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Full fathom five thy lede on African-American voter turnout lies

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When I voted on Sunday I wondered – briefly – what early voting data might cause the press to take a 5 second break from EMAILS! EMAILS! BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE EMAILS!! But some questions answer themselves before they’re asked: Black voters something something argle, of course. And on Tuesday, Nov. 1, voila!

This paragraph is the lede based on its location in the article.

African-Americans are failing to vote at the robust levels they did four years ago in several states that could help decide the presidential election, creating a vexing problem for Hillary Clinton as she clings to a deteriorating lead over Donald J. Trump with Election Day just a week away.

Here’s the real lede, in the third paragraph.

The reasons for the decline appear to be both political and logistical, with lower voter enthusiasm and newly enacted impediments to voting at play. In North Carolina, where a federal appeals court accused Republicans of an “almost surgical” assault on black turnout and Republican-run election boards curtailed early-voting sites, black turnout is down 16 percent. White turnout, however, is up 15 percent. Democrats are planning an aggressive final push, including a visit by President Obama to the state on Wednesday.

If African-Americans are failing to vote it is in the same way a man who has been kicked very hard on the kneecaps fails to run very fast.

In addition, this break from EMAILS! etc! (Now with more EMAILS!) is based on a comparison to early voting in 2012.

But is it surprising that three reporters looked at increased disenfranchisement efforts and the fact that voting behavior this year is (as of some date shortly before Nov. 1) different from voting behavior in one other year, and saw some sort of African-American/Clinton Enthusiasm Gap/Democratic Party Drama story?

Nope.

I also will not be surprised by the rants about stupid, self-defeating African-Americans from the pseudoliberal stealth supremacists bund and comparisons of Trump’s and Clinton’s problems with African-American voters from the bothsiderists.

(And here by the way is an article about the usefulness of early voting in predicting an election’s outcome.)

As an aside, if the press really thinks that African-Americans have the power to decide the Fate of the Nation, perhaps its coverage of African-Americans could be less sparse between elections. Just an idea.

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  • Murc

    You know, I was wondering precisely this earlier today. I was like “Wait, North Carolina? Hasn’t early voting been dramatically curtailed across the board there? How can you possibly get a number compared to 2012 that’s gonna tell you anything at all besides ‘Republicans are good at voter suppression’?”

    Although that figure for white voters, that’s a bit surprising.

    • ThrottleJockey

      You could easily do some empirical analysis here. You can compare the total number of blacks registered in 2016 vs 2012. You can look at total black voters and then compare turnout. You can look at how many voters have been de- registered.

      While I recognize suppression when I see it I haven’t seen anything empirical that correlates well with the phenomenon we’re seeing. NC is undoubtedly trying to suppress the vote but numerically how well are they succeeding? In years past black turnout increased despite suppression efforts–in multiple states. Given that it’s hard to believe the suppression is causing more than a third of the decline. At least half of the decline is probably Obama simply not being on the ballot.

      • BobBobNewhartNewhartSpecial

        At least half of the decline is probably Obama simply not being on the ballot.

        This seems like the kind of thing that is so obvious that it shouldn’t need to be stated. No one should be surprised (or worried, for that matter) that Hillary isn’t getting black voter support at the levels that Obama did.

        • Fake Irishman

          Those AA numbers are catching up real fast now that majority black regions have enough polling places open. Nate Cohn of the Times and others have been noticing this. Also, women are voting in higher numbers than in 2012, wonder why that might be….?

          • los

            AA numbers are catching up real fast now that majority black regions have enough polling places open

            if the 4 hour line has shortened to 2 hour line at about half hour before polling closes, what happens to people in line at closing?

            women are voting in higher numbers than in 2012

            Each balloting location serves roughly equal numbers of each gender.
            Rethugs haven’t developed strong methods to prejudicially filter female voters out,while leaving male voters less hindered.

            • BiloSagdiyev

              if the 4 hour line has shortened to 2 hour line at about half hour before polling closes, what happens to people in line at closing?

              They’re still turned away, I’m sure — but it’s a smaller number turned away.

              My first exposure to GOP uncle fuckery when I moved to NC in the 90’s was when Jesse Helms was being threatened by a black politician from Charlotte, and would you believe a polling place in Durham had its electrical service go out mysteriously in the middle of the night before election day? And there were hours of delay that morning before voters could be processed? And that there was a giant line that was turned away at closing time?

              Every bit of chest-pounding that America’s right wing authoritarians did about DEMOCRACY during the Cold War was just absolute horseshit. What a bunch of assholes.

              • vic rattlehead

                In many states (FL and PA) you’re entitled to vote if you’re in line as the polls close (as it should be, there’s no principled argument against it). That being said, it is very easy for people to get discouraged, and sometimes you need vigilant poll observers to persuade people to stand in line and correct poll workers who don’t know what they’re talking about or worse.

                • BiloSagdiyev

                  And in other states… the absence of a principled argument means jack squat.

      • Chetsky

        Yeah, no way that the Rs did this for the reason of suppressing AA turnout. Nopes, no way, mang. Oh, uh, ignore the testimony of their exact words.

        You moral shitstain.

        • ThrottleJockey

          Chetsky–Go fuck yourself. I’ve taken the last week off of work to GOTV and I’ll be doing so through election night. So check the shitstain superiority schtick because right now you’re talking out your ass.

          And, by the way, yo’ mama.

      • Charles S

        If you haven’t seen anything that looks like effective voter suppression that means you haven’t been looking (that is the top non-news hit for googling “north carolina early voting suppression”, so this isn’t hard to find).

        County election boards were required to restore early voting stations, but they weren’t given specific requirements to meaningfully restore early voting, so 17 Republican controlled county election boards in significantly black counties (e.g. Guilford, where Greensboro is located) opened only a single early voting location for the first week of early voting. Counties that chose to suppress early voting saw a 20% drop in black early voting rates compared to counties that chose not to. Counties that didn’t choose to suppress early voting did see a drop off relative to 2012 (90% of 2012), but not nearly as large (70% of 2012) as counties that are suppressing early voting. Even counties that were flooded by Hurricane Harry weren’t as hard hit as counties with vote suppression in place.

      • Aaron Morrow
        • blackbox

          I think he’s only interested in offering bad faith arguments for why discriminatory Rethuggery is actually in good faith or just doesn’t exist.

          • ThrottleJockey

            Thanks, Aaron.

            No, BB, you’re wrong. I explicitly said that I know the GOP is trying to suppress the black vote. Before you accuse me of shit, learn to read. The difference of opinion here is on the magnitude of their success, not a question of intent.

      • The use of the word empirical twice in one comment certainly convinced me.

    • cleek

      “Wait, North Carolina? Hasn’t early voting been dramatically curtailed across the board there?

      that was reversed.

      i voted on the 20th – first day of early voting.

      • Cash & Cable

        The length of the early voting period was restored, but in some areas the GOP hacks replied, “Okay, we’ll open one EV location so that we’re technically in compliance, but that’s it.” At least one area had fifteen fewer EV locations during the first week than it did in 2012.

        • los

          “Terribly incompetent, isn’t it. This is election rigging, believe me. I’ll fire the people who did this.”

          /not quite trump

      • First Time Caller

        It was not reversed — the State was required to provide the same number of hours but not the same days. As others noted, they were not required to open the same number of polling places either. Fortunately many counties complied with reasonable resemblances of 2012, but not all. Guilford is probably the most egregious example.

        • cleek

          i stand corrected

        • ThrottleJockey

          They’re especially cutting down on Sundays: Souls to the Polls Day.

    • DrDick

      It also ignores the fact that we had an African American president on the ballot in 2012, which tends to increase minority turnout.

  • Karen24

    A friend of mine is spending the week in NC working on GOTV in African-American neighborhoods. She says the Clinton campaign has lots of people there, so much so that she’s mostly doing data entry. It may not make a difference, but they have a good organization.

  • Nobdy

    The monstrous suppression of the African American vote this election cycle has shaken me and my faith in my country deeply. Obviously this is not a new problem in any way, but it has become more and more brazen and out in the open over the last decade or so, and that says a lot about the country.

