her WH with friends from Wall Street, former Bush administration military minds, and there will be little trace of anything remotely Sanders-like.
You think you saw gridlock under Obama? Wait until HRC is in the White House. Nothing will get accomplished, or at least nothing of any value.
anything of value to whom?
Right. What business wants, business gets, business help us all.
Hah! The HRC Democrats will relish in the increased grid-lock, using it as fuel to say “oh well, can’t get anything done…”, all the while moving forward with their internal agenda. More scapegoat bait, more decline, more ignorant leadership.
Well, I am a true independent (some of my political views qualify as “hard right”, at least around here) and I will write in Bernie if l, as I suspect, Team D denies him the nomination.
I will not vote $hill, not if Bernie himself bicycles to my house to make a personal plea.
Ok, that’s not true. I would vote for conviction, indictment, and a truly draconian punishment. But not public office.
As “Vatch” has repeated ad nauseam, we vote for electors. Consider voting green. If the Greens get to 5%, they can receive federal funding. This is how to turn the Greens from rabble into a viable political party.
yes thanks vatch, it’s good to know so I can weigh it in the future, if necessary…
OK, I like the idea of Green, I have promoted (verbally) Jill Stein over Obama and the SO voted for her over O in 2012. I live and vote in Canada, we even have one (1) Green MP here. Proportional voting would help a lot, but we don’t have that, so well, one MP, Elizabeth May.) As you can see, she often gets herself in hot water, and even if she doesn’t, the media says she did. Whatever.
Anyway, my point is that in the 2011 election we (my neighbourhood/riding in Toronto) saw lots of Green
signs, in the 2015 I saw nada. Neither time did anyone knock on my door, I think I got one door-hanger in 2011 but nothing in 2015. My conclusion: they have no grassroots organization. In the US, Jill Stein and the Greens got not much from 2012/2 on an anti-war and pro heathcare and climate change fixing platform. They didn’t even come up to govt funding level. Green Party USA founded in 2001, built as a coalition of Green and Greenalish Parties going back to at least 1984, boasts “Currently we have more than 100 elected officials around the country, mostly at the municipal level, working to enact Green policies. We run many candidates who put Green issues on the table in elections at every level.” More than 100. Head-desk.
Uhhhn, extrapolate this, even at a log rate we are looking at a multi-generational time-scale for the Greens to make a significant diff. What makes anyone think that the Green or any other third party can match what Bernie Sanders has done in one year? If the climate scientists are right, which I am pretty sure they are (disclaimer — background in risk management, so I don’t require a 100% certainty of global annihilation to be convinced that we should do something), then Bernie Sanders is our last best hope, people. The Anthropogenic Climate Change clock is ticking.
Yes, if Bernie doesn’t make it then we have other avenues, but they will take (at least) decades, which I don’t think we have. This conjunction (astrological term!) of the right candidate, the right organization, the right voters, the right zeitgeist and the right (as in, abysmal) alternative candidates is not likely to come again. Please, can’t we just elect Bernie? If we can’t perhaps we really don’t deserve better. I don’t know what I’ll tell my granddaughters, though.
At the very least, voting green allows for a quick and easy way for the Dems to count the votes they lost.
You and Vatch are missing the point. It is not about electing Sanders, who while an honest person, isn’t why a write in campaign is necessary. If he were elected as President, he wouldn’t be able to do very much. He would propose Medicare for All, jobs, investments, and other important things. But NONE of them will happen because of the lackey’s of the 1% in the Congress who are immune to public pressure.
It would be far better to have him win a write in vote with 39-41% of the ballots and have the American people be told we don’t have a democracy! The American Revolution started with 1/3 of the people wanting to throw out the British, 1/3 neutral, and 1/3 supporting the Tories. It is time to begin to mobilize those that want a real democracy and bring along those that are currently neutral. The 1% controls everything, and many are beginning to specifically identify that is the situation (including Trump supporters) but the point needs to be driven home with a sledgehammer.
