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Did Hillary Clinton Defeat Bernie Sanders on Trade?

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Hillary Clinton’s campaign is claiming it beat Bernie Sanders on trade, or at least an article at Tiger Beat on the Potomac makes this claim. Typical of said publication, it just lets the Clinton campaign serve itself what it wants to hear.

Clinton’s position of supporting trade deals in general but rejecting the current version of a deal based on specific objections, her campaign said, was more in line with the position of a majority of Democratic voters today than Sanders’ blanket moral opposition to trade deals overall.

It also helped to insulate her from attacks from Sanders and the left — but the bigger question remains of whether it will protect her in a potential fall matchup against Donald Trump, who blames free-trade deals for gutting the US economy.

“Voters agree that we have to compete and win in a global economy and that means we have to make things in the United States that we can sell to 95 percent of the world’s consumers who happen to live outside of the United States,” said Clinton’s senior strategist, Joel Benenson. “What the data from the exit polls says is these voters were more aligned with her fundamental view of trade.”

This is really self-serving. Later in the article, the author cites an AFL-CIO spokesperson that Clinton would not have won in Ohio if she did not come out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership. That’s probably right. She needed to do that. That’s just basic politics, even though I have no doubt in my mind she would gladly sign the bill to enact it. So I guess if beating Bernie Sanders on trade means coming closer to his position in order to win a few more votes, then sure, she won on the issue.

But the idea that her victories earlier this week is a sign that the American voter really believes in the current trade system that led to NAFTA and the TPP is just a bunch of hot air. And this is just absurd:

“What this Midwest sweep showed,” said Jonathan Cowan, a former Clinton administration official who is president of the moderate think tank Third Way, “is that the trade issue in a Democratic primary has been dramatically overhyped. Clinton demonstrated she was the one who would restore the basic bargain for growth. That has big implications for the party and governing and for the fall.”

Cowan is just flat out wrong. The trade issue has been central to the entire Bernie Sanders phenomenon. Hillary Clinton might defeat that phenomenon. She almost certainly will, thanks to her structural advantages, his late campaign start, and his inability to reach parts of the Democratic base on issues other than trade and the economy. But this hardly means it’s time for Third Way hacks to pat themselves on the back and start working for a Grand Bargain with Republicans that will gut the social safety net in exchange for circus peanuts. If these people are smart, a point very much in doubt, they will realize that the left-wing rebellion within the Democratic Party on trade, the minimum wage, and economic inequality, has likely only just begun. There will be continued demands for a higher minimum wage (which I believe would be a very early priority of President Hillary Clinton), for trade deals that help American workers instead of export their jobs overseas, and for broad-based measures to reduce income inequality. Hillary Clinton didn’t win North Carolina and Florida or Ohio because voters thought she was right about trade. She won for entirely legitimate reasons, but not because the Democratic base really believes in this supposedly nuanced but what is rather a political opportunist position on trade.

In any case, a candidate with massive structural advantages that forced her late-rising challenger to cede many states because he didn’t have the resources to compete in them, which is implicitly admitted in the article, did not somehow defeat the left-wing insurgence on trade. At most, she co-opted just enough of it to win the primary. And that’s fine from a political perspective. That’s what a candidate is supposed to do. But let’s not start bragging about it because it’s not something to brag about. It’s something to take seriously because large swaths of the Democratic base are demanding action on these issues more than they have in a half-century. Taking that seriously and incorporating those critiques into governance is a lot smarter.

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  • Barry Freed

    The good thing about the inevitable Clinton presidency is that the disappointment comes already baked in.

    • Robespierre

      Optimist.

      • AlanInSF

        Clintonians gonna Clintonate.

    • DocAmazing

      I’m going to get rich selling nose plugs so that Democrats can use both hands while voting.

      • Joe_JP

        maybe they can ask for help from all those who voted for her already, beating Sanders in state after state, often by big numbers.

        • …after months of her running on electability.

          • twbb

            If running on electability wins her elections, then she seems pretty electable.

            • Sure, just ask Mike Dukakis or John Kerry. Primary elections, general elections – don’t bother me your nerd stuff, joe!

              The question, that you overlooked while whipping out your foam finger, was about whether she winning because of “hold your nose” support, or because of a perception of electability. You probably didn’t mean to weigh on the “electability” side, did you?

              • Well, that was poorly written.

              • twbb

                If only Jesse Jackson and John Edwards had won in 1988 and 2004 respectively!

                As for the foam finger line, I’ve said here, repeatedly, and specifically to you that I prefer Sanders. I voted for Sanders. I am disappointed that Hillary will win. But I’m not “holding my nose” when I vote for her in the general, and there’s no reason to think most Democrats will be; she’s uninspiring but a competent technocrat who will likely be a decent president. Her unfavorables are not set in stone, and even if they were they still beat Trump.

                Especially in the latest primaries and caucuses, Bernie is a known element. People are making a conscious decision to vote for Hillary. They’re not being tricked into it. Arguing that she is more electable than Bernie is a perfectly legitimate tactic; arguing that Bernie is more electable is legitimate as well, and plenty of people have been pushing that.

                You seem to think there was something, I don’t know, unsporting about her running on electability.

                • efgoldman

                  she’s uninspiring but a competent technocrat who will likely be a decent president

                  As I’ve said before, we have been spoiled rotten by the best candidate and best president since FDR. To expect HRC, or any other probable candidate, to meet that standard is like expecting every major league hitter to be Mike Trout.
                  I don’t expect to see another like Obama in my lifetime.

                • If only Jesse Jackson and John Edwards had won in 1988 and 2004 respectively!

                  I’m sure you had some meaning you wished to convey when you typed this. I don’t think you quite got there.

                  As for the foam finger line, I’ve said here, repeatedly, and specifically to you that I prefer Sanders. I voted for Sanders. I am disappointed that Hillary will win. But I’m not “holding my nose” when I vote for her in the general, and there’s no reason to think most Democrats will be; she’s uninspiring but a competent technocrat who will likely be a decent president. Her unfavorables are not set in stone, and even if they were they still beat Trump.

                  As genuinely fascinating as I find your political history, the point remains that you were attempting to use “She’s number one!” as your entire argument. That’s waving a foam finger.

                  You seem to think there was something, I don’t know, unsporting about her running on electability.

                  Perhaps you should read the exchange again, and look at the comment I replied to, because no, it was a comment about anything being “sporting.”

                • twbb

                  I’m sure you had some meaning you wished to convey when you typed this. I don’t think you quite got there.

                  I was responding your statement “Sure, just ask Mike Dukakis or John Kerry. Primary elections, general elections – don’t bother me your nerd stuff, joe!”

                  As genuinely fascinating as I find your political history, the point remains that you were attempting to use “She’s number one!” as your entire argument. That’s waving a foam finger.

                  No, just pointing out that if the electability argument let her beat Bernie, then it’s a legitimate strength.

                  Perhaps you should read the exchange again, and look at the comment I replied to, because no, it was a comment about anything being “sporting.”

                  Why does her arguing electability enrage you so much? Or, why does people agreeing with her and voting for her on that basis enrage you so much?

                • ChrisTS

                  @ef:

                  I don’t expect to see another like Obama in my lifetime.

                  I know. It makes me very sad.

                • I was responding your statement “Sure, just ask Mike Dukakis or John Kerry. Primary elections, general elections – don’t bother me your nerd stuff, joe!”

                  Yes, I got that you were responding to that. Presumably, you wished to convey some thought. You didn’t.

                  No, just pointing out that if the electability argument let her beat Bernie, then it’s a legitimate strength.

                  Once again, it demonstrates a strength in a primary election. John Kerry and Mike Dukakis had strengths in primary elections, too. Since the electability argument is about her performance in a general election, no, winning primaries doesn’t prove that electability is a strength of hers. Just as John Kerry’s success in the 2004 primaries, which was largely based on his supposed electability, didn’t translate into the general election.

                  Why does her arguing electability enrage you so much? Or, why does people agreeing with her and voting for her on that basis enrage you so much?

                  It doesn’t. You invented the entire “enrage” thing because of your failure to understand the argument I was just compelled to spell out to you. I hope you got it this time.

                • DocAmazing

                  Her Kissinger-approved foreign policy experience, her bankster-friendly performance with the Clinton Foundation, and much of her history in the first Clinton administration all have me holding my nose. Perhaps your olfactory sensitivity differs from mine.

                • twbb

                  Yes, condescension is quite an effective debate tactic.

                  People who are deciding to vote for Hillary because they believe she is more electable in a general election. You do not share that evaluation. That’s fine. But what these people believe are not an irrelevant data point; they are not operating in a vacuum. They know what their friends and family say about the issue, they can evaluate her debate performance, and the fact that they are voting for her in larger numbers than Bernie means something, and it’s not just some vague and never-really-defined “structural advantage” that you seem to think is deciding this primary election.

                  I’m curious what you think would happen if Bernie became the nominee and faced a few hundred million in SuperPAC money dedicated to portraying him as a self-described socialist? What do you think is going to happen if between now and then a recession starts or look like it’s going to start? Will they vote for Trump? Who knows. Would you take a chance on that? I can easily see people preferring Bernie on a personal level but deciding that economically Trump makes more sense to them. Personally, I would take that risk, which is why I voted for him. But I don’t find it insane that a lot of people are not willing to take that risk.

                  We know what they’re going to say about Hillary; they’ve been campaigning against her for years. She’s still standing.

                • This wasn’t an invitation for you to hold forth on everything you thought about what I’ve had to say about electability.

                  Joe J_P wrote a comment about whether or not Democratic voters would be “holding their nose” to vote for Clinton by noting that she had won a lot of votes. I replied that she had been campaigning heavily on electability, which makes the claim that all of those voters were enthusiastic about her questionable.

                  You then showed up, completely baffled about what was going on, and latched onto the notion that I was somehow enraged by someone campaigning on electability.

                  it’s not just some vague and never-really-defined “structural advantage” that you seem to think is deciding this primary election.

                  Structural advantage is an often-defined, not vague term from political science. Why don’t you look it up, instead of grumbling that it makes your tummy hurt because it isn’s sufficiently flattering to Hillary Clinton?

                  We know what they’re going to say about Hillary; they’ve been campaigning against her for years. She’s still standing.

                  While Hillary Clinton is, yes, bipedal, she is also profoundly unpopular, and has grown increasingly so over the course of this campaign. The notion that the decades of attacks on her would somehow render her popularity immune to attack has been definitively disproven since the campaign season began. Her unfavorables continue to skyrocket, and her favorables continue to drop. See the thing that looks like an alligator’s mouth facing to the right? That is exactly what the “still standing” argument was supposed to render impossible. It didn’t work.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  Just as John Kerry’s success in the 2004 primaries, which was largely based on his supposed electability, didn’t translate into the general election.

                  You keep asserting this, but I have no idea what it’s based on.

                  1)Kerry outperformed the fundamentals. This puts the burden of proof on those arguing that he was a bad candidate.

                  2)Even if he hadn’t, it’s still a relative question. It strikes me as implausible in the extreme that Dean would have been a better candidate. Edwards, I’m less sure, but I see no reason to believe that he would have won.

                  Kerry, as far as I can tell, did fine, and I see no reason to question the judgment of the 2004 primary voters. The only basis for the argument that he was a bad candidate, AFAICT, is the tautology that if he was a good candidate he would have won.

                • sapient

                  Kerry, as far as I can tell, did fine, and I see no reason to question the judgment of the 2004 primary voters.

                  Yeah, Joe’s funny that way. He excoriates Democratic primary losers for being, generally, losers, but pretends that Bill Clinton, who won primaries and elections, governed way to the right of where he should have because he would have gotten a lot of ???? support ???? from ?????

                  Yes, Joe, Democrats run to win. And they govern, not like Mitch McConnell or other intransigent Republicans – but to take steps forward. And as far as NAFTA is concerned, that’s a whole conversation that apparently you, Loomis and Trump can go find a room to enjoy your own point of view. There are other opinions, mostly that trade agreements have winners and losers, and that progressive government would do more to “spread the wealth around” rather than putting up trade barriers.

                • 1)Kerry outperformed the fundamentals. This puts the burden of proof on those arguing that he was a bad candidate.

                  This was a plausible argument to make in 2004 or 2005 – I know because I made it myself – but it was based on a pre-2004 understanding of the shape of the electorate, and failed to take into account the polarization of the electorate that raised the floor for both Democratic and Republican nominees in presidential elections.

                  John Kerry didn’t come closer than any previous candidate who challenged an incumbent wartime president because of his performance; he did so because any Democratic nominee would have had a larger body of committed Democrats certain to vote for him than any such candidate before him.

                  2)Even if he hadn’t, it’s still a relative question. It strikes me as implausible in the extreme that Dean would have been a better candidate.

                  I don’t recall saying that Dean would have been a better candidate. I’m not sure who you’re arguing with here.

                  The notion that I’m making a relative point is imaginary; I’m making an absolute one. John Kerry was presumed to be an electable candidate – in fact, that was the core of his primary support. And the perception among Democratic primary voters that he was particularly electable was destroyed in the general election – not just by the outcome, but also by the history of the campaign.

                  To take one example, his military record was supposed to make him immune to attacks on national security, personal martial virtues, and patriotism. That was a core element of what supposedly made him electable. By the end of the campaign, that was in tatters.

                  “AFAICT” seem to be more of an admission of your own limitation in understanding the issue – you seem to think it’s entirely reducible to numbers, when there are many factors that could explains the numbers other than his electability – than an indictment of anything I’ve written.

                • But, Scott, at least you’re ahead of sapient. Where you only completely garbled one argument I’ve made, he’s managed to garble two entirely distinct ones.

                  Golly gee, grandpa, can you tell me some more about politics and the real world? I had no idea that there were these things called “lim-it-a-sions” on political figures. eyeroll

                • There are other opinions, mostly that trade agreements have winners and losers

                  Again, the perfect, completely soulless, Clinton voter.

                • sapient

                  You’re hilarious, JoeJoe. You can’t hep yourself, just engaging in personal attacks. It’s sad. Long ago, I really enjoyed reading your comments. Maybe it’s you, old man, who’s losing your fastball.

                • mikeSchilling

                  I’m not holding my nose either. I’m taping it closed before I get out of the car.

                • If I was losing my fastball, you wouldn’t be this bothered, or this committed.

                  If these were lame, false criticisms I was writing, a devoted shill like you wouldn’t bother with me.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  John Kerry didn’t come closer than any previous candidate who challenged an incumbent wartime president because of his performance; he did so because any Democratic nominee would have had a larger body of committed Democrats certain to vote for him than any such candidate before him.

                  If your argument is that the absolute floor for a Democratic challenger of a wartime incumbent an a decent economy in contemporary conditions is 48.3%, we’re going to have to agree to disagree. (Had the Democratic electorate selected Dean, I’m confident we would have seen that.) We certainly can’t establish this with an n of 1.

                  Again, I see no reason to believe that Kerry wasn’t the most electable candidate available to Democratic primary voters in 2004.

                • No, that is not my point.

                  Are you being dishonest on purpose?

                  You’re a political scientist, allegedly. Are you seriously going to come on here and ask whether citing the polarization of the electorate can only be relevant when a candidate hits his party’s floor?

                  Really?

                  Again, I see no reason to believe that Kerry wasn’t the most electable candidate available to Democratic primary voters in 2004.

                  You are being deliberately dishonest. You just wrote that in response to a comment in which I explicitly said I was not arguing that.

                  Scott, can you come up a reply to what I’ve actually written, or can you only do this?

                • Scott Lemieux

                  Joe, you keep arguing things like this:

                  John Kerry was presumed to be an electable candidate – in fact, that was the core of his primary support. And the perception among Democratic primary voters that he was particularly electable was destroyed in the general election

                  But it was not destroyed. He did fine, as well as could have been reasonably expected. Under slightly worse economic circumstances he could have won. He was, in other words, electable. Polarization might explain some of his overperformance of the fundamentals, but I’m not at all convinced it explains all of it, and I think it’s implausible that he underperformed.

                  It is true that some variants of the argument that Kerry was electable were dumb — “since he was a veteran the Republicans won’t be able to attack him on security issues” — and if you just want to argue that narrow point, fine. But you keep making a more general one — that the Democratic primary voters were wrong to see Kerry as being electable — and there’s no evidence to support that and plenty of reason not to believe it. There are elections were a candidate does badly enough that we can be sure that the primary electorate was wrong to think that a candidate was electable. 2004 ain’t one of them.

                • If running on electability wins her elections, then she seems pretty electable.

                  Once again, it demonstrates a strength in a primary election. John Kerry and Mike Dukakis had strengths in primary elections, too. Since the electability argument is about her performance in a general election, no, winning primaries doesn’t prove that electability is a strength of hers.

                  This seems like the type of thing – does primary performance demonstrate electability in a general election? – that a political scientist might usefully weigh in on.

                • But it was not destroyed. He did fine, as well as could have been reasonably expected…He was, in other words, electable.

                  I’ve already answered this; it was destroyed by more than the final W/L result.

                  That the W/L result is easier for you to measure doesn’t make it the sole, or even most important, element of the issue.

                  And pointing out that he was “just fine electable” isn’t good enough, because John Kerry wasn’t loved by the primary base. His alleged electability was pretty much the sole quality that recommended him to, well, everyone except me. (I actually loved the guy. Still do. This is, I realize, a very rare position). He was settled on not because the voters decided they loved him and he was electable enough; he was believe to be particularly electable to the point that his supposed strength outweighed even his Iraq War vote – that that was a remarkable strength of his. Citing an average numerical outcome against George W. Bush doesn’t prove the voters right in their perception of him as uniquely, strongly, particularly electable.