    It’s one thing to secretly plan disenfranchisement of minorities to aid your party. It’s a horrible thing, an evil thing, but at least there’s some kind of implicit acceptance that what you’re doing is wrong. It’s at another level to basically say that (racist) voter repression is a legitimate political goal. It’s disgusting. Where are the adults and decent people in these states? I feel like the social fabric has been shredded.

    I also feel like in general a certain segment of our society (Republicans) are becoming more and more results oriented with less interest in ethics, morals, or anything beyond the bottom line. Whether in politics or business it seems like capitalist/Randian/hate propaganda culture has spread to the point where many “conservatives” don’t even seem to understand that procedure matters, sometimes more than “substance” and especially in politics.

    I don’t see how any of these trends reverse themselves (though demographic shifts will damage white supremacy) or how the republic survives as the country I want it to be under this relentless onslaught. We need people to buy in to the legitimacy of the government and the legitimacy of the society, and if 40% of the population has a greedy hateful “anything goes” mentality I’m not sure a democracy like ours (especially with its structural problems) is truly sustainable.

    • BiloSagdiyev

      +1 Civil society. I’m a fan of it.

    • Juicy_Joel

      We need people to buy in to the legitimacy of the government and the legitimacy of the society, and if 40% of the population has a greedy hateful “anything goes” mentality I’m not sure a democracy like ours (especially with its structural problems) is truly sustainable.

      It’ll get worse before it gets better.

      • Nobdy

        You mean like Heritage openly calling for stonewalling filling a vacancy on the Supreme Court indefinitely?

        It’s basically open insurrection against the American system of government. The last time conservatives decided to openly oppose the U.S. government it led to some pretty bad times.

    • BobBobNewhartNewhartSpecial

      I don’t see how any of these trends reverse themselves (though demographic shifts will damage white supremacy)

      According to this article, it would seem that the demographic shifts will only make it worse:
      https://theconversation.com/donald-trump-and-the-rise-of-white-identity-in-politics-67037

      • Derelict

        With the resurgence of open racism and the Republicans openly embracing the White supremacist movement, I’m thinking any period of conservative control of Congress and the White House will produce disenfranchisement for minorities on a scale not seen since the 1890s.

        I find myself shocked and depressed at how many people I encounter these days who believe only property owners should be allowed to vote. This includes the 30-something kid who works for me who lives in a rented trailer. It doesn’t faze him that he’d be denied the right to vote because he knows that someday HE will own some land. (Not like those lazy “other” people who don’t deserve to vote.)

    • science_goy

      Anyone who conspires to deny minorities (or anyone, really) the right to vote deserves a long stay in Federal prison. Hopefully with a Democratic administration, we can make that actually happen.

      • Snarki, child of Loki

        “Anyone who conspires to deny minorities (or anyone, really) the right to vote deserves a long stay in Federal prison.”

        Well sure, but that’s expensive and hard to arrange.

        Drone strikes, on the other hands, are easy-peasy.

        Drone strikes on GUN SHOWS? That’s what you call killing two birds with one stone, except that it’s two rock-heads with one bird. Something like that.

        • I really hate this shit. Calling for murder, openly fantasizing about the murder of opponents, is what bad guys do.

    • los

      Nobdy says: hateful “anything goes” mentality I’m not sure a democracy like ours (especially with its structural problems) is truly sustainable.

      Romney/Ryan 2012 set the (“modern history”) record for blunt lying.
      Trump surpassed that, but altcucks have fallen to a new level. I’ve seen some admit that their upthread tweet is false with the equivalent of, “and that’s good.”

      Also, altcucks admire tax evasion.

      • yinz

        altcucks

        yo, don’t mainstream this bullshit. “cuck” as an insult is grounded in racism and misogyny (in addition to being super, super stupid). the sooner it goes in the trashbin of history, the better off we’ll all be.

        • Pete

          +1

  • Karen24

    My friend just posted an update and she’s pessimistic about our prospects in NC.

    • junker

      Karen, are you sure that this isn’t like a fight club scenario were your friend is actually just you dissociating?

      • Karen24

        I wish. She’s working as hard as she can though. Dems still have a slight lead in early votes there, and the Obamas are going to make stops for the campaign.

        • Quinnipiac has Clinton up by 22 in early North Carolina voting.

          • Fake Irishman

            And the Times model based on Sienna’s polling seems to jive with this. Not in the bag, but this is a fight (and there’s a governorship and a Senate race in play here too that are both real important.)

        • JonH

          Look on the bright side: at least the “early votes” you’re talking about aren’t the ones cast the morning of the 8th, and your friend isn’t glum about turnout on Tuesday afternoon.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        “I am Karen24’s impending sense of doom.”

        • efgoldman

          “I am Karen24’s impending sense of doom.”

          Obligatory

          • Karen24

            Thank you. Seriously, please post that every time you see make a depressed comment.

    • vic rattlehead

      Meh. It can be hard to get an accurate read of that stuff as a grunt. and I say that as someone volunteering probably more than I ever have for a political campaign. I’ve canvassed in Philly and while it was a good experience I wouldn’t feel qualified to tell you how PA is going to go just based on the the several dozen doors I’ve knocked on.

      • Karen24

        She’s reporting the opinions of the paid staffers, I think.

        It’s also possible that some of the increased white votes are antiTump whites. NC has a lot of colleges educated new residents, so they might make a difference.

        • Vance Maverick

          antiTump

          Wasn’t that a Civil War battle? Still is, evidently….

        • vic rattlehead

          You’re generally not dealing with very high level staffers as a volunteer though. I doubt they are privy to what Podesta et al know.

    • First Time Caller

      I’ll look for negative stories but most have been encouraging. Saw BHO at UNC, have had the chance to see WJC, HRC + Pharrell 3x, the free Ne-Yo concert, and BHO 2x today. That’s just this week. Granted, the Yam and his Hoosier make stops too, but Democrats have been all over the state. Ross is polling well and Cooper has maintained a steady 2-4% lead since Labor Day.

  • black turnout is down 16 percent. White turnout, however, is up 15 percent

    This is misleading. It appears to be based off this data.

    “Black turnout is down 16 percent”, read literally, should mean that 16% fewer black voters have turned out so far versus 2012. But it appears that what it actually means is “the proportion of black voters in the early vote is 16% smaller than in 2012”. That’s why you get those nearly symmetrical 16 and 15 numbers — because they’re part of a 100% total.

    Total early voting is up 8% so far in NC. The raw data seems to be hard to find, unfortunately, but the real question is whether the black vote is lower in absolute terms. It’s entirely possible that this is due to white voters turning out earlier, not in larger total numbers.

    • ThrottleJockey

      Thank you for that. I thought that magnitude seemed odd. This makes much more sense.

  • veleda_k

    My newest article, “What’s wrong with African-Americans, and why aren’t they voting?” will be published right next to my previous article, “Let’s examine the deep, soulful inner lives of white Trump supporters.”

    • BiloSagdiyev

      Will they get empathy, too?

      Just kidding. Probably not.

      • Pat

        We Clinton fans never seem to get much from the MSM.

    • Nobdy

      Does your newsletter have an article called “Ambush killing cops: Not a news story if it’s a white Trump supporter who does it” and if not why do you hate america?

      • ThrottleJockey

        I’ve been mystified by this meme. It’s been all over the news up here. Why are people saying it’s not news?

        • Nobdy

          Because it’s essentially not a national news story. It has been mentioned, but it was a ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ story and despite the fact that I consume a lot of news I haven’t even seen a picture of the suspect and don’t know his name.

          If this had been a black killer it would be a national story, amplified by the openly racist Breitbart and the semi-closeted racist Fox News and breathlessly debated, with a bunch of people trying to connect the killing to Black Lives Matter while a few feckless liberal talking heads gently protest.

          It follows the general rule that crimes committed by white people are isolated incidents involving disturbed individuals, while crimes committed by minorities are revealing and informative of “their” true nature.

          • JonH

            It’s been covered in multiple stories by the Hartford Courant (probably via AP) so it must be national news.

            This article went up on their website, beside a photo of the perp, Thursday evening at 6:26 pm: “Judge: Man charged in Iowa officers’ deaths had hit and financially exploited his mother

            As you can see with this story, the media have reached the “dig up the dirt in the perp’s past” stage.

