Home / Robert Farley / A Brief, Personal Meditation on the 2016 Democratic Primary

A Brief, Personal Meditation on the 2016 Democratic Primary

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"Avoid fatigue - Eat a lunch that packs a punch" - NARA - 513896.jpg
U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Public Domain.

I did not vote in yesterday’s Presidential primary in Kentucky.  The differences between Sanders and Clinton are real, but marginal; I have some appreciation for each, but not so much that it’s worth committing my support.  I appreciate that sounds strange coming from an LGM blogger, but I think this genuinely is a case in which “not a dime’s bit of difference” is true enough.  They’re both fine, and I would have enthusiastically supported Sanders in the general election, just as I’ll enthusiastically support Clinton.

The long Democratic primary season, drawn out by the endless proportional division of delegates, may not end up hurting Clinton in the end.  It certainly didn’t hurt Obama in 2008.  It is good, however, at two things; emotional exhaustion, and generating bad arguments.

With respect to the former, the memory of 2008 is, for me, so scarring that I declined to endorse either Sanders or Clinton this time around, or really engage with any seriousness in the policy debate between them.  You may recollect the endless, bitter comment threads here at LGM in 2008, waged between Clinton and Obama supporters.  I wasted far, far too much time with that nonsense, and I’m simply not at a place in my life when I can do that again.  And if anything, the greater prominence of social media (in my life, and in general) has made it clear that engagement this time around would have been even more exhausting.  I did serve briefly, and in an extremely small capacity, as part of a group that advised Sanders on foreign policy, but more out of a commitment to the idea that any Democratic presidential candidate should have access to expertise than out of specific enthusiasm for his candidacy.

That said, friends have been lost.  “Bernie or bust” advocates are making no meaningful contribution to the Democratic primary race; they’re simply helping to elect Donald Trump.  And I struggle to remain friends, or continue cordial relations, with any progressive who thinks that electing Donald Trump would be a good idea.  On this point I’ve been vicious on social media, and the nastiness has been returned twofold.  But no great loss.

With respect to the latter, it’s not clear to me that the arguments that have emerged from the Sanders camp (and more broadly, from his supporters) are any worse than the arguments that came from Clinton supporters in 2008.  Never forget the Whitey Tape, the Eeyores, the Pumas, and every other bit of nonsense that came out of the waning days of that campaign; it was truly dreadful, and probably, on balance, stupider that what’s coming out of the Sanders camp now.  That said, the Clintonistas from 2008 had a better case in purely electoral terms than the Sanders folks do now; Clinton probably won the popular vote, and did not rely on caucus results to pad her delegate totals.

And the problem with both of these is that it just goes on.  And on.  And on.  Every system for nominating a Presidential candidate sucks in its own way, but I’m hard pressed to think of a way to generate bad arguments and create emotional exhaustion that the one that the Democrats have settled on.  In the last two contested cycles, we’ve effectively known who the nominee would be about a third of the way in; everything after that point is just bitter recrimination, and pundits needing to imagine ways in which the inevitable might not happen.  From a political perspective there doesn’t appear to be anything particular destructive about this (at least from 2008; we’ll see about 2016), but from a personal perspective it’s just… very… difficult.

And so yeah.  I just want it to be over.  I don’t think Sanders needs to drop out (the Jesse Jackson 1988 campaign seems instructive here) but I agree with Paul that Bernie needs to start prepping his camp for the inevitable.

 

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  • Murc

    I endorse this post. Also too:

    In the last two contested cycles, we’ve effectively known who the nominee would be about a third of the way in; everything after that point is just bitter recrimination, and pundits needing to imagine ways in which the inevitable might not happen.

    The fact that two-thirds of the primaries basically don’t count would seem to be a deeper problem than the bitter recrimination and pundit stupidity.

    I know this is one of my hobby horses, but fuck me, can’t we start later and compress more? It is patently absurd that someone has to declare their candidacy a year and a half before the election or be regarded as unseriously late.

    • Quaino

      I’m fully on board with that. If you were designing a system to create manufactured drama in a primary season, it feels like the Democratic system would be pretty close to optimal. The only thing missing is a weekly apportionment of some amount of superdelegates based on a physical challenge, prefaced, of course, by one-on-one tear-filled confessionals with each candidate.

    • Yeah. Robert writes, “And the problem with both of these is that it just goes on. And on. And on.”

      If a contested campaign that extends from January through mid-June is a problem and destructive, perhaps the party shouldn’t haven a primary calendar that extends from January through mid-June.

      Drawing things out with small, individual (or just a couple) contests every week or two at the beginning makes sense, in order to produce a level playing field for candidates who start out lesser-known and -funded, but we don’t need to be proceding at that same pace in May.

      • Murc

        I frankly see no reason why we can’t start in June and then wrap things up in about two months, with a month between the end of the primaries and the convention.

      • Rob in CT

        Yeah, I’m sold on the idea that compressing it all to one vote or just a couple super-Tuesday type events harms insurgents too much.

        Start slow and accelerate.

        • Gregor Sansa

          5 or 7 regions, which rotate in order (prime number of regions so that rotation doesn’t have to be one-by-one). The first 1 or 2 regions are split up, with the smaller states going first, one at a time within a week, then the rest coming all together. So that’s 9 weeks, tops, and you’ll probably know the outcome by week 4 or 5 at the latest.

          • NeonTrotsky

            It’s actually really hard to figure out a rotation scheme that works well because of how big California is

            • jmauro

              It depends on how many regions you want. If you go with 4 regions (with the first one broken up to make the early stages cheaper for candidates) it’s pretty easy. If you go with smaller regions, at about 7 California is large enough to be a region by itself without needing to combine it, but that is a separate issue).

              It cannot be the first state in a broken up stage, but there is nothing that would prevent it from going early in the process by itself, like round 3 or so. If anything you’d rather have California go early rather than late, since it’s a decent proxy to see if the candidates organization is capable of running a large nationwide campaign. (Missouri is a good proxy as well for messaging since it’s got two liberal “coasts” in Kansas City and St. Louis with a conservative center.

            • ForkyMcSpoon

              We’ll just have to split it into smaller states.

              Which has the added advantage of adding more Democratic Senators!

              Win-win.

              • mongolia

                There was a proposal floating around of “Six California’s” a few years back by some VC:

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_Californias

                If this version had passed, there would have been 3-4 GOP leaning states, and 2 D.C.-level Dem states. Don’t forget that the most total votes for Mitt from a state was from CA.

                • ForkyMcSpoon

                  Well obviously we wouldn’t use that stupid proposal.

                  I was thinking more along the lines of SoCal and NorCal, or at most four states…

            • searcher

              I wouldn’t go with a rotation — more a marketplace.

              The DNC can’t really control when each state has its primary, but it could reapportion delegates based on when states have their primary. Imagine for a minute there actually was a will to compress the primary season at the national level.

              The DNC says, 10% of the delegates will be awarded the first quarter of May, 10% the second, 20% each the last two quarters of May, and 35% the first week of June. 5% go to any primaries held before May.

              States can pick anytime they want to hold their primary, but going earlier reduces your delegates.

              • jmauro

                Considering that states still hold “non-binding” primaries and that both Florida and Michigan were seated as full delegations even though the broke the rules in 2008, my guess is the lack of delegates is meaningless to the state parties to get them with the program.

                Getting face time with the candidates and having them spend TV money in the state is more important than any delegates at the end of the process.

          • Scott P.

            All primary decisions are made at the state level. So first you need a strategy to get all 50 state legislatures on board.

      • Brett

        Do we really need that anymore? The “start small and obscure” thing might have made more sense a couple decades ago (like when Carter was running), but candidates now tend to launch their campaigns a year in advance of the primaries, and they have a ton of debates and time to build up publicity beforehand.

        I think we could do heavily compressed primaries and not suffer much for it.

        • But most people don’t pay attention a year before their primary.

          If you look at the polling from states in 2008 or 2016, you can see the same big Clinton lead until a few weeks before the contest, and then a narrowing, and he either catches her or he doesn’t. This is true of the contests in the middle of the primary calendar, just as much as those at the beginning.

          That leads be to believe that there are large numbers of people who do start paying serious attention just shortly before they vote.

    • Morbo

      It is funny watching British comedy shows discussing their two-month election cycles like they’re this big, interminable slog. And depressing.

      • ajay

        It is funny watching British comedy shows discussing their two-month election cycles like they’re this big, interminable slog.

        Unfortunately the idiots in charge at present decided it would be a great idea to introduce fixed-term parliaments in Britain. Of course this won’t bind future governments – if they want to, they can just repeal the law; we don’t have a written constitution – but it does mean that the election campaigns are starting to stretch out…

        • Murc

          Wait, what?

          What happens if the PM loses a confidence vote? Do you just get a new PM without having an election?

          • UserGoogol

            (Speaking as an American reading off Wikipedia although aware of the issue separate from that article) If the PM loses a vote of confidence an election is held, what the Fixed-term Parliaments Act took away was the ability for the Prime Minister (officially it was the Queen, but not really) to call an early election whenever they felt like it. Plus other technicalities.

            • ajay

              That’s right. Previously there were three circumstances in which you could have a general election:

              – It’s been five years since the last one
              – The government has lost a vote of no confidence or a budget vote
              – The PM decides to have an election.

              Now there’s just the first two.

              Historically elections have tended to be four years apart more often than five; 1970, 1974, 1979, 1983, 1987, 1992, 1997, 2001, 2005, 2010.

            • ajay

              Although, of course, if the PM wants to have an election, all he needs to do is repeal the Fixed-Term Parliaments act by a majority vote, and then have an election. Like all other acts of parliament, it just needs a majority to overturn. Yes, there’s a bit in the law that says you need a two-thirds majority to call an early election; but that’s pointless, because you only need a simple majority to overturn that requirement by amendment.

    • djw

      I fully support compression of the calendar, but I don’t see how compression solves the “we all knew who was going to win before it was half over” problem.

      • Snarki, child of Loki

        I don’t see how compression solves the “we all knew who was going to win before it was half over” problem.

        Make sure that the number of delegates available to be won in election N are greater than the sum of delegates from elections 1..N-1. That way, each election can be an ‘upset’.