                • efgoldman

                  Kerry, as far as I can tell, did fine

                  He was also running against a somewhat popular incumbent, in wartime, who’s massive failures were not yet clear. The economy was three years from cratering. Hurricane Katrina and heck of a job Brownie was a year away.
                  Dukakis I agree turned out to be a wooden campaigner, but he was essentially running against Sanctus Ronaldus Magnus’ third term.
                  Neither was prepared for, nor responded well to, the Republiklown ratfucking.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  I concede your point. If when you say things like “Just as John Kerry’s success in the 2004 primaries, which was largely based on his supposed electability, didn’t translate into the general election” you don’t mean “Democratic primary voters who put a priority on electablilty and chose John Kerry instead of one of the other candidates were wrong because he was a poor candidate” but instead mean “people who voted for John Kerry because he was guaranteed to be elected were wrong,” then your claim is indeed much more defensible. Unfortunately, it also then becomes a completely trite and uninteresting one, of no possible relevance of any discussion of the 2016 primaries worth having.

                • This thread makes me feel like an idiot. I really thought joe had changed over the years, but I guess there just wasn’t a sufficiently juicy subject for him to hulk out over. Personal attacks, wild accusations of bad faith, curt dismissal of arguments as content-free, and that constant hectoring, condescending tone, like a high school teacher who seems to take just a bit too much glee in deploying the red ink.

                  It’s a bad look, joe, and you can do better. I know you can, because you have.

                • Pseudonym

                  This wasn’t an invitation for you to hold forth on everything you thought about what I’ve had to say about electability.

                  For fuck’s sake, joe, whose blog do you think this is?

                • Pseudonym

                  Again, I see no reason to believe that Kerry wasn’t the most electable candidate available to Democratic primary voters in 2004.

                  You are being deliberately dishonest. You just wrote that in response to a comment in which I explicitly said I was not arguing that.

                  I hope it’s considered cliché by this point, but you have to consider the priors here. Scott thinks that running against a wartime incumbent with a decent-enough economy is a tough proposition to start with and thus a close loss is not evidence of Kerry’s lack of electability. joe seems to think that Kerry’s loss combined with increasing polarization means that… well, Kerry might have been the most electable candidate in the primary, but he wasn’t special magical unicorn electable enough to overcome the prevailing winds? And therefore, what? Considering electability is wrong? Maybe joe just means it as a rebuttal to dumb arguments, because as a standalone argument it doesn’t make sense, particularly in light of his evidence that Sanders is in fact the more electable candidate.

                  The notion that I’m making a relative point is imaginary; I’m making an absolute one. John Kerry was presumed to be an electable candidate – in fact, that was the core of his primary support.

                  How does the concept of “absolute electability” make sense in the first place? Elections are contests. The only absolute way to win one is to get more votes relative to one’s opponent.

                • No, Scott, Kerry was unelectable by any definition of the term, regardless of your incapacity to think qualitatively.

                  You’re like one of those fans who can recite every Yankee’s WAR back to 1921, but doesn’t know what “hit the cutoff man” means.

                  ef,

                  Running against a popular incumbent didn’t make John Kerry horrible at messaging. It didn’t cause him to make tactical mistake after tactical mistake. Scott’s straw man (which I explicitly rejected, but he decided to attribute to me anyway), I’m not saying that Kerry would have necessarily have won if he was electable. But he would have run a good campaign if he was electable, and he didn’t. Even if people who can only think it numbers can’t put a number on it.

                • How does the concept of “absolute electability” make sense in the first place? Elections are contests.

                  The same way that the concept of strength is an absolute in a wrestling match, despite that also be a contest.

                  Some people have it, and some people don’t. John Kerry was a bad candidate, and would have been just as bad a candidate whether he was running against an excellent opponent or a poor one.

                  This is not a difficult concept unless you are really committed to not understanding it – which, by your detour into “therefore what, don’t consider electability,” you should yourself determined to be.

                • Manny Kant

                  To argue with what I think Joe actually believes is the acceptable subject to argue about, I’ll just say that while “electability” in primaries doesn’t necessarily translate to “electability” in general elections (not the case, for instance, of Mike Castle in Delaware in 2010), I think a reasonable point to make is that if you’re unable to put together a winning primary campaign, you probably have some organizational or candidate problems that would make it difficult to put together a winning general election campaign.

                • That’s fair, Manny.

                  Failure in a primary election – again, going beyond mere statistics to take actual performance into account – is likely to translate into a lack of electability in a general election.

                • Rob in CT

                  Are you being dishonest on purpose?

                  Of course he is, Joe! He is disagreeing with you.

                  Nothing he’s said requires dishonesty. He might be wrong about John Kerry’s relative merits as a candidate, but nothing he’s said requires or suggests dishonesty.

                  Counterfactual: who was the more electable Democrat in 2004? [edit, oh Christ, apparently asking this is “dishonest” too. Nevermind]

                  You’re a political scientist, allegedly.

                  Heh.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  No, Scott, Kerry was unelectable by any definition of the term,

                  This is just complete nonsense. I mean, like Ron Fournier-level ignorance. Kerry was 120,000 votes in Ohio from winning the electoral college. The idea that there are no set of conditions — including 2008! — under which Kerry could have won is absolutely absurd. And your Murray Chass non-sequitur doesn’t help.

                • I guess I was wrong: Scott can invent a definition of electability to make his argument true, if he’s sufficiently motivated.

                  Sadly, it has nothing to do with the rest of the conversation, and relies upon ignoring Kerry’s opponent, and requires treating Kerry losing the state he committed his final reserves to by six digits as some sort of moral victory, but he can find an excuse to assert his superiority, and isn’t that really what matters?

                • Scott Lemieux

                  I guess I was wrong: Scott can invent a definition of electability to make his argument true

                  Yes, and as it happens it’s the same one that everyone else uses except you in this thread. If Kerry would have won in 2008 — and he obviously would have — he’s electable. If he could have won in 2004 under different conditions, such as an economic downturn before the election — and he certainly could have, given how close the election was despite conditions that favored the incumbent — then he’s electable. The fact that he substantially outperformed the fundamentals puts the burden on proof on those arguing that he was a bad candidate, and your assertions that because he didn’t win his tactics were therefore a net negative don’t become less tautological the more you assert them.

                  as some sort of moral victory

                  What are you talking about? It’s not a moral victory. It’s just that if he can come that close under conditions in which the incumbent had a substantial structural advantage, it’s deeply silly to claim that he’s “unelectable.” He’s not McGovern or Goldwater.

              • Of course he is, Joe! He is disagreeing with you.

                Oh, shut up. There have been people disagreeing with me all over the thread; you’ll noticed I haven’d accused them all of dishonesty. He repeatedly misrepresented what I said to argue against it; that’s dishonest.

                It amazing how the actual merit of the charge never enters into it. It’s just joe being mean again. Because it always is.

                Counterfactual: who was the more electable Democrat in 2004? [edit, oh Christ, apparently asking this is “dishonest” too. Nevermind]

                Yes, that’s what I said: asking that question in any form in any context is dishonest. Not, telling me I was saying that after I explicitly renounced it; no, the question itself.

                eyeroll

                • Rob in CT

                  The John Kerry is electable argument only makes sense in context, though, doesn’t it? As in, vs. his 2004 Dem primary competition. It wasn’t being made in a vacuum, it was being made against Howard Dean.

                  This is why “who was more electable in 2004” is a reasonable question. You can EXPLICITY RENOUNCE all you want; that doesn’t change a relative into an absolute.

                  Seems to me that candidates are always evaluated against others, not some absolute objective standard.

                  I can’t speak for Scott, but I assume this is why he kept bringing up the question you tried to shut down.

                • The John Kerry is electable argument only makes sense in context, though, doesn’t it?

                  No, I don’t think it does. If Bill Clinton, John F. Kennedy, and Barack Obama ran against each other in a primary, they would all be perfectly electable. If Mike Dukakis, John Kerry, and George McGovern ran each other in the primary, somebody ending up on top wouldn’t make any of them electable.

                  It’s all well and good to ask who, in the 2004, was the least-bad option in terms of electability, but that doesn’t translate to any of them, let alone the guy we actually got to watch perform so poorly in the general, actually being strong on electability.

                  Again, this is a very easy point to understand. It’s not my repeatedly explanation that I wasn’t arguing for Howard Dean’s superior electability that makes it true; it’s true all by itself.

                  And if Scott wished to argue against this observation, he was free to do so. Insisting that I was arguing for Howard Dean’s superior electability after I’d explicitly said I wasn’t was the dishonest tack he took instead.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  The John Kerry is electable argument only makes sense in context, though, doesn’t it? As in, vs. his 2004 Dem primary competition. It wasn’t being made in a vacuum, it was being made against Howard Dean.

                  This is why “who was more electable in 2004” is a reasonable question. You can EXPLICITY RENOUNCE all you want; that doesn’t change a relative into an absolute.

                  Right, exactly. Making an “electability” argument on behalf of Kerry or Sanders or Clinton or anyone else doesn’t require that someone be UNIQUELY or POWERFULLY electable. It requires the belief that someone has a better chance of winning than the other viable candidates. That’s it. When anyone else makes electability arguments that’s that what they mean. Joe wants to make useless arguments about ABSOLUTE electability because he wants his tautological arguments that if John Kerry lost he was therefore by definition unelectable to free from any possible challenge.

                • Rob in CT

                  That’s not what I was saying.

                  I mean that any electability argument is (perhaps implicitly) about the competition. I’m more electable that those other choices, not I’m the most electable EVAR.

                  There may have been Kerry surrogates arguing that he wasn’t just more electable than Dean, but that he was an ideal Democratic POTUS candidate for the ages, but such claims are always hyperbolic nonsense. People are going to evaluate the claim based on the competition at the time.

                  edit: now I am wondering about the electability of John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton in 2016. I’m not really sure I would just agree they’d be good candidates with this electorate. Maybe, maybe not. Nobody exists out of time.

                • More dishonesty from Scott. Again, attributing an argument to me I explicitly denied immediately above yours, as well as elsewhere. I’ve already said, several times, that electable candidates can lose.

                  It requires the belief that someone has a better chance of winning than the other viable candidates. That’s it. When anyone else makes electability arguments that’s that what they mean.

                  No, it doesn’t. If it did – if it carried the concept of relativity within the term itself – we wouldn’t put the word “most” before the word “electable.” See above.

                • I know that’s what you’re saying, Rob.

                  I disagree with your insistence that electability can only be relative. I didn’t misunderstand you, I disagreed, and just provided an explanation why.

                • Scott’s incapacity to evaluate candidate’s individual electability on the merits, by only in comparison to other candidates, stems from his inability to recognize that things he can’t put a number on can still exist.

                  The qualitative matters, even if you can’t put it into a spread sheet.

                • The tautology here is yours, Scott: electability is only relative because electability is only relative, because that’s what people say.

                  I’ve actually provided both arguments and examples to demonstrate my point.

                  You’ve1) told me I’m ignorant, 2) written a tautology, and 3) attributed an argument to me that I have, yes, explicitly renounced over and over, even going so far as to provide a counter-example.

                  Maybe you can actually put together some reason other than “Because I said so” to support your claim. So far, we don’t know for sure, because you haven’t.

                • kped

                  I’m way late to the party, but this seems a bit silly:

                  No, I don’t think it does. If Bill Clinton, John F. Kennedy, and Barack Obama ran against each other in a primary, they would all be perfectly electable. If Mike Dukakis, John Kerry, and George McGovern ran each other in the primary, somebody ending up on top wouldn’t make any of them electable.

                  It seems to say that if someone lost a general election, they are not actually electable. And that’s why Richard Nixon was never President!

                  But maybe, like everyone else, I just don’t “get” the argument you are making (so maybe…you should get better at saying what you actually are arguing!)

          • cpinva

            “…after months of her running on electability.”

            forgive my obvious political naiveté’, but isn’t that what candidates generally run on (or at least in part), that they have the ability to get elected? if not, why bother running at all? geez, if this were the case, the GOP wouldn’t be running around like chickens with their heads cut off, seizing over a Trump nominee, now would they? they’d be clapping with delight, that their guy can’t get elected.

            • ChrisTS

              I should not be up at this hour, I’m still recovering from what my students have named “The Plague,” and I am as about as confused by the threading as ever – yet, I am finding this thread and other recent ones deeply confounding and off-putting. What the hell is going on around here? Is it just primary ya-yas?

            • The 0 people who have said that candidates don’t ever run on electability are now thoroughly refuted.

              Once again, the claim was that Hillary Clinton’s vote total proved there wouldn’t be people holding their nose to vote for her. The heavy emphasis her campaign has put on electability demonstrates this not to be the case.

    • tsam

      She’s. Not. Even. Going. To. Try. To give me a pony in a cute little tuxedo.

      • N__B

        I couldn’t bear the thought of your tears.

        • ChrisTS

          aaawww

        • tsam

          Now here’s a “careful what you wish for” moment. Well played, M8

        • Ahuitzotl

          next time, rise above it. Please.

  • Derelict

    This is just one reason among dozens that I wish the Democrats had someone other than Hillary as their candidate. Make no mistake: I will cast my vote for her.

    But I have no idea what Hillary believes in other than her right to be president. Indeed, I cannot think of a single stand she has taken on any issue (other than abortion rights) that she has not subsequently altered, walked back, or completely reversed herself on.

    So beside the (D) next to her name, what am I voting for? Nothing I can be sure of. I will not so much be voting for her as I will be voting against whoever the Republicans are running.

    • ProgressiveLiberal

      And even on abortion rights Sanders is more liberal.

      You are voting for less worse deals than Trump will make with congress.

      Now get back to clapping louder.

      • Are we entering the time when leftists will claim a vote for Trump is better than a vote for Clinton? Those are going to be good times.

        • ProgressiveLiberal

          How do you even get that from what I wrote?

          • Ahuitzotl

            How do you even get that any meaning at all from what anything I ever wrote?

            ftfy

        • Davebo

          We’ve been in that time for a while now. As the odds of Bernie winning out become astronomical I’m amazed at the arguments I’ve seen to not vote Clinton.

          I think the best was the claim that Jesse Ventura will enter the race to stop Hillary.

          • Derelict

            Who is actually making these arguments? I haven’t seen them coming from anyone I can identify as liberal, left-leaning, Democrat, or even middle-of-the-road.

            • DocAmazing

              WWE fans, probably. Having Trump in the race makes them want to see Vince McMahon running; Jesse The Body actually has a political CV, so…

              • ThrottleJockey

                I hear Hulk Hogan has a cool new $150M campaign war chest.

            • Davebo

              For one, Ron Chusid over at The Moderate Voice.

              • Derelict

                Um, who? A voice so moderate it’s inaudible.

                • Davebo

                  Well hey, I never claimed is was a US senator!

                  He’s obviously only audible if you read TMV. But he’s prolific there.

                • I’m not at all surprised to hear that moderates would say this. She’s at like -30 among independents, and by definition, they’re the ones with the weakest party loyalties, and therefore the most likely to support a third-party candidate.

                  It’s understandable how the trauma of the Nader debacle could leave a strong impression, but if you look back at Perot, Perot, Anderson, or Wallace, most meaningful third-party efforts did not come from the Democrats’ left. Even this year, we saw Bloomberg float the possibility of a third party run in case of Sanders getting the nomination, not Sanders or some other lefty floating it in case of Clinton.

                • She’s at like -30 among independents, and by definition, they’re the ones with the weakest party loyalties, and therefore the most likely to support a third-party candidate.

                  I thought this wasn’t true? I.e., “independents” vote as reliably one way or the other as self-identified partisans.

                  I think “independent” has turned out to be an affectation rather than a reliable indicator of weakness of affiliation.

                • No, they certainly don’t vote as reliably as party-enrolled voters.

                  There are many more of them who are reliable supporters of one or the other party than there used to be, but Republicans are still more likely to vote for Republicans, and Democrats more likely to vote for Democrats.

                  One reason for the confusion is that people look at statistics for independent/unenrolled voters who voted in the last 2-3 elections when looking for their loyalties, but that’s not a representative sample.

                • No, they certainly don’t vote as reliably as party-enrolled voters.

                  Even if they are “leaners”?

                  This doesn’t seem true:

                  The number of pure independents is actually quite small—perhaps 10% or so of the population. And this number has been decreasing, not increasing, since the mid-1970s.

                  The significance of independent leaners is this: they act like partisans. Here is the percent of partisans and independent leaners voting for the presidential candidate of their party…

                  There is very little difference between independent leaners and weak partisans. Approximately 75% of independent leaners are loyal partisans.

                  There are many more of them who are reliable supporters of one or the other party than there used to be, but Republicans are still more likely to vote for Republicans, and Democrats more likely to vote for Democrats.

                  Citation please?

                  One reason for the confusion is that people look at statistics for independent/unenrolled voters who voted in the last 2-3 elections when looking for their loyalties, but that’s not a representative sample.

                  You mean it’s not a representative sample of elections?

                  If you could provide some hints of where to look for these results I’d be grateful.

                • You mean it’s not a representative sample of elections?

                  Not, not a representative sample of independents. Voting three elections in a row selects an especially-motivated subpopulation (and also eliminated younger voters, who are more likely than average to register independent).

                  And, once again, the article you’re citing is based on analyses of how they vote when they vote, and I’m not disputing that.

                  I think we’re talking past each other, and that’s why – you’re describing measured voting behavior, while I’m also talking about non-voting.

                • I think we’re talking past each other, and that’s why – you’re describing measured voting behavior, while I’m also talking about non-voting.

                  Ok, so the -30 you’re citing is among registered voters, not likely voters?

                  But…if they aren’t going to vote, shouldn’t we discount that negative? Or are you saying that they would be likely to turn out for a third party run because they are disaffiliated from the voting process in general?

                  But also, the MC article isn’t about voting behaviour:

                  Here is another example. Based on ABC/Washington Post polls from February-November 2009, I calculated the fraction of partisans, independent leaners, and independents who approve of Obama.[1] I also calculated, for the entire set of polls, the percent of the sample who falls into each group. (Click the graph to make it bigger.)

