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Bernie’s Path Forward

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Is there still a path for Bernie Sanders to win the Democratic nomination? Yes, but it’s awfully challenging, requiring him to build on his momentum over the last caucuses in the West to win most of the remaining states, some by large margins. Of course, “win” can have multiple meanings in this context and I think there’s no question that if Clinton wins, her Cabinet will be significantly farther to the left on economic and labor issues than it would have been without Sanders. The rise of the openly left flank of the party is a good thing for all involved and I think it will have a concrete presence within a Clinton administration.

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  • BGinCHI

    Agreed.

    I thought Bernie’s comments on not fundraising and stumping for Dem candidates at the state level was pretty bad. This is especially true in states where the GOP is running roughshod over all kinds of good progressive policy positions because of GOP dominance. The Fed just cannot step in to make changes in education spending and other vital areas.

    This idea that if you can just get your super pure President and all else follows is naive and I’m damn sick of it.

    • Ken

      NO!!! BERNIE OR BURN IT DOWN!!! HEIGHTEN THE CONTRADICTIONS UNTIL THE WORLD SCREAMS IN AGONY AND CTHULHU RISES TO RULE –

      Er, sorry, got carried away there. No secret cultist plan here, no sirree, just ordinary political discourse.

    • keta
      • And the Democratic Party has only been progressive out of convenience. What he’s done is remind it that a fairly large chunk of the Democratic base is, indeed, progressive.

        • keta

          You know, to consistently deny the Democrats have been moving more to the left as a whole, even before this Dem primary, is to be willfully obtuse.

          And rather than champion this shift, and applaud the additional wind provided by the Sanders primary run, you just carp about how everything’s going to lurch to the right if Hillary is installed.

          I mean, I’m a dyed-in-the-wool cynic myself, but damn, you might be happier if you lighten up a shade.

          • DrDick

            The Democratic base has been strongly progressive, and well to the left of Democratic politicians for several decades now. The latter are indeed moving slightly leftward, at glacial speeds. Sanders has forced that movement to become actually visible to the eye. Clinton has moved significantly to the left on numerous issues during the course of this campaign as a result.

            • njorl

              “The Democratic base has been strongly progressive, and well to the left of Democratic politicians for several decades now. ”

              Two isn’t several.

              • DrDick

                More like four, actually, since the rise of the DLC in the mid-70s.

                • njorl

                  In the mid 70s the Democratic base was Dixiecrats and labor unions. Even Jimmy Carter was more liberal than the Democratic base.

                • I think of the difference between the 70s and, say, 2008 as the tightening of a bell curve around a centerline that hasn’t moved much.

                  Yes, Robert Byrd was Majority Leader. He also had Mike Gravel in his caucus.

            • ThrottleJockey

              Other than the TPP and maybe black lives matter what has Hillary move to the left on?

              • Aaron Morrow

                The capital gains tax, thank goodness. While other parts of her tax plan probably represent Clinton moving to the left with the Democratic Party, the capital gains tax increases and restructure is beyond that which many (most moderate?) Democratic politicians have proposed.

                Also, Clinton’s making the 4% surtax on income above $5 million per year is on all income regardless of source. This is great news for people who get their income mainly through their paychecks; the tax burden has been shifted so it’s less on our shoulders.

              • What time frame are you thinking of, TJ?

                I mean, we could be here all day if we’re comparing her between the 1990s and 2016.

            • Brien Jackson

              “The Democratic base has been strongly progressive, and well to the left of Democratic politicians for several decades now…and is now voting for Hillary Clinton by solid margins.”

              FTFY.

              • …while she runs a campaign that, by her own and her supporters’ own admission, relies mainly on relationships, competence, and electability – while she repeatedly coopts the positions and rhetoric of an opponent well to her left, who is running mainly on ideology.

      • Is there a fund to which I can donate to help spread this vital message?

        • BGinCHI

          Hint: the arrow points away from Debbie W-S.

      • witlesschum

        If you follow the links in that post, at least the Sanders campaign dropped their support for a congressional campaign when she ran against a Democrat as a Green.

        To be excessively fair, the Sanders people may just have calculated they can start campaigning for congressional candidates later, given that most congressional primaries are in August.

        OT, but the link repeats the Perot threw the election to Clinton canard. I can’t believe the things political journalists will still say with a straight face.

        • Ethel2Tilly

          I don’t believe it’s a canard at all. Back in the day, the corporate media had almost complete total dominance of news reporting and they were completely in the tank for the GOP and the incumbent. If Perot hadn’t run, Bush and crew most likely would have repeard the same slimey campaign that was so successful for them in ’88, aided and abetted by their corporate media buddies. Instead, Perot ran and then quit, and then jumped back in. He was like a very shiny and ratings-compelling bauble that completely distracted the media and blew the whole Bush campaign strategy to hell because it was predicated on media obsessively keeping whatever they were going to throw at Clinton dominating the fall campaign. Instead, the media’s Perot-obsession and Perots relentless focus on the deficit and “the gaint sucking sound” of jobs going down the drain being lost to Mexico (and this was pre-NAFTA – imagine if Perot had won!) kept the Bush campaign off-balance and their attempts to have the media enable them to make the election’s focus an Atwater-style takedown of Clinton never really got traction. Because of Perot and the media obsession with him, the election actually ended up being much more dominated by issues rather than character-smearing of Clinton. And once Perot was yesterday’s news, the media very quickly reverted back to form.

          Perot had a yuuuuuge effect on the 1992 election campaign and most definitely enabled Clinton to win not in the obvious way that people assume by simply looking at vote counts – but rather in the more subtle way of distracting the media from enabling the Bush campaign to make the election about Clinton the way they made ’88 about Dukakis. That’s very important – imagine if the same sort of dynamic was at play in 2004 and the whole Swift Boat thing ended up on the sidelines instead of taking center-stage for weeks and weeks and weeks. In 1992, Perot’s presence mattered much more than his vote totals.

      • addicted44

        Bernie’s comments are in absolutely no way defensible. It undermines the entire rationale behind his campaign. His whole deal is that unlike Hillary, who is fighting for incremental change, he will bring about revolutionary change. And the only way Bernie Sanders can bring about revolutionary change is if Congress turns blue. Supporting down ballot Dem candidates is a necessary part of his campaign making even the slightest sense at all.

        He can always explain that the reason behind his comments was that he intends to support down ballot candidates in ways other than fundraising, and still keep the rationale of his campaign intact, but in the absence of such an explanation Bernie is basically saying he really has no reason to be elected president.

      • MDrew

        he is a “Democrat of convenience.”

        Yeah, he is. And let’s not go forgetting that in forming expectations about the endgame here.

    • Murc

      I thought Bernie’s comments on not fundraising and stumping for Dem candidates at the state level was pretty bad.

      How so?

      Bernie is currently engaged in trying to win the Democratic nomination and as near as I can tell has no interest in, and indeed is annoyed by, questions which assume he has already lost and then ask what he’ll do once Hillary is the nominee, which was the implicit thrust of Maddow’s question. He doesn’t accept the premise, and with good reason.

      It was absolutely okay for him to tell Maddow “We’ll see” and then pivot to the campaign he is actually running.

      If and when he loses, if he then takes his ball and goes home, then he ought to come in for opprobrium. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

      • cleek

        Clinton has already given millions to the DNC.

        • Not exactly; she’s raised millions. Doesn’t diminished it, I’m just pointing out she’s pushed her donors to support Dems, and she’s spent some of her time and staff resources to do it. Bernie agreed to do the same, but hasn’t done a thing so far, and now talks like he needs to get the party to give him something in order for him to do what he already agreed to do.

          • ChrisTS

            This is more accurate. I was particularly annoyed by Sanders’ saying that the Clooney fundraiser was ‘obscene’ when he knows perfectly well it was for the Victory Fund.

      • keta

        I agree, Murc. He’s never really donned the team jersey, and he feels the DNC has often treated his campaign shabbily during this primary. It’s hard to see why anyone is surprised at his remarks here.

        • Murc

          Well, I mean… they have treated his campaign shabbily, that’s not just something he “feels”, and given that said campaign is fighting for its life it seems unreasonable to say to it “You should divert time and effort into things that will do nothing to help you win!”

          That said, if and when he does lose, if he just fucks off back to Vermont that would be a colossal dick move and make me think much, much less of him. At that point it becomes his responsibility to help re-take the Senate and the House, and like it or not that’s gonna involve fundraising.

        • BGinCHI

          Isn’t there any value in running at the top of a strong party?

          I’m not sure why anyone would want to become President without also having more members in the legislature.

          Is it that Bernie can’t do both?

          I badly want to see the Democratic Party do better at the state (and local) level, which they have been VERY poor at lately in many places. So I don’t want to hear “Let me become President and then I’ll tend to all that other stuff.”

          Having said all that, I completely agree that Bernie has been salutary for the Dems overall. But salutary is not the same as the trenches of races all across the country.

          • So I don’t want to hear “Let me become President and then I’ll tend to all that other stuff.”

            Then it’s a good thing you haven’t been. If you’ve been listening to the Sanders campaign, you haven’t. What you’ve been hearing instead is “I can’t do this alone” and a strategy of expanding the Democratic electorate via a “political revolution” that brings large number of non-traditional voters to the polls. You know, much like what you were hearing from the Obama campaign in 2008.

            If you’ve been only listening to Sanders’ opponent’s surrogates and supporters, though, you’ve probably been hearing something different.

            • BGinCHI

              Very good point.

            • ASV

              So it will be a revolution* that, at best, elects more of the Democrats that he’s been saying this whole time are hopelessly corrupt? Wouldn’t it make more sense to connect with state-level progressive wings and create something with a mission broader than making Bernie Sanders president, especially since that was such a long-shot to begin with? Not to put too fine a point on it, but we had the opportunity to nominate a strongly progressive Senate candidate in Illinois, a deep blue state and likely pick-up, and Sanders didn’t have a word to say about it early or late in the primary process. Tammy Duckworth will probably be fine, but she’s not a revolutionary.

              *The whole notion of bringing a “large number of non-traditional voters to the polls” is assuming facts not in evidence. Democratic primary turnout is down from 2008.

              • jim, some guy in iowa

                in ’08 we had a ton of new faces caucus for Obama who disappeared after caucus night. This time around though the turnout was down both Sanders and Clinton had younger people who were willing to stay engaged in the process as Democrats and become delegates to the district and state conventions. That’s all just anecdotal but it does make me more optimistic there is a real shift going on here that isn’t just tied to either of the candidates

              • The Lorax

                I’ve been concerned about the implications of Bernie’s premises, myself. If everyone but Bernie is totally corrupted by campaign donors, why would you vote for any of them?

              • So it will be a revolution* that, at best, elects more of the Democrats that he’s been saying this whole time are hopelessly corrupt?

                Ah, yes, Sanders’ repeated assertions that the entirety of the Democratic Party and everyone who runs under that label is “hopelessly corrupt.” I remember them well.

                Someone who demonstrates a degree of interest in discussing ongoing campaign/political strategy, as opposed to using that topic as a platform for catapulting campaign bullshit, might get a response from me.

                It’s an interesting topic, but the prospect of putting meaningful effort into discussing it with someone who leads off with that bullshit lines makes me want to take a nap instead. Maybe after the primary is over, you’ll be able to consider the matter on its merits.

                • ASV

                  Solid deflection.

                • Well, you know me. I’m just terrified to discuss this topic.

                  It’s you, ASV. There’s nothing remotely scary to me about the topic itself.

                • And I’ve been talking about it quite a bit lately.

                • ASV

                  None of what you have said, AFAICT, addresses the corruption aspect of this. I’m not questioning whether Bernie people will show up for Hillary or whatever, I’m questioning the underlying logic of the “revolution” itself. Sanders is seemingly predicating his revolution against a “corrupt campaign finance system” that has captured both parties on a wave of voters electing a bunch of Democrats who will be financed by that very system. I say seemingly because he hasn’t actually said that the revolution involves electing more Democrats; in fact, in the New Hampshire debate, he characterized the revolution as Mitch McConnell “[looking] out the window and [seeing] a whole lot of people saying, ‘Mitch, stop representing the billionaire class.” If the party is corrupt, and if the candidates it puts forward are funded by a corrupt system, the idea that the revolution means more Democrats actually is put into question. And even if Sanders comes back a few months from and says, “Let’s make sure Hillary has a Democratic Congress” — and it’s not in any way a given that he will do that — his supporters would be completely reasonable in thinking these candidates are part of the same old corrupt system.