        Whether such an exponential distribution is a good thing or not is not so obvious.

        • calling all toasters

          Works in game shows.

      • Pat

        I support getting rid of caucuses.

        • delazeur

          Also, voice votes.

          • BobBobNewhartNewhartSpecial

            The Young Turks have a good video showing just how absurd the voice voting in Nevada was. And the whole corrupt thing resulted in what, a couple delegate swing? Ridiculous.

    • ForkyMcSpoon

      The problem with that is that any individual contest that comes late in the calendar (regardless of how compressed the calendar is) won’t matter. At this point, even California won’t matter. The only way to make small states matter is to put them at the beginning of the calendar. But one could argue that having contests like Vermont, Alaska and Hawaii at the beginning would be misleading, as they are demographically very unusual.

      Better would be to pick a few states to be the first four contests, and then ensure that the stakes stay the same or raise every week (possibly with a break for the candidates in the middle), rather than reverting to small stakes in the middle.

      Probably the initial contests should not be IA/NH/NV/SC, which does not seem the best order for Democrats. If we want to start with a couple small states because it allows lesser known candidates to gain traction, Nevada and Delaware would be the small states most representative of Democratic voter demographics.

      (I’d also get rid of caucuses because they have low participation and the multi-step process is obviously confusing and causes stupid bullshit as we’ve seen, which would make Nevada’s contest go more smoothly.)

      • L2P

        Acceleration.

        Have 5% of the delegates at stake in Week 1, 10% in week 2, 10% in week three, 25% in week 4, and 50% in week 5.

      • Brett

        They should randomize the starting states. Then make it a two month process with larger numbers of states clumping together until it’s all over by March 1st, and we can then have the convention in April to give the campaigns a solid six months to compete in the general election.

    • It is patently absurd that someone has to declare their candidacy a year and a half before the election or be regarded as unseriously late.

      I think we could compress the primary into three rounds, with perhaps a month in between to allow the candidates to campaign in the next group’s states. The states could be grouped in such a way that the first round weeds out the chaff, the second round solidifies the leaders, and the third round picks the winner.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      Couldn’t agree more. Get rid of caucuses. Have a single, national primary day (there’s a reason we don’t have rolling primaries to choose candidates for any other office). Every vote will count and (if the primary system is well-structured) each will count equally. This won’t eliminate campaign bullshit (campaign’s generate bullshit as predictably as bulls do). But it will get rid of the most soulcrushingly idiotic bullshit that characterizes the final months of contested primary campaigns.

      • janitor_of_lunacy

        That will make outside money even more important. There is no way that Sanders, for example, would have been competitive if he had to campaign nationally before a single vote would have been cast. We would have to have the debates before a single vote was cast, or politician had quit, so the possibility of having a dozen politicians participating in multiple debates is very likely. It is also likely that there would be years where one, or both, parties would not have anyone with a majority, and where the one with a plurality wouldn’t reflect the wishes of the electorate — the typical Republican tendency for four guys to split the bible-thumping vote is a good example. Of course, you could then try and implement preferential voting, or some other voting mechanism which took into account these nuances and would be very likely to end with a single winner.

    • alex284

      and in the general election, the fact that the candidates only care about half a dozen battleground states should be a sign that that system isn’t working either.

      But, whatever, at least the Dem primary isn’t supposed to be a resemblance of democracy. Various rules in different states, caucuses, power that depends on the timing of the primary, superdelegates… none of this is about producing the Dems’ favorite candidate.

  • jamesjhare

    Hillary Clinton, May 18, 2008:

    http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=77371

    Bernie should show just as much appreciation for the reality of the race that Hillary did. That interview is a smorgasbord of bad arguments and wishful thinking.

    • djw

      Bernie should show just as much appreciation for the reality of the race that Hillary did.

      Shouldn’t he show more, because Clinton didn’t show enough?

      That she was a similarly bad actor in May 2008 restrains her ability to criticize him, but it doesn’t similarly constrain the rest of us.

      • Pat

        Well, if people learn from history, yes.

      • Murc

        That she was a similarly bad actor in May 2008 restrains her ability to criticize him, but it doesn’t similarly constrain the rest of us.

        This is true, but it does constrain people from being able to say that Sanders is uniquely bad.

    • calling all toasters

      I especially like the parts where she claims that the whole thing is rigged and refuses to ask her supporters not to issue death threats.

  • Hercules Mulligan

    This is one of the most even-handed reflections on the race I’ve seen, and I endorse it fully. I never expected to be blaming both sides for something, but it’s really atrocious how difficult it is to find an analysis of the primary that doesn’t distort facts for one candidate or the other.

  • pillsy

    I think social media is also driving awfulness in the form of clickbait, with the endless stupid horseshit that get thrown up to the effect that, say, if Bernie doesn’t get the nod, True Progressives will vote for Trump or Jill Stein or Jim McAfee or Bozo the fucking Clown. Is it representative of any real sentiment out there? Who knows! It might be, but either way I need to show it to all my friends because they need to know some absolute lackwit wrote something and put it up on the Internet, ’cause that’s such a new and exciting development.

    To be blunt, as much as I like this place, a lot of the writers here have been part of the problem. I like rubbernecking at the dipshits at Salon as much as the next guy, but it’s not useful in any way and will just fuck with your availability heuristic enough to convince you that Democratic party politics is an even bigger shitshow than it actually is.

    • Roberta

      I think this is a fair point. I wouldn’t know about most of these people if I didn’t read LGM. And of course no one is forcing me to read it, so I’m as guilty of the “stare at a trainwreck” phenomenon as anyone else.

    • brad

      I have a big problem with the idea that being a lefty means constraining your expression because of vague electoral coalition concerns.
      Sometimes it’s good to blow off steam and laugh at counterproductive idiots. That’s part of what is done here. And it should continue to be.

    • Snarki, child of Loki

      I think social media is also driving awfulness in the form of clickbait

      The twitterverse is just filled with master clickbaiter’s, it’s true.

      • rea

        social media is also driving awfulness

        A couple of months ago, Microsoft produced a twitterbot called Tay, designed to carry on plausible twitter conversations by reflecting what other twitterers were saying. Within 24 hours, it was posting holocaust denial rants, calls for putting blacks in concentration camps, explicit sexual remarks, and had endorsed Trump. It was quickly taken off line

        • pillsy

          At least when the machines rise up and kill us all, there won’t be any mystery about why.

          • LeeEsq

            A little blue bird made them do it.

        • BobBobNewhartNewhartSpecial

          Tay’s rapid descent was the result of trolls from 4chan, 8chan, etc. intentionally torpedoing the experiment.

    • sparks

      This place has inched closer to what FDL was like in 2008. It’s still far less horrible than that, but it’s gotten mighty annoying.

      • The Lorax

        Maybe in terms of its scorn of opposing positions, but not in the actual positions themselves, right? FDLers would have been Bernie or Busters.

    • alex284

      yesterday we were treated to “multiple sources are interpreting a poll as showing support for Sanders, incorrectly!” when “multiple sources” was probably “a comment on Crooked Timber and some dude on twitter with 10 followers.”

      I’m not reading Krugman now and a few other sites because I just really can’t be brought to care about a couple dozen dems throwing a tantrum because their dude isn’t going to win. It’s such a waste of energy.

    • Ahuitzotl

      Trump or … Bozo the fucking Clown

      I challenge for Repetition!

      /justaminute

  • wjts

    Well said. I was a strong Sanders supporter and actively dislike Clinton (though I think she’ll be a perfectly adequate Democratic president). That said: it’s over. He lost. He lost for the very simple reason that not enough people voted for him. He didn’t lose because Clinton cheated or because the DNC used arcane political maneuvering to deny him the nomination or because Debbie Wasserman-Schultz sent a shadow-monster with Clinton’s face after him. More Democratic primary voters in more elections decided that they would rather see Clinton on the ticket come November. It’s time for Sanders to bow out and for the rest of us to start focusing on beating Trump in the general.

    • witlesschum

      Yup. Cosign all of this, except maybe the last sentence. That’s a tactical decision as to when it’s best to bow out and endorse Clinton.

      • wjts

        Yeah, fair enough.

      • Pat

        I really like Sady Doyle’s case for Clinton.

        • wjts

          Yeah, that’s a very good piece. I have a sneaking and unpleasant suspicion that I would be more kindly disposed to a hypothetical politician named “Henry Clinton” with identical policy positions and experience.

          • Roberta

            If anything, I’m more kindly disposed to Clinton because she’s a woman. I find myself giving her leeway I’d never give John Kerry or Joe Biden (probably deserved–she deals with a lot of bullshit they don’t). And there are some studies showing that there is an advantage for Democratic women candidates in Democratic primaries (this report makes reference to this research, though its main point is comparing Democratic and Republican women candidates: https://www.politicalparity.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/primary-hurdles-full-report.pdf).

            • When you compare the glee with which Clinton partisans use the gendered insult “Bernie Bros” for her detractors, or the eagerness with which Democrats used “war on women” rhetoric in the 2012 campaigns (including even the general election), to the complete absence of the term “Hillary Whites” by Obama partisans in the 2008 primaries and his general running away from racial issues until he was compelled to respond to the Reverend Wright tapes, it’s clear that gender is a big advantage for Clinton, in a way that race wasn’t for Obama.

              If there was video of Hillary Clinton in the audience as a 1970s radical feminist lectured, it wouldn’t have been released as a rat-fuck by the Republicans. It would have been tweeted out by the Clinton campaign.

        • Rob in CT

          Oh, god, the comments…

        • witlesschum

          Honestly, I think the best case for Clinton to me personally is that I really, really, really can’t wait to see a woman posterize Donald Trump. Plus, my mom looks at her as someone who came up through all the same shit as she did and mom would be very happy if Clinton was elected.

          I think all the criticisms Doyle has of rhetoric about and by both candidates are basically correct, but I guess I think my preferring Sanders to Clinton is based on the principle I always follow of vote for the leftiest who can win. I think it’s based on substantive positions of Clinton and Sanders that I like or don’t like, not perceptions that are subject to biases. I don’t think Sanders is perfect or ideal by any means, but if I have to choose, that’s how I’ll choose.

          And Iraq was a pretty big deal. It was so damned stupid on so many levels and from so many perspectives.