                  Again, there is really no difference between partisans of either stripe and independent leaners. As far as their views of Obama are concerned, it doesn’t really matter whether you say you’re a Democrat or an independent who leans Democrats, and the same is true on the other side of the aisle. Only “pure” independent appear to have evenly divided attitudes as of November, but, as above, these people are only a very small part of the sample—7% overall.

                  It seems like the “leaner” phenomenon cuts across political behaviour and attitudes, not just voting.

                • Ok, so the -30 you’re citing is among registered voters, not likely voters?

                  Not sure. I put that up before you commented, so I wasn’t looking..

                  My initial point was that people who aren’t enrolled as Democrats are more likely to consider a third party because their enrollment status demonstrates a lower level of commitment to the party itself. This point is distinct from being a leaner who prefers the type of candidates one of the parties typically run. For committed partisan voters, there is more than candidate preference stopping them from choosing a third-party candidate. There is also brand loyalty. Independent voters, including (I’d go so far as to say especially) the ones who typically display a preference for one party’s candidates, are actively rejecting that brand loyalty. Should there be a third-party candidate they prefer, or view as equally-attractive as the party’s nominee, they will be less likely to be swayed by that brand loyalty.

                  That was my point about independents.

                  Also, Bijan, the single study you keep citing was taking place during a period of strong two-party competition, and would therefore be of limited value in understanding independents’ behavior in the case of a third-party effort.

                • My initial point was that people who aren’t enrolled as Democrats are more likely to consider a third party because their enrollment status demonstrates a lower level of commitment to the party itself.

                  But this is exactly what, afaict, the literature does *not* show. It’s intuitive, but not correct.

                  This point is distinct from being a leaner who prefers the type of candidates one of the parties typically run.

                  Except that, again, afaict, the literature shows that most independents are leaners, and that leaners behave like partisans. Formal affiliation isn’t a reliable predictor of partisanship.

                  For committed partisan voters, there is more than candidate preference stopping them from choosing a third-party candidate. There is also brand loyalty. Independent voters, including (I’d go so far as to say especially) the ones who typically display a preference for one party’s candidates, are actively rejecting that brand loyalty.

                  Ok, but is this rooted in any studies or just intuition?

                  Should there be a third-party candidate they prefer, or view as equally-attractive as the party’s nominee, they will be less likely to be swayed by that brand loyalty.

                  Sounds plausible, but not empirically grounded.

                  That was my point about independents.

                  And my point was that the evidence suggest that this plausible account isn’t correct.

                  Also, Bijan, the single study

                  I didn’t cite a study, I cited a blog post which summaries the literature which began with the 1992 book, “the Myth of the Independent Voter“.

                  Also in that blog post, the author does a little calculation on a single dataset to reinforce the point.

                  you keep citing was taking place during a period of strong two-party competition, and would therefore be of limited value in understanding independents’ behavior in the case of a third-party effort.

                  Well, from 1992?

                  So, to be clear, you are just going on your intuition and judgement and no published empirical results? (And, really, independent voters can’t be less attached by definition if we’re only talking about self identification!)

              • “The Moderate Voice” is quite notably not leftist.

                Do you have any examples of actual leftists or liberals?

                • I’ve seen this from a couple of people who friended me on Facebook in the last week. One said that they only way we would get a real leftist state in the U.S. was for Trump to win and destroy the Democratic Party.

                  Facebook anecdotes are some of the worst anecdotes of course, but it made me wonder whether we were about to see more of this.

                • Facebook anecdotes are, indeed, the worst type of anecdotes, but I don’t think there is even a question that there will be nuts for the most motivated squirrels to pick.

                  If that’s all we’re talking about, if we can’t even get to the level of actual bloggers, I’m comfortable putting that into the “No” category.

                • DilbertSucks

                  Beware the number of right-wing trolls pretending to be Bernie supporters. There’s a psyops campaign being launched from sites like 4chan and Reddit’s TheDonald subreddit to pose as Bernie supporters who are switching their support to Trump if Hillary is nominated. It’s intended to demoralize liberals and sow division among their ranks.

                  While there might be some Bernie supporters with specious reasons for supporting Trump over Hillary, the empirical data available suggest their numbers are very low. Only 6% of Bernie supporters say they would consider voting for Trump and around 30% say they would never vote for Hillary.

                  In comparison, back in May 2008, around 14% of Hillary supporters said they would vote for McCain over Obama, and almost 50% of them said they would never vote for Obama. The Democrats were more divided then than now.

                  If you see a soi-disant liberal/progressive claiming he/she’ll vote for Donald Trump, unless you know this person well, you should assume he/she is a right-wing troll.

                • Ha ha, I’m sure they’ll be very convincing.

                  “As a lifelong socialist, I always supported the Democrat Party, but not this time!”

                • ProgressiveLiberal

                  Loomis:

                  I think the logic is “it took a Bush to get a black man with 60 votes in the Senate.” I don’t agree with the tactic – too many get hurt – but we pretty clearly wouldn’t have gotten obamacare, etc, with Bush burning the damn thing down, so the at least have a recent example of that tactic succeeding.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  One said that they only way we would get a real leftist state in the U.S. was for Trump to win and destroy the Democratic Party.

                  Henwood has been on a “the Democratic Party needs to be destroyed” tear this campaign season. Because, of course, once that happens the natural social democratic governing majority will spontaneously emerge, having been held down by the Democrats for nearly two centuries somehow.

                • Pseudonym

                  I’ve seen this from a couple of people who friended me on Facebook in the last week. One said that they only way we would get a real leftist state in the U.S. was for Trump to win and destroy the Democratic Party.

                  And you friended them back?

                • Pseudonym

                  “As a lifelong socialist, I’ve seldom supported the Democrat Party, but I will this time!”

          • ProgressiveLiberal

            You have to love the irony of people voting for the less liberal candidate chastising others for doing the same.

            Shorter Clinton supporters: You don’t vote liberal in the primary, you save that for the general.

            • Derelict

              Who is doing this chastising? I voted for Bernie in the primary, and encouraged everyone I know to do the same.

              • ProgressiveLiberal

                Pretty much everyone? Do you know anyone here saying the less liberal alternative is an ok choice in the general? It is common knowledge here that you must vote for the more liberal candidate…in the general. I just think the same logic applies to the primary. And arguing Clinton is more liberal than Sanders is the same logic as calling Rand Paul the progressive alternative – no one falls for that shit here. In the general, I mean.

                • ChrisTS

                  Perhaps you are confusing ‘less liberal’ with ‘authoritarian neo-fascist’?

                • efgoldman

                  arguing Clinton is more liberal than Sanders

                  Who’s doing that? But hell, Sanders isn’t even a Democrat except that it’s been convenient for him, the last year.

                  I just think the same logic applies to the primary.

                  No, it doesn’t. I can think Sanders is more liberal, and also think he’s out of touch on some issues, has no idea how he’ll promulgate his “revolution”, and think HRC will make a more effective president at this time in history.
                  Some of us are actually capable of holding more than one idea at the same time.

                • ProgressiveLiberal

                  ChrisTS, authoritarian neo facist is less liberal. This is definitional.

                • ProgressiveLiberal

                  efgoldman, you can think she’d be “more effective” but its going to be pretty damn hard for you to tell anyone who thinks trump will be “more effective” on issues that matter to them like trade, etc, not to vote for him if that is how one should decide. I personally think we should vote for the person that is closer to our views, and being a liberal, that would be Sanders.

                  I love how we’ve gone from voting for the liberal candidate in an election to the “more effective one” – whatever the hell that even means. I mean, maybe joe lieberman would be “more effective” because he’s closer to the republican party that sanders. Whats the point of all this shit then? What are we even doing here?

                  Clinton is likely to be “more effective” at selling out liberals on issue like trade. On no issue will she be “more effective” at getting liberal results than Sanders. Her supporters don’t even try to come up with an example.

                  Oh – and WTF does a label like “Independent” or “Democrat” have to do with how liberal someone is? I mean, who gives a shit? Lieberman was to the right of the party as an Independent. Sanders is to the left. What is your point?

            • UserGoogol

              I voted for Sanders in the primary but quite ambivalently. I think it’s a very open question whether Sanders could effectively achieve liberal results better than Clinton could. Clinton is running as a moderate wonk, and Sanders is running as a liberal idealist, and I want a liberal wonk, damn it.

              • ChrisTS

                Heh.

              • ProgressiveLiberal

                I understand the constraints both are operating under. The point is Sanders will achieve more liberal deals that Clinton. No chance he agrees to sign TPP, etc. Can’t say that about her. I mean, look at her record. Her actual voting record. Also, Sanders would make more liberal appointments to the fed than she will – which means a hell of a lot to the people who will otherwise not be employed as the fed tightens. There are real consequences to this primary, even if the difference between clinton and sanders is smaller than the difference between her and trump.

                • Shantanu Saha

                  Please provide evidence that Sanders will “achieve more liberal deals” than Clinton. Any major piece of liberal legislation that he managed to pass through Congress using his “liberal deal-making” chops? Don’t worry. I’ll wait. I’ve been waiting for about 9 months now.

                  Sanders’ entire career in Congress has been to vote, whenever possible, against deals that he feels are not liberal enough (but only when they’re guaranteed to pass without his vote anyway). So Sanders has NOT been a dealmaker, but rather than a purer-than-thou lefty when he could afford to be.

                • You’ve never heard of the Sanders Amendment to the Affordable Care Act?

                  You remind me of people who ask “What did Hillary Clinton ever do as Secretary of State?” and think no one has an answer, because the people who are already determined to oppose her all agree there are no answers. The problem is, Hillary Clinton did have accomplishments, Bernie Sanders has achieved consequential legislation throughout his career, and the notion that they haven’t is false nonsense pushed by partisans who’ve failed to do their homework, and thereby set themselves up for a fall.

                  Sanders’ entire career in Congress has been to vote, whenever possible, against deals that he feels are not liberal enough (but only when they’re guaranteed to pass without his vote anyway). So Sanders has NOT been a dealmaker, but rather than a purer-than-thou lefty when he could afford to be.

                  Actually, the most notable aspect of Bernie Sanders’ career in Congress was passing the largest number of amendments of anyone in Congress between the Republican takeover of the House in January 1995 and his ascension to the Senate in January 2007. As has been commonly and frequently documented throughout the last nine months.

                  i can’t believe people still try to use this line. It was understandable a few months ago, but how is it possible at this point not to have come across this information?

              • marijane

                You don’t think he’s both idealist and wonk? I’m thinking in particular about his “amendment king” reputation, or the work he did on the VA deal. His idealism is tempered by a considerable amount of wonkish pragmatism.

                • UserGoogol

                  I was making a somewhat oversimplified comparison and idealism wasn’t the best word to use, but pragmatism and wonkery aren’t the same thing. Sanders is very capable of compromising, even if he’s not accentuating that side of himself on the campaign trail. But he seems to have less interest in the technical business of calculating the optimal way to structure a policy. He tends to support his policies in terms of broad goals instead of getting into the weeds of how different components work together. Of course, Clinton isn’t really running as a particularly hardcore wonk, but she’s much more inclined to say “well we have to take into account this, but also that.”

        • Derelict

          That is certainly something you’ll never read from my fingertips.

          Hillary Clinton has been and will likely remain a massive disappoint to me. But she is and will remain infinitely better for my country than any GOP candidate–even the most implausible candidate that could result from the wildest wet-dream brokered GOP convention of evar.

          • N__B

            even the most implausible candidate that could result from the wildest wet-dream brokered GOP convention of evar.

            Jim Webb haz a sad.

          • postpartisandepression

            Interesting and was Obama a great president for progressives in your mind?

            • efgoldman

              was Obama a great president for progressives in your mind?

              Given the constitutional and institutional restraints on any president, yes.

              • postpartisandepression

                So the TPP is ok ? Putting cuts on both social security and medicare to get a deal on the debt ceiling was ok ( we were luckily saved by John Boehners inability to say yes)? Timmeh Geitner’s method of bailing out the banks instead of the homeowners during the crisis was ok? No prosecutions by the justice department of the people who caused the second great recession is ok with you? wow that’s what it means to a progressive these days. Whodathunkit.

                • Jordan

                  Yeah, I wouldn’t say great in some objective sense, even given the aforementioned constraints (I’d add massive deportations to your list, at a minimum). Could have been better, for sure.

                  But pretty damn good? Ya, Obama was pretty damn good.

        • ASV

          If my Facebook feed is any indication, we are still in Denial but at the cusp of Anger. Expect Bargaining to begin once Trump makes his full pivot toward the general.

          • ChrisTS

            My Twitter feed is well over the cusp of Anger. I see lots of ‘vote for Trump’ and ‘sty home’ stuff these days.

            • And there was a lot of PUMA-ing in March and April and May 2008. Other than the small minority of that crowd that were just too racist to vote for a black candidate, they all voted for Obama in the Fall, many of them enthusiastically.

              • ChrisTS

                That’s probably accurate. I don’t recall the PUMA stuff, but I wasn’t exactly looking.

                ETA: I was really responding to the ‘are they in denial or angry, yet?’ questions.

        • AlanInSF

          Politico already said Hillary had successfully fought off any possibility of criticism from The Left. Trust me, they had it from The Left personally.

        • The Lorax

          I saw it from a friend on FB already. He’s ostensibly more liberal than I am–Nader supporter eg. And he’s convinced Trump would be better on trade and that’s what really matters. He’s still pissed about NAFTA. Anyway, I was shocked.

    • Indeed, I cannot think of a single stand she has taken on any issue (other than abortion rights) that she has not subsequently altered, walked back, or completely reversed herself on.

      Health care reform that isn’t single-payer. She has held that view for as long as she’s been in the public eye.

      • ProgressiveLiberal

        LOL…you find an issue she is less liberal on, but has been consistently so.

        I’d rather have her flip flop to the liberal alternative.

        • Well, I’d say that health care reform that isn’t single-payer is still pretty liberal.

          • ProgressiveLiberal

            I’d prefer the liberal. I thought that’s what we’re doing here. Obamacare is supposed to be a step, not a landing. And she hasn’t even indicated how she would expand coverage at all if given the opportunity. We have subsidies and an exchange. What is she going to do – more subsidies? She doesn’t say. (And that costs a shit ton of money at current rates.) Expand medicaid? John Roberts has something to say about that. I mean, she is literally running on no plan at all and no one seems to notice. We’re too busy punching that dirty fucking hippy square in the face.

            “Not single payer” isn’t a plan. Maybe someone should ask her about that?

            • ChrisTS

              Uh, you might want to visit her site and read her plans to expand health care – not just through insurance, but also through access, revising current codes, and highly funding research on autism and Alzheimer.

              And when, oh when, did you give a damn about what Justice Roberts might or might not approve?

              • Yes, Hillary Clinton has a bunch of very nice little reforms she’d like to make to the health care system. It’s true that she’s committed to a private-insurance-based system, but it certainly isn’t true that she isn’t proposing a plan to improve it.

    • Joe_JP

      Single stand? Huh. Yeah. She doesn’t even think it takes a village any more. It’s sad. #hyperbole

    • DocAmazing

      Indeed, I cannot think of a single stand she has taken on any issue (other than abortion rights) that she has not subsequently altered, walked back, or completely reversed herself on.

      WRT abortion rights: she recently dropped “and rare” from her “safe, legal and rare” formulation. A small alteration, but worthy of note.

      • I know that was her husband’s formulation, did she ever use it herself? I certainly don’t recall her ever disputing the “and rare,” but haven’t really paid enough attention to know if she endorsed it herself.

        • ChrisTS

          It would be an odd thing to not want abortion to be rare, along with legal and safe. Certainly that’s not a more liberal stance.

          • Lee Rudolph

            Abortion should be safe, legal, and well done?

          • Allegedly, from what I’ve seen on this blog an in the comments, prominent politicians saying “rare” Bully Pulpits the Overton Window on steroids in an anti-abortion direction.

            • ChrisTS

              Well, that’s dumb.

              • I invite the people we can usually count on explain why “safe, legal, and rare” is a bad slogan to overcome their aversion to saying Hillary Clinton ever did anything wrong, and explain their argument.

                It’s not an insane, stupid argument, but I’m not going to make it for you.

                • Personally, I just think that it is part of a culture of shaming women who have abortions, and feeds into the idea of abortion being icky. I don’t know that it’s bad politics, but I tend to sympathize with those who want to make a stronger pro-choice message rather than one that is seen as more sympathetic by those in the middle. Just in terms of pandering to my own views, I want candidates to be saying “abortion on demand and without shame,” because I think that’s the better position.

                  ETA: I am certainly not someone with an aversion to saying Hillary Clinton ever did anything wrong.

                • mikeSchilling

                  Preventing pregnancies is better than ending them, from any point of view I can imagine. Doing that effectively would make abortion rare.

                • ChrisTS

                  As usual: what? I was not disagreeing with you, Joe, but with folks who think what you were reporting.

                • I know, Chris. I wasn’t taking a shot at you.

                  Sorry if it came across that way.

                • ChrisTS

                  @Joe, wherever you are in this thread: fine and OK.

                  I know, Chris. I wasn’t taking a shot at you.

                  Sorry if it came across that way.

                • overcome their aversion to saying Hillary Clinton ever did anything wrong

                  Just listen to yourself. Is this really what you want to be? Does this do any service to your candidate, or your political cause, or do you just do it because it makes you feel good?

                • stepped,

                  I think I’ve made it entirely clear, for years, that the person I want to be is someone who doesn’t give a damn what you, plural, think of me personally.

                  You have zero capacity to influence my behavior or thinking with social pressure; I have determinedly kept it that way.

                  So just stop. I’m fine with everything I’ve said on this thread, and fine with it giving you a tummy ache.