                • I addressed your bullshit “corruption aspect” in the first comment blowing you off, and I still have zero interest in engaging in a conversation premised on dishonesty.

                  You’re lying about the “underlying logic” of the “political revolution,” making exactly the bogus claim I already called you out on, and I’m no more interested in engaging with such a hack as I was before.

                  And even if Sanders comes back a few months from and says, “Let’s make sure Hillary has a Democratic Congress” — and it’s not in any way a given that he will do that — his supporters would be completely reasonable in thinking these candidates are part of the same old corrupt system.

                  Every single one of the links I provided discusses this. Every single one.

          • cleek

            I’m not sure why anyone would want to become President without also having more members in the legislature.

            having more members in the legislature is a bit of a prerequisite for all of his plans.

            not just members, either. they’d have to be more progressive than the average Dem, too. so it’s odd that he’s not doing more to boost those particular people in primary battles.

            • And the funny thing to me is that he’s been endorsed by Keith Ellison & his successor in the House, Peter Welch, but among the handful of other Congressional endorsers are 2 of the remaining 12 Dems who voted for the Stupak amendment, 1 of whom is among the 3 remaining who voted against the ACA…and they’re probably better than Tulsi “Obama Is Weak On Fighting Terrorism But I Love The BJP” Gabbard, and the execrable Alan Grayson. He’s being endorsed by people who would vote against most of his agenda.

              • ChrisTS

                This is odd. I would love to read some analysis of why these folks are supporting him. (Gabbard has also said some rather homophobic things in the past.)

                • That’s easy: they’re outside of the party establishment. A rag-tag band of misfits, as it were.

                  Just you wait until the big dance-off, Chris. Just. You. Wait.

                • ChrisTS

                  @joe:

                  Just you wait until the big dance-off, Chris. Just. You. Wait.

                  What? I mean, I assume this is intended insultingly, but what does it really mean?

                • jim, some guy in iowa

                  ChrisTS: it means joe should have went and taken his nap a while ago already. Diminishing returns, he has no idea what they are

                • Actually, it’s a quip about 50s-80s teen movies, leaning on the phrase “rag-tag band of misfits.”

                  “Hey, Johnny: Chip Biffley’s gonna kick yer butt in the canoe race tomorrow!”

                  Jim, your problem with me is making you a much less fun person. You’re jumping at shadows now, and reciting things you really, really want to say to me when they don’t make any sense. Lighten up, and get over it.

                • Hogan

                  I thought it bordered on self-deprecation, myself.

                • Scrappy Band of Lovable Misfits No Match for Rich Snobs

                  I can’t believe there are people who don’t get the “rag-tag band of misfits” reference. There have only been, what, a thousand of those movies?

                  Hey, jim, what’s that old kid’s term for when someone ducks to avoid a blow his buddy isn’t actually throwing? “Two for flinching,” right?

                • ChrisTS

                  I still don’t get it. Never mind.

                • Huh.

                  Most of the pop culture references the Onion parodies are pretty well-known.

                  But ok.

                • Roberta

                  I thought it was a Hamilton reference.

                  Rag-tag volunteer army in need of a shower. Just You Wait. Etc.

              • The Lorax

                Can you say more about Grayson?

                • Grayson endorsed him because he wants to tap in to Sanders’ email list (same, I suspect, with Gabbard, because she’s probably trying to position herself for Senate as some kind of Ed Case mixed with ties to a cult), plus he’s kind of a scuzzy character and maybe a sociopath.

        • politicalfootball

          He’s never really donned the team jersey

          To the extent that this is true, it’s not relevant, and to the extent that it’s relevant, it’s not true.

          Bernie is running for the Democratic nomination. That’s what an idealist does when he wants to be on the team.

          He has run an incredibly gentle campaign against Hillary. Heck, Hillary had to accuse him of an “artful smear” because she couldn’t find a case where he’d engaged in an actual smear. (Remember that the artful smear had to do with her acceptance of piles of cash from Wall Street.)

          Bernie has been consistently scornful of the Benghazi and e-mail hysteria.

          The Democratic Establishment, quite understandably, has not been on Team Bernie, but he’s nudging them along. As everybody here is saying, if he walks away from national politics after losing the primary, then he’ll be rightly thought of as Not a Team Player. But who actually thinks that will happen?

          • keta

            To be clear, I’m not knocking Sanders or his campaign here, not a bit. I think he is, and continues to be, a much-needed voice from the left wing that has done nothing but good for the Dem primary and the Democratic party.

            I was merely pointing out the reasons I believe Sanders made the remarks cited about fundraising for down-ticket races.

            I know he’ll be a invaluable Democratic team member if his bid for the Dem nomination falls short, and I fully believe this is a role he’ll fill with relish.

            • Mac the Knife

              I agree with you, and there’s nothing wrong with what you said or how you said it.

              I just wanted to point out that this:

              and I fully believe this is a role he’ll fill with relish.

              scanned really funny for me.

              • keta

                I put it down as the magic of condiment conjuration on this board.

                Or am I spreading it a bit thick?

                • Mac the Knife

                  I’m demoting myself back to lurking for missing the ketchup joke there

                • rea

                  Well, Bernie is indeed struggling to catch up.

              • keta

                I’m demoting myself back to lurking for missing the ketchup joke there

                But it wasn’t intentional! Stay! Comment! You too shall fall under this spell!

            • MDrew

              I know he’ll be a invaluable Democratic team member if his bid for the Dem nomination falls short, and I fully believe this is a role he’ll fill with relish.

              I don’t know why you’re so sure of this. I don’t think that’s how he’s viewed himself up until running, and, while I have less than no problem with it, I don’t think his openness to describing his decision to join as one of convenience suggests that’s how he sees himself going forward. Neither does his slowness to fundraise for mainstream Democratic candidates.

              I think we just don’t know what his approach to his post-candidacy looks like yet. Largely because he I think believes he doesn’t yet know that his post-candidacy doesn’t start in November rather than August.

      • MDrew

        I thought Bernie’s comments on not fundraising and stumping for Dem candidates at the state level was pretty bad.

        How so?

        Bernie is currently engaged in trying to win the Democratic nomination and as near as I can tell has no interest in, and indeed is annoyed by, questions which assume he has already lost and then ask what he’ll do once Hillary is the nominee, which was the implicit thrust of Maddow’s question. He doesn’t accept the premise, and with good reason.

        It was absolutely okay for him to tell Maddow “We’ll see” and then pivot to the campaign he is actually running.

        If and when he loses, if he then takes his ball and goes home, then he ought to come in for opprobrium. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

        Yes. Thanks for this. This thing blew up the internet (including my Twitter feed), and there was really no reason for it to.

  • I wouldn’t be quite as optimistic about Sanders’ numbers in West Virginia, which the authors seems to base entirely on racial breakdown of the primary electorate, given the strength Clinton demonstrated among Dixiecrat whites in the Confederate states, and in places like SE Ohio.

    The white Democrats in the Confederate states, especially outside of the big cities, are pretty different from the white Democratic voters in the rest of the country.

    • And, yes, I’m aware that both SE Ohio and West Virginia (add Kentucky to that list) were in the Union. Politically and culturally, they have a lot more in common with rural Tennessee than with upstate NY.

      • Murc

        They say West Virginia and Kentucky were the only two states to join the Confederacy after the war ended.

        • Throw in the SE part of Maryland, out past the exurbs. Hoo doggies! Dixie swasitakas all over the place.

          Thank God for Benjamin Butler.

          • witlesschum

            That shit is everywhere. The Upper Midwest provided soldiers to the Union armies at a much higher proportion of the population than most of the Union state and nowadays it’s common to see dixie swastikas in rural parts of Michigan. Part of that is white southerners moving up in the early 20th century to work in the auto industry, but certainly not all.

            • N__B

              but certainly not all.

              Flying that flag, regardless of one’s geographical ancestry, is the simplest way to announce “I’m a racist.” I see no reason to believe that it has any more meaning than that.

              • cleek

                Skynyrd fan and/or shallow understanding of history combined with lazy “I’m A Rebel!” posturing.

                • ThrottleJockey

                  I saw a Mexican guy wearing a Confederate flag jean jacket last week. Trippy.

            • Philip

              South fucking Jersey loooooves it some Traitors’ Flags.

          • so-in-so

            “Mister we could use a man like Benjie Butler again”.

            To the tune of the Archie Bunker theme song.

          • Attezz

            Don’t forget Western Maryland!

            There was a recent campaign for them to secede from the state. I have to believe that most of the rest of the state was in favor of it. Really wish it would have managed to be a referendum.

            • KadeKo

              They’d be some sorta Bizarro version of Shangri-la. (Frank Capra’s version of Lost Horizon, please.) Or like the Twilight Zone where the guy wander off the highway and into a little nowheresville that hasn’t changed in 80 years.

              It makes the whole “let’s upstate NY secede from the part with growth and money” look almost plausible.

            • ColBatGuano

              Just attach them to West Virginia and see how happy they are.

        • DrS

          I was saw some maps related to climate and it was really interesting how the lines of the CSA matched up quite well. The dividing line of the carve out for West Virginia from Virginia was clearly visible.

          The base from which they rebelled from was tied to a form of slavery tied to particular crops. After the actual war, the symbols of the CSA were much easier to adopt as a way of asserting white supremacy.

          Its not that the white people there didn’t hate black people, they just didn’t have a more compelling interest in fighting that war.

          • DrS

            Here’s similar to what I was looking at.

            There was one for Europe too and you could see the way countries formed around them, and how climate played a role in many of the European wars, including this past century.

      • TroubleMaker13

        both SE Ohio and West Virginia (add Kentucky to that list) were in the Union

        In fact, West Virgina was formed as a separate state from the part of Virginia that did not secede to join the Confederacy. Apropos of nothing really, I just love that fact.

  • FMguru

    Almost as surprising as the rise to prominence and influence of a progressive candidate and bloc within the Democratic electorate has been the total collapse of the neolib/third way/Blue Dog faction. Nobody was out there trying to drag Clinton to the right, talking about entitlement “reform” and getting the debt under control and pandering to NASCAR voters and persuadable evangelicals. Jim Webb attempted to run with that and gave up after about two weeks because there’s just no market for that in today’s Democratic party. This is a huge change from the 1980s and 1990s and even the early 2000s, when there was a relentless drumbeat of that stuff. Even Obama came to prominence with a third-wayist 2004 convention speech about how the Dems and Republicans need to come together in reasonable Broderist compromise. That seems like a very long time ago, now.

    No Sister Souljah moments, no hippie-punching, no speeches about how Democrats need to “grow up” and “get over” their hostility to military action or corporations. None of the stuff that defined pretty much every Democratic presidential campaign I can remember came around this year. Even the MSM has largely given up on left-baiting, choosing instead to ignore the Sanders campaign as much as possible.

    This bodes very well for progressives, especially the demographics of the Sanders voters (i.e. young people, i.e. the future of the party).

    • You don’t miss Democratic primaries that sound like this?

      “Nobody supports the troops more than me.”

      “You take that back! I cherish our troops!”

      “Yeah, well, when I was out huntin’ last weekend…”

      • Roberta

        It seems miraculous to not hear this kind of posturing all the time. I’m still not over it, even though the last two elections were pretty free from it (seriously, thanks, Obama–I can imagine a different candidate keeping that noxious trend alive).

        • FMguru

          It was around even as late as 2008, or has everybody forgotten that time in the late primary when Hillary kept doing photo ops in dive bars ordering a beer-and-a-shot in order to demonstrate that she was a salt-of-the-earth Real American (unlike that other fellow)?

          Mark Penn was just an inexhaustible fountain of terrible ideas, wasn’t he?

    • keta

      I remember a lot of hand-wringing, fainting couch articles about how the Democrats had made a conscious decision to stop chasing (unattainable) southern white votes. To instead focus on enlarging the base and other groups they could capture.

      Seems to me this was a calculated shift.

      • postmodulator

        Somewhere, Mudcat Saunders curses bitterly under his breath as his cashier’s shift at the Food Lion begins.

        • NonyNony

          Mudcat Saunders has been supporting Sanders this cycle, at least since Jim Webb dropped out.

          • Davis X. Machina

            In Mudcat’s defense, Sanders is white. And male.

          • ColBatGuano

            Couldn’t get in on the Clinton gravy train I guess.

    • Nobody was out there trying to drag Clinton to the right, talking about entitlement “reform” and getting the debt under control and pandering to NASCAR voters and persuadable evangelicals

      That’s because they didn’t think they had to because that’s Hillary’s default trajectory. Wait until after the convention for those voices to start speaking up, you know, so she can steer back to the right to pick up states she will never win.