    • Gregor Sansa

      Wait a minute. If Clinton is Stannis, and Trump is Joffrey, then who’s Brienne?

      • ForkyMcSpoon

        HA Goodman?

      • wjts

        Someone who’s actively bad at their job with ties to Sanders/Renly… Alan Grayson, maybe?

        ETA: I agree with ForkyMcSpoon on this. Young Goodman Brag/Young Bragman Good is/are Brienne.

      • calling all toasters

        All I know is that Bernie is the High Sparrow, not Renly.

        • witlesschum

          I hope Jim Webb is Courtney Penrose.

      • Denverite

        If Cruz ain’t Joffrey ain’t nobody Joffrey.

      • N__B

        Cruz is Stannis: an asshole who thinks the job is his by divine intervention.

    • Robert M.

      He didn’t lose because Clinton cheated or because the DNC used arcane political maneuvering to deny him the nomination or because Debbie Wasserman-Schultz sent a shadow-monster with Clinton’s face after him. More Democratic primary voters in more elections decided that they would rather see Clinton on the ticket come November.

      I’m sort of amazed how often I find myself saying variations of this on social media. The but-Bernie-is-really-winning crowd is stuck with the fundamental fact that he received fewer overall votes, and not by a small margin. Any explanation for how Clinton and the DNC are stealing the nomination has to account not only for her lead but for the magnitude of her lead, and I haven’t seen any argument that does that.

      Everything else is sour grapes because your favored candidate didn’t come out ahead. And I understand that! You had good reasons for supporting Sanders over Clinton, and I even agree with many of them! But Sanders has lost the contest, in large part because his message has struggled to find a foothold with a number of important stakeholder groups within the Democratic party.

      It’s not necessarily time for Sanders to drop out, but it is absolutely time for Sanders and his supporters to accept that the nomination is going to Clinton, and consider how best to make sure key elements of their platform are adopted by the Democratic Party–not just in this election, but in 2018 and 2020 and beyond.

      • kped

        “A billionty percent of the population is independent and they weren’t allowed to voteeeeeee!”

        That’s the justification. A secret horde of people who love Bernie but couldn’t show it without tainting themselves with the scarlet letter ‘D’.

        So a 3 million vote lead pales in comparison to the number of people locked out of voting. Take New York. They have about 3 million “Independent” (actually independent or unaffiliated). Michael Moore tweets that number out when Sanders lost to show how unfair it was. But…the majority weren’t independent, they were people who just don’t vote. And those people, the unaffiliated, had the deadline to register a mere two weeks before the election. And not all of these people are liberal. And going even further, not all of these people are “leftists”. But it’s a neat trick. Just show a number and claim they are all on your side, and that’s why you lost.

        • weirdnoise

          This is only the antechamber of that rabbit hole. Did you know that voting machines have been rigged, bushels of ballets thrown out or modified in front of Bernie’s poll watchers, armed intimidation, etc… Never let it be said that only righties fall for conspiracy rumors.

          • kped

            Oh, I’ve always known our side is just as bad (i know, both sides…but it’s true here) with these. Anti-vaccination started on our side and is still big with leftists and upper middle class people in the ‘burbs. And talk to any socialist/leftist for an hour and I’m sure “Monsatto” will be whispered in hushed tones…

    • Srsly Dad Y

      Also endorse. In reality Sanders lost as soon as it became clear he couldn’t make headway among voters from ethnic minorities, especially in the large states. If you don’t have at least significant support from those folks, you’re not in a position to lead the Democratic coalition. It sounds to me as if his campaign should have worked far harder on that front before it ever got started, but I think its failure to do so reflected the fact that Bernie and those around him thought of him as a protest candidate, and only belatedly as a serious candidate. (This is all based on Politico stories, so add salt.)

      I’m glad I got to cast a vote for so-called “socialism” once in my life, but if my primary came later it would have been a much tougher call, and I’m not in a position to criticize now.

    • The Lorax

      I was a strong Sanders supporter but I’ve switched to HRC. Not sure what to do with my Bernie swag. I was even faculty sponsor of the campus Bernie group and had to pull out of that.

  • Roberta

    Great post, and thanks (sort of) for the reminder of the vicious stupidity of 2008. I spent more time than I really should have reading PUMA blogs back then, which is why I have to laugh when people say the 2016 primary is especially bad. But it’s still wearying (if inevitable, given the length of the primary season) to watch the same basic argument play out. I support Sanders and agree he doesn’t need to drop out, but I also want to get past this particular phase of the primary as quickly as possible.

    • I’d say it’s even more annoying watching it play out this time.

      In 2008, nobody had ever seen a primary contest go on that long without a resolution, so it was within the realm of reason to have serious concerns that it would end up being destructive to the nominee’s general election chances.

      But now we’ve seen that one side of that argument was right, and the other was wrong. Yet here it is, back again.

      • Murc

        It’s back in an exciting new form as well, which is “Oh, well, Clinton actually really endorsed Obama back in ’08, so of course the extended primary didn’t hurt him. But Sanders will have his fingers crossed behind his back, so that makes everything different!”

      • Matt McIrvin

        There’s a big, big difference: the candidate at the top, and that candidate’s relation to the party. Hillary Clinton is a Democrat, has been a Democrat for most of her life, and obviously cared about the Democratic Party winning the election. There was no chance in 2008 that she was not going to endorse Obama, nor any chance that Obama would not endorse Clinton if the situation were reversed.

        We are not at all sure about that now. Bernie Sanders has said he’ll support Clinton if she is the nominee. But that depends on Bernie Sanders believing that Clinton is legitimately the nominee.

        It all rests on the thought processes of one man who expresses more contempt than affection for the Democratic Party. He could just decide to blow it all up, turn Philadelphia into a 1968-style debacle and destroy the party in order to save it, and he has the power to do so.

        • John Selmer Dix

          We are not at all sure about that now. Bernie Sanders has said he’ll support Clinton if she is the nominee. But that depends on Bernie Sanders believing that Clinton is legitimately the nominee.

          What in Bernie Sanders’ career makes anyone think that he would try to burn down (bern down?) the Democratic party like that?

          • Pat

            The fact that he disparages women’s issues as not being a progressive priority when he’s running against a woman for office.

            The fact that if the Democrats sweep both houses comfortably, it will show that the system can work. The more compromises Democrats have to make to get what they need, the better Bernie’s arguments that both parties are corrupt look.

            • Roberta

              Link to support your first paragraph?

              And what in Sanders’s career leads you to think he’d want to actually make the system not work?

              Also, the Democrats aren’t going to sweep both Houses comfortably regardless of what Sanders does.

              • Karen24

                I haven’t seen him ever say anything about women’s issues beyond a kind of “yeah yeah abortion is something that obviously bothers you women” blather. He and his supports generally respond to any inquires about women’s issues with a discussion of single-payer health care and free college. Single-payer ain’t gonna happen and certainly not with abortion and birth control coverage unless a quarter of this country vanishes and I’ve already graduated from college and I live in a dark red state that won’t accept federal money to make college free for my children, so that’s no help. I want an explicit acknowledgment of the unique and specific obstacles facing women and not a deflection about economic class.

                • I can believe you haven’t seen it.

                  That doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

                  But there are many reasons why you, personally, might not have seen it.

                • JL

                  You might be interested in this. It’s a bit slanted but the quotes themselves are worthwhile. His campaign site also appears to have a women’s rights section, though for some reason my browser on my work computer can’t access the site right now.

                  You’re painting his supporters with a rather broad brush there, though I appreciate the “generally” qualifier.

        • So, nothing about Sanders continuing his campaign through the end and not dropping out?

          That was the topic of the discussion – whether continuing the contest hurts the eventual winner. Not failing to eventually endorse. Not some paranoid CT where we’re all supposed to let out a shriek of horror because someone made a political reference to a half-century ago. (Do you have a Fonda Jane bumper sticker on your Crown Vic, by any chance?)

          Yes, certainly, if Bernie Sanders were to follow up his campaign by actively working against the Democratic Party, that would be bad for the Democratic Party. That you moved the goalposts to there suggests that there really isn’t much of a case that campaigning through the end of the primary calendar instead of dropping out early would do so.

      • Roberta

        Fair point. We also have people claiming it’s uniquely bad even though Clinton did it eight years ago.

        • Pat

          Clinton threw everything she had into electing Obama, and then served well in his administration. There was no question that she put the party and progressive goals ahead of her own ambitions.

          I really can’t see that in Sanders’ actions.

          • Roberta

            On May 18, 2008, she certainly wasn’t throwing everything she had into electing Obama.

            • L2P

              True! I think the argument is, though, that while Clinton was saying harmful anti-Obama things during the campaign, she eventually was a strong supporter of Obama. We’re worried about Bernie doing the same, but we’ll see. I’d love to be pleasantly surprised!

          • I really can’t see that in Sanders’ actions.

            And there were a lot of people who really couldn’t see Hillary Clinton doing so after the campaign she ran against Obama, especially at the end.

            They were being quite silly, of course. Letting the hostility they’d built up towards her over the course of the campaign blind them.

            • Pat

              Good to know that all of Sanders’ supporters will do the same, after they realize that in fact, the system wasn’t rigged against him. All those allegations of corruption will just be whisked away by the clean brush of time.

              • Amazing what you can do by injecting the word “All” into an argument.

                Other useful words are “no,” “none,” or “any.” Throwing in the adjective “absolutely” can do wonders when you find yourself arguing a dog of a position, too.

                I think, though, you do move onto more solid ground with your goalpost-shift from what Sanders will do to what his supporters will do. Though any sane person realizes Sanders is going to endorse the Democrat as he’s always done and as he’s suggested throughout the campaign, it is an open question whether the people who were attracted to him because of his denunciation of corruption will vote Democratic.

                And as I’ve written already, that’s why it would be useless for him to hug Hillary Clinton the way that John McCain hugged George W. Bush. They’re going to have to be won with a “hold your nose and vote, we gotta stop Trump and the Republicans” message. A message that the revolution continues under a President Clinton, but can’t under a President Trump.

                The effectiveness of such a message among that voting bloc is, I suspect, going to mirror your disapproval of it.

