Election 2016: The Mythbusters Post

In an effort to fill a 24 hour news cycle while equipped with only 20 minutes of newsworthy content, cable news has veered into some pretty dodgy territory in this election cycle. We are not facing a very interesting or competitive election season. The only real story here is the utter implosion of one of our major political parties.

Here are a few of the popular myths that keep people watching the news for updates.

Hillary Clinton is a weak candidate

Sec. Clinton is an electoral juggernaut. In our modern history no non-incumbent has gone into a general election with a more powerful combination of built-in demographic advantage, savvy, popularity, money, personal political acumen, and overwhelming organization. It is beginning to look like she’d be capable of defeating a solid Republican candidate. And we aren’t going to get a solid candidate.

Trump can win by appealing to Reagan Democrats

There are no Reagan Democrats. Blue collar Northern whites have been voting for Republicans in Presidential elections for at least twenty years. There are none left to recruit. Republicans hit their high-water mark in the Rust Belt in 2004. Pennsylvania and Michigan are gone forever at the federal level. It may take a miracle or a complete party realignment to ever win Ohio again.

The last slender slice of white Democrats vulnerable to racist appeals switched parties when Obama won the Democratic nomination. Here’s a fine map from Vox that shows their final departure. The well is dry.

Trump is attracting new voters or the related; Trump will win by increasing white voter turnout

First of all, the idea that Trump is drawing Democratic voters to the GOP is often presented and never substantiated. An occasional man on the street interview includes a fairly unconvincing self-described lifelong Democrat who likes the Donald, but no one ever follows up to confirm this. Trump’s supporters can be capably summarized as a bloc of Tea Party Republicans who are more motivated by racism than by religious fundamentalism. As an alleged mass phenomenon, the Trump Democrat is a unicorn.

Even if Trump were bringing in new voters, no new voter comes without a price. There is a problem with attracting racists. There aren’t enough of them. Winning one of them causes you to hemorrhage votes elsewhere.

In proportional terms, roughly a third of that net vote you won from persuading Billy Bob McGunrack to show up at the polls this year disappears in increased voter turnout and hostility from Hispanic and Asian voters. Another vote and a half disappears from otherwise disengaged whites horrified by the rhetoric you used to win that vote.

Then you lose roughly another quarter of a vote from younger voters who might have ignored the election altogether if the rhetoric weren’t so toxic. That’s why Republicans have been using dogwhistle tactics for thirty years instead of outright appeals to racism. Be careful which votes you decide to pursue.


Try this exercise. Name a major political figure that has been examined, subpoenaed, interrogated, investigated, and scrutinized in public and in private for thirty years. Find a politician who has had every one of her communications as a government official disclosed and examined in detail both by law enforcement and by deeply hostile political opponents.

For all of that scrutiny, no one has ever found ANYTHING worthy of so much as a reprimand. Now, while a court decides what to do with Denny Hastert, tell me again about Clinton’s scandals.

The left will desert Clinton

That may be the most amusing myth of this election cycle. They said the same thing about Obama in 2012. How many hardcore Sandernistas are going to throw away their vote in an effort to experience life under Trump or Cruz? Not enough, especially when you consider that Sanders’ support is deepest in states that are not on the competitive map.

Republicans just need to better communicate our message

Right now, our central message is that wealthy white people deserve everything they have and the less wealthy (you know, those “urban” voters) just need to stop complaining and work harder. America would be more successful if government got out of the way, taxed rich people less, and left the unfortunate to fend for themselves. On top of that message is something something gays abortion bathrooms ISIS yada yada yada.

Other than removing the yada yada yada (which only obscures nastier, less appealing rhetoric) describe for me how you restate that message to make it more attractive? The more people understand the Republican message as currently defined, the more they hate us.

The party of Hamilton, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, the party of American capitalism and commerce has become, as Bobby Jindal once explained, the stupid party. We don’t need a new message. We need a brain.

But we control all those state legislatures!

For a little longer yes. So what? We have solidified control across the least populated, least wealthy, least culturally influential patches of the map. That totals a large number of states and a small number of voters, a formula for national irrelevance. And even within those red states a generation of young voters is emerging who are utterly, comprehensively hostile to the party’s message. So, yes. Republicans control every branch of government in Tennessee and Arizona. Congratulations on that achievement. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Kasich or Sanders would be more competitive than the current frontrunners

This myth is interesting for what it says about the nature of political polling in this atmosphere. To be clear, no Republican would be competitive against Clinton in the fall, but Republicans could have a shot against Sanders. Polls today do not show this, unless you look at the right polls.

For a glimpse at what’s happening here, look at a chart of Hillary Clinton’s approval ratings dating back to the nineties. Until she announced her run, she was one of the most popular political figures in the country. Here’s the reality – she still is.

Want evidence of this? Go back and look at national favorability ratings for Sanders and Kasich stretching back to the nineties. See my point?

Why has Clinton’s favorability rating dropped by half since she was Secretary of State? Because now she’s a leading candidate for national office. That’s it. That’s the only thing that has changed. Being a leading candidate in this climate is a drag on overall popularity. No one else in this race on either side has a deeper, larger, more committed base of political support. No candidate in modern times has started a campaign with more built-in strength.

Here’s another reality – whoever wins in 2016 will have a “favorability rating” below 50%. That’s just the nature of politics right now.

A well-known leading candidate will earn the near-unanimous hostility of opposing partisans, roughly 40% of the population. They will also have tepid support from a big chunk of voters who only support them out of a greater loathing for their opponent. And in the course of rising to dominance they will have frustrated the hopes of maybe 20-30% of their own partisans who really wanted another candidate. Any successful candidate will be operating in a favorability range between about 35-45% (Trump, by the way, barely breaks 30%). If Sanders was ever perceived as a frontrunner, his approval ratings would eventually converge with Trump’s.

Guys like Kasich and Sanders don’t earn a lot of hostility because few people know them and, since they aren’t going to be the nominee, no one feels threatened by them. Polls of potential General Election matchups fail to reflect anything approaching the real outcome until after Labor Day. People like novelty until it stops being a novelty and starts being something real that might actually happen.

Sanders and Kasich poll pretty well in a theoretical fall matchup. So would Peyton Manning or Kelly Ripa…unless they were actually running and it was time to start making a decision.

This is a particularly crazy year in national politics. Most of our usual landmarks have stopped making sense. Getting a handle on events will require asking a lot more “why” questions than usual.

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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179 comments on “Election 2016: The Mythbusters Post
  1. 1mime says:

    Sorry, the link to the article about Mrs. Mclauren didn’t populate so here’s a second try.


  2. 1mime says:

    Don’t know if anyone is interested, but Cruz has scheduled an important announcement today:


  3. flypusher says:

    A reminder of what’s at stake here:


    This guy gets punished at work for a perceived political affiliation. Breyer got it right, it didn’t matter whether he really backed that candidate or not, giving him a demotion was spiteful and wrong. The SCOTUS ruled 6-2 on this one. Does anyone need to guess who was on the dissenting side? I really cannot grok their thought processes here. You’ll admit that he was wronged, but you don’t think his greivance belonged in the court system? WFT are the courts for then? Yes, I don’t have a Havard or Yalr law degree, but I’m smelling BS here. I’m thinking these two are just assholes a lot of the time, and I don’t want anymore like them on the SCOTUS. This is the type of ruling that actually affects people’s lives, and these guys are on the wrong side of it.

  4. formdib says:

    I’m still trying to figure out this comment section and for some reason all three times I’ve commented it’s never gone where I wanted it.

    • formdib says:

      Anyway here was my post that ended up as a comment to justanotherhuman below:

      I’ve been following your blog for a while and mostly focusing on the idea of the ‘Politics of the Crazy’ and how they’ll begin to affect the Democrats as well as the GOP:

      ^ This is a perfect example of what my current life is. I’m a formerly registered Independent, and demographically I’m a white lower middle class Millennial artist in a deep blue state. I don’t particularly have anything against Bernie Sanders and would be satisfied with either him or Hillary in office (and could stomach Kasich, and frankly wish I could vote for Jon Huntsman but whatev), but I definitely live in an echo chamber NOT of my own cognitive fallacies (though I’m 100% sure I have some of my own), an echo chamber where the people around me are inventing time travel and warp drive levels of abstract physics to math out methods of claiming Bernie is winning. It’s horrific to watch people I love and respect absolutely refuse to accept basic principles of addition and subtraction. And like this College Humor video says, I’ve actually had a friend of mine say to my own face, eye to eye, that I live in a ‘neoliberal media bubble’ because I mentioned that Clinton is probably going to win the primary.

      Now of course I have to clarify that that’s not all Berners (my preferred term for them, over Bernie Bros and Sandernistas). But in terms of the Politics of the Crazy, people who fundamentally refuse to accept addition and subtraction as steps of logic toward decision making and comprehension, I can report that their vote is definitely lost from Clinton. I finally mustered up the courage to ask and they’ll either be voting Trump because ‘fuck the establishment’ or Jill Stein because 80% tax rate on the 1%.

      I would gauge about 10% of Bernie’s support on that track, though those numbers are not official or real math, just my own living in a bubble estimate. But based on the mounting depression and nihilism of some of my friends, w/r/t what they consider to be clear and objectively open cheating by the Clintons and the literal death of democracy at this moment, I wouldn’t bank on more than maybe 30% of Bernie supporters voting for anybody at all. Based off of my limited experience with my own age group (I’m 30 this year), these people shut the fuck down when they don’t get what they want. And what they want is a Nirvana Fallacy. They’ll never get it and I can discount their vote for the foreseeable future.

      Though as I’ve mentioned here before, it’s not like they vote for anything other than the Presidential elections. ‘The system is corrupt’, they say, so getting them to even be aware of local bond issues or referendums is like pulling teeth from a hippopotamus.

      In case anyone was wondering.

      I’m still trying to figure out what it is about politics in general that turns otherwise intelligent, interesting, and worldly people into shrieking piles of shit, but left or right, liberal or conservative, Dem or GOP, all you have to do is mention ‘the vote’ and it’s like every fucking worst button of human psychology gets pushed.

      Apologies for the double post.

      • Tom says:

        But I’m not too sure those people are “typical” Sanders supporters. There are certainly some out there like that — the kind who threaten to sit out or (gasp!) vote Republican if Clinton gets the nomination. More frequently the ones I run across are honest liberals who think that Sanders represents them on the issues, but they’ll fall in line and vote for Clinton at the end of the day.

        It’s nothing compared to the effect that Trump is having on the GOP, where Ted Cruz is somehow becoming the “reasonable alternative.”

      • MassDem says:

        It’s okay. Most Sanders supporters need Time to work its magic. Come fall, they will most likely vote for the Dem candidate. Been there, done that–I supported Clinton in 2008, and by November, I had gotten over my disappointment & happily voted for Obama. No regrets whatsoever.