      • Maybe it was her default, but over the course of the campaign she’s been tacking well left of where she started out, and there’s been surprisingly little pushback or handwringing about it.

        • Captain Haddock

          Do you mean “started out” as a reference to the beginning of her political career or to the beginning of this campaign? A couple days ago I re-watched her campaign kickoff speech from last year. It struck me how little the tenor and substance of her campaign has changed since then. In other words, I don’t see her as tacking well left of how her current campaign started out. If you are referring to the 90’s, well, that’s a different matter.

          • I was thinking of 2015, and of the substance of her proposals and positions. She is still using the same language, though, that’s true.

    • Well, there is the whole thing on ‘pragmaticism,’ but in general I agree.

    • ChrisTS

      Jim Webb attempted to run with that and gave up after about two weeks because there’s just no market for that in today’s Democratic party.

      I didn’t know (or, remember) much about Webb. When he started to speak at the first debate, I thought, “Why is this guy a Democrat?”

      • Rob in CT

        Because the GOP went totally insane.

    • The Lorax

      Where have you gone Evan Bayh? David Broder turns his lonely eyes to you.

    • Almost as surprising as the rise to prominence and influence of a progressive candidate and bloc within the Democratic electorate has been the total collapse of the neolib/third way/Blue Dog faction.

      Yeah, thanks for pointing that out. We’ve been blissfully free from “reasonable” people telling the D candidate not to be too attached to their beliefs, lest the far right get their feelings hurt.

      And not only that, but we aren’t seeing appeals to an imagined “independent” center: no soccer moms who can be swayed to one side or the other, etc.

      • Davis X. Machina

        Don’t they have the internet where you are?

        Everyone Knows™ that the Democratic party has been drifting rightwards since Noah shut the door on the Ark, or at least since 1973…

  • Bernie’s chances of winning the nomination were always a long shot. But as to the goal of pushing Clinton to the left and providing a platform to rally the progressive wing he has far exceeded expectations. I think many of us went into this expecting to be blown off by Clinton from the start, and I’m quite happy with how things have turned out.

    That being said, I find the recent calls for Bernie to concede to be silly. Of course he should fight to the end! The stronger he is going into the convention, the better his bargaining position will be when Clinton seeks to fold his operation into hers. Hell, we might even be able to get DWS kicked to the curb. Long shot, I know, but one can only hope.

    • I LoLed at Claire McCaskill’s comment that Bernie can keep campaigning; he just can’t talk about how he’s different from Hillary Clinton.

      • I guess the question you have to ask yourself is how much further he can push Hillary to the left and, just as importantly, keep her there.

        • You say “push,” like the Occupy people talked about how they “pushed” Obama, and there probably is quite of bit of that.

          But it seems entirely plausible that there is also quite a bit of “allowing” going on. The metaphor being not so much one wrestler moving another, but of a fullback opening up a hole for a tailback.

          • That too. A lot of what Bernie has done is provide cover to allow Hillary to expose her inner leftie.

            • BubbaDave

              I like Hillary-triangulating-against-Bernie a heck of a lot better than I would Hillary-triangulating-against-Webb — and that’s coming from an unreconstructed Hillbot. (For the record, in a 2008 environment with Dem control of the House and Senate I’d probably be feeling the Bern, but in an environment where the CBO is going to be hacktastic and most progress will be made through executive orders and agency rulemaking I trust Hillary to have better-developed policy initiatives than Bernie’s team would.)

            • MDrew

              I don’t think it’s her inner leftie wanting to be exposed on the merts so much. My view of her in that respect collapsed with the Iraq vote and the doubling down on that view of foreign policy as SoS.

              I think what it is is that Sanders has provided cover for her to implement a very early general election base strategy that also helps her in the primary. Basically Sanders, and I think BLM to some extent, have allowed her to make commitments in the primary that would usually raise eyebrows on Morning Joe to which it is my impression she would otherwise have felt the need to attend to.

              What Sanders & BLM have done is make it so that the Village views Clinton’s moves to the left as basically forced. I don’t know if they still think she’s going to run to the middle n the general, but they’re not asking as many questions about her moves to the left as I think they would have in the past. Clinton not having to tack back to the middle to answer those questions I think is the biggest effect Sanders has had on Clinton’s campaign.

              What it means for how she’ll govern I think is another question altogether.

              • I don’t think Hillary has an inner leftie on foreign policy, and that is one area in which she notably has not tacked left during the campaign.

                I was thinking about domestic policy.

                • MDrew

                  I didn’t think you were the one who’d said it anyway.

                  I wasn’t just talking about foreign policy either. I just don’t think she has an inner, hidden lefty, if by lefty we mean “significantly to the left of and somewhat apart form the mainstream center-left of the Democratic party,” which I do. That’s clearly what she is – the mainstream center-left of the Democratic Party. It’s not impossible she’s a screaming lefty inside, but I just don’t think that’s the case. I think she’s a political pragmatist and wonk,, and right now being slightly on the left of the center-left is what political pragmatism means for someone of her profile attempting to accomplish what she’s attempting to accomplish. If it meant something else, she’d be doing that, and not in violation of her inner lefty.

                  What leads me to this view about her lack of inner lefty is largely that the Iraq vote and the way she’s handled the politics of its aftermath, and followed up substantively as Secretary of State just isn’t consistent with it. There aren’t genuine domestic policy “lefties” (again, that means quite far left) who took that tack, or could, on Iraq and then doubled down on hawkishness. But I also don’t think her movement to the left in this campaign has been anything to suggest there is any inclination to depart the center-left mainstream for the left deep within. Nor do I know of anything from her mature political career (i.e., say, from Bill’s governorship onward) to suggest she has an inner lefty trying to get out.

                  Again, unless we’re just saying that mainstream Democratic center-leftism is “leftiness.”

                • Brien Jackson

                  Another way to say this is that they have similar policy goals/priorities, but Sanders is just massively overpromising because his rhetoric isn’t tethered to the realities of American government/federalism in the slightest.

              • Michael Cain

                Well off topic, but you know you’ve spent too much time in state government in a western state when your knee-jerk reaction to BLM is always that they’re the idiots at the Bureau of Land Management. Not that I’m opposed to their policies so much as they seem to find really stupid ways to try to accomplish them.

    • Gregor Sansa

      One important question now is: what should he be bargaining for?

      Bill Moyers suggests the goal should be to get both DWS and Rahm kicked to the curb. That seems like a good start to me.

      Let’s go through the platform differences with Hillary, and what might be gettable on each. Obviously, he’d have to choose just one or two options, but it’s good to read the whole menu before choosing.

      Health care: frankly, I don’t think there’s much he can ask for here. He’s already proved the point that “single payer will never happen” is not a winning message, but actually getting it to happen in the short term is a non-starter.

      Minimum wage: The difference between “Ask for $12” and “Ask for $15, then settle for $12” is pretty small.

      College: Free college as a goal would be a good ask, and a good way for Hillary to show respect to Bernie’s base.

      Wall street: I don’t think Hillary is going to back down on this one.

      Foreign policy: Ditto. (pity, because though he is completely ignorant compared to her, I do trust his semi-isolationist instincts better than her back-to-the-90s ones.)

      Climate change: Hugely important issue, but it’s not really clear to me what the big differences are between the two of them, aside from rhetoric, which you can’t make into a clear demand. Oh… fracking is one place where he could push and get a clear pledge.

      Black Lives Matter: Ditto.

      Taxation: I really wish she hadn’t made that stupid “no new middle class taxes” pledge, but given that she has, I don’t see a way for her to back off of it. I guess he could ask for higher top tax brackets, but that is an issue where the Republicans will never give an inch under any circumstances, so meh.

      Campaign finance, voting rights, DNC issues (and, of course, voting systems!): He could demand strict, explicit anti-revolving-door regs for the administration… could be worth something. Also, the head of DWS. Not sure what else he could ask for in this domain (aside from my own hobby horses, that he isn’t really focused on.)

      Immigration: are they really that different?

      Anything else I missed?

      So, if he gets over 40% of the votes, I guess the fair thing would be to say “I’ll support you if you meet two of the following 5 demands (ie, 40%): ban fossil fuels from public lands; head of DWS and say in her successor; free public college; modern Glass-Steagal; nationwide public option.” Obviously, the ones that require legislative action would be about making it a platform plank, not accomplishing it. Of those 5, I’d expect her to pick numbers 2 and 3, and that would be a good win, and a clear message to his supporters that they mattered.

      • Sounds good to me. The stronger he is going into the convention, the more likely he’ll be able to get at least some of that to stick :-)

      • Gregor Sansa

        As to the rejoinder that it would be totally irresponsible for him to even consider not supporting her against Trump: I think it would be irresponsible of him to ask for something he doesn’t think he could get, but I would totally support him being a little bit hard-nosed in a good-faith negotiation. If he loses, the overall goal is to get his supporters to be as enthusiastic as possible for the nominee, and for him to push her to acknowledge their importance would actually help that goal. He could always back down from the implicit threat to shoot the hostage nation if it came down to it, but for everyone’s good, I sincerely hope it wouldn’t.

        • Gregor Sansa

          And note that the demands could easily be phrased as “I’ll actively campaign for you if…” and not “I’ll bad-mouth you to my supporters unless…”

        • If he loses, the overall goal is to get his supporters to be as enthusiastic as possible for the nominee,

          I don’t think that’s so. I think that most of the value he’d bring to a Clinton-Trump general election campaign would be to convince people who aren’t enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton to hold their nose and vote for her. The segment of his supporters that are potentially enthusiastic about Hillary, she can win by herself, and all he’d have to do is not campaign against her and let her win them. It’s the segment that Hillary couldn’t win by herself, that wouldn’t be interested in her general-election message, that he should attend to.

          An effort to transform himself into a happy Hillary foot soldier in the Democratic establishment wouldn’t convince anyone, and it wouldn’t work even if he did it convincingly. He should continue to campaign as he has done so far, plus some additional anti-Republican/anti-Trump messaging, talking about how his political revolution is longer than one campaign cycle and larger than one political office, but also making the point that a Democratic presidency is something his supporters should want, too. While a Clinton presidency is not necessarily part of that revolution, it would at least be a friendly atmosphere for it to continue, while a Republican presidency would stop it in its tracks.

          He should explicitly refute the “heighten the contradictions” argument and the claim that Trump is genuinely populist on jobs and economic elites. He should say things like, “I can work with a Clinton administration from the Senate to do good things. Not with a Republican administration.”

          IOW, the direction Sanders should go in in the event of a Clinton nomination is about coalition politics, not unity politics.

          • keta

            He should continue to campaign as he has done so far, plus some additional anti-Republican/anti-Trump messaging, talking about how his political revolution is longer than one campaign cycle and larger than one political office, but also making the point that a Democratic presidency is something his supporters should want, too.

            Yes. The momentum he’s built/building shouldn’t be squandered by completely rolling over. It’s the long game that most counts.

            • This is true, and important.

              But what I hoped to convey is that doing so is useful for the also-important short game of having a successful 2016 election cycle for the Democrats.

              We’ve all seen that it’s possible for people to think that the “political revolution” of which Sanders is a part is contrary to the electoral prospects of the Democratic Party, or could even be furthered by its defeat. It’s possible that that notion could be a problem for the Democrats in 2016. Who is a better position to push back against that impression than Bernie Sanders?

              • MDrew

                I would say that in this vein Sanders should begin to talk more about what he views as the long-term nature of his revolution (he always in my view should have been taking more specifically and practically about its concrete nature), so that people begin to decouple it in their minds from his candidacy, and so they start to form ideas about what specifically they can do to continue it.

                And anyone who expects his answer to this to be just (or even essentially) “Give money to downballot Democrats” is smoking something nasty. That message just is not going to take.

                • Well, the guy gets to run for president when he’s running for president. Of course he emphasized his own candidacy when discussing the political revolution he wants. The time to shift gears on that is after the primary. After all, his viability and significance in the primary is the main driver of his ability to spread that message.

                • MDrew

                  I’m as hostile to any calls for a change in tone as anyone. But I just think talking about the nature of the revolution (I kind of can’t believe I’m suing that word so unironically) would be pragmatic, and not much of a shift signaling capitulation at all. Especially if accompanied with continued vigorous differentiation from the frontrunner.

                • Oh, me neither. I’m just noting that such a shift makes sense after he’s done running for the nomination, not while.