            Even the BBC has had multiple stories about it, including one about the shooter and his past.

          • so-in-so

            I’ve seen his picture on stories in multiple on-line news feeds, including Yahoo and Google. That said, I’m willing to bet there is no linkage to the way the Trump campaign is run, nor to “dysfunction and violence in the RW white community” in any of those stories, as there would be a POC had been involved.

            • BiloSagdiyev

              And oh! The culture! Those video games and the AM talk radio and the country music!

              • UncleEbeneezer

                and the country music!

                Is it too soon to blame Beyonce?

        • econoclast

          It’s not news to the extent that I literally have no idea what you’re referring to.

  • twbb

    Based on my anecdotal observations the ground-level campaign in South Florida is lacking compared to Obama’s 2012 operation.

    I did some phone banking, but it turned out to just be the same group of volunteers calling each other to get each other to volunteer to call each other ad infinitum. I’m trying to be charitable and hoping it was just to build up a mass of volunteers mobilized for GOTV operations but they’ve only seemed to be doing those recently — apparently GOTV phone banking was done remotely from out of state. I’ll canvas on Sunday but frankly on the off chance Trump wins I’d rather spend my time working on my girlfriend’s green card application with the hope we can get it through most of the system before Trump’s people take over.

    • potsherds

      This is a great example of anecdotal data from panic-prone Democrats often being inaccurate.

      We’re doing extremely well in Florida, and according to https://twitter.com/steveschale Steve Schale, who is an expert on polling in FL, we’ll know the result in FL early on election night.

      This man is known to understate things, according to Dana Houle, so, from what I read earlier today on the breakdown of EV’s, and trusting Schale’s wisdom and experience, we already have Florida.

      • twbb

        We’re not doing extremely well in Florida, we’re doing ok. There are some promising signs but there are way too many polls showing a dead heat, or Trump slightly ahead. Even PEC has Florida weakly leaning for Hillary.

        • Fake Irishman

          … just like 2012.

          • twbb

            Where Obama won by less than a percentage point?

            • Matt McIrvin

              In 2012, PEC had Florida completely tied at the end, and Sam basically flipped a coin and called it for Romney. It was the one state he got wrong.

              There’s a Clinton lead of about 2 points in the latest polls on HuffPo, and they are very up to date (there seem to be a lot of polls in FL with really short survey periods). The last poll with Trump ahead in the feed was from a Republican group that seems to put out a lot of R-leaning numbers, and was taken in the depths of Comey weekend.

              • vic rattlehead

                HuffPo doesn’t count. Only Nate Silver.

                • dr. fancypants

                  Nate’s model kinda sucks this year, it’s way too volatile. It seems to show Trump with a 1-in-11 chance of winning Rhode Island, which is just bonkers. Sam Wang still shows Florida as blue; I trust his model over Nate’s this year, it’s been a lot more stable (and uses methods that are open for scrutiny).

    • Captain Oblivious

      Trump is not going to win Florida.

    • vic rattlehead

      You’re worse than Karen! Please don’t try to extrapolate based on one phone banking session. Good grief.

      And there are different kinds of phone banking-I’ve done calling other lawyers to recruit them as poll observers, getting people to confirm their support and make a plan to vote, and even some persuasion.

      If you’re calling people to volunteer it might make the whole enterprise seem like a pyramid scheme or some shit but even that’s important and it’s not the only kinds of calls they’re having phone bankers make. Far from it.

      • vic rattlehead

        Forgot to add, I spent my Thursday evening making sure that voters in FL received their absentee now called vote by mail ballots/returned them/knew where and how to vote early/troubleshoot a missing ballot. In a room with literally dozens of other people doing that same thing (and some focused more on Election Day voting). The room, by the way, was overflowing. They had to send people to another office because they were on the verge of breaking the fire code. So if you want to get into a battle of the anecdata there’s that.

        • so-in-so

          +317 (or whatever HRC’s EV total is).

      • twbb

        “Please don’t try to extrapolate based on one phone banking session. Good grief.”

        I am extrapolating based on that, on other observations of the offices around town, on 538’s Florida polls showing a razor thin Hillary victory margin on a downward trend, and on a number of black Democratic leaders in South Florida frustrated at what they perceive is a lack of GOTV operations in their communities, and poor organization of a couple of the rallies I’ve attended.

        • vic rattlehead

          I’ll ignore the anecdata-including a couple of poorly-organized rallies. Christ.

          And not everyone agrees with Silver. I’m not saying that Wang is god, but it’s evident from your comments the past few days that you have a….shall we say a tendentious interpretation of what your personal experience at the ground level and a single poll aggregator indicate.

          If you want to shit your pants with fear, that’s fine, but stop pretending you’re some brave teller of uncomfortable truths.

          • twbb

            ” but stop pretending you’re some brave teller of uncomfortable truths.”

            Oh go to hell and if you are going to fabricate motives for my posts at least make them remotely credible. It’s a damn internet bulletin board and I’m giving my damn impressions and worries, and considering this is the first time I’ve even mentioned my impression of the local campaign operations I don’t know what you’re talking about.

      • los

        twbb volunteered… to call people to volunteer… which makes twbb admirably an earlier volunteer.

  • charon04

    Sean Trende is not exactly my go to guy for sound reasoning re polling

    ” … (And here by the way is an article about the usefulness of early voting in predicting an election’s outcome.) … “

    Here is an alternate view of the usefulness of examining the early voting:

    https://www.scribd.com/document/329698329/TargetSmart-William-Mary-Florida-Poll-of-Early-and-Likely-Voters

    • charon04
    • XTPD

      Rick Perlstein noted as much a few years back:

      Sure, if you put a gun to my head I could name some right-wing journalists who are, at the very least, as they say, “smart.” But every time I think I can sign on to the promise of one of these folks, they just end up disappointing me. The writer Sean Trende of Real Clear Politics wrote an impressive book debunking the idea—much as I have—that demographic trends make a Democratic majority a near-inevitability. Then, last summer, he published a four-part series arguing that Republicans could regain the majority, not by recruiting more Hispanics but by flushing out the “missing white voters” who didn’t go to the polls from 2008 and 2012. It sounded like an interesting argument—until Ruy Teixeira and Alan Abramowitz pointed out at ThinkProgress.org that the rate of “missing” minority voters who might have gone for Democrats was about the same as for whites who might have voted for Republicans. Trende simply cheated: “He adds back in all the missing white voters to the 2012 electorate while leaving out all the missing minority voters.” That, practically speaking, made his analysis as useful as cross-country skis at the beach—though it was ideologically useful to his team. Which is about as far as most journalists on the right care to go.

      Trende’s about the best journalist they’ve got. And I wouldn’t wish him on an enemy, let alone to be hired by a friend.

    • John F

      Sean Trende is not exactly my go to guy for sound reasoning re polling

      He had an article a couple of weeks ago discussing the USC/Times poll, and made the [common] mistake of equating it with 2012’s Rand Poll- to his credit (I guess) he later added this disclaimer at the end of the article:

      Update: Researchers from RAND wish to clarify that they continue to operate a panel survey and that the current L.A. Times poll is not affiliated with that panel. In addition, they suggest that current Times researchers have tweaked the methodology in a way that could over-weight certain under-represented sub-populations in this cycle.

  • JonH

    OT: I think we’re going to need a post about the “best strong liquors to get through election night”.

    I’m probably going with Fireball. It might be shitty whisky but it’s a damn fine liquid cinnamon booze.

    • postmodulator

      Pity me. I’ll be at work Tuesday night and unable to touch liquor until midnight EST. Depending on how things break, there could be an insurrection by then.

    • witlesschum

      I don’t think I could drink Fireball if I wasn’t at a tailgate before a football game. It’s the mint julep of college football.

    • JustRuss

      I keep thinking there must be a good hot drink to made with Fireball, but haven’t found it yet. Appreciate any suggestions…winter is coming.

      • Ben Murphy

        I haven’t tried any hot drinks with Fireball, but it seems like a hot cider and Fireball could be good, or a Hot Buttered Fireball?

      • JonH

        Hot chocolate?