        As far as the ultra-pure Far Left, the Susan Sarandons and their ilk, they have bought into the “Beautiful Loser” mystique. Let them go ahead and vote for Jill Stein (currently on the ballot in 13 states, give or take), or write in Sanders, or sit at home–they couldn’t organize their way out of a paper bag, let alone create a viable Movement.


      • johngalt says:

        formdib, it’s not a lack of math skills. It doesn’t take much to compare two numbers together (Hillary has received more than 3 million more votes than Bernie, giving her a 14% lead). It’s a delusion based in a desperate hope that their guy will pull off a miracle. It’s like watching a basketball game when your team is down 8 with 20 seconds to go – you conjure up wild scenarios in which they could come back (it’s not that much – they could win this thing!), each more improbable than the last.

        Bernie is not Cruz or Trump. He has said positive things about Clinton. He knows he’s in the end game now and recently publicly stated the conditions she would have to address to attract his supporters, and they were modest: maintain a commitment to health care/PPACA (a no brainer), work to keep college “affordable” (none of the free college nonsense), work for paid family leave (something the U.S. joins only two other countries in lacking), and fight the “billionaire class” (some billionaires even agree with this). I can’t see Hillary having a problem with any of this. He will support Clinton and campaign for her and encourage his voters to support her as well.

        If millennials decide en masse to pick up their ball and go home (e.g., not vote), then they will be reinforcing their public image as spoiled and entitled children. If they want to be adults, then sometimes that means holding their noses and choosing the least bad option. And while Hillary might be a flawed candidate, many of those flaws come from having been in this arena for a very long time: as Chris has written she is vastly more qualified than anyone else running (Kasich has a claim to be pretty qualified as well).

    • goplifer says:

      Don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it. Consider it a hazing ritual.

    • flypusher says:

      Even some of us old timers get the comments in the wrong place, especially when using mobile devices.

      As for the Bernie or Bust types, if the prospect of Trump or Cruz making several SCOTUS picks doesn’t strike absolute terror into their hearts, there is no way to reach them.

      • 1mime says:

        I think that the more sophisticated Bernie supporters can link their interests and the SCOTUS issue, but the rest? I’m not certain they are thinking that deeply….and I mean that in no disrespect, only to acknowledge that enthusiasm has a way of hurtling one past the boring stuff.

  5. johngalt says:

    Primary results are in and it’s a bloodbath on the GOP side. Trump won all five contests, with the smallest margin of victory being 30%. Cruz came third in 4/5. Trump won every county in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island (and all but 3-4 in CT). CNN predicts he’ll take home 99 of the 104 pledged delegates, with 5 for Kasich. Trump still might not get to the majority, but he’s now 400 delegates ahead of a fading Cruz.

    Hillary won 4/5, by double digits in three of them. It’s all over on that side.

    CNN’s political prediction market has Hillary at 79% odds to be the next president.

    • flypusher says:

      Leading Cruz 957 to 549.

      When can we put that fork in Teddy? He must be close to technical mathematical elimination. Yeah, I realize he’s pinning his hopes on 2 or more ballots at the convention.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      The writings on the wall for both sides. I really feel like Trump is going to start slow and never make it really close. His whole schtick is being “a winner” and when poll after poll start showing him losing by double digits, hes going to act in ways that make him even less appealing.

  6. Sir Magpie De Crow says:

    The a**-holery is strong with this one…

    “Voting should be as hard as making meth, says North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory”


    My favorite excerpt from the article about one of the conservative leaders on the bathroom LGBT wars:

    “The governor’s two-sentence statement likened the constitutionally-guaranteed right of citizens to vote as the same as buying Sudafed or boarding a jet.”

    “This ruling further affirms that requiring a photo ID in order to vote is not only common-sense, it’s constitutional,” said Governor McCrory. “Common practices like boarding an airplane and purchasing Sudafed require photo ID and thankfully a federal court has ensured our citizens will have the same protection for their basic right to vote.”

    “In hopes of reducing the manufacture of methamphetamine, many states require a customer to present a photo ID when purchasing Sudafed and other decongestants that contain pseudoephedrine, a precursor drug to the illegal drug. In 2013, North Carolina busted up 513 meth labs.”

    “By likening voting rights to buying Sudafed, the governor appears to be arguing that preventing some people from voting is an act of public health, like keeping dangerous drugs out of the hands of the wrong people.”

    Some conservatives should avoid using analogies just like how Sarah Palin should avoid academic discussions about the syntax of the English language.

    Well guess what, McCrory? Voting shouldn’t be hard. Here is a story of why it shouldn’t be more difficult for a 107 year old black woman (born when flying machines was the new thing) to get a photo id than visiting the President and the First Lady in the White House:


    Virginia McLaurin, who recently turned 107, was still basking in the glow of her dance with President Obama in February. A White House video of the meeting has been viewed nearly 66 million times. The attention has resulted in invitations to New York and Los Angeles for media interviews.

    To board an airplane, however, McLaurin needs to replace a long-lost government-issued photo ID.

    To get a District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles non-drivers’ photo ID, she needs a birth certificate from South Carolina, where she was born. To get the birth certificate, she needs the photo ID. A classic bureaucratic Catch-22.

    “I don’t think I’ll ever get that face card,” McLaurin told me during a recent visit to her apartment in Northwest Washington. “I was birthed by a midwife and the birthday put in a Bible somewhere. I don’t know if they even had birth certificates back then.”

    McLaurin isn’t sure she’s up for taking a long plane ride. Having made it out of the cotton fields of Chesterfield, S.C., to a dance with Obama at the White House may be enough travel for one lifetime.

    Moreover, she seemed more upset about people being denied the right to vote because of voter ID laws than about not being able to get a photo ID for herself.

    Way to go McCory and fellow Republicans who advocate for stringent voter I.D. laws and restrictive bathroom regulations…

    Creating problematic solutions for problems that don’t really exist!

    • objv says:

      Sir Magpie, I feel sorry for the 107 year old lady, but are you really suggesting that TSA start letting people on planes without a photo ID because it would inconvenience a few centenarians to get an ID?

      • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

        My point was not in regard to being able to fly planes, but to emphasis the cruel absurdity that politicians on the right like McCory throw up to prevent people from voting or poorly constructed laws to frustrate trangendered people from using public bathrooms. Just because Barack Obama was elected twice doesn’t mean voter fraud is rampant. Just because you think your Bible Belt has no place for the queers doesn’t mean being transgendered makes you an automatic sex offender.Voting is a vital human right, it shouldn’t be a prize at the end of an inane obstacle course constructed by politicians who don’t like how your demographic group votes. I hope I’m being clear, objv.

      • objv says:

        Sir Magpie, I do not think that getting a photo ID is a “cruel absurdity,” but it does not seem that the lady in question has to provide a photo ID or even a birth certificate to register to vote at this time.

        Click to access Mail_VRForm_HAVA2003.pdf

        People in countries poorer than our own routinely are able to get out to vote and show a photo ID. I lived in Venezuela for over two years and everyone there had to get a Cédula de identidad around the age of nine. Getting a Cédula was much more inconvenient than getting a driver’s license here. (Not that I’m a big fan of DMV wait times.) My family and I had to bide our time in a crowded, hot room without air-conditioning for seven hours. We were luckier than most since the company my husband worked for had paid someone to expedite the process and do all the paperwork.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Please, when these states also close down locations to get these IDs in those communities most affected, somehow always accidently send incorrect voting information to minority groups, and only seem to purge voters of color or students don’t come here and tell us their is not a motive to suppress votes especially when politicians admit to it in public.

        Most people here I would bet support voter ID laws but not in the manner in which far to many states are implementing these laws. Experts have always recommended implementing these laws over several years and to increase the opportunities to get the proper ID. Somehow those steps seem to always get left out.


      • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

        Turtles Run, thanks for the backup.

      • objv says:

        Turtles and Sir,

        from turtles link:

        “The center found that in three states with ID requirements — Indiana, Mississippi and Maryland — only about 1.2 percent of registered voters lacked a photo ID.”

        Granted some of those lacking photo ID in that tiny population of voters may come from disadvantaged groups. Unfortunately, more than one factor may be involved in why they have no acceptable ID.

        I refuse to believe that lower income folks and minorities in the US are not as capable as those in third world countries in being able to get an ID.

      • 1mime says:

        Ob, you just don’t know when to quit.

      • Ken says:

        I encountered this phenomena working with older african americans born in the south pre 1968. It was customary for live Black births to be noted by the mid wife but almost never resulting in a birth certificate. They can’t always prove exactly the day or location of their birth. Its a real challenge for african americans born pre 1968 in former Jim Crow states.


      • objv says:

        Thanks for the compliment mime. My husband says the same. Considering that you write twenty comments for every one I write, I feel comfortable in saying that the same could be said for you. 🙂

      • objv says:

        Ken, interesting article. I would say that Gloria Cuttino has bigger problems than being able to vote.

        “Without a birth certificate (among other documents) in Pennsylvania, residents can’t get state-issued ID cards. Without ID cards, officials say, people can’t get jobs, access Social Security benefits, get medical benefits, have surgery, get medicine, access housing benefits, open bank accounts, or board planes or even intercity buses.”

        Wouldn’t an easier solution be to streamline the process of getting an ID so that people in Ms. Cuttino’s situation could finally be able to access services?

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        …and oddly enough, the GOP controlled states have done just the opposite of streamlining the process to get an ID.

        But hey, I’m sure that is all just an unfortunate coincidence.

        I’m a wacky liberal that will absolutely support voter ID laws if done well. We have examples of states doing it well, with massive outreach programs and opening (rather than closing) facilities and avenues to get those ID, and ultimately even evidence of increased voter turnout after the IDs because so much attention was given to the process of getting the IDs.

        Of course, the states doing it now aren’t doing those things. They are limited early voting, closing or reducing the hours of oddly specific offices where IDs can be obtained, or simply not allocating a dime of funding towards the ID process (even though funding was included in the bill).

        But hey, I’m sure that is all just an unfortunate coincidence.

      • flypusher says:

        “Wouldn’t an easier solution be to streamline the process of getting an ID so that people in Ms. Cuttino’s situation could finally be able to access services?”

        Sure, they’ll be doing that any day now. Any day. After all, it’s only been 11 years since a solution was proposed. From the portion of TR’s link that you so conveniently ignored:

        “In 2005, we led a bipartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform and concluded that both parties’ concerns were legitimate — a free and fair election requires both ballot security and full access to voting. We offered a proposal to bridge the partisan divide by suggesting a uniform voter photo ID, based on the federal Real ID Act of 2005, to be phased in over five years. To help with the transition, states would provide free voter photo ID cards for eligible citizens; mobile units would be sent out to provide the IDs and register voters. (Of the 21 members of the commission, only three dissented on the requirement for an ID.)