                • MDrew

                  I guess. As I say, I don’t really think it needs to, because I don’t think it signals capitulation at all. It would just be in keeping with his having advanced a vision of revolution all winter, and it getting on toward the last phase of the primary. He’d need to do it if he were winning too, I think. Either way, the progression is from progressing from talking more about ideas to about concrete reality (not that it was ever just ideas).

          • Gregor Sansa

            I don’t think we actually disagree here. “Move two more steps left, or else” isn’t exactly the message of a happy foot soldier.

      • Rob in CT

        A suggestion on taxes: one could substantially jack up the estate tax without touching middle class taxes :) No problem there with her pledge.

        I don’t know how realistic this is, but he could also ask that she consider/not consider certain people for this or that cabinet post.

        • Gregor Sansa

          “Nobody from Goldman-Sachs, Walmart, or ExxonMobil.” … oh, whoops, there’s herself, OK then, “Nobody from Goldman-Sachs or ExxonMobil.”

      • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

        Platform differences notwithstanding, they’re pretty clearly different on Israel. For me, that’s the most revolutionary change Sanders would bring, as he’s not looking the other way at Israeli malfeasance nor flaring his nostrils about Iran. I’m not sure his being Jewish would enable a full “Nixon in China” type sea change (Israelis feel pretty alienated from Americans and American Jews across the board), but it at least presents the possibility. Clinton brings some history with Rabin and Oslo, but I don’t know how far that gets her in today’s Israel.

        • Tyto

          I don’t think he can be Nixon in this scenario: he isn’t nearly Jewish enough. If he were at least observant in some recognizable fashion–though preferably a conservative Jew–he might have a shot. But the political lines already are largely drawn between the American Reform movement on one the hand and conservatives and orthodox on the other.

      • postmodulator

        I guess he could ask for higher top tax brackets, but that is an issue where the Republicans will never give an inch under any circumstances, so meh.

        I’m coming around to the opinion that both HRC and Sanders should make their campaign promises, at this point, under the assumption that the Republicans are going to be crushed like bugs in November, and lose the Senate and the House both. Which probably won’t happen but candidate Trump makes it possible.

        • Gregor Sansa

          Fair enough.

          “candidate Trump makes it possible.”… Actually, now you mention it, candidate Brokered Cruz or Convention White Horse also make it possible. If you’re gonna ride…

      • kped

        I don’t see Hillary compromising on the Free College, nor should she, as it’s not a feasible plan -relies on the states, a tonne of states won’t do it (see: expanded medicaid coverage), and you’ll have a large divide again with the have and have nots. And this is a big reason this kind of talk doesn’t help him with black voters. They know their state won’t sign on to the plan, and given the majority of black voters live in the south, this pretty much bypasses them.

        The DWS stuff is trivial, but I’m sure it wouldn’t be a problem for Hillary to can her when she has the power. Do those people ever stay in that role in multiple administrations?

        I’d say the best bet is minimum wage, public option. The best thing to do would be some type of pledge against TPP, but I really doubt there is anything that can stop that train.

        • ChrisTS

          It should be easy for her to ‘dump’ Rahm (though, I’m not sure what that really entails) as they have some unpleasant history.

          • kped

            Yeah, it’s easy, but how do you dump him exactly? He’s a mayor of a city. Does she go to his office and leave a flaming bag of poop at the door?

            • ChrisTS

              Exactly my point. Gregor up thread suggested she would have to kick DWS and Rahm to the curb. I get what doing that to DWS would mean, not sure what it means in re Rahm.

          • N__B

            Is she responsible for his missing finger? My admiration for her will skyrocket.

            • ChrisTS

              I don’t think it got that physical.

        • Rob in CT

          Good point, Gregor missed trade as an issue.

          TPP… something. Either pledge to reject or (watered down version) pledge to reject unless certain changes are made.

          • He’d have to bring Obama into that deal, because the plan is probably to pass and sign it before he leaves office.

            • kped

              Lame duck session is my guess. These deals always get passed, and Obama really wants it (and Hillary does to…so Obama will do her a solid and take the hit).

            • Aaron Morrow

              Would it be smarter to get Clinton’s support for a new treaty that creates “global production standards that give workers rights” and other pro-labor terms?

              • It would certainly be better, if it could be done.

                But whether it would be smarter to go that route would depend on whether it’s actually possible to get her on board.

        • Jackov

          If one combine Obama’s desires to tie financial aid to to value and increase Pell Grants one could get much closer to free college for students from the bottom two income quintiles. Once could also expand Pell eligibility to cover students from the bottom half without subsidizing Trump’s kids.

        • dr. hilarius

          Yes, but…this is preferable to no Medicaid expansion, no? I doubt you would disagree. It sucks that some states would accept such a regime and some wouldn’t, but your answer is that no one gets any? As opposed to what we’re seeing with Medicaid, where (hopefully) all the states are eventually pressured to come around? I find your point rather silly. Yes it would not help many in many states but…wouldn’t you rather take the long view?

      • ChrisTS

        I thought her plans already included a ‘modern G-S,’ one that some progressive economists think is better (for values of effectiveness) than Bernie’s.

        • kped

          I don’t think it’s a modern Glass-Steagal, it’s more bringing shadow banking into the regulatory framework of real banks. And she’s right. A modern Glass-Steagal would make the banks divest their trading functions, but those new companies would still be huge, and unregulated.

          Bill Clintons mistake wasn’t repealing G-S. It was not regulating derivatives. As Hillary said, as Krugman and Delong keep saying, Bear Sterns, Leaman, AIG, the big players from the great crash in 2008, none of them were affected by G-S repeal.

          Hell, the countries whose banking systems fared best after the crash was Canada, and it has only 6 large banks, all “too big to fail”. But they are just more heavily regulated. Higher capital controls, etc. G-S is a distraction, a buzzword.

          • Rob in CT

            Yeah, my (admittedly limited) understanding is that Glass-Steagal repeal was a minor factor at most, and the major factor was the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000. Which got exactly 4 no votes in the House (2 D, 2R, including, of course, Ron Paul). Bernie even voted for it. Bill Clinton, Bob Rubin, Greenspan… all pushed for it.

            That was one of those “none of us are as dumb as all of us” moves.

            • No, it wasn’t, really.

              The White House cut the Democratic Congressional leadership out of the negotiations over the bill entirely, dealing directly with only the Republican leadership, and then sprung a final commodities bill on them at the end of a rushed schedule and said “Trust us.”

              The problem that the House Democrats had wasn’t thinking that CFMA itself was a good idea, but thinking that trusting the Clinton White House was a good idea.

              • kped

                Suuuuuure. When your guy made the wrong decision, “his only problem was he trusted too much”. That line doesn’t really get Hillary a ‘get out of jail free’ card for the Iraq vote, and I don’t think it works here either (for anyone involved, not just Sanders).

                • OK, what I wrote actually happened. You can look it up.

                  But why would you do that? Why would you familiarize yourself with some legislative history when you have a pre-scripted whine to let go?

                  Christ, you are a hack.

                • kped

                  …that doesn’t invalidate what I said. Not even a little. He voted for something that went sour. That he voted for it despite not having time to read in depth doesn’t make it a better vote.

                  See, a hack would say “it’s good for him, so CLinton’s vote on Iraq is OK too!” But I’m not a hack or shill like you. I think voting for something on half cocked “I trust them to do XXX” is stupid, whether it’s Sanders or Clinton.

                  I’d say the hack is the one with the blatant double standard, the one who twists himself into pretzels to absolve his guy of a bad vote.

                • Nothing ever invalidates what you say, and everyone else is always the hack.

                  That he voted for it despite not having time to read in depth doesn’t make it a better vote.

                  Really? In your mind, supporting the CFMA because you actually believe in that policy is no worse than voting for it because you’re being a loyal member of the caucus and were prevented from seeing it.

                  Oh, it’s not just “didn’t have time to read,” but “was actively prevented from negotiating and having time to see by the Clinton White House.”

                  Unlike, btw, the Iraq WMD intelligence, which Clinton had plenty of time to read and, by her own admission, didn’t.

                  There are no pretzels here, no matter how much these facts hurt you. The two cases are not remotely comparable – unless you want to equate the Clinton White House’s efforts to cut out the House Democrats to the Bush White House’s misrepresentations of the Iraq WMD intelligence, and even I wouldn’t go that far.

                  Sorry, kped, but your capacity to come up with some phrasing to categorize two very different episodes under the same heading does not make them equivalent.

                • This is where you’re being dishonest:

                  When your guy made the wrong decision, “his only problem was he trusted too much”. That line doesn’t really get Hillary a ‘get out of jail free’ card for the Iraq vote,

                  Bernie Sanders didn’t advocate for the policies in the CFMA. He didn’t support them, he didn’t believe in them, his vote doesn’t tell us a single thing about what he thinks, or thought, about financial regulation.

                  Hillary Clinton supported the Iraq War. She didn’t just cast a vote that the leadership told her they needed. She wanted to invade Iraq. She believed Saddam had a nuclear program, and a chemical and biological arsenal. She thought attacking Iraq was a good idea which would advance American foreign policy interests. And she thought these things after months and months of debate, consideration, evaluation of the intelligence, and searching of her soul about the very core issues at stake.

                  Telling me that both cases must be exactly the same because they both involved voting for something, period full stop, doesn’t make them the same.

                • ChrisTS

                  Actually, I’d give them both a pass on these respective votes.

                  I do have a touch more sympathy with HRC thinking – not that Bush/Cheney were reliable – but that Powell would not lie straight faced to the world. And,maybe, that Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld were not utterly insane.

                • But she didn’t have to just take Powell’s word. The reports she didn’t read clearly did not make the case that the administration claimed they did.

                  Remember when the Bush administration put out those expurgated, edited versions to cut out the CIA’s reservations? She had the complete ones available to her. Bob Graham could figure it out. A lot of people figured it out.

                • so-in-so

                  Remembering the time, I suspect it was more that voting ‘No’ would be a political kiss of death. Recall how anyone opposing Bush/Cheney “hated freedom” and other idiocy? Mostly parroted uncritically by the press? It was still wrong, but understandable.

                • A majority of the Democrats in Congress – a large majority, 58%-42% – voted against the Iraq AUMF. And she represented New York State.

                  But, again, there’s more going than just the vote. She was a war supporter, and argued as late as the 2008 campaign that she was right to give the President that authority because of her belief in the importance of executive power to make war as an instrument of foreign policy. It wasn’t, as with the case of John Kerry, an aberration in a record, driven by political expediency. It was Hillary Clinton standing up for what she believed in, and it’s entirely consistent with her foreign policy record.

                  It is important to look at the context of yea/nay votes to understand what they tell us about someone – I just made that point myself. The context doesn’t do very much to absolve her, though.

                • kped

                  Nothing ever invalidates what you say, and everyone else is always the hack.

                  You sound like you are talking to yourself with that line. I mean that in the most literal sense possible.

                  Really? In your mind, supporting the CFMA because you actually believe in that policy is no worse than voting for it because you’re being a loyal member of the caucus and were prevented from seeing it.

                  This is Senator Sanders, who will tell you how pure and good he is, so yes, I don’t see a real difference. And honestly, if they negotiate behind my caucus back with only the other team, I’m not taking their word for it, and given the huge margin it passed with (only 4 nay votes), a protest vote wouldn’t have hurt Sanders or anyone.

                  Bernie Sanders didn’t advocate for the policies in the CFMA. He didn’t support them, he didn’t believe in them, his vote doesn’t tell us a single thing about what he thinks, or thought, about financial regulation.

                  Really? His vote tells us…he voted for it! Dude, you aren’t even trying anymore. Hell,

                  Hillary Clinton supported the Iraq War. She didn’t just cast a vote that the leadership told her they needed.

                  Can be proven wrong by looking at her floor speech when she voted for the AUMF. Unless we are going into arguing what’s in people’s “hearts”. But that’s way to hackish and shillish for my tastes. I leave that crap to you sir.

                  I eagerly await your calling me subhuman now that you are tied in so many knots defending this.

                • There is nothing to even reply to.

                  You’re just mad, and I can understand that, but there’s nothing to even reply to.

                  ETA – Wait, I thought of something: He voted for it, and that tells me he voted for it.

                  If you were to actually approach people’s votes, and the facts surrounding them, with a degree of honesty and honest curiosity, you can learn more about those votes, and about what those votes say about the people who cast them, than just how they voted.

              • kped

                it’s hilarious that you are so desperate for the last word, even if you don’t say anything. I mean, your the one angry that i don’t give Sanders a pass for voting for bad legislation on the flimsy pretext that “I didn’t read it, but I trusted them”. I’m quite calm, I assure you. I don’t work myself into a lather when someone is wrong on the internet. Especially when that person is you.