Okay, maybe you can convince me. Has a write-in candidate for President ever received more than 1% of the popular vote in the United States? I’m not asking about independent third party candidates, or about non-party candidates such as Ross Perot or John Anderson who were officially on the ballot in many states.
Yea that would be believable if Sanders seemed to have the popular vote in the primaries (of course this is very hard to tell) and if the primary was only stolen for Hillary via superdelegates. But if not, you’ve got nothing.
If Sanders can’t even significantly beat Clinton in the primary I have my doubts he is the choice of voters (that he should be is another matter). You don’t show that the system is un-democratic if Hillary actually carries New York and California etc. (unless there is a significant trail to say voting machine hacking or something). Maybe you show voters are idiots but that’s another matter.
From Wikipedia fwiw, naming a slate of electors may be part of the paperwork in some states. In Illinois (also fwiw since the only document found so far references offices other than President) candidates need to file in every jurisdiction where they want to run as a write-in (in this case counties); and there are “sore loser” laws against being a write-in or independent candidate after an unsuccessful bid to get a party nomination. Ballotpedia also references varying state laws and precedents for whether state sore loser laws would apply to presidential candidates.
Number 7, in particular. Glen Ford is correct–Dems are not the lesser of two evils, unless you are voting for congressional Dems against a Repub President. If we’ve seen anything this campaign cycle, its is that any Dem supporting Hillary against Bernie won’t challenge Hillary on any of her proposals should she become President. That’s exactly what happened with Obama: he’s behaved like a Bush II Repub and no one has challenged him. I will never vote for Hillary under any circumstance. It’s time to redefine, perhaps, what represents evil.
I would add a Number 8: It is totally unconscionable that an individual under criminal investigation by the FBI should even be put forward as a presidential candidate. What have we become as a nation when we have a potential felon running for the highest office?
To #7 I find myself commonly making this argument and agree that hillary will seamlessly move that nightmare forward and I too will vote for hillary under no circumsatnces. To #8 I’m astonished that this is not a disqualifying factor and have to chalk it up to disruption philosophy, breaking laws is ok if you plan on destroying those laws anyway…kalanick is probably helping hillary work that out…
It is totally unconscionable that an individual who laughs at the murder of another, however sinful that person may have been, should ever be put forward as a presidential candidate.
YES !! 100% agree. That laugh was macabre and I don’t doubt she was the only one that laughed. Soul less is my only take on that.
Amen! Very good points, especially the point about HRC being under investigation by the FBI. The ShrillBot supporters who finds ways to twist themselves into triple-pretzel shapes to “excuse” this are just making me sick. The D party doesn’t need their own version of Tea Partiers, as we have them already in our party.
I’m fed up with people who find ways to genuflect to the Clintons. They are mean-spirited greedy totally corrupt vile individuals.
I’ve been an Indie for ages and ages bc I gave up on the D-party, esp at the Fed level, a loooong time ago. However, I registered D bc in CA I have to in order to vote for whom I want. This time my vote goes to Bernie, even though he’s no shining savior. But he’s the best we got.
If Bernie loses, then I’m voting Green in the general. F**k Clinton. She’s a fraud, a duplicitous war-mongering hateful greedy lousy excuse for a human being. No thanks.
Yes. I know that one has to make compromises in politics, and that no candidate is going to perfectly represent my interests except me, and I really, really don’t want to do that job.
Personally, there are some lines I will not cross: one is that I won’t *ever* vote for a war criminal.
So yeah. if the choice is lesser good vs lesser evil, no brainer.
I 1. The Sanders support is irrelevant to power. I’ve seen the left flare up and die over and over again. Clinton will likely get the primary and I don’t see indies voting for Trump’s rudeness or Cruz’s theocracy. 2. O lost 16% of C voters and won handily. C can lose a significant part of Sanders and win handily. 4. Sanders never mentions Clinton’s slush fund foundation nor her shell companies and it’s more relevant in the primary against Sanders but less relevant in the general when the Rs are also financially corrupt. 5. Clinton will get her agenda done… you don’t think the oligarchs behind the Rs will push them to approve privatizing schools, TPP, SS/MCR cuts and shift to privatization, privatization of public assets (watch for those mislabeled public/private partnerships), block wage increases, and never ending wars. Clinton is Cheney when it comes to foreign policy and I just can’t imagine the Rs giving up those campaign kickbacks from the MIC.