                  But you did “get me” on one point – you’re right, my writing isn’t carefully constructed for the purpose of spinning other readers in favor of my political goals. It never is. Why you think that’s something I ought to be ashamed of is beyond me. I guess we’re just different in that way.

                • Roberta

                  What Jeremy W said, about shaming people who have abortions. I would like abortion to be rare because no one ever has an unwanted pregnancy or has to abort a wanted one, because we have perfect, cheap, accessible, and easy contraception, strong norms of sexual consent, universal free healthcare, childcare subsidies, and paid family leave for everyone. (Also a pony).

                  But when politicians say “safe, legal, and rare”, they tend to mean–and to be heard as saying–“abortion should be legal so my daughter can have one, but still hard to get so those irresponsible sluts don’t abuse it, and also we should angst about it a lot.” I think this is bad politics in general, even if it might be necessary in a specific race. It just encourages people to accept “sensible” restrictions on abortion.

                • Jordan

                  I think I’ve made it entirely clear, for years, that the person I want to be is someone who doesn’t give a damn what you, plural, think of me personally.

                  You have zero capacity to influence my behavior or thinking with social pressure; I have determinedly kept it that way.

                  So just stop. I’m fine with everything I’ve said on this thread, and fine with it giving you a tummy ache.

                  But you did “get me” on one point – you’re right, my writing isn’t carefully constructed for the purpose of spinning other readers in favor of my political goals. It never is. Why you think that’s something I ought to be ashamed of is beyond me. I guess we’re just different in that way.

                  I always like seeing this type of thing in my freshman students. They have a determination to figure things out for themselves and craft their own identity independent of anyone else. Thats good for their age! Although most of them aren’t as angry and quite as spiteful as you. But thats ok, some are.

                  Eventually, of course, they learn that caring about what other good people think and incorporating it into their own worldview is a good thing and a basic feature of maturity. I’m hopeful this will happen as well with you.

            • DocAmazing

              No, “rare” telegraphs the speaker’s disapproval of the filthy sluts who would do such a thing, though it is entirely their right.

              It is an attempt to pander to the Saletans.

              • ChrisTS

                Really? Is that because that’s what the Saletans think? Can’t we just say, “Fuck them”?

                • DocAmazing

                  I really wish we would.

              • Really?

                Is that what NARAL and Hillary Clinton were expressing in the 1990s, when they came up with, and she adopted, that slogan?

                • Wait a second – “safe, legal, and rare” might have come from Planned Parenthood, not NARAL. Not sure which one.

                • DocAmazing

                  I’d have to see some evidence that NARAL or PP came up with that slogan, as it has the aroma of disapproval and judgment.

                • sapient

                  On the other hand, maybe she should have run on the platform of “Let’s have as many abortions as possible, please have more.” That would have eased the “electablity” argument

                • DocAmazing

                  You might have missed it, but the majority of the voting public is pro-choice. No need to pander to the natalists.

                • Pseudonym

                  Pro-choice is a continuum though.

              • sapient

                The speaker is totally allowed to think abortions are icky as long as she doesn’t think that she has the right to stop other people from having them.

                I am pro-choice. I think abortions are icky. I would promote someone having one if an icky situation arose. What’s the problem?

                • efgoldman

                  I think abortions are icky.

                  So are colonoscopies. So?

                • DocAmazing

                  And if the speaker makes clear her disdain for women having abortions through her phraseology, she shouldn’t be surprised when someone finds her icky.

                • sapient

                  So?

                  You can have an abortion or a colonoscopy whenever you want. I want them safely, legally, and rarely.

                  And, Doc Amazing, you can interpret Hillary’s comments any way you’d like. I don’t find them disdainful. If I were counseling a sexually active person, I would suggest that they use birth control. I would also say that if it failed, or if they became pregnant unintentionally, they would have the option to abort the pregnancy. That isn’t disdain, but it would also not be the first resort.

                • DocAmazing

                  I live in California, where you can have an abortion whenever you want (and a colonoscopy as often as your insurer will pay for). That’s not true in a great many states, wherein (thanks in part to a failure of Dem leadership to robustly champion abortion on demand) women who need abortions face innumerable obstructions. I’m pretty sure you knew that already, though.

          • Murc

            It would be an odd thing to not want abortion to be rare, along with legal and safe. Certainly that’s not a more liberal stance.

            Depends a little bit, doesn’t it?

            It’s a liberal stance that abortions should be rare because of robust and far-reaching sex education programs, freely and widely available contraception for both sexes but especially for women, and a culture that encourages sexual autonomy and family planning.

            It’s not a liberal stance that abortions should be rare because they’re nigh-impossible to obtain, or because a “culture of life” shames people into not getting one because the social opprobrium will destroy their lives.

            • ChrisTS

              Ok. But that turns on a complete inversion of what the phrase originally meant. Obviously, anti-choicers are more than ready to engage in bs, but I don’t know why HRC would pander to them.

              • Roberta

                I don’t think it’s an inversion, ChrisTS. I really do think HRC (and Bill) WERE pandering to them, back in the 1990s. Not to the hardcore anti-choicers, who were probably more unwinnable for the Clintons. But to people who are Democratic-leaning but have some religious compunctions against abortions…yeah, I think HRC really was pandering.

                I think we can tell abortion rights were actually important to her, and to Bill, by HOW they pandered. “Safe, legal, and rare” is a very ambiguous phrase. It doesn’t specify why the “rare” is happening. So it lets the listener fill in the blank with what they want to hear, and meanwhile, Hillary and Bill aren’t promising any anti-choice agenda, and can in fact push a pro-choice one.

                • so-in-so

                  I always thought it was a counter to the insane pro-birther assertion that Democrats wanted more people aborting the babies because that’s how evil libbers roll.

                • Roberta

                  Yeah, I don’t disagree. I think the people who most needed to hear that counter are those with some compunctions against abortion. Dem-leaning people who are also Catholics, for instance.

            • Well, they should be rare because it’s a medical procedure, and if it can be avoided it should be. Yes, a low-risk procedure that when done professionally almost never has negative effects. But still, it’s almost always better to not need a medical procedure than to need it.

          • dr. hilarius

            Is it? I feel like it assumes a set of values that not everyone shares. I don’t particularly care if abortion is rare or frequent, because I don’t find abortion “icky” and the idea of abortion does not bother me in the least.

            Actually I shouldn’t say I “don’t care.” To the extent that more abortions reflect a failure of sexual education and access to birth control, then that is a bad thing. But the abortion qua abortion? Doesn’t bother me.

            But certainly most people don’t agree with me, hence the “and rare” being politically necessary back in the day.

            And I think the problem is, “and rare” starts as good, crowd pleasing rhetoric, something we should strive for. But it legitimizes the idea that abortion is icky, that maybe we should try to reduce it, etc… That possibility upsets me profoundly.

            • ChrisTS

              Huh. I don’t think abortion is any ‘ickier’ than any other surgical/medical procedure – and some are far, far ickier.

              However, I am happiest if people can avoid (a) unwanted pregnancies or (b) pregnancies that are sufficiently comprised to make a woman give up a wanted one. Both are misfortunes in themselves. Abortion is a reasonable – sometimes the only – solution, but I would rather people not have the originating problem[s].

              • ChrisTS

                Oops: ‘compromised.’ not ‘comprised.’

      • ProgressiveLiberal

        The “rare” stuff isn’t the biggest problem. It’s that she thinks that women lose their agency at some point in the third trimester. And once you concede that, alls that’s left is for some men in Kansas to tell these bitches which week it is.

        Sanders and many other liberals do not think women lose their agency at any point during pregnancy, I agree with him.

        • twbb

          “Sanders and many other liberals do not think women lose their agency at any point during pregnancy, I agree with him.”

          Alright, let’s not go too hyperbolic; once you get into full term, with fetal viability established without medical assistance, you don’t have “many” liberals supporting that, and that damn well includes Bernie Sanders.

          “And once you concede that, alls that’s left is for some men in Kansas to tell these bitches which week it is.”

          Again, a bit of hyperbole; the Supreme Court has had no problem overruling men in Kansas as to which week it is.

          There is very little daylight between Sanders and Clinton on abortion rights, to the point that has any impact on legislation passed or vetoed.

          • ProgressiveLiberal

            LOL…that word hyperbolic…

            Pretty clearly you have bought into the whole conservative framing of this issue and don’t even realize it. It’s not about “fetal viability without medical assistance” – which is a standard that doesn’t exist if you know anything about child birth – its about when you take the decision from women as to whether to give birth to a fetus that could be malformed, subject to a short and horrible existence, etc. Deciding that the mother of said fetus isn’t capable of making the decision at some point is a position that you and Clinton can have – its just not a very liberal one, and not one that I ascribe to. I do not want – and this is literally what is at stake for my wife and my daughter – the republican men of florida making this decision for them. That isn’t hyperbole – that is reality. And you seem to be unaware that we are one president way from a supreme court that won’t be there to veto further restrictions. And not only that, they currently seen unable to veto restrictions that are much, much more stringent than even Clinton agrees to, already. Once you agree that women lose their agency at some point, now we’re just arguing about when. Congrats, they’ve won the argument and you didn’t even realize it.

            You see, I think its horrible that some women are put in the position of having to make a decision like this after having carried a fetus for months and months. I don’t think – and neither does Sanders – that anyone other than that woman and her doctor should have a say in that decision.

            I have no doubt that clinton would have signed restrictions on late term abortions – she has come out for them. I have no doubt Sanders would have vetoed them – he has come out against them. Your strongest argument is that this issue won’t actually come up next term. But that knife cuts both ways (guns, etc.) So, again, when it comes down to issues where they differ and there may be legislation/appointments involved (TPP/trade, fed board of governors, supreme court), pretty clearly Sanders is to the left of Clinton.

            • twbb

              Right on script! Make an absolute, unqualified, unsupportable statement on abortion rights and the second you’re challenged on it out come all the qualifiers.

              Let’s make it easy: do you think a woman has a right to have an abortion at 39 weeks where the viable fetus is completely healthy and birth would pose no health risk to the woman? Or do you think her decision should be legally constrained?

              Keep in mind of course that abortion is a very specific thing which results in the death of the fetus, either through evacuation or through injection of a chemical agent.

              I am pretty sure you’re not going to answer those questions with anything other than a series of not-on-point attacks on me (like the conservative framing one above), but let’s still move on to another question:

              Considering we can read the text of the abortion rights bill that Sanders co-sponsored that uses viability and the health of the mother as qualifiers, why do you think Sanders favors absolutely zero restrictions on abortion prior to birth?

        • ChrisTS

          Honestly, WTF are you talking about? What evidence do you have that HRC thinks women ‘lose agency in the third trimester’?

          WHY can’t we have an ‘ignore poster’ function?

          • N__B

            WHY can’t we have an ‘ignore poster’ function?

            WordPress don’t support it directly. There may be a plug-in for it, but it’s probably easier to get the Tesla Deathray plug-in.

            As for PL’s drivel, apparently he thinks the liberal position is that abortion should be available in the 40th week.

            • ChrisTS

              DEATH RAYS! Yes!

            • ProgressiveLiberal

              N___B, Why do you think women are unable to make decisions late in pregnancy? Or do you think its a permanent condition?

              If a child is born with a horrific defect and COULD be saved through miraculous interventions so they can live a short, horrible life, are you against parents pulling the plug instead? I personally know people who have had to live though this. This isn’t some abstract bullshit. This is the reality of conception and birth. And if you’re ok with pulling the plug, what is your problem with a pregnant woman making the best decision for her and her fetus late in the third trimester?

              You see, people like Sanders and I think these decisions should be left up to parents and doctors. You may think the men in control of your state legislature are better equipped to make those decisions. You’d be wrong, but you’re free to believe that.

              • ChrisTS

                I honestly have no idea what you are on about.

                Wanting abortions to be ‘rare’ does not = not wanting women to be able to decide about abortions in the X week.

              • N__B

                N___B, Why do you think women are unable to make decisions late in pregnancy? Or do you think its a permanent condition?

                Given that that is an outright lie, since I never such a thing, go fuck yourself, you useless sack of shit. You are neither progressive nor liberal, and you’re generally so stupid I doubt you can count to eleven while shod.

                • twbb

                  Oh, this kind of posturing on more-pro-choice-than-thou is unfortunately a common liberal thing, though I wish it weren’t. It’s not so much about policy as establishing how radical and enlightened the speaker is.

          • ProgressiveLiberal

            At one of the last debates, she said she supported late term abortion restrictions. Now we’re just arguing when women lose their agency. Sanders said he did not support any restrictions at all at that same debate, which seemed pretty incredible to the moderator.

            You see, some liberals get that when you accept their framing, you’ve already lost.

            I didn’t think this was very controversial. Many people share her view that women cannot be trusted to make decisions late in pregnancy. I am not one of those people. Neither is Sanders.

            Go ahead and ignore liberals. You won’t be lonely.

            • ChrisTS

              Fuck off.

              HRC thinks *very* late term abortions when the nearly neo-nate can live healthily should be subject to *some* restrictions.

              Do you actually know anything about the reproductive process? Or are you a Thomist who thinks the thing is negligible until it is a month or so old?

              • Scott Lemieux

                The idea that if you support any regulation of post-viability abortions you’re on a slippery slope where you can’t argue against any regulation of abortion is absolutely absurd. (And I say this as someone who’s fine with the abortion regime in Canada.)

    • twbb

      As historically meh as I think she will end up being judged, I also think it is an important step forward to have a woman as President. A more inspiring one would be nice, but it’s still a step forward.

    • Shantanu Saha

      I don’t especially care what Hillary thinks. I care what she will DO. I think I have a good handle on that after months of campaigning and a raft of policy papers that her campaign has put out there. I don’t know what Sanders will do, especially as it seems to me that his “revolution” is not in the cards. How can you claim to be leading a popular movement that will overthrow corporate power if you can’t even get your supporters to outvote the “corporatist” in your own party?

      • I don’t especially care what Hillary thinks. I care what she will DO.

        Where did this idea that the two are wholly unrelated come from?

        I think I have a good handle on that after months of campaigning and a raft of policy papers that her campaign has put out there.

        Why would you think that campaign materials are the best guide to what a politician seeking office will do? Hillary Clinton has supported every trade deal to come down the pike in her adult life, including voting for them in the Senate, but because she switched her position under pressure during a campaign, we can shake the Etch-a-Sketch and say with confidence we know that she’ll break with her entire substantive record?

  • The claims by Camp Clinton that they actually beat him on trade are pretty silly.

    The AFL-CIO spokesman’s argument that her “evolution” on the TPP “took the sting” out of Sanders’ attacks on the issue makes a lot more sense.

  • The Pale Scot

    The problem with Bernie is he doesn’t have a power base in the Dem party. Unless his victory was so total that the House and the Senate were swept clean he would be less effective than PBO was in the 2cd to 6th years of his run. Except I don’t think he has the temperament to run a long game of slowly eroding the opposition’s positions while the Faux News Nuts scream Jewish Commie! 24 hours a day. ‘Cause every Real American knows only Likudniks are the real chosen people.

    I’m sure there’d be deep “investigations” into his family ties to Lenin, Trotsky and Bukarin.

    • N__B

      I’m sure there’d be deep “investigations” into his family ties to Lenin, Trotsky and Bukarin.

      Not to mention that mysterious “Colonel.”

      • DocAmazing

        Judge Fang switched back to English. “Your case is very serious,” he said to the boy. “We will go and consult the ancient authorities. You will wait here until we return.”

        The House of the Venerable and Inscrutable Colonel was what they called it when they were speaking Chinese. “Venerable” because of his goatee, white as the dogwood blossom, a badge of unimpeachable credibility in Confucian eyes. “Inscrutable” because he had gone to his grave without divulging the Secret of the Eleven Herbs and Spices.

        –Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age

        • N__B

          Stephenson, for all his flaws, has moments that justify me reading through his big fat square books.

    • The problem with Bernie is he doesn’t have a power base in the Dem party.

      Sure he does; in Congress, where he served for decades and built relationships.

      He doesn’t have a power base within the party anywhere else, and that’s why he’ll probably lose the nomination, but Congress itself is the one place where he does.

      • And, you know, founded the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the largest Democratic caucus in the House.

      • EliHawk

        Sure he does; in Congress, where he served for decades and built relationships.

        He doesn’t have a power base within the party anywhere else, and that’s why he’ll probably lose the nomination, but Congress itself is the one place where he does.

        Built such great relationships in Congress that so many of his colleagues have endorsed him. You know, all six of them. And nobody in the Senate.

        • It’s almost as if he’s running against a powerful political insider.

          I continue to be be amused by the Hillary devotees’ commitment to erasing her from the race and explaining every outcome as if Bernie Sanders is the only variable.

          • EliHawk

            It’s almost as if you don’t actually have any evidence of him having great relationships in Congress or a strong base of support there. But you know, that’s Hillary’s fault, or something. Like how Obama never could get any Senators or members of Congress to back him when running against her in 2008. Or Bill Bradley couldn’t get any important Senators to back him in 2000 against consummate insider Al Gore. Oh wait, they both did. Must have been Clinton’s fault.

            • It’s almost as if you don’t actually have any evidence of him having great relationships in Congress or a strong base of support there.

              Lolwut?

              Founding the largest caucus in Congress? Passing the largest number of amendments of anyone who served with him? I have, I believed, brought these things up once or twice, you know.

              Yes, it’s “almost” like that, if you invent a whole new definition for “almost.”

              And as we’ve been reminded so very many, many times: this isn’t 2008. Hillary Clinton occupied a much stronger position going into this race than she did in the 2008 race. Even if the most devoted fan boys have suddenly decided we’re supposed to shake the Etch-a-Sketch and forget that we’ve known that for the past year+.

