Bernie Sanders and the Blue Wall


The Politics of Crazy, available at Amazon

A pattern was evident in the results from the 2014 Election. Though the prevailing narrative focused on the number of Republican victories, a close look at the map revealed the culmination of a long, dangerous trend for the party. Those GOP victories were highly localized to a geographic bloc containing relatively few electoral votes. A Blue Wall was emerging that Republicans could not breach. Behind that wall lay enough Electoral College votes to lock Republicans out of the White House for the foreseeable future.

Democrats enthusiastically embraced the idea, delivered by a Republican blogger, that they couldn’t lose the 2016 Election. Lawrence O’Donnell read from the Blue Wall post on his MSNBC show. References to the Blue Wall show up daily in comments sections and message boards all over the Internet. Nate Silver considered the idea, expressing concerns that the concept was unsupported by polling.

Our world is complex and full of surprises, making predictions perilous. Democrats seem to have taken the news of their good fortune less as an opportunity than a challenge. Here’s the campaign slogan that most honestly expresses how Bernie Sanders would alter the logic of the Blue Wall: “Sanders 2016: Your Only Way to Lose.”

Bernie Sanders would break the Blue Wall in a way that no Republican could – from the inside.

Just as Republicans a generation ago threw away their chance at decades of political dominance, Democrats may be poised to follow the same path. To understand why, it might be helpful to examine the dynamics that shaped the Blue Wall and how Bernie Sanders is a kind of ‘perfect storm’ for Democrats.

Here’s the most critical thing to understand about the Blue Wall – it was not built by Democrats, but by Republicans. The Blue Wall rises from an incidental coalition of voters unimpressed with liberal politics, but disgusted by the increasingly racist and theocratic rhetoric from Republicans. Three critical voting blocs give the wall its character – African-Americans, Hispanics, and affluent urban/suburban voters (Blue State ticket-splitters).

Democrats have been successful in minority communities because they’ve been far more willing than Republicans to create a climate of acceptance and tolerance. It is important to remember that acceptance and tolerance are not the same as power.

The three groups that give the Democratic Party its resilience are united not by liberal political leanings, but by their disgust at Republican race-baiting and religious fundamentalism. Though Democrats are friendlier to minorities, at an institutional level they have only marginally more comprehension of or sympathy for black and Hispanic communities than Republicans. Issues of the highest priority to minority communities always take a back seat to the interests of union leaders and white progressives.

This means that minority communities find themselves voting Democratic out of a lack of options, a particularly acute dilemma among black voters. As urban communities struggle against resistance from public employee unions to get the vital public services they so desperately need, these tensions are rising to the surface. Black Lives Matter in particular finds itself facing its most immovable resistance inside the Democratic coalition.

This beats the treatment African-American voters receive from Republicans, but still leaves them frustrated. Much of the support that Democrats enjoy is a gift from Republicans who drove minority constituents away. Few Democrats recognize that dynamic, leading them to assume that the loopy ideas of leftist college students must automatically be shared by the rest of the Democratic coalition.

To win upwards of 70% of Hispanic voters and almost 95% of African-Americans you have to bring into your coalition millions of voters who are effectively holding their noses. Half of black and Hispanic Democrats identify ideologically as conservative or “mixed.”

Take a glance at comments by Sanders supporters online about their…ahem…’less enlightened’ black and Hispanic brethren and the outline of this problem becomes apparent. These voting blocs dislike each other a great deal more than either Democratic or Republican insiders recognize. White progressives are particularly oblivious to this fault line, imagining that their adoption of politically correct language and their support of a generous welfare state is more than enough to earn the warm gratitude of minority voters. Sanders is a kind of perfect storm, exposing in a sometimes ugly way the limits of minority influence in the political party they’ve committed to support.

Black voters in the US have a very unique relationship to the political system. The average black voter is far more politically active, motivated and informed than a peer of similar income and education in other groups. Why? Because politics has consistently been a matter of life and death for them. They aren’t screwing around. This is not entertainment.

While affluent white college students get all starry-eyed over folk-singer rhetoric, black voters care intensely about outcomes. They demand effectiveness. Despite their deep commitment to the Democratic Party (or perhaps because of it?) black interests always lose to the pet projects of affluent, privileged, white progressives. Black voters, especially in the country’s big cities, are growing bitter.

For Bernie Sanders to take the nomination on the strength of white progressives, especially college students, would rub salt in an already very raw wound. Black and Hispanic voters, weary of being taken for granted, are already feeling the Bern. It’s leaving them chafing.

Trapped between a Republican candidate hostile to their interests and a Democratic candidate oblivious to them, the Democratic nominee can still count on strong support. However, maintaining the Blue Wall requires more than “strong support” from minority voters. Obama carried barely 40% of white voters in 2012. Nothing short of dominant support and turnout in minority communities will hold the Blue Wall in place.

Democratic success among the last component of the Blue Wall, urban and suburban whites, is even more brittle. These consistent ‘split-ticket’ voters are the reason that Blue States like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Maryland, and Massachusetts frequently elect Republican Governors or Senators while almost always supporting Democrats for President. These voters are relentlessly moderate and in Blue Wall border-states they can account for a 10-15% swing, defeating liberal Democrats in favor or moderate Republicans on a consistent basis.

If Republicans ever stopped pandering to racists and religious extremists, these voters would switch sides quickly. If Democrats nominate a ‘Democratic Socialist’ from Vermont, these voters will be in play regardless of who the Republicans nominate.

Just like black and Hispanic voters, Blue State ticket-splitters are frustrated by the power of urban Democratic political machines and deeply hostile to the Democratic Party’s delusional left flank. They have increasingly supported Democrats in recent years as the DLC-style Democratic politics of the Clintons has become the norm. They prefer pragmatism over ideology in almost every case. Faced with a choice between a wacky, delusional Republican promising to slash their taxes and a wacky, delusional Democrat promising to take more of their money for pie-in-the-sky projects, their political direction becomes impossible to predict.

Some of the dynamics that created the Blue Wall will also serve to limit the odds of a Sanders nomination. However, not all of the groups that comprise the Blue Wall are active in Democratic primary politics. Many of those white split-ticket voters in Blue States vote in Republican primaries. Others are relatively disengaged from primary politics. Black and Hispanic voters active in the primaries generally lean farther left than their peers who turn out for the general election.

Worse for Democrats, Sanders brings the ‘Politics of Crazy’ into the Democratic Party to a degree we haven’t previously seen. As social capital institutions weaken all over our culture, remaining institutions like our established political parties struggle to hold back a tide of extremism and general nuttery. That drift toward the extremes could overwhelm the Democratic institutions that would otherwise block Sanders’ rise.

Would Bernie Sanders lose the General Election? Not necessarily, but Sanders is the only Democrat in the race who could lose the General Election. It would be difficult to conjure from imagination a Democratic candidate less suited to sustain the Blue Wall. Combine that problem with the significant possibility that Republicans will have a Hispanic at the top of their ticket and you see the weakness emerging.

Even with Clinton as the nominee it was going to be difficult for Democrats to maintain the near-unanimous black support Obama generated and deepen their gains among Hispanics. Lose Clinton, with her deep institutional ties to those communities and her massive embedded support, and the Blue Wall no longer holds.

Would minority voters shift their support to a Republican in large numbers if Sanders were the nominee? Probably not. But these are the communities whose commitment and turnout built the Blue Wall. A 10% fall-off in support and turnout among these voters would be a catastrophe, especially when you consider the impact of an untested, unvetted, socialist from Brooklyn on split-ticket voters in Blue States.

Sanders might be competitive in a general election, but only if Republicans remain determined to nominate the most obnoxiously unelectable candidate they can find. That might change if the party perceives an opening. If it looks like Sanders could take the Democratic nomination, delegates assembled in Cleveland would have all the incentive they need to carry out a Republican ‘Red Wedding’ at the convention. With Sanders as the potential Democratic nominee, Republicans aren’t going to be so generous as to nominate Donald Trump.

The Blue Wall analysis has a weakness – The Democratic Party. Bernie Sanders, as the nominee, would break the wall from within, making the outcome of the November election an open question.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in blue wall, Election 2016, Uncategorized
312 comments on “Bernie Sanders and the Blue Wall
  1. Linda says:

    Sorry you already have running the most unpalatable group of candidates you possibly could have gather on one stage. That includes Kasich. I am from OH and there is talk about how he can’t carry OH. If the democratic candidate in the last election did not have so many skeletons Kasich very well may have been a one term gov.. Here we know the real Kasich, not the one on the campaign trail.

  2. Ryan Ashfyre says:

    An article written by an African-American, Keli Goff, telling you why electability matters to black voters:

    All I can say is that it is a genuinely humbling piece that deserves your serious attention.

    • 1mime says:

      From your link, Ryan. And, yes, I agree completely.

      “I guess the question becomes whether the needs of less privileged voters will ever become a priority for more privileged progressives who have the luxury of letting inspiration be their guide.”

      My Black friends have told me many times that they (as a group) feel that the only time White people show any interest in them and their needs, is when there’s an election. I’d have to agree.

      I’m voting for the Democrat who has the core strength and the experience to get the job done. The more Hillary gets done, the more likable she’ll become. Give her a chance.

    • 1mime says:

      And – this observation simply says it all about the choice between Sanders and Clinton.

    • 1mime says:

      Here’s my last post today on last nights Dem debate. It’s a good one. I’m heading out to see Michael Moore’s new film which, in our neck of the woods, will probably be gone in 24 hours. Gotta catch it while I can (-:

      • 1mime says:

        Back from “Where to Invade Next”, by Michael Moore. I’m not always a fan of his movies but this one is most interesting and totally timely and relevant to our coming presidential election. As with all movies, things are rarely as simple as portrayed, but there’s enough substance here to really make each of us think more deeply on the status quo. I recommend you see it. My friend and I were among 7 attendees in our WASP community on its early morning, first day showing in our “arts” theater. I hope more people see it and would love to hear what conservatives think of its message. It’s all about choices and quality of life and how the political process reinforces and “enforces” the lifestyle we allow as citizens. Powerful.

    • Progressive Rebel says:

      You claim in your piece that Nader was a “spoiler” for Al Gore, which is simply a false statement. The Supreme Court *appointed* GW Bush, he was not elected, not even by the Electoral College. Al Gore actually *won* the Florida election. Look at 2004, when the Democrats went with the uninspiring John Kerry. We lost. Bernie can, and will bring out young voters, causing a possible shift in down ticket House and Senate races

  3. 1mime says:

    Another strong Democratic debate tonight. Substantive, relevant, good moderation, answers on point, few attacks while strong opinions….Both candidates did well; however, I think Hillary was stronger tonight than Bernie.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      My favorite moment was when Sanders said “Secretary Clinton, you’re not in the White House yet.”

      Just an off the cuff remark of course, but still amusing. 🙂

      In all seriousness though, I’ve been thinking Sanders really needed to try and come out ahead of Clinton, particularly on racial issues. With how much he’s trying to make inroads with African-Americans, the specifics are really going to matter and he just kept pivoting back to broad arguments about jobs, the economy and everything else. I don’t think that’s going to cut it.

      • 1mime says:

        I agree. At some point it begins to be tiresome. I noticed that Hillary’s strong finish right before Bernie’s closing remarks really rattled him. His close was not as strong. She scored there. I thought it was Hil’s night. The prior debate was closer. She pressed him on details and she was well prepared for his counter thrusts. Good debate. Hope some of the repubs were watching and learning so maybe we’ll get to see an equally substantive debate from them.

        I am really getting weary of all the debates….both sides. If they could vary the format – intersperse a town hall (like with MSNBC) between the formal debates…anything to change it up. Even as interested as I am, it is tiresome. Wonder how many debates there are planned for the two final nominees?

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        I’d like for them to do a town hall format like President Obama did in ’08 and ’12. I’m sure they’ll have that for the general election, but it would be refreshing to have it in the primaries too.

      • 1mime says:

        I agree. One thing that I found distracting and irritating was Sanders waving his hand. It was not only juvenile, it was intrusive while Hillary was speaking. All he has to do is raise his hand…there are only two of them on stage, it shouldn’t require a ten gun salute to get the attention of the two moderators mere feet away from them. With Hillary – she needs to stop the nodding after she makes a point. Similarly repetitive although not as disruptive as Sanders hand/finger wagging.

  4. 1mime says:

    I happened upon this youtube of the President’s address to the IL General Assembly yesterday. The vast majority of it dealt with his wishes for changes to make politics better. Included were campaign financing, voting, gerrymandering, working across the aisle, compromise…..It is approximately one hour in length, but for those who are interested in the machinery or process of politics, it is a wonderful speech. Obama also incorporated numerous historical references to leaders from both parties. Well done. I usually don’t take the time to watch these but I am happy I did. I think the speech was balanced and fair….almost a “goodbye”…a great primer on politics.

  5. fiftyohm says:

    So this is about 150 light years OT, but in the most significant news of the day, (decade or more, maybe), the LIGO team announced the discovery of gravitational waves today.

    So what?, you might ask? We now have a window to the universe outside of the electromagnetic spectrum for the first time in history. This discovery is at least as significant as the discovery of the Higgs Field at CERN. It’s a massive leap in our understanding of reality itself.

    This is an example of how basic research, funded by all of us through our taxes, can produce benefits, and lead to knowledge available through no other means. It’s breathtaking, really.

    • johngalt says:

      I completely agree. It’s a breathtaking accomplishment.

    • 1mime says:

      I can appreciate “generally”, certainly not with the depth that you have of this new achievement; however, bully for publicly funded, cooperative research! Maybe this will open up new turf for all those in the U.S. who are so unhappy with diversity. They can make their very own colony by their very own rules. Of course, they have to do it all by themselves (-:

      Speaking of which, since you and I love to go OT – Did you read in yesterday’s H. Chronicle that the State of TX has given Blue Bell Creamery $500K of taxpayer money for money to be used for safety training, etc? REALLY!!! Since no one from this area mentioned it, and since I have been gagging over this abuse of taxpayer dollars since I read it, I just had to get it out of my craw. Let’s go ahead an subsidize a company that flagrantly, knowingly chose to ignore repeated warnings and caused the death and many illnesses from tainted ice cream.

      I know this is Texas, but, this is a bridge too far.

      • fiftyohm says:

        I think there may be another way of looking at the Blue Bell situation. Simply shuttering the plants would be massively expensive to the tax payers. Continued operation of those plants, (and others that could also have the very same issues), poses a public health risk – though small – and again is very expansive from a public health standpoint. $500K is small potatoes in comparison to these issues.

      • 1mime says:

        I appreciate your viewpoint on the cost of shuttering the plants, but since when is training not a cost of doing business? As such, BB needs to (however belatedly) pony up the bucks. I understand that if they go under jobs will be lost, etc, etc. but why wouldn’t this logic apply to any business? Think BP (and their shareholders….I was one, unfortunately) didn’t have to pull remediation dollars from cash reserves?

        Respectfully, I disagree. Capitalism requires responsible management. Absent that, there should be consequences (unless you’re a big bank (-: hmm, maybe that’s the bail out model BB is using.

        No, I would rather taxpayer dollars – if it is appropriate at all to use them for private expansion, a discussion for another day – should be used as start up incentives, not remediation, especially when the company deliberately ignored warnings.

        But, thanks, Fifty, for a thoughtful reply. I don’t like double standards and this has all the hallmarks of one to me…but, what do I know. I fight back in the only way I can – I will never buy BB ice cream products again.

      • duncancairncross says:

        The problem is “giving” BB $500,000 is all wrong, if the company was on the edge of failure and it was going to cost the local community a lot if it failed the correct solution would have been
        To absolutely require the training – and to require that BB pay for additional oversight
        If BB could not afford that to let them have the $500,000 in exchange for a share of the company
        You could arrange a method whereby BB could buy back that share in the future

        “Giving” is all wrong

      • 1mime says:

        There’s some bad history here as well, duncan. Ignored repeated warnings about presence of noxious leaks into product, caused some deaths. I’m more sorry for the employees than management. They seem to always suffer for those at the top, don’t they?

      • johngalt says:

        I agree with Mime on this one. Given a history of flagrant and repeated violations of both workplace and product safety, Blue Bell should be required to institute these training programs as a condition of the reinstatement of its business licenses. What a moral hazard it is to allow companies to disregard basic business practices and then to subsidize their rehabilitation.

      • fiftyohm says:

        No fan of corporate welfare am I, as you know. I’m just not familiar enough with the situation..For example the DMN headline, “FDA reveals violations by Blue Bell as far back as 2007” really cannot be interpreted in isolation. What is the percentage of food processors are cited by the FDA in a given year? (30%?) Are some far worse offenders than others? (Probably.) Was BB one of those? (Insufficient data.)

        If BB was indeed one of the really bad actors, and they did in fact, blatantly and habitually violate the law, then they don’t deserve a nickel. Of course, I can’t imagine they’re in very healthy financial shape at this point. I’m obviously not hard over one way or the other on this. I just need more data than newspaper headlines like the one cited above.

  6. Eljay says:

    All about the delegates, so below are the Scorecards:

    D –
    R –

    sorry if it posted twice….

  7. Eljay says:

    It’s all about the delegates of course, so, the Scorecards:

    D –

    R –

  8. Creigh says:

    Sanders is raising crazy amounts of money. No link, but FB feed claims he raised over $7M in one day after the NH primary.

  9. MassDem says:

    What is this, the online answer to Spike TV?
    Politics, sports, and now this. Jeez.

    • 1mime says:

      To be fair, Nate Silver started with sports…..Valentine candy…that’s a stretch, but if it pays the bills……

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      I’m a data geek, so I love 538, but from what I read, they are not making the money or getting the page views that ESPN hoped. ESPN shut down the Grantland website, and I fear that 538 is going to have to morph into something different over the next year or the accountants at ESPN/Disney will shutter it too.

  10. MassDem says:

    File under “What took them so long?”

    Cliven Bundy has been arrested in Portland.