    • Chieroscuro

      I’ll be on a beach in Cuba by Tuesday, so I’ll be celebrating the finale show with Mojitos, or, if Trump wins, ALL OF THE RUMS, ALL OF THEM.

      • (((Hogan)))

        Be sure to make Mexico pay for them.

    • tsam

      OT: I think we’re going to need a post about the “best strong liquors to get through election night”.

      The election night itself will be the most painless part of this whole process. Shit–the end is in sight at that point.

  • MacK

    Can one have a rant about the self defeating tendency of Democrats to not vote in off year elections?

    • Pat

      In two years, yes. But please, not this week.

      • so-in-so

        Well, say January 2017. At least if you want to start working on changing that. I think we all will need a break after Nov. 9th.

      • Matt McIrvin

        Start on Wednesday.

  • King Goat

    Strange. A lot of people seem suddenly worried. But why? Hillary Clinton is a SUPERGENIUS. She’ll use her amazing political acumen to trick Trump into saying something stupid, or she’ll send Tim Kaine in to stoke the minority vote turn out. After all, she’s the best candidate our perfect nominating process could produce, any failings she has as a candidate are due to totally unforeseeable, unfair application of the Clinton Rules, which were just made up yesterday and would have been applied to any Democratic nominee. So we won’t be any to blame when the vulnerable start suffering if the unthinkable happens and our SUPERGENIUS candidate doesn’t win. We can always maybe run Pelosi in 2020!

    • MAJeff

      blah blah blah blah blah

    • Karen24

      1. She won the primary, mostly by spending years doing lots of boring groundwork and organizing. Sanders never bothered with that icky stuff.

      2. Sanders has plenty of baggage the Republicans would have used gleefully, from never marrying the mother of his son to spending his honeymoon in the Soviet Union. Not to mention the fertile ground for innuendo provided by his refusal to release his tax returns and his wife’s involvement with the broke school. His vague polices and lack of a legislative record would be genuine weaknesses to anyone paying attention.

      3. Finally, whatever you may think of it, having lots of money for the campaign is important and Sanders would not have attracted the donors Clinton has. We would lack the ground game to use the annoying sports metaphor.

      • King Goat

        I voted for her over Sanders because while I think Clinton had serious flaws Sanders would have been a disaster.

        Don’t get me wrong. I think Clinton would be a very competent President and she’s a competent campaigner. But she wasn’t a great pick this year. She and her husband have a long bad relationship with the press and the email thing, which is 75% bs and 25% yikes and what were you thinking was bound to be the gift that keeps on giving for an adversarial press. The enthusiasm she can muster has waned greatly from her 08 run, and her unfavorables were so high…

        We have a nominating system and a mindset among the party that let her build this air of inevitability that kept other, maybe better choices out of the race. Now, maybe we’re in the age of supremacy of ‘campaigns’ and no structural changes or effort to convince primary voters that while she might be due the nomination she wasn’t the best we could field in a ‘change’ election. But we owe it to the people that a Trump campaign would hurt to start thinking love no and hard about how to avoid a situation where are nominee is neck and neck with ‘an objectively terrible candidate’ ever again.

        • Taylor

          I am so sick and tired of this idea that Clinton is a weak candidate.

          Her campaign has been masterful, she pulled down Donnie’s pants in the debates.

          I see a candidate besieged on all sides by:
          1. A feckless at best media who are easily played by RW ratfuckers.
          2. A resurgent white supremacy movement that is treated as deserving sympathy by that same medai.
          3. Jill Stein, Putin’s lunch buddy, who misses no opportunity to smear her.
          4, An out of control FBI, breaking with years of policy about non-involvement in elections.
          5. A rogue hacker organization that I suspect is short on hackers and is basically a front for the FSB.

          Bernie would have been a deer in the headlights of this kind of onslaught. Imagine what Comey and his ratfuckers could have done with him.

          In the past we’ve had:
          1. Dukakis the robot.
          2. Al Gore who was stiff and extremely nervous in the debates, and fled from his strongest electoral asset because of his buy-in to DC CW.
          3. Kerry who froze in the face of Swift Boat Veterans.

          Who is this magic pony candidate who would have done better than Clinton?

          Let me guess: You don’t know, except you at least know the gender of your magic pony candidate

          • Matt McIrvin

            The usual person people fantasize in the role is Joe Biden, who, for all his endearing Onion Joe qualities, is a human gaffe machine with a famous coziness with big banks and a plagiarism scandal in his past, who has failed to get the Democratic nomination more times than Hillary Clinton. But Joe Biden has one important qualification between his legs.

            • King Goat

              Ugh, not Biden. Almost every one of Clinton’s faults exists on Biden, but in less disciplined form.

            • BiloSagdiyev

              After trudging through a football-field-sized open septic pit of Donald Trump’s life for the past year, “Joe Biden’s plagiarism incident” strikes me as mi-tee quaint.

              • Matt McIrvin

                Like Hillary Clinton’s email server!

                • so-in-so

                  And the Clinton foundation, which did NOTHING to enrich the Clintons, but is the same as the Trump foundation, which illegally solicited outside donations and used to benefit Trump directly…

                  Where is that story, anyway? Did the DJT foundation actually produce the 15 years of audited documentation the NY AG demanded?

          • King Goat

            Don’t look now but your masterful candidate is now down in NH, a place we were rightly looking for coat tails, to an ‘objectively terrible candidate.’

            • Thom

              The Upshot gives Trump a 16% chance in NH.

              • Matt McIrvin

                There was a rash of polls coming out today that were all over the place. ARG had Trump +5, a couple of TV-station polls showed it tied or nearly so, and SurveyMonkey (online poll, so take this as you will) had Clinton +10.

                It’s possible that the FBI stuff caused a real cratering of Clinton’s numbers in NH over the past few days (unlike, say, PA or FL, it is a battleground state that is super-white, which probably makes a difference–notice how Iowa is pretty much a lost cause).

                • King Goat

                  Yes, a recent cratering. Foreseeable too.

                  We should be winning NH, both for President and Senate.

                  We probably won’t due to the choice made for the former.

                • Matt McIrvin

                  But I’ve been poking around Pollster’s recent returns and don’t see that happening anywhere else, except maybe Iowa, which is already lost.

                  Are you saying the Presidential party nominating process should be more weirdly obsessed with New Hampshire and Iowa than it is today? If so, that’s an unusual take.

                • Matt McIrvin

                  …or are you saying that the cratering in New Hampshire is about to happen everywhere else? Because there are polls just as recent in other close states that do not show this phenomenon. New Hampshire is not necessarily a typical or a bellwether state, which is actually a common criticism of the primary process.

                  There’s a close Senate race there now, but it seems absurd to design the Democratic primary process or our future criteria for selecting candidates around the assumption of the Senate hanging on New Hampshire.

            • Harkov311

              So I suppose all those poll aggregates showing Trump odds under 20% are all just wrong, somehow?

              • Matt McIrvin

                Probably using stale polls, actually. There was a very recent shift.

              • tsam

                SKEWED

            • cpinva

              “Don’t look now but your masterful candidate is now down in NH, a place we were rightly looking for coat tails, to an ‘objectively terrible candidate.’”

              the “objectively terrible candidate” picked by a wide majority of members of her own party, to represent them in this contest. surely millions and millions of Russians can’t all be wrong, or can they? oh, wait a minute, that candidate would be Donald Trump. sorry about that.

              yes, a majority of millions and millions of democrats country-wide voted for the “objectively terrible candidate”. geez, what the hell was I thinking? oh why did I not consult you, before voting in the primary? I remember now, because you’re objectively an idiot.

              there we go then.

              • so-in-so

                Plus because “somebody different than any of these people” didn’t get on the ballot.

              • King Goat

                The ‘objectively terrible candidate’ is Trump, whom Hillary is neck and neck with (or losing to).

                • Aaron Morrow

                  Clinton is losing to the FBI.

              • twbb

                You both seem to be talking against each other.

                Hillary can be a candidate who has done a great job of being candidate while still being a bad candidate for unfair reasons outside of her control. That’s the sense I get from KG which I don’t think is that far off.