              • EliHawk

                Faced with the fact that the “power base” you ascribe Sanders as having in Congress is all of six people, you fall back to your old talking points: He founded the CPC! And Amendments! Yet: During his time in charge of the CPC, it was a marginal, minor group. It grew to being large and important when led by people who weren’t Bernie Sanders. And most of the CPC endorsed his opponent! Some power base.

                So, Clinton has a strong power base everywhere. Yet, other people running against other candidates in absurdly powerful positions (I mean, Gore had the endorsement of the incumbent President and the AFL-CIO before a ballot was even cast) were able to actually get important endorsements from party leaders. Bradley had Wellstone and Pat Moynihan. Obama had Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Claire McKaskill and Ted Kennedy. That’s what an actual base of support looks like.

                • Actually, my first “fall back” was to point out that there are two candidates in this race, one of whom is the most strongly-situated establishment candidate in American history, so merely counting endorsements tells us less about him than about her.

                  You have no answer for this, btw. You skipped over it entirely, preferring instead some empty snark.

                  I then raised two extremely relevant points, which you seek to dismiss as “talking points” and therefore meaningless based on nothing but you’re having lost previous arguments because of them.

                  You’re all pose, no substance.

                  You then present the argument that Bernie Sanders’ power base has grown in significance in recent years, becoming quite important under the leadership of one of his strongest supporters in Congress. You present this argument, ironically, in the service of making the claim that Bernie Sanders doesn’t have a strong power base in Congress. That, Eli, is amusing.

                  Oh, and then you switch back to noting that the candidate who entered the race as the strongly-positioned primary candidate in American history has a lot of endorsements – once again, undermining your argument that Sanders’ lack of endorsements is evidence of his lack of a base in Congress, as opposed to evidence of her strength.

                  You’ve done nothing to refute my point – Sanders has a good power base, and the lack of endorsements is evidence of her strength, not his weakness – but have instead helped bye prove it.

                  Keep going, Eli. People are going to start thinking I have you on the payroll.

                • ChrisTS

                  It is also worth noting that his Vermont Dem colleagues have not supported him.

                  What is it, at this point: 3 former Dem Govs and Senator Leahy have endorsed HRC?

                • Endorsed who?

                  There is no point where Hillary Clinton’s position as the most strongly situated party-primary candidate in American political history will cease to be relevant to the question of why she got all those endorsements.

                • EliHawk

                  The reason I talk about your talking points is you’re so predictable. Amendment King! CPC! If you’d thrown in Better Favorables! and Independents! we’d have all won JfL Bingo. It’s a shame I’m not on your payroll, you could use someone to come up with some new ideas for once. You don’t have substance, you have the same factoids a foot long and an inch deep that you beat into the ground in post after post, attempting to exhaust the community through sheer stubbornness: You literally have more than 1 in 4 of the comments on this page, as if repetition will make up for your sheer pointlessness. It’s hilarious you think I “lost arguments” because you repeated the same old thing again and again, and people eventually have lives.

                  For all your talk about the CPC, it didn’t endorse him. Its membership endorsed Clinton. They didn’t follow their leaders or back their fellow member. And why would they? He doesn’t campaign much for them or raise money for them. His leadership PAC barely supports anyone beyond the standard Democratic Senators in narrow races. It doesn’t support the CPC members or progressive candidates. He doesn’t support their leadership PAC. In 2015-16, as he’s been massively expanding his fundraising base, how much has he been helping other members? Zilch. For someone with a supposed power base on the Hill, his Leadership PAC pays staffers as much as it helps candidates. Some power base. Other long shot challengers against strong establishment candidates were still able to get some of their colleagues on board. He hasn’t. Yeah, Clinton is the “strongest establishment candidate in history.” For all your talk about her agency you ignore his own. Bernie can’t even get endorsements that Bill Bradley, who lost every primary, caucus, and straw poll under the sun, got. Bradley was able to get endorsements from prominent progressive and centrist senators despite running against an incumbent Vice President backed by the current President, endorsed by groups from the DLC to the AFL-CIO. Bernie, despite his “relationships” and “decades” on Capitol Hill has no Senators, no Governors, and a six-pack of Congressmen.

                  At some point, the fact that he can’t even get token support from his colleagues renders any pretense of a power base on the Hill moot. Endorsements matter: The fact that he can barely get any of them from the people that know him best, even as other no hope, long shot candidates have been able to win even some backers, is not just a mark of her strength, but his comprehensive weakness there. But, of course, to incessant poster from Lowell, the Bern can not be failed, it can only be failed by others.

                • Pseudonym

                  At what point does it become relevant that perhaps Clinton may have more institutional support from the Democratic Party because she’s actually been a member of that party and supported it rather than repudiating it?

                  Running against the Democratic Party and its current de facto head isn’t a great way to motivate dedicated Democrats regardless of one’s policy positions.

                • You were almost making a good point, Pseudo, but then you undermined it with you last sentence.

                  It is, and has been right from the beginning, obvious that Hillary Clinton’s longstanding connections to and position within the party explains her advantage.

                  You go wrong, however, in thinking this has anything to do with how the candidates have been running in this election. Hillary Clinton racked up that enormous endorsement lead before the campaign even began. You had almost made a good point, but then devolved into Clinton campaign spin (running against Barack Obama). So close! You almost made it!

          • twbb

            “It’s almost as if he’s running against a powerful political insider.”

            So he has a power base in Congress, but not a power base that would actually endorse him? Doesn’t really sound like a power base then.

            • Again, who did they endorse?

              I’m continually amazed by the Clinton devotees who insist on arguing that everything that happens in this race is a result of Bernie Sanders. Don’t you have any respect for your candidate at all? Hillary Clinton is an enormously powerful political insider, the most strongly-positioned in the history of primary politics. Why must her endorsement advantage be a consequence of Sanders’ weakness, rather than that obvious, historic strength?

              It’s amazing; everyone understood this six months ago, but some people have gotten dumber since then. Anything to take a shot on the internet, I guess.

              • Roberta

                Yeah, this confuses me too. I was expecting Bernie to lose, not because of anything he said or did, but because his opponent is Hillary freaking Clinton. From where I’m standing, it looks like that’s happening, except Bernie gave her much more of a fight than I’d expected.

    • The “Hillary won the confederacy” stuff is idiotic by itself, but it’s even more idiotic when even before the Sanders people started pushing it he had already lost Massachusetts. You’d think if there was any reasonably large state where he’d win a primary (as opposed to a caucus) it wouldn’t be Michigan, it’d be Massachusetts. But he didn’t, and the reason why is Massachusetts is a closed primary. Michigan, otoh, like most of the Midwest states, doesn’t have voter registration by party, so the primaries are open to any registered voter. Clinton won Democrats in the Michigan primary by a solid margin, but he crushed her among independents. But when it’s only Democrats–like Massachusetts and Florida, and as will be the case in Pennsylvania and New York–he can’t win.

      More than trade, or any policy position, the biggest indicator of Sanders support besides age, followed by race, is almost certainly whether the person ID’s as a Democrat or as an independent.

      • You’d think if there was any reasonably large state where he’d win a primary (as opposed to a caucus) it wouldn’t be Michigan, it’d be Massachusetts.

        You clearly don’t know very much about Massachusetts’ politics if you think that is true. Clinton beat Obama in Massachusetts. It’s not a left-wing state.

        Also, Massachusetts is not a closed primary; independent-enrolled voters can choose either ballot.

        • And independent-enrolled voters outnumber registered Democrats by about 50%.

          ETA: And are over half of all registered voters.

          • Wow, what a great link!

            It’s interesting that unrolled voters were such a majority in the 40s and 50s. I guess that’s the lingering effect of the New Deal realignment pulling Massachusetts out of the old Republican coalition.

            • Yeah, I figure there were plenty of New Deal Republicans in the style of LaGuardia, as well as people supporting big-city machine politicians like Curley locally as well as liberal Republicans state-wide. But I really don’t know.

              • Maybe there were, but by 1948 or 1952, they (and their kids) were independents.

                • AlanInSF

                  Always thought Boston politics was a matter of throwing out whoever you had been screwed by most recently, so it alternated on a regular basis between ethnic bosses (D) and WASP robber barons (R). “Liberal” and “conservative” didn’t enter into it, and since the Ds were heavily influenced by a very right-wing Catholic Church, Rs were more natural liberals.

                • Local and federal politics are very different. Just look at Chicago aldermen vs legislators vs members of Congress. Each level up gets more reliably liberal.

                • I think Alan, that you are assuming too many swing voters in your analysis. Very few of the people voting for the Democratic machine politicians ever voted for any Republican, and very few of the supporters of the WASPs ever voted for a Democratic machine politician.

                  Also, you’re overestimating the significance of liberalism among pre-New Deal Republicans. For the most part, they were the party of business and the rich.

        • It’s not a left-wing state.

          Heh, yeah, it’s somewhere slightly to the left of Utah and Tennessee.

          That might be a compelling claim if anyone could come up with a big list of primary states that are to the left of Massachusetts. There isn’t. And even if you limit it to the Democratic primary electorates, states to the left of Massachusetts are Iowa. And New Hampshire. And…uh…maybe Wisconsin and Illinois (the latter because of a huge percentage of minority voters overriding fairly conservative Dems from the southern suburbs of Chicago and downstate).

          So, I guess the argument is Bernie can’t win primaries to the right of Massachusetts. But so far, other than New Hampshire, he’s only won primaries to the right of Massachusetts. In the case of Oklahoma, so far to the right of Massachusetts that it’s one of four states where Obama got less than 60% in the 2012 primaries. It’s the state where Randall Terry picked up delegates.

          So, is the argument that it’s not far enough to the right for Bernie to have won it? Or that there are only a few states he can win if in fact he’s winning on the basis of overwhelming support from the left of the Democratic party?

          • Dana doesn’t think that the state that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2008 is particularly fertile ground for Hillary Clinton. Either that, or he thinks that Bernie Sanders is the sole relevant variable in determining outcomes in the 2016 Democratic primary.

            He also doesn’t think that Oregon, Washington, Washington DC, or Vermont are to the left of Massachusetts.

            We should all listen to what Dana has to say about politics in Massachusetts. Hush hush, children; the teacher is speaking.

            So, I guess if the argument is Bernie can’t win primaries to the right of Massachusetts. But so far, other than New Hampshire, he’s only won primaries to the right of Massachusetts.

            Calendars; how do they work? Are you supposed to go back and forth? Alphabetical?

            So, is the argument that it’s not far enough to the right for Bernie to have won it?

            The argument is that you don’t know what you’re talking about, and the little theory you put up there is wrong. We already know that both of those things are true. Mission Accomplished.

            Maybe, someday, when you aren’t in the sort of desperate flailing mode that makes intelligent discussion impossible, I’ll educate you about Massachusetts politics. Something tells me my efforts on that score would be wasted right now.

            • djw

              He also doesn’t think that Oregon, Washington, Washington DC, or Vermont are to the left of Massachusetts.

              Oregon and Washington are, to state the obvious, not to the left of Massachusetts in any plausible sense, because they have far too many Republicans. Look at Presidential margins in recent history: in the Bush/Obama era, Democrats win the presidency in MA by 25 points every year; in Oregon, it’s >1/5/16/12; Washington it’s 6/7/16/15. In Washington, Republicans–modern 21st century ones!–control the State Senate, which is unthinkable in Massachussetts. And not for any particularly noteworthy reason like a governing or electoral meltdown; there are swing districts and R senators just won more of them.

              For the purposes of the point you’re making you’re not entirely wrong: The Democratic primary electorate in Oregon/Washington are probably to the left of the Democratic primary electorate in Massachusetts, which is one of the reasons (but by no means the only or even main one) Sanders will probably do better there. But that they’re unequivocally not “more left wing” as a general matter, unless you simply don’t bother counting the Republicans.

              • ASV

                In the 2008 primaries, the Dem electorate in MA was 59% liberal; it was 57% in OR (source, WA not included for whatever reason). VT and NC were the only states with higher numbers than MA.

                • In the 2008 primaries, the Dem electorate in MA was 59% liberal; it was 57% in OR (source, WA not included for whatever reason). VT and NC were the only states with higher numbers than MA.

                  But as we’ve learned, political self-labeling isn’t a very good measure of actual political beliefs. In particular, the liberal label is under-applied, and the level of under-application varies widely.

                  That’s why I’d consider a look at the actual voting record to be more illustrative.

                • ASV

                  So what you’re saying is, MA, relative to other states, has massively more Democratic primary voters who call themselves liberals but actually aren’t? Because even if ideological labels aren’t strongly indicative of policy preferences (the labels actually are, because they act as cues to group norms, even if those norms aren’t “ideological” in the Conversian sense), the exact number isn’t the point; the fact that MA is near the top of the list is the point.

                • I wouldn’t say “massively more.”

                  And I’m perfectly comfortable with “near the top of the list.” Where did I ever say otherwise?

                  I believe I came up with exactly four states and territories, out of 51, to add to Dana’s four.

                • ASV

                  “It’s not a left-wing state,” it’s just “near the top of the list” of states for voter liberalism by any measure? If MA isn’t a left-wing state, there are no left-wing states, making this extremely stupid discussion even stupider.

                • “It’s not a left-wing state,” it’s just “near the top of the list” of states for voter liberalism by any measure?

                  Yes. There are a small number of actually left-wing states, where moderate liberals are compelled to run to their left to get elected, as opposed to a state like Massachusetts.

                  The stupid here is your misapprehension that “left-wing” is a term referring to a % of states, as opposed to a political descriptor.

              • Also, Washington doesn’t have a primary. It’s a caucus. The caucus goers in Kansas or Nebraska may be more liberal than the primary voters in New Hampshire or Vermont.

              • Oregon and Washington are, to state the obvious, not to the left of Massachusetts in any plausible sense, because they have far too many Republicans.

                This conversation is about Democratic primary contests – hence, the discussion of Sanders vs. Clinton.

                Of course I’m not counting the Republicans.

          • ChrisTS

            I have to remind myself, often, that there are just not many genuinely liberal states that are fully liberal. We think of cities like Seattle, and forget the rest of the state.

            • Heck, Stephen Lynch represents a district that includes a chunk of Boston, and no one is going to confuse that guy with Robert Reich.

              • And Ed Case represented Hawaii and Linda Lingle was its governor, so it’s not liberal. And Joe Lieberman represented Connecticut, so it’s not liberal. Vermont has had a bunch of Republican governors, so it’s not liberal. Rhode Island had Chaffee, so it’s not liberal. Steny Hoyer represents a district in Maryland, so it’s not liberal. Oregon and Washington both have lege chambers either in GOP control or within one or two votes of GOP control, so they’re not liberal. All of which means something something bern something.

                • Good thing, then, I never said “It’s not liberal.”

                  ChrisTS and I were having a different conversation. As for you and me, we were talking about Democratic primary electorates, and comparing them. Oh, and you were trying to argue there weren’t any states to the left of Massachusetts, and now you’re reduced to rebutting the straw man “It’s not liberal?” I’d feel sorry for you if you weren’t being such a prick about it.

                  “It is/is not liberal” is…well…it’s the sort of thing Dana Houle writes when he’s in a bad way, that’s what it is.

                  Enough with the Dana Houle death throes. You aren’t even saying anything anymore.

                • ChrisTS

                  By the way, Joe, much as I have generally liked you over the years, it is not lost on me that you and I are “having a conversation’ when you want to slam Dana and, yet, you slam me whenever I do not agree with you.

                • Is he like this every day? Is this typical?

                • I find that other people descend into joe meta in direct relations to their incapacity to ague on the merits.

                  So, yeah, pretty much every day.

                • Wow. Took a break from what I was working on to poke in to LG&M and I see he’s still going strong.

                  Well. Ok then…

                • Dana so desperate for some face-saving after the Massachusetts Debacle that he’s taking a victory lap over the mere fact that I’m still replying to comments.

                • Jordan

                  Wow. Took a break from what I was working on to poke in to LG&M and I see he’s still going strong.

                  Yup. But its only every now and then. Often its the occasional good, very well informed and somewhat insightful comments. Other times its pure salt, like now. Jfl absolutely destroys posts and threads with his own JfLness here. Its stupid.

              • efgoldman

                Stephen Lynch represents a district that includes a chunk of Boston

                And his political base is his very strong union connections. “Liberal” maybe not, but what’s left of it is still an important part of the Democratic coalition.

                • Yes, indeed: there is vastly more to understanding Massachusetts’ Democratic electorate, or any state’s for that matter, than simply saying “It’s left!” and calling it a day.

              • ChrisTS

                Hmm. I trend to think of Beantown as a special case, but it might not be.

          • Hogan

            Democratic primary winners in Massachusetts: Clinton 2016, Clinton 2008, Kerry 2004, Gore 2000, Tsongas 1992, Dukakis 1988, Hart 1984, Kennedy 1980, Scoop Jackson 1976. I’m not seeing left-wing even after you throw out the favorite sons.

            • N__B

              Scoop was pretty left for the mid-70s.

              • Excluding home-state and incumbent candidates, we get Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Gary Hart, and Scoop Jackson.

                It would be tough to argue that is at all to the left of the party overall, and may represent a shift right (again, compared to the party overall) over that time.

              • Except on defense, he actually was. Certainly on economics he was a Metzenbaum/Kennedy labor liberal.

                But “except on defense” approaches “but what did you think of the play” territory.

            • Kind of hard to establish a pattern when so many are from Massachusetts. Of those who weren’t, Gore was IMO to the left of Bradley, but it’s not night and day. Other than that, you’ve got Hart and then you’re 40 years ago. (And they’re not always good comparisons, because it depends on where in the race and who was left, etc.)