                The facts, as you helpfully put them: Clinton negotiated in secret with the hated Republicans on a package. He then told people to trust him and vote for it. Sanders, along with most others, save for 4 in congress, voted for it.

                So…what did I get wrong? What forced independent pure as Ivory soap last man with integrity Bernie Sanders to vote for that? Given that his vote literally didn’t matter (5 nay vs 4 nay is nothing), he could have said “I don’t trust the Republicans, I won’t vote for something I haven’t read”. But he didn’t, so he has to live with his vote.

                • I see no value in playing the “You can’t get me to say it on the internet” game, and I trust that anyone reading this understands perfectly well the distinction I described.

                  Good bye.

                • Explained here, that is.

                  You screw up the threading when you are rightfully and understandably driven to distraction by my unfair and biased argumentation.

                • kped

                  Lol, still can’t let go of that last word, even when you post (actually double post) substance free stuff.

                  And I truly can’t fathom why you chose this hill to once again die on. “Yeah he voted for it, but it’s OK, he wasn’t allowed to read it” is such a hack excuse, but you are beating that horse so much that Eric may have to include it in his next “Dead horses in American History” posts.

                • I didn’t double-post anything. I wrote a second comment to include the link I’d forgotten.

                  Now you aren’t even reading the comments you’re replying to, are you?

                  And I truly can’t fathom why you chose this hill to once again die on.

                  That’s ok. When you get like this, I don’t write for you, but to demonstrate to readers why you’re wrong. It doesn’t actually require your assent.

                • So, to sum up, what you are wrong about is this:

                  It isn’t true, as you claimed that “He voted for it tells me he voted for it.” There is a lot more that a bad vote can tell you about someone, based on the content, the legislative history of the bill, and the individual legislator’s process and reasoning surrounding the vote.

                  And therefore, your initial bemoaning the huge injustice of my attaching different significance to the CFMA vote and the Iraq AUMF bill is unwarranted. It is not a sign of bias, or of a double standard, to view those two votes differently, because there are significant differences between them in almost every meaningful aspect which one might consider in evaluating a vote.

                • kped

                  (didn’t mean you posted something twice when I said double post, only that you needed to have the last word…and then have it again with another post despite claiming you had nothing more to say…substance free as per usual).

                  The problem is, you aren’t good at proving what you are saying, so no “reader” really comes away saying “gosh, Joe sure proved his point”.

                  Your reasoning to let him off the hook is lame. It shows you are just shilling for him. And that’s fine for what it is, but “durr, he is OK to vote for it because they hid it from him, so sure why not” doesn’t really pass the smell test. Fight it all you want, but it’s really lame reasoning. Especially for someone running on their record the way Sanders does, as the noble truth teller who doesn’t vote for anything he doesn’t believe in, party and leaders be damned! You can’t run like that and get a pass for a vote like this. Really, being the 5th guy to say no against a few hundred saying yes wouldn’t have hurt him or the party at all.

                  It’s a cop out joe. You know it, and that’s why you worked yourself into such a lather over it.

                • (don’t actually care)

                  The problem is, you aren’t good at proving what you are saying, so no “reader” really comes away saying “gosh, Joe sure proved his point”.

                  Thank you for your opinion. I’m happy to let anyone reading this decide that for themselves.

                  lame…shilling…durr…smell test…really lame…cop out…lather

                  I see.

          • Bill Clintons mistake wasn’t repealing G-S. It was not regulating derivatives. As Hillary said, as Krugman and Delong keep saying, Bear Sterns, Leaman, AIG, the big players from the great crash in 2008, none of them were affected by G-S repeal.

            Actually, they were all being financially backed by the big banking conglomerates, which were able to do so because of the size they were able to achieve after G-S repeal. And because they were being backed by the big banks, the failures of those shadow banks didn’t just bring them down, but set off the crisis that spread throughout the banking sector.

            The Hillary campaign’s statement is technically true, but misses the big lesson of 2007 – the size of the big banks and the interconnectedness of the system turned what could have been the failure of some investment houses into a system-wide collapse. Hillary’s platform of dealing with this risky action over here and this bad practice over there is good as far as it goes, but it doesn’t address the interconnectedness-and-transmissission problem at all. Senator Warren’s 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act does that.

            • MDrew

              Well said.

            • And the really ironic part is that the backing of the shadow banks by the mega-banks was supposed to function to increase stability and prevent collapses. The shadow banks basically bought insurance policies for their risk in the “novel investment vehicles” they were creating, so that if some failed, a lot of the losses would be transmitted up to the big, safe megabank, so the failure wouldn’t wipe out the smaller shadow bank.

              But just like the mortgage companies made riskier and riskier loans because they off-load the risk via selling mortgage-backed securities, so did the shadow banks engage in riskier and riskier behavior because they had such big daddies backing them up.

              It was like 1914 all over again; the arrangements that were supposed to lessen the chance of a war by making all of Europe have a stake in whether a war broke out (and thus, work hard to prevent one) worked instead to transmit and expand a small collapse into a systemic catastrophe.

              • MDrew

                Swaps. Credit default swaps.

            • kped

              AIG is not backed by big banking congolmerates. Neither were Bear and Leamans. The interconnectedness comes with people in various institutions, banks, hedge funds, holding bad investments. But Glass Steagal in place wouldn’t stop Joe from Lowell from going to his investment adviser and purchasing a bad mortgage backed security, regardless if the adviser worked in a regular or shadow bank.

              Breaking up big banks doesn’t change this. In fact, it may make it harder to regulate all the new shadow banks that crop up (look how poorly the regulators performed last time…).

              I work in a banking institution…believe me, nothing makes them more scared than words like “Basil III”. Legit regulations on capital and cash reserves will do far more to reign in excess then simplistic slogans like “Too big to fail”.

              • Uh huh. This is a slogan.

                Thank you for the appeal to authority, though. Very convincing.

                The interconnectedness comes with people in various institutions, banks, hedge funds, holding bad investments.

                Some of it does. Some of those “various institutions, banks…” – in fact, a very large portion of it – were the megabanks. You know this to be true if you have half the knowledge you purport to know.

                But Glass Steagal in place wouldn’t stop Joe from Lowell from going to his investment adviser and purchasing a bad mortgage backed security, regardless if the adviser worked in a regular or shadow bank.

                This is true, but again, you whiffed on the main point in (surprise!) exactly the same manner that Hillary Clinton does. The 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act would prevent banks – not me, but the banks that hold everyone’s mortgages, savings, construction loans, business loans, yadda yadda yadda – from burying themselves in those risks, so that – and this is the important part here – should those investments turn out bad, it will hurt joe from Lowell, but won’t cause the entire financial system to go bankrupt.

                You don’t see, or purport not to see, the problem with allowing the banking system on which the ordinary economy depends take on that risk. You still don’t see, or purport not to see, that, even after 2007.

                Bully for you.

                • kped

                  ? Who said I don’t see the risk to the banking system? I’m saying the better way to manage that risk is tighter capital requirements and regulating the products that cause the risk, the derivatives and CDO’s. I’m also saying “Break up banks” is a slogan, and that may (most likely will) cause more burden on regulatory framework in terms of keeping banks in check.

                  Would G-S prevented toxic mortgages? No. Would it have prevented CDO’s? No. Would it have prevented derivatives? No. Would it have prevented Bear or Leaman or AIG or Hedge Funds or sovereign wealth funds from loading up on these, creating more demand for toxic mortgages, etc. None of that is prevented. None of those major collapses are prevented.

                  I truly believe that regulating the derivatives and CDO’s, as well as bringing shadow banking firms into the regulatory framework with capital requirements would do more than G-S. That’s not a hack position.

                • Who said I don’t see the risk to the banking system?

                  When someone fails to see a problem, they don’t generally express that oversight with a statement, “Hey, everybody, I fail to see the problem!”

                  They generally do so by issuing a statement about what they think should happen which demonstrates, by an absence of language rather than the presence of language, the failure to understand the existence and/or nature of the problem. Such as you did with your “joe from Lowell could buy…” line, and your argument that it didn’t matter who was backing up the risky behavior of the shadow banks.

                  I understand you’re saying that you think the broad category “risk in the banking system” can be better dealt with through, in a stunning coincidence, the policies found on Hillary Clinton’s web site. The important part is that none of those policies, and nothing you write, demonstrates the slightest awareness of the problem of the deposit/lending banks being in a position to take on certain risks from the shadow banking system, and put the deposit/lending banking system in danger.

                  Part of how you demonstrate this lack of awareness is to continue to insist that “break up big banks” is a slogan. Apparently, you don’t just disagree with the argument about deposit banks taking on those sorts of risks, but you don’t even know what that argument is.

                  Your list of questions is another example. You think that saying “none of those collapses is prevented” is a rebuttal to my point about the collapses of those shadow banks going beyond themselves and setting off the bankruptcy of the regular banking system. It isn’t a rebuttal; it’s a separate point entirely, and that you don’t understand that demonstrates that you don’t understand what the topic is.

                  I’ll repeat myself, since the point seems to eluded you the last time:

                  Actually, they were all being financially backed by the big banking conglomerates, which were able to do so because of the size they were able to achieve after G-S repeal. And because they were being backed by the big banks, the failures of those shadow banks didn’t just bring them (that is, the shadow banks themselves) down, but set off the crisis that spread throughout the banking sector.

                  (Kped’s totally original-to-her, not cribbed from Hillary Clinton’s talking points) statement is technically true, but misses the big lesson of 2007 – the size of the big banks and the interconnectedness of the system turned what could have been the failure of some investment houses into a system-wide collapse. (Kped’s totally original) platform of dealing with this risky action over here and this bad practice over there is good as far as it goes, but it doesn’t address the interconnectedness-and-transmissission problem at all.

                  I know you (all by yourself) are proposing some policies to deal with some risk in the banking sector. In what you propose, and what you demonstrably leave out, and especially in the argument you make about what I, joe from Lowell, can do, you demonstrate that you don’t understand the particular problem – the ability of the real banks to engage in activities that make the collapses of smaller investment houses spread beyond them and throughout the real banking sector.

                • kped

                  It’s funny that a guy who has actually cut and pasted stuff from a candidates website is accusing me of the same.

                  Actually Joe, I listen to the people making the arguments. I listen to economists. I look at the companies I’ve worked for in the industry. And I look at the history of the situation. And I ask: What actually caused it? And golly, the repeal of G-S didn’t do it! So you may say “wow, you share the opinion of Clinton, you totally just took that from her website” (and it’s funny that the argument doesn’t apply to you parroting every Sanders argument or proposal…), while I say…I actually think the problem can be solved one way better than the other, especially since one way doesn’t even address the root problem.

                  You love analogies, what you are proposing (and I’ll speak to you, not the peanut gallery, because I don’t care if people agree with me, unlike you) is akin to a doctor seeing a broken leg from a car accident and saying “well, we can fix this by treating your obesity”. Sure, his obesity is a problem. But it sure as hell ain’t why he is in the hospital.

                • You clearly do not understand the topic, your appeal to your own authority aside. You still haven’t written a single on-topic word about the transmission of risk from the investment sector to the deposit/lending sector. Not one.

                  while I say…I actually think the problem can be solved one way better than the other, especially since one way doesn’t even address the root problem.

                  No, you haven’t said you think the problem can be solved in a better way. You still haven’t said anything about the problem. No matter how much I prod, you can’t even address the point – not even badly. You don’t merely disagree with my position, you still don’t even know what it is.

                  Talking up yourself, talking me down, and your bizarre accusation that I’m pasting from someone’s web site doesn’t change that. You still haven’t written a single on-topic word about the area of disagreement. Because you don’t even know what it is. Getting angry and then writing some more off-topic stuff doesn’t change that.

              • To extend my 1914 metaphor above, kped replied to the point “Big countries got sucked into complicated alliances with small countries, which drew them into World War I” with the point that, even under Bernie’s proposal, joe from Lowell could enter into an alliance binding him to go to war for Serbia.

                Sure, the United States, Britain, Germany, Turkey, and Russia wouldn’t be sucked in if Austria got into a conflict with Serbia, but joe from Lowell could still do so, so really, what’s the point?

                I think the point is pretty damn obvious if you’re actually trying to understand the objective reality.

                • kped

                  You realize that without regulating the shadow banking, the CDO’s, the derivatives, that these wouldn’t be “risky”, right? That banks would still be able to buy them for clients, right? That these things had AAA ratings, so no risk assessment would prevent their ownership, right? The biggest issue is regulation and capital requirements to ensure firms have adequate funds to prevent over exposure.