                • Origami Isopod

                  Given KG’s history here, none of his assertions deserve to be taken at face value.

                • tsam

                  No–comment history indicates pure bucketheadedness.

            • Taylor

              A non-rebuttal rebuttal.

              Who knows what Swiftboat Vetting scandal would have been unleashed on your Magic Pony Candidate, to the same end.

          • efgoldman

            Who is this magic pony candidate who would have done better than Clinton?

            At least the goat doesn’t claim that Bernie should have been the nominee, if it wasn’t for the inconvenience of losing by three million votes.
            They never, ever have a realistic answer to the question.

            • Matt McIrvin

              The best fantasy answer to the question is “Barack Obama.” Sure, we’d have done better if we could have Obama. So?

              • King Goat

                How can we tweak both our nominating process and our own choices so that we come up with more Obamas and less Coakleys? That’s the point.

                I bet there were Coakley supporters arguing ‘hey, she’s great, masterful, she’s just beset on all sides by a stupid media and right wing attack machines…’

                • cpinva

                  wow! just………….wow! you’re now seriously comparing HRC with Martha Coakley? ok, you have now very objectively wandered off into cokehead land.

                • Harkov311

                  I see you’re new to King Goat. This isn’t even the first time he’s made this bizarre comparison.

                • cleek

                  how the fuck do you “tweak” our choices? we get to choose from the people who volunteer to run. they pick themselves, we don’t pick them.

                  and running means subjecting yourself to two years of bullshit whining from ostensible supporters, insane smears from the GOP which are amplified by the inane media, and now, attacks from the intelligence services of foreign governments.

                  it’s a miracle anyone at all wants to put themselves through that.

                • witlesschum

                  But you never post about that, you always just whine that Clinton’s a bad candidate.

                • so-in-so

                  Cleek – you left out attacks from our OWN law enforcement services.

                • Origami Isopod

                  wow! you’re now seriously comparing HRC with Martha Coakley?

                  They’re both broads. What’s the diff, amirite?

                • ColBatGuano

                  Maybe the Democrats should just come to you to pick the candidate rather than this messy campaigning stuff?

          • Karen24

            One of the pleasant side effects of this assault on Clinton is that it will make it that much more difficult to recruit Dem candidates. What normal person would put up with this? She has to wear a bullet proof vest under her clothes because of constant death threats. Anyone slightly less disciplined than she is would have broken long ago.

            • cpinva

              “What normal person would put up with this? She has to wear a bullet proof vest under her clothes because of constant death threats.”

              almost anybody reasonably popular on the left, and running for national office, faces death threats these days, not just HRC. horrible as that sounds, it is a fact of life today. the right has gotten so extreme, it its death throes, they feel extreme measures are called for. a lot of them are just barely on the edge of sanity to begin with, and Trump (along with many actual republican politicians) making “joking” comments, are just enough to drive them over that edge.

              sorry I couldn’t be more of a comfort, but I just spent nearly 8 years expecting an attempt on Pres. Obama’s life. happily (at least so far), that hasn’t happened, but I bet the secret service people covering him are highly stressed out. HRC isn’t going to make their jobs any easier.

              • Matt McIrvin

                There were many, many plots to kill him, which were generally thwarted before they got as far as anyone taking a shot (though I think someone did shoot at the White House once or twice).

                • so-in-so

                  Yes, while the President and his family were not there.

                  Some others were stopped en-route to DC.

                  They were not criminal master minds, but someone can always get lucky (or a better trained person, like ex-military) could get just deranged enough.

                • Matt McIrvin

                  In hindsight it’s amazing that only four Presidents have actually been assassinated.

                  Three of them were before the Secret Service had the job of protecting the President. But advances in medical science are important too–Reagan would surely have died of his wound if he’d had James Garfield’s doctors.

          • cs

            I think Goat has a little bit of a point: it’s very hard to believe that Clinton was a great candidate who ran a great campaign and also that Trump has a decent chance to win. It’s got to be one or the other not both. Especially if you also believe what this blog has claimed that Trump has run a terrible campaign.

            As for who should have been nominated instead, that’s a good question. Maybe Clinton was the best choice from a weak pool in which case there isn’t much point in harping on her (alleged) weakness.

            Edit: my opinion (for what it’s worth which is zero) is that Clinton could have done better by spending more time hitting Trump on policy, even if it meant less emphasis on what a terrible unqualified person he is. I mean for example he never even defended the size of his tax cuts and the projected deficit it would have produced, partly because he wasn’t forced to. But if she wins big, then I’ll admit I was wrong and they knew what they were doing.

            • jim, some guy in iowa

              you have to keep in mind forty-some percent of the electorate is convinced to some degree that anyone running as a (d) is an existential threat to the nation

              • so-in-so

                Right – Trump’s numbers improve when the campaign manages to keep him pretty much invisible.

                • Matt McIrvin

                  I think most of Trump’s gains of the past couple of weeks were simply because the debates are over.

                • so-in-so

                  I suspect a lot is that when he isn’t saying awful things personally, the standard issue GOPers stop being embarrassed and admit they’ll vote for him. When he is in full “Grab ’em – Miss Piggy” mode, they won’t admit that (but they are going to do it anyway).

                • cpinva

                  “Right – Trump’s numbers improve when the campaign manages to keep him pretty much invisible.”

                  so the best approach for HRC would be to constantly goad him into saying stupid things in public then? well, no, it really doesn’t much matter, he’s got that 40% locked down, no matter what. my best guess is he comes in at not much over 40% overall. obviously higher in some states than in others, but country-wide, in the 40% range.

                • so-in-so

                  Hence my follow-on, I think his numbers drop because the non-Trumpistas don’t want to say they support him when he’s been just outed as awful, but really they will once in the privacy of the voting booth. i agree that his ceiling has probably been reached a few times, I don’t think there is a wave of bashful Trumpists, just some who back off on polling when he’s in full slime mold mode.

                • Matt McIrvin

                  so the best approach for HRC would be to constantly goad him into saying stupid things in public then?

                  Actually, yes, which is why she’s done that to the best of her ability. But it’s nearly impossible to do in the post-debate endgame.

            • Matt McIrvin

              A lot of this discussion is people talking past one another because they have different standards of attribution. I think Hillary Clinton is actually a pretty good campaigner–a mediocre stump speaker but a good-to-excellent debater and counterpuncher. But she’s inherently affected by strikes against her that are, in some moral sense, unfair: she’s a woman and gets a penalty from sexism; she’s a Clinton and has been the focus of a quarter century of hate propaganda and was an affected party in a famous sex scandal (even if it was as a victim).

              A lot of whether you think of her as a good candidate or a poor one depends on whether you’re counting the “unfair” reasons as characteristics of her. They are in the sense that they can’t be taken away, but on the other hand they don’t imply that she’s doing badly at the task.

              • King Goat

                Sadly, the election won’t be conducted according to rules of fairness.

                • cpinva

                  “Sadly, the election won’t be conducted according to rules of fairness.”

                  another penetrating insight, by our very own goat head soup. he’ll be here until Tuesday folks, so tip your veal and try the waitress!

                • Matt McIrvin

                  True, but where do you draw the line? “We should never nominate a black person or a woman” isn’t acceptable in modern liberal politics, nor should it be. We’re still well into “a black person or a woman has to be twice as good,” though.

                • Bufflars

                  Luckily, Clinton’s campaign was good enough to allow her to handily win despite the unfair bullshit.

            • witlesschum

              I think Goat has a little bit of a point: it’s very hard to believe that Clinton was a great candidate who ran a great campaign and also that Trump has a decent chance to win. It’s got to be one or the other not both. Especially if you also believe what this blog has claimed that Trump has run a terrible campaign.

              One of Scott’s other things he likes to remind people is the political scientists want to tell you that campaign quality only matters in very marginal ways compared to the things they call fundamentals (economic growth, unemployment rate, etc.) so I don’t think your logic actually checks out.

              You can easily construct a scenario where Clinton runs an excellent campaign, Trump runs a terrible one and she barely wins because the fundamentals above mentioned were in the Republicans’ favor up front.

              And the only time to really evaluate this with any precision is after the election.