  11. Ryan Ashfyre says:

    A serious question to all Bernie Sanders’ supporters here. As many likely know by now, Democratic support in both Iowa and New Hampshire has dropped – though still healthy and strong, to be fair – from their record breaking numbers in 2008. In fact, it’s been Republicans who have been more energized and beaten their previous turnout records.

    However, one of Sanders’ key arguments is that he can bring out new voters into the political process and energize the electorate in a way that we’ve never seen before. Frankly, we’ve heard this line before and it’s never amounted to more than wishful thinking and the numbers in both Iowa and New Hampshire at this point would seem to point to that being the case again.

    For Sanders’ supporters, how would you reconcile this and do you think that that will change? And why?

    • Griffin says:

      I don’t consider myself a “supporter”, after all I will probably vote for Clinton if Sanders has an actual chance to win (which he doesn’t), but I’m not sure I understand the question here? When Barack Obama energized the abse in 2008 he easily won Democrats maintained control over Congress. That Dems haven’t energized the base since. The 2008 victory is proof that the Dems base can be energized. Clinton’s problem is that fairly few people are actually excited for her, they accept or even just tolerate her as better than the GOP.

      I don’t see how Sanders wouldn’t get 2008 levels of liberal turnout. The question is whether or not he can make up for potential loses among moderate and conservative Dems by appealing to lower-class and lower-middle class whites like he wants to and by getting the liberal vote out.

      • Griffin says:

        Basically the Democrats need someone “inbetween” Clinton and Sanders. Someone who can is (unlike Clinton) actually liberal and can relate to vote but (unlike Sanders) isn’t as likely to scare off the Moderate/Conservative Democrats.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        I don’t know if you meant the double negatives here:

        “I don’t see how Sanders wouldn’t get 2008 levels of liberal turnout.”

        But if you typed what you meant, there is not a snowball’s chance in South Carolina that Sanders would get the voter turnout that Obama got.

        Sanders political positions are not as popular as Obama’s (remember, most people are in the center)

        Sanders is not Obama and does not have the energy or style of candidate Obama.

        The voting rate of black folks actually exceeded the voting rate of white folks in 2008. If you think an old white guy from Vermont is going to get the same level of minority turnout as Obama…we’ll, I don’t even know what to say.

        The Democrats may get a boost in turnout due to the “Oh shit, the GOP nominated Cruz” factor, but that is not based on Sanders himself.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @Homer: There ya go.

        In the short-term though, all of that would seem to work against Sanders in the primary. Pundits and others keep seeing similarities to the “Obama vs Clinton” fight in 2008. I still get a kick out of Andrea Mitchell projecting onto Bill Clinton – as if she were able to read his mind – the inner machination that; I believe it was something like: “Oh my god, this can’t be happening AGAIN.”

        That’s the thing though. If we have seen this race before, that’s to Clinton’s advantage, not her disadvantage. I’m sure most of us have heard by now that for the walloping she got in New Hampshire, Clinton came away with just as many delegates as Sanders did. Two of the superdelegates, iirc, have yet to commit, but that’s just astounding. That’s strategy over tactics right there.

        Following that, as we move into the more diverse states where Hillary Clinton is likely to be much more competitive than she was in Iowa and New Hampshire, where does that leave the Senator from Vermont? Generally, it leaves you with his supporters saying that with all the “momentum” he got from his big win in NH, minorities in the more diverse states will give Sanders another look and… well, you all know the story from here.

        Is that the case? Maybe, but color me a skeptic in this idea that Bernie Sanders is somehow the Barack Obama of 2016. Just sayin’

      • 1mime says:

        I don’t think your delegate allocation is correct for NH, unless there has been a late development, Bernie had 15+; Hillary 9+; 8+ uncommitted. “Hard Delegate Total”

      • Griffin says:

        “Sanders political positions are not as popular as Obama’s (remember, most people are in the center)”

        But Obama didn’t run as very centrist in 2008, he ran as a liberal. Later, in 2012, he ran as the centrist.

        “But if you typed what you meant, there is not a snowball’s chance in South Carolina that Sanders would get the voter turnout that Obama got.”

        Yes because there are fewer liberal Democrats and more moderate/conservative ones, and Sanders isn’t doing as well with minorities. I’m talking about the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. Obama managed to get win with liberals and minorities, while Clinton won with Moderates and conservatives. Sanders’ problem is that he’s only winning with liberals and independents but none of the other factions, that’s why he probably won’t win.

      • 1mime says:

        It’s going to be interesting to see how Sanders does in SC. There are 8 military bases in SC which means there are also lots of military retirees. Don’t forget that Sanders worked very hard to help the VA program. That should help him in this state in particular.

      • 1mime says:

        Griffin, you might be interested in digging into the details of this survey which suggest a narrowing of the middle and expansion of the pure liberal and conservative positions…..sort of like what’s happening to the middle class in the U.S. Related?

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @1mime: Technically, the superdelegates could still switch sides (which is Sanders is hoping for if he gains enough momentum in the primary), but with the overwhelming advantage that HRC has in the overall count of pledges, that’s easier said than done.

        Keep in mind that this is the same strategy that then candidate Obama used in 2008. Never let it be said that Clinton doesn’t learn from her mistakes.

    • rulezero says:

      That’s one of the reasons why I no longer consider myself a Democrat and switched to being an independent. Democratic voters have a high lack of initiative. Republicans get angry and show up in droves. Democrats… sit at home and blog.

      Sanders HAS to at least match Obama’s turnout or he has no chance. As usual, the Democratic Party will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory all over again. If the 2014 midterms didn’t get people motivated to vote, after all of the filibusters and shenanigans and government shutdowns and credit downgrades, then there’s nothing more that can be done.

      I know that one of the more common arguments is about voter ID and how much it impacts the race. I don’t believe that anymore. If you are angry enough and you are motivated enough, you’ll be registered long before it’s time to vote and you’ll have everything that you need to cast your ballot. The fact that the Democratic Party doesn’t have a continuous voter registration drive shows, to me, that they don’t really care about winning. They’d just rather have something to complain about.

      • duncancairncross says:

        “the Democratic Party doesn’t have a continuous voter registration drive”

        You are kidding me!
        Surely that is a total no brainer!

        We don’t have that here because it’s automatic and we get regular letters ensuring that the electoral role is as up to date as possible

        But in the USA with the known voting patterns I am bloody amazed to hear that the Democrats don’t have that as a permanent priority

      • Creigh says:

        “Democrats have a high lack of initiative.” I would dearly love to be able to afford a high lack of initiative, politically speaking. I have a life to live, better things to do. In a rational world, that would be the ideal. In this world, of course, that just turns things over to the crazy. But we can dream!

      • 1mime says:

        The GOP has a much better GOTV plan. Every election, I receive an early voter registration form that I simply fill in the blanks, mail, and wait for my ballot, which I mail. I can’t ever recall getting one from the Democrats. It’s a very expensive process, but, so is losing.

        Duncan is absolutely correct, though: voting ought to be as easy as possible to encourage more people to vote. People are busy and there is nothing sacred about standing in line to vote. Instead, while Republicans do everything in their power to suppress voting registration and voting itself, they work it on the front end to make it as easy as possible for their base to vote. That latter is smart; the voter tactics are despicable. The reason it doesn’t change is because the process is working so well for those in the majority.

        I have to say, Rulezero, that you are correct about apathy, but here’s one factor to consider. Democrats represent a more blue collar voter. This voter has a tougher time getting to vote. (I agree on the voter registration issue except for the absurd documentation requirements meant to make it harder.) That is not a good enough reason when so much is at stake, but for many people, their jobs do not allow them time off to vote. That pushes voting to evenings, which are very busy. Still, it’s important, but these are real logistical problems working class people face. If we had mail in ballots, or voting by computer, they might still have problems but at least it would be easier to vote. IN many states, early voting periods have been so truncated as to make it meaningless…if not in number of days, in hours (many of the polling places for early voting close at 5 or 6pm. That needs to change as well.

        Guess we need a whole blog post on how we can GOTV in America, more efficiently, fairly, and in the numbers that support a truly Democratic society.

      • 1mime says:

        Well, here’s a solid alternative for you rulezero….the “cute” but shallow Rubio who is wilting under more serious scrutiny.

  12. 1mime says:

    OT but know all are interested in this:

    “The U.S. Justice Department is filing a lawsuit against the city of Ferguson, Missouri, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Wednesday. The lawsuit alleges a pattern and practice of unconstitutional police conduct in the city.”

  13. Bobo Amerigo says:

    Way way off topic, but if you have time you should see this play:

    For those of us alive during that period, it is, among other things, an opportunity to perhaps reconcile memories and headlines.

    Since it is about the civil rights bill, some of the lines spoken by the black characters often sound like today’s BLM statements.

    I give it 4 stars, one less than optimal because it runs a little long. I couldn’t bring myself to leave early, though.

  14. myth buster says:

    Lifer, you’ve forgotten what the Republican Party is. We’re the anti-slavery party. We’re the ones who abandoned the Whigs because they weren’t taking the great moral issue of the day, slavery, seriously. Those who don’t support outlawing abortion are quite literally Republican in Name Only, for they reject the ethos of the Republican Party, and indeed, its very reason for existence. So either get behind us, or get out and form your own party, because you can’t have ours.

    • fiftyohm says:

      Submitted for your approval: (see above), an astounding non-sequitur.

      Used to be someone else around here who could make such extraordinary leaps of illogic. What was his name again?

    • Doug says:

      Hypothetically, what would be the proper stance if a slave wanted to have an abortion so as not to bring another person into slavery?

      • fiftyohm says:

        Doug – Quite a dilemma there. (Just a minute, and lemme check my bible…) Nope – not a word about abortion, and only support for slavery. No help there, I’m afraid. Guess we’d better go by Buster’s moral compass. I hear it was manufactured by the famous Tates Compass Company. (And, as we all know, “He who has a Tates is lost.”)

      • 1mime says:

        Somehow, I doubt it would be the slave’s choice….

      • goplifer says:

        Ok, now you’re trolling that poor, earnest poster. Made me giggle a little though.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Guilty as charged. Sorry Chris.

      • goplifer says:

        Abortion as Abolition. That’s a real snake-eating-its-tail conundrum.

      • Griffin says:

        You JUST DON’t SeE tHE TRUTH LaDD… the lORD Has alrEADY Shown US THE PAth to rigHTeouSnEss… and yOU CHoose MURdeR…. YOu will BurN WiTH THe resT of ThE THEM… ABORTION IS A SIN… AdmiT iT Or YoU WilL LEArn the Error Of yoUR Ways WHEn the RapTure… Passes over YOU!

        Out of ten internet points how did I do?

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Griffin – I give it an 8. Too many lower case letters, no misspellings, and way too few exclamation points.

      • goplifer says:

        I’m not feeling any shrieking. Remember we’re talking about babies. Can you give me something more…, more…how about feral.

      • Griffin says:

        CHIRST HaS HonORED US WITH The gIFT OF ChilDRUN anD You DesIRE THEIR DEMISe… YOu SIDE WITH thE LIBERALS WhO ChoP THeM up inTO biTs and PieCES AND SelL thEM to the HiGHEST BidDER… likE they’RE FiSH At A SUshI SHopI!! YOU ANd tHE oTHER LIBerALS HATe GoD So… LIKE ThE ChilDREN you MURDER… YoU ThroW A TantRUM AgaINST HiM by destoying THE GIFT of LIFe HE GRANTED US!!!!! You WiLL GeT wHAT’s coming, ANd when You DO YoU will be PUniSHED AlongSIDE THE FALSE PROPHETS AND MURDERERS anD SODoMITEs… YOu WilL bE AbandoNED BY THE GrEAT ADVERSARY WhoM YoU PUT YOUR TRust IN! George WAShinTON said “GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH”, AnD YoU CHoSE DEath!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        Well I’m on an FBI watchlist now so I hope I at least improved my grade.

      • fiftyohm says:

        You people… I accept graciously chastisement, and what do you do? Feed GMO to trolls! Just wait…

      • johngalt says:

        Griff, full credit on this exercise requires a reference to Hitler, preferably one that manages to confuse fascism and communism.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      You realize though, that the racists that made up the Democratic party in Lincoln’s day moved to the GOP in the 60’s to punish the Dems for their support ofbthe civil rights act right?

      Were Lincoln alive today he would be a Democrat, obviously, and the Republicans would hate him. Theyd insist that he was born in Canada. Like Cruz.

  15. Rob Ambrose says:

    Ta-Nehisi Coates just said he’ll vote for Bernie.

    Shaun King, one of the founders who started BLM, supportd him.

    Combined with former NAACP head Ben Jealous who say he supports him.

    I’m just not buying the idea that Sanders will lose the black vote to Clinton. If anything, it seems like there’s an “establishment” among black leadership that supports her, but the young, the politically aware, the activists, the ones with the loudest microphone right now, seem to be leaning Sanders.

    There may be real reasons why Sanders can’t win the nom. I don’t think the black vote is one of them though.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      From the Shaun King article:

      “As a general rule, I don’t trust many politicians, but I trust Bernie Sanders — the man walks the walk and talks the talk. He is, without a doubt, the most consistent politician in America and has been fighting for universal health care, access to education, equal pay, equal rights and the complete overhaul of how we do justice in this country for his entire career. I dig it.”

      Those are the issues that the young are concerned with. This isn’t some air headed millenial following the shiny new thing because it’s shiny and new. This is a politically aware citizen who konws exactly what they want from the government, and is simply choosing the candidate they feel best reflects that. I don’t think this type of voter is going to really care about Sanders vote to audit the fed, or other stuff that frankly doesn’t matter to pretty much anyone outside of political blogs.

      Hillary is going to have her hands full against a candidate with such a simple, direct and resonating message, and one who has credibility in spades. She probably still has the advantage, but it’s much less then many opinions here. I’m going to hazard a guess that most people who think Bernies a flash in the pan don’t have a large social circle that includes millenials. Bernies grabbed onto something and it is being well recieved across all subsets of this demographic.

      • 1mime says:

        Wow! Coates endorsement is big with many in the Black community. ON NPR, it was stated that Sanders meeting in NY was with Al Sharpton. Gotta give Bernie credit, he hustles! The energy required for a campaign of this magnitude is immense. More power to him.

      • 1mime says:

        Another Black endorsement: Tim Black. His message to his brethren? What do we have to lose? Vote this time. It’s important. Powerful, simple, direct.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        In order to keep us from enjoying the smell of our own farts too much:

        Let’s change:

        “Those are the issues that the young are concerned with. This isn’t some air headed millenial following the shiny new thing because it’s shiny and new. This is a politically aware citizen who konws exactly what they want from the government, and is simply choosing the candidate they feel best reflects that. I don’t think this type of voter is going to really care about Sanders vote to audit the fed, or other stuff that frankly doesn’t matter to pretty much anyone outside of political blogs.”


        “Those are the issues that conservatives are concerned with. This isn’t some back-woods idiot following following the biggest bigot. This is a practically aware citizen who knows exactly what they want from the government – lower taxes, less waste in government, and protection for unborn children – and is simply choosing the candidate they feel best reflects that. I don’t think this type of voter is going to really care about Cruz/Rubio/Bush vote to allow waterboarding or other stuff that frankly doesn’t matter to pretty much anyone outside of political blogs.”

      • 1mime says:

        Clever, Homer. As long as there is no “D” behind their name, anything goes, right?

      • Creigh says:

        I read the part on Sanders’ website about auditing the Fed. It seemed more like he wanted an explanation of how TARP was handled than a Ron Paul-like audit. And as far as I’m concerned, there are some very legitimate questions about how and why those bailout decisions were made.

      • MassDem says:

        Homer, thank you for keeping us honest!

    • Griffin says:

      That’s nice to hear, hopefully this will be a real race, I do want this to be competitive even if we might be better off in the long run with a Clinton nomination (though I still think the anti-Bernie stuff on here has been massively hyperbolic).

      Hopefully Bernie’s internet base won’t spoil this for him. I wish the racists would just leave. I’ve actually talked to other white college-aged kids who have said I’m an anti-white racist because I don’t think it’s acceptable for whites to say “the n-word” but I don’t think it’s a problem if blacks say it. These people are laughably out of touch. I thought racism was supposed to be dead for my generation, but if anything it seems to have made a bit of a comeback. It’s actually even worse than the armchair racism alot of my Dad’s blue collar friends would engage in, these kids seem to go even further out of their way to find a reason to actively hate minorities.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        No head of a political movement can always keep people out that are undesirable. The huge difference is though, Sanders is unequivocal in his condemnation of any sexist or racist rhetoric. He flat out says, he doesn’t want their vote. Compared with Trump, who poo poos it, or says something like “well, my fans are reallly passionate” about the scumbags who beat and urinated on a mexican homeless man.

        As long as Bernie keeps making those viewpoints unwelcome, and he is unequivocally, he’ll be fine on that end.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Come now, Rob, are you really going to play the establishment card when it comes to African-Americans and Hillary Clinton? That’s a bit too shallow an argument by half and you know it, and it’s frankly not true. She’s gunning for significant endorsements across the board:

      But let’s not sugarcoat this issue. Both Clinton and Sanders will be pulling out all the stops in going after every single endorsement that they can. It’ll be a breakneck pace all the way up to South Carolina and beyond.

      That aside, we’ve been through this issue of whether or not Sanders will lose the black vote to Clinton before. He simply doesn’t have the network of connections to black communities that the Clintons do. His supporters argue over and over again that he’s been on the side of civil rights and that he’s done this and that and that the idea that he won’t be competitive for their votes is nonsense.

      And, you know, I don’t deny any of that. I’m sure he does believe in civil rights very strongly. It’s just that in the world of politics, I don’t think a man who’s really only begun to try and forge those connections can compete with a political machine that’s been on this proverbial beat for decades. Could be wrong, but I’d be genuinely surprised if I was.