                  (btw, your “hey guys, get a load of kped and his argument” bid to get buddies to join your lonely struggle is a sad way of debating. go outside, make some friends. It will all be OK in the end Joe).

                • You realize that without regulating the shadow banking, the CDO’s, the derivatives, that these wouldn’t be “risky”, right?

                  I realize that’s the plan. I lack confidence in the capacity of regulators to make them sufficiently safe, and to prevent the transmission of that risk into the larger banking system.

                  That banks would still be able to buy them for clients, right?

                  For clients, yes.

                  That these things had AAA ratings, so no risk assessment would prevent their ownership, right?

                  Yep. You have yet to bring anything I don’t realize, or anything that rebuts the point I’m making about the deposit/lending banks putting themselves (and therefore the deposit/banking sector as a whole) at risk.

                  Because you don’t even understand what the problem is. Even after 2007, you don’t understand what happened. And no amount of insecurity-displaying “I’m totally winning this argument” posing is going to make that any less obvious to readers who do understand these issues.

                • This isn’t for kped, but for people reading this:

                  We had a massive 60-care pileup caused by teenaged boys driving 405-horsepower muscle cars at high speeds and doing donuts on the highway.

                  I don’t think it should be legal for teenaged boys to drive cars with horsepower that high on the highway, or to do donuts. I want them to have to drive boring little put-put cars on the highway. If they want to drive cars like that, they can drive them on their own property, not on the highways that the rest of us depend on.

                  Kped, on the other hand, thinks that we can put up some more signs, some more striping, and some more traffic cops, and those boys will be able to drive those cars with those engines on the highway and everything will be just fine.

                  I don’t believe it will, and I don’t believe that, going forward, we can depend on every subsequent administration to provide enough signs, enough striping, and enough traffic cops to keep things safe. I think the amount of horsepower (the metaphor here is to both assets controlled) and the capacity of the cars to perform certain maneuvers (the metaphor here is to the types of business banks can do) that should be allowed on the highways should be limited instead, to make the cars and the highways innately safer, not just ideally kept under more control.

                • kped

                  Aw, looking for more allies with twisted and tortured analogies…sad…funny how one of us is so desperate for allies in a one on one debate…says a lot about you joe, maybe you should join a club or take up an outdoor activity, good ways to meet people.

                  Even sadder that you acknowledged my points being correct, but only disagree because you don’t trust regulators…which I can even agree with! Without the funding, a lot of this becomes hard to enforce.

                  Look, two people who want to reinstate G-S are Joe Stiglitz and Elizabeth Warren. Want to know what they say about G-S and the crash?

                  Stiglitz says:

                  The most important consequence of the repeal of Glass-Steagall was indirect—it lay in the way repeal changed an entire culture. Commercial banks are not supposed to be high-risk ventures; they are supposed to manage other people’s money very conservatively.

                  That’s pretty much saying “it didn’t cause it…but the culture”. But the culture was already changed. And G-S was so toothless by 1999 that Citigroup merged with an investment company in 1998 (or announced they were merging, and it wasn’t prevented by G-S on the books).

                  Warren:

                  When I called Ms. Warren and pressed her about whether she thought the financial crisis or JPMorgan’s losses could have been avoided if Glass-Steagall were in place, she conceded: “The answer is probably ‘No’ to both.”

                  These are the people pushing for G-S to come back, yet they admit it wouldn’t have changed what happened.

                  But hey, maybe next make a monster truck analogy and try to get other people on your side. That’s working out for you.

                  (and I’m not even totally against bringing back something like G-S. I just think there are bigger risks, and bigger things to put the energy in that will actually better prevent these kinds of crashes…but hey, you gotta shill for Bernie, so go ahead and keep at it.)

                • Could you knock off the “angry person losing argument on the internet” lashing out behavior? That would be nice.

                  I already said upthread that Hillary’s regulatory proposals were good as far as they went. That’s not actually a gotcha for you to call me on that, you know.

                  Here we go: Glass-Steagall repeal itself didn’t “cause” the meltdown. I didn’t say it did. I said it transmitted the meltdown, making it much larger and more dangerous than it would have been by infecting the regular banking sector. You still don’t understand that, or are determined to insist that you don’t.

                  As for the point about the old Glass-Steagall Act, and the workarounds that had made it ineffective towards the end of the 1990s:

                  I’ll repeat what I explained just below – the New Glass Steagall Act doesn’t replicate the original Glass-Steagall Act, so the argument you’re repeating (based on asking Stieglitz and Warren about the old Act) is a bit of a straw man. The 21st Century Glass Steagall Act includes an entire section, titled “Safe and Sound Banking,” that isn’t about simply reintroducing the G-S formal split between deposit and investment banking, but regulates the affiliations between traditional banks and investment banks – that is, it addressed precisely the issue you latched onto as your latest life raft. It is, indeed, true that the original Act didn’t prevent those “affiliations,” and therefore would have failed to prevent the transmission I’ve been explaining to you over and over on this thread. That’s exactly why the 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act is so necessary.

                  I invite you to finally, belatedly, after all this time of yammering on about this topic you clearly don’t know anything about, read the damn bill, so you’ll have some idea what you’re talking about beyond what you can google up from Hillary Clinton campaign pages.

                • kped

                  Again, you sound like you are talking to yourself. The only one coming off angry is you, because that’s your default personality.

                  that isn’t about simply reintroducing the G-S formal split between deposit and investment banking, but regulates the affiliations between traditional banks and investment banks – that is, it addressed precisely the issue you latched onto as your latest life raft.

                  Since you’re slow, and keep misrepresenting me, here is my argument: Reinstating glass steagal, even in this incarnation, will not prevent the very thing that caused the last crash. Therefore, the focus of regulatory reform should in fact be on preventing the things that caused or have the potential to again cause a major crash.

                  Yes, the banks had contagion, but much of that was from holding toxic mortgage based assets, which even a fully beefed up glass steagal wouldn’t prevent.

                  But again – I agree with the bill! I think it’s good and should be passed! In your need to argue, you just get angrier and angrier and triple down on things, but that’s irrelevant. Both policies are good. One is better at preventing or reining in the kind of crap that caused the crisis, and that’s why I support that more than the other policy. but both would be even better.

                • I hope writing your “You’re talking to yourself” line over and over makes you feel better. I’d hate to think your effort was completely wasted.

                  Reinstating glass steagal, even in this incarnation, will not prevent the very thing that caused the last crash.

                  I really don’t see how you can say that, when you don’t seem to even understand the concept of transmission from shadow banking to deposit/lending banking, or the contents of the bill. The entirety of your experience considering either topic appears to consist of this argument with me, and two tight-edit quotes you pulled without understanding what they were saying.

                  Yes, the banks had contagion, but much of that was from holding toxic mortgage based assets, which even a fully beefed up glass steagal wouldn’t prevent.

                  That’s a nice word, “much.” Owning MBSs certainly did hurt the big banks, but the Credit Default Swaps – that is, the “insurance policies” they wrote for those shadow banks they were backing up – were much larger – on the order of $26 trillion in 2007.

                  The mortgage-backed security meltdown is a large part of what brought down the shadow banks, but by itself, it didn’t threatened the deposit banking system. That required the CDOs to transmit it. This is all well-understood at this point by people who have sought to understand the history.

                  There’s something of an asymmetry at work here. You’re looking up things to have something, anything to throw back at me, while I’m drawing on knowledge I’ve already had for years. That’s why – as with the difference between the old and new Glass-Steagall bills and their relationship to “affiliations” as opposed to mergers – I already have the answers ready, because none of your arguments you just discovered are new to me.

                  This is just like the arguments I used to have with the libertarians in 2008, after they’d just discovered the existence of the Community Reinvestment Act on some Red State post. Maybe you should just stop at this point, even though it would really bug you.

                • I wanted to come back and quote this from the 21st Century Glass Steagall Act:

                  (A) PROHIBITION ON AFFILIATIONS WITH NONDEPOSITORY ENTITIES.—An insured depository institution may not—

                  “(i) be or become an affiliate of any insurance company, securities entity, or swaps entity;

                  “(ii) be in common ownership or control with any insurance company, securities entity, or swaps entity; or

                  “(iii) engage in any activity that would cause the insured depository institution to qualify as an insurance company, securities entity, or swaps entity.

                  I wanted to quote that in response to kped’s argument above:

                  Would G-S prevented toxic mortgages? No. Would it have prevented CDO’s? No. Would it have prevented derivatives? No.

                  She’s not technically wrong. Bernie Sanders’ proposal would not prevent the existence of CDOs. But it would prevent real banks from issuing or owning or putting themselves on the hook for them. And it was that hook that transmitted the collapse of the smallish shadow banks up through the entire banking system.

        • No, Clinton doesn’t support the New Glass-Steagall Act – the one introduced by Elizabeth Warren, that .

          The claim that Sanders’ financial regulatory platform consists merely of reinstating the G/S distinction between investment banks and savings banks is a misrepresentation of his proposals, which not only goes beyond the old Glass-Steagall, but also goes beyond the 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act itself.

      • njorl

        Taxation: I really wish she hadn’t made that stupid “no new middle class taxes” pledge,

        There could be some flexibility on that. I don’t know what Clinton’s words were, but lately the ridiculous notion that $250,000 a year of taxable income makes you middle class has gained acceptance. It should be disposed of. The bottom level of the top income quintile earn over $110,000 per year, which is about double the median household income. That seems like a good measure of who is not middle class. Make it taxable income, and you’re even more sure of not affecting anyone who is really middle class. A small tax increase on taxable income over $110,000 per year should be consistent with her promise.

        • Aaron Morrow

          If we’re talking about governing policy rather than campaigning policy, I’m a big fan of saying after the fact that $250,000 applies to households, so of course we can raise taxes on individuals making $125,000…

          … and did I mention I’m not indexing that number to inflation? Say goodbye to the Social Security tax cap.

          • ChrisTS

            Say goodbye to the Social Security tax cap.

            From your lips…

      • The Lorax

        But as Barney Frank and Krugman regularly point out, it’s much more complicated than GS, and in many ways, GS is beside the point. The issue is one of leverage and interconnectedness. In this, the policy proposal is like many of Bernie’s proposals–almost correct, but far enough from messy reality that it concerns me.

      • efgoldman

        Bill Moyers suggests the goal should be to get both DWS and Rahm kicked to the curb.

        Unless he was doing the “vote of confidence” thing that GMs do a week before they fire the coach, Obama has pretty much said DWS is there until after the election, when the job would have changed hands anyway.
        And Rahm is a snake, but he’s the mayor of Chicago. I don’t see how a presidential candidate could displace him.

        • Gregor Sansa

          It would be reasonable for Bernie to demand input on her successor. That’s not “I lose but you have to pretend I won or I’ll have a tantrum”, that’s “you win but next time let’s have a fairer ref”.

          As for Rahm: I think that if candidate Clinton was going to Chicago and making speeches asking him to resign, he’d have a hard time staying in the job.

          • ColBatGuano

            if candidate Clinton was going to Chicago and making speeches asking him to resign, he’d have a hard time staying in the job.

            What possible reason/benefit is there for doing this? I’m sorry, as horrible as Rahm is, the idea that the Democratic candidate for President would wander around the country denouncing fellow Democrats doesn’t really strike me as a way to unify the party. And why would he resign?

            • Yeah. That’s pretty nuts, Gregor. No presidential candidate would, or should, do that. And if Bernie Sanders is able to get some cow bell from Hillary Clinton, and one of his asks is that she has to go give a speech calling on the Mayor of Chicago to resign, I would be seriously disappointed.

          • djw

            If sanders is indeed in a position to make actual demands, I hope (and assume) he’ll keep his eye on the ball a bit more than this. Going after rahm would fall under the fan service theory of governing.

      • BubbaDave

        The problem with free public college is nobody has yet proposed a workable plan (and no, “assume Scott Walker will start shoveling money to UW-M” is not a plan) to implement it.

        • Gregor Sansa

          Bernie’s plan is paid for with federal money. That money is funneled through the states, and yes, an asshole Republican could turn it down. But in theory there’s nothing stopping the federal government from handing that money directly to the university if that happens.

          • ChrisTS

            But
            1) Bernie has said, in response to the ‘what if Walker rejects it,’ that WI students could just got to Cali schools. I don’t see how that works. Can the Feds force CA to give up distinguishing between in and out of state students? Will CA residents be happy to lose slots to [yet more] out of state students?