              But that kind of is my point. I’m not situating Sanders on the left and saying or implying places he wins are to the left of the Democratic party. In fact, if anything, I’m closer to saying the opposite. In Michigan, other than the college towns, Sanders did best in the most Republican parts of the state. He won all the heavily Repub places in Illinois and Ohio. He won Oklahoma. But then he lost Mississippi and Alabama and SC and everywhere else in the South. Fact is, take out young voters (and VT and NH), and about the only group he’s consistently winning is non-Democratic men. Sanders may think of himself as on the left, and many of his passionate supporters think the same, and on most matters he is on the left, and to the left of Hillary. But that’s not why he’s been able to do well in the primaries, it’s mostly because he’s crushing her with independent men. One of the same demographics, btw, among which she crushed Obama in 2008.

              • But that kind of is my point. I’m not situating Sanders on the left and saying or implying places he wins are to the left of the Democratic party. In fact, if anything, I’m closer to saying the opposite.

                DanaHoule says:
                March 20, 2016 at 4:46 pm

                It’s not a left-wing state.

                Heh, yeah, it’s somewhere slightly to the left of Utah and Tennessee.

                That might be a compelling claim if anyone could come up with a big list of primary states that are to the left of Massachusetts. There isn’t.

              • Phil Perspective

                People forget but John Edwards was once thought of as the most leftward Democrat in the 2008 race. That was the perception of voters anyway. I wish I still had a link to it. Sadly, I don’t anymore. :-(

                • From what I’ve seen a lot of vehement Edwards supporters who were with him because, they claimed, he was the most leftward, are with Bernie. Unlike Edwards–who went from being Lloyd Bentsen to Ralph YArborough once he left office–Bernie is and always has been consistently progressive on nearly everything. But it has been striking to me that of those unsatisfied with either Obama or Clinton in 2008 AND who thought Edwards was a good lefty alternative to them, it seems like many are now all in for Bernie.

              • ChrisTS

                This is interesting. Why should Senator Sanders be getting so much support from non-Dem (white?) men?

                • Because Bernie Sanders is running against a particular candidate with strengths of her own.

                  Independent-enrolled white men are Sanders’ strongest demographic because the candidate he is running against is particularly strong among strong Democratic partisans, women, and African-Americans.

                  It’s a mistake to think that traits of Bernie Sanders are the only factors driving the shape of the race – as we’ve seen in the endorsement discussion.

          • Heh. The power I never sought but have over Dilan I guess I now have over Joe.

            Me: The sun rises in the east

            Joe: Not it doesn’t ad hom ad hom ad yada yada.

            Anyway, sure, OR may be to the left of MA, it may not. But Washington isn’t a primary state.

            As for “She won it so it’s a Hillary state,” I’m not sure what the argument is there. I mean, does that mean New Hampshire and Oklahoma are Hillary states too, and that’s why Bernie lost them?

            Looking forward to your response that’s mostly about how much you dislike me. Those are always edifying.

            • You never sought the power to get your ass handed to you by Dilan Esper?

              Good, because it’s really tough to get your ass handed to you by Dilan Esper.

              “It may it may not…I’m not sure what the argument is.”

              You’re the one making the argument, Dana. I’m just demonstrating what a poor job you’re doing.

              Oh, and champ? “Thank you for once again sharing your consistently sound analysis,” was your line. Stop whimpering at me when you have nothing to say.

            • I hate “lol” offered up as mindless content online. But this…

              You never sought the power to get your ass handed to you by Dilan Esper?

              …really did make me laugh out loud.

              • Thanks, but the credit goes entirely to the material I had to work with.

            • As for “She won it so it’s a Hillary state,” I’m not sure what the argument is there.

              You aren’t sure what “Hillary won it last time” means as an argument for why a state is likely to be a Hillary state? OK.

              I mean, does that mean New Hampshire and Oklahoma are Hillary states too, and that’s why Bernie lost them?

              Lolwut? Bernie Sanders won both of those states.

              • If you’d think and stop reacting, you might realize I was undermining your witless argument by pointing out that Hillary won those in 2008.

                Newsflash: if Bernie stays in the race he’ll also win WV and KY.

                Hmmm, white woman beat a black man in places where a white man is now beating that white woman. Is there maybe something happening there? Nah, couldn’t be…

                • No, it doesn’t undermine my argument…and your last bit, though you didn’t realize it, is exactly why.

                  Of course winning a state in 2008, when she lost overall, demonstrates that Clinton has strength in that state going in 2016. And, in fact, Clinton once held seemingly-insurmountable leads in both New Hampshire and Oklahoma early in this race, far beyond those she ever held in 2008.

                  Sure, she managed to lose some of them over the course of the race, owing to her weaknesses and Sanders’ strengths, but she still went into those states with giant leads, just as she did in Massachusetts, where she managed to hold on. You’ve offered nothing (well, nothing accurate – you offered some factually-wrong claims) for your claim that Sanders should have won Massachusetts, while I offered her historic strength.

                  Heck, I even got you to admit that Sanders was able to overcome her big advantage in two states she had previously won, showing it was possible for him to do so – which didn’t happen in Massachusetts. This is supposed to undermine my claim that Massachusetts isn’t a strong state for her…why, exactly?

                  I’m not behind you, Dana. I’m ahead of you. Are you caught up yet?

                • Honest to God, “Newsflash” – why do you do this? Why do you fuck with me?

                  What do you think is going to happen when you pull this crap? “Hey, this time he’s really screwed up and I’m going to pwn him?”

                  No, Dana, you’re not. It’s going to keep turning out like this for you.

                  Drop the superior act. It’s never, ever going to end up any differently.

                • BTW Joe, I’ve stopped reading your comments. It’s kind of pointless.

                • But Dana, how would you ever learn such important facts as how Massachusetts primaries operate if you didn’t read my comments?

                  I would recommend you make that an ongoing habit, because reading them makes you reply to them, and then doesn’t go well for you, does it?

  • In Michigan and probably Ohio whatever advantage Sanders may have had on trade was pretty much neutralized by his vote against the second TARP that helped prop up the finance arms of the auto industry. If it was truly a trade thing in Michigan Clinton probably wouldn’t have won most of the predominantly white working class and middle class communities that have the largest concentration of auto workers. In fact, Sanders won by piling up huge margins in the rural parts of Michigan, and in the area between Grand Rapids and Lake Michigan, which is the most Republican part of the state. There’s a good amount of manufacturing there, some of it auto parts, but the Big 2 1/2 auto companies have little presence there, and the biggest manufacturing sector there is office furniture, which is not as vulnerable to overseas trade as most other manufacturing.

    • In Michigan and probably Ohio whatever advantage Sanders may have had on trade was pretty much neutralized by his vote against the second TARP that helped prop up the finance arms of the auto industry.

      This is a pretty silly claim, given that he not only won Michigan, where that issue should have been the most effective, and picked up a great deal of ground during the period that Clinton was hitting that issue.

      Any analysis would have to account for his stronger performance in the most auto-industry-dependent state.

      As with the TPP flip-flop, Clinton’s auto-bailout argument is probably best viewed in terms of a Rovian “attack your enemy’s strengths, not his weaknesses” strategy, which is about taking an arrow out your opponent’s quiver.

      • Thank you for once again sharing your consistently sound analysis.

        • …says the guy who doesn’t know Massachusetts’ ballot laws yet builds a whole electoral theory around them.

          You assume more superiority with less reason than just about anyone I have ever encountered, Dana.

          http://www.cityofboston.gov/elections/faq.asp

          Click on “Can an unenrolled voter participate in primary election?”

          • OK, I thought there was a sound reason he couldn’t manage to win Massachusetts other than it was part of the Confederacy. Maybe it actually was part of the confederacy, or maybe it’s just pathetic that he couldn’t manage to win it.

            Also, maybe he didn’t outspend her 2-1 like he did in Michigan.

            Addendum: it’s perfectly fine he outspent her in Michigan. I’m not making a virtue argument, just trying to explain why he or Clinton have won or lost states/voters/delegates.

            • Thank you for once again sharing your consistently sound analysis.

  • iliketurtles

    Hillary: Let me ask you something. When you attend Davos and hear Phil Knight and people like him speak at length about the economic devastation in S.E. Asia that would occur if Nike was bullied into making shoes at home, doesn’t that bother you?

    Bernie: No.

    Hillary: See, didn’t bother Trump either. That’s why I’m different. I can sense the slightest human suffering.

    Bernie: Are you sensing anything right now?

    • UserGoogol

      You’re giving Hillary the Costanza lines? No that doesn’t work.

      • iliketurtles

        Oh. It works.

        Hillary: Have you ever seen Bernie dance?
        Huma: [TURNS AROUND QUICKLY] Bernie danced?
        Hillary: It was more like a full-body dry heave set to music.

      • iliketurtles

        Bill: “We’re pathetic, you know that?”
        Hillary: “Yeah, like I don’t know that I’m pathetic.”
        Bill: “Why can’t I be normal?”
        Hillary: “Yes! Me too! I want to be normal. Normal!”
        Bill: “It would be nice to care about someone.”
        Hillary: “Yes! Yes! Care!”

  • random

    and his inability to reach parts most of the Democratic base on issues other than including trade and the economy.

    • Either Hillary Clinton keeps “evolving” to Bernie Sanders’ positions on trade and economy because she’s politically inept, or she does it because she realizes it’s smart primary politics for her to do so.

      I lean towards the latter. You?

      • ChrisTS

        Why would ‘evolving’ towards his positions be politically inept?

        • ProgressiveLiberal

          Ummm…I think that’s his point.

          • ChrisTS

            As often as I disagree with Joe, I am going to assume that you have no idea what his point was.

            • ProgressiveLiberal

              No, look at his post directly below mind. It’s what I thought it was.

        • It would be politically inept if random was right and Sanders had been unable to reach most of the Democratic base on issues of trade and the economy.

          But, as any remotely objective observer realizes, neither of those things are true. Hence, I lean towards the latter explanation.

  • jpgray

    If I were running Trump’s campaign (and thank fuck I’m not) my pitch to independent voters would center on painting her as Ms. NAFTA, Ms. Wall St Capture, Ms. Weathervane, and Ms. Iraq War. Identify her (however unfairly) in a simple way with the worst aspects of things people hate.

    A much more gentlemanly version of this worked well for Bernie when it came to indies.

    • ChrisTS

      But how is Drumpf – if we are, ya know, using facts – not even more susceptible to similar attacks?

      • DocAmazing

        Facts only work on audiences that can be swayed by facts. Can’t reason someone out of a position that they didn’t reason themselves into, someone once said.

        • Pseudonym

          Facts only work on audiences that can be swayed by facts.

          That’s just, like, your opinion, man.

  • Bruce Vail

    It’s my guess that TPP gets approved during the lame duck session of Congress this year, no matter who gets elected president.

    • Probably

      • Yep.

        But the passage of the TPP isn’t the ballgame. The next president will have a lot of discretion about, for instance, how hard to go after other countries on labor violations.

        • ChrisTS

          The thing I don’t get about TPP is this:

          Ok, Obama wants a new (pan-Asian) trade deal, but why this deal?

          Does he think we can’t get a better deal at all, or does he think *he* can’t get a better deal through this f***ing Congress?

          (I suppose ‘both,’ is a possible answer.)

          • Some of those, but I think he’s also genuinely part of the Washington Consensus on globalization and trade. He thinks that trade deals that promote capital mobility increase overall GDP for the partner states (which is true) and that “winners” will therefore outnumber “losers” and result in greater well-being overall (which is false).

            As a result, he really wants a trade deal, and is somewhat inattentive to the negative consequences. He also views it as an important part of his Pivot to Asia geo-political strategy, and is willing to pay some cost for that gain.

            • Arouet

              He also views it as an important part of his Pivot to Asia geo-political strategy, and is willing to pay some cost for that gain.

              This is the reason that TPP will and must be approved. I’m not saying it’s necessarily good for U.S. workers or that it was always necessary – though I think concerns on those bases are often far overstated – but this administration has staked far too much political capital on TPP for the U.S. to back out now without devastating consequences for our strategic standing in the Asia-Pacific.

              I think the Administration’s view is that it’s a necessary component of checking Chinese economic hegemony over our strategic partners, and will be a net win for the U.S. economy. The likely/inevitable negative distributional effects within the economy are just going to have to be dealt with separately. And I think if you’re being honest, the difference between TPP and no TPP is a question of magnitude of that problem. Failing unilateral withdrawal from every free trade agreement, some structural changes to the upward distribution of profits were always going to have to be dealt with as a domestic issue eventually.

              Whether from outsourcing or automation, those jobs were always going away in the end.

              • Linnaeus

                I think the Administration’s view is that it’s a necessary component of checking Chinese economic hegemony over our strategic partners,

                If so (and I agree that this is probably the president’s view), that would complicate the standard “free trade” arguments that are usually made to support deals like the TPP.

                • Yes, it is a bit of a departure from the 1990s, when promoting friendlier relations with China and the growth of a freedom-loving Chinese middle class (which was supposed to promote improvements on human rights and democracy) were touted as reasons to support Chinese MFN status.

                • Arouet

                  It may or may not be a departure. I think they’re not necessarily as inconsistent as they first appear – China might never democratize without a middle class, but before it does the ruling regime is likely to try to wag the dog to hold on to power, and will have more resources with which to do so. The remedy is to give the other side a better/more stable economic and strategic partner.

                  But that’s assuming a fundamental U.S. interest in a democratic China strong enough to offset the risk that we end up with an economically powerful, expansionist China of whatever political stripe. From a realist POV the 90s attitude sure was stupid.

      • ProgressiveLiberal

        Loomis: Garland or TPP – would Obama press for one over the other?

        • Just a Rube

          I think that would depend at least partially on the makeup of the incoming Senate; a Democratic majority would make the Supreme Court easier for Clinton, but might complicate the TPP, and vice versa for a continued Republican majority. So if the Democrats win big, he probably lets Clinton choose her nominee, but if the opposite happens, he may feel the need to press for a Justice now.

          Not that Obama would have that much influence on Republican Senators no matter how much he presses.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Garland is not getting confirmed in the lame duck session. It is Not. Happening.

  • Murc

    She almost certainly will, thanks to her structural advantages, his late campaign start,

    At some point it seems like there ought to be some sort of discussion about how absurd it is that Erik can say, with total accuracy on his part, that someone who started running for their party nomination six months before voting started, and for the Presidency sixteen months before voting for that started, started their campaign “late.”

    I mean, that’s messed up and unhealthy, right?

    • You should click through the articles, as opposed to jumping directly to the psychobabble.

      Erik’s entirely-accurate comment refers to Sanders’ late start campaigning in particular states.

      • I think Murc’s point was about the length of Presidential campaigns being “messed up and unhealthy.”

        • That would be better that my first reading.

          • Murc

            Well, I mean… you’re both right. My comment was indeed about the length of Presidential campaigns (and the primary campaigns that go with them, which are sort of a necessary precursor) being way, way longer than is healthy.

            However, it is also the case that I thought Erik was saying that Sanders had started his campaign in general late (true!) not that he had started his campaign in some specific states late (also true!).

            I mean… remember last September/October, the Biden Bubble? People were saying, and were correct, that a sitting Vice-President deciding to start a Presidential campaign four months before primary voting started and 13 months before the election was far too late for him to make a credible bid.

            And that’s fucked up, right?

    • Phil Perspective

      Under the circumstances, it is true. Clinton had a 20+ year head start re: name ID. It’s part of the reason Sanders got wiped out down south. No one knew who he was, generally speaking.

      • djw

        Clinton had a 20+ year head start re: name ID. It’s part of the reason Sanders got wiped out down south.

        OK, I’ll bite: why, in your theory, did superior name recognition give her an extra-big advantage in Southern states only, rather than all states except Vermont and perhaps those immediately surrounding it?

        The only reason that comes to my mind someone might assert such a thing is sufficiently ugly that I’ll assume I must be missing something.

        • Plus, she had that same high name recognition in 2008, when it was her that got wiped out in the South (other than Arkansas and Texas).

        • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

          This so hard. The “she’s only winning because inevitability/ electability” arguments are almost as insulting.

          • It’s funny, the “it’s only name recognition” and/or “it’s only media coverage” arguments are applied to both Clinton and Trump. But seldom by the same people. They’re BS in both cases.

          • It’s always amusing to me to see Hillary devotees insisting that the reasons she openly campaigns on are horrible reasons to vote for her, to the point of being an ugly slander against the people who act on them. It’s “ugly” to say that people vote for Hillary for electability? Then what are we to make of her urging people to vote for her on the grounds of electability?

            It reminds me of the commenter who called it a sexist slander for me to say that Hillary’s gender was an important part of her appeal, who then dropped off the threat when I posted the poll showing that her supporters cited it as the most common reason for their support.

            Are we supposed to lie about the appeals she’s making to spare someone’s feelings? About the reasons her own supporters give for supporting her?

            • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

              “only”

              • You are the sole person in this discussion to use the word “only.” Phil wrote “part of the reason.” DJW wrote “advantage.”

                You injected the word “only” into the discussion purely to make arguments that didn’t say “only” look worse than they are, so quoting yourself doing that doesn’t get you off the hook.

                • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

                  Sorry, but your assumption is incorrect.

                • Replacing words like “part of the reason” with “only” serves one and only one purpose.

                • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

                  I think you maybe should have concluded my comment wasn’t specifically about you from the fact it wasn’t specifically about you.

                • At no point did I say it was specifically about me. You might have concluded that from the two non-me people I quoted when calling out your misrepresentation.

                • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

                  My comment wasn’t specifically referring to those comments, either.

            • sapient

              What are you talking about? Most people (like me) support Hillary because they agree with her. Her vote for the AUMF was a mistake, but definitely defensible if you’d read people like Jessica Matthews, who thought that UN inspections needed to be backed by a credible threat of military force. i’m not sure what other beefs you have with her. What are they, exactly? That she cackles?