              • cs

                In what way do you think the fundamentals are in the Republican’s favor? The economy is decent, the President is popular, the war is going OK, at least no setbacks recently. The only “fundamental” thing that seems to argue against Clinton is that some people say it’s extra hard to win a third consecutive term for the same party, but I’m not sure how much weight that really carries.

                • Matt McIrvin

                  The pure “fundamentals” models generally gave it to the Republicans this year, on the grounds of the third-term penalty, combined with the economy not growing quite as fast in whatever relevant time window as it should have. There’s been an economic recovery, but the average person doesn’t really feel like it’s a boom time.

                • witlesschum

                  I’m not really conversant with what they mean by fundamentals, to be honest. But seems to me if you’re making a campaign is bad argument, you have to grapple with how much campaigns matter first.

                • so-in-so

                  Others have made the point that the “difficult third term” fundamental lacks sufficient data points to be considered stronger than “the GOP always wins when team X is in the Super bowl”.

                • mds

                  In what way do you think the fundamentals are in the Republican’s favor?

                  Because we’re on the rocks as a nation. Sure, median wages have finally been rising. Sure, the employment numbers have been mostly encouraging of late. Sure, inflation is low. Sure, we are much less personally embroiled in overseas military operations than we have been in recent memory. But if you’d only visit the correct parts of the Heartland, center of real America, you’d realize that “people are angry.” Whether it’s because of a decades-long decline in a region’s industry that’s all the fault of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama; or whether it’s because a big corporation with a profitable factory operation decided to move production overseas anyway; or whether it’s the fact that the local plant involved in the auto supply chain is still open thanks to Democrats but fuck them anyway; or whether it’s because homos, darkies, and liberals are ruining America by banning Christianity; people are angry. And they’re ready for a big change from the status quo that’s actually kept things fairly okay for them, compared to a lot of the alternatives. Because angry. And, well, they are angry … in a specific way. I mean, how else do you explain the logic of “I like outgoing Governor Beshear, and I love my kynect, so I’m voting for Matt Bevin” other than raw spite?

                • Harkov311

                  I’m saving this…it’s just so perfect

              • twbb

                “One of Scott’s other things he likes to remind people is the political scientists want to tell you that campaign quality only matters in very marginal ways compared to the things they call fundamentals (economic growth, unemployment rate, etc.) so I don’t think your logic actually checks out.”

                I think a lot of those rules have been thrown out this cycle.

                • (((Hogan)))

                  Yeah, usually there isn’t this big a spread in the professionalism and nuts-and-bolts competence of the campaigns. Romney didn’t have Obama’s level of data analytics and field operations, but he had something that faintly resembled them.

          • MacK

            A weak candidate as compared to…

            Objectively she is not a natural politician, with flaws. Now point out who else was running for the Democrats? Bernie as many point out has flaws-a-go-go and more importantly Hillary beat him.

            So she’s not Obama, or Bill Clinton, etc. But they are not running this time. So yes I do think she’s a weak candidate in the scheme of the last 5-10 elections, but in the context of this one…..

            • so-in-so

              Also Bill Clinton doesn’t seem to be Bill Clinton this time around…

              • Matt McIrvin

                Bill Clinton hasn’t been Bill Clinton in a while. He’s showing his age to a much more dramatic degree than Hillary is, though he’s not much older.

          • John F

            I am so sick and tired of this idea that Clinton is a weak candidate.

            She’s a weak candidate due to 25 years of assaults on her and overall Clinton fatigue. It’s not a moral failing on her part or anything like that, most of its not her fault and not anything she could actually do anything about.

            • King Goat

              Exactly. Not her fault, but totally foreseeable.

              • Aaron Morrow

                It’s totally foreseeable that a Republican who ran on explicit bigotry and won the presidential primary would do as well as Trump is.

            • witlesschum

              Is that true, though? People lean on the unfavorable numbers in making this case, but an election is a binary choice. People can think the she’s whatever, but still vote for her and many will. Americans generally don’t think much of politics or politicians these days, overall.

              It makes me wonder what the evidence is as far as how someone with a high unfavorable number really plays out in actually voting.

            • Taylor

              The only fatigue I’m feeling is these people claiming that their Magic Pony candidate would have done better.

              If I were on the GOP side, I would have been salivating at the prospect of running against Biden.

              I’d like to first see some evidence that Gillebrand can run a Presidential primary campaign, before I’m willing to concede that she might be ready to run for President. On this front, Clinton has clearly learned a *lot* from 2008, she is a much better candidate now than she was then.

          • JustRuss

            Yeah, “She’s a horrible candidate because the press doesn’t like her” is a terrible disqualification. It’s certainly an issue, but we shouldn’t let the whims of the Villagers decide who we get to vote for.

        • rea

          We have a nominating system and a mindset among the party that let her build this air of inevitability that kept other, maybe better choices out of the race.

          We should have nominated KG’s imaginary friend.

          • so-in-so

            Hard to write him in when KG can’t even give him a name.

          • ColBatGuano

            And disenfranchised all those voters who thought Clinton was a good choice. Stupid voters.

      • los

        Karen24 says:

        (…)


        Or don’t get trolled…

        Too many LGMers bit…

        even if I modded this page….

    • econoclast

      We didn’t count on the fucking FBI trying to throw the election to Trump. And you don’t think they could have something to leak about Sanders? These Clinton scandals don’t emerge — they get created.

      • King Goat

        Yeah, who could have foretold possible embarrassing email related news coming out about the Clinton’s? I mean, no grudges against them in their decades of DC spotlight could have been predicted, nor that a Clinton Rules press would run with some leaked stuff from a grudge bearer in the bureaucracy…

        • Thom

          And therefore Democratic primary voters should have preferred someone else? Maybe the former governor of Maryland, or the annoying former senator from VA? But they didn’t. People voted, and they chose HRC, by an overwhelming margin.

          • jim, some guy in iowa

            King Goat’s bottom line is that the voters are too stupid to be trusted with the responsibility of voting

            • so-in-so

              And that there is a secret super Democratic candidate ready to clean Trump’s (or any GOP candidate’s clock), if only HRC would release him (Pretty sure it has to be HIM) from that undisclosed location.

              Sadly, HRC has done such a great job concealing this super candidate that KG can’t name him.

            • BigHank53

              No, if only we had the Perfect Imaginary Candidate we’d carry the election by thirty points! Unfortunately, back here in the real world, we have to deal with the candidates that actually run.

              • MacK

                Well exactly – Warren did not run, others did not run – and it is not like the Democratic bench is overflowing with strong candidates.

                • King Goat

                  Gillibrand.

                • (((Hogan)))

                  Whose initials are KG, just like yours . . .

                  You are Kirsten Gillibrand and I claim my five pounds.

                • Aaron Morrow

                  Does convincing Paterson to nominate her to the Senate count as a run for office for Gillibrand?

                • mnuba

                  I remain confused about the fact that Kristen Gillibrand is your white whale given that she has literally never shown any interest in running in this cycle and in fact was one of the senators encouraging Clinton to run as early as 2013.

                  I did find this ludicrous fan fiction from Matt Yglesias from a few months ago in which Gillibrand runs and everything is perfect and nothing bad ever happens and sexism doesn’t exist anymore and she wins by 15 points or something so I’m wondering if this is where you got this idea?

                  If Clinton, Sanders, Biden et al. are all so terrible there must be more than just one relatively untested junior senator who would’ve done better…right?

                • davidsmcwilliams

                  +1 meat pie for Hogan’s reply.

                • Matt McIrvin

                  If the problem is just that Hillary’s run kept Kirsten Gillibrand out of the race, I don’t think any change to the primary process is going to help with that. I also have to ask what analogous phenomena are likely to happen in the future. Hillary Clinton seems sui generis to me: a candidate who Democrats have been thinking of as probably the first female President for about 20 years. Barack Obama wasn’t like that, and Obama managed to beat her fair and square 8 years ago. Are there any other Hillary Clintons in the pipeline?

            • Pete

              Well, the GOP primary voters chose Trump, so…. At the very least, the level of ignorance and bigotry in the American electorate has to be relevant to their quality as citizens. I agree that there is no better way to select candidates than having the people vote for them, and I do believe that there can be no fair and neutral system to screen voter eligibility based on their “quality” other than an age minimum. But dammit Jim — we should stop pretending that many many voters are not ignorant and that a sizable minority are stupid by any objective measure. Makes it harder to worship democracy in the abstract, but it’s true.