            2) Even though I think your ‘solution’ seems more sensible in one way, I think there still might be room for state obstructionism. If WI tells its publics that accepting money for this from the Fed will cost them …whatever…, then I’m not sure the public unis would be ready to take the funds.

    • janitor_of_lunacy

      Well, the ones that are calling on HRC to withdraw are even sillier.

  • if Clinton wins, her Cabinet will be significantly farther to the left on economic and labor issues than it would have been without Sanders.

    Can’t prove or disprove that, but I’m unconvinced that Clinton is to the left of where she was before because of Sanders. She has moved leftward publicly (on domestic policy/politics), but I think it’s because:
    1. That’s her inclination more than it ever was Bill’s
    2. The country’s moved left
    3. The party has definitely moved left
    4. Obama, especially in his second term, is to the left of where even he was in 2007-2008, and she’s running as the successor to his presidency.

    Some of what she was saying on economics and inequality well before Bernie took off is to the left of where she had been before 2008. And it’s not like Hillary is the only Democrat who’s shifted to a more progressive view and set of policy diagnoses and prescriptions. I mean, hell, Larry Summers is now to the left of where he was 10 or 20 years ago.

    • Roberta

      I really don’t buy that it was her inclination to move left on economics. Or that the country and party moving left would have been enough to shift Clinton left if there hadn’t been a candidacy for the left to focus on. I think her instincts are reflected in certain performances of “bipartisanship” and moderation, like praising the Reagans for starting the conversation on AIDS, or chiding the Trump protesters by contrasting them with the Charleston victims’ families. If Sanders hadn’t run, I suspect we’d have seen a lot more of that, and in more substantive ways. It’s been mostly rhetorical in this campaign, and there’s a reason for that.

      • The notion that Clinton is merely to the left of where she was 10 to 20 years ago, as opposed to 6-12 months ago, is pretty fanciful, too.

      • politicalfootball

        We know how far the country and party have moved left largely because of Bernie’s candidacy. If a tree falls in a forest and nobody makes a campaign issue out of it, Hillary and the Democratic Party aren’t necessarily going to hear it.

        • But sometimes the tree falls on a dog that doesn’t bark.

          Bernie says “New Glass-Steagel Act” and Hillary, rather than contrasting with some “Financial Modernization” positioning, says “Me, too, except even better,” and then…silence. No freaking out on the editorial pages about the irresponsible socialists persecuting our Job Creator overlords, nothing. That’s significant.

          • witlesschum

            I think you’re right and it does mean something.

            Though I’d guess part of that is also that the media types who’d write that kind of thing are focused on Donald Trump and the oppossum on his head. Those awful Dems persecuting our overlords isn’t new and shiny in the way the wait for the next crazy thing he says beat is and the national media is nothing if not excited by shiny things.

            • Rob in CT

              I had this thought too. The dumpster fire on the GOP side may have opened things up for the Dems. Sure, the crazy socialist is proposing single-payer and free (state & cc) college, but OMG did you hear what Trump said last night?

              :)

            • So what you’re saying is that my tree falling in the forest onto a dog that doesn’t bark is a pig in a poke?

              • rea

                It’s a silk purse made out of an ear from a pig in a poke.

                • One pig shirt is worth a sow’s-ear purse.

              • Hogan

                The bell that can’t be unrung is around the neck of a horse that’s left the barn on a ship that’s already sailed.

          • The Lorax

            And sometimes the tree falls on a dog that isn’t barking while beating a dead horse.

        • Well, using your reasoning, Trump shows we’ve moved right,

          • njorl

            For certain values of “we” (which don’t include “me”) we have.

      • I guess you’re right that there’s no need to shift left to win elections, because nothing has really changed in US politics since 1992, the electorate is almost all ticket-splitters, and it’s unnecessary for Democrats to generate a big vote from the Democratic base in order to win in November. So yeah, there’s no other explanation except Bernie.

        • Roberta

          Nice strawman, there.

          • You are not the only one to notice that.

          • Oh, so the premises that would have to exist for your comment to be correct are not accurate?

            Well, I guess we’re in agreement that your previous response must be deeply flawed.

            • Roberta

              Again, nice strawman. You’ve addressed nothing anyone has actually said.

    • PSP

      I noticed a small but important shift to the left in one of her victory speeches on the radio, when she said “We need to protect and expand social security.” I think she said something about free college too, but didn’t quite catch it due to road noise.

      • kped

        Her college stuff has mainly been about student loan reform. I cant recall her supporting free college.

        • ChrisTS

          Right, free for those who need it to be free and not by getting states to make it so.

          • kped

            Once you get the states involved, it becomes two-tiered, and can be taken away (see: Matt Bevin, Kentucky). That’s why i dislike Bernie’s plan. I saw a surrogate of his talking about it yesterday, and it relied on “revolution” to convince Governors of red states. Good luck with that.

            • Rob in CT

              Yeah. The idea itself is a good one. How to implement it in our system is the stumbling block.

              • kped

                Even more now that Roberts had his way with the ACA and medicaid expansion. States can opt out of things easier now and screw the people.

                • Tyto

                  True, but it also demonstrated that elevating form over substance may be enough: e.g., a provision in a similar bill formally repealing the prior program in its entirety.

              • Jackov

                High Pell, Low Net Cost

                Combine Obama’s “value” plan with an expanded
                and increased Pell Grant.

            • ChrisTS

              Uh, I should have read down further. The states – well, the ones run by assholes – can obstruct this in any number of ways. Perhaps some states not run by assholes, e.g. CA, won’t want a flood of out-of-state freepers.

          • efc

            When did means testing and non-universal programs become the better way to provide social benefits? Rich people don’t benefit more than poor people with a universal program because the funding is such that the taxes paid outweigh the benefits received at a certain income level.

            The criticism about federalism is meaningful. We have seen that at a state level the GOP will cut off their nose to spite their face. But the “free for those who need it to be free” (and it’s cousin “fReE StuFf! Derpppp!) is weak DLCish bs.

            • I’ve yet to hear anyone explain why universally-free public eduction is ideal and necessary up to grade 12, but a bad idea immediately thereafter.

              I’ve yet to see anyone explain why the cutoff should be there, and I’ve yet to see anyone explain why that cutoff wouldn’t have changed in the past century.

              • kped

                I don’t think anyone is arguing that. They are arguing that in the current setup, it’s impossible. See: Medicaid expansion.

                • The politically feasible argument, I could certainly buy.

                  But the Clinton campaign itself, Hillary herself in debates and on the stump, has been asking “Why should Donald Trump’s kids get free college?” She’s been making the case that a non-universal plan is better on the merits.

                • Rob in CT

                  The political feasibility argument sounds like a show-stopper to me, at least for Bernie’s specific idea (there are other things that could likely be done federally, but the states are big players here).

                  However, I totally agree that Hillary’s line about Trump’s kids going to college for free is dumb. That was not a good response.

                • I don’t think the limits of policy discussions in primary campaigns should be determined by what a Republican Congress is willing to pass. I want to know what the candidates actually believe in.

    • Alex.S

      It’s mostly 3 — the party has moved to the left.

      Hillary Clinton is a Democrat and has consistently been slightly to the left of the center of the party. Currently, Obama is the center of the party and Hillary is slightly to the left of his Presidency on almost everything (I’d say hawkish foreign policy is the only big thing she’s to the right of Obama on).

      Obama is the same, which is why he’s moved to the left from where he was running in 2008.

      • Currently, Obama is the center of the party and Hillary is slightly to the left of his Presidency on almost everything

        I’d say that goes more to the difference between a sitting president and a primary candidate than about the two figures themselves. Had Clinton won in 2008, Obama would no doubt be to her left.

    • The Lorax

      Yep. Summers has been really sensible since 2008.

      • TroubleMaker13

        Brad DeLong has been very forthcoming about the soul-searching that went on among neoliberals in the aftermath of the financial crash. That was a real watershed event.

        • The Lorax

          Indeed. DeLong’s humility and ability to admit his own errors is admirable.

    • TroubleMaker13

      Well, yeah, the financial crash of 2008 had a huge impact and I think pushed everyone who was paying attention to the left.

  • Crusty

    If Bernie ends up winning the nomination, I expect Hillary to go on some kind of disgruntled postal worker shooting style rampage. Perhaps at the convention, perhaps at her Brooklyn headquarters, maybe up at the Chappaqua house, somewhere. Be careful. At least she hasn’t honed her targeting skills through years of playing violent video games.

    • Oh, that’s not fair.

      She was a complete class act after she lost to Obama, and there was a great deal more rancor that year.

      • Crusty

        I don’t think she’d be unclassy (though I concede that a shooting rampage is so not classy), and I think that she’ll throw herself behind a Bernie candidacy and do all the right things. I just suspect that on a personal level, inside, she’ll be going crazy. I believe her when she says she’s not a natural politician and early on in her life didn’t think she’d be out front as the point person. But she overcomes that, learns to put herself out there, only to be beaten down, twice, not to mention all the crap and humiliation she’s suffered along the way.

        • I’m sure she’ll be fine. She’s a tough cookie.

          Some of her supporters, though…

          Remember how it felt after Bush vs. Gore came down? Remember how it felt when the 2004 Ohio exit polls turned out to be wrong? That sense of not just losing, but of having something you thought was in the bag for you ripped away by surprise.

          Imagine you’re an, er, upper middle aged Democrat and a longtime Hillary Clinton supporter. If Sanders somehow pulls out a stunning comeback, you will have experienced that sensation in every single presidential election for the past 16 years.

          • ForkyMcSpoon

            You forgot Mitt Romney and the unskewed polls crew. They were quite unhappy.

            (Also I don’t think longtime Hillary supporters were disappointed in 2012.)

        • Roberta

          It would be an enormous personal frustration for her, for sure. I’d feel bad for her.

          • witlesschum

            I’d feel bad for her, but I’d especially feel bad for people like my mom, who’s around her age and identifies with Clinton due to the sexist shit both of them have had to put up with coming up at the time they did. Clinton losing again would have to feel like more of the same sexist bullshit.

            Of course, I’d trust my mom on foreign policy a lot further than I trust Clinton…

          • Gregor Sansa

            Oh, definitely. She has put up with a lot of crap and paid her dues in spades. If the presidency were something that you could earn, I’d be behind her 100%.

        • NonyNony

          I just suspect that on a personal level, inside, she’ll be going crazy.

          If she were a white male who had gone through what she’s gone through for the past 50 years then I’d agree – some kind of temper tantrum would be exactly what would happen.

          But have you seen the bullshit she’s had to put up with all of her life? I’m pretty sure that she’d be sad and upset but she’d probably also realize that it’s part of the ongoing narrative that women have in this country where every accomplishment they make takes twice as much work and they have to show four times as much grace as anything a dude has to do to get to the same place.

          She hasn’t gone postal yet, and I doubt that would push her over the edge either.

      • Ken

        Besides, Hillary’s not the mass shooter type.

        • witlesschum

          She’s broken a few gender barriers in her time, what’s one more?

          To be real, I don’t have a great sense of what motivates Hillary Clinton, but the way she reacted to her loss in 2008 suggests she’d do everything right. I suppose then she knew she could run again in 2016, whereas if she loses this time it has to be the end of the line for presidential aspirations, but I don’t see any reason to think she’d do anything out of line.

    • Jackov

      The first thing HRC would do is meet with Sanders to discuss the VP slot. Forward, not Murder*, is kind of her thing**.

      *except Vince Foster, she absolutely killed him with a watermelon in Dan Burton’s backyward

      ** unless we are talking about Clinton in the Zack Snyder multiverse

  • Back to the OP: while the map going forward is certainly more favorable to Sanders than the map so far, it’s not so favorable as to give him those margins he needs if the race nationally remains static, not even with another Michigan here and there. He’d still need to improve his position overall, and the national polling seems to be split on whether that is happening.

    • Gregor Sansa

      Exactly. He can’t win just by having his GOTV firing on all cylinders; he needs some shift in the nationwide polling, about twice as big as what he seems to have gotten from the western Birdie caucuses. If Wisconsin is another Michigan-level surprise (say, over 60% for him), that’s possible; if he is under his overall target of 56% there, though, he is on the path to losing.

  • djw

    I’ve never really been sold on the possibility that Sanders could win, but that “here’s how he does it path” makes me even more skeptical. I continue to be a momentum-skeptic; Clinton’s national lead has been in the ballpark of 10 points since early February; we now have a pretty good sense of each candidate’s demographic and format strengths and weaknesses and they’re a pretty good guide to how the state results are playing out. It’s possible they could change, of course, but at this point barring an external event of some sort I don’t see any reason why we’d expect that to happen.