        No state has yet accepted our proposal.”

        Just determined to see no evil, aren’t you?

      • johngalt says:

        Indeed it would be, objv, and if the GOP were taking the parallel actions of requiring photo ID and simultaneously making it easier for qualified voters to get those IDs, then I wouldn’t be too concerned about voter ID laws. But they are doing exactly the opposite. In Alabama, following passage of a strict voter ID law, the state then closed the DMV offices in 31 rural counties that – just coincidentally, naturally – have high percentages of black voters. The state argued that there were other options for obtaining IDs (such as a ID card one could obtain at a registrar’s office) or online renewal (ironic, given the population they were cutting off – poor rural voters, whose access to the internet is limited). Alabama, in its magnanimity, has backed off this and will open those DMVs one (!) day a month for the poor and job-constrained residents who need driver’s licenses.


      • objv says:

        Sweet Home Alabama! Well, I’ve got to admit I’ve never been to Alabama, but I love the song.

        JG, from your link:

        “Each county has a registrar’s office, which issues free photo voter IDs and the secretary of state’s office also operates mobile voter ID vans that visit locations around the state, including street festivals and facilities such as nursing homes. Residents also can get their driver licenses renewed at other state offices, as well as online.”

        Personally, I think visiting a county registrar’s office sounds better than waiting in a long line at the DMV.

        Can we all come to some kind of consensus?

        I hope we can all agree that having a photo ID is essential, but States do need to make sure that IDs can be easily attained by anyone legally entitled to one.

      • flypusher says:

        “I hope we can all agree that having a photo ID is essential, but States do need to make sure that IDs can be easily attained by anyone legally entitled to one.”

        Sure, we can all agree on that. But why aren’t you willing to acknowledge that all these state legislators have been putting all their effort into the requirement part, and are doing hack and squat about the attainment part (and that’s at best- some are making it harder, as TR pointed out)? That’s the substance of our gripe, and you keep doing the political side-step around that.

    • Mr. Crow,

      inconveniencing people is nothing compared to insuring the wrong people do not vote.

      a few years ago i was listening to a small public radio show on a Friday evening. (i know, I have no life:-)) The talk was about these voter ID laws. There was a local Republican on along with a Democrat. The Republican got so flustered he blurted out the laws were so the people who “don’t know how to vote!” weren’t able to!

      We can talk all we want about the voter ID laws, make fun of them, complain about them all we want! But the simple fact remains they are here, they are doing the job they were intended to do, and so far, the bought and paid for Supreme Court id doing nothing about them. Republicans have no incentive to change until they start loosing elections. so far, they are winning.

      I keep saying the same thing over and over. People do not vote. they can! Vote that is. Maybe not this old lady. BUT, most if not almost all people can vote. Either absentee or in person. They just refuse to vote.

      If all the people who bought a Power Ball ticket when the prize got to 500 million voted, oh, what a world it would be!!

      Just Another Sad Human

      • 1mime says:

        Oooh, now there’s a creative, interesting possibility! Allow people to register to vote at the Powerball desk! Good thinking, Justanotherhuman!

        BTW, I don’t think there’s much difference between watching TV on a Fri night than listening to talk radio….if it’s interesting, go for it! Obviously, you learned something that you might not have ever heard if this same individual appeared in person….all slicked up with his aides standing by to kick him in the shin if he even looked like he might get all truthful on the crowd!

    • 1mime says:

      Sir Magpie, here’s how exceptions like Mrs. McLauren’s can be handled by those who respect both age (107) and circumstances. Good news for her and a good model for others who actually want to make voting easier.


  7. Tom says:

    Perhaps this myth has already been busted, but the myth of the GOP having a deep bench was prevalent in 2014-15.

    It seems now that the GOP had and has a “deep bench” in the sense that it has about ten Martin O’Malleys and a bunch of Bernie Sanders, but nobody even remotely on the level of Hillary Clinton.

  8. E says:

    One thing that always gets lost when talking about the 2004 high water mark is the role that the anti-gay marriage ballot initiatives played in driving up Republican turnout. 2004 is when Gavin Newsom started marrying gay people in San Francisco. Karl Rove harnessed that and convinced evangelicals everywhere to fear lawlessness amongst their civil servants, and got ballot measures on a bunch of competitive states, including Ohio. The terror propaganda gave the GOP a boost, but the gay marriage stuff sealed the deal for them.

    That was the only time in the last six elections that the GOP has won the popular vote.

    It’s clear all this drama over bathrooms and cake-bakers is some kind of desperate ploy to recreate 2004’s magic.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      And it’s quite clear now that those kinds of actions are directly responsible for the lightning fast turn around in support for gay marriage. Its no coincidence that the over the top, insane rhetoric from the right coincides roughly with more acceptance of gay rights.

      Not only are they wrong, they’re actually hastening the exact thing they’re trying so pathetically to stop. Gone isbthe ability to say “well, WD hate the sin, bit love the sinner” . it was never totally believable, but now it’s laughable.

  9. MassDem says:

    William Saletan in Slate had a piece today about electability of Clinton vs. Sanders in the general election. Same conclusion, more specifics: Sanders hasn’t been vetted yet, and has a lot of potential negatives, which are enumerated here. We talked about this yesterday, but now there’s some actual data to back it up, based on “message testing” by the Clinton campaign along with some independent polling.


    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Its really impossible to know if this is an accurate analysis or not (until it actually happens).

      But it DOES seem intuitive.

  10. vikinghou says:

    Here’s a National Review article highlighting 10 reasons why GOP moderates should vote for Trump. It’s a lot of magical thinking in my opinion. And, judging from the comments, most NR readers aren’t buying it either.


    My favorite line:

    “If you think Cruz is a disaster waiting to happen, better to let him happen now and have a chance at a more moderate or at least more moderate-sounding nominee next time.” Yikes.

    • MassDem says:

      OMG, reasons #5 & 6:

      Five: The Republican Party Can Survive Losing with Ted Cruz.

      Six: Ted Cruz Won’t Rest until He Gets His Shot.

      If that isn’t damning with faint praise, then I don’t know what is. Vote for him so he won’t be back next time? Yikes.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        I actually think it’s the opposite. The running narrative of the past 8 years has been “we just haven’t had a true conservative”.

        If Trump loses to Hill, they can just say ” well, Trump was a one off, the basic narrative is still intact”.

        If Cruz loses to Hill, where do they go from there? Other then to admit that the problem wasn’t a lack of conservatism, it was too much of it.

      • flypusher says:

        “If Cruz loses to Hill, where do they go from there? Other then to admit that the problem wasn’t a lack of conservatism, it was too much of it.”

        I’m wondering about that too. They’ve been very persistent in coming up with excuses, but this scenario could likely defy their abilities to spin new delusions. Then you might see some of Chris’ scarier predictions come true- some of them turn to violence as they see their influence waning.

      • 1mime says:

        Fly, don’t you think the GOPe has set the stage for absolving themselves with their pretty open dislike of Cruz? They will “go” with a Cruz but they are not happy about it. Thus, they can “honestly” say that it was Cruz who lost the election, that if Jeb! had been the candidate, they would have won. Maybe they would be correct about that, not sure. But, they’re gonna have to dance with the one they brought unless they do a “mystery” alternate, which door is still open as Priebus fought down the change in rules that would have prohibited this possibility.

        In the meantime, the party continues to double down on stupid, inflammatory positions, rhetoric, and legislation that defies the logic of what is happening all around them.

      • flypusher says:

        “Fly, don’t you think the GOPe has set the stage for absolving themselves with their pretty open dislike of Cruz? They will “go” with a Cruz but they are not happy about it. Thus, they can “honestly” say that it was Cruz who lost the election, that if Jeb! had been the candidate, they would have won.”

        But remember we’re not talking about the GOPe here. We’re talking about the Tea Party and/or Christian RW types. They’re the ones who have been spinning that McCain and Romney just weren’t conservative enough. We even had a few of them (or people trolling by pretended to be them) who used to post on this blog, and who actually expressed that sentiment, that a “true Conservative” would have won. Of course we never got a response to the question “OK, substitute Santorum, or any conservative of your choice, for Romney. Which states does s/he flip?” Despite repeated queries.

    • Tom says:

      The best part is that they don’t seem aware that Cruz is as much of a sure loser in November as Trump is.

      • 1mime says:

        As much respect for Lifer’s studied opinion as I have, Tom, I don’t think there are any “sure” winners, either. Obviously, as I am a Clinton supporter, I am hoping Lifer has got this one right, but even he can’t predict the “stupid” stuff that could happen.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        One thing is for sure Mime, if it’s Trump v HRC, there’s going to be a pretty significant slice of the population with severe cognitive dissonance on November 9th.

        Either Cruz wins, and many ppl (including me) need to come to grips with the fact that we are fundamentally misunderstanding the values of the average American, or HRC does with similar results.

        Neither of those two has crossover appeal like, say, a John Kasch would, or even a Jeb Bush. I can’t fathom a scenario where Ted Cruz wins a general, but maybe I’m just wrong about what America is. But I read these righty blogs and they’re salivating over facing HRC in a general, and I’m like “srsly? Either they are waaaaay off base, or I am”.

        I’m pretty sure it’s them…..buuuut I guess you never know. A major part of thinking critically is learning to confront you own bias, and perhaps my liberal bias is closing my judgement.

        But I don’t think so.

      • Tom says:

        1mime, I didn’t say that Clinton is a sure winner, but that Cruz is a sure loser. Cruz is Goldwater 2.0, or Reagan without the charisma. Unless 2016 turns out to be a disaster year for Democrats (i.e. another stock market crash or something else to shift the needle), there is almost no way that Cruz beats Clinton in a general election matchup. Now, I don’t view HRC as a “sure winner” because against a moderate-sounding Republican like Kasich, there is a chance that HRC could lose, but I just can’t see Clinton losing to a far-right candidate without some sea change in the electoral dynamic between now and November.

  11. 1mime says:

    Wow! Lots of new commentators to your blog, Lifer! Congrats and welcome to all!

    • tuttabellamia says:

      And the usual “old” ones as well. 🙂

      • tuttabellamia says:

        No, Mime, I am not singling you out.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        By the way, I am also impressed by Lifer’s predictive powers, but he is like Cassandra — he knows what is going to happen but is unable to do anything to prevent it.

      • 1mime says:

        It is rare that any “one” person can bring about major change. Frankly, that is not the way the democratic process is supposed to work. What Lifer contributes to the process is education and research, and civil engagement with people who hold different ideas. He teaches us and gives us the tools to make us better informed. He pricks our consciences by baring the truth – regardless of party or ideology. This is what leaders do. They inspire and give people courage, confidence and wisdom.