  16. MassDem says:

    In other news, Vermin Supreme received almost twice as many votes in the NH Dem primary (240) as Jim Gilmore did from the NH GOP (125). Couple that with his 12 Iowa caucus-goers, and the message couldn’t be clearer.

  17. MassDem says:

    CNN exit polls NH Dems
    The Dems managed to find enough non-white voters to post some numbers. Hillary had the slightest of edges with this group.
    Boy do the kids love Bernie. Hillary got the 65+ demo and the wealthy demo also.
    Lots and lots of first time voters for Bernie. If he gets the nom, you all had better show up for the general!
    Registered Dems-Bernie won by 2 pets. The independents love him however.
    On the issues, Sanders supporters seem to give Clinton greater benefit of the doubt than vice versa. The exception is income inequality.
    Finally, who are these 6% not-registered voters? Were they just random people hanging around or is voter fraud actually a thing?

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Considering the statistically nonexistent share of the non-white vote in NH, that’s no surprise. Still, that’s a good sign for Team Clinton going forward.

      Oh much greater interest is just how small Sanders’ margin of victory was among registered Democrats. That’s a troubling sign if that’s the best he can pull off in the favorable terrain of NH. He won’t have the luxury of leaning on Independent voters in the coming states either, so take from that what you will.

      • 1mime says:

        Lots more people calling themselves independents now, Ryan. Can’t recall the exact survey, but it reported a large number have distanced themselves from party identify. We may see more of this as an unpredictable factor in coming races.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        If they don’t have a voice in the upcoming primaries though, then what does it matter? Are there that many states that allow Independents to vote? I was under the impression that there weren’t, at least I know Florida doesn’t.

      • Doug says:

        “Are there that many states that allow Independents to vote?”

        About 40% according to Mr. Wiki. Primarily in the South.

    • Eljay says:

      Bernie won by 2 pets
      Dammit. Yet another demographic group.
      Gonna have to get another cat!

  18. MassDem says:

    CNN NH exit polls GOP. Wow, is it a white state.
    Trump dominated almost all of the demographics. The large field clearly is helping him.
    He narrowly edged out Cruz with white evangelicals.
    Most important issue for Trump voters was immigration, although that was the least important of the major issues for all GOP voters.
    To Trump voters, his loud & politically incorrect remarks are a feature, not a bug.
    Kasich voters are the closest thing to anti-Trump there is.

    • 1mime says:

      “He narrowly edged out Cruz with white evangelicals.”

      If that fact doesn’t yell “hypocrisy” to all of us about the real lack of depth of religious principle many profess, I don’t know what will. “Talking the talk vs walking the walk”…not once, but many times….it seems to clearly indicate that there is something else other than religion motivating these people who.don’ You can’t appeal to illogical folks with logic. They simply don’t understand it or want to. I feel sorry for serious candidates whose rational message is falling on such deaf ears.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Mime – I think you just conflated “religious principle” with moral principle and reason. We needn’t look too far to see where religion in politics leads.

      • 1mime says:

        You are correct. It’s probably a combination of “moral” and religious hypocrisy. Those who profess to be such church-going, follow the Bible without exception, live lives without any sin….that’s the religious angle. There’s obviously plenty over in the moral corner.

        However you cut it, Trump and evangelicals are strange bed-fellows. Interesting that Trump topped Cruz among this group….guess the old “likability” factor sneaks in. Cruz can’t hide the sneer. Somehow people are picking up on that. Thank god. We haven’t seen the end of Mr. Cruz. He will likely sweep the south and try to parlay that into a delegate run.

        I have a real, personal problem with people who use religion for personal gain. It contradicts the very idea of humility and piety. But, then, I’m rather secular so I admit to being rather different in my approach to faith.

      • Doug says:

        In my humble opinion, it’s hypocritical to bitch about religion in government and then call the religious folk hypocrites when they vote for pagan.

      • fiftyohm says:

        What’s the matter with pagans?

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Nothing at all 50. Early Christians loved ppagans so much they appropriated in whole their most sacred rituals and holidays. Christmas is where it is because it replaced the pagan winter solstice celebration.

        Constantine figured when he decreed Christianity the law of the land that it would make the transition easier if it wasn’t so much of a change from their traditional religions.

      • Doug says:

        “What’s the matter with pagans?”

        Nothing at all, but I probably should have used the word heathen.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Mime – Those who would “follow the Bible without exception” are slave-keeping, genocidal maniacs. (OT *and* NT, mind you.) And then we have the ‘cherry-pickers’. I guess that can go about any way you want.

        RobA – Yup.

      • 1mime says:

        I keep it real simple: follow the golden rule. Works for me (except when others don’t respond in kind)…

      • fiftyohm says:

        Middle Kingdom, (c. 2,000 BCE)? Confucius, (c. 500 BCE)?

        Sure – I can dig it.

  19. johngalt says:

    In our moment of apoplexy this morning, it is perhaps useful to remember that Donald Trump ran away with the Republican primary – on the strength of the votes of 7.2% of New Hampshire’s population. Bernie did a bit better – 9.3%.

    • flypusher says:

      I think we have to wait at least until seeing the Super Tuesday results before really panicking. Right now I’m just diving into all the political humor on the WWW.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Barring a complete upset, Super Tuesday should bring this race into stark relief. Clinton should do well in virtually all of the deep South, particularly in delegate-rich states like Georgia and particularly Texas. Sanders may carry away states like Minnesota and Massachusetts, but that’s not saying much (nothing personal, of course :)).

    • 1mime says:

      This from Looks good now….where it will go, nobody knows……….

      Clinton holds a sizable lead in the overall race for delegates because of strong support from superdelegates, the party officials who can back the candidate of their choice.
      Overall, Clinton has 394 delegates Sanders has 44.
      It takes 2,382 delegates to win the Democratic nomination for president

  20. MassDem says:

    After a long night of soul-searching, I can’t help but feel that we, the parents of New England, bear the brunt of responsibility for the Sanders win.

    It started early, when folk music from aging 60s hippies was the backdrop of our pre-verbal children’s lives. We raised them on organic, locally sourced fruits and vegetables, cruelty-free meat, and of course, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, and drove them to their play dates in the family Prius.
    We sent them to Montessori schools so they could become fully self-actualized small humans. Along the way, they were fed a steady diet of Dragon Tales and later Harry Potter, thereby fostering a inner belief in the power of magic.
    We capped it off in their teen years by allowing them unlimited access to South Park and Steven Colbert on cable tv and the Internet. Perhaps we even allowed them to experience the rich tapestry of life by dragging them along to a rally for Occupy Boston (or Bulington or Portland ME or Providence or Manchester or Hartford).

    Now we must swallow our pride, bordering on arrogance, and turn to the South to save us from the choices of our very own precious snowflakes.

    • flypusher says:

      Looks like I’ll be voting in the Dem primary in a few weeks- I’ll see what I can do.

      /Biden looks so good right now!

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        I think Biden would do what the other establishment types are doing in the GOP primary.

        If Biden is running yesterday, Bernie probably gets roughly the same number if votes, and the vast majority of Bidens votes come from Hillary.

        There is no major flaw with Hillary. Dems don’t care about her emails. Bernie isn’t a protest vote for lack of a better option.

        In other words, Bernie won NH yesterday, HRC didn’t lose it. I doubt Biden would have taken anything from Bernie unless he was proposing the same policies.

    • Craig says:

      Cheer up. The “revolution” likely hit its peak last night. A month from now things will be better.

    • fiftyohm says:

      Mass – A very, very funny post! (Well, except for the bit about South Park.)

      • MassDem says:

        I too love South Park when it isn’t grossing me out, but prolonged viewing will surely lead one to take a more cynical view of The Establishment or any authority figure for that matter.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Good point. But I think it was the ‘cruelty-free meat’ thing that did it.

  21. Griffin says:

    Lifer are there any good liberal candidates that the Democrats could have ran, regardless of whether or not you agree with them? Basically somebody “inbetween” both the centrist Hillary Clinton and the independent “Democratic Socialist” Sanders (though I would argue he is not actually a “socialist”)? It’s clear somebody was going to challenge Clinton because she’s perceived as too pro-establishment but who to her left would actually be viable? Martin O’Malley was discredited because, let’s face it, The Wire was a show about the city he was in charge of, alot of the old-school progressives like John Lewis or Mark Dayton are either too old or retiring, and Elizabeth Warren wants to stay in the Senate.

    It feels like both parties are running out of viable national players.

  22. Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

    Welp, with my glaringly inaccurate predictions for the GOP race in NH, I probably should give up my crystal ball, but what fun is that?

    I was pretty sure Rubio’s second place in Iowa would shoot him to a strong second place in NH behind a fading Trump and well ahead of Cruz.

    Christie’s dismembering of Rubio during the last debate and really poor showings after that by Rubio may have hurt him more than the polls would indicate.

    Kasich had a good night, but at 17%, that does not put him too far ahead of the gaggle behind.

    Unfortunately, that leaves a dark, malevolent force lurking in third place, doing better than anticipated as the beast slouches towards the southern primaries.

    Rubio doing well in NH would have given the big money GOP an electable candidate to pump up for the southern primaries. With Rubio falling back and no one really separating himself, Cruz is poised to start rolling up delegates in the south while what is left of the GOP establishment tries to figure out what to do.

    Lifer – you predicted all this months and months ago, and I thought you were foolish. Now, I’m worried you are a true prophet of doom.

    • flypusher says:

      “Rubio doing well in NH would have given the big money GOP an electable candidate to pump up for the southern primaries. With Rubio falling back and no one really separating himself, Cruz is poised to start rolling up delegates in the south while what is left of the GOP establishment tries to figure out what to do.”

      But there is an obstacle in Cruz’s path to the nom,………Trump!

      (Yeah, doesn’t make me feel any better either.)

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Great analysis of Cruz’s chances going forward:

        “Cruz has a lot of money and a strong organization and has the personality of a turd in a punch bow”

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        and I can’t even copy and paste well….I must be suffering from Bernie fever…

        “Cruz has a lot of money and a strong organization and has the personality of a turd in a punch bowl”

      • flypusher says:

        I think Cruz is both the turd sandwich and the giant douche.

      • 1mime says:

        This is going to be an unusual election. No disrespect to Lifer, but I’ll bet he’d be the first to admit that this race is not going to be easy to call this far out with any confidence. Still, he projected Cruz months ago and he could very well (sigh) end up being correct, “if” Trump doesn’t overcome Cruz’ ground game. This is Cruz’ advantage. Trump hasn’t been disciplined in this area and it may matter. A lot, in the end.

        Frankly, I am more concerned about the Democratic horse race.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        The Democrats may have a horse race, but one of those horses is Secretariat, so I don’t think we are looking at a nail biter.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Lifer being right all the time almost takes all the fun out of it. I’m still looking forward to seeing the chaos unfold in Cleveland though. XD

  23. flypusher says:

    (Listening to speeches on NPR)
    The Donald is promising the biggest baddest hugest military ever (wait, don’t we already have that?). Nothing about who pays for that.

    Repeal and replace Obamacare again, but you never hear what that replacement is to be.

    • 1mime says:

      Are any of Trump’s supporters even asking what the replacement for the ACA will be? Is he getting any “hard” questions from anyone about anything? All bluster and bombast. So presidential.

  24. MassDem says:

    Our long national nightmare is over–we can stop talking about NH for another four years, thank God.

  25. rulezero says:

    Networks are calling it for Bernie and The Donald. NH is reporting record turnouts.

    • Turtles Run says:

      Both AP and NBC have called Bernie and Trump winners. Clinton apparently conceded on Washington Post

    • Turtles Run says:

      Kasich currently has 17% of votes in NH GOP primary

      • flypusher says:

        The most current numbers I could find:

        Trump 38,681 33.7

        Kasich 18,590 16.2

        Cruz 13,286 11.6

        Bush 13,024 11.3

        Rubio 12,114 10.6

        Christie 9,166 8.0

        Fiorina 5,047 4.4

        Carson 2,606 2.3

        Gilmore 65 0.1


        65 votes??? Day-yam!! Quit while you’re behind dude. Also time for Carson and Fiorina to face reality. And what a takedown of Rubio- the circular firing squad strikes again!

      • 1mime says:

        Does this mean we won’t ever have to look at Santorum or Huckabee in the lineup again? These perennial presidential want-a-bes surely have run out their string…Go home, get a real job, disappear, let some new faces in….

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Congratulations, America. Your first-in-the-nation primary will forever be remembered as the state that officially endorsed The Donald for POTUS.

      Slap on your hard hats, my fellow commentators. This is really happening…

    • 1mime says:

      The RNC in its inimitable graciousness, has issued this statement about Sanders win in NH:

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Are you watching this, Sanders’ supporters? That’s how much your self-appointed revolutionary strikes fear into the heart of Republicans. Think they know something you don’t?

      • rulezero says:

        I have a feeling that it will be downhill for Bernie after this. He’s not going to pull that kind of turnout in the South. HRC will destroy him in SC.

      • Griffin says:

        “Are you watching this, Sanders’ supporters? That’s how much your self-appointed revolutionary strikes fear into the heart of Republicans. Think they know something you don’t?”

        Good God man I get that you don’t support Sanders but is there a need to be so insuferrable about it? I really don’t see why this would be shocking to them anyways, they KNOW the GOP would prefer to run against Sanders, there’s already been polls on it.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        I’m tempted to agree with you. Sander is out of friendly territory now and if I were a betting man, I’d be tempted to put money on Clinton carrying both Nevada and South Carolina. Sanders’ only real hope would be to try and carry any supposed momentum out of NH, but I don’t know how well that sells (looking at you, Rubio). This is where the candidates’ mettle and experience is going to be tested.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @Griffin: What’s insufferable is all of those substanceless Sanders’ supporters who don’t have a damn clue about what’s at stake here. True, it’s hardly their fault when many of them likely don’t follow politics, let alone understand the underlying complexities facing this country and even the world in 2016, but I can’t say I’m in much of a mood to care right now. I’d be a liar if I said I wasn’t looking forward to wiping the smiles off of all their naive faces when reality comes crashing down on them.

      • Griffin says:

        Well at least we’re not arrogant and insufferable like those Sanders supporters, who we enjoy crushing the spirits of.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @Griffin: Well, I certainly hope they’re not that easy to crush, otherwise beating them in the argument won’t be satisfying at all. 😦

      • 1mime says:

        I’ve been checking some of the Sanders – friendly blog sites and have been really disappointed by the comments I’m reading. I don’t believe for a minute that they represent the kind of thinking Bernie does, but if this is a representative sample of the more “general” Bernie supporter, I’m very disappointed. Very shallow, vitriolic – especially towards Hillary. A true supporter of any candidate should be able to support his/her candidate for their own intrinsic value not by tearing down the opponent.

        For all who think HRC is still the heir-apparent, remember, we are dealing with a GOP that will do anything to discredit her (in addition to her own mis-steps), and the FBI and independent counsel investigation could still be a big problem for her.

        Just getting this out there.

    • rulezero says:

      Jeb! and Rubio have dropped to 4th and 5th, respectively, with 13% reporting. Good Lord, the amount of money that was blown for nothing.

  26. Cpl. Cam says:

    How do the republicans pull off their “red wedding” without triggering a Trump third party run? Unless his support has completely collapsed by then it could be difficult…

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      I’m not sure Trump’s ego would allow it. He’s smart to enough that a third-party run would be absolutely catastrophic for the GOP, but even a complete blowhard like him knows fully well that such an effort would have absolutely zero chance of success on his end. And for a ‘man’ like him who prides himself on being a self-proclaimed “winner,” does he really want to end his political escapade like that? You tell me.

  27. Cpl. Cam says:

    How do the republicans pull off their “red wedding” without triggering a Trump third party run. Unless his support has completely collapsed by then it could be difficult…

    • Griffin says:

      The idea is that the Trumpistas/nationalists wouldn’t want to risk getting a self-described “socialist” elected so they would pragmatically get being the GOP’s choice. I don’t entirely buy into it, a “red wedding” would still have massive repurcussions. A few assumptions would have to be:

      1) The assumption that the right-wing populists are rational and are concerned about “electablilty”, when they have repeatadly shown they are neither of those things and could easily think Trump would still win against both parties.

      2) The assumption that being purged wouldn’t put them into a blind rage that would cause their hatred of the Establishment GOP to easily eclipse their potential hatred of Sanders.

      3) The assumption that the right-wing populists would see Sanders as a greater threat than the GOP establishment that just purged them, especially when Sanders’ populist rhetoric actually has appeal to some of them and actually causes some of them to hate Clinton even more than Sanders, as weird as that sounds.

      Even if there’s not an official third-party run enough radical rightists would stay home or write in Trump/Cruz to probably cost the GOP the election, even with Sanders being the Democratic nominee. Unless Marco Rubio “fairly” wins the GOP nomination it’s going to be very unlikely the GOP will get the White House.

    • goplifer says:

      If Trump goes all the way to July without launching his 3rd party bid, then it will already be too late to make the ballot in several states, including Ohio. Many other states have “sore loser” laws that block a primary loser from making the ballot as an independent.

      And frankly, anything that would get the party’s name of his banner might be welcome. Run with Trump, you lose. Send him packing in a fit of rage, your chances of losing decrease, even if he does everything possible to make life difficult for you.

      With the Red Wedding, at least you regain control of the party itself.

  28. 1mime says:

    For those of you who are on the fence regarding your Dem presidential preference, today’s decision by SCOTUS to “stay” the Clean Power Act, should clearly demonstrate the importance of the supreme court appointees. What.a.shame. Challenges are supposed to play out until 2017. Climate change deniers must be celebrating. Sad.

    “The Supreme Court today blocked President Barack Obama’s biggest climate change achievement, ruling that the EPA’s Clean Power Plan cannot take effect while legal challenges play out.