          • MyNameIsZweig

            Just because you can’t see it happening in advance, doesn’t mean it can’t or won’t happen.

      • Grumpy

        Maybe the 2008 and 2016 elections are occurring in sufficiently different circumstances that what was true then may not be true now?

        • EliHawk

          In general, a sample size of one is frowned upon as evidence for assuming something always happens.

          • Currently, we have a sample size of zero for the thesis that an extended primary campaign will harm Hillary, yet you’re happy to promote that theory.

            Again, I’m not the one assuming something always happens. My sample size of one may not prove a thesis, but it certainly puts a big hole in yours.

            • EliHawk

              JFL, 10:39 AM:

              In 2008, nobody had ever seen a primary contest go on that long without a resolution, so it was within the realm of reason to have serious concerns that it would end up being destructive to the nominee’s general election chances.

              But now we’ve seen that one side of that argument was right, and the other was wrong. Yet here it is, back again.

              JFL, 3:33 PM:

              Currently, we have a sample size of zero for the thesis that an extended primary campaign will harm Hillary, yet you’re happy to promote that theory.

              Really, it’s a binary question on whether or not extended primaries hurt or don’t hurt, not a “Well, 2008 is a sample of one that it didn’t hurt, so there’s no sample for one that it does.” That’s like flipping a coin once, and saying, “Well there’s a sample size of zero for it coming up tails. Where’s the proof, dude?” But you do you, logic guy.

      • ForkyMcSpoon

        I’m more worried about his attacks on the party and questioning the legitimacy of the process than I am about his attacks on Hillary.

        And that’s not something that happened in 2008, to my recollection.

        • Responding to the anti-partisanship that exists on the left will serve to make him more effective at convincing them to turn out in November. The people you seem to be worried about aren’t going to be moved by the likes of this, but if someone whom they respect as one of their own makes the case in their terms for the importance of stopping Trump, they’ll listen.

          • ForkyMcSpoon

            I wasn’t talking about his efforts to unify the party, I was talking about what he’s doing right now that harms that.

            He’s encouraging people who think the primaries are rigged.

            I don’t recall Hillary suggesting that Obama won any caucuses through cheating.

            • Hogan
            • I wasn’t talking about his efforts to unify the party, I was talking about what he’s doing right now that harms that.

              So was I. To repeat:

              Responding to the anti-partisanship that exists on the left will serve to make him more effective at convincing them to turn out in November. The people you seem to be worried about aren’t going to be moved by the likes of this, but if someone whom they respect as one of their own makes the case in their terms for the importance of stopping Trump, they’ll listen.

              What he’s doing now isn’t harming a later effort to unify the party. It is beneficial towards that end.

              • ForkyMcSpoon

                No, that’s not really addressing what I said specifically. I’m asking how does him promoting the idea that the NV caucus was rigged help anything?

                I’m not talking about him being generically anti-establishment or an independent “don’t identify with a party” type of guy. That’s fine, whatever. He doesn’t have to praise the Democratic Party organization all the time. That’s fine, whatever. Like you say, maybe that gives him more ability to draw in lefty indies. I’m not asking him to praise DWS’s leadership or something.

                But promoting the idea that the NV caucus was stolen from him, I don’t see how you can possibly spin that as “beneficial towards [party unity]”. He’s promoting it! So he can have more “authenticity” when he calls for them to vote for the crook who stole his nomination?

                Seriously. How the hell does that help unify anything?

                Maybe he can bring most of them back from the brink, but it’s also going to push others over it.

            • The Lorax

              I’m concerned with all the Bernie claims that various things are rigged. I mean, there is a thumb on the political scale and economic scale. But as Obama reminds us; that’s a reason to work harder and not fall victim to cynicism. I fear people will think that there’s point of doing anything if Bernie can’t get elected.

              But there’s a long time between now and Nov, and Bernie is not like Ralph Nader. He will fall in line behind HRC and most of his supporters will, too.

        • tomscud

          The Clinton campaign was talking up how not counting Michigan/Florida’s votes (because they jumped early in the contest) was the destruction of democracy and the end of America or something like that.

  • Robin G.

    A genuine question, because I walked away from blogs in Feb. 2008 and didn’t return to them until August of that year — did Hillary’s team say that Obama was stealing the election, rigging the system, etc?

    For me, that’s the big issue. It’s one (distasteful) thing to get ugly at the end of your loss. It’s another to claim the loss is illegitimate. The latter is harder to heal.

    • Murc

      They didn’t, but they did try to get states that had been disqualified from seating delegates (because they broke the rules) retroactively seated, because Obama didn’t campaign there as a show of respect for the process and Clinton did, which meant she won those states.

      That’s not quite the same thing, of course, but lets not pretend the Clinton campaign was much more dignified in loss than Sanders currently is. As I said, there’s a reason Clinton hasn’t been nailing Sanders on this; she is massively exposed to charges of hypocrisy.

      • CP

        Based on the two Democratic primaries I’ve followed in my lifetime, I’m beginning to suspect the lesson here is nothing more than “the candidate who’s losing will probably behave much less graciously than the one who’s winning.”

        • MyNameIsZweig

          Based on the six that I’ve followed, I can say that yeah, you’ve pretty much nailed it.

    • wjts

      …did Hillary’s team say that Obama was stealing the election, rigging the system, etc?

      As I recall, there was some of that regarding the Michigan and Florida primaries, yes.

      • Roberta

        Yeah, though as far as I know, Clinton targeted the DNC more than Obama himself (her supporters were another matter).

        http://www.factcheck.org/2008/05/seating-floridas-and-michigans-delegates/

        http://www.commondreams.org/views/2008/03/03/clintons-duplicity-michigan-florida-delegates

      • CrunchyFrog

        In 2008 Michigan and Florida moved their Democratic primaries to dates early in the calendar against DNC rules. In both cases the moves were spearheaded by Democrats who didn’t like the favored position given to Iowa and New Hampshire, but in both cases it was the Republican state legislature which gleefully voted to move the dates over the protests of the Democratic minority. In both cases the DNC warned the states that if they didn’t change the dates the primaries would not count for delegate seating – and in both cases the states ignored the warning.

        So for both states, it was known long before the primaries were held that the results would be meaningless. In Michigan, most of the non-Clinton top line Democratic candidates withdrew their names – the biggest name up against Clinton was Kucinich. In Florida the names were all on the ballot, but of the big players only Clinton campaigned,

        Realistically, were the primaries conducted in a normal fashion on the usual dates Clinton should have won both handily, so the failure to include them in delegate seating really hurt her chances. However, as the primary season came to a close it became apparent that even if they had been seated according to aggregate polling results Clinton would have reduced her deficit to Obama, but still been significantly behind. So her team began arguing for seating based on the actual votes (remember Obama wasn’t on the Michigan ballot, so he’d get zero for that state) and that argument really hurt her team’s credibility. Clinton’s team did try to push for a second primary in both states, one that would count, but that was never able to be organized and her team claimed – with some evidence to support them – that Obama’s supporters intentionally blocked that possibility.

        Eventually compromises were reached, but the delegates awarded weren’t enough to make of the deficit.

        Because much of Obama’s delegate majority was due to winning all of the caucus states his popular vote lead did not match his delegate lead. He did have a popular vote lead, but of course that was not counting Florida and Michigan. If you did factor those states in Clinton had the lead, but then he was not on the ballot in Michigan and didn’t campaign in Florida. If you guessed at the probable results in both states based on aggregate polling it is likely the two would have been nearly tied in popular vote, with the caucus states pushing Obama over the top in delegates.

        All of this technicality crap certainly made Clinton’s loss very hard for her and her supporters to accept – think Tuck Rule and Oakland supporters – and with good reason. Unfortunately, Clinton and her influential supporters didn’t use this as leverage to force through a change in the primary system to make it more fair across the board (and start by dumping caucuses), but instead to figure out how to reconfigure it to favor her in 2016.

        • ForkyMcSpoon

          What did they do to reconfigure it to her advantage in 2016?

          The rules seem pretty similar, as far as I can tell…

        • Matt McIrvin

          Dumping caucuses probably would have helped Clinton this year. Sanders did much as Obama did in 2008 and got his people to turn out in the caucus states, an easier organizational lift than doing it in a primary.

          • tomscud

            Though also the caucus states tend to be states that demographically favor Sanders so it’s hard to say how big a factor that was.

            • ForkyMcSpoon

              Washington voted for Bernie by a 40+ pt margin. Oregon voted for him by a 12 pt margin.

              Nebraska held a caucus that Bernie won by 14 pts. Their primary had >3x the turnout, and Hillary won it by 5 pts.

              He would still have won most of those caucus states, but the margins would’ve been much smaller.

              (NE caucus only decided presidential delegates, no other races, NE presidential primary did not decide any delegates.)

    • witlesschum

      I remember a lot of talk about how Clinton’s victories in primaries counted more than Obama’s in caucuses, which seems to me to be equivalent.

      • Pat

        She won more votes than Obama. She also won more votes than Sanders. It’s not in the least equivalent.

        • Scott P.

          If you take out Michigan, where Obama wasn’t on the ballot, she didn’t win more votes than Obama.

      • ForkyMcSpoon

        That’s more equivalent to Bernie’s whining about closed primaries.

        It is not at all equivalent to him essentially co-signing allegations that Hillary and the Nevada Democratic Party cheated at the NV convention.

        • witlesschum

          It is closer to whining about closed primaries, you’re right. But I think all three are basically the same in that they’re whining about the results of the system that was in place ahead of time.

      • Matt McIrvin

        Leaning on the primary popular vote was always kind of a weak argument, since the mere existence of caucus states means that someone whose strength is disproportionately in them (Obama in ’08, Sanders this year) probably can’t win the popular vote regardless of how popular they are.

        On the other hand, caucuses are kind of awful and a mockery of democratic procedure. And it’s a stronger argument for legitimacy when you actually also have a delegate majority: Sanders can’t even use the complaint that Clinton had in 2008 that more people actually voted for her.

        • L2P

          It’s a really good argument. It just doesn’t tell the whole story, and there’s a counter-story that’s probably more compelling.