        I’d say, Lifer does plenty, and I’m sure you agree.

      • 1mime says:

        “Oldie Goldies” Tutta!

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Seconded. That said, I really hope the new posters come with the same quality that have been here for years.

      This place is like an oasis in the desert with regards to the typical discourse of Internet comment sections.

      • 1mime says:

        Not to worry, Rob! We have our very own “flypatrol”….Fly is on the job as soon as she suspects someone is trolling and pretty much everyone sticks to civility. I don’t object to profanity but I do object to people being ugly. Lifer works hard to produce a quality blog and I think most here respect that and respond in kind. I enjoy all my “digital” buddies and look forward to reading your posts. One thing’s for sure: we have six months of ripe topic to keep us busy!

  12. flypusher says:

    No honor among candidates, it seems:


    So these guys can’t keep the bargain, but Trump still gets another “game is rigged” card in his hand. You’re doing it all wrong guys.

  13. Bobo Amerigo says:

    Four economics scholars track ideological shifts in specific congressional districts after trade deals killed jobs in the districts.

    Their thrust: moderate congressional reps were replaced by more extreme representatives; whites go right, minorities go left; less room for moderates.

    They even provide a what-if chart that suggests there would be 18 fewer conservative repubs in congress, but for trade deals that eliminated jobs.

    It’s a good read.


    • 1mime says:

      That was a good read, BoBo. I have to admit that I am a proponent of trade agreements, but I also recognize that America has not balanced the benefits of trade policy with the loss of manufacturing and jobs. It didn’t have to be that way, but it “is” that way in city after city, and no one seems to care about doing anything to help these people. These people have a legitimate beef. This is where Bernie Sanders has really touched a nerve, and he is not only correct but has served a valuable purpose in doing so. The question now is: what to do and who should do it? Government can help but business and state leaders also need to be involved. Better that the response be collaborative and thoughtful than political.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Yes, I’ve always been generally favorable toward international trade, too. And maybe a touch heartless about industries that don’t want to acknowledge change of any sort.

        Bless Bernie for his persistence.

  14. 1mime says:

    We need more discussion in our campaigns in detail about needs like this and the problems looming dangerously over Puerto Rico. Taxes for specific problems/areas are voted upon and then revenue is pigeon-holed to “balance” state books. What does a vote mean anymore?


  15. JK74 says:

    Another fine effort, sir. One thing you touch on I wouldn’t mind seeing expanded; the bit about “[Republicans] control all those state legislatures”. It’s probably something I could do myself with the help of Prof. Google, but I’ve never been motivated enough. The question is; while Rs hold 31 governorships, and a majority in about 30 state legislatures, what is the population that those majorities represent? Do they hold a lot of small states, and/or states with a lot of legislators per person; so that Republican legislators/governors represent a smaller proportion – maybe even a minority – of the population of the US? I seem to recall seeing something done along these line for the US Senate; the 54 Republicans only represent 40-something percent of the US population, because (say) Wyoming’s two Republicans represent far fewer people than California’s two Democrats.

    • goplifer says:

      It is worth a blog post. It’s a complicated picture.

      There are Republican Governors in several solidly blue states with sizable populations, like Massachusetts, Illinois, Maine, Maryland and New Jersey. There are other secure blue states on the national level that have entirely Republican state government, like Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin.

      Lots of factors at work in the disconnect between state and federal voting patterns. Big chunk of it is the difference in turnout in Presidential election years, but there are other factors as well.

      • JK74 says:

        I guess that’s part of it, too; I’d like your take on what those factors are in the disconnect between state & federal voting. Is it presidential vs. off year turnouts? Is it that it’s easier for governors & state-level Republicans in blue states to get elected without having to pander to the crazies that dominate the red states? Gerrymandering? Other?

      • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

        Exhibit A in the quality of the GOP officials/state congressmen who dominate the legislatures in deepest, darkest, dumbest regions of Red State Land…

        State Rep. Tommy Benton

        From Think Progress:

        The Ku Klux Klan has gotten a bad rap, according to one Georgia lawmaker. He says the terror group “was not so much a racist thing but a vigilante thing to keep law and order” that “made a lot of people straighten up.”

        “I’m not saying what they did was right. It’s just the way things were.”

        That leader is now hellbent on stopping the “cultural cleansing” of the South’s heritage. So far this year, State Rep. Tommy Benton (R) has co-sponsored two bills to preserve the Confederate’s legacy.

        Following the massacre at the historic Emanuel AME Church last year, activists and lawmakers have pushed to remove Confederate symbols in the South. According to Benton, those efforts constitute “cultural terrorism,” akin to what ISIS is doing.

        “That’s no better than what ISIS is doing, destroying museums and monuments,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC). “I feel very strongly about this. I think it has gone far enough. There is some idea out there that certain parts of history out there don’t matter anymore and that’s a bunch of bunk.”

        So on Wednesday, Benton introduced House Resolution 1179, which would amend the state constitution to prevent the tarnishing of monuments at Stone Mountain.

        Referencing Robert E. Lee and Confederate President Jefferson Davis, the bill says “heroes of the Confederate States of America … shall never been altered, removed, concealed or obscured in any fashion and shall be preserved and protected for all time as a tribute to the bravery and heroism of the citizens of this state who suffered and died in their cause.”

        If your can stomach some more info on this deep thinker from the ranks of the modern GOP read this…


        My short response to all this (in addition to all the conservative shade thrown in Harriet Tubman’s way).

      • MassDem says:

        I can’t speak for other states, but here in MA we have had Dem Legislature/Republican Governor for years. The trick to this working is that our Republican governors tend to be socially moderate/liberal, business-friendly types like William Weld, Paul Cellucci, Mitt Romney and our current governor, Charlie Baker. The only Dem governor in recent memory has been Deval Patrick, who fit that same mold (he was a successful businessman who joined Bain Capital after his 2nd term). I think our state doesn’t like to hand control over a single party if we have a reasonable alternative.

        Poor Charlie Baker. I keep telling Lifer he should swing by for a visit to talk to the man if he wants help resurrecting the GOP, but does he listen? It’s gotta be lonely, keeping the flame of sanity alive.

      • 1mime says:

        In Mass, the “average” voter is most certainly better educated than many of the southern state voters. They understand that split party governance not only “can” work but that democracy is better managed when there are many ideas at the table AND people who are willing to compromise to keep the wheels on the governance process.

      • goplifer says:

        ***Is it that it’s easier for governors & state-level Republicans in blue states to get elected without having to pander to the crazies that dominate the red states? ***

        Bingo. Charley Baker in MA, Larry Hogan in MD, and Bruce Rauner in IL never utter a word about abortion or gays or any of the other hysterical bigoted nonsense that energizes the GOP base in the South.

        Plus, you have a block of states in the Jim Crow Belt that have never in their history supported two-party politics. They merely flipped from one party to the other. Their absence of any tradition of healthy political competition leaves them vulnerable to wackos.

        Then you have the fact that most state-level contests are conducted in off years, when the attention level is lower.



      • Lifer,

        Just read an interesting article on Vox.com. Bernie Sanders hit the proverbial nail on the head:

        “Poor people don’t vote,” he said in an interview with Meet the Press on Sunday. “It’s just a fact.”

        The poor either are now or will bear the brunt of the policies of the far right, from cuts to the support they get from the government to paying for the tax cuts for the ultra wealthy. Cuts to food stamps, privatizing Social Security and lump sum payments for Medicare, the poorer among us will suffer the most.

        if they will not vote in their best interest, all the voting rights in the world will not help them.

      • 1mime says:

        Poor people lack hope and belief that anyone in the political system will help them. Start with that fact. Add in most poor people don’t have time to stand in line for hours at polling stations. They are either working and caring for their families. The biggest factor though, IMO, is their lack of desire borne out of a lifetime of disappointment. We need to do more at the community level (community leaders, parties) to encourage them to vote. To help them believe that their vote counts. The party that is able to achieve that and offer this group of voters practical assistance – public transportation, good schools for their children, safe neighborhoods, basic health services – is the party who will have earned the vote of the poor.

      • Xiristatos says:

        Alright, I know about Michigan and maybe Wisconsin too, but Ohio? Sure, it’s pretty much next to Michigan and Pennsylvania, but it’s still a relative toss-up state with the presidential winners mostly winning in somewhat tight margins.

        I find it quite interesting how confident you are in your claim that these three states actually stay blue when they’re under republican state government. Not in a bad way of course, I mean all three of these states solidly voted Democrat in the last two elections, but with the Voting Rights Act having been gutted and Republicans being particularly desperate about suppressing vote turnout in those three states (and others as well), I’ve become somewhat uneasy about those three states in particular.

        I know Hillary Clinton has ideas to increase the turnout nationwide, and Democratic aggressiveness certainly won’t leave her hanging, but I still feel uneasy about the “blueness” of those states.

        Probably mind explaining your confidence a little?

      • flypusher says:

        ‘“That’s no better than what ISIS is doing, destroying museums and monuments,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC). “I feel very strongly about this. I think it has gone far enough. There is some idea out there that certain parts of history out there don’t matter anymore and that’s a bunch of bunk.”’

        I’ll make you a bet Mr. Barton. I’ll bet if you fly a Southern Cross on you property, or wear it on a T-shirt, or display it on a bumper sticker on your car, absolutely no one from the big bad gov’t, or even the dreaded PC police, will do anything about it. I don’t think that’s very ISIS-like.

        Also everyone does think that bit of history matters. It’s rather that many of us don’t see the CSA as some noble, romantic lost cause.

      • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

        Nice video huh? It is Republicans like this (Tommy Benton and Donald Trump and Steve Scalise and Trent Lott and Sarah Palin and etc.) that makes black people, minorities (and often their white spouses/friends) want to not just vote against the Republican Party… but drive a stake in its heart like it was some unholy creature emerging from that 90’s version of “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”.

        Even after a growing national furor over Georgia son (and white sheet enthusiast) Tommy Benton’s comments, that man is still going to retain his leadership position as a chair of House committee. Absurd and grotesque some people will say.

        But for me personally, it all makes sense. What’s past is prologue.

        Here is a response from a fellow GOPer who continues to support Tommy Benton’ s pro-Confederacy bills

        “Another Republican, Rep. Mike Cheokas, R-Americus, said he couldn’t back away from the KKK defender and his pro-Confederacy bills because “A lot of the people in my district are sensitive to … how can I say this? Well, their ancestors served in the Confederacy.”

        Where have we seen this argument before? The old “Well I can’t be too hard on the fake ghosts despite their burning crosses and their history of making human tree ornaments because… well… I need votes!”