    Read more:

  29. Tom Merritt says:

    I am 70 and have been a solid democrat for virtually my entire voting life. When I was younger and as recently as 2008, I felt that enthusiasm could go a long way. But as Obama has struggled I have come to realize that no systemic progressive change gets made in the US unless the President has a very strong majority in both the Senate and the House. In the Senate the majority level needs to be approximately 65%. In the House, it does not need to be as high, maybe 55-60%. That has been true since before the Civil War. Consider the following:

    1. During reconstruction, the Republican Party, which was the more progressive party at the time, the Senate majorities were 75%-80%, the House majorities were 70%-75%.

    2. During the Progressive Era, i.e. Ted Roosevelt’s administration, the Senate majorities ranged from 64% – 66% and the House majorities ranged from 54% – 66%. Even with those majorities he had to use his “Bully Pulpit” a great deal.

    3. During FDR’s administration and specifically the period from 1933 – 1939, when the most progressive reforms were made, the Senate majorities ranged from 61% – 78% and the House majorities ranged from 72% – 77%. Following 1939, the nation’s attention increasingly turned to WWII and fewer progressive initiatives were implemented, although FDR continued to enjoy huge majorities.

    4. The next time systemic progressive changes were made was during Johnson’s administration and specifically the 89th Congress from 1965-1967. During that Congress, the Senate majority was 68% and the House majority was 67.8%. To be sure, many of the majority were Southern Democrats, so getting the landmark Civil Rights and Voting Rights legislation through was very difficult and required all of Johnson’s political skill to do so. He made some deals, regarding Viet Nam that the nation came to later regret.

    5. The 111th Congress from 2009-2011 was the next time that systemic changes were made, i.e. the Affordable Care Act. During that Congress Obama had a very fragile and slim Senate majority of 60%. The House majority was 59%. Getting ACA passed required all the legislative skill of both Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, and they barely succeeded. Even so the 111th Congress is considered to be the most productive since the 89th. That is with a very pragmatic, but cautious President. Obama actually stated in his election book that health care reform without involving the insurance companies was not possible. The lack of a solid majority was the reason that the public option was not implemented. We all know what happened during the 2010 elections, so all reform was stopped immediately.

    This is all to point out that in the US systemic progressive change only rarely occurs and that is when there are huge majorities in Congress. The same does not necessarily hold true for regressive reforms, since typically the monetary influence and very conservative members of Congress make it easier to get regressive reforms passed. In general, except for the rare periods when systemic change is possible, legislation is typically incremental. We are in such a period now, with a very polarized voting public and a Congress that could very well be split between and Democrats and Republicans, even if a Democrat is elected. If a Republican is elected, he will likely have far less of a majority in the Senate and the House than now.

    If Sanders happens to be elected, he will not be able to get his program through Congress, even if he is able to get people into the streets, as he assumes with his “political revolution.” Unless he has the Congressional majority all the demonstrations will make no difference. This is the main reason that I am supporting Hillary. She might be able to make some incremental changes and strengthen the ACA and further constrain Wall Street. I learned sadly the limitations of demonstrations after all the Storm and Fury of the Viet Nam demonstrations. All we got for our efforts, was the resignation of Johnson and the election of Nixon. I say this as a Viet Nam veteran and one of those who demonstrated.

    • 1mime says:

      The stories you could tell, right Tom? HRC is Dems best hope right now from an effectiveness standard as well as in a heads up campaign with an expected billion dollar GOP financing arm. 2016 is going to be one for the record books. Like many here, I am a liberal who is pragmatic. I want government to work. Since I am 72 (your senior), we have traveled many of the same roads and seen lots of politics. I am more concerned now than I have ever been principally because of my fear of new SCOTUS appointees. I don’t want one party to dominate, but I do want there to be objectivity in judicial consideration. There are big issues ahead and we need justices who are not so blatantly political (Scalia, Alito) in order to ensure Democracy works for all our people. To that end, I am supporting HRC.

      • tmerritt15 says:

        I concur with Mime regarding SCOTUS. I have doubts about any of the very conservative justices retiring during the first term. However, during the second we might see Thomas and Scalia retire, even Kennedy might retire. Alito is too young.

        Also I am very concerned regarding foreign issues. At this time, there are two revanchist Great Powers, Russia and China. They both seem to feel that the US is disengaging from the world, so they can make moves. That is particularly true of Putin. He could very well move against the Baltic states. That would mean Great Power war. China could use that as an opportunity to settle some of their territorial issues. HRC is tough enough that she would counter such moves quickly, without overreacting. The US needs to be clear that such nonsense will be countered. I believe that if the US is firm, we might get through this period. Sanders does not seem to have a grasp of the complexity or gravity of the foreign situation. HRC does. Any of the top GOP candidates would overreact.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi tmerritt15
        I would not worry too much about Putin,
        Russia could probably beat any one of the European powers,
        But that is all – NATO – minus the USA! is still about three or four times as strong as Russia
        Poland and Germany together would be too tough a nut,
        And that’s before you add the UK and France not to mention all of the other powers
        And Putin knows this

    • MassDem says:

      Tom, those are very wise words, indeed. I’m in my mid-fifties, was a child during the 60s. I’ve always felt that your group of veterans got a very raw deal from all sides. Thank you for your service.

      I think what we’re seeing now in the Dem party is the classic clash of youthful idealism vs. life experience. I remember the Reagan youth of the 80s, and while I’m happy the pendulum is finally swinging in the other direction, I can’t say I’m thrilled about the lack of practicality (on so many levels) in supporting Sanders. I hate to think that the Dems will lose this election just to provide a teachable moment to the younger generation. We’ve been down this road enough times before.

  30. MassDem says:

    Sorry Lifer, wrong again. Trump has “single-handedly brought back free speech” when he said that thing about Ted Cruz.

    Moreover, where did he ever find Katrina Pierson? She’s nuttier than a five-pound fruitcake.

    • goplifer says:

      Funny you should ask. Ted Cruz found her first. She’s a pharma sales rep and shoplifter who found her way into politics with the Tea Party.

      She got famous for supporting-Cruz-while-black. She has parlayed that niche appeal into a reasonably lucrative day job as a TV moron.

  31. Chris D. says:

    As a Democrat, I know full well that the blue wall is not nearly as solid as Chris has made it out to be. (I think Alan Abramowitz documented this on the Crystal Ball a while back.) The states Romney won are virtually impenetrable to any Democrat. More than enough blue states are in play for a savvy Republican to win. The fact that Hillary is struggling with Sanders proves what I have always suspected–that she is an imperious and tone-deaf candidate who would never be our nominee if CGI cronies had not conquered the Democratic National Party and forced her down our throats. Moreover, the OfA movement never materialized into anything substantive and its primary talent were co-opted in part and mostly neutralized by the Clintonites.

    That being said, the best thing that could ever happen to the Democrats would be to lose the presidency. That’s the surest way for Democrats to make gains in Congress and the state houses in time for 2020. We need a new breed of younger (say, under 65), smarter politicians and for dinosaurs like Hillary and Bernie to pass from scene.

    • vikinghou says:

      I hear you, but I’m terrified of what would happen to the Supreme Court should the GOP win the White House this time. The damage would take decades to overcome.

    • MassDem says:

      Yes, that would be the best thing, just like in 2000 when George W. Bush was “elected”.
      Two terms of awesome, that’s just what we need!

    • 1mime says:

      Yeah, well, let HRC pass from the scene after her second term. Hopefully the DNC will get on the stick and groom some of the younger candidates who are better equipped to compete.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      With all due respect, Chris, your shortsightedness disturbs me. We have much, much more at stake in this election than petty partisan battles and control of Congress.

      Think about the fact that the next president is going to shape the Supreme Court for a generation. That is a tremendous amount of power that will affect countless lives, and yet you’re essentially saying that you’re willing to let that happen to let Democrats, hopefully, makes gains in Congress and in statehouses by 2020.

      Most importantly of all, think of the opportunity that we have right now to reshape the Republican Party by seeing that they lose in 2016. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you seem willing to squander for purely partisan reasons. Republicans winning in 2016 would validate that they can entrench themselves in blatantly racist pandering and extremism and STILL win. That is absolutely unacceptable and they have to learn that, even if it has to be shoved down their damn throats!

      We need a strong and thriving GOP in this country to balance out the Democratic Party. 2016 is our time to do it and we have to seize this moment not just for progressive priorities, but for the future of the country. Wake the hell up.

  32. E says:

    Bernie Sanders is never going to win a general. They could put up Marco Rubio’s boot and he’d lose. And I say this as a Democrat.

    He’s not just going to lose because moderate people in purple states are scared of socialism or because he can’t coalition build. He’s going to lose because his most fervent supporters are not going to be able to sustain the same level of commitment they have to him over the next 9 months.

    Bernie may have passionate support right now, but like anyone who runs on ideology, it’s fragile. Any crack in that veneer, any misstep, anything that is seen as catering to the right or the center is going to be judged harshly by the people who got him to where he is. They will abandon him if they think his running mate is too establishment. They will abandon him if he concedes on health care. They will abandon him if a foreign policy crisis causes him to react in a way that is too aggressive. Anything he does from this point forward that is even the slightest bit out of step from his ideology is going to cause his base to shrink.

    I know what people are thinking. He’s been so consistent for decades, it will never happen. Not so. Vermont has fewer people than the District of Columbia, and it’s homogenous. He’s never known what it’s like to try to appease lots of different interest groups. Right now, his base is missing that point when they compare his consistency and ideological purity to that of politicians from larger states that are racially, religiously, and economically diverse. He’s been protected so far because Iowa and New Hampshire are no different than Vermont. But as Bernie moves into tougher territory, he’s going to start facing the kinds of challenges that every other politician in America faces, and for the first time in his career, being consistent is going to be a serious challenge.

    Crazy ideological people are foisting this nutbar on the Democratic party, and they will abandon him when he no longer meets their ridiculous ideological standards. Without them, Bernie will be nothing. He will lose in a landslide.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Outrageous. Where do you get off thinking that Rubio could pull off a boot? That boyish-looking twerp is the kind you expect to be wearing a sweater vest on the cover of GQ and advertising in a Polident commercial. The only he gets away with a boot if it’s starring in a Blazing Saddles parody on SNL. >__<

      • 1mime says:

        You may be right, Ryan, but if the alternative for the GOP is a Trump or Cruz nomination, Rubio may be perceived as electable (if packaged properly…think big $$$$), and controlled if elected. The GOP has plenty of big donors to send $$, and they certainly know how to control things. You know who I’ll be voting for, but I have seen some strange politics over my years of watching. 2016 is a different type of election. Strange dynamics.

  33. 1mime says:

    Getting back to campaign stuff…..It’s easy to overlook what’s happening behind the scenes and how it impacts our election process. We all know about gerrymandering. We all know about voting rights manipulation. Don’t take your eyes off the ball here. Lots going on from our friends on the right to win/steal critical elections. There are court challenges all over the place (FL, NC are two significant ones), and the GOP has successfully dragged these out in the courts to the point that even when the challengers “win” a decision, the appeal process will negate implementation of a new redistricting plan. Pretty sly, and very sad.

    When will conservatives start focusing their considerable resources on winning with a strong platform as opposed to all the gimmicks? That they work is pitiful but all the elections in the world won’t compensate for districts that disenfranchize people. Gerrymandering needs to be declared unconstitutional generally, not slogged out one district at a time. Drip, drip. Democracy evidently can still be bought.

    • Doug says:

      “Gerrymandering needs to be declared unconstitutional generally”

      No argument there. With today’s GPS and population data it would be a simple matter draw districts in a neutral manner with logical boundaries. Shame it will never happen.

      What I take issue with is the idea that Gerrymandering is a GOP thing. The term itself was coined decades before the Republican party even existed. Everybody does it when they can.

      • 1mime says:

        Both parties have done it; Republicans have perfected it. I don’t care who did or does it, it is wrong. Can we agree that it needs to go? Surely, in this age of technological progress we can democratize our election district process.

      • 1mime says:

        On the subject of gerrymandering, this is current. (It is from the Daily Kos so you are fore-warned.) This is modus operandi for the GOP gerrymandering team. And, it’s wrong. Same is happening in FL – both are pivotal states for this Presidential election due to electoral votes.

        “NC Redistricting: Late on Friday afternoon, a federal court hearing a challenge to North Carolina’s congressional map found that Republicans drew two districts, the 1st and the 12th, in violation of the constitution because they’d impermissibly used race as the “predominant consideration” in creating both seats. (The full opinion is available here.) The court ordered that this year’s elections cannot take place under the current lines and gave lawmakers until Feb. 19 to enact a remedial plan, but Republicans are going to appeal. Rick Hasen thinks the Supreme Court is likely to stay the ruling, since absentee voting has already begun for the state’s March 15 primary, though he believes it’s “fairly likely” the decision will ultimately be upheld.
        But for partisan purposes, will it matter either way? Stephen Wolf concludes the answer is no. Tar Heel Republicans drew the most fiendish gerrymander in the nation this cycle, giving them 10 of North Carolina’s 13th congressional districts, even though the state virtually split its vote in the last two presidential elections. But the public record they left behind made it clear that race was their foremost—indeed, only—consideration in constructing the 1st and 12th Districts, and that was their undoing in court.
        However, as Wolf explains, Republicans can simply redraw the map along strictly partisan lines (which is perfectly legal) and retain their 10-3 advantage. (Rick Hasen agrees.) Democrats were able to prevent this from happening after a similar redistricting ruling in Virginia because they hold the governor’s mansion; in North Carolina, however, Republicans control all the levers of power, thanks to huge majorities in the legislature—which they also secured thanks to some diabolically clever gerrymandering. So while this ruling curbs one form of anti-democratic excess on the part of the GOP, other, equally pernicious avenues are still open to them.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @1mime: The thing about FL, as you probably know, is that Republicans were deterred from continual gerrymandering because voters passed a “fair districts” amendment to the state constitution back in 2010. That was their undoing, even though they control both chambers of the state legislature and the governor’s mansion. Now I’m proud to say that my home state, both in terms of its congressional districts and its state Senate districts, are far more evenly distributed and fair. Hopefully the state House will follow in due time.

        States like California, Arizona and Florida have all made noteworthy accomplishments in this fight against political gerrymandering, but I think the Supreme Court is going to have to take it at some point. We can’t keep doing this back and forth of a patchwork system where some states have more appropriate representation than others.

      • 1mime says:

        Florida can be a model for other states, as AZ and a few others have been with the establishment of non-partisan election district commissions. There is simply no excuse for people to be deviously disenfranchized. It’s not right, and, I agree, SCOTUS will have to take this on – the sooner the better. (Another reason to keep the presidency in blue hands….keeping the court fair and balanced….)

        Another FL commentator, Stephen, has posted about how hard the people of FL have had to fight to get Republicans to comply with state law and the courts’ rulings. My understanding was that this was still a work in progress….and that the appealed court rulings (by the GOP) had gummed things up for the 2016 election.

        Perhaps I misunderstood or recalled it improperly.

  34. Rob Ambrose says:

    Some good responses to my Sanders support, good points all.

    I think I find myself defending Sanders here more then I actually feel as a natural counterbalance to some of the commentary here.

    I said months ago that HRC would do fine, and perhaps in a perf ct world, she eventually gets the nom while Bernie Mania draws her further left then she otherwise would be.

    And Sanders for sure does himself no favors with the “revolution” rhetoric. I’d much prefer him frame his policies not so much as an earthshaking revolution, and more like simply catching up with the common sense policies that every other first world country has.

    I whole heartedly disagree with the insinuation that nominating Bernie is a blunder comparable to the way nominating Trump would be a blunder.

    There is a world of difference between the two.

    • 1mime says:

      Here’s another, most interesting, different point of view of the current presidential campaign from Mark Cuban, (billionaire entrepreneur, Shark Tank guru, owner of Dallas Mavericks, etc. etc.). He really describes the millennials’ viewpoints quite well.

    • Crogged says:

      Arsenic and cyanide are two different compounds with the same results after consumption.

    • Griffin says:

      Same here about being a counter-balance. I also agree that my main issue with this is them overstating how “unelectable” or “crazy” Sanders is. I think their are kernals of truth to most people’s issues with him but he’s actually not Ron Paul 2.0 except for many of his supporters being young white guys. Ron Paul wanted to revive the article of Confederation and implement a system that exists no where else in the world (except Somalia) whereas Sanders is just a social democrat (I must sound like a broken record at this point). He’d be the center-left in pretty much any developed nation and has said he’s willing to compromise tog et part of his agenda through.

      Even if I disagree with some of his stances (Audit Fed, $15 dollar minimum wage) he has plenty of decent (or at least defendable) ideas. I really do think he’s more comparable to someone like Reagan in terms of having a couple crazy ideas but otherwise having popular support behind many of his ideas. Having a couple crazy positions is not comparable to someone like Pat Buchanon, Ron Paul, or Cynthia Mckinney who’s almost nothing BUT crazy ideas.

  35. MassDem says:

    “The Overton Window”–poly sci term or bad novel by Glenn Beck? We report, you decide.

    • MassDem says:

      Foreplay, Glenn Beck style:

      “Suit yourself, lady. I’m telling you right now, you made the rules, but you’re playing with fire here. I’ve got some rules, too, and rule number one is, don’t tease the panther.”

      So hot!

      • Doug says:

        I thought you were joking. Don’t tease the panther! ROFL

        The Overton Window should have been a Ludlum novel.

      • 1mime says:

        Ha! When/what does this quote link to?

      • MassDem says:

        It’s from “The Overton Window”. There are other choice bits, but that one is the most famous or notorious, depending on your POV.

        Although I pulled it from a review–haven’t read it myself (& don’t plan to).

      • 1mime says:

        Well, since we’re quoting folks: Here’s Bette Midler’s tweet comparing today’s Republican candidates for President with a paragraph out of Catch 22.

        Compare that with David Brooks nostalgic NYT piece on the good qualities Barack Obama brought to the Presidency.

        ““It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. It merely required no character.” — Joseph Heller, Catch-22”

      • MassDem says:

        “That’s some catch, that Catch-22.”