          • King Goat

            There’s two parts to my critique.

            One is, indeed, that our fellow Democrat primary voters made massive miscalculations in choosing Hillary. People in the party criticizing how other people choose, especially in the face of unnecessary defeats, is a normal part of the democratic (small d) process of party development. It’s how we went from nominating Dukkakis to Bill Clinton. We need people in the party to say to other people in the party ‘uh, I see why you personally like that candidate, but think of the general!’

            The second has to do with structural elements that create an ‘air of inevitability’ about a candidate who, ultimately, is not good for us in the general. Things like superdelegates, or having the DNC staffed with cronys biased toward such a candidate. We can make structural changes to address this.

            Here’s my thing: are you happy with the result of the process? Are you happy with being down in New Hampshire a few days before the election to an ‘objectively terrible candidate?’ Are you worried about the prospects for hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of vulnerable people if we do lose? If so, is there anyway we can self-critique and do better next time? Is there any room or place for that critique? Aren’t we duty bound to do it, no matter how much we, personally, might think our candidate is obviously the best?

            • Murc

              This is the sanest thing you’ve said in months. It’s not necessarily correct, mind you, but it isn’t nutty.

              One is, indeed, that our fellow Democrat primary voters made massive miscalculations in choosing Hillary.

              Who should they have chosen instead? Our choices were Hillary, Sanders, and some also-rans. You admit in this very thread you voted for Hillary! If you couldn’t find anyone better, well.

              The second has to do with structural elements that create an ‘air of inevitability’ about a candidate who, ultimately, is not good for us in the general. Things like superdelegates, or having the DNC staffed with cronys biased toward such a candidate. We can make structural changes to address this.

              This is true, but, again, neither of those things had any bearing whatsoever on this specific primary. Unless you’re arguing that without superdelegates Gillibrand, a huge Clinton backer from day one, would have jumped in?

              … actually, you know what, I’m going to downgrade this to ‘true-ish.’ “Air of inevitability” is basically an argument that primary voters are too dumb to realize that nobody has actually won yet.

              • FlipYrWhig

                King Goat’s entire argument is that the millions of people who actually vote to determine the Democratic nominee are too dumb to do what he prefers. The height of that horse is breathtaking.

                • so-in-so

                  No, his pony didn’t run because the scary Super delegates gave Clinton an air of inevitability. Which didn’t frighten Sanders. But the inevitable GOP attacks, including made up stuff, didn’t scare her in the least.

                  I don’t see it.

            • ColBatGuano

              Things like superdelegates, or having the DNC staffed with cronys biased toward such a candidate.

              So, in other words, the hysterical fantasies floating around in your head.

    • Murc

      Jesus Christ, this is rank idiocy. And I say that as a Sanders voter who did and still does believe he’d have been a stronger candidate.

      I’m going to act against my better judgment and try to give you some useful advice here.

      Hillary Clinton is a SUPERGENIUS.

      Nobody here has made that claim. You keep trotting it out. Nobody has done this. Don’t open with a strawman. It weakens everything else you say.

      After all, she’s the best candidate our perfect nominating process could produce

      Our nominating system is far from perfect, but in the months you’ve been bitching about this you have yet to articulate an alternative that would have produced a superior outcome while also retaining democratic legitimacy.

      Unless you can do that you’ve got nothing. It’s like arguing if you’d remembered to bring sunblock, you wouldn’t have gotten wet when it started raining on your beach trip. The two things aren’t interrelated.

      Your arguments would be a lot stronger if you simply adopted a stance of “we had a bunch of weak candidates this cycle, and the party needs to do a better job of nurturing and deploying talent such that our choices weren’t someone with astonishingly high negatives, a self-identified socialist, a hella problematic former governor and mayor whose biggest claim to fame is inspiring a Wire character, a former Republican who longs for the days when the Democratic Party didn’t have so many blahs, and another former Republican so bland and useless I’m having trouble thinking of something else derogatory to say about them.”

      Now, you’d be wrong about a bunch of things in there, including the fact that Sanders and Clinton were “weak candidates.” But this line of argument isn’t risible. “We need a deeper bench” is something people will agree with you on. You can get some traction with “Clinton’s weaknesses were forseeable and if we’d had a deeper bench maybe we could’ve had someone better.” Indeed, usually when you show up there are a few people who say “this guy has a small point buried in among his horseshit.”

      But that’s not what you’re doing. You just keep making the same insane, incoherent points over and over, and failing to respond substantively when called out on them.

      If you’re a troll, you’re a masterful one and my hat is off to you. If you aren’t, you’re just kind of an idiot.

      • King Goat

        “Nobody here has made that claim. You keep trotting it out. Nobody has done this. Don’t open with a strawman. ”

        Maybe it’s a bit cheeky to use the SUPERGENIUS term we use for NFL discussions, but *on this very thread* we’ve got people defending Clinton as *masterful.* Did you read the thread after the debate where people were saying ‘OMG, she’ so brilliant at this game she tricked Trump into being stupid!!!’?

        ” in the months you’ve been bitching about this you have yet to articulate an alternative that would have produced a superior outcome while also retaining democratic legitimacy.”

        I can’t believe the guy who is saying we should get rid of superdelegates is being criticized for threatening democratic legitimacy…

        • Murc

          Maybe it’s a bit cheeky to use the SUPERGENIUS term we use for NFL discussions, but *on this very thread* we’ve got people defending Clinton as *masterful.*

          Masterful is maybe a bit over the top but Clinton is a superb campaigner, dude. She builds storng apparatuses, has a crazy good GOTV op, and forges alliances with state and local operatives who are needed to help her win. She develops good reads of her opponent, rarely makes the same mistake twice (although she has of course made a number of mistakes) and has effective lines of defense and attack.

          This is all nuts-and-bolts stuff but you’d be amazed how many people aren’t that great at it.

          I can’t believe the guy who is saying we should get rid of superdelegates is being criticized for threatening democratic legitimacy…

          I criticized you for doing this? Where, pray?

          Second of all, getting rid of superdelegates would not have changed who our nominee was this cycle one iota.

        • witlesschum

          Superdelegates is your plan? Superdelgates didn’t stop Obama from beating Clinton in 2008, they were apparently a non-factor in the election. You sure this is a supergenius level reform.

      • Matt McIrvin

        You forgot the single-issue candidate who was promising to magically pass one law and resign!

    • (((Hogan)))

      Yes yes, we made a terrible mistake when we nominated Clinton instead of the candidate in your head. Now go figure out how we can fix that in 2020 (and it has to be you, because you’re the only one with access to your head, and thank heaven for that), and report back to the class. This is just repetitive whining.

    • Don’t worry, Governor. In 2020 the people will be ready for your zero scandals and courageous advocacy for the metric system.

      • BartletForGallifrey

        +I just laughed out loud so hard I choked.

    • los

      King Goat says:


      Clinton Rules

      maybe I should feel motivated to look up ‘Clinton Rules’, but it is probably a term for something about the Clintons of which I’m already aware…

  • cpinva

    “African-Americans are failing to vote at the robust levels they did four years ago in several states that could help decide the presidential election, creating a vexing problem for Hillary Clinton as she clings to a deteriorating lead over Donald J. Trump with Election Day just a week away.”

    I wonder, if we went back to the 1964 election, was there a serious drop-off in Irish-American Roman Catholics voting, because JFK wasn’t on the ticket? and you know, the absolute only reason they voted for him, in disproportionate numbers, in 1960, is because he was “one of them”. and let’s face it, LBJ was no JFK.