        What makes the Speaker of the House in Georgia, David Ralston any better or less evolved then former Speaker John Boehner who continued to support the promotion of Steve Scalise to majority leader in the House despite his past of playing footsie with former Klan leader and current white nationalist a**hole David Duke?

        This infection of weak responses to the worst aspects of this country’s white supremacist past doesn’t just occur in the South, or only in state legislatures led by no-name “wacko-birds”, it reaches the halls of power in Washington D.C.

        There is no compelling reason in the world Steve Scalise should have any of the power and influence he has now in the capital.

        That is when this “infection” has national implications.

      • 1mime says:

        Good post, Sir Magpie. There is a cure for this infection: vote for responsible Democrats and against irresponsible Republicans. It’s that simple. GOAV and do all you can right now to talk to people who may not be registered to vote and help them through the process. Then, educate them as to why you vote for XYZ candidates/party, then help them get to the polls if they need a ride.

        In LA, where I was born, school bus drivers (those who owned their own buses and were independent contractors) were paid to transport people from poor neighborhoods to the polls. This was not illegal, but it seemed wrong to me. Then I realized that these people lacked not only personal transportation, but they also lacked public transportation. The Democratic Party recognized this and facilitated their ability to actually cast their votes. As you would expect, push cards were handed out and people were encouraged to vote for certain candidates; however, the voting process was not interfered with. As a result of this long practice, school bus drivers became a “force” in the LA political process and still are to this day.

      • goplifer says:

        When it comes to the ‘poor people don’t vote’ concept let me just offer this bit of advice: be careful what you wish for.

        We are seeing a remarkable surge of voting among lower income Americans in this primary season. It has nothing whatsoever to do with Bernie Sanders. No major American political figure in modern times has done more to activate low income voters than Donald Trump.


        Sanders’ voters are mostly young, white and affluent. The ones that don’t have high incomes mostly just don’t have high incomes YET, because the are young. Grad students don’t make a ton of money.

        If you think a pool of voters is behaving ‘against their interests’ then beware. You just discovered that you don’t understand their interests. The left has no idea what low income voters want, and frankly no real interest.


      • 1mime says:

        That’s accurate Lifer, but at the very least, the Democratic Party offers “something” to assist low income voters; whereas, the Republican Party is in full denial and rejection. I agree completely that the needs of low income voters are shafted by both parties generally, but in a head to head contest, the Republican Party has screwed poor people again and again. The Democrats can be faulted because they too often take poor and minority voters for granted.

      • 1mime says:

        Another point to your caution about encouraging low income/(low information?) people to vote. There is risk from uninformed people voting, or voting with a narrow focus, but I submit that we have been witnessing just that in the Republican Party for a long time. Of course that proves the point that having income (and being well educated) haven’t necessarily correlated with good judgement, or we wouldn’t have the current Republican Party agenda and slate. Danger for these newbie low income folks voting? You bet, but that is what democracy is supposed to be about. It is not supposed to be a small group – 40 Freedom Caucus members in the House, or a handful of billionaires, or an establishment core, or state legislatures making decisions with utter disdain and disregard for the vast majority of citizens they “represent”. If this results in a Donald Trump being elected, well, maybe that’s the poison we deserve for crass ignorance of the very real needs of working people while padding the bottom lines of those who are already in the top income tiers. America will survive even a Donald Trump. Heck, it survived a half-Black, socialist Muslim for lo these seven years!

        I am hopeful that a HRC can calm the waters and return reason and balance to the governing process. I hope she gets that chance. Will the poor be ignored once more if she wins? I don’t think so, but we’ll have to take that chance. I do know this: our country is stronger when all interests have a voice in the process. You are correct that they have not and that this is the fault of both parties, but maybe if these people begin voting, regularly, they won’t be overlooked so easily. Maybe, just maybe, voting will empower them and influence the political agenda. As one who believes deeply in the democratic process, I can only hope so.

      • flypusher says:

        “When it comes to the ‘poor people don’t vote’ concept let me just offer this bit of advice: be careful what you wish for.”

        I do not trouble myself over people who choose not to vote. People who want to vote, and are eligible to vote, but have obstacles thrown in their path, that’s another story.

      • Ken says:

        Hi Chris, a fan of the blog and if this isn’t the best spot to share this link let me know and I’d be happy to remove it. The article in the Guardian refers to the Republican Mayor of San Diego. It reminded me of your description of the next Republican President…

      • 1mime says:

        Great story, Ken! You’ll find that most of us here are hoping that the Republican Party finds itself. There are good people in both parties and when they work together, real progress happens. Sounds like Mayor Faulconer has a very keen sense of what is important and is willing to try to convince his Republican colleagues. This is how government is supposed to work.

        I do have a question for you after reading the article. It states: “…San Diego is among a large group of cities impatient with federal government bickering over climate change…” and (Faulconer) ““Cities are leading the federal government, yes,” he said. “They are leading on innovation and policy.” I don’t think the Democratic leadership at the federal level can be faulted for not leading on climate change initiatives; rather, it is the recalcitrant, obdurate Republicans who are fighting tooth and nail. What is hopeful is that Republicans such as Mayor Faulconer are refusing to be sucked into the politics of the issue and simply forging ahead, selling the benefits of renewable energy as not only the correct environmental move, but a good business decision. As a Democrat, I could vote for a Republican who thinks like that.

        Clone him!

      • goplifer says:

        Right down to the Blue State he lives in. Those folks are out there, moving their way up through the ranks.

  16. goplifer says:

    Perhaps you’re wondering how I could claim that Hillary Clinton of all people is one of the most popular political figures in America. In 2015 (in the midst of a contentious election campaign) she finished at the top of Gallup’s ‘most admired women’ poll.


    For the 20th consecutive year.

    Good luck topping that with Ted Cruz or Donald Trump.


    • Griffin says:

      She’ll be a decent president. Not as good as a candidate with fresh ideas, a vision, and a fuller understanding of the modern economy, but she’s still clearly the best of the bunch running so far.

      You say the age of two major political parties may be coming to an end but maybe that could be a blesing in disguise if it allows for the creation of a political entity with new (and good) ideas for the US economy.

      • flypusher says:

        HRC= status quo. Right now, status quo is the best option.

      • 1mime says:

        Hillary Clinton represents the status quo which offers “safety”. Looking at it through my “blue” filter, I think we are on the right track, despite tremendous blocking and tackling by Republicans of serious efforts to deal with serious problems. Clinton will not resort to hyperbole or irresponsible actions such as “carpet bomb”, nor any of the many other abject lessons in “how not to run a government”. She will be deliberate, steady, cautious and calculating.

        In last night’s MSNBC Town Hall interview of Clinton and Sanders, a protester (Clinton segment) could have been handled so much differently – a guarantee if she had been at a Trump rally. Watch how Maddow and Clinton calmed the situation and still responded substantively to the protester. The interview went on and it was a win-win for both Clinton and Maddow.


    • 1mime says:

      This excellent commentary by Alan Dershowitz on why Hillary Clinton should “remain true to her own agenda”. BTW, in the MSNBC Town Hall last night, this question about Clinton needing to embrace Bernie’s agenda came up and she pretty much tracked Dershowitz’ thinking in the link below. That is not to say that she doesn’t need to “earn” Bernie’s base, but the fault lines are there if she is winning with her own agenda and hews too far left. What the nation “appears” to want is stability, rational, cooperative governance, calm. IOW, boring, competent leadership which allows government to function. Let the future or individuals within Congress show some creative, independent thinking for a while….and, I don’t mean the GOP status quo.


    • objv says:

      As far as most admired men, I’ll note that Donald Trump came in second and tied with Pope Francis. If that doesn’t scare you, nothing will.

      If someone were to ask me to pick a most admired woman, I’d pick Tutt. 🙂

  17. Tom says:

    “The left will desert Clinton”

    There is literally no chance that the number of deserters on the left will be greater than the number of deserters from Cruz or Trump. There will be a handful of far, far left folks (think Nader supporters from 2000) who just can’t be satisfied with a mainstream Democrat, but most of those defections will come in dark-blue states where a couple of percentage points aren’t going to make much of a difference. There is some real vitriol hurled at Clinton from Sanders supporters, but almost none of the people who are that unsatisfied with Clinton are really even what I would call a “reliable” Democratic vote in the first place. The people I’m familiar with who support Sanders are loathe Clinton are generally, well, people who also call themselves libertarians. Of course libertarians hate Clinton.

    • 1mime says:

      Kinda makes one wonder, doesn’t it Tom? Is there “any” Democrat out there who would ever be “acceptable” to Republicans (or Libertarians)? You’re new to the blog (welcome) but most of us who participate here who are either Independents or Democrats, have plenty to criticize the Republican Party about as it’s operated for the last 15 years, but to a one, all believe in a viable two-party system. The caveat is, both parties have to be willing to compromise…you know, govern? We live in a dangerous, complicated time and our politics are keeping our nation from addressing serious problems. It’s no wonder that people the world over are shaking their heads at “what is going on in America”?

  18. I’ve always been confused by polls that show Bernie doing better head to head against Trump/Cruz than HRC would, and yet that’s the news headlines. Case in point, today’s Drudge Headline: “Dead Heat: Clinton v. Trump”

    I tend to agree with your claim that in reality HRC will beat any Republican senseless, and Bernie is the only chance there is to put an R in the White House, but I’m curious if you’ve seen any evidence to support that, other than “Polls of potential General Election matchups fail to reflect anything approaching the real outcome until after Labor Day. People like novelty until it stops being a novelty and starts being something real that might actually happen.”

    Can you point to any evidence supporting this?

    To be clear, I suspect that you’re right. I just can’t justify it with anything empirical.

    • Tom says:

      The main reason that Sanders does better than Clinton does in a hypothetical general election matchup is simple: Sanders has not been subject to anywhere close to the vetting that Clinton has.

      The idea that Sanders is a stronger general election candidate than Clinton defies all logic.

    • MassDem says:

      Like any politician (or any person really), Sanders has some awkward or even unsavory events in his past. Clintons hasn’t mentioned them, because she doesn’t want to turn off his supporters, and the Republican candidates have given him a pass on them for now because they would prefer Sanders as an opponent. If he were to become the Dem candidate in the general election, all this crap would be dredged up, and he would be subjected to the full force of the political smear machine.

      You think it was bad when Purple-Heart winner John Kerry was tarred by the Swift-boaters? That’s nothing compared to what could be done to Sanders. I don’t think he is prepared to face the heat of a general election. Clinton has the advantage here in that she has been under the microscope for so long, most people have moved on from her past scandals, manufactured or otherwise. She has become adept at keeping her cool, and making her opponents look like fools, as she did during the House Benghazi hearing.