Yeah, I am afraid you are right. I read and weep.
Regarding 5., I’ll wager that a President Clin… BAH I can’t write it… is impeached (about those emails) by the GOP House by January 24th.
I’m looking forward to subsequent posts, as I’ve been wondering what a Clinton presidency would look like. One thing to consider, though, is what would be the effect of certain unplanned, external events on this election, and on the next administration? It feels like we’re heading toward another financial crisis, and I don’t think that any President, except perhaps for Sanders, would be able to weather the fallout.
My disaster scenario is that
– HRC wins in 2016
– we suffer another devastating financial crisis during her presidency
– she bails out Wall Street yet again
– we see hard right, anti-Hillary sweep in 2020 at federal and state level, which locks in hard right power for at least a decade and probably gets us a federal balanced budget amendment to boot.
oh, no, wall street won’t be bailed out; they’ll be bailed in.
Yep. They will be seizing depositor accounts for next round. Should go nicely hand in hand with social security cuts. I can’t get my elderly parents to not eff us over… we’re in our 50s and know Sanders is our only chance not to get completely effed.
Using whose savings? Wouldn’t that impact her constituents?
Yep, that’s what I love about the bail-in and war on cash hysteria in the US context. Our financial assets are so unequally distributed that the majority of American households have no meaningful bank account holdings at all, and the vast majority have nothing above six figures. At this juncture, in the land of bad neoliberal options, haircutting account values over $100K would practically be a good policy choice. Heck, even haircutting above $10K would mostly hit more affluent households.
The thing about that scenario is an actual balanced budget amendment would itself cause havoc, upsetting the established order. We now have structural deficits. The coalition in DC can neither raise taxes on the wealthy meaningfully nor restrain wasteful spending meaningfully.
And if you can’t do either of those things, you can’t balance the budget. There’s no fat to trim; the entire deficit is tax cuts and wasteful spending for connected insiders, from national security to healthcare to FIRE to agribusiness to energy.
This article seems to look at Hillary’s prospects against a generic Republican. But the odds are that she will be going against Trump, with a small chance that she will be up against Cruz. And let’s face it Trump is a candidate that even Hillary can beat. There’s little doubt that Bernie would do better in the general election, because he is almost immune to Trump’s “outsider attack.”
Not sure you are right – Trump demolished the Republican Party;s conventional candidates – and he may well demolish Sen Clinton. Consider this Trump quote: “Of course the CLintons came to my wedding – I gave a million bucks to their foundation”. DOes he really need another argument when he can hit this one 24-7?
I agree. Trump could win. I don’t think we can predict because they are both so polarizing. He inspires fervent followers and alienates never Trumpers. She has loyal dems, never Trumpers and women’s turn but must fight Populists of all stripes and the never Hillary crowd. It is personal and ugly on all sides.
Agree. Trump wrestles no-holds-barred, Hillary is big on privilege and “tone”. My prediction is that if Hillary and the Donald are the nominees, he will have her on toast in Debate #1 and in tears by Debate #2. I would like to see that but only in the same way that (I have read) Japanese householders, knowing that their city was about to become ash, sat out on the steps to watch the flames.
Bernie is squeaky clean on trade, Hillary is filthy dirty on trade and extremely vulnerable to Trump on trade (TPP).
-Hillary is a dangerous human being. Trump won’t hold back unless he is a plant. The natural Clinton reaction is to prove what warmongers they are. Hillary will double down.
-the GOP is in decline through age, but they will come around. They hate Hillary more than Trump.