        One of my most favoritest books ever.

  36. Craig says:

    I wish I could get my fellow Democratic voters to see the folly and the potential disaster of a Sanders nomination as clearly as you do, Chris. Sure, his promises sound good and in the abstract poll well, particularly with young people who don’t have the sense or the life experience to realize that something for nothing is a fairy tale. But when you get down to the nuts and bolts of what it will cost and who will pay for it, the Sanders wish list falls apart quickly. Anybody who thinks they can get virtually free health care, free college tuition, and all the other goodies Bernie is promising, by just raising taxes on the so-called rich clearly does not have a firm grasp on reality.

    I don’t want a “revolution.” I want the next president to safeguard the progress made during the Obama years and if possible make some incremental improvements. That’s it. I’m not the biggest Hillary fan but given the two choices she is the one who fits that bill. But I suspect all this Bern-feeling will be over on or shortly after Super Tuesday when the primaries move into states where other people besides just white folks live, and the point will be more or less moot. Hope so anyway.

    • Crogged says:

      I may have to wade into these battles with my fellow travelers over the next few months and I’m not looking forward to it. Just as the author of this blog has pointed out the ‘white panic’ in Republicans is a form of nostalgia, so is the appeal of Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Party. Are people breaking out in song at his rallies, “Age of Aquarius” style?

    • MassDem says:

      From your lips to the electorate’s ears…

    • goplifer says:

      I’m sure you could deliver that message pretty solidly if you’d lived through nearly thirty years of this nutjobbery in your party.

      For decades I’ve listened to ideologues explain that all we need is an ideologically pure candidate. You, know, a real sincere winner like Pat Buchanan or Pat Robertson or Alan Keyes or Gary Bauer or Mike Huckabee or Ted Cruz or my all-time favorite, the Republican Bernie Sanders: Ron Paul.

      I keep thinking that eventually we’re all gonna get exhausted with this drift toward loony extremes, then Donald Trump calls somebody a pussy at a campaign rally and the audience cheers. Idiocracy looms ever closer in the margins.

      • MassDem says:

        Now, Lifer, Trump handled that exchange very well–he didn’t actually himself call Cruz a pussy, he just implied it when he “chastised” his supporter.

        But Trump’s wrong. Ted Cruz isn’t a pussy. He’s something that if I came out and said it, I would banned from this blog for life. So I’ll leave it to your imagination.

      • 1mime says:

        We can and do disagree on the success of President Obama’s tenure, but, it is quietly satisfying to see a moderate conservative reflect upon the strength and character Obama has demonstrated despite outright vilification and very challenging situations.

        From David Brooks, NYT: “Brooks said he “obviously” disagreed with many of Obama’s decisions, but appreciated the President’s “ethos of integrity.” He wrote: “…presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle are lacking five character traits that we’ve “taken too much for granted” from Obama: “basic integrity,” “sense of basic humanity,” soundness” in decision making, “grace under pressure,” and “resilient sense of optimism.”

        “Obama radiates an ethos of integrity, humanity, good manners and elegance that I’m beginning to miss, and that I suspect we will all miss a bit, regardless of who replaces him,” he concluded.”

        “”People are motivated to make wise choices more by hope and opportunity than by fear, cynicism, hatred and despair. Unlike many current candidates, Obama has not appealed to those passions,” he added.”

        Apply Brooks five character traits to the candidates before us. Who comes up best?

    • Crogged says:

      I’ve been a pragmatic Democrat in Texas since 1984, you don’t think I’m used to losing yet?

      • MassDem says:

        Stay strong my friend! The spirit of Ann Richards is watching over you!

      • 1mime says:

        And the indomitable, Molly Ivins! (A transplanted Californian….that’s why she was so much fun!) Boy did she give Texas a wild ride. What an unforgetable personality!

        “I dearly love the state of Texas, but I consider that a harmless perversion on my part, and discuss it only with consenting adults.”

      • 1mime says:

        I feel your pain, Crogged !

    • Griffin says:

      “Sure, his promises sound good and in the abstract poll well, particularly with young people who don’t have the sense or the life experience to realize that something for nothing is a fairy tale.”

      It’s worth noting that this is the kind of patronizing, smug attitude that can cause the “young people” to be turned off by your side and think you’re totally out of touch. You’re dismissing them out of hand based on ageism when many of them are well aware they will have to pay higher taxes (especially in the future) for the things they want, but they look at countries like Sweden and decide it’s worth it.

      • Craig says:

        Not patronizing or smug, and not ageism, just reality. Can you deny that one’s view of life and the way the real world works differs from age 25 to age 35 or 45? I can’t. Somewhere during that time reality slaps you upside the head and the idealism of youth gives way to pragmatism and the wisdom that only comes through age and experience.

    • 1mime says:

      I believe there is a legitimate argument about the ACA being flawed, but I also think that it should be built upon,not scrapped. Even though I am a grateful Medicare recipient, and do support universal health care, it has to be not only a sound medical plan but one that has more consensus. Paul Ryan is supposedly going to unveil an alternative this Spring. The big problem is that there is no agreement on what the nation’s priorities are. For conservatives it’s defense and states rights; for progressives/liberals, it’s all about equality in all areas. There is only so much money to spread around and a complete reluctance to create any new source of revenue to bridge the differences. I don’t know the answer as to “how” accord can be reached, but what I am seeing play out on the campaign trail isn’t encouraging of any humility or desire to compromise. Regardless “who” is elected, is America in for another 4-8 years of miserable gridlock? Can our nation afford to do this again?

  37. johngalt says:

    Oh, and Duncan, in no world whatsoever is a British BSc equivalent to an American M.S. Sure, there are a lot of crap universities in America not worth their .edu, but from any decent place the B.S. degrees are roughly equivalent.

    • johngalt says:

      Sorry, wrong place for this. It was meant as a response on a thread way below.

    • duncancairncross says:

      Unfortunately John you are wrong!

      You take somebody from an American high school and give them a three year course then you are definitely going to be behind somebody from a Scottish high school given a four year course,
      And more than one year behind!

      First they will be starting from a much lower standard
      It’s not that the kids are worse but your high school system sucks –
      One of the reasons is that you allow the kids too much choice – When I was helping Columbus High School in the Solar Challenge (we won) I was appalled at the fact that a lot of my kids had not done algebra! – because it’s hard!

      You also seem to try and teach science using textbooks – they had almost no science equipment at all

      Second (and I’m in two minds about this) we teach engineering at university -100%
      You insist on the kids doing humanities and other soft stuff at the same time

      So four years doing engineering at a Scottish university is equivalent to at least five years at an American university

      • duncancairncross says:

        I will put this another way
        Do you think that your universities are that much better than the Scottish ones that they can

        Make up for your High Schools
        Plus spend 25% of the time being taught a non core subject

        So in four years (although some American BSc’s are three years) they have to make up over a year on the Scottish universities

        Ain’t gonna happen

        Which is why the American recruitment people I talked to considered a Scottish BSc in engineering to be the equivalent of a Masters in the USA

        Saying that the German engineering degree is a five year diploma after a “High school” that is significantly more strenuous than a Scottish one

        So if a Scottish engineering degree is more advanced than an American one a German engineering degree beats both hands down

      • goplifer says:

        I’ve had a little exposure to the British university system. I was appalled.

        There are lots of things Americans take way too much pride in, like our miserable health care system. Then there are institutions like our universities, which have no real comparison elsewhere in the world and we scarcely recognize the advantage.

        On a side note, here’s an interesting thing I’ve noticed over the years about higher education. The easiest thing in the world to teach students is engineering. From Moscow to Tehran to Pyongyang, engineering comes down to math mastery, and math is the least politically sensitive intellectual pursuit.

        It takes a particularly well-refined culture to generate quality, university level education in literature, art, and philosophy. One of the least acknowledged achievements of our university system, in fact something generally derided rather than celebrated, is the number of graduates we produce in the humanities.

        I work in software, as we scour job listings looking for these people. Some of my colleagues who carry an ‘engineer’ title (it gets an asterisk in software) were theology majors, have masters degrees in art history or design, and so on. And they are making serious $$.

        Maybe off topic. Just thought it was interesting.

      • 1mime says:

        Bravo, Lifer. Success in life is about more than a technical degree – even though this is a valued and important area of knowledge and skill. America is unique precisely because it encourages people to think outside the box – to pursue their “dream” as it were. The tragedy, of course, is that the opportunity is too limited, but this is the country that people from all over the world admire. That’s not only because of our economic prowess, it’s because America stands for opportunity. Again, think of simple little Charlie Brown still pulling down $100M/yr and he doesn’t even require medicare or social security! He just makes people smile.

      • MassDem says:

        Duncan, Duncan where to begin…

        First off, our high schools don’t across-the-board suck. Our educational system currently has a highly unfair distribution of resources, meaning that some schools get diddly-squat, and some schools are excellent and as well equipped as any high school anywhere. Yes, the system sucks, and needs to be overhauled, but it isn’t fair to say that categorically, American high school students can’t compete because of their substandard educations.

        Secondly, are you really throwing shade on American higher ed? Because we have students from abroad beating down the doors to get in to many of our universities…and for engineering, this isn’t restricted to MIT, it’s true for lower tier schools as well: BU, Northeastern, WPI, RIT, RPI, even little UMass Lowell is known for its plastics department. And these are just the schools close to me. I’m sure it also holds true for Georgia Tech, Drexel, Stony Brook, Cornell, Bucknell, Cal Tech & a whole bunch of other schools I don’t know.

        The reason so many American engineering schools are five years is not because the kids are in remedial classes, it’s the year of COOP–working in the industry as a kind of intern instead of taking classes. Maybe you do this in Scotland; I don’t know. Anyway, your statement of 25% time in a non-core subject is pure, unadulterated BS for engineering. It’s more like a total of 3-4 classes at most over the whole four years of school. Believe me, my son is majoring in Chemical Engineering, and his schedule is NOT full of Humanities classes, nor is it easy. This semester he’s taking Thermo, Fluid Mechanics, MatLab, and Unit Operations, plus a COOP prep class. He dropped his elective–Biochemistry–so he’ll have to take it over the summer.

        Finally, during my short career in biomedical science, I had plenty of opportunity to observe graduate students and post-docs in their native habitat. The students from China, Japan, India etc. fit in seamlessly, but most of the Europeans were constantly whinging about the low pay, long hours, and lack of vacation. So maybe there is something missing from the European education after all?

      • johngalt says:

        “Do you think that your universities are that much better than the Scottish ones that they can
        Make up for your High Schools”

        Yes (plus, as MassDem said, you see news about a lot of really crappy American high schools, but very many of them are good to excellent). As I earlier granted, there are lots of mediocre universities in the United States, so I am not talking about West Texas A&M or Oral Roberts or Furman, or any of dozens of others. But I would put an engineering graduate from the University of Texas or Georgia Tech up against any school in Europe you care to list. I would put engineering graduates from Rice, MIT, Stanford, etc., in a class of their own. I’ve seen some of the stuff Rice’s students do as part of the senior design project and have been blown away at the creativity.

      • Crogged says:

        So my two years at Jesus State Technical Institute were wasted?

        Here’s the deal-many people don’t have the resources to go to even the middle tier universities without very large sacrifice-then we incented loaning money for education as a profit center.

        Ok, Mr/Ms Secondary Education Major-your loan debt is forgiven in 10 years if you work for peanuts at Moving Target High School.

        What is the pragmatic, incremental, don’t upset me at dinner middle ground?

      • 1mime says:

        Crogged: “What is the pragmatic, incremental, don’t upset me at dinner middle ground?”

        I submit that it should be affordable access to an institution or career or trade that you wish to pursue. That so many are priced out of their chance at higher ed or whatever, is the real tragedy in America.

        Going back to the el Erian interview on C. Rose, he expressed great concern for the looming financial crisis in America – student loan debt. Why does higher ed have to cost so much? Why are student loans for higher ed not revenue neutral? Why are banks and lending institutions making money off kids who are simply preparing to enter the jobs market?

        It’s nuts. And, it’s wrong.

      • To be fair to the British: if you are the sort of sixteen year old who already knows exactly what they want to do in life, then the British system is ideal and is among the best in the world. I have seen it work and for that very small percentage of people it genuinely does work.

        For the rest of us – people who either didn’t know, knew but were wrong, or are still making our minds up even as adults – the British system is badly designed, especially in the modern world, and especially when it comes to specialised subjects.

    • vikinghou says:

      I lived in France for several years in a city that didn’t have an American school. As a result, my American colleagues there placed their children in French schools. They weren’t old enough for high school (or lyceé in France). But they all seemed to take it in stride. Upon returning stateside, these kids were significantly advanced compared to their peers and most ended up skipping one or two grades. I don’t know if this French advantage continues into the high school years, but I was impressed. As a rule, my colleagues who were educated in French universities have been very bright and excellent coworkers.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Viking
        My son on moving from the USA to NZ was nearly two years behind the Kiwi kids – it took a lot of work for him to catch up

  38. irapmup says:

    With all the conversation going to the top spot it should be considered, assuming either democrat now positioned gets the nod, a younger and equally intelligent choice as running mate is in order. This is imperative and will play a very large role in both former Secretary Clinton’s and Senator Sander’s future in short order. My sense is if Senator Warren were to accept either candidates offer that ticket would win.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Warren seems obvious enough if Clinton is looking to try and win over the liberal wing of the party, but she’s too much of a rising star and would risk outshining Clinton. I don’t think she’ll pick her.

      Julian Castro is on a lot of people’s lists, being a young Hispanic with a promising future and one who can reach out to younger voters. He fits the ticket from a lot of different angles and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he were the one.

      There’s also the chance Clinton could swing for the fences and pick another woman like Kristin Gillibrand from New York or Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota. Both are well-qualified, no doubt, but I’m not sure Hillary would go there, purely because a lot would look at it like she was trying to pander to female voters too much. I don’t dismiss it entirely though.

      I could be wrong, admittedly, but the one thing I don’t think Hillary will do is go for a “safe” choice like Mark Warner or Martin O’Malley; in other words, underwhelming and wouldn’t do much for the ticket, either to hurt it or to help it.

      • MassDem says:

        What I’d really like to see is Elizabeth Warren endorsing Hillary. I even sent an email to her saying that, cuz why not, I’m her constituent. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

        Hillary would probably be better off with Castro as VP choice.

      • johngalt says:

        There is a peculiar quirk in the already quirky electoral college that makes a Clinton-Gillibrand or Rubio-Bush ticket unlikely. Electors vote separately for president and vice-president and the Constitution says that at least one vote must be cast for someone who does not live in their same state. So New York’s electors would have to choose between voting for Clinton or for Gillibrand and Florida’s between Rubio and Bush. There was a reason for this nonsense 200 years ago but, like the entire electoral college, it is an anachronism now.

    • 1mime says:

      Two women will never happen. Warren has been clear about her disinterest in running at this time. Why would she accept a VP role which usually kills a Presidential win? Also, this is a hard job. Some people feel they can be more effective as a Senator by focusing their energy and assets.

  39. Hainous says:

    Note that a Bernie nomination also might mean Bloomberg comes into the race, aka Mr. Soda Ban and Mr. Stop-and-Frisk. Think he might spark some minority/split-ticket voter backlash?

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      It would certainly make political pundits and historians happy, I can say that much. As for what it would mean in November? It would be an absolute political clusterf***.

      Thankfully, I’m still confident Hillary will be the nominee and we can avoid such a thing.

  40. MassDem says:

    Doug was onto something–Bernie Sanders supporters are like Ron Paul supporters.
    Nate Silver says so.

    • 1mime says:

      Does this mean that Sanders will de facto pick up Ron/Rand Paul’s base? It’s interesting to explore “why” these younger voters are so enamored with these “old, White, men”. Could it be the Grandfather trust image? Are they telling us they don’t trust men of their dad’s generation? Is that even important? Or, is it purely message…a hopeful generation that sees a figure they can trust, who stays on message, and is talking about their concerns in a way that seems genuine, unusually so?

    • goplifer says:

      When you’re young, the establishment is your greatest enemy, it is the mountain that looms ahead of you threatening to take away your spirit, your youth and your bong. That geezer with his off-kilter rhetoric, whether ‘liberty’ or ‘socialism’ is a sort of Gandalf.

      Eventually, if you experience some success in climbing that mountain, you develop an investment in making things work. You see that the figure you saw as Gandolf is a cranky old bastard with some screws loose, like that guy you knew in high school who lives in a van.

      Demagogues know to look for young men. They are fuel for revolution:

      • MassDem says:

        It’s not just the young men.

        “Thank you older women for your sacrifice, making it possible for us for us to express ourselves in a futile gesture. Because something that took you generations to achieve, a battle still ongoing in fact, will be so much easier for us because our hearts are pure.”

        –Young Women

      • 1mime says:

        Demagogues look for young men….In all fairness, that is the one aspect of Bernie’s candidacy that I think is not deliberate. After all, if nothing else, Bernie has had the same message for his entire career. If the audience now is our youth, and he is their “chosen” messenger, it is because they agree on the message. It is fair to criticize Sander’s platform without denigrating his character. He would have to be blind to not recognize and encourage the millions of young people who seem to idolize him. That’s not insincerity or pandering, just good politics.

  41. fiftyohm says:

    The problem with Sanders is precisely the problem with Trump. When asked, “What do you think of him?” nobody but nobody says, “Meh.”

    This excludes ‘the great middle’ that elects presidents. This is, to a large extent, why the nomination of Sanders is essentially the only way the Democrats can loose this election. (Excepting, of course a parallel nomination of Trump -which just ain’t gonna happen either.)

    • Griffin says:

      I actually know some people who go “meh”. They don’t think he could get his agenda through Congress anyways so they figure he wouldn’t have much of an effect (affect?) on their lives anyways, for better or for worse, he would just still be preferential to the GOP candidates.

      Though I do have an uncle who threatens to move him and his family to South Africa if Sanders gets elected. Then again he said the same about Obama and almost did it in 2012. Then again (again) he says the same about Clinton. Why does every family have the crazy far-right uncle?