      • 1mime says:

        One of the things I have noted of late with Sanders is he seems pretty “thin-skinned” to me. He also doesn’t seem to be open to negotiation on his platform. That would be extremely damaging to him both in a campaign and in debates.

    • goplifer says:

      Here’s a good summary of polling wisdom from the guys who do it best – fivethirtyeight.com

      Basically, General Election polls don’t matter until September and head-to-head General Election polls done during the primaries are worse than meaningless.


  19. “Sec. Clinton is an electoral juggernaut.” And since Chris “GOPLifer” Ladd agrees with her on just about every major policy, esp. including her extremist views on gun control, he will no doubt be voting for her. I’m pretty sure Chris can tell from the crease of her, er, pantsuit, that she’ll make a great president. And when Hillary claims, “The Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment,” why, Chris just gets a thrill up his leg. Spare me.

    • goplifer says:

      One may like or dislike the cut of that white-hot smokin’ pantsuit. Doesn’t change the facts on the ground. There is no political force on the landscape that can keep her out of the White House. The only thing between her and a second term is resistance from the left wing of the Democratic Party.

      It so happens that I disagree with her position on gun control (though I agree with her position, and the consensus Republican position until about 15 years ago, that the 2nd Amd does not describe an individual right). I just don’t care that much about it. And a generation of obstruction on the subject has built up a backlash that I am personally not going to enjoy.

      There were alternatives that would have preserved much of what I love about our so-called ‘gun culture.’ It’s pretty much doomed now. Tsunami building. Time to get off the beach.

      • Chris, I will merely point out that the Founders and Framers took up arms against people like Hillary Clinton, leave it at that. BTW, one can’t help but not you didn’t correct my claim that you’d be voting for her. 😉

      • 1mime says:

        The founders and framers took up arms against people like H C? Please elaborate, Tracy.

      • goplifer says:

        Let me be clear, I’m voting for her. It is a horrible karmic revenge.

      • MassDem says:

        Karma is a beeyatch.

      • 1mime says:

        (-: BTW, MassDem, our daughter ran in the B. Marathon and said global warming sucks! (No, that’s not really what she said, only that she wished it was cooler and/or that she had packed double the salt tablets. She did very well but said she felt the heat did impact everyone’s times. She enjoyed her stay there – 3rd trip to the B.M. At age 48, her pace is 8.33/mile…not too shabby, and, she works full time. No excuses for this gal!

      • Griffin says:

        “Chris, I will merely point out that the Founders and Framers took up arms against people like Hillary Clinton,”

      • 1mime (and apparently Griff), you should perhaps do a little reading on the Powder Alarm, Lexington and Concord (and perhaps also the “Intolerable Acts”). The “shot heard round the world” was fired in response to an attempt by the Crown to confiscate the arms of colonials (and in clear violation of British Bill of Rights of 1689). Bear in mind the patriots who fired on British troops at Lexington and Concord were *British citizens*.

        Abuses of the rule of law by the Crown leading up to the Revolutionary War also resulted directly in key items in our Bill of Rights. The aforementioned incidents were the proximate cause of the Revolutionary War, and led to the 2nd Amendment. The Massachusetts Government and Administration of Justice Acts led to the free assembly and petition clauses of the 1st Amendment, not to mention the 4th, 5th and 6th Amendments. The Quartering Act led to the 3rd Amendment. And so on. It’s also worth noting many of the items in our Bill of Rights are simple restatements of the British Bill of Rights of 1689; in that respect one might view the Revolutionary War as being caused by abuse of traditional rule of law by the current government, with the citizenry rising up against that abuse. Hmm.

      • 1mime says:

        At the risk of starting down this road, which I don’t intend to explore very far, NO ONE is trying to confiscate your guns, Tracy! Now, I wouldn’t shed a tear if assault weapons were banned from personal ownership, but we are a long way from that happening. As Lifer tried to get you to see: be a part of the solution or have a bigger problem. We can work together as a nation to take reasonable precautions without impugning the rights of any responsible gun owner such as yourself.

        Vote for whoever you feel best represents your views, needs, and interests.

      • Chris, have you figured out yet that you’re in the wrong political party?…

      • goplifer says:

        ***Chris, have you figured out yet that you’re in the wrong political party?…***

        Maybe. That leaves me in the same boat as those socialist gun-snatching Koch Brothers http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/24/politics/charles-koch-hillary-clinton-2016/

      • 1mime says:

        I’m thinking that Chris hasn’t left the Republican Party; the Republican Party has left him. Either way, it’s his choice and one which I know he will make with the deepest consideration.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @Tracy Thorleifson: So… what you’re saying is: “Hillary Clinton 2016: Taxation without representation – Gangnam Style -”

        Seriously, someone get to work on that.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        TT…you would think that if they were all bent out of shape over the 2nd amendment issues and personal gun ownership, the founders might have written the text to be a bit more specific on that issue.

      • objv says:

        “white-hot smokin’ pantsuit”

        (shudder) Lifer, now I’m wonderin’ what YOU are smoking’ 🙂

    • MassDem says:

      How are her views extremist? Reinstating the assault weapons ban? The one we lived with for 10 years? Tell you what, you can keep your assault weapons in return for striking down the Dickey Amendment.

      Otherwise, expanding background checks, closing gun show/internet purchase loopholes, prosecuting straw purchasers etc…no biggie.


      • 1mime says:

        Hi MassDem! I am in agreement with HRC’s sensible gun legislation.

      • MassDem says:

        Wow! I hope your daughter enjoyed her time in Boston! April weather around here is super unpredictable.

        I myself was in southern Florida most of last week, and I loved it. I got to see the Everglades, alligators, Key deer, Key West, pelicans, reef fishes, and all sorts of cool things. It was the best. I pretty much stayed away from everything political, except I watched the NY primary returns on CNN. Hard to kick a habit completely.

      • 1mime says:

        When we lived in FL, our home abutted a marsh preserve which introduced us to not only fabulous sunsets but all sorts of fowl and fauna. It was an incredible experience. We always traveled out of the area during summer when the “tourists” arrived! Which was kind of funny, as we vacationed there for many years before we moved there as “permanent” residents.

      • MassDem says:

        That sounds lovely Mime! I found southern Florida to be very beautiful, and fortunately did not see any snakes. I am irrationally terrified of snakes. Snakes are a lot less common up here, especially the poisonous ones.

        The bird life in FL was incredible though. I had to laugh when a bird watcher at one of the parks we visited got all excited about seeing a red cardinal, a common bird up here. I liked all the different herons, and the anhinga bird too.

      • 1mime says:

        MassDem, if you ever get a chance, visit Key West and some of the islands off the west coast of FL – Captiva, Sanabel, etc. This is such a neat place and is destined to become a reef in the not so distant future….Go while you can – go while they are still there. BTW, shorts, T-shirts, a visor and flip flops are all you’ll need!

    • stephen says:

      ” I’m pretty sure Chris can tell from the crease of her, er, pantsuit, ”
      I assume that comment is a subtle call of being a brown nose. Mr. Ladd is anything but that. He is refusing to salute as others drive the bus over the cliff. You might not like what he is saying but it is backed up in fact, history and logic. As far as gun control goes, do you really think the donor plutocrats give a hoot about gun rights? It is just part of the con to get Bubba to vote for the things they really want. I grew up in the rural south and know gun culture well. But Earth to Tracy when so many innocents get gun down in mass murders by derange people we have a problem. The majority of the country is getting fed up as Lifer has pointed out. We could well have gun rights curtailed more than necessary in the back lash coming.

    • johngalt says:

      A problem with being an extremist on an issue, as Tracy is with guns, is that sitting out there on the edge of the galaxy that the center is so far away that it appears to be extreme. Clinton’s positions on gun control match very well (probably no coincidence) the general public opinion as expressed in dozens of polls not conducted by the NRA.

      • General public opinion? Well, jg, we’ll see. After passage of the gun ban of 1994, the Dems lost control of the House for the first time in 62 years, losing 54 seats. Hmm.

      • MassDem says:

        About Dem loss of House in 1994–it could have been the assault weapon ban. Or it could have been the failure of healthcare reform. Perhaps the passage of NAFTA? Or the deficit-reduction act of 1993 which raised taxes on lots of stuff? All of these? Some of these? Hmmm.

        It would be nice to be able to tease out a single causal issue, but life and politics just don’t work like that.

      • johngalt says:

        As MassDem says, there were a lot of reasons for the 1994 loss. I’d speculate that the assault weapons ban was not in the top 100. Typical overreach by a new president, combined with the traditional loss his party usually suffers in mid-terms and a brilliant national campaign orchestrated by Newt Gingrich were the more likely reasons. But then extremists do seem to believe that the entire world revolves around their pet issue.

        If you want to own an arsenal of semi-automatic or automatic weapons, Tracy, then join a “well-regulated militia.” Or have you forgotten that part of the Second Amendment?

      • johngalt says:

        Relevant to this conversation, I heard an interview this morning with Rice sociologist Stephen Klineberg, who has been running a survey of Houston public opinion for 40 years. He was commenting on the discrepancy between public opinion and public policy and gave as one example the issue of background checks for all gun sales, regardless of the transaction. 84% of Houstonians support this but, as he noted, it has little chance of becoming public policy. Think about that – you couldn’t get 84% of Houstonians to agree that the sky is blue (or, more accurately recently, grey). That is why I suggest that Tracy’s free-wheeling “guns for everybody” position is out of the mainstream.

      • 1mime says:

        You are correct, JG. It all comes down to voting one’s personal beliefs. The “why” of voting is a compelling place to start. The HERO ordinance is such a great example of “using” the political process (or abusing it, however you view it) to mobilize a small segment of the population (8% as I recall) to taint/mis-categorize/denigrate a rather innocuous piece of legislation. Where were the other 92% of regular folks who one “assumes” has no problem with sensible, fair policy regarding equal treatment?

    • Captain Splendid says:

      Aw man, pantsuit and a Chris Matthews reference,but no closing meme to make a trifecta. I’m disappointed.

  20. 1mime says:

    Lifer, for a very “busy” man, you manage to stay mighty focused on your subject with quality analysis and writing, to boot. I admit to being spooked by the “red” map of America, even if the trend is towards expanding the blue wall. People simply “have” to vote….there is no substitute for it – not money, organization, nor candidates. Those who feel that voter suppression isn’t effective need to consider this: if it weren’t working, the GOP wouldn’t be doing it. They are working every angle they can to hold on to power, and rank and file voters have let them get away with it. I am hopeful that 2016 will be a watershed election whereby people who have not been involved in the past, will feel empowered to do so. We’ll see, won’t we?

    • vikinghou says:

      I agree 1mime. Voter suppression is about the only card the GOP has left to play, and Democrats should make this a campaign issue as the general election approaches. Another thing Democrats need to guard against is complacency. Hillary may have an advantageous position, but things could go south if Dems don’t think it’s that important for them to vote.