              • If you don’t know what the conversation is about, and it wasn’t written in response to one of your comments, a polite response might be to not engage in deflection trolling out of a sense that something other than worshipful applause is being stated about Hillary Clinton.

                • ChrisTS

                  Ah, only Joe knows what the conversation is about.

                • Now you’re being vacuous and pissy.

                  Just stop.

              • ChrisTS

                I still wonder about Colin Powell. Was he, also, duped? Did he go along to get along (which I find improbable).

                • N__B

                  Given Powell’s political handling of his (small) role in investigating My Lai, the improbable possibility rings true for me.

                • DocAmazing

                  Small but pivotal. Powell got his start covering up stuff in Vietnam. He wasn’t duped.

              • Roberta

                …no. No, it was not defensible for Hillary Clinton to vote for the AUMF. Not with GWB as president, not with his advisors being who they were, not with the entire political situation in 2002 being what it was.

                I’ll be holding my nose and voting for Hillary Clinton in the general election. I can do this without glossing over her complicity in the hugest and bloodiest US foreign policy disaster of my lifetime.

        • Gregor Sansa

          OK, I’ll bite: why, in your theory, did superior name recognition give her an extra-big advantage in Southern states only, rather than all states except Vermont and perhaps those immediately surrounding it?

          The only reason that comes to my mind someone might assert such a thing is sufficiently ugly that I’ll assume I must be missing something.

          OK, let’s make this explicit. You’re suggesting that PP is saying that voters in Southern Democratic primaries, among the Blackest voting populations in the US, arrived at the voting booth and said “Bernie who? Guess I’m voting for Clinton, at least I recognize the name.” Obviously, if that were really the claim, it would be as racist as you imply.

          What if the rhetorical shortcut here isn’t so much dog-whistling “Southern” for Black, but “name recognition” for established relationships?

    • ForkyMcSpoon

      I wonder if there’s any way this could be altered, and whether any such attempts would make things any better. An obvious change would be to compress the primary calendar somewhat by pushing the first primaries back a little bit (maybe the first primaries don’t begin until mid-March or so, and we still end in June?).

      That wouldn’t really deal with the incentives to start campaigning so long before the primaries begin though.

      Another question is why it doesn’t start as early in other countries. Excluding the parliamentary systems that don’t have any set schedule, of course.

      I also wonder to what extent this is related to the dysfunction in Congress. If there wasn’t this perception that Obama was a lame duck right now, due to GOP obstruction, would this reduce the incentive to jump in early?

      • Murc

        You’d think every Presidential wannabe or aspirant who has had to slog through Iowa and New Hampshire in the middle of fucking winter would be all about getting the schedule moved.

        More seriously, I’ve honestly reached the point where I’m slightly irrational about Iowa and New Hampshire in particular. I actually have trouble thinking about it dispassionately; I don’t just want the system changed, I want revenge exacted on them for their three plus decades of fucking bullshit. I’m aware that this is counterproductive but it’s a visceral gut reaction.

        • Phil Perspective

          You’d think every Presidential wannabe or aspirant who has had to slog through Iowa and New Hampshire in the middle of fucking winter would be all about getting the schedule moved.

          And Representatives and Senators always complain about dialing for dollars, yet never do a damn thing about it. Now why would that be?

          • tsam

            I’m sure if you have suggestions, they’re all ears. That system is bigger than they are.

  • Sebastian_h

    Argh. This is the kind of crap from the Clinton camp that is going to help Trump.

    • efgoldman

      This is the kind of crap from the Clinton camp that is going to help Trump.

      Nobody will remember it by October. One way or another, the Republiklowns will be such a shitshow that none of this will matter.

  • PhoenixRising

    But this hardly means it’s time for Third Way hacks to pat themselves on the back and start working for a Grand Bargain with Republicans that will gut the social safety net in exchange for circus peanuts.

    Could we hear a bit on not just *how* this would be a concern–if there is anyone in HRC’s adviser circle on domestic issues who supports cutting our already-inadequate social safety net rather than shoring it up, link please–but *why* it is worth spilling more virtual ink on?

    That is, the US economy faces a real crisis: the end of work. Between technical advances and changing demographics, ‘get a job’ is a non sequitur and wages are not the most pressing problem (in that upward pressure on wages can be effected through labor organizing and an improved employment market).

    The obvious solution, a universal basic income, is not on offer from our political system at this time. Neither Piven nor Cloward is running. Ideally, moving the Dem nominee we have, who has earned more votes than the other guy and more than the most popular Republican, toward a policy set of putting income inequality on the agenda should be cause for celebration.

    Instead we are getting the persistent suggestion that a Democrat who has worked for improved welfare for workers throughout her career (dating that from law school) is secretly expecting to roll out an attack on the social safety net.

    This is…confusing to me. And not terribly useful in understanding what insights the study of labor movements can offer citizens in an economy in crisis/opportunity. Is there just nothing useful in the history of labor movements for the current situation?

    • Murc

      Instead we are getting the persistent suggestion that a Democrat who has worked for improved welfare for workers throughout her career (dating that from law school) is secretly expecting to roll out an attack on the social safety net.

      Except for that time she was part of a Democratic administration that specifically ran on a platform of kicking workers in the face and slashing the social safety net, and which celebrated every time they signed a piece of legislation kicking workers in the face and slashing the social safety net.

      You know. Except for that time.

      • Denverite

        Except for that time she was part of a Democratic administration

        I’m not a Clinton fan, but that’s not fair. Her only even arguable formal participation in the Clinton administration was a failed attempt to advance a health care reform initiative that probably would have been a bit to the left (but also a lot less effective in my admittedly centrist view!) than the greatest liberal accomplishment since the Great Society.

        • Murc

          Hillary Clinton keeps using her involvement in her husbands Presidency, from start to finish, as part of her political resume. She did in 2000, for her Senate run. She did it in 2008, as part of her run own run for President. She also, back when it was relevant, used her own involvement in Arkansas politics as the wife of the Governor.

          If she’s going to do that, then she owns it. She either gets “I was a key adviser when it came to policymaking during my husbands Presidency” credit or “I was just the First Lady and had no policy role” credit. She does not get both.

          So yeah, given her involvement in the Clinton White House, plus her political history in general, it is entirely fair that people suspect she’s going to come at the social safety net, because twenty years ago she was clapping and cheering and whooping it up and posing for photo ops and being real goddamn enthusiastic when that administration came, hard, at workers and the social safety net.

          • postpartisandepression

            I am sorry the buck stops with the president – not with anyone who were his advisors.

            Nor even Bush gets to say Cheney made me do it.

            • Murc

              So Cheney bears no responsibility for the awful shit he supported. Good to know.

              • postpartisandepression

                Bush or Obama or Bill Clinton always had the ability to say NO. So no Cheney gave awful advice but he is not the guy who is actually responsible for the the final decision.

            • Where did Murc claim that Hillary Clinton made Bill do things?

              I see a comment in which he said that, as a top-tier counselor and operative in the Clinton White House, it’s fair to view her as being in line with its political direction.

          • PhoenixRising

            Are you referring to…Maybe NAFTA?

            Anyone who thinks, today, that NAFTA worked out beautifully for US workers is wrong. However, the people who thought that bringing our economy into a tighter relationship with the rest of our continent–to make us more competitive with the new EU–turned out to be optimistic, but not negligent in the conception.

            If there was a movement to turn back the 20th century’s advances in transport costs and not try to compete with Europe at the time, one that didn’t only predict the downsides of trade but offered an alternative to regulating trade to support US companies assuming they would employ US workers, I’m not aware of it. And I was a student in the field at the time.

            • DocAmazing

              Oddly, a great many people quite accurately predicted the damage NAFTA would do back in the day.That you were not one of them is nothing to brag about.

              • Indeed, there is more than a bit of “Everyone thought Saddam had WMDs!” about this revisionist history.

                There was, in reality, quite a large NAFTA opposition at the time. I know, because I remember being torn between them and the supporters.

        • It’s also a bit deceptive to pin the welfare bill on the administration only. I mean, it wasn’t the administration that passed it, it was the Republican Congress. And it wasn’t a forgone conclusion Clinton would sign it. In fact–counterintuitively to some, although it shouldn’t be–one of the strongest voices against signing it was Robert Rubin.

          Does Bill Clinton get blame for signing it in to law? Of course. I opposed it then and still do today. But it’s not serious to think of it as not being a tough political/electoral choice. I mean, a shit-ton of Congressional Dems voted for it too. And had he not signed it he may not have won reelection.

          • Hogan

            As I recall it, Clinton vetoed several even worse versions of the bill and got things like funding for job training included before signing it.

            1995-2001 was about harm reduction.

            • On the other hand, he did campaign on “ending welfare as we know it,” making work requirements and cutoffs part of his campaign promises.

              The Republicans certainly larded their bills up with crap like marriage promotion, partially because they understood the politics, too, and recognized the advantage of getting him to veto the effort, but the fundamental shape of the bill was an area of broad agreement.

              • Murc

                On the other hand, he did campaign on “ending welfare as we know it,” making work requirements and cutoffs part of his campaign promises.

                This.

                The fact that the Republicans were worse has no bearing on the fact that the Clintons, plural, actively campaigned on making sharp cuts in an already woefully inadequate social safety net. It wasn’t something that an awful Congress managed over their objections; it was something they were affirmatively in favor of.

                I continue to hold that against Hillary Clinton, and view “well, the political climate has changed since then” as a weak-ass excuse.

                • This is generally point where we see Hillary Clinton’s involvement in the Clinton White House reduced to “sharing her husband’s last name,” as if she was the equivalent of Lady Bird Johnson.

                  Amusingly enough, the argument is commonly phrases as if it’s a feminist one.

                • sapient

                  actively campaigned on making sharp cuts in an already woefully inadequate social safety net

                  He campaigned on it, and he won. He won the election as a Democrat whose opponent was selling worse. So we all wish that he ‘d campaigned on Universal Basic Income, and lost?

                  Who are you kidding with some idea that just because someone runs on “something” that “something” will occur?

                • Murc

                  Who are you kidding with some idea that just because someone runs on “something” that “something” will occur?

                  I don’t hold to this idea at all and am confused as to why you think I do.

                • When someone campaigns on “something,” works to make “something” occur, and “something” then occurs, I take it as a reason to think that person wanted “something” to occur and bears responsibility for it occurring

                  I’m funny like that, I guess.

              • Hogan

                On the other hand, he did campaign on “ending welfare as we know it,” making work requirements and cutoffs part of his campaign promises.

                Yep. And he won, same as Obama with no individual mandate and an Afghanistan surge. Things happen.

                • In neither of those examples did Obama campaign on the position and then execute in a manner very close to how he campaigned.

                  Ending welfare as we know it wasn’t “things happening.” It was him keeping a campaign promise. It’s almost exactly the opposite of “no individual mandate.”

              • Jackov

                In addition to supporting and ’rounding up votes’ for PRWORA, HRC used the same shitty rhetoric regarding welfare recipients when she was a pumping “tougher work requirements” as a
                Senator in 2002.

                Now that we’ve said these people are no longer deadbeats—they’re actually out there being productive—how do we keep them there?

                In 2008, HRC was still claiming welfare reform was enormously successful despite tons of evidence on how screwed the poorest of the poor were.

      • ProgressiveLiberal

        And those times she voted for all those trade agreements. And helped get momentum behind the last one.

        Except for those times too.

      • sapient

        When you name specific Newt Gingrich bills that were put before the President, and see what improvements were made, you get a better picture.

        • PhoenixRising

          Jesus you people.

          Came back to apologize for dropping this in the wrong thread (I mixed up this post with the previous one, partly due to the endless stupid bickering about whose interpretation of the fact that Bernie Sanders is not going to win a national election, due to the fact that he isn’t winning the primary of the party he just joined). And you managed to carry on with idiotic replies ANYWAY!

          That’s an accomplishment. After a fashion.

          And no, retroactively making Hillary responsible for the worst impulses of the Contract With America crowd doesn’t make you sophisticated. It begs the actual question, which was…

          Why are we proceeding from the assumption that a candidate whose career has been dedicated to getting those who have less to have more (education for girls/women, Head Start, funding small businesses, etc I could go on but that’s the point) is looking for a reason to shred what little protections our society offers our worst off?

          No answer to that, not because I left the question in the wrong place.

          • Murc

            The fact that some of us replied by refusing to accept, and challenging, the premise your question was founded on doesn’t mean your question wasn’t answered.

          • DocAmazing

            If that’s been what Sec’y Clinton’s career has been dedicated to, her time on the Wal*Mart board sure looks like non-career time. Leaving aside the evil done by the first Clinton Administraion (in which she was an active participant, or so she has told us many times), which included fun things like the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act and NAFTA, she’s done plenty that’s helped those who have more get still more.

            She’s better than the Republican she’s going to run against, but please, save the smoke-blowing.

            • sapient

              the evil done by the first Clinton Administraion [sic]

              What a joke. The Clinton administration left the country in a hugely prosperous state, despite the despicable Republicans holding Congress, and the mood of the country being Reagan nostalgic. Pick a savior who could have been elected, and could have brought the country out of that eight years in better shape.

              What morons.

              • Wow.

                Doc cites the death penalty and mass incarceration, and you tell us the stock market went up and call him a moron.

                A more perfect Clinton voter I couldn’t imagine.

                • sapient

                  I’m sure you would have much rather had a Bush or Dole. And you completely discount Gingrich. And you ignore the fact that Reagan was romanticized among a large percentage of voters. Must be nice to live in your psychedelic dream.

                • No, I’m a hold-your-note type voter. You aren’t very particular about what you’re “sure” about, are you?

                  I’ll be voting for the establishment drone in November if that’s what it comes to, just as I voted for her establishment drone husband twice. It doesn’t make them smell any better, though.

                  And since, prior to being a tough-on-crime president, Bill Clinton was a tough-on-crime Governor of Arkansas, and before that, a tough-on-crime Attorney General of Arkansas, you’re right – I don’t dismiss his entire record in public life as a consequence of Newt Gingrich.

                  “Psychedelic dream.” Hilarious. Did you buy a new Fonda Jane sticker for the Crown Vic, grandpa?

                • sapient

                  Well, good, I’m glad you can hold your nose. You have the luxury of living in a blue state, and can complain about conciliators who are actually making the country go leftwards by being conciliators in red states. I live in Virginia, and purists don’t win here, although we’ve gotten Democrats in office in both Senate seats and as Governor. Unfortunately, we failed to get out the vote for the “hold your nose” crowd in 2010, and my own very progressive Congressman got redistricted out.

                  I would encourage you to feign a little more enthusiasm, and imagine what an Arkansas gubernatorial candidate in the 1980’s Reagan years had to do. And yeah, we did really well in the 1990’s. Foreign policy too.

                • Criticizing someone for doing exactly what he wants, when he never gave any indication that the things I’m criticizing him for were contrary to his desire, is not a failure to recognize the existence of limitations on political figures.

                  You don’t even bother to try to distinguish between what Bill Clinton wanted to do and what he was compelled to do. You excuse every bad act as politically-necessary, based on nothing more than that a Clinton did it. That isn’t analysis; it’s hackery.

                  Don’t presume to condescend to me, sapient. Your pretense of worldliness is a mask for having no standards. You don’t know what Bill Clinton was compelled to do vs. what he wanted to do, and you don’t even care. You’re just out to excuse the lot, and that doesn’t speak to superior factual knowledge or political sense. It’s just hack work dressed up in self-regard.

                • sapient

                  You don’t even bother to try to distinguish between what Bill Clinton wanted to do and what he was compelled to do. You excuse every bad act as politically-necessary, based on nothing more than that a Clinton did it. That isn’t analysis; it’s hackery.

                  It’s actually not. It actually changes one’s worldview somewhat to live in a situation where you’re surrounded by intelligent people who think slightly differently from you – in his case, to the right of where he might have been if he’d landed in Massachusetts. When you’re in a bubble of people whose perceptions are much closer to yours, things seem very straightforward.

                  Have you ever been outside of your bubble? You should try it. Maybe you could test some of your notions of hackery when you see how creative people have to be to make anything at all happen.

                • Bill Clinton had no choice but use black people for batting practice to advance his own “tough on crime” cred in order to further his political career. After all, he began that career in Arkansas.

                  Utterly, completely unprincipled. The Platonic ideal of the Clinton voter.

                  Oh, and I hold public office in a city that voted for Scott Brown. I need your internet-comment condescension about as much as I need you to tell me to drop the Rs at the end of my words, you poseur.

                  You don’t know more than me. You don’t understand politics more than me. You just have some things you say that make you feel important on the internet.

                  See this handle? ^ Wrong guy, sapient. Wrong. Guy.

                • DocAmazing

                  Have you ever been outside the US? Ever been to, say, Central America and seen the consequences of our Kissinger-approved foreign policy?

                  This isn’t about purism. It’s about basic decency, for the most part.

                • sapient

                  The death penalty in the ’90’s? Really? Honestly, it was not the hill to die on. And mass incarceration was not the plan. Clearly, some legislation isn’t perfect. I would love to see what your voting record would have looked like,

                • The death penalty in the ’90’s? Really? Honestly, it was not the hill to die on.

                  What has Bill Clinton ever done or said to give even the slightest reason to think his work to advance and expand the death penalty was defensive?

                  I have you completely pegged: you neither know nor care whether any of Clinton’s bad acts were compelled by circumstance. You just use that line as a universal defense.

                  And mass incarceration was not the plan.

                  Bullshit. That bill provided $billions to build more prison cells, and made that money contingent on the adoption of truth-in-sentencing laws. Greatly increasing the prison population was exactly the plan.

                • DocAmazing

                  You really need to read the actual law. Thanks to Bill Clinton’s signature on that law, you can be put to death for growing too much pot. It set the stage for the Patriot Act.

                  This was not a mystery at the time. People were warning about it and trying to prevent its passage. Mr. Clinton signed it anyway.