-Democrats rely on transient voters. Even now, people registering to vote for Sanders will have new addresses by November. The last voter registration drive was in 2012. Who is going to register voters for Hillary? Her walker brigades won’t go to ghettos or stand outside in the summer heat registering voters, and Hillary might have the support of black elites but won’t have the support of Hispanic or black activists. Hillary has made no secret of her strategy to appeal to fascist women in the suburbs. The Democrats will actively depress their vote.
In 2012, Obama’s numbers only climbed when he didn’t sound like a college republican. He naturally broke those promises, but Hillary won’t make any kind of progressive noise as soon as she is able. Even then, Obama actually ran against an honest to god Robber Baron. A robber baron.
NTG, Why do you believe the business wing of the GOP, particularly including all those middle managers of export businesses, won’t go hard for Clinton, and additionally exert their usual
threats and blackmailsoft power among their “inferiors” and employees, if she cues up a nice right-wing business-friendly cabinet chock full of Merrick Garland types?
“They hate Hillary more than Trump.” That’s an observation of a tendency of some members of a heterogeneous population. Yellow dog partisans can be discounted as part of the baseline. Businesspeople, on the other hand, identify as businesspeople before they identify as partisans, and they vote their superior station wherever the evidence therefor takes them.
Tribal loyalty trumps all, and they voted to make Palin, a clearly troubled candidate, Vice President. Sorry, Hillary Clinton isn’t going to create swing voters. They don’t exist.
Please imagine Hillary the Thin-Skinned vs The No-boundaries Donald. She will be toast in Debate #1, tears by Debate #2.
Bernie won’t say that, even Cruz won’t say that, but Trump is no gentleman and *he will say it*.
We shall see. In weaker moments I almost prefer the prospect of Pres Trump to Pres Clinton – it certainly won’t be more of the same! Sen Clinton is such a pure epitome of what is wrong and corrupt about our political system – compromised by the necessity of dialling for dollars (begging for bribes), messaging that is designed to “sell” and based on misdirection and deception, utterly controlled by the MIC and its propaganda arm the media. Really bad and getting to the point that even the rubes are figuring it out.
If CLinton is the dem candidate, there’s a very good prospect she will lose. Apparently it is true that the Dems would rather lose with their candidate than win with a challenger. But again, we shall see if self-preservation wins or if we poor thinking citizens will be insulted and demoralized yet again by a Democratic Party that has been co-opted by the forces of greed and dominion.
I’m sorry but I can’t help a bit of nitpicking on an item in the article which obscures a basic fact. Those numbers on ‘independents’ who lean one way or the other are far less significant than the article indicates. To wit: the author states that 17% of the independents lean Republican and 15% Democratic. But those numbers are incorrect as 17% of the ‘electorate’ turns out to be 40% of the independents – for the Democratic leaner’s the 15% of the electorate turns outs to be 35% of the independents. In sum what the numbers really say is that basically 43% of the electorate is Republican (or conservative if you like) and 45% of the electorate is Democratic (or liberal if you like) and a mere 12% of the electorate are actual independents. Sort of right in line with historical numbers. There really are few actual independents out there and this undercuts many of the authors arguments.
A lot of this imaginary growth of independents is just a response to media influence (as in it is sort of more sophisticated to say one has an independent mind – when few really do), or the desire to partake in primary voting so as to try and vote in the worst candidate in the party you dislike (there are a lot of votes in my family being made using that technique this year). There are folks in my family who are registered in the party they dislike the most so they can primary vote for bad candidates in states which have closed primaries also. And everyone in the family lies through their teeth to any pollster who makes the mistake of getting too close to them.
BTW, one thing that will not help her with independents or repugs and even with some dems is this extra-special-strong hatred she is exuding right now for guns. Of course this is only to try to beat Bernie, but in the general the repugs will remember. The video clips will remember. Youtube will remember.
IMHO this article is proof of the need for a 3rd independent party… I hope and pray that Sanders and/or Trump starts it if he doesn’t get the nomination.