          If we looked at any other country and somebody won with less of the popular vote, but with the support of a non-democratic process that theoretically represented the wishes of some of the electorate, we’d be very sympathetic to the winner of the popular vote. Or imagine you talk to somebody who wasn’t actively following politics. You say, “Oh, Clinton won the popular vote, but lost the nomination. Sanders is our nominee because he won a bunch of caucuses!” The first thought is going to be, “Huh. Seems a little shady.”

          • Matt McIrvin

            That was exactly how Obama won the nomination in 2008, and I don’t recall a lot of fuss about his legitimacy after the convention. But I’d like to see caucuses go away.

            But, keep in mind, this is a party primary. I think public party primaries are actually more the exception than the rule worldwide, aren’t they?

    • Matt McIrvin

      There was the mess with Michigan and Florida.

      They scheduled their primaries earlier than the party rules allowed. The party retaliated by stripping the states of their convention delegates: they wouldn’t get a vote. The Obama campaign (among some others, I think) responded by actually removing Obama’s name from the ballot in Michigan, but it was too late to do that in Florida. Clinton kept her name on the ballot in both states.

      Hillary Clinton carried, I think, both states. In Michigan it was a low-turnout blowout since Obama wasn’t even on the ballot.

      Then, the Clinton campaign tried to actually get Michigan and Florida’s delegates seated at the convention. There were a lot of accusations of foul play and illegitimacy being thrown back and forth over that. But I think they weren’t seated.

      • ForkyMcSpoon

        I believe they ended up counting for 1/2, and the “uncommitted” or whatever votes from Michigan were assigned to Obama.

        Which was probably only decided upon because it didn’t affect the final outcome.

        • Matt McIrvin

          Ah, thanks for the reminder.

          There was a ghostly echo of the whole mess this year: one of the reasons polling failed so badly to predict Sanders’ win in Michigan may have been that there was no good prior instance to use as a demographic model, because the 2008 primary had been so messed up and Michigan had a caucus before that.

  • Joe_JP

    People like you are why Sanders lost Kenutucky (apparently) by a fraction of a percent! No, seriously, thanks for the sanity.

    I do think there is a difference between Sanders and Clinton & people should vote for Sanders in the remaining primaries if they feel strongly about it or simply want to have a chance to do their civic duty. Or, vote for Clinton!* Down to D.C. after June 7th.

    But, we do need to have a sense of perspective about things.

    * Or, someone else — O’Malley received over 5000K votes, from what I can tell from the TPM vote count page, in Kentucky.

    • EliHawk

      Or, someone else — O’Malley received over 5000K votes, from what I can tell from the TPM vote count page, in Kentucky.

      So you’re saying there’s a chance?

      • Joe_JP

        The Never Clinton/Sanders for Democrats camp have a real uphill climb.

        (5700 now)

    • Hogan

      Consider there were fewer than 500K total votes cast, that’s pretty amazing.

      • Joe_JP

        fun with typos

    • Colin Day

      5000K is 5 million. Are there that many Democrats in Kentucky?

      It was 5,700 votes. Less than a quarter of the uncommitted votes (but still more than the difference between Clinton and Sanders).

  • Rob in CT

    I did not vote in yesterday’s Presidential primary in Kentucky. The differences between Sanders and Clinton are real, but marginal; I have some appreciation for each, but not so much that it’s worth committing my support.

    Also worth noting that since the delegates are allocated proportionately, it’s not nearly as important to put someone over the top. 51/49 and 49/51 are almost indistinguishable.

    I voted, and think it’s best to do so, but I can see why you might not have been motivated to do so in this instance.

    • witlesschum

      I pretty much always vote if I have the chance, even if it’s just something pointless like voting Ron Paul to monkeywrench the Republican primary.

      • N__B

        Ron Paul

        Watch what you say about the Trump administration Surgeon General.

  • Dilan Esper

    If I were Hillary, I would be less worried about what Sanders or his supporters are or are not doing and more about making her candidacy more appealing to Sanders voters.

    I mean, do you want to win or do you want to lose and blame Sanders?

    • David W.

      Clinton has been making nice with respect to issues Sanders cares about. So far though, Sanders hasn’t responded that I’m aware of.

    • Pat

      Of course, it’s important for the woman to play nice and be accommodate the man’s feelings! Thanks for reminding her, Dilan; I’m sure no one ever has told her that!

      • Dilan Esper

        It’s really cheap and offensive to mislabel a policy argument as sexism.

        But if you want to lose and blame sexism, you can I guess.

    • wjts

      Jesus. 95% of what Clinton needs to do to make her candidacy more appealing to me (and to any reasonable Sanders supporter) in November is to not be the Republican candidate for President. The remaining 5% is stuff like “Don’t murder my grandmother” and “Don’t promise unrestricted nuclear war against Portugal as Day 1, Hour 1 of your administration”.

      • postmodulator

        But you repeat yourself.

      • Scott P.

        Those perfidious Spaniards, though…

        • wjts

          Well, they’ve got it coming, obviously. And I would also be prepared to compromise on a conventional war with the Low Countries.

          • Denverite

            That’s a bridge too far in my book.

            • LFC

              Your check from the estate of Cornelius Ryan is in the mail. (Or something…)

        • ColBatGuano

          We need another Peninsular War!

    • Alex.S

      She should do something like call for a public option where people can buy into Medicare at age 55?

      • Scott Lemieux

        Or maybe, I don’t know, emphasize her opposition to the Hyde Amendment? Just spitballing here.

        • calling all toasters

          Oh, sure, but what have the Romans really done for us?

        • NonyNony

          Doesn’t coumt. Progressive white men get nothing out of opposition to the Hyde Amendment. That’s just more of those “woman issues” that distract the Democrats from Real True Progressive Legislation.

          • Dilan Esper

            I think she is moving to the left. She needs to move farther.

    • Jay B

      She is and has been. But it certainly appears that there’s a significant percentage of bernie bros who can’t take notice of it because, I’m guessing;

      a. They don’t believe the Zombie Witch of Thurn can be honest about several lifelong beliefs of hers.
      b. The DNC was soooooo tricksy with their longstanding rules few of them bothered to learn beforehand.
      c. It’s a compromise to support Clinton and your tender consciences — which stand so much LARGER than anyone else’s — can’t bear the weight.

      • Dilan Esper

        I suspect promises to pull out of trade agreements, pull out of the middle east and support the anti war left’s agenda, and reinstate Glass Steagel could go a long way.

        • Rob in CT

          I’m really not sure they would. Especially on trade and FP… would hardcore Berniacs believe her? Supporting Warren’s 21st Century GS update would be good and I think believable, though again, “she’s a Wall St. sellout!!!111!!” seems to be a very common belief and therefore, if she goes there would it be believed?

          The lying flip-flopper lyingly flip-flops again might be the response, not “yay! She’s with us, so we’re with her!”

          I hope not, but…

          • Roberta

            I kind of think the term “hardcore Berniacs” implies by definition that you’re talking about people who won’t believe her.

            I myself wouldn’t “believe” her, but that’s neither here nor there–promises made in public have value regardless of what you think is in the heart of hearts of the politician who makes them. And most Sanders supporters I know are aware of that.

            • Rob in CT

              I kind of think the term “hardcore Berniacs” implies by definition that you’re talking about people who won’t believe her.

              Well, yes, and these are the people in my estimation who would be likely to need convincing to vote D in November.

          • tomscud

            I think that once the long slow pressure cooker of a losing campaign is over, a lot of people currently still invested in the Sanders campaign will come around on a lot of things, even if only on the basis of “well she may be an opportunist but at least she’s one beholden to my politics.”

        • Jay B

          So, lip service then. Because some of those things would simply not be true — pull out of the Middle East? SANDERS wouldn’t pull out of the Middle East. — but then again, she’s come out against TPP, hasn’t been saber-rattling on the trail and she’s come out in favor of several banking regulations.

          There are no magic words.

          • Pat

            Pretty much. One of the things I like about Democrats is that they don’t just lie to their supporters about what’s possible and/or prudent.

            It distinguishes them from the opposition pretty well.

            • I really think that writing Hillary Clinton out of the Democratic Party for articulating positions on gun control and, quite recently, the public option is uncalled for.

  • yet_another_lawyer

    I have never seen that particular poster before. Kind of wondering if anybody ever started eating a bigger lunch because the poster told them to.

  • David W.

    The contest was closer in 2008, and Clinton did have some valid reasons to not concede until the bitter end even though the delegate math was against her. The dispute over Michigan and Florida’s delegates being seated at the 2008 convention was something she fought hard over in hopes of gaining delegates, but to no avail. But I never got the sense that Clinton herself was going to be anything other than a team player if/when she lost out on the nomination.

    Now this time around Sanders has pushed the line about the system being rigged against him (which it isn’t) enough that I wasn’t surprised about what he said (and didn’t say) about recent events in Nevada. Nor am I surprised about the push-back from the DNC over it, because they don’t want long, drawn out dramatic floor fights in Philadelphia over the party platform and other party business. So perhaps both sides are playing a bit of kabuki theater over how much influence Sanders has over the Democratic Party’s direction.

    I’m more concerned over the Bernie-or-Busters than I was with PUMAs, because PUMAs really had no one else to vote for, while BoB’s do for Stein. Sanders does have a few cards to play with respect to how heartfelt or tepid his support is for the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton in the general election. The DNC and Clinton of course have cards of their own in the form of having control over whether or not Sanders will have a significant role to play within the party, since they will have a majority of the votes at the convention in Philadelphia. Because unlike the Obama-Clinton rivalry in 2008, the Sanders-Clinton contest does feature some real ideological differences (single-payer vs. ACA, how best to regulate the finance sector of the economy, the use of military force) as well as the Establishment vs. Insurgent narrative.

    • Roberta

      I’m more concerned over the Bernie-or-Busters than I was with PUMAs, because PUMAs really had no one else to vote for, while BoB’s do for Stein.

      Sure they did: McCain-Palin. They frequently touted the line that Palin was the feminist candidate.

      For example, just a few days before the election: https://thenewagenda.net/2008/10/31/sarah-palin-a-rorschach-for-feminists/

      And then even after the election, touting Palin as a 2012 alternative: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2009/10/04/should-women-back-palin-in-2012.html

      Now I don’t imagine for a second that the pro-Palin PUMAs who lived in swing states were numerous, but I think the same holds true for the Bernie-or-Busters in swing states.