    • Yeah, the idea Bernie might win requires a profound shock to the race, & given that Bernie is saying the same stuff he’s said from day one, and there are only two tiny caucuses left, but several closed primaries, its like sketching out how a baseball team one game from elimination with seventeen games left to play could make the playoffs.

      • Gregor Sansa

        Oh, come on, be reasonable. He’s about two games from elimination!

        • Joe_JP

          yes, like the 2007 Rockies, he can go 16-1 and still have a shot at getting there

          • It’s funny how determined some establishment Democrats are to always overstate her position, regardless of what the facts are.

            It can’t be that Sanders is only very unlikely to overcome the deficit. Now the observation that he’s not mathematically eliminated generates the sneering insistence that he is.

            One easy way to tell that Sanders’ success is putting pressure on the party establishment is their habit of doing this. They want the period of him to have influence to end so very, very badly.

            • MDrew

              They weren’t expecting it to exist. So, yeah.

      • njorl

        And this time around, Hillary didn’t hire Gene Mauch as her campaign manager.

    • NonyNony

      I’m convinced that the “Bernie can still win” narrative is more to convince his supporters in the late states to go to the polls and vote rather than just give up and stay home. The more support with the voters he can show right up until the convention, the more powerful the argument that the country is ready to move further to the left than the Democrats have thought previously possible.

      • cleek

        keeping the race alive helps bring some attention to the Dems’ and their message. if Sanders was to resign today, the GOP would own the news for the next four months.

      • It’s probably both. Just as “Bernie can win” in July 2015 was more about getting him some significant support and some delegates at the convention and some airtime than about actually trying to win the race – but it was also about the small-but-real possibility of winning the race.

      • djw

        Yeah, agreed. In which case I find myself in the position of a) hoping it’s successful in the general sense, but mildly annoyed when people try to convince me it’s actually true.

    • FMguru

      Any arguments about “momentum” can be safely disposed of. Sanders rode the momentum from his remarkable win in Michigan into an 0-for-5 wipeout. If it was possible for Sanders to develop momentum and pivot the race in his direction, it would have been then. Instead, Clinton ran the table.

      Sanders’ best bet at this point is Something Happening to Clinton (health scare, live mic catching using the n-word, something like that). Absent that kind of exogenous event, it’s hard to see how he wins the nomination.

      • ForkyMcSpoon

        Momentum hasn’t seemed to work in either direction.

        Hillary wins big on Super Tuesday… and rides that momentum to…

        Big caucus wins for Bernie! And a surprise victory in Michigan! He rides that momentum to…

        A big state clean sweep on March 15 for Hillary! She rides that big victory to…

        Overwhelming defeat in Washington and other Western caucuses!

        Momentum doesn’t explain those things. Demographics and rules (primary vs. caucus, open vs. closed) explain them much better than momentum.

        Which suggests a fairly static race. Which fits with the fact that the national polls haven’t moved much in the past 6 weeks.

  • Rob in CT
    • Gregor Sansa

      Thanks, good link.

    • Alex.S

      Here’s a tool if you want to play around with projections — http://demrace.com/?share=dtg4o1qc

      Sanders could win all the remaining caucuses by 40 and the remaining primaries by 10… and still lose the pledged delegate vote.

      • ForkyMcSpoon

        Based on 2008 and result so far in 2016, the territorial caucuses will not follow the same pattern as the others. The prognosticators think Hillary will win them (she only lost the Virgin Islands in 2008, and Obama’s race probably played a part there). Of course, only Puerto Rico is worth much on that count.

        So that leaves him with Wyoming, which he will probably win by 50-60 pts. But at only 14 delegates, running up the margins there doesn’t exactly matter much.

        • Alex.S

          Puerto Rico also switched to a primary a couple of weeks ago.

          Bernie’s biggest issue is that the Northeastern states are all closed primaries, and Hillary is doing better with registered Democrats than with independent voters voting in the Democratic primary.

  • jimpharo

    The idea that HRC will acknowledge the left flank is nutty. There’ll be no meaningful cabinet posts, no actual policy proposals, etc. She is running to lead the New GOP, not the New Democratic Party. There’ll be no shortage of sort-of-sympathetic rhetoric, and possible a policy bone here or there, but HRC is no more ‘progressive’ than Bill Clinton was/is.

    We said no to Jerry Brown in 92, and I suppose we’re saying no to Bernie in 16, and in both cases we’ll end up with a right-leaning democrat president bent on apologizing to the American people for liberalism’s excesses.

    I’m sure tying the EIC to some sort of inflation measure (or something equally ‘nibbley’) will have to do. Too bad for those for whom this is urgent. Again.

    • Rob in CT

      I guess centristy Dems aren’t the only people still living in the 90s.

      As for what can be done – in many areas this depends on the composition of congress. If the Dems flip the Senate, some good can be done but not a ton. If there is a quasi-miracle and they flip the House too (really, really long odds there, even with the GOP in self-destruct mode), then it’s realistic to demand major policy moves. This is true for either Bernie or Hillary. W/o control of the House, the differences between them would mostly likely be seen in cabinet picks/other staffing choices, foreign policy decision-making and style. Which isn’t nothing! Those things matter.

    • ChrisTS

      Since the New GOP appears to be the party of war & carpet bombing, oppression of women, open racism and xenophobia, and guns everywhere all the time, I hardly think Clinton is running to be head of it.

      • Rob in CT

        I expect we’ll now hear about how she was a Goldwater Girl.

        • ChrisTS

          Heh.

    • njorl

      “There’ll be no meaningful cabinet posts, no actual policy proposals, “

      That’s nonsense. Bill Clinton ran a much more conservative campaign and is widely acknowledged as being less liberal than Hillary. He nominated Robert Reich as Secretary of Labor. He raised the top income tax bracket by 8.5%. You’ve gone beyond cynicism to derangement.

      • Rob in CT

        And of course he needed congressional majorities to do that, which he then lost, resulting in policies more congenial to Republicans.

      • Right. I don’t see how you can insist on a parallel to 1992, when Bill Clinton ran as the New Democratic law-and-order candidate, in a race in which Hillary is running on a platform that would have made her the liberal reformist candidate in 2008.

        • ForkyMcSpoon

          What would her platform make her in 1992? The Kucinich?

    • Rob in CT

      Also, too: Jerry Brown as would-be progressive hero? I hear he’s been pretty good in CA of late, but have not gotten the impression he’d pass a progressive purity test.

      • The Lorax

        Brown is complicated. He’s no progressive hero, for sure. If anything, our nutty GOP has been thankful he’s in office as he’s often been the only person keeping our Dems from spending much more on social programs and education. But *overall* the state has been humming along nicely under his stewardship.

        • TroubleMaker13

          I think of him as the quintessential liberal-leaning technocrat. He’s way more pragmatic than partisan.

      • In 1992 he was. The party was way to the right of where it is now in 1992. Jerry Brown was running on a flat tax.

      • TroubleMaker13

        If anything he’s as much, if not more, of a neoliberal than Hillary Clinton is now.

  • petesh

    The ever-quotable Barney Frank is harsh on Sanders in Slate. Checking back, I see he was almost as dismissive last October:

    “The opposite of pragmatism is not idealism,” he said. “It’s wishful thinking.”

    Obviously, Frank has skin in the game (see Dodd), but he also has a lot of admirers on the left (still). I imagine HRC will find a way of using him.

    • He’s been a Clinton surrogate since the campaign began. He was on MSNBC debating Nina Turner just a few days ago.

      That was there only time I’ve ever seen either of them debate on a talk show without winning a clear victory. Talk about Frazier-Ali.

    • The Lorax

      He was on the PBS Newshour recently with an excellent discussion of Dodd-Frank and banking. I love that man.

    • Jackov

      Frank said nearly the same thing in reference to Sanders
      in February, last October, July 2015 and in 1990.

      Of course by 2015 Frank had added the following to his critique.

      Decades ago, Sanders made a principled choice to play a valuable part in our politics — the outsider within the system. He defied the uniquely American aversion to the word “socialism.” Substantively, he has consistently, forcefully and cogently made the case for a larger federal government role in improving both the fairness and the quality of life in our country, refusing to soft-pedal in the face of declining support for this view in public opinion. His very unwillingness to be confined by existing voter attitudes, as part of a long-term strategy to change them, is both a very valuable contribution to the democratic dialogue and an obvious bar to winning support from the majority of these very voters in the near term

      It appears Frank may have underestimated Sanders’ appeal a bit.

    • djw

      I don’t endorse everything he says there (the McCarthyite accusation is absurd) but this exchange:

      IC: So it seems like you’re saying Bernie’s voters have a slightly unrealistic sense about the political process. And that this is driven—

      Frank: I didn’t say slightly.

      Is why I can’t not love the guy.

  • Alex.S

    It’s been really weird and amusing watching some of Sanders’ supporters make arguments like “Well, what if we somehow get all the super delegates to vote for Sanders” and “If we give Sanders a 300 super delegate lead, they’re tied!”

    • kped

      It’s been funny watching some talk out of both sides of their mouth.

      1) “The Primary is undemocratic because it’s mostly only democrats who can vote, so that hurts Bernie”
      2) “The Super delegates should be bound by the state results
      3) “Even if Hillary has more pledged delegates…super delegates should all switch to him because of momentum.

      Note that 3 doesn’t follow 1 or 2 logically…but it’s getting said a whole lot (including by Sanders and his campaign chief, Tad “Yes, this is a real name” Devine)

      • ForkyMcSpoon

        I think Hillary might be amenable to solution #2, if that is meant as winner-take-all.

        Her lead would increase not just in absolute terms, but in percentage terms as well. And there are more superdelegates in remaining contests that she’s clearly favored in than in contests where she’s clearly not.

        The Bernie supporters who are saying that aren’t recognizing that doing that means they’re asking for Florida’s 32 superdelegates and Massachusetts’s 25 superdelegates to vote for Hillary.

        It might be a worthwhile tradeoff for her to quash all the Bernie “the election is rigged!” people in exchange for a larger lead but a slightly swingier race due to WTA delegates.

        Alternatively, if #2 means dividing the superdelegates proportionately, it has very little effect on the state of the race (it shifts the balance a bit towards small states). What little benefit to Sanders is probably outweighed by the fact that DC has 26 superdelegates (even more than its 20 pledged delegates) and DC is likely to vote overwhelmingly for Hillary. That would also probably worth it to quell the complaints that the election is rigged. She’d still be winning and the calendar remaining would get slightly more favorable to her.

    • djw

      The “OMG the superdelegates are so unfair” whining was always pretty silly, but post Sanders’ “the superdelegates should put me over the top if it’s close because I’m a better candidate in the general” remarks the silliness factor has increased considerably.

      • Jackov

        So unoriginal since Clinton and her campaign made the same argument late in the primary in 2008. If Sanders wins some swing states late, his campaign can just crib her previous campaign’s talking points easily found on the interwebs.

        • djw

          As with Clinton eight years ago, I can’t really get too upset that they’re making the argument, but only because I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t work.

          • kped

            Oh, if it didn’t work with entrenched insider Hillary Clinton, it certainly wont work with Bernie Sanders.

        • Alex.S

          Which is part of what makes it funny. A lot of people remember the bad super delegate arguments from 2008 and that they did not convince anyone. It’s even worse for Sanders since he’s not going to even be able to pretend to have a popular-vote lead, with so many of his delegates coming from caucus states.

          • Jackov

            Difficult to make a worse argument than ‘Michigan and Florida argghhh.’ Someone will certainly try but it will not be Sanders in a conference call with Loomis and Oldman Cat.

        • Roberta

          I was just digging up some old ’08 election threads for some grim amusement. I’d forgotten the extent of the (understandable) rage and desperation of the Clinton supporters. I’d also forgotten how much of a staple Sexist Obama was in their discussions (again, with some reason, albeit grossly exaggerated and holding him to a higher standard than others of the same political context).

  • wengler

    The important thing is that Bernie has a path forward. He’s the only one left that isn’t a war hawk. There’s still hope that the US doesn’t get neck deep back in the shit.

    • ColBatGuano

      If by path you mean an inch wide ledge above a bottomless chasm. In a snowstorm. And an earthquake.

      • Hogan

        As Sir Terry has taught us, million-to-one shots always come through. The real trick is arranging things so that it’s exactly a million to one, and not 999,997 to one or 1,000,005 to one.

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