    • Xiristatos says:

      I understand your concerns, and I know I shouldn’t have outright said suppression efforts were “ineffective”. What I want to make you clear is that you guys aren’t in the 2000 era anymore. Everyone thought 2000 was going to be fair and open, and there was almost no attention paid to the vote suppression in places like Florida.
      Since then it gradually gained more focus as you went into the 2012 elections, and with successful get-out-the-vote efforts you were able to help reelect the man conservatives swore to kick out of office, thanks in large part to the whole vote suppression bullshit attracting such extreme backlash.

      And now, with the VRA temporarily out of service, you were able to get a demonstration of what would be going on in the 2014 elections. Turns out republicans gained a few election boosts here and there, but because of their short-term thinking and disgusting rhethoric they also alienated minority votes for good, and they’re growing to the point where they’re not even a “minority” anymore.
      And now going into 2016, it’s now a key point, a cornerstone of Hillary Clinton’s campaign: Voter Access. And like I said, she definitely has lots of tricks up her sleeve. A politician with so much experience and determination will make sure no stones will be left unturned. 2016 is most probably setting up to be just like 2012, only more ridiculously so in every level.

      If only the people come out to vote. The modern republicans embarassing themselves on the national stage will ensure those voters will come out, simply because sane humans don’t want such psychopaths in the White House. Even more, with the Republican party in such severe division, there’ll be most likely devastatingly low republican turnout no matter who ends up the nominee.

      No, I’m not sugarcoating any of this, I have never seen an election this retarded, but I’m just looking at what we know. 2012 served as a proof that there’s nothing as dangerous as pissed off democratic voters and depressed republican voters. Lifer thoroughly explained why the Republicans put themselves in a no-win situation in his summary of the 2014 elections. Help your fellow people vote, help preparing them just in time for November. Get-out-the-goddamn-vote!

      With that being said, I do hope Lifer talks more about his view on vote suppression, just for the sake of being “up to date” with the 2016 election ongoing…

      • 1mime says:

        Here’s the thing, Xiris, pissed off Democrats in the past have simply stayed home whereas Republicans, depressed or not, vote. I’ve been around enough fun and games in the political arena to be ultra cynical but I have to admit, the Bush v Gore election debacle was stunning. It was also (IMO) the beginning of an arrogance on the part of the GOP that would stop at nothing to hold power. That ultimately costs one in the long term, but the short term has been to America’s detriment. There are good people in the Republican Party but there are some lessons that have to be learned here. Let us hope that the people of America turn out sufficiently to demonstrate that one man one vote does count.

    • MassDem says:

      Re GOTV: I was extremely disappointed by the SCOTUS striking down a key portion of the VRA, and all the sneaky ways states have found to discourage participation, but do you know what the biggest threat is? Our own lack of interest, or lack of time, or lack of whatever it was that gave us a 36% voter turnout in 2014. I voted, so I get to complain about politicians and/or the government as much as I want, but the remaining 64% should keep their mouths shut unless they plan to get out there and do something about it.

  21. johngalt says:

    In other news, Sanders signaled that he’s thinking about the endgame during an interview on This Week:
    “If Secretary Clinton is the nominee, she is going to have to make the case to the American people, not just to my supporters, but all Americans, that she is prepared to stand up to the billionaire class, she is prepared to fight for health care for all Americans, that she is prepared to pass paid family and medical leave, make sure that college is affordable for the young people in this country.”

    In my opinion, this is not a very steep price for his support. The free college idea is gone, replaced with a nebulous “affordable”, which few people would object to on either side (in the absence of details). Clinton would certainly seek to further expand Obamacare. Even the Koch brothers understand that the “billionaire class” needs to pay more in taxes and paid family leave would leave only two countries on earth that lack this. None of this is outrageous or particularly far left.

    • flypusher says:

      There was a recent story about a decent number of Sander’s supporters not being willing to pay more in taxes, even though they wanted what he was promising. Reality check people, if you want something, you have to pay for it. Also if you claim that you’re a genuine Libby-lib, but you would risk the prospect of Trump, or even worse, Cruz, making 1-3 SCOTUS picks, because you’re in a snit over HRC getting the Dem nom and you’re not voting, you are a total fool, and your opinions are not worthy of any intelligent person’s consideration.

      • 1mime says:

        Sadly, it’s not just their opinions but their votes or lack there of that can really hurt Hillary. Sanders appears to be content to continue to campaign while throwing out conditions for his and his base’ support. The continual barrage of young, inexperienced voters with all these “quasi-demands” that Hillary must meet is setting expectations that she may not be responsibly able to accommodate. One of the reasons Sanders has failed to garner more support with his upbeat, very progressive agenda is because those of us who have participated in the political process for years know there is a gulf between what a leader campaigns for and what they can achieve. It’s how the process works. It’s called compromise. If anyone in the millennial sector thinks that this Republican Party is going to roll over and concede any ground willingly to a Democratic President, I refer you to the immediate previous seven years. The House of Representatives is expected to remain in GOP control at least for the next two years, until mid-terms. If Dems are lucky, we will take back majority control of the Senate and put a justice on the SC who rules wisely which will default to fairly, IMO.

        Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. We haven’t begun to see the Republican game plan to destroy Hillary Clinton, and it may be unsuccessful (as Lifer suggests and I hope he is right), but it will be ugly, and Democrats will need every progressive out there to vote for the nominee chosen at the convention.

    • flypusher says:

      About family leave, this country is in a time warp concerning family economics. Once opon a time, children were economic assets. A lot has changed since those times.

    • 1mime says:

      Hillary is pretty much on record with expanding and improving the ACA from 90% as it currently stands to 100%. Single payer may be the future, but she realizes that that fight while important is one of many priorities. Paid family and medical leave and affordable college are already on her agenda. The biggest contribution Sanders has made to move Hillary left is on the issue of the income divide and all its nuances. She is a practical, realistic person who knows how to make things work. Hopefully, she will have at least the Senate and a balanced SCOTUS at her back. Dems need to win down ticket. They abdicated this turf to the Repubs foolishly and gerrymandered districts will take time to corral.

  22. johngalt says:

    “Try this exercise. Name a major political figure that has been examined, subpoenaed, interrogated, investigated, and scrutinized in public and in private for thirty years. Find a politician who has had every one of her communications as a government official disclosed and examined in detail both by law enforcement and by deeply hostile political opponents.

    For all of that scrutiny, no one has ever found ANYTHING worthy of so much as a reprimand. Now, while a court decides what to do with Denny Hastert, tell me again about Clinton’s scandals.”

    This is an excellent point that the Feel the Bern supporters in my social media feeds seem to forget. Yes, she’s been investigated several times. While some of these have had legitimacy, many have been political hit-jobs. These Democrats are letting GOP-motivated investigations – none of which have borne fruit – define their own candidate.

  23. flypusher says:

    More interesting politics- Cruz and Kasich openly plotting to block Trump from getting 1,237 delegates. Is it too late? Will it backfire? They’re not breaking any rules, but Trump has more fuel to fling onto that “the system is rigged” fire.

    My scenario for the most interesting of political times? Trump goes to the convention with about 1,200 delegates.

  24. flypusher says:

    This was mentioned in the comments of the previous post, but is relevant here- the Koch brothers not endorsing HRC, but looking like they’re not going to support any GOP nominee either. I could break out the nano-violin about their frustration over not getting the gov’t they paid for, but we do have a common cause in not wanting Trump or Cruz as President. So truce, and in the spirit of truce some constructively meant criticism: 1) stop focusing on “smaller gov’t” and work on “smarter gov’t” instead. 2) Science denial is way, way on the wrong side of history. If you don’t like liberal solutions, give us some conservative alternatives.

  25. Sara Robinson says:

    A+ post. Everywhere I look, it seems, I’m being confronted by people getting distracted by bright, shiny, fearsome-looking objects, too blinded by them to keep their eyes on the whole picture. This is hugely clarifying (and it explains a lot about why I’m even boycotting my own Facebook feed until the primaries are over).

    I’d like to know more about your argument re: GOP control of states, though. This one has got most of the professional Dem organizers I know really spooked. If there’s a change in the offing, I don’t know when it’s coming, or why, or how — and yes, voter suppression at the state level is doing a very effective job of keeping that shift from happening in the near term. TX, AZ, and FL are dropping voters of color by the five and six figures. It’s making a real dent, to hear my organizer friends tell it.

    So: tell me more.

    • flypusher says:

      For TX, are there shenanigans other than the voter ID laws?

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Republicans’ hold on Florida politics is already fractured. Recent reforms to the state’s Senate map has created a virtually dead even split of Republican and Democratic-leaning districts, and the state House won’t be far behind. And in 2014, a year where Republicans ran the table, the incumbent Republican governor won by a whopping 1% of the vote against a Republican-turned-Independent-turned-Democrat opponent. Care to place your bets on 2018?

      TX in 2008 very nearly put Democrats back in the state House majority. Gerrymandering and Voter ID have give Republicans a short-term political shot in the arm, but that’s not going to last. Demographics and Republican weakness are building to a swell that’s going to come sooner or later.

      And though it was already heading there, thanks to The Donald, AZ looks primed to finally begin its shift to a swing state on the national level, much like Georgia already has. It’s only a matter of time before those trends seep into the state’s local politics.

      • 1mime says:

        So, the answer to state control rests on: births, census, deaths. It would be nice if the DEMe helped by nurturing their “seed corn”. We can’t always depend upon Republicans to drive people away, we have to offer a platform that speaks to peoples deepest needs and desires. Say what you want (empirically), Bernie has done this, and he has showed Dems the way.

  26. Bobo Amerigo says:

    have shot against Sanders

    have a shot against Sanders ?

  27. Xiristatos says:

    Great article! It’s wonderful to see a republican of all people deliver the facts about this non-event of an election. Don’t take it the wrong way, I’m just saying that many conservatives (especially the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Karl Rove) pull stupid shit out of their ass in a desperate attempt to make sense, so it’s refreshing to see someone from that party come out as an “Only Sane Man”.

    Now that I’m talking about non-event, ever since the Voting Rights Act has been partially dismantled since 2013, the news have been flooded with vote suppression stuff. It’s good that it gets media attention so people are more aware, and that Hillary Clinton exposed these obnoxious suppression tactics, effectively putting the GOP in a complete no-win situation (if they haven’t done so by themselves), but I think all these paranoia-filled articles on how “2016 will be decided by vote suppression laws” really get on my nerves.

    I just can’t see how a political mastermind like Clinton could possibly lose to a fractured, weak and desperate nominee from the deeply divided republican party because of that one state’s photo ID law, or that other state’s voter purging. It just seems like the most cartoonishly nonsensical scenario humanly possible.