      • David W.

        I read some of the PUMA stuff back then and the line that Palin was the feminist candidate was/is laughable on its face. PUMAs were a non-factor in the 2008 election and would have been even if the race had been close.

        • Roberta

          I agree, but I don’t see any evidence the Bernie-or-Busters are a bigger factor than the PUMAs.

          • L2P

            I totally do. The Bern-or-Bust crowd looks a ton like Nader 2. I’m horrified that we’re going to repeat 2000. I had no doubt that in 2008, the PUMA crowd in the end were almost unanimously going to support Obama.

            I’d love to be happily disappointed, though. It’s entirely possible this is hot air, and once the immediate anger is gone they’ll vote the way that doesn’t let Trump in.

            • Jay B

              At the time PUMA made a case that they’d splinter the women’s vote in favor of Granpa McCain. I don’t see the same electoral strength in a splinter group of democratic socialists.

              Nader got what, 2% of the vote with a much different and whiter electorate ever-so-slightly tilting the Florida vote (but then again, not really) to the candidate whose brother and whose campaign co-chair, actually ran the vote in Florida?

              Nader’s folly was catastrophic, but this is an ENTIRELY different playing field and the margins will not be razor-thin.

              • Pat

                Doesn’t change the horror at the possibility of people making the same mistake.

              • Matt McIrvin

                Don’t think “democratic socialists”, think “white men”.

                And currently the poll margins do look thin, potentially razor-thin; Clinton has hemorrhaged support over the last couple of weeks as Trump wrapped up the R nomination and the Clinton-Sanders conflict went white-hot.

                • Roberta

                  The group of white men who are Bernie-or-Busters seems no more significant to me than the white people who were extremely bitter about Hillary at this time in 2008.

                  Could they make a difference in a razor-thin election? Sure, that’s always possible. Currently I’m not seeing much reason they will, though.

                • If this is something that only exists during the period that one party had a competitive contest and the other did not, then why should we expect it to continue to exist once the Democratic primaries end?

  • Eli Rabett

    There was a post somewhere about Sanders not running ads in CA. If true this leaves him with a yuge, better than Trump, bank and the significant question is what is he going to do with it.

    The best argument about Sanders is that he never did anything for other Democratic candidates in the past, and is doing damn little for them now. Clinton built up support and trust amongst the superdelegates by campaigning for them in the past. She won the superdelegate race in 2014 and earlier which is why progressive office holders like Al Frankin are strongly for her, as well as DLC types she worked for.

    • ForkyMcSpoon

      Bernie’s running ads in California.

      What he’s cut is most of his ground game, so ads and rallies are pretty much it.

      • EliHawk

        Yeah, his fundraising was way down in April, and given his burn rate, I suspect when his April report comes out in a few days, he’ll have had a pretty bad cash on hand on 4/30, and that’s probably gotten worse since then.

  • libarbarian

    Did any Bernie supporter really think we were going to win? I pulled his level but certainly didn’t have that illusion.

    • postmodulator

      There were about ten minutes that I thought it was a possibility. I mostly pictured the amusing spectacle of having both parties nominate candidates who did not get into the race expecting to win. But life isn’t a Sorkin screenplay.

    • I never rated his chances above “longshot.” As things got wore, I’d add adjectives, and when (for example) he pulled off a win like Michigan, I’d remove them.

    • witlesschum

      I never really did, no.

  • Peterr

    I think Bernie and Hillary could work things out fairly easily if this was just between the two of them, but DWS is really making that difficult in the way she has conducted herself as chair of the DNC.

    • T.E. Shaw

      Maybe the best way to heal the party is to use a primetime slot at the convention to tar and feather DWS?

    • Robert M.

      For sure, and I say that as a Clinton supporter (albeit a fairly lukewarm one). I’d be really happy to see Wasserman-Schulz go.

    • David W.

      I don’t see DWS as being an impediment at all to any deal making between Clinton and Sanders. That said, Sanders will also have to deal with other players in the Democratic Party if he wants his agenda taken up, and scapegoating DWS won’t help him with that.

    • EliHawk

      What’s funny is the easiest way to de facto get rid of DWS is concede. The moment that a party has a nominee, their campaign sends a representative to the DNC and he or she ends up calling all the shots. The moment Clinton conceded in ’08, Dean was a passenger. The moment Sanders concedes, someone like Podesta goes to become the de facto chair of the DNC, and DWS becomes a glorified cable news pundit.

      • David W.

        The real value of DWS is as a scapegoat as far as the Sanders campaign is concerned.

  • Sebastian_h

    “All of this technicality crap certainly made Clinton’s loss very hard for her and her supporters to accept – think Tuck Rule and Oakland supporters – and with good reason. Unfortunately, Clinton and her influential supporters didn’t use this as leverage to force through a change in the primary system to make it more fair across the board (and start by dumping caucuses), but instead to figure out how to reconfigure it to favor her in 2016.”

    This kind of thing happens nearly every time and it is so frustrating that the result is never: we should make things more transparent and accessible for voters. Why are we having ugly shenanigans in Nevada? Clinton is far enough ahead that her operation could have said “let’s not play stupid rules games over six delegates because we need these people later”. But no, the Clinton machine has to act like a machine.

    • Alex.S

      What should the Clinton campaign and the Nevada Democratic party have done? The Sanders campaign had fewer delegates at the convention and had equal representation on the drafting committees for the convention rules and the party platform.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Clinton is far enough ahead that her operation could have said “let’s not play stupid rules games over six delegates because we need these people later”. But no, the Clinton machine has to act like a machine.

      Yes, it is absolutely outrageous that the Clinton campaign wanted the majority of delegates awarded to the candidate with the most votes. Women really need to be more accommodating lest they force people furious about their failure to game the vote to be unrepentant sexists.

      Clinton trying to get the Michigan and Florida straw votes counted in ’08 was outrageous. The Sanders campaign’s Nevada argument that “louder” should trump “more” when counting votes is no less so.

      • Joe_JP

        Women really need to be more accommodating

        Saw a bit of this on the thread. Women Sanders supporters joined the craziness in Nevada. Does this foreshadow the “they are against her since she is a woman” (a replacement of “they are against him because he’s black”) talk after (knock on wood) she wins in November?

        (racists and sexists are on the other side here, but they are there anyways as we saw when Bill Clinton was President with if anything more vitriol against him at times)

      • Sebastian_h

        Im pretty sure that translating my comment into “women need to be more accommodating” suggests you aren’t listening or responding to me at all. A good politician doesn’t cause more internal strife with potential supporters when he has already won than he has to. That is great advice if you replace ‘he’ with ‘she’.

        If Sanders should give up because it is clear he has lost (and it is) then similarly Clinton should be pivoting toward being magnanimous to potential supporters because she has won. That isn’t sexist advice, that is bog standard excellent political advice. That’s what good campaigners do. The fact that Clinton isn’t a good campaigner is a problem, but it isn’t a woman problem.

        • Scott Lemieux

          I agree that Clinton should be magnanimous. I do not agree that this should entail accepting the theory of some Sanders supporters that louder should trump more when counting votes, and placing the onus on Clinton on this case is outrageous.

          • Sebastian_h

            Onus is a question of fault. In this case we don’t care about fault very much. Analyzing it on fault terms is missing the point. We should be analyzing it on what should a good politician do to win terms. There is a lot of personal feelings in politics. I’m a touch on the autistic spectrum so I see it more than I feel it but I know it is there. Clinton’s biggest problem is that she is much more policy wonky than campaigner (which plays into my idea that our greatest strengths are often also our biggest weaknesses).

            So for her, I finally support expanded age Medicare is an attempt to appeal to Sanders supporters. A policy wonk would think that. But that isn’t really how political elections work. That is the post-election horse trading side of things.

            • Sebastian_h

              Similarly did you watch the Kelly interview with Trump last night? Disclosure of priors–I don’t get Trump at all. I don’t understand why he doesn’t come across as a huge phony to everyone who sees him for a second.

              That said, I can definitely see that if for some reason it wasn’t clear he was a big phony, he did all the right things in that interview. He was trying to project that his crazy persona was a persona used to get this far. He was trying to project that his brash statements were for effect. He was trying to project that he admired her tenacity as a woman and thus should be given credit for admiring women.

              This kind of thing shouldn’t work. I’m not sure why it works. It is a flaw in my understanding of the world that it does work. But it works. Trump is doing exactly what he needs to do at this stage of the race–suggesting to anyone who might be remotely open to voting for him that the crazy act is just an act that you need to cut through the bullshit.

              That is what scares me about Trump–he is doing exactly what he needs to be doing at this stage. Clinton is not doing what she needs to be doing at this stage.

              • Matt McIrvin

                I think you answered your own question. Trump’s appeal to people who aren’t completely naive is a wink and a nod that say “Yeah, I’m a complete phony, but it’s all on your behalf–I know you’re smarter than that, but you’re in on the joke. Pay attention to the music, not the words.” And that’s what a lot of Republicans are doing.

                • Brenda Johnson

                  Trump’s appeal, in short, is that he is a very good con man.

        • ColBatGuano

          But being magnanimous to Sanders voters is far different from allowing them to game the NV convention to gain 2 delegates.

    • calling all toasters

      Well, it’s wouldn’t be the first time Bernie’s been for unilateral surrender.

    • This kind of thing happens nearly every time and it is so frustrating that the result is never: we should make things more transparent and accessible for voters. Why are we having ugly shenanigans in Nevada? Clinton is far enough ahead that her operation could have said “let’s not play stupid rules games over six delegates because we need these people later”. But no, the Clinton machine has to act like a machine.

      Well…no. That doesn’t seem to be the likely explanation. My guess is that the people in charge felt that they had to adhere to the rules which, after all, were decided on by both HRC and Sanders supporters earlier on. It’s pretty hard to give up on such rules (in my experience) and could lead to similar nonsense.

      It’s hard to get people to give up on *interpretations* of rules that are at odds with the text of the rules (I’ve found).

      Plus, I don’t know it was clear that the disaster was going to happen when they started enforcing the rules. This is easier post facto then ex ante.