              • sapient

                So now we’re blaming Kissinger’s crimes on the Clintons? Just because Hillary made a tone deaf remark?

                God, I’m glad I lived that history rather than having to read it according to Doc Amazing. And, yes, I’ve spent lots of time abroad, and know that places like China and Vietnam are really wanting trade with the US.

                • DocAmazing

                  No, we’re blaming Hillary for accepting the counsel (and publicizing the praise) of a genocidaire like Kissinger. She should have the intelligence to recognize what he is and keep her distance. Might have been useful in her response to the Honduran coup.

                  Nothing is stopping Chinese or Vietnamese companies from trading with US ones. Trade existed quite nicely before comprehensive “free-trade” agreements like NAFTA and GATT and (yes) the TPP. Trade will continue to exist without agreements that expedite capital flight and union-busting.

              • socraticsilence

                Wait, are you asking for an at the time better or a better example of a Democratic President leading through two years of a Democratic Legislature and 6 years of Republican control, because there’s a guy I can think of who did a much, much better job than Clinton did– hint: he’s still President.

                Not to mention, touting the economy of the mid-to-late 90s without noting that it in many ways set the stage for the collapse in 07 is amazingly short-sighted.

                But hey, I guess we probably just need to free the market from oversight to get that 90s magic back right?!

          • What’s interesting to me is the belief that she’s inclined to and capable of such a bait and switch. A few basic facts from which discussion should proceed:
            1. The electorate is more liberal than when Bill was president
            2. The Democratic base is more liberal than when Bill was president
            3. Elected Democrats, in particular Congress (both chambers) are more liberal than when Bill was president.
            4. She’ll be following a fairly liberal president who showed that a president can be fairly liberal and win, even a black president.
            5. From the start of the campaign–and well before Bernie’s campaign picked up steam–she’d been fairly progressive compared to anything any of the candidates was saying in 2008.
            6. Shel’ll be coming in to office via the early and strong support of several of the biggest unions in the country, the two largest having not supported her in 2008.
            7. She’ll know–and has always been constitutionally more aware than Bill–that the GOP can’t be dealt with as anything other than an unrelenting foe that only responds to strength and threat.

            So what’s she going to do, come in to office, screw over the far more liberal Congressional Dems, ally with the now largely non-existent Blue Dogs, and cut easy deals with Senate Leader Mike Lee and speaker Steve King? And ignore all the Obama people she now has around her, who are more liberal, more effective, and less willing to throw goals and principles overboard than a lot of the old Hillary people?

            [Yes, I know, some will answer yes, she will, because of course she will. Oh well…]

            • Oh, another thing: when Bill came in to office the biggest issues were crime, welfare, and cultural bullshit on which Dems were largely on the offensive. Now the culture stuff is on whether trans people can use public restrooms. Of course that’s idiotic and offensive, but think about how many culture battles the GOP has lost that that’s where they’ve ended up. And what’s a far more widespread concern than anything from even 2008? Economic inequality.

              And yet another thing: assuming she wins, she’ll almost certainly win with over 50%. Something Bill didn’t accomplish even in 1996.

            • Roberta

              The thing is, I suspect there’s a limit to citizen oversight. Even by activists. I think there are going to be things she can do to screw liberals without people finding out about it until several years later. Which is why elections, ideally, need to be about electing people who don’t just say the right words but mean them.

              I give Hillary credit for being a sincere centrist and a sincere neoliberal…which is why I’m only somewhat reassured about her being pushed left by Bernie. Because what’s she going to do when there isn’t a ton of public pressure?

              • I think there are going to be things she can do to screw liberals without people finding out about it until several years later.

                And she would do that why?

                Oh, yeah, because she screws liberals. How do we know that? Because she does!

                If only she had been in the Senate for 8 years where we might have a mass of votes and actions from which to discern her politics.*

                *Yes, I’m fully aware of the Iraq vote. It’s a major reason I supported Obama in 2008. I’m also aware that she voted for the bankruptcy bill (which, it should be pointed out, just about all the NYC-area Dems voted for). Beyond those votes–on which Dems were split–what were her other breaks from mainstream liberal Dem orthodoxy? Probably a few here or there, but in 8 years she was more Debbie Stabenow or Pat Leahy than Blanche Lincoln or Evan Bayh.

                • Roberta

                  The Iraq war vote deserves just a little more weight than an asterisk, especially for those of us particularly concerned about her foreign policy. Your response is very “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln…”

                  As for why she screws liberals (on some issues), that’s easy: she’s a centrist. Which is fine and dandy and infinitely better than any Republican, but it doesn’t mean she’s necessarily going to be a liberal when people aren’t looking over her shoulder and pushing for her to be.

    • Phil Perspective

      Instead we are getting the persistent suggestion that a Democrat who has worked for improved welfare for workers throughout her career (dating that from law school) is secretly expecting to roll out an attack on the social safety net.

      She did what as a board member of Walmart?

      • PhoenixRising

        Okay, I give up.

        Everything that was fucked up about the 1990s was caused by Bill Clinton and his policy-making wife, Lady MacBeth.

        There were no constraints on his actions, and he wasn’t selected by working-class and middle-class and gay and black voters as our best shot at fixing some very real problems from the Reagan era, compared to the options the Democratic Party puked up in winter 1991.

        It’s all her fault, and ours, for voting for her husband. And it’s totally fair to hold the many wrongs of Arkansas’ only power structure, the Walton family, who were put in that spot by unregulated capitalism in the 1980s, against the former First Lady of Arkansas. Absolutely.

        I have no remaining questions about where to go from here, or how to get there, because you guys have convinced me that all the problems this country is suffering from were caused not by the Reagan/Bush era’s failure to regulate, or the collapse of the USSR which had effects felt throughout the world’s economies, but by Bill Clinton. And he’d have gotten away with it too, had it not been for those meddling kids and their Great Dane!

        • sapient

          All I know is that the ’90’s were wonderful years. Everyone loved Bill Clinton, even though they were a little bit annoyed that he let his sex life play into the hands of the right wing monsters. Then the Bush coup occurred, and who would have thunk that all of the Democrats suddenly painted the Clintons as the national villains.

          I agree with you PhoenixRising. WTF?

          • DocAmazing

            If I hadn’t read any of your other posts, I’d have thought that was well-done sarcasm.

        • Murc

          These seem like odd and wrong positions to hold.

        • postpartisandepression

          I love it

  • postpartisandepression

    It is a complete fallacy that Hillary has flip flopped on the TPP.

    Lets just look at her statement quoted way back in 2012. This was a speech she gave as Obama’s Secretary of State while visiting Australia who were part of negotiating the deal.

    Australia is also a growing market for growing exports even as we welcome more trade from you. In fact, our exports to Australia jumped more than 40 percent between 2009 and 2011 raising from under 20 billion to more than 27 billion, and in the first nine months of this year, they’re up another 20 percent. President Obama set a goal of doubling U.S. exports within five years, and we’ve seen extraordinary progress in our relationship with Australia.

    So it’s fair to say that our economies are entwined, and we need to keep upping our game both bilaterally and with partners across the region through agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP. Australia is a critical partner. This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field. And when negotiated, this agreement will cover 40 percent of the world’s total trade and build in strong protections for workers and the environment.

    That’s key, because we know from experience, and of course research proves it, that respecting workers’ rights leads to positive long-term economic outcomes, better jobs with higher wages and safer working conditions. And including everybody in that, those who have been previously left out of the formal economy will help build a strong middle class, not only here in Australia or in our country, but across Asia. And that will be good for us.

    So the Secretary of State says warm and cuddly things in one sentence of a speech on trade she is giving in the name of her boss whom we all know will happily sign the TPP should he get enough republican support to pass it. And of course no one gives you the full quote because that would undermine the point you want to make. Having read the whole thing I am pretty happy with what she has to say about a possible trade agreement that follows these tenets.

    Note the next important sentence where she says that the deal will contain strong protections for workers and the environment. The TPP contains nothing like that and it is perfectly logical for Hillary to not support the final TPP because those things are are not in it. More importantly who would want a president whose ideas don’t evolve from the time when Nafta was negotiated over 20 years ago and now?

    You better hope that the repugs don’t give Obama what he wants and they are forced to wait until Hillary takes office because it is the only chance you will have to stop it in its tracks.

    • Oh my.

      I don’t think this commenter understands that international treaties like the TPP are negotiated by the Department of State, and thinks that Secretary Clinton was merely giving an attaboy to an effort from elsewhere in the administration.

      • sapient

        As far as we know, the TPP wasn’t concluded under Hillary Clinton’s stint as Secretary of State. Or was it?

        Also, have you read it?

        • DocAmazing

          Almost no one, including members of Congress who are supposed to vote on it, has read it. That’s one of the things people are complaining about.

          • EliHawk

            Complaining about members of Congress not going line by line reading a thousand pages of a bill was stupid when it was Republicans talking about the ACA and is still stupid when it’s Democrats talking about the TPP. That’s why you have staff and lawyers who handle the nitty gritty details of statutory language and help bring it to their attention.

            • If this was something you really believed, instead of a convenient line to use to shill for Hill, you would have addressed it to sapient, who raised the question “Have you read it?”

            • DocAmazing

              It hasn’t been released to the public; there are numerous organizations who would love to read it line-by-line. They can’t. It’s secret.

              Keeping trade agreements secret from the general public and then complaining that critics haven’t read it is, well, stupid.

        • The question of “concluded” would be relevant if we were discussing some minor detail about TPP that might or might not have been tacked on at the end, as opposed to (as with the case of Bill Clinton’s welfare reform push) the fundamental nature of the enterprise.

          As would the question “Have you read it?”

          But since it is the fundamental nature of the deal that is dispute, this is just a shallow attempt at deflection.

          • postpartisandepression

            The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was signed on Feb. 4, 2016 and was being changed and negotiated right down to the wire.

            Hillary Clinton stepped down from her position on Feb 1 2013. If you think that even the bare bones of the TPP were in place at that time then you have a lot more faith in the efficiency of the government than I do.

            And again I have no problem with the aspirations laid out in her actual speech. And my guess is neither would Bernie Sanders unless you are arguing no trade is good for the US.

            • Wow. Not even the “bare bones.” TPP negotiations began in 2008. You believe, of feign belief in, the idea that the first four entire years of Barack Obama’s presidency, plus a year before that, didn’t produce even the “bare bones” of an agreement.

              That is a ridiculous statement that, if I was to take it seriously, would advertise a complete lack of awareness about anything having to do with the TPP, beyond the political need to distance Hillary Clinton from it.

              And my guess is neither would Bernie Sanders unless you are arguing no trade is good for the US.

              And there we have it. You’re pro-“trade,” meaning, “free trade deals.” So is Hillary Clinton, as her Australian speech and, oh yeah, the entire rest of her public career, makes blindingly obvious.

              Well, most of us aren’t. Most of us Americans, most of us Democrats, most of us liberals. You and Hillary are on the other side on that one.

              And that, rather than the details that got ironed out after she left office, is the area of disagreement.

              • postpartisandepression

                I am totally against the TPP. Especially the ISDS part of it. I do not think that we have negotiated deals that are fair to american workers at all. But we already let everything in practically without tariffs anyway so for the most part if we can lower the tariffs that other countries have in place all the better. And I am not against trade in principle. Which was the real point of the statement you quoted from me above.

                What I am defending is the the fact that the TPP does not in any way belong to Hillary Clinton. Many people who call themselves democrats are using right wing talking points to attack Hillary’s record. There is no there there. Her comments in that speech are pretty innocuous and tout a kind of free trade agreement that would not be a race to the bottom- read them. Taking a line out of context and saying she supported the deal is a lie. Campos (I think) posted a list of 200+ comments that were supposed to show her support of the deal and if you look at all of them they were almost all just like this- a line in a speech as she went from country to country to talk about trade when she was sos. Using the repugs talking points to discredit a democratic candidate is shooting yourself in the foot.

                I do not truly know if she supports this kind of deal or not; even if her words say she does not.But it is not in her political interest to go back on this statement unless there were substantial renegotiation of the deal ( which would hopefully take another 7 years). And there is evidence in the past that she thinks NAFTA was a mistake.

                Besides the person who really is to blame for the TPP is Barack Obama.

      • postpartisandepression

        Oh my.
        I don’t think the commenter understands that the secretary of state is not its own independent office and the secretary is NOT an elected office.

        Under the Constitution, the President of the United States determines U.S. foreign policy. The Secretary of State, appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, is the President’s chief foreign affairs adviser. The Secretary carries out the President’s foreign policies through the State Department and the Foreign Service of the United States.

        Clinton worked for the president and didn’t set the agenda – the president did.

        • Yes, that’s the problem – I didn’t realize that Secretary of State isn’t an elected office.

          So now the Secretary of State has no influence on foreign policy, and we can write off everything Hillary Clinton accomplished during her tenure as Secretary of State because, after all, she was just a functionary doing Obama’s bidding. A glorified page, so to speak.

          Is that what you think?

          • postpartisandepression

            No no but you apparently believe that she is responsible for all the decisions in the state department even those that happened 3.5 years after she left.

            And that Obama is so weak that he let Hillary bully him into doing something he didn’t want.

            The buck stops with the president. The TPP is all his.

            • I have written not a single word about anything that took place after she left the State Department.

              I have written not a single word about Barack Obama not being fully on board with the TPP.

              You’re blindly reciting talking points that have nothing to do with anything I wrote.

              That leaves with nothing but an empty cliche – one, I’d like to repeat, that commits you to dismissing the entirety of Hillary’s record at State, not just this one embarrassing part.

    • ProgressiveLiberal

      Wow. This was pretty stupid.

      Even the Chamber of Commerce is absolutely convinced that she will sign the TPP if it reaches her desk. They have no concern at all.

      You’re going to be a very unhappy person the next 8 years if you think Clinton is as liberal as she’s saying she is during this primary.

      You know that Sanders and Clinton served together in the Senate, and that she voted for shitty trade deals he was against? You have to be the only one on earth that thinks she’s actually against the TPP. I almost feel bad for you.

      • postpartisandepression

        And the south was convinced that LBJ wouldn’t pass a a civil rights bill. Call me an optimist.

  • Pseudonym

    I’m curious, after scanning yet another of these delightful primary threads, how far in terms of drinks y’all are into this evening.

    • I’m on a goddamn diet, can’t drink at all, and I am so sick and tired of the constant pissing contests here.

      There are quite a few people here who should just whip ’em out, measure ’em, and stop fucking replying to each other for dozens upon dozens of comments.

    • ProgressiveLiberal

      I’m watching my little insomniac, so zero.

  • cpinva

    “In any case, a candidate with massive structural advantages that forced her late-rising challenger to cede many states because he didn’t have the resources to compete in them, which is implicitly admitted in the article, did not somehow defeat the left-wing insurgence on trade.”

    wait a minute, I thought Sen. Sanders was massively outdoing Ms. Clinton in campaign donations, by millions and millions? how is it that he lacked the resources, but she didn’t? or, is it that he chose to allocate his resources to somewhere else, having given up on Ohio?

    Sen. Sanders presumably knew he started late, and should have factored that into his campaign plan. that he failed to do so, or failed to do so adequately, is telling, and might explain why so many more people are voting for Ms. Clinton, then are voting for him. just a thought.

    • wait a minute, I thought Sen. Sanders was massively outdoing Ms. Clinton in campaign donations, by millions and millions?

      You did? That’s dumb. You know you can look these things up, right?

      Clinton has outraised Sanders throughout the campaign – but a ton, if you count her superPAC.

      And, once again, the “started late” observation Erik made was about individual states.

    • wait a minute, I thought Sen. Sanders was massively outdoing Ms. Clinton in campaign donations, by millions and millions?

      He’s matched or exceeded her spending in a lot of states. I think he spent more total in Iowa, but I’m not certain of that. (I think he was outspending her on TV in the last few weeks before the caucuses, but again, I’m not certain of that; whatever it was, he certainly wasn’t getting blown out financially.) He didn’t spend anything in most of the Southern states, but on Super Tuesday, in the states where he competed he spent big. He also outspent her in Michigan, and I’m pretty sure he outspent her in most or all of the mini-Tuesday states.

      Hillary has more cash on hand, but I’m sure a decent sized chunk of it is from donors who exceeded their primary election contribution limit, and anything they’ve given over $2,700 (up to $5,400) can’t be spent until after she’s nominated at the convention.

      The SuperPAC spending on her behalf has been very modest. (As has been the case with nurse’s SuperPAC spending on his behalf, and the same with the Repub SuperPAC’s that have spent on his behalf; in all cases it’s very small compared to what’s been spent by SuperPAC’s in the GOP contest.) She is benefitting from outspend spending on her behalf, though, via the NEA/AFT/AFSCME/SEIU/other unions that have endorsed her doing communication and political outreach to their members urging them to vote for her. But it’s hard to quantify that in the same as as TV/Radio at time purchased.

  • SullenHoo

    Anybody else watching this AIPAC speech? This is some infuriating shit. She’s just openly shitting on Obama and calling the BDS movement “anti-Semitic.” Christ.

    • Going after Iran now. The best chance for a diplomatic thaw since we overthrew Mossedegh, and she’s determined to shut it down.

    • Roberta

      This is why she and Bernie would not, in fact, govern identically, even conceding the institutional limitations on what a president could get done.

  • Jordan

    I truly enjoy when LGM becomes the JfL show. Its a very pleasant place where lots of good discussion between JfL and other people happens. There are absolutely no cases where threads get derailed, there are no cases where JfL manages to make the conversation entirely about himself, and there are no cases where JfL just decides to straight up castigate other long time members of the LGM community. Thanks to those things, I truly do love when LGM becomes the JfL show.

    • ForkyMcSpoon

      Don’t be ridiculous, upwards of 73% of the comments aren’t even by JfL.

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