      • fiftyohm says:

        Griff – I suspect that the formerly referred to people would vote for Clinton, and your Uncle would vote for Trump. Again, the ‘middle’ wins. Plenty of people said “meh” about Obama.

      • goplifer says:

        What is it about uncles…

      • fiftyohm says:

        Lol, Chris. I’m an uncle, and I hope to god I’m not remembered in the same way as “my drunk Uncle Louie” I disparage so often here!

  42. MassDem says:

    BTW, my husband, who is a gifted mimic, has been going around the house talking like Bernie Sanders since last Thursday night. After four days of enforced togetherness due to back-to-back snowstorms, I am a MassDem on the edge.

  43. n1cholas says:

    Bill Clinton effectively turned the Democratic party into a sane, tolerant version of the Republican party, which pushed the Republican party off into delusions and insanity.

    That liberal Democrats are supposed to continue voting for socially liberal, tolerant Republicans because otherwise we won’t be able to elect socially liberal, tolerant Republicans is circular logic at best.

    The Republican party decided to go after the bigots after the Democratic party started shedding them en masse in 1948. Between Wallace, Goldwater, Nixon, and Reagan, they Hoovered them up and now find themselves stuck with a Republican base that is bigoted, and very, very, ignorant of objective, observable reality.

    Saying that Sanders may just break the Blue Wall from the inside, even if true, should be something that any sane Republican wants. I mean, don’t Republicans want these mystical/mythical socially and fiscally conservative minority voters that are REQUIRED for there to ever be a majority Republican party? And if sane Republicans want then so bad, then why argue that we us liberal Democrats need to vote for the socially liberal, tolerant Republicans?

    Oh, right. Because the current DLC/Democratic party is essentially a sane, tolerant Republican party.

    Let’s be real here. Unless Sanders or HRC can bring massive coattails and re-take the House and Senate, there is very little either will be able to accomplish. Unless you think that Trump/Cruz/Rubio/Kasich are going to get elected and then destroy the country internally, still nothing of substance stands to get done with a gridlocked Congress.

    And if you do think that Trump/Cruz/Rubio/Kasich are inherently bad for the country, what does it say that you think that Sanders, someone who is just a run-of-the-mill liberal in comparison to actual liberal politics around the world, should be opposed, or that you’ll just sit out the election entirely if he’s nominated.

    I just don’t see why anyone who is remotely liberal and prefers Sanders should take the whole “but Bernie will break the blue wall” argument seriously. From every angle, this blue wall thing is essentially a facade that isn’t going to stand up to a sane Republican party, so it in effect doesn’t exist if we’re just electing a socially liberal Republican d/b/a a Democrat.

    But that’s me. Apparently I’m a lunatic because I prefer Sanders. Of course, individually polling almost every issue without a candidate or ideology attached to it shows that the US is actually a pretty liberal country. I’m fine for destroying the blue wall, because I believe that if people get past idiotic notions of what Democratic Socialism is, they’ll actually like it.

    • Griffin says:

      I’m a white college student who leans toward Bernie so I guess I’m an idiot too…

      In fairness I’ve seen actual young, white Sanders supporters on the internet who are totally out of touch with minority issues and are more than a little racist. I’ve also met a couple “dumb” lefties in college who think all white men are racists and we should have a command economy.

      However I really don’t think Sanders is far-left. He’s not a communist, he’s not an anarchist, and despite what he calls himself he’s not even a “Democratic socialist”, he’s just a social democrat. Policy wise I don’t think he’s extreme enough to be a threat. I only see him losing lots of minority votes because some of his supporters are idiots, but I don’t think he would do it on his own. The DNC would still mobilize minorities, and considering that the GOP is literally imploding they’re still at a dasadvantage.

      I really don’t see universal healthcare or new marginal tax brackets as “loopy” ideas.Most developed nations have those things. If he wanted to tear down capitalism that would be different, but Sanders is just what a liberal used to be, he’s not even as left-wing as Hubert Humphrey, George McGovern, etc.

      Like you said though nothing is going to get through this Congress anyways, so it doesn’t matter. He and Clinton will govern pretty similarly, with the main difference being foreign policy. Sanders wants to basically continue Obama’s foreign policy, whereas Clinton wants to be even more hawkish.

    • goplifer says:

      Is there something controversial in the notion that a vast majority of the voting public in a general election orients themselves in between each party’s primary electorate? The party that does the best job imposing some basic organizational discipline on its ideological fringes experiences the most success in a general election. Election 101. In recent years, Democrats have experienced more success in this area than Republicans have and were (until a couple of months ago) on track to continue their streak.

      Let me also suggest that being a “run of the mill liberal in comparison to…around the world” does not lead to the conclusions about electability that I think you have in mind.

      • Griffin says:

        That isn’t always true though. Reagan was considered far-right in 1980 but managed to win in a landslide, and helped shift the entire Overton Window with his election. He won because people were unhappy and some of his policies were popular, despite being labeled radical right. Now he looks moderate by comparison to the GOP.

        Sanders supporters are basically trying to do what the New Right did in 1980 but in the other direction, mostly by getting Sanders elected and hoping the GOP implode.

        In other words Clinton is a safe bet with a decent return. Sanders is a riskier bet but (if you’re a liberal) with much larger potential rewards. That’s the argument. If he gets elected he’s no longer “ideological fringe” but just the new status quo.

      • MassDem says:

        Reagan was running against a very damaged President Carter. Not the same.

      • Griffin says:

        Well the Democrats are running against a very damaged GOP that is imploding, so you can see the argument that this is basically their “opening”.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @Griffin: >] “In other words Clinton is a safe bet with a decent return. Sanders is a riskier bet but (if you’re a liberal) with much larger potential rewards. That’s the argument. If he gets elected he’s no longer “ideological fringe” but just the new status quo.”

        Those “much larger potential rewards” are what, exactly? There’s precisely zero chance that he gets any of his major proposals through Congress and the so-called “political revolution” is a dream within a dream. In the meantime, our economy continues undergoing massive changes that will demand a swift and effective government to respond to them or risk leaving our people to fend for themselves. I’d prefer not to see our government still arguing about health care and raising the minimum wage when that happens.

        >] “Sanders supporters are basically trying to do what the New Right did in 1980 but in the other direction, mostly by getting Sanders elected and hoping the GOP implode.”

        Nominating Hillary Clinton will ensure the Republicans’ defeat and the best bet to see that they splinter and, with any luck and a whole lot of hard work, come back into a nationally relevant party that can actually govern effectively. Really, the only response I get from die-hard Sanders’ supporters when confronted with this essentially amounts to an anti-Hillary rant and a proverbial one-fingered salute to Wall Street and the so-called “establishment.”

      • Griffin says:

        The potential gain is shifting the American political spectrum to the left and moving the Democratic Party to a more firmly liberal position, much like Reagan’s victory did for hardline conservatives who dominated the GOP from then onward.

        “political revolution” is a dream within a dream”

        Again Ronnie Raygun. Mobilizing the base and giving it disproportionate influence over a country’s politics is clearly “possible”, it’s just a question of whether or not Sanders has enough supporters to do it himself. Regardless neither he nor Clinton will get congress.

        “I’d prefer not to see our government still arguing about health care”

        Ummm why wouldn’t we want to “argue” about healthcare. Regardless of whether or not single-payer is the best solution there are still plenty of people who aren’t covered and our currrent system is still massively ineffective. It’s a no brainer to reform it in some way and it should be a top priority, American lives are literally at stake. Even CLINTON will be arguing with the GOP over health care. In fact she will be arguing with the GOP about everything, because the GOP doesn’t want to work with anyone. In fact pretty much everything you’re saying can apply to both Clinton and Sanders. There won’t be any “swift and effective government” for the next four year because the GOP will probably hold down the House, so from some liberals’ point of view you might as well try to change the conversation in the meantime.

        “Really, the only response I get from die-hard Sanders’ supporters when confronted with this essentially amounts to an anti-Hillary rant and a proverbial one-fingered salute to Wall Street and the so-called “establishment.””

        That’s their problem. I don’t consider myself “die-hard”, I might even vote for Clinton in the primary, but my main issue is her foreign policy, which is extremely hawkish. I strongly disagree with her desire to overthrow Assad and think it will backfire on us in the long run, like our middle eastern interventions usually do.

      • WX Wall says:

        I disagree. If you believe in the Overton Window, then it’s actually the other way around: the political parties and the media set the goalposts that separate “acceptable middle” from “fringe extreme”. Then the public chooses something in the middle.

        Otherwise, how do you explain that warrantless spying on domestic phone calls went from “lunatic fringe” to “acceptable middle” within the span of a few years, and preceded the public slowly acquiescing to it? (Indeed, when the FISA courts were established, they were considered kangaroo courts: tools of the CIA with no accountability i.e. lunatic right-wing fringe. Now, believing you should get a warrant from them before starting domestic surveillance is considered lunatic left-wing fringe. Did the public actually whipsaw that fast, or did the media and politicians condition them into accepting what’s “middle ground”?)

      • Griffin says:

        I don’t wholly buy into it myself. I think if someone wins the White House then they do (or can) have some influecnce over what’s perceived as “mainstream”, since they had to win with the support of a majority of voters. That’s one of the goals of “fringe” peoples is to basically hijack one of the parties and get one of their own in. Even if they lose they’ve shifted the conversation, whereas before they were ignored.

        What Sanders is trying to do is basically get out liberals/young people to actually vote and shift what’s percieved as acceptable. If someone is winning eletions and midterms while calling for single-payer, suddenly single-payer becomes a more mainstream idea. But yes winning the White House in and of itself may not do much. Even so it would be a very gradual process. What you brought up, a traumatic event (9/11), can shift the Overton WIindow much faster than most elections can.

      • n1cholas says:

        Being a run of the mill liberal is, in essence, not radical, although Sanders is portrayed as a radical, or, uh, “crazy”.

        Sanders is essentially an actual liberal, alive and being liberal inside the United States. And it scares a lot of people that an actual liberal could win the Democratic party nomination.

        Whodathunk an actual liberal could do that!

    • MassDem says:

      Sanders may be a run-of-the-mill liberal elsewhere, but he isn’t running to be president of the world. You can debate whether the US is center-right or center- left, but the point is, it’s center- something, and that’s not where Bernie Sanders is.

      I guess I’m showing my age, but after seeing so many politicians come and go, I couldn’t care less about ideological purity–just give me someone who aligns with most of my values, and who can actually govern.

      • n1cholas says:

        Well, first, if you poll on individual issues without using “isms” to send signals to the tribalists, Americans are actually fairly liberal. Of course, over the past 40+ years the word liberal has been continually demonized, so while people use the word to mean one thing…they often actually agree with liberal positions.

        Second, Sanders doesn’t require “purity”, and while I prefer Sanders, I will of course vote for whichever Democratic candidate gets the nomination, because I’m not a lunatic.

        That said, the entire premise of the blue wall is that while it exists in abstract, it can be destroyed from within, or, from without if and when Republicans get sane.

        Well, between HRC and Sanders, I believe that more people would turn out to vote for Sanders, possibly giving Sanders a House and Senate to actually work with, whereas HRC may definitely win, but doesn’t bring the House with her, and maybe not even the Senate.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      @n1cholas: >] “But that’s me. Apparently I’m a lunatic because I prefer Sanders. Of course, individually polling almost every issue without a candidate or ideology attached to it shows that the US is actually a pretty liberal country. I’m fine for destroying the blue wall, because I believe that if people get past idiotic notions of what Democratic Socialism is, they’ll actually like it.”

      Get. Over. Yourself.

      You’re about as crazy for preferring Sanders as I am for supporting Clinton. I’ve said more times than I care to admit that Sanders is a good man whose heart is in the right place, but he’s the wrong candidate for the times. Hillary Clinton, whatever you think of her, is strong and can win in November. This is not the time to fight over ideological purity, not when there is so much on the line.

      Whoever the next president is will determine the shape of the Supreme Court for a generation, will undertake a massive reshaping of all the lower courts for decades to come, will shape the economic argument and, perhaps most importantly of all, play a critical role in what the Republican Party looks like in the future.

      That said, and as much as I’m looking forward to relish seeing Republicans get their pathetic pandering asses hand to them on a silver platter in November (and believe me, I am), we still need a strong and thriving GOP (or its national equivalent, anyways) in this country, and we’re only get to get that, first of all, by seeing that they lose and lose BIG in November. Nominating Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination all but ensures that.

      When that happens and if the split among the Republican Party comes to fruition, then it’s up to people like Lifer and countless others to do the hard work of rebuilding the party into one that actually has its damn head on straight and can govern effectively. Nominate Bernie Sanders and the whole thing gets thrown out the window.

      There is so much on the line this November, not just for Democrats or Republicans, but for the country itself and by extension the world. I don’t want to see that possibility extinguished, not for any reason.

      • WX Wall says:

        “Why are you liberals making such a fuss? Don’t you know Hillary is trying her best? Now is not the time to be having intraparty battles. Besides, would you actually prefer a Republican over her?”

        You seem to be asking liberals to do exactly what you accuse Sanders of asking African Americans to do… (Only difference, even you acknowledge that Sanders is closer to your heart, while I’d argue that based on policy and action, rather than residual affection for Bill Clinton, Sanders is actually better for African Americans than Hillary)

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        That’s a cute theory you’ve got there; couple problems with it though. First of all, my loyalty is to three things first and foremost: my family, my dreams and my ideals. To that end, I serve no political party and my allegiance is to whomever can best address my needs and those of the country. To be perfectly frank, I don’t give a flying f*** whether you call yourself a Democrat or a Republican, conservative or liberal or whatever else.

        I say all that to drive home the point that Bernie Sanders actually doesn’t speak to my heart, contrary to your presumption. And while I have said that he’s a good man and that his heart’s in the right place, I’ve also made it a point to say that he isn’t the right candidate for the times just as much.

        As for your assertion that he’s supposedly better for African-Americans than Hillary Clinton, that’s a load of bullshit, tbh. Why? Simple:

        – Sanders’ unapologetic praise for unions will prevent him from making little more than lip service to the need for serious police accountability reform. That being the case, the rift between African-Americans and the Democratic Party will continue to grow and be ripe for Republicans – if they would ever get their heads screwed on straight – to splinter their relationship once and for all.

        – Economically, he speaks of solutions that were prominent at the turn of the last century, not those of today. They cannot and will not address the concerns of many in the African-American community.

        – As one can see on Twitter and other social media, Sanders’ supporters are outspoken and even dismissive of African-Americans. Sanders himself has denounced these efforts, but made little attempts to seriously stem them, at least as far as I can see. A rhetorical slap on the wrist, if you will; an ironic twist given the problems with police accountability. Can we expect any different if he were to win the White House?

        No one’s saying Clinton would be all that much better than Sanders in this respect, but she at least understands their concerns. Hardly surprising for a woman who has made it a point to keep in touch for the better part of the last several decades.

        That aside, my request to liberals can be summed up in one sentence: Don’t snatch defeat from the jaws of victory for the sake of ideological purity.

        Hillary can win in November and in doing so, open the doors to a true Republican renovation. We need it. End of story.

      • 1mime says:

        Do any of the liberals (or whatever you call yourself) here really think that if Republicans gain the presidency while holding the majority in both houses of Congress, that we are not in for a serious problem? I mean, how are you liking what you are seeing now? Want more? Want more than 40 Freedom Caucus members calling the shots? Forty brash, ideologues who could care less about anything other than their own “principles”! What about “my” principles?

        Ryan is correct: Get real. This election is about preserving nothing less than our system of checks and balance in the United States of America. There is both a need and room for two strong political parties, but there is NO room in a Democracy for dictators. Prepare to live with that if the GOP candidate becomes President – no matter “who” wins the nomination.

        That’s what this is all about. Give it the deep thought it deserves.

      • n1cholas says:

        You can continue proclaiming that HRC is the only candidate that Democrats should vote for, but I, and others, disagree.

        Constantly hearing the refrain that only HRC can win and that Sanders can’t win overlooks a large segment of people who disagree.

        If you rest your entire premise on the Blue Wall theory, then I can understand, but Sanders isn’t making an attempt to hold the Blue Wall. And, if he is able to do what he wants to do, he won’t have to.

  44. Ed K says:

    The two potential Latinos that could get the repub nomination are the two Latinos that Latinos for the most part can’t stand. Even a lot of Cubans don’t like or trust Rubio, because his family’s immigrant story is bogus and many don’t consider him or his parents to be “real” refugees, because they came over before the revolution. The idea that they went back briefly afterwards to Cubans, means they went back to get their money and assets for the last time. I can’t imagine a greater anti-Latino Latino than Cruz.

  45. Mark says:

    I’m a 52 year old Democrat, but I feel lost in this wave of Bernie-mania. I thought I was liberal, but I find myself recoiling from Bernie Sanders and his extreme plans. To me, the general election ads against Bernie just write themselves.

    If the Republicans could nominate a reasonable candidate (Kasich?), I would consider voting R this November, if Bernie is the Dem. nominee. (I can’t believe I’m typing this!)

    P.S. I really enjoy your blog GOPLifer.

    • n1cholas says:

      There is virtually no difference between Kasich and any other candidate, except that Kasich uses his inside voice a lot better.

    • 1mime says:

      Do your research on Kasich. He “sounds” good, especially in the current lineup; however, his views AND actions on womens’ rights and the poor are scary indicators of a dark side. Beware of the “devil you ‘think’ you know”

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      What specific plans and policies are you refering too?

      As in, things he says himself, not things other people say he says .

    • Griffin says:

      Policy wise Bernie Sanders is not even left of Walter Mondale. If you have voted for guys like Walter Mondale or even Dukakis than Sanders shouldn’t seem all that scary. Regardless of what he call himself he’s just a social liberal/social democrat.