      • Alex.S

        Yeah, if they gave up on the pre-agreed rules and votes, the convention would still be ongoing.

        It’s a 3,000+ person event. After changing the rules, step one would be abandoning voice votes and going to manual counts. As it is, it still took 14 hours to get through as much as they could.

    • Quaino

      Shorter: “When the losing party throws a hissy, the winning party should be magnanimous and give away some of their winnings.”

      I don’t really buy the nonsense about how we’re softening our youth by giving out participation awards and all that nonsense, but this line of logic makes me question myself.

      Bernie has benefited heavily from the caucus system and has said very little against it. When some arcane rules cost him a delegate or two, suddenly we need bloody revolution?

  • NewishLawyer

    What I can’t get over is that the most hardcore Bernie or Bust supporters that I seem to know are also among the most privileged people I know. By privilege I mean that they come from significant money, had exclusive (and almost completely private) educations for their entire career, and can seemingly afford to live comfortably in some of the most expensive parts of the U.S. while being marginally/partially employed.

    Yet they are all about Sanders and his revolution and seemingly the kind of privileged radical that drives the right-wingers insane.

    I gotta say that they drive me a bit nuts as well. Maybe they are aware of their privileges and advantages and feel bad about that but they are seemingly unaware that as privileged people, they can survive a GOP nomination more.

    There is a certain privilege in being able to hold radical politics and stridently so that is rather off-putting.

  • NewishLawyer

    The biggest concern that I have overall is that Bernie is largely winning the 18-44 set. What is it about this set that is turned off by HRC?

    • Alex.S

      Sanders pandering to the younger demographic by promising free* college?

      * By offloading 1/3 of the costs to the states… which I honestly have no idea if they would take that or not.

      • NewishLawyer

        Probably not. On another blog, there is a contributor who spent some of his career working for the state budget office of a Western state. He has said that numerous times, most states have their budgets consumed by two things:

        1. K-12 education; and

        2. Medicare spending.

        The things that get cut the most to deal with this spending is higher education and infrastructure.

        Most Bernie supporters I know are college-educated and come from middle-class or above families. A good deal probably have student loans so free college is a nice balm (though they already have their debt so I am not sure how it helps them). I suspect that they don’t like HRC’s more hesistant micro-targeting.

        • Pat

          I think that a lot of young people are looking at the barriers to career entry, the unbelievable price of homeownership, the costs of student loans, the costs of day care, and what people make, and realizing that if things continue the way they are, they will work themselves to death paying ungodly sums towards interest on all their loans.

          As a consequence, they don’t want more of the same. They want dramatic, radical change.

          As a parent of young people and a former young person, I really, really sympathize.

          But I don’t see Bernie as being that different from Donald when it comes to having a cogent plan to run the country and improve the middle class.

        • Michael Cain

          Medicaid. Medicare is a purely federal program.

      • EliHawk

        Yeah, in a post-NFIB world, not only can the States reject it, but the Feds are limited in making ‘offers you can’t refuse’ so long as Roberts’ interpretation of the Spending Clause controls. And given that the Scott Walker and Rick Scotts of the world reject the much better Medicaid deal out of pure spite, getting them to take BernieCollege is not gonna happen. That’s the thing about all of this. If you really want to make ‘Free College’ or at least more affordable college happen, run for the State govts. that actually run the schools. Not the Feds that tinker with the loans.

      • To my list of things I never thought I’d see a Democrat say before this primary campaign, I can now add the argument that Democrats’ voting behavior is driven by a desire for Free Stuff.

        Yay!

        • Alex.S

          I frequently walk by a billboard, paid for by a Sanders Super PAC, saying that “Only Sanders will make college tuition free.”

          Many people I know were initially attracted to the Sanders campaign over his free college plan.

          What’s the correct way to say “Young people were attracted to Sanders because of his promise to make college tuition free”?

          • I’m attracted to Sanders’ position partially because of his free college plan. Oh, I’m in my forties and have my bachelor’s and master’s.

            Again, when did it become acceptable for Democrats to attribute support for a more generous welfare state and other public services as a desire for free stuff?

            What’s the correct way to say “Young people were attracted to Sanders because of his promise to make college tuition free”?

            As with the question, “What’s the correct way to say Black people were attracted to the Democratic candidate because of his support for more generous welfare benefits,” the answer is “To not.”

            As with the statement “Obama pandering* to the black demographic by promising food stamps,” the answer is “Go to hell.” No Democrat, ever, at any point, should be indulging in this type of framing when it comes to public services and why the public is attracted to them, and no Democrat should be disparaging political messaging based on addressing people’s need for such services as “pandering.”

            *A word that derives from the promises a pimp makes.

            • Alex.S

              Ok, I apologize for using the word “pandering” and will try not to do so in the future.

              • But, apparently, you’re going to keep echoing the Romney/Thatcher/Gingrich/Tea Party “free stuff” language when describing the support of Democrats for liberal economic policies.

                Fascinatingly, Sanders’ vote share in this primary is likely to end up within shouting distance of 47%. You’re so awesome.

                • JMV Pyro

                  Come on man, he already apologized for the bad framing. Let it go.

            • Drexciya

              Again, when did it become acceptable for Democrats to attribute support for a more generous welfare state and other public services as a desire for free stuff?

              This is a crude (but ugly) consequence of the political assumption (still held by many Democrats, politicians and voters alike) that advocacy for welfare expansions should still be subject to “fiscal responsibility” framing. “Free stuff” is just a more directly stated and pejorative version of the “how are you going to pay for it?” question that’s supposed to be taken as a good faith, “adult” wonkish criticism, but is more often intended to make less ambitious/class-attentive politicians seem more “responsible” in their efforts to question and block consideration of further-left priorities.

              • See, I don’t think the charge “people want free stuff” is based on fiscal responsibility, so much as a desire to cast the recipients/supporters of the extension as Romney-esque “takers.”

      • wengler

        Interesting use of the word ‘pandering’ by supporting something he has supported all of his life. As much as Hillary supporters think Sanders supporters are idiots it comes down to something very simple.

        Someone talks about free college means you might end of something, while another person talks about ‘affordable’ college and you end up with nothing. Democrats that aren’t interested in carving out maximalist positions on anything are hard to trust because their negotiating position is already so far to the right.

    • calling all toasters

      (1) They don’t remember the 90s but the Press Corpse is still running with all the lies from that time.

      (2) She gave speeches at banks for lots of money.

      I think that’s all they know about her.

      • wengler

        Yes, that’s all we know about her…

    • Sebastian_h

      This is the kind of thing I wish we would analyze better. The thing that scares me about this race is that a bunch of moving parts seem to be things I just don’t understand. A lot of people seem to see that and then focus laser like on the things they do understand–but that is looking under the lamppost just because there is better light.

    • witlesschum

      Maybe I’m basing too much on myself (I’m 38), but Iraq and Sanders has more forcefully articulated a vision of class warfare against the 1 percent, though we’re not calling it that because this is America. I think those are both things that loom larger for younger lefties than older ones, in general.

      • NewishLawyer

        The thing though is that many Sanders supporters I know are if not in the top 1 percent, pretty close to it. One of whom is a close blood relative to a fairly high-ranking and popular Democratic politician. They might have student debt but they are not exactly creatures of want.

        DeBoer had a post the whether we are heading to a situation where the GOP becomes basically fascist and the Democratic Party finds it easier to talk about diversity and ethnic/racial equality over economic equality. DeBoer fears that Wall Street/Corporations will co-opt diversity and just elevate a few to keep the game as is.

        The issue here is that perhaps many people of color and other minorities believe that HRC will represent their best interests. Maybe they are not as hostile to Capitalism as a bunch of humanities graduate students. So DeBoer’s piece gets close to assuming that minorities don’t know their own best interest.

        Capitalism is fairly popular in the United States and the left has a hard time grasping with this.

        • Rob in CT

          Well, the stats say that both Sanders and Clinton voters have a median HH income of $61k. So what you’re talking about is a function of who you know, and not something you can extrapolate from.

          That said, there are certainly plenty of well-off Sanders supporters (myself among them). I’m not actually anti-capitalism. Neither is Bernie, as far as I can tell.

          Capitalism isn’t as popular as it used to be, and socialism is more popular than it used to be. There’s poll data on this (which I suspect isn’t worth nearly as much as some would like, but it’s there). I think the Great Recession, triggered by the Masters of the Universe nearly destroying the economy and then trying to blame it on others really had an impact, particularly perhaps on young people who aren’t still freaked out about 70s stagflation or the looming threat of Commies.

        • Hob

          As Rob said, this is about who you know, and anecdotes from either of us about our friends are worth jack shit as analysis of the movement in general.

          I happen to know literally no one in the world in the demographic you’re talking about; therefore, surprise, none of the Sanders supporters I know are rich, and in fact on average I think the people I know who have really been struggling in the last few years are very solidly pro-Sanders, and they describe their reasons for supporting him as being about 80% class-based (the rest being mostly an exaggerated notion that he is a super-lefty pacifist). But all that that proves is that it’s possible for people to have those opinions for those reasons, just like your friends prove that it’s possible for someone to be rich and yet support socialism— which was old news 100 years ago.

          DeBoer, as usual, has no idea what he’s talking about, but in this case he’s accidentally got at least the seed of a real thought: when parties are ideologically divided on various issues, but one of them is unacceptable to minorities to a life-threatening degree that makes all other issues moot, then that means the other party will be less ideologically pure in its minority population. A person of color who is economically conservative, but sane, will likely migrate toward the Democrats, therefore increasing the proportion of economically conservative Democrats by one little bit more. DeBoer of course thinks of that as “co-opting”, because that’s how he sees everything.

    • wengler

      Why don’t you just listen to them?

    • What is it about this set that is turned off by HRC?

      This assumes that they are being driven to Sanders by hostility towards Clinton, rather than the hostility towards Clinton being a consequence of her being the opponent of Sanders.

      I think Sanders would be winning those age groups (18-44 is usually divided up into at least two categories) regardless of his opponent.

      • David W.

        I wouldn’t be so sure. There’s a reason why Sanders didn’t challenge Obama in 2012, even though he supported one then.