I would like to see it happen, even if it’s by Trump. Something needs to break this log jam. I’m not fond of Trump, but I do appreciate some of what he’s doing. He is shining a light on how corrupt things are. Unfortunately, Trump would be just as corrupt, as well as being incompetent. Sanders, at least, does know how to govern. I may not agree with everything about Sanders, but he’d be a damn sight better than Clinton or anything coughed up by the R team.
I would love to see Bernie run as an Independent if he doesn’t get the nomination.
I believe he would not only keep the support of those he already has, but gather even more if folks were given the choices of Hellary or Trump or Cruz as the alternative.
Even more, I’d love to see him win that way while enjoying the aftermath of the other nominees scratching their heads while whining, “What happened? I thought I’d bought enough votes to win?”
Pass the popcorn, please?
He never will but I signed the letter to Bernie anyway. Ha.
I’m not going to link but anyone can look up roarmag.org and love letter to Bernie and sign.
Hellary is already trying to gather the votes of Bernie supporters by PRETENDING to have swung to his views (while saying–with help of MSM–she has this nomination locked up with support of delegates).
Her biggest mistake is in thinking we’re dumb enough to believe her.
No, Hellary. We have brains & know how to use ’em.
I continue to wait & see if any of those super-delegates have the guts to break from the status quo & back Bernie as he continues to gather the support of voters.
As noted, even in states where he’s won by big margins, they continue to back Hellary.
And she thinks we’re the dumb ones?
I think those super-delegates better open their eyes to the unrest that’s happening in this country.
The outcome (such as a Republican in office) may not be pretty if they continue to ignore us.
Another trend to watch: Temporary Democrats.
We’re the people who were Independents, but switched affiliation in order to vote for Bernie. I’m one of them. And, in the wee hours of the morning after our March 22 primary, I re-registered as an Independent.
Why? Because I can’t shake the suspicion that Hillary’s camp was behind a good chunk of the voter suppression in AZ.
She also had a lot of local advantages that Bernie didn’t have. Like office space in the Pima County Democratic Party HQ. (Bernie had to rent his own space in another Tucson location.)
So, buh-bye, Democrats. I’m done with you.
Not just temporary democrats. Permanent ones leaving. That will be me and many others after my April 26 vote for Bernie. I”m done w the party for good.
Yeah, or Sanders telling us that *we* have an ace.
The headline is illogical: “Neither Party Can Win Without Winning Independents”.
If independents split roughly into thirds, one-third voting D, one-third voting R, and one-third voting for candidates of other parties or just not voting at all, neither the D nor R party would win the independents, but I am pretty sure that one party or the other would still win the election. It might not win with a majority of the popular votes–votes candidates of other parties could deprive them of both of that–but the winning party would still win. And many people will lose either way.
If Clinton weren’t running against Trump I would buy this more readily. But the media is doing her advance work, in precisely the identitarian fashion that has served Dems and Republicans for decades–demonizing Trump for his racism w.o. acknowledgement of any of the legitimacy of his positions or the legitimacy of the issues behind them by his voters. Trump will be the buffoon, and she will win fairly handily. (Not as handily as projected, because a lot of people will be ashamed to tell voters they are lodging protest votes, but will do it anyway.)
It is probably not Hillary, per se, but rather her corporate sponsors who would make the real decisions around any ace in the hole list of demands Sanders or his supporters might present in exchange for support and they are existentially opposed to just about anything that would be in such a request. As has been suggested, they – and probably Hillary as well, would argue first and last for triangulation, using moderate Republicans rather than making any deals with Bernie s-o-c-i-a-l-i-s-t-s.