      • MassDem says:

        I voted for both of those guys, and it worked out SO well for us Dems. Presidents Mondale and Dukakis, so many accomplishments.

      • Griffin says:

        I wasn’t arguing about electablility, just that it didn’t make sense for a lifelong Democrat i particular to suddenly get scared of Sanders when they’ve voted for people just as liberal in the past.

      • 1mime says:

        Griffin, every person has to make their own decision about who they think would be the best candidate for President. I am choosing HRC because of her experience and because I think she will make the most formidable candidate to oppose whoever the Republicans nominate. I could certainly be wrong and if Bernie is nominated, I will support him to the best of my ability. What Bernie may lack in terms of resume (as compared to HRC), he has in spades in zest and conviction. For me, it is all about keeping the Presidency in Democratic hands.

      • Griffin says:

        Same here Mime that’s probably why I’ll vote for Hillary if Sanders actually has a chance of winning the nomination (which I don’t think he does). It’s just crazy to me that a lifelong Democrat would take any of the current Republicans over Sanders.

    • Glandu says:

      Bah. A true leftist would begin by nationalizing the petrol industry, like Chavez did. A true bolshevik would execute all the owners in the same time(Chavez was very civilized, for a leftists, he killed noone after the failed coup attempt against him.). Sanders is really far from that, and he’s no more a true leftist than the current french government.

      Nah, the problem I have with Sanders is the same that I have with the french “left” : they are racists who ignore they are racists(one of the reasons Christiane Taubira was pushed out the french government recently, the other one being she is a real leftist, and our governement is anything but leftists, despite its official alignment). In France, not much black votes, but those who do are not often choosing the “left”, for this specific reason. They prefer someone who spit at them than someone who fakes being a friend & in fact behave like shit with them – while pretending being more than friendly.

      The problem of the “antiracist left”, here or there, is that it’s in fact racist. And is unable to be aware of that. And as, in your country(unlike in mine), the black vote really counts, it can backfire to them. Without them getting a clue.

  46. Rob Ambrose says:

    Watching Ben Jealous on CNN right now, former president and CEO of the NAACP. He also says specifically he expects Hillarys majority of black leaders endorsement to shirnk in the coming months as they see specific policies.

    I’m not sure where this “Bernie will lose minorities” meme comes from, bit I’m pretty inclined to assume it’s simple lack of name recognition and perhaps a bit of optics, Bernie being very old and very white.

    I’m pretty.confident that as the issues become more widely understood, Bernie will AT WORST do just as well as HRC with black voters, and possibly better.

    Bernie’s entire career is about equality and justice. That extends to racial injustice.

    And frankly, while racism may be the REASON for black oppression, economic injustice and wealth inequality is the weapon used to meet these goals.

    As the black community listens to Sanders message, they will understand that his fght against economic injustice and their fight against racial injustice are two strands of the exact same thing.

    • MassDem says:

      We’ll see when the race moves to states with more diverse populations.

    • goplifer says:

      Rank and file voters in black communities all across the country are vastly more conservative than most of their high-level leadership. They aren’t warm toward Republicans because Republicans are wildly hostile and insulting, but they are getting really angry about the way Democrats, especially the lefty fringe, is treating them. That tension is reaching a boil in Chicago, but that’s just one example.

      At the end of the day, there are two issues that move the bulk of the black voting public most deeply – access to a quality public education, and criminal justice reform (especially police accountability). On both of these issues, Republicans are more or less accidentally aligned with black communities.

      Here in Chicago, that accidental alignment just got a little more deliberate last week when a major Republican policy group donated $500,000 to the re-election campaign of a black Democratic State Assemblyman on the South Side, Ken Dunkin. His challenger is backed by Chicago’s progressives.

      The slogan that black Democrats are using in support of Dunkin: “No more plantation politics.”

      The ‘Bernie will lose minorities’ meme comes down to this. For the Democratic Party to embrace Bernie is has to reject an entire political infrastructure of local committeemen, county board chairs, legislators, and so on that minority communities have invested resources in for sometimes decades. They are sick to death of the kind of voters Bernie attracts. Seeing their people passed over for the chance to move up (remember, that’s really what this fight is over on the ground) would be a stinging insult and a particularly bad moment.

      • 1mime says:

        “(key issues for Black community) ……access to a quality public education, and criminal justice reform (especially police accountability). On both of these issues, Republicans are more or less accidentally aligned with black communities.

        Whoa! Public education that primarily serves minority children are vastly underfunded, shorted in all sorts of materials of instruction, and exist in facilities that taxpayers (primarily white, propertied taxpayers) want to tear down….and not to build a new state of the art facility.
        Nah, more of the same poor quality public education is not what Black families want – they want more. ARe you really serious that you think White politicians and taxpayers are going to invest tax dollars improving schools that serve people outside their gated communities? i don’t think so.

        As for criminal justice reform – The Republicans had to dragged kicking and screaming to the table to propose the modest, “still hung up in the back room bill” that offers a start but is waaay short of what is needed. Heck, are you really sure the capitalists will give up their private prison lock?

        I agree that these two issues are critical to progress for Black and other minority people, but I am going to really have to see more action before I’ll buy that it is coming from the Republican Party.

      • WX Wall says:

        Republicans on criminal justice reform? You mean the ones who went on Fox and blamed the dead victims for threatening the police (with their hands, and menacing black stare, I guess)?

        BTW, Chicago is run by Rahm(bo) Emmanuel, not exactly a lefty.

        Republicans are interested in tearing down public schools and building private charter schools mainly because it allows them to bring down the teachers’ union, have public funds siphoned off by private companies, and allow religious education to be subsidized. Whether as a byproduct, a few poor minority kids also get a better education doesn’t matter and is entirely incidental, and indeed, unlikely (most studies show no difference in student achievement between charter and regular public schools).

        Similarly, Republicans, to the extent they want to reform police departments rather than just genuflect in front of the blue uniform (unless the thin blue line is going after Oregon “patriots”, of course), their reforms begin and end with destroying the police union. Whether that actually leads to better accountability or fewer dead unarmed minorities is, again, incidental and unlikely.

        If this is what you mean by “accidentally aligned”, I think most minorities see through these attempts to hijack their genuine concerns for political purposes (something that, FWIW, I’d agree Democrats are often guilty of as well…)

  47. Rob Ambrose says:

    I think you’re reading the tea leaves wrong Chris. Perhaps they were right in the past, but no longer.

    America WANTS more liberal politics. If anything, perhaps the reason why Democrats don’t have strong grassroots political is because they fell for the same erroneous thinking that you are and the Dem establishment (i.e. the Clintons) were basically Republicans without the hate.

    But poll after poll shows that the majority of Americans want gay marriage. They want to tax the rich. They want gov’t to invest heavily in education. They want to break up the banks. They want common sense gun legislation. They want single payer (and have for 80 years).

    I respect your writing Chris, but I think you’re out of touch on this. People love Bernie DESPITE his being an old white Jew, not because of it.Young Americans all over the country are not supporting Sanders as a protest vote, or to “send a message” or because they’re naive, or because they’re angry or any of the reasons that explain Trump. They simply want the laws and policies passed that Sanders says he’s going to pass, and his 40 year track record gives him massive credibility on these issues.

    Take a look at the quotes in this article.

    The young women interviewed show a ton of political maturity and awareness in their defense of Sanders. They know they’re “expected” to vote for Hillary because they’re women and all that. But they reject the identity politics of yesterday. They support the candidate that most closely reflects what they believe. To the generation raised on identity politics or tribalistic voting, this seems “radical” and doomed to failure. To us, it just seems like common sense.

    • MassDem says:

      Hey Rob, not that I want to start a flame war or anything, but there are a lot of Hillary supporters out there who DON’T want to see Bernie get the nomination. Because the last thing we need right now is another McGovern general or Carter presidency. People who love Bernie don’t know their history, and they sure don’t follow the news. It’s not like the GOP majority in the House, and a large number of Republican Senators are going to magically disappear if Bernie gets elected.

      Bernie has but one answer to every issue: “get big money out of politics”. He’s as bad as the Marcobot. To be sure it’s a problem, but it’s not the only problem we face, and the truth is, even if he was elected, he would not be able to do a damn thing about it. Which I find disingenuous. If you want four years of someone barking on and on about our country’s problems without doing anything to actually solve them, then Bernie’s your man.

      • Ed K says:

        Count me as a Hillary supporter who likes Bernie, but doesn’t want him to get the nomination.

      • 1mime says:

        You know, the tragedy here is that there is a dearth of outstanding candidates on both sides. I am supporting Hillary but I will support Bernie if he is selected, and hope for the best. Truth be told, Republicans will hardly change their “obstruct and reject” policy that worked so well for them with Obama….I think Hillary would better manage their assault – but I do not see Republicans being “good” losers. AFter all, this really “isn’t” about America; it’s “all” about party.

    • Doug says:

      Hey Rob, check this out.

      “America WANTS more liberal politics.”
      Some people do, some don’t. Young people are not the majority, and old people vote in much greater numbers.

      Ron Paul was very popular among young people in 2012, and he is pretty much the opposite of Bernie. How would you explain that? Perhaps they just like a (grand)father figure?

      • goplifer says:

        Ron Paul may be the opposite of Bernie in terms of the policies he lays out, but he’s a carbon copy of Bernie in the shape of his campaign and the arc of his career. I’m telling you, the Politics of Crazy is a relentless trend on both sides of the party divide.

      • MassDem says:

        A pox on both their houses…

      • goplifer says:


        A pox on both their houses = A pox on all our houses

      • MassDem says:

        I was speaking of the “true believers” on either side of divide. True liberal, true conservative, I’m done with both of them.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Doug – You forget those old voters die and those young voters vote more often as they age. They will carry with them a much more liberal idea of America than the generation they are replacing. America has always trended to the left, it is how we became a modern society. The identity politics of the Right will become less significant over time.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Rob, you’re missing the forest for the trees. In their heart of hearts, Americans do not want more liberal policies or even more conservative policies. They want SOLUTIONS that work dammit. For all the talk of our polarization and how voters have hewed to tribalism in recent years, people still yearn for leadership and a plan that answers the real world concerns of real people.

      Yes, many will need convincing and there will be those that will have to be dragged along kicking and screaming, but the political party that seizes the open opportunity before us to lay out a vision – a real, honest-to-goodness vision that people can believe in – for the 21st Century will lay claim to political domination for years to come.

      That is why Bernie Sanders is not the candidate for the times. He’s a man of the past.

  48. WX Wall says:

    Sorry, forgot this tidbit. In 1963, Bernie Sanders marched with MLKjr in DC where King gave his famous “I have a dream” speech. In 1964, Hillary was a Goldwater girl. And yet Sanders is the one who doesn’t support the issues African Americans face?

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Sanders probably has more credibility on the issues he champions then any other candidate has had in modern times, if not ever.

      I can’t think of a politician who you could go back 40 years and they were trumpeting the exact same thing then as now, with absolutely no deviation in between.

      That’s a powerful, powerful asset.

      The fact that the issues hes been talking about have only recently gotten sexy just makes him all the more credible. Most people assume politicians are like Rubio, abandoning his own law when the poll numbers turned against it.

      • goplifer says:

        ***I can’t think of a politician who you could go back 40 years and they were trumpeting the exact same thing then as now, with absolutely no deviation in between.***

        Nonesense. What about Ron Paul? Pat Buchanan? Gary Bauer? Pat Robertson? Mike Huckabee? Alan Keyes?

        I mean, that kind of ideological stridency is what marks all of our political heroes.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Oh darn, I forgot that African-Americans were single-issue voters who just fall head over heels for anyone who marched with Dr. King and never give a lick of thought to any other substantive issues that might affect their lives…

      Oh wait, they’re not and the inference that they are is EXACTLY the problem that so many African-Americans see in so many Sanders’ supporters. Thank you for making that so abundantly clear here, Wall.

      • WX Wall says:

        Why do you think Sanders doesn’t give a lick of thought to any substantive issues African Americans face? Forget about economic justice, where Sanders is far more vocal than Clinton. If the primary issue is criminal justice reform, exactly what position does Hillary support that Sanders doesn’t? Are you implying that Sanders doesn’t care about the ongoing militarization of the police, or the lack of accountability for police violence / killings of innocent black people?

        When I mention that he marched with Dr. King, I’m saying that’s the *start* of his advocacy of civil rights issues, not the end of it. He’s been doing it ever since, for far longer than Clinton.

        With all due respect (and I mean that sincerely), if you’ve made up your mind about Sanders, that’s fine (even though I’m a Bernie supporter, I like Clinton and would gladly vote for her in the general), but I think you (and African Americans) do yourself a disservice by dismissing him because of a few stumbling remarks at the Netroots Nation meeting (which Clinton skipped) rather than looking at his record. IMHO, he would be a much more forceful advocate for criminal justice reform than a “pragmatic” Clinton.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        >] “Why do you think Sanders doesn’t give a lick of thought to any substantive issues African Americans face? Forget about economic justice, where Sanders is far more vocal than Clinton.”

        Ahem. If I might quote the immortal words of Charlie Brown: “Don’t you know sarcasm when you hear it?”

        And no, let’s NOT forget about economic justice, because while Sanders may be more vocal on the issue, whether he’s more substantive is another issue entirely. If he were, then African-Americans wouldn’t be supporting Hillary Clinton over him by an overwhelming margin. He does not get them, largely in part because, IMO, he hails from the white liberal stronghold that is Vermont and has never had to deal with the issues facing minority voters.

        That fact is on full display in the utter contradiction that Sanders displays in his high regard for unions and the lip service he gives to police accountability reform. African-Americans in particular want accountability and results. They see their families and their children slaughtered in the street and no one paying for it. Corruption breeds discontent and the growing fracture within the Democratic Party that, sooner or later, will force a choice; either show some serious commitment to the issue or risk losing their once seemingly intractable consistency.

        Sanders COULD make some serious inroads with these people if he were to force the issue meet it head-on, but he won’t do that. I shouldn’t have to explain why.

        Frankly, I have little reason to believe that Clinton is the one to mend these fences, but at the very least she’ll be more open to it than Sanders would. Politically, she can’t afford not to.

      • 1mime says:

        BTW, here’s an interesting little bit of “trivia”. On Antiques Roadshow last night, I learned that Charlie Schultz life-time earnings rank third (or fourth, depending upon which list you use) for all deceased individuals. Third! The expert stated that syndicated earnings over the history of Charlie Brown top $150Billion, and still brings in over $100M each year in syndicated earnings.

        Disclaimer: I have not seriously fact-checked this, but a cursory perusal clearly documents a seriously profitable run for “Charlie Brown”.

        Who says soft subjects can’t earn big bucks! (And, Charlie Schulz has been dead for 16 years! Not bad……) Let’s respect all craft!

        My point: There are lots of ways to earn a living beyond chemistry and engineering, which are important. Given the choice, I’d much rather start my day by reading about “peanuts” (-:

      • WX Wall says:


        I actually agree with you about the police unions, and it’s something that GOPLifer’s previous articles helped change my mind (yes Chris, you helped make a Bernie supporter less crazy :-). While I support collective bargaining rights for public employees (after all, they’re employees just like anyone else), if there are provisions in union contracts that prevent accountability for gross violations, then they should be removed. And if they can’t be removed, then, at least for the police and other employees critical to public safety, they should not be allowed to unionize.

        And I agree that Bernie *may* not push things that far (although Clinton won’t either). I’m not saying Bernie is perfect, or even that African Americans (and the rest of us) shouldn’t push him to be better. I’m just curious why Clinton gets a pass. Because, IMHO, Sanders would be more receptive to reforms than Clinton, e.g. demilitarizing the police, appointing people to the Justice dept. who would more vigorously prosecute police on federal statutes if local authorities give them a pass, funding improvements like mandatory body cams (along with stringent oversight about when they “malfunction”; after all, we don’t accept if a police officer states his gun “malfunctioned” and shot someone).

  49. Stephen says:

    Just like the most right wing part of the electorate the left most wing are a minority. Most of us are moderate. I have argued for years that if the Republican Party would take minority issues seriously and work to solve them they would pick up the majority of these voters as they are mainly conservative both socially and financially. The Democratic party is having it’s Todd Akin moment with Bernie. With a sane Republican candidate running Bernie would lose. And as Lifer says the powers that be would have every reason to make sure one was running. Hillary is much closer to a sure thing as much as possible in an election.

  50. WX Wall says:

    You’ve gone from predicting that Bernie Sanders would definitely lose the election to anyone but possibly Trump, to saying that Sanders would merely make the election competitive. Sounds like progress for those in Bernie’s camp 🙂

    I agree with a lot of what you say, but I think Sander’s so-called problem with minorities is more due to name recognition and lack of decades of outreach rather than a real problem with his policies. That means that if he’s the Dem nominee, those problems will get corrected real fast as the entire Dem infrastructure pivots to push him, and I don’t really see minorities, even those who may have supported Clinton in the primaries, being demoralized enough to stay home in the general.

    WRT urban/suburban middle and upper-middle class voters, they’re not locked in a battle with urban machines (which don’t even exist outside of a few old cities like NY and Chicago). Aside from perhaps higher taxes, cities are nicer places to live now — and better run — than at any time since the 60s. And even if they want to dismantle city machines, that’s a job for local officials (mayors, aldermen), not Presidents. They’re more concerned with income insecurity, costs of college, housing, healthcare, etc. And now that globalization is making their white-collar jobs less secure, they’re finding surprising commonality with their blue-collar brethren in fighting further trade concessions (let’s stop calling it free trade).

    Even if you’re right that nominating Sanders makes a near-certain win become an uncertain battle, I’m still voting for Sanders, because he has moved the Overton Window in a way that no liberal politician has in decades. That’s already a success.