        • JMV Pyro

          Sanders is a smart enough politician to have realized that there just wasn’t a constituency for him outside the fringes of the party. It wasn’t 1968 or 1980, Obama was popular with Democrats and everyone with a brain could see it.

          2016 was an open field and he jumped right on in.

    • JMV Pyro

      My guess, and this comes from living among them in the wilds of reddit, Tumblr, and my Facebook feed is that she’s seen as too much of a status quo type. She’ll make tweaks and fixes here and there, but won’t rock the boat.

      Most of the people my age who are voting Democrat want someone who will rock the boat a bit and promote whatever major changes they think are necessary. They’re more into Sanders the idea (radical, uncompromising, blunt,etc.) then they’re necessarily in to Sanders the actual Senator from Vermont. Which isn’t too different from previous candidates like him to my understanding.

    • tomscud

      I don’t see this as a huge concern. HRC will win the young vote. Bernie would have won the minority vote. HRC will not win the wealthy vote. Bernie would not have won the white male vote.

  • Halloween Jack

    Hey, Farley, I’m pretty much down with everything you wrote above… except for the link to the thing about the “Eeyores”. Kevin DuJan was and is wrong about just about everything; his “Eeyores” thing is one of those. I can’t find anyone else who used the term, besides DuJan and a couple of people who linked to him; he’s fond of his neologisms, and the Eeyore thing was his attempt to assert that McCain and Palin were trailing in the polls simply because Obama’s sinister control over the media were claiming that his election was inevitable. (He’s an inveterate racist; he originally started Hillbuzz as basically an “anyone but the black man” site.)

  • wengler

    There is an ongoing FBI investigation into Clinton. It might not lead to indictments, but it’s a lot more real than the ‘whitey tape’.

    • calling all toasters

      It’s not a criminal investigation and it’s not an investigation of Clinton. Other than that, spot on.

      • Anticorium

        Nobody has ever gone broke betting that the latest Clinton controversy is a ginned-up non-story.

        Except Vince Foster, of course.

    • Rob in CT

      Oh, for fuck’s sake.

    • ColBatGuano

      There’s also a Benghazi investigation. Do you think that’s important as well? Or maybe it’s the Wall Street speeches that are vital?

      • The FBI is investigating Benghazi and the Wall Street speeches?

        I’m not sure about that, Col. I think you may be confusing the FBI with a Congressional committee.

  • Ronan

    Good to see you “not voted” with your conscience, and with those accused of being “uber individualistic utility maximising monsters.”
    You “not voted” for a specific moral reason , against the hype and rhetoric and anger. You choose the individual over the mob. Very petite bourgeoisie. I would have done the same.

    • kped

      primary is different then a general election…

      (if i’m reading you correctly, you seem to be implying that he is doing something that this blog mocks and says is destructive and stupid, apologies if I’m reading that incorrectly).

  • Fish Pimp

    I appreciate that sounds strange coming from an LGM blogger, but I think this genuinely is a case in which “not a dime’s bit of difference” is true enough. They’re both fine, and I would have enthusiastically supported Sanders in the general election, just as I’ll enthusiastically support Clinton.

    As a foreign policy expert, how can your assessment be that there is not a dime’s worth of difference between the interventionist Clinton and the isolationist Sanders? I can appreciate that you can work with either side of the issue and are thus letting the party decide the nominee for you but there is a significant difference that cannot be reconciled here. Bernie has always been a conscientious objector while Clinton is pledging to enforce a no fly zone over Syria. The general election will be one in which Donald Trump is the candidate least likely to take the country to war.

    • wjts

      The general election will be one in which Donald Trump is the candidate least likely to take the country to war.

      That is a deeply, deeply stupid thing to say:

      Trump has always implied, since announcing his candidacy, that he would be in favor of ground troops on some level. In an August interview with MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Trump said that the United States military should confiscate oil from ISIS-held territories – with ground troops if necessary.

      “I would knock out the source of their wealth,” Trump said. “The primary source of their wealth which is oil. And in order to do that, you would have to put boots – I would knock the hell out of them, but I would put a ring around it and take the oil for our country. I would just take the oil.”

      On the campaign trail, Trump repeatedly has said, to the delight of crowds, that he would “bomb the [bleep] out of ISIS” as president, but has stopped short of calling for a massive infusion of ground troops like he did tonight.

      Last December, Trump told Fox News, “I would do whatever you have to do. I’ve been saying on your show for a long time, take the oil, and you know that. I’ve been saying it very loud and strong for years. I mean, I’ve been saying it for years. They’ve never done it.”

      • Fish Pimp

        For some reason, I find Clinton to be more credible than Trump.

        • wjts

          Why are Trump’s rhetoric and the actual foreign policies of every Republican administration since Ford not “credible”?

          • Fish Pimp

            the actual foreign policies of every Republican administration since Ford not “credible”?

            I think this is very wrong. Trump is upending the foreign policy of every Republican since Ford. Isn’t that why all the neocons are flocking to Clinton? I’m sure you read the Politico story about exactly who is on the island of never Trump.

            My sense is that Trump, like all bullies, doesn’t want to fight. His plan seems to be to talk loudly about killing the family of anyone who touches his stuff, while retreating from the world.

            • Hogan

              My sense is that Trump, like all bullies, doesn’t want to fight. His plan seems to be to talk loudly about killing the family of anyone who touches his stuff, while retreating from the world.

              I’ve never heard this definition of “credible” before.

            • wjts

              Trump is upending the foreign policy of every Republican since Ford.

              “So, Dr. Kissinger, tell me what to do and I’ll do the opposite.”

              • Fish Pimp

                From the link it doesn’t sound like Trump and Kissinger are on the same page:

                While Trump does not describe himself as a realist, which is a worldview lacking in idealism, he has edged closer to that wing of the foreign-policy community. His impulses and comments have often had a hardheaded and non-hawkish tilt, and he has been a critic of extensive U.S. intervention abroad.

                “America first will be the overriding theme of my administration,” Trump said last month in a speech at Washington’s Mayflower Hotel, where he also called globalism a “false song.”

                Funny that you would use Hillary’s pal Kissinger as an example of Trump’s Republican foreign policy future.

    • Rob in CT

      You were doing pretty well until you suggested that Trump is the more responsible (less likely to take us to war) candidate. wjts is all over that, so I’ll leave it.

      The first bit, however, is a fair point.

      But Bernie hasn’t really emphasized FP in the campaign. I get the sense he hasn’t really been pushing FP for two reasons: 1) he simply cares about domestic policy more; and 2) he figured “she voted for the Iraq war” is sufficient critique (and for a lot of people it is!). I think he really could’ve done more, had he been willing to bone up on FP so he could critique liberal intervention in detail.

      I guess it’s possible that Farley: 1) doesn’t actually think HRC is as hawkish as many of us think she is; and/or 2) is more hawkish than you think, and thus doesn’t mind HRC’s hawkish tendencies as much.

      • Fish Pimp

        I guess it’s possible that Farley: 1) doesn’t actually think HRC is as hawkish as many of us think she is; and/or 2) is more hawkish than you think, and thus doesn’t mind HRC’s hawkish tendencies as much.

        Most foreign policy experts are probably more #2. Their interests lie in US involvement in the world. Someone like Sanders will naturally be less appealing.

    • Bernie has always been a conscientious objector

      Well, no. Sanders voted for the air war over Kosovo, and the September 2001 AUMF. He’s supports Obama’s drone war with with only marginal reservations, and at least initially the war in Afghanistan.

      He’s a dove, but he’s a dove within the Washington D.C. spectrum. There is a considerable difference between him and Clinton, but not as much as you claim, and certainly nothing close to the difference between even a Clinton Democrat and Donald Trump.

      • Fish Pimp

        Well, no. Sanders voted for the air war over Kosovo, and the September 2001 AUMF. He’s supports Obama’s drone war with with only marginal reservations, and at least initially the war in Afghanistan.

        Responding to 9/11 doesn’t constitute a breach of the conscientious objector status, as far as I’m concerned. I’m not absolutist. It was an act of war for Afghanistan to not turn over Bin Laden. That the US Congress did not make a formal declaration of war was my only problem there. Kosovo is troubling to me even though it was an international success and the Drone War is in many ways like Kosovo, which if I remember correctly was Wesley Clark directing air strikes with no US boots on the ground. I don’t think we lost a soldier. The Drone War is the same as it puts few Americans at risk and is our only strategy against ISIS, which makes it difficult to judge at this point. Certainly the oversight is abysmal.

        • Perhaps “always been a conscientious objector” wasn’t the best word choice, because the nature of being a C.O. is that you aren’t picking and choosing between good wars and bad wars, but object to military operations themselves.

          There really are such people, even some in Congress. Barbara Lee, for instance. Dennis Kucinich comes awfully close. And the difference between them and Hillary Clinton really is dramatic, probably larger than the difference between her and a Republican.

          My point is, Bernie isn’t one of them; he’s significantly closer to Hillary than that.

          • Fish Pimp

            Perhaps “always been a conscientious objector” wasn’t the best word choice,

            Agreed

            There really are such people, even some in Congress. Barbara Lee, for instance. Dennis Kucinich comes awfully close. And the difference between them and Hillary Clinton really is dramatic, probably larger than the difference between her and a Republican.

            My point is, Bernie isn’t one of them; he’s significantly closer to Hillary than that.

            The belief in a right to self-defense is much closer to pacifism than preemptive attacks. I’m not sure what else Bernie has supported that comes remotely close to what Hillary supported in Iraq.

            • Well, no, it’s not. If an attack is truly pre-emptive, it has a lot more in common with self-defense than does pacifism.

              And let’s keep in mind, Hillary’s support for the Iraq War is the very worst thing she’s ever done in the field of foreign policy. How far is the distance between Kosovo and Libya, for example?

              • Fish Pimp

                If an attack is truly pre-emptive, it has a lot more in common with self-defense than does pacifism.

                No. {left eye starts twitching remembering these arguments} An attack is an attack. The defense never gets to hike the ball.

                And let’s keep in mind, Hillary’s support for the Iraq War is the very worst thing she’s ever done in the field of foreign policy. How far is the distance between Kosovo and Libya, for example?

                20 years. It’s more the consistency that is remarkable, though. Always somewhere to attack.

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