    Thing is, you mentioned in your 2014 summary how vote suppression post-VRA gutting merely boosted republicans in razor-thin low-turnout races. There’s two incredibly irritating journalists that keep losing their shit over any sort of republican victory. They’re Brad Friedman from BradBlog and Greg Palast. They have always made annoying conspiracy theories over how Republicans keep trying to “steal” elections (including, but not limited to, vote machine flipping nonsense), so of course they had to make something up to explain the Republican victory in that year.

    My favorite one has to be Greg Palast’s theory how a voter list sharing program called “Interstate Crosscheck” (heard of it?) found 7 million double voters and were apparently purged just before the 2014 elections. Nevermind that that program ISN’T a purge program, but just a list comparison project. And Palast disregards the fact that unlawful purging is still illegal under the National Voter Registration Act. It couldn’t even closely have been 7 million purged voters, and they were probably only removed because they didn’t vote inbetween 6 years (the maximum time a voter can refuse to vote or do anything before they can be removed under the NVRA). Those who voted in 2012 will almost certainly be able to vote in 2016, and even when wrongful purges are done, I don’t see how helping people to register just in time for 2016 is so hard. It certainly more than makes up for any possible wrongly purged voter.

    I know I’m talking out of my ass, but I just felt like pointing that out. Because the apparent effectiveness of vote suppression is the kind of “popular myth” that I think is also as misleading as the apparent “weakness” of Hillary Clinton.

    I mean, you talked about suppression before… probably mind talking about it once more? Just so enough people could understand. Thanks for your attention anyways.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      I’m actually a fan of Hillary, but even I cringe when I read something like:

      “I just can’t see how a political mastermind like Clinton could possibly lose…”

      That political mastermind had her ass handed to her by the very inexperienced and barely qualified junior senator from Illinois.

      Hillary also has not managed to get a tight enough leash on Bill as he is getting overly prone to giving speeches that are not exactly thrilling to the young masses.

      I think Hillary is immensely qualified to be President, but I don’t think she is particularly a good as a candidate.

      All that may change when there can be a focus on a single GOP target, but she has enough tone-deaf moments (that easily get blown out of proportion since there are no other stories to cover) that will keep her from generating the enthusiasm and energy that Bill Clinton and/or Obama did.

      • 1mime says:

        Completely agree.

      • Xiristatos says:

        Yes, that was a bit cringey of me. I was just stating that she’s smart… dangerously smart and politically savvy.

        Yep, we know what happened in 2008, but you have to remember that Hillary has learned from her mistakes since then, and I was sure she would immediately plan her road to the White House for 2016. There is another crucial difference between 2008 and 2016: Barack Obama may have been a junior senator, but he was hip, compromising, in touch with demographics, has truly energized the voters and gave them true sense of hope after eight retarded years of Dubya.

        Bernie Sanders is NO Obama. His one and only language is anger, revenge and REVOLUTION!!1! As much as his most disgusting supporters want to deny that, there’s little that could compare him to a great man like Obama. He isn’t promoting any real policies and his speeches are limited to “noun, verb, CORPORATIONS!”, and calls for revolution in a time where Democrats don’t want that. This year truly is different, because Hillary basically runs for Obama’s third term. People want evolution, not revolution. They don’t want to burn down Obama’s valuable work and build it from scratch, they want to build on his success. And that’s why Hillary is winning this by a mile. the primary has already been over after the first Super Tuesday.

        Yes, she has done mistakes, she ain’t no perfect woman. But no one is perfect, and I’m sure she is aware of this.
        That’s why I am optimistic about her.

    • 1mime says:

      I respectfully disagree, Xiris. Voter suppression DID make a difference especially in down ballot races, but also in gubernatorial races. The Georgia Project is an outgrowth of an especially egregious example of voter suppression, but there are many examples across red states. In Georgia, the GA Registrar “lost” 80K newly registered, primarily Black voters and couldn’t “find” them until it was too late for these people to challenge and vote. There are lots of ways to “suppress” voting by simply reducing voting precincts (AZ) so that lines are impossibly long for working people to “hang in” to vote – time is money for them…to case after case in MI, NC, etc etc.

      The other point with which I disagree is HRC’s weakness. This is true, and to ignore it is to not prepare for it’s importance. We may be Clinton supporters and believe she is well qualified, but remember that Sanders and Republicans have been sending out other negative messages – some of which are deserved, many of which are not. Problem is: few people do the work to research candidates that Lifer does and many of us do on this blog. Simply stated, there are a whole lot of misinformed voters out there and they vote just like we do.

      Welcome to the blog, BTW.

      • Xiristatos says:

        Yes, I’m aware of the effects of severe suppression. I didn’t outright deny that these efforts happen, I just made the point that this isn’t 2000 anymore. Things like this have worked immensely mostly because no one paid enough attention. It changed with the 2008 and 2012 elections. And with Hillary Clinton having made voter access a cornerstone of her campaign, I’m sure she has a lot of tricks up her sleeve to make high voter turnout happen. Make no mistake, she has a huge backing, and after 40 years of smearing, there’s little that could tip her over. If it didn’t stop her road to the nomination, it wouldn’t stop her road to the White House.

        Remember, I didn’t sugarcoat anything, I just said that if people are determined, nothing can stop them. Off-year elections aren’t turnout rich to begin with, so the suppression there would indeed make a difference in tight elections.

        By the way, thanks for your welcomes. I will enjoy this blog.

      • 1mime says:

        Young people who are in college are particularly vulnerable to voter suppression. Red states have refused to accept their college IDs, making it necessary for them to go home to vote. This is hard because some attend out of state college and many work weekend jobs. Also, there are many who move around for work. They, too, have challenges. As for voting by mail, the process requires more than a phone call, at least in TX, as we do vote by mail.

        I think the point on which we completely concur is that voting is not only a “right” but is a responsibility. America’s voting percentages are sad for a country that holds itself up as the “world’s leading democracy”. Working people have harder times, and if the hours of voting were extended, weekends utilized, national elections on Saturdays, voting precincts both adequate in number and geographically accessible, these things would help as well. It seems in America, everything is done to make voting more difficult rather than more easy. Mail in ballots should be for all not just for seniors.

    • Lifer,

      What i do not understand is why there are no attempts to get the voters who are being suppressed to vote absentee. All an older voter without photo ID has to do is make a phone call and ask for an absentee ballot. It is easier than going to vote. No lines to stand on! No ID to present. But for some reason people just do not vote. I read in Kentucky, only 31% of people eligible to vote actually voted. And people on expanded Medicare voted Republican. And then, complained about possibly loosing their newly found health insurance!

      makes no sense to me!

  28. Some democrats are switching to Trump:

    n Virginia’s March primary, Trump received 70 percent of the Republican vote in Buchanan, making it so far his best county in the U.S. outside of his home state of New York. The shift from 2008 was especially stark. That year, 2,494 votes were cast in the Democratic primary in the county, compared with 679 in the Republican primary. Hillary Clinton defeated Barack Obama 10 to 1. In 2016, voting in the Republican primary more than tripled from 2008, with Trump winning 1,586 of 2,276 votes cast. Among Democrats, Clinton prevailed, but with just a third of the total votes cast for Trump.


    • 1mime says:

      That is why it is critical that Bernie Sanders actively, whole-heartedly campaign FOR HRC when the time comes….and that needs to be soon…She must have millennials to make up for the Dems who will deflect to Trump.

      • Xiristatos says:

        There’s something you have to know about those “Trump dems” that not a lot of people talk about: They don’t vote for him in the primaries because they like him, they apparently took the “open primaries” to their advantage to mess with republicans by helping nominate the one guy they don’t want.
        That’s why these “Trump dems” exist. There’s not much Hillary has to make up for.

    • goplifer says:

      You can’t compare primary turnout figures to general election numbers. There’s just no correlation.

  29. A great blog! The unfortunate part of all this is the country needs two functioning political parties so we can solve problems and thrive. Not that the Democrats are all that good, but for some reason the Republicans have given up their responsibility in this area! Republicans can not thrive by pandering to ignorance and racism, by gerrymandering and by being anti science, anti knowledge. At least that what i think. But so far, they have proven me wrong!

    • formdib says:

      I’ve been following your blog for a while and mostly focusing on the idea of the ‘Politics of the Crazy’ and how they’ll begin to affect the Democrats as well as the GOP:

      ^ This is a perfect example of what my current life is. I’m a formerly registered Independent, and demographically I’m a white lower middle class Millennial artist in a deep blue state. I don’t particularly have anything against Bernie Sanders and would be satisfied with either him or Hillary in office (and could stomach Kasich, and frankly wish I could vote for Jon Huntsman but whatev), but I definitely live in an echo chamber NOT of my own cognitive fallacies (though I’m 100% sure I have some of my own), an echo chamber where the people around me are inventing time travel and warp drive levels of abstract physics to math out methods of claiming Bernie is winning. It’s horrific to watch people I love and respect absolutely refuse to accept basic principles of addition and subtraction. And like this College Humor video says, I’ve actually had a friend of mine say to my own face, eye to eye, that I live in a ‘neoliberal media bubble’ because I mentioned that Clinton is probably going to win the primary.

      Now of course I have to clarify that that’s not all Berners (my preferred term for them, over Bernie Bros and Sandernistas). But in terms of the Politics of the Crazy, people who fundamentally refuse to accept addition and subtraction as steps of logic toward decision making and comprehension, I can report that their vote is definitely lost from Clinton. I finally mustered up the courage to ask and they’ll either be voting Trump because ‘fuck the establishment’ or Jill Stein because 80% tax rate on the 1%.

      I would gauge about 10% of Bernie’s support on that track, though those numbers are not official or real math, just my own living in a bubble estimate. But based on the mounting depression and nihilism of some of my friends, w/r/t what they consider to be clear and objectively open cheating by the Clintons and the literal death of democracy at this moment, I wouldn’t bank on more than maybe 30% of Bernie supporters voting for anybody at all. Based off of my limited experience with my own age group (I’m 30 this year), these people shut the fuck down when they don’t get what they want. And what they want is a Nirvana Fallacy. They’ll never get it and I can discount their vote for the foreseeable future.

      Though as I’ve mentioned here before, it’s not like they vote for anything other than the Presidential elections. ‘The system is corrupt’, they say, so getting them to even be aware of local bond issues or referendums is like pulling teeth from a hippopotamus.

      In case anyone was wondering.

      I’m still trying to figure out what it is about politics in general that turns otherwise intelligent, interesting, and worldly people into shrieking piles of shit, but left or right, liberal or conservative, Dem or GOP, all you have to do is mention ‘the vote’ and it’s like every fucking worst button of human psychology gets pushed.

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