    The limits of pragmatism are always defined by the least flexible member at the negotiating table. Continuing to be “pragmatic” against a Republican party that believes it’s in the middle of a holy war only means that we’ll just end up implementing Republican ideals, only slightly more slowly. For example, I sincerely believe that Ronald Reagan, who was branded as an ultra-right wing dangerous nuclear cowboy in his day, is now too far to the left to be a viable *Democratic* candidate (raised taxes, closed loopholes, jailed hundreds of people in the S&L crisis, negotiated with the USSR and reduced our nuclear armaments; not to mention he was a divorced hollywood elite union boss who supported FDR in his youth). Nevermind climate change. How can you be “pragmatic” against a field of Republicans who don’t believe evolution is real?

    I can’t speak for all Sanders’ supporters, but I will say this for myself: I’m willing to risk losing this election just to build a base for victories in the future (the Barry Goldwater approach to politics :-). That said, Sanders’s chances, even with a relatively “sane” candidate like Rubio (sane here only in comparison to the likes of Trump and Cruz) are higher than you think. We can debate whether his policies are good (and I disagree with several of them), but they are definitely popular, with vast majorities supporting things like Medicare for all, higher taxes on the rich, and prosecuting Wall St fraudsters.

    Let me ask you this, and I’m genuinely curious to hear your views: take suburban independents, the most fragile part of the Blue Wall coalition. Which part of Sanders’ policy proposals do they oppose? I’d guess the tax increases (the vast majority of which is to pay for single payer health insurance, which for most families would be less than the premiums they pay now), and his support for unions. Is there anything else?

    • goplifer says:

      ***Let me ask you this, and I’m genuinely curious to hear your views: take suburban independents, the most fragile part of the Blue Wall coalition. Which part of Sanders’ policy proposals do they oppose?***

      Single-payer healthcare
      Sanders’ immigration proposals (the same as Trump’ without the wall or the racist rhetoric)
      Breaking up “big banks”
      “Wall Street’s business model is fraud”
      Audit the Fed
      “Free” college
      His strangely non-liberal (and relatively unpopular) views on gun control
      Massive tax hikes for dubious programs
      His trade policies
      Tax hikes on companies already paying some of the highest corporate taxes on the planet
      Eliminating the cap on Social Security taxes
      Making it easier to force employees into a union
      Retreating for foreign commitments

      We could go all day. None of this stuff has seen the light of day yet because these issues aren’t all that contentious inside the Democratic bubble. In a General Election this stuff would be toxic.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        There isn’t one issue you’ve listed that would be more toxic in the general then Rubio’s policy of completely eliminating capital gains tax, basically making income from labour taxed significantly and income from investments and capital untouched.

        And Rubio’s supposed to be the sane one.

      • goplifer says:

        Feel free to try them out on the general public in an election. You wouldn’t be getting so much resistance from me if the stakes weren’t so high.

        Nominees who gave their most extreme primary voters what they most dearly wanted always lose in the general. So what happens when both parties nominate someone fitting that description? It’s a “crossing the streams” scenario that’s pretty unpredictable except for the absolutely predictably lousy outcome.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Rob, with all respect, that’s bullshit. You’re trying to turn a legitimate argument into a zero-sum game because, supposedly, Rubio’s proposal on this or that would be more politically toxic than one of Sanders’ proposals, so people would just flock to Sanders because LOGIC.

        That’s not only dismissive, it’s insulting to people’s intelligence.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Single-payer healthcare
        I can see some concern about this – but it’s diminishing as people realise that other countries have better systems

        Sanders’ immigration proposals (the same as Trump’ without the wall or the racist rhetoric)
        Without the wall and racist rhetoric? – you means he isn’t saying anything!

        Breaking up “big banks”
        Probably 90%+ in favor

        “Wall Street’s business model is fraud”
        Only 80%+ in favor

        Audit the Fed
        Probably 90%+ in favor

        “Free” college
        70% in favor

        His strangely non-liberal (and relatively unpopular) views on gun control
        70% in favor

        Massive tax hikes for dubious programs
        Funny I can’t find that in his programs?

        His trade policies
        Back up to 80% in favor

        Tax hikes on companies already paying some of the highest corporate taxes on the planet
        Tax hikes on companies currently paying NO TAX at all – 90% in favor

        Eliminating the cap on Social Security taxes
        70% in favor

        Making it easier to force employees into a union
        You mean making it easier for employees to form a union – 60% in favor

        Retreating for foreign commitments
        No more US military adventures that make the situation worse – 60% in favor

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @duncancairncross: This is going to be so much fun. 🙂

        Single-payer healthcare:

        Immigration: That Republicans like flippin’ Steve King of Iowa have gone so far as to praise Sanders’ immigration position isn’t a mistake. Sanders opposed the 2007 immigration bill on the grounds that it would’ve expanded guest workers in the US. He said at the time, and I quote: “If poverty is increasing and if wages are going down, I don’t know why we need millions of people to be coming into this country as guest workers who will work for lower wages than American workers and drive waged down even lower than they are now”

        You tell me, does that really sound so different from something Trump would say?

        Banks: Breaking up the big banks can be argued as little more than a scapegoat in light of the deeper complexities that need to be addressed in our financial sector. Clinton has been arguing this for a while now, yet Sanders keeps going off like a broken record, saying the same thing over and over again (sound familiar, Marco Rubio?). It isn’t as simple as that, and a halfway decent candidate would easily portray Sanders as not only naive, but insulting of people’s intelligence on the issue.

        That’s not to say that the big banks won’t have to be broken up at some point, but breaking them up isn’t some kind of magical panacea that will solve all our problems.

        Wall Street’s Business Model: Wall Street is also integral to our economy, something which the vast majority of voters also understand. They want it reformed so it works with Main Street, not derided as an enemy to be defeated.

        Audit the Fed: Just what we need, another endless political witch hunt to serve talking points and 25-second speeches. Please.

        “Free” college: Most people are rightfully wary of proposals that claim to give them everything with seemingly nothing given in return. Again, any halfway decent candidate would turn that on its head, portraying Sanders as deceiving voters with pie-in-the-sky; and if they were particularly aggressive on the issue, would argue that Americans take pride in working for their education. They just don’t want a corrupt systems that plays them for fools and abuses them.

        Gun Control: Comparatively few people will change their vote based on gun control. Next.

        Tax Hikes: See single-payer health care

        Trade Policies: Just wait for the attack ads portraying Sanders as an isolationist, stifling America’s presence in the world by rolling back trade deals. It won’t be pretty.

        Tax Hikes on Companies: Here, I’m actually inclined to think that it wouldn’t be quite as politically toxic as Lifer says, but one has to be careful here. Sanders is already ripe as a political target for being a traditional “tax and spend” liberal. If it looks like he’s stifling America’s businesses with new taxes; which, if it were me, I would tie in with this trade positions, this could get very ugly very fast.

        Eliminating Social Security Cap: This, I actually agree with. I’d like Lifer to explain why he would think this would be such a bad general election issue.

        Unions: Plays to America’s past, not the future. Next.

        Foreign Policy: Sanders is weak on foreign policy and Republicans know it. They’re probably salivating at the thought of getting to debate him on this particular issue.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Single payer
        I agree it is not a vote winner – but it is less of a negative now and that trend is downwards

        Yes the Donald would probably agree with that statement
        “If poverty is increasing and if wages are going down, I don’t know why we need millions of people to be coming into this country as guest workers who will work for lower wages than American workers and drive wages down even lower than they are now”
        But so would 99% of people

        As a first step too big to fail should be considered to be too big
        We don’t allow people to build buildings without emergency exits or cars without brakes

        Wall Street
        Why do you think that Wall street is essential?
        What does it do that would not simply be done elsewhere
        Imagine that terrorists set off a Nuke on Wall St – do you think that the USA would fall?
        I’m not an American but I have a lot more faith in the USA than that

        Free Education
        There is a big “Dog in the manger” attitude about somebody else getting something “free” so that could poll badly
        Rationally it is a great idea and would benefit a lot more than it would cost

        Trade Policies
        I think you will find that the cry of “Isolationist” will have lost it’s power

        I am less sure about “past” – the most successful economies all seem to have powerful unions

        Foreign Policy
        This one amazes me,
        The Republicans seem to be considered the “better” party on security and keeping the people safe
        DESPITE the facts showing that they stuff up the military and get a lot more people killed
        Just look up
        The number of military units that were at full readiness
        At the start and end of Clinton’s Presidency
        At the start and end of Bush’s Presidency
        At the start and end of Obama’s Presidency

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @duncancairncross: And Sanders will be on the defense of almost every single one of those issues if the Republicans have anything to say about it. You risk the viability of the ideas themselves by having such a man carry them into a general election where the Republicans will be salivating at the prospect of having a democratic socialist to run against.

        With all respect, you need to get past seeing things as being so black-and-white. You would seem to believe that simply because people would seem to strongly support some policy positions that they’ll go to bat for them. They won’t. Gun control is a prime example of that.

      • johngalt says:

        Bernie has a handful of good ideas, but they are floating in a sea of 1930s nonsense that is objectively wrong for a 2016 world economy.

        As one example…point me to a “free college” that is worth the paper its useless diplomas are printed on (the U.S. Military academies excluded). The German and Italian systems are, by and large, garbage. Free Scottish universities do not compare favorably to fee-paying English ones. There are a variety of college ranking out there; perhaps the best known is one from Shanghai university. Look at the top 20 – Oxford, Cambridge, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and 17 American flags. The top EU university is one slot below the University of Colorado. The top 50 has four EU universities and six schools of the University of California. Why would anyone suggest screwing this up?

      • duncancairncross says:


        The Scottish universities are easily as good as the English ones,
        Oxford and Cambridge are the only British universities that are universally seen as the better than the others
        This is a self fulfilling prophesy
        Because they are thought to be the best one they do get the best applicants so they become the best
        Even on that chart you had Edinburgh was ahead of all but three English universities

        When you are comparing you do need to allow for the fact that a BSc from a Scottish university is roughly equivalent to an MSc from an American university

        If you look at the ranking methods used you will find that they are very incestous,
        Nobels and Field medals are international but the other (main) ranking is by references in US magazines and references to papers published in US magazines
        With that system it is a wonder that there are any non US universities listed

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Johngault – Interesting point about the costs of various universities. But until recently, hasn’t higher education in California been inexpensive enough to be considered free?

      • johngalt says:

        Duncan, I know something about universities and, in fact, have quite a number of colleagues at British universities and highly respect them, particularly those at the University of Aberdeen. But the fact remains that the Scottish universities are not particularly good top to bottom. Edinburgh is the best ranked (on this particular list, but others are similar), and it trails five English ones. It’s a long way down to the next Scottish entry. Italy’s free universities are a disaster – as it turns out, paying for something increases the value of it and provides motivation for actually finishing.

        Unarmed – yes, UCal schools are pretty inexpensive (relatively speaking). I think tuition at Berkeley is about $14k/year (plus room and board). But California has been slashing its state support and the universities are struggling to retain the best faculty. Tuition will have to go up to partially offset these cuts.

        It’s a little known fact how little state schools actually get from the state. I’ll revert to Texas, because that’s what I know best, where UT-Austin gets a grand total of 12% of it’s total budget from the state. At UT-Southwestern (medical school), it’s 8%. At some of the smaller schools – particularly the ones that are more minority-serving, this can be 25-30%, but no UT institution gets more than half its budget from state funds. This is broadly similar in most other states.

        I’ll also point out that the whole UT system gets $2 billion in state money and has a budget of $13 billion. That’s a pretty good multiplier in terms of economic activity.

      • duncancairncross says:

        English universities to Scottish universities

        I have a great deal of experience on this as well,
        The difference is in the Scottish education system,

        England has a different system to Scotland
        Both systems have a starter grade exam – known as “O” Levels – kids will do 7 to 9 subjects

        After “O” levels the Scots do 5 or 6 “H” levels in one year and a second year adding “H” levels or doing specialised “SYS”
        In England the kids do 2 or 3 “A” levels over a two year period

        The English kids are more specialised but in a narrower band

        Then comes University where the idea is that the English are ahead and can skip the first year at Scottish universities – this is NOT a good idea as the learning pace at universities is much faster
        We found that the difference (in the narrow subjects) was not a year but less than a term!

        The English degree was three years the Scottish Four,
        After I left Uni I worked with English engineers from supposedly good universities – we compared exam papers – I could do all of the ones I was shown
        The English final papers were about the same level as my third year papers
        None of my English friends could do my final (fourth year) papers

        That is engineering but I have no reason to think any of the other subjects are any different

        When you have worked with somebody with an Honours degree from a “top ranked” English university who does not seem to have the ability to do “H” level !

        Or had a junior engineer who had not been introduced to Thermodynamic AT ALL you get a jaundiced view of English universities and the ranking systems

      • 1mime says:

        I don’t know anything about foreign higher ed other than very generally, but I think it is safe to say that there are individuals who can rise above the systems they matriculate within. You are obviously such a chap.

        Frankly, we in America need to have more discussion about quality, personalized higher educational choices. Trades need to be assessed for their relevance to the jobs market and quality programs offered. Further, America needs to stop making every high school graduate feel they are a failure if they don’t attend an academic higher ed curricula. People have different talents and they should have choices that can prepare them to earn a decent living – whatever the heck that means anymore. America doesn’t dignify trades; instead, unions are lambasted when many of them are the only institutions standing that offer relevant job skills training. Why? We need to get real. America may be shipping fabrication overseas due to cheap labor, but we will always need a skilled workforce. Don’t believe me? When your AC goes out in Houston, read a manual and fix it yourself. Let’s dignify all work as the matrix America needs to be a well rounded, functioning literate society.

        End rant.

      • 1mime says:

        It’s a little known fact how little public colleges get from the state….And, that is a big part of the problem. How much does America value public education? As much as it values defense? Our infrastructure? Health access? These are fundamental to any successful nation, yet – are they funded commensurate to their importance? This is the discussion America needs. Instead of spending $100M on a football program, or $800M on a border wall, why aren’t we allocating our resources (and our time) to areas that serve the most basic and important areas of our society?

        Lifer pointed out that the two areas most important to minorities are quality public education and criminal justice reform. He is dead on. It appears that the GOP is starting to understand that “it is necessary to the survival of their party” to work towards that end. That’s not quite the same as making a commitment because it is intrinsically the “right thing to do”; however, the dialogue has to begin.

        Paul Ryan gets it. I believe Sanders gets it. Who will join in the effort? I am past the point of needing party ownership of problem solving. Let’s just get it done.

        “Speaker Paul Ryan (Wis.) and other top Republicans are taking a serious look at adopting a sweeping anti-poverty plan long championed by black Democrats on Capitol Hill.

        Ryan has told the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) he’s pressing GOP appropriators to consider the CBC’s strategy of shifting more federal money to parts of the country with persistent poverty.”

      • WX Wall says:

        Medicare-for-all: 58% in favor. Independents: 60% in favor (

        Immigration reform. It’s not Trump lite. Sanders fully supports halting deportations and providing a path to citizenship for people already in this country, but does want to reduce further illegal immigration across the border. This isn’t democratic orthodoxy for sure, but it’s a (dare I say it?) moderate compromise between the left and right positions on this issue.

        Sanders has released his package of financial reforms. You can examine them in detail on his website. It basically amounts to re-implementing Glass-Steagall (not exactly, but close), and pursuing criminal investigations of fraud (penalties imposed on banks that are paid by shareholders while the actual perpetrators keep getting their annual bonuses have obviously not curbed criminal activity). It’s based on a bill co-sponsored by Elizabeth Warren and that raving lunatic socialist, John McCain. He has never said Wall St is unnecessary, only that we need to clean house.

        Audit the Fed: frankly, most voters have no clue what the Fed does, much less have an opinion on whether it should be audited. I doubt this is an important issue to anyone outside the banking industry or political junkies like us.

        “Free” college. Actually, Sanders specifies free community and public college. Not private colleges. 62% of Americans support this idea (

        Gun control. Sanders is from a small rural state. Even as a die-hard gun control advocate, I understand why, representing such a state, he viewed hunting and sporting uses of guns as more relevant to his constituents than urban crime. He has already started changing his position based on what’s good for the nation as a whole, but I admit, this is a work in progress and we’ll see what his final positions are.

        The vast majority of the tax hike (especially in the current brackets) is to fund Medicare-for-all. If such a program doesn’t pass (highly likely), then those taxes won’t be implemented. OTOH, if it does pass, for the average American family, they will pay less in new taxes than they used to pay in health insurance premiums.

        Trade, I concede the polling is against Bernie. In the most recent debates about the TPP, ~49% supported TPP, ~29% against (

        Tax hikes on companies: 69% believe corporations pay too little taxes (

        Increasing S.S. taxes: 71% support it (including 65% of those earning $100k+) (

        By “forcing” people into unions, I assume you mean right to work laws vs. union card check efforts. I can’t find any polling on this, so I’ll assume you’re right. But that said, I don’t think unions are such a scary thing for white collar urban professionals (the core of that blue urban/suburban class) as it is for corporate execs (who are still primarily Republicans).

        Retreating from foreign commitments. Which ones do you mean specifically? Our wars in the Middle East? Or something else like our gradual disengagement from the Pacific Rim?


        I dug those polls up to show that the country is significantly more liberal than people believe. Even the positions that you specifically bring up as being problematic to moderates are actually supported by wide majorities.

        Despite that, I understand what you’re saying, that nominating Sanders makes the general election riskier than nominating Clinton. But this is a unique moment when we have a candidate that genuinely espouses what a majority of Americans want, going up against what’s likely to be a batshit insane (I include Rubio in that group; I realize you’d include Sanders 🙂 ) candidate. The Republicans gambled on Goldwater in ’64 and lost. But they took a gamble again on Reagan over the safer, “moderate” choice of GHWB, and they’ve reaped dividends for >30 years. Reasonable people can disagree on this, but at this time, in this election, I believe the gamble is worth it and has a higher chance of panning out than nearly any other election (e.g. against McCain or Romney, Sanders would have been blown out of the water).

    • sciprojguy says:

      You’re willing to lose the election to build a future base? I sure hope the future victims of a Republican-packed Supreme Court are on the same page…

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