Even if this were not true, that is, if Hillary was the decider, the notion that she would even consider Sander’s “Ace in the hole” is tenuous at best. Among other things, Hillary has been frustrated and offended by Sanders’ repeated refrain on corporate sponsors. And it’s deservedly so which only makes the sting that much sharper. Even if she could get over that personal hurdle (imagine Rahm Emanuel getting beyond the “fu*king retards”), and assuming, say in a desperate ploy for votes, she accepted such a fundamental change to her platform, her ideology, and her general sense of aristocratic entitlement, it is INCONCEIVABLE she would go on to honor the agreement. She is incapable of keeping campaign promises. She is the consummate politician of corruption saving things by destroying them and counting on the media to re-brand the violence as sweet smelling gifts. No one is going to change HIllary’s spots, least of all this white haired thorn in her side that has had the audacity to challenge her right to reign.
Yet another issue that comes to mind; who, exactly, is going to decide on what makes up this ace in the hole and how are they going to enlist the agreement of Sanders voters who have demonstrated themselves, by in large, utterly fed up with the Democratic party in general and the likes of Hillary specifically?
It is about greed.
I believe that we live in a culture of unfettered greed, where the greedy have corrupted our institutions of government and our system of justice.
Hillary embodies greed. Almost $12 million in speaking fees in less than 2 years, maximizing the narrow window of time between Secretary of State and presidential candidate. $12 million for herself. Because the Clinton’s net worth of well over $100 million was not enough.
For those people who wondered why, knowing she was going to run for president, why did Hillary pursue such an egregious scale of cashing in on speaking fees? The answer, which was almost never discussed, was simple: greed.
And greed on the scale exhibited by Hillary, is a character flaw, a deadly sin, an example self justified material gratification when a few hours of her time is believed to be worth more than millions of people will earn in a lifetime. And while greed of that scale is perfectly acceptable in the company Hillary keeps, it does greatly remove her from the value system of most in our society. In terms of a leader, for what is needed to fight for the change we as a country need, it is a fatal flaw.
Hillary’s greed is a fact. It is on a scale unimaginable to most people. Hillary does not donate her time. She does not mentor, or volunteer. As soon as the opportunity presented itself she cashed in, for millions. For Hillary, it is the American way, and she felt she deserved every penny the corporations gave her, along with the private jet transportation, 5 star hotel accommodations and limos she demanded as part of her package deal for speeches. She is entitled to be even richer than she already was.
That is Hillary’s America. Those are Hillary’s values. This is who she is, and this is the life she has chosen for herself. For Hillary to take on many of the most serious problems this country faces she would have to take on the people like herself and Bill and Chelsea. That will never happen.
Echoing some of the comments above, we need to look at hypothetical general election matchups. Per RealClearPolitics averages:
Clinton +10.6 vs Trump
Clinton +2.5 vs Cruz
Clinton -6.6 vs Kasich
That’s a pretty staggering 17.2% of Clinton voters who say that they would prefer a Kasich type if available. Obviously, things can change between now and November, but Clinton’s people are looking at these numbers and certainly thinking that maybe they can get away with writing off Bernie supporters, it all depends on who emerges from the Republican fray. If you want to know if Clinton will be accommodating to the left in any measure keep an eye on the shenanigans on the GOP side.
Kasich is being painted as a moderate. Please try of people afraid of Trump and Cruz won’t vote if the GOP candidate is a “moderate” and the Romney Republicans upset they don’t have a candidate anymore won’t stay home or even vote Hillary. I doubt they would vote for Hillary, but they might not vote for President.
John Boehner became reasonable over the last year.
The simple fact is Hillary would never have a chance if she had to run, like Bernie, without taking donations from Wall St and corporations seeking favors. How she gets her votes is beyond me. People are really that buffalo’d by Wall St that they would seek to enshrine Citizens United against their own best interests? Looks that way. It has to be Stockholm Syndrome at work. That’s the only thing that makes sense.
Kasich is their best bet, especially since Paul Ryan has now come out with a “no way, no how” statement. He says the candidate should be somebody that actually ran for the office. I predict Kasich will get the nomination. The Donald doesn’t really want it, IMHO.
If Hillary and Trump get the nomination:
Sanders voters stay home, Trump voters go nuts, Hillary wins because some Republicans hold their nose and vote for her, MAYBE.
If Hillary and Cruz get the nomination:
Sanders voters stay home, Republicans get in line and vote for Cruz. Cruz ends up being worse that W, and probably worse than Trump.
If Bernie gets the nomination:
My apologies for not reading every comment.
I continue to say that it is simply the reality that the Democratic Party risks losing the Presidential race if they put up the Clintons, instead of Sanders.
The Status quo wins either way if the Clintons lose, or win, and the beatings will continue. No one in their sane mind can organize effective street protests against the militarized police enforcers, not to mention National Guard troops as we remember used against protesters appearing as Woodstock Nation.
This is not to mention the prospects of systematic change.
The working man’s hope is that they won’t be at the wrong place at the wrong time when about everywhere is getting to be the wrong place.
If say even the Democrats want badly enough to win and put Sanders up which means they would. Sabotage of his administration’s goals would be great, and within the power of the banks and the individually wealthy so that further instability and unrest would be the realistic expectation.
We cannot even get a handle sometimes on what was done to make sure Carter was nullified as much as possible. The US is a nation of the rich and the poor again, as it often has been with fits of worker gains always set back.
It is a big enough world for the rich to weather most any set backs, whereas for the working person they are effectively forced to comply to every new or old edict because their divisions are maintained or recreated so much that they do not ever succeed in systematic overhaul.
If the US people were to ask & demand for a fair and just society all together they may be able to change the system. However Race and Gender politics keep them from being interested in justice for all.
Ah there ain’t no Class War? Not here.
If you resolve yourself to vote for the lesser evil, you thereby resolve yourself to vote for evil, when you have only uncertain grounds for judging which is the lesser one.
The whole tone has changed in the past week, as is evident in this piece, from one still tinged with hope of a Sanders miracle (unless you already knew most Independents were shut out of the voting process in New York and many remaining primaries by registration deadlines missed) to this notion that Sanders can negotiate some sort of deal with Clinton in return for his support.
I have serious doubts re Sanders’ leverage on commitments to particular policy positions, especially ones she has never embraced – respect for the rule of law at any level, for instance. While I think Bernie will do what he can (within the limits of his own campaign’s evident constraints) during the convention itself to appear supportive of a Clinton crowned, I suspect he will fade from view fairly quickly without ‘taking’ a lot of his supporters anywhere.
This week we’ve already had student loans debt for 400,000 canceled, a meeting between Obama and Yellen, and all sorts of noise surrounding some form of new stimulus action all aimed at goosing the economy even while risks continue to build from the prior cycle’s mountains of bad corporate debt, systemically important banks rapidly losing integrity in Europe, the early stages of a long, lumpy landing in China, and other woes. It seems evident Obama is seeking some means to tide the stock market and economy over until he can hand it off.
I do not believe Clinton much likes progressives, whom she doesn’t see as serious people – serious people are like her, the type that gets what she wants, and if it means violating the law to make something happen, well, that’s what you do.
The student debt cancellation was for handicapped people. That’s both a good thing and good PR, but the implication is that the able-bodied can pay back their debts in the economy our elites have created. That’s not so. It’s another bandaid on the cancer.
Yes, I knew that, Lambert. Of course, he could’ve done that at any time over the last several years – the point is, he did it now, and it’s apparent to me there is going to be a sizable effort to make swallowing Clinton somehow more palatable.
Trump has begun his “move-to-the-middle” pivot. He’s been making contrite, and, welcoming comments about his fallen Primary opponents. (except Cruz)
He even said Marco Rubio would make a fine Vice President. If you recall, Rubio polled highest vs any Dem.
I don’t know; a kinder, gentler Donald, teamed with young Marco, proposing centrist, working class, anti-establishment programs, add in Hillary hate, Dem. complacency, and stay homes, AND Hillary’s rejecting any reach-out to Bernie voters…….
Could the once-impossible become possible (probable?)
p.s. And, in this wacky-world election cycle, I wouldn’t discount some sort of Trump/Sanders coalition among their voters.