  • John F

    FWIW almost very Repub I know (in real life not here on the internet) is absolutely convinced that if HRC wins (and most still think she will) it will ONLY be because the mouthbreathers nominated Trump. They think Rubio/Kasich/Cruz/Fiorina any of them, would have beaten HRC in a walk…

    How this plays out should be interesting, apparently no one learned a damn thing from 2012 (well some people did that’s why they intensified the voter suppression tactics) – but in many of these people’s minds- there is nothing to fix except “don’t nominate Trump” – it’s basically the same idea as “Don’t nominate Sharron Angle”)

    What they seem less interested in is why they are ALWAYS in danger of nominating the Angles and Trumps and LePages. Moreover, McCain lost, Mittens lost…

    They knew early on they were going to face either HRC (who they always assumed they would beat in a general) or an Atheist Jewish Socialist (who they would assume they’d beat 60:40 in a general)- and they still couldn’t get their act together.

    If Trump loses, the 55% of Repubs who did not support him for the nomination will be angry at those who did for costing them a victory they will be 100% convinced would have been theirs but for Trump. the Trumpistas will be convinced that the GOPe stabbed them in the back by staying home, not support Trump etc etc. It will get ugly, so if Trump wins, get out the popcorn, the GOP will be too busy shivving each-other for quite awhile to do much of anything else.

    • Nobdy

      so if Trump wins, get out the popcorn

      I assume from context this is supposed to be “If Trump loses”

      If Trump wins I am going to be too busy throwing up for 4 years to be able to eat any popcorn, and I am pretty sure the GOP will take a few breaks from infighting to stomp on vulnerable groups and spread misery and evil across this land (not to mention literally poisoning the earth by dismantling environmental protections.)

      • so-in-so

        Poisoning the earth is too slow. I vote for a nuclear war within the first Trump term. They’re the biggest and best weapons, why don’t we use them?

      • blackbox

        If Trump wins, I will literally move to Canada. I already have dual citizenship and family there!

      • John F

        that was meant to say if Trump loses, get out the popcorn,

        if Trump wins, Canada is too close, my wife used to work in Singapore, and enough people speak English there for me to get by.

        • blackbox

          Too close for what reason, though — proximity to a failed state, or to a nuclear strike zone? If the latter, we need to move to, I don’t know, Antarctica.

    • Murc

      FWIW almost very Repub I know (in real life not here on the internet) is absolutely convinced that if HRC wins (and most still think she will) it will ONLY be because the mouthbreathers nominated Trump.

      The might not be wrong. Trump is within shouting distance right now. What if everything about him were precisely the same, but he was effective at nuts-and-bolts political organization? You can be a spittle-flecked fascist who speaks openly of ethnic cleansing and molesting women and still be competent at that. Trump is not.

      I’m in genuine fear of a Trump equivalent who is.

      • witlesschum

        The might not be wrong. Trump is within shouting distance right now. What if everything about him were precisely the same, but he was effective at nuts-and-bolts political organization? You can be a spittle-flecked fascist who speaks openly of ethnic cleansing and molesting women and still be competent at that. Trump is not.

        I’m in genuine fear of a Trump equivalent who is.

        Yeah, very much so. He’s blazed a trail and smarter, more competent people are going to try to follow it. Hopefully they’ll suck at it and come of as insincere. Trump seems sincere in a way that only a complete dumbshit can.

        A more competent Trump will be scarier in some ways and less scary in others, because part of what’s scary about Trump is his complete incompetence. It’s like dealing with an arsonist in the house, versus a child with matches. The arsonist might want to burn things, but presumably will have enough sense of self-preservation to not burn everything. The child doesn’t.

        • Karen24

          I agree with this. One thing that gives me some confidence is that much of Trump’s appeal is that he is such an idiot and has no experience in government. It’s difficult for me to imagine a competent person who could channel the necessary level of dumbassery necessary to charm Trump’ set of rubes..

          • Bufflars

            Oh, there are several on the Repub bench that are complete and utter dumbasses. I’m sure someone will be up to the challenge in four years.

          • mnuba

            One thing that gives me some confidence is that much of Trump’s appeal is that he is such an idiot and has no experience in government.

            Right. Trump + “politician” = Paul LePage or Steve King. Those guys aren’t going anywhere.

        • The thing is, no matter how dumb Trump is, he selects people who are reasonably good at a few fhing/, including making him feel like he looks good and mostly a black bottom line. Both of those skills require some instrumental intelligence. They also have to require an ability to ignore the words coming out of the boss’s mouth. He doesn’t want to hear, when things go down the toilet, “but that’s what you said.” He wants people who are ruthless in pursuing goals and also in sucking up by lying. That could be a very dangerous combination in a staff person, whether they understand these things are matches or not.

          • so-in-so

            Except I don’t really see any of that as true (except that he doesn’t want to hear bad news). Many of “his” projects failed, a hotel in Toronto bearing his name was announced to be bankrupt just today. He IS smart enough to figure out how to avoid losing too much of his own money (I guess – we don’t have his tax returns to be sure, except the partial ones from ’96 that showed he lost close to a BILLION dollars).

            • Yeah, oddly, he doesn’t seem to care that much about profits. But if The Apprentice is any guide (and maybe it’s not), the guy or woman who makes Donald Trump look bad in front of one of his buddies, by screwing up in a way that draws censure Trump can’t ignore, is gone. That he’s an incompetent businessman and manager, though, doesn’t mean he isn’t good at demanding “hard work and results” from his subordinates. It just means he makes inconsistent demands and gives them no guidelines. Some number of people will give “results” of one kind or another in that environment. It might not be the kind of results a good manager would want, but Trump will never know that.

        • Domino

          Personally, I’m convinced that if Repubs had been competent, and realized that Mitt was in a prime position to run again, then he wins the primary, and it’s a 66-33 chance Mitt beats Hillary for the presidency, and we got back to having a majority conservative SC for 10 more years.

          Thankfully, they thought Jeb! was their ticket.

          • mds

            and it’s a 66-33 chance Mitt beats Hillary for the presidency

            But, but, how would all those Trump voters who are concerned about economic uncertainty ever support “47%” Romney, the corporate raider? They’re angry, and Mitt doesn’t scratch that itch.

            • Domino

              Not that I think it matters a whole lot – but do you think Ryan would’ve been happy to sign on again for VP? I think so, especially given how the House is, but part of me thinks Mitt would be tempted to pick someone more pleasing to holders of economic anxiety.

      • so-in-so

        My most optimistic take is a reverse King Goat – Trump didn’t come out of nowhere, he has been a fixture in American popular culture for years. He is just new to politics, and even there has played at it in the form of hobby efforts and birtherism for some years now. The smarter shouty racist has to be someone on the scene NOW if they are going to make it in 2020. A less shouty racist is just a standard GOPer, and they haven’t done well either.

        • FlipYrWhig

          Trump’s entire appeal is that he acts like a raving asshole, i.e., He Tells It Like It Is, i.e., He’s Politically Incorrect. Someone who was like Trump in every other way but didn’t act like a raving asshole wouldn’t get anywhere.

          • Matt McIrvin

            I’m not sure about this–consider Russia. Trump isn’t Putin, he’s Vladimir Zhirinovsky (with less political experience–I’ve also seen Zhirinovsky compared to Louie Gohmert). Suppose you had an actual Putin? A guy who still acted like a raving asshole, but was actually brutally rational behind the scenes?

            I would have said it’d be Rudy Guiliani, except he’s embarrassing himself as a Trump surrogate and actually seems kind of inept himself, and he’s run for President before and completely tanked.

            • Putin had backing from his buddies in the KGB and the hierarchy of the Orthodox Church (which seems to see him as a latter-day Vlad, defender of the faith like that Impaler guy). Not clear who in the US could fill that role, so it’s the Lowest Common Denominator for Donald J. Trump.

              • Matt McIrvin

                The closest person I can think of in that regard was actually George Bush the first. But he didn’t have the persona–he wasn’t a macho asshole by nature and the mask fit him poorly, though he tried it on occasionally at rallies and when one of his wars was on.

          • so-in-so

            Someone who was like Trump in every other way but didn’t act like a raving asshole wouldn’t get anywhere.

            They would be a bog-standard GOP candidate.

    • Karen24

      This is really important no matter what the results Wednesday morning are. The Republicans are now the party of white people, and specifically the kind of white people who really don’t like or understand people who aren’t white, married, straight, nominally Christian, and typically male. If Trump wins, he’ll only do so by the very thinnest of margins with no support from anyone not in that list, and most likely by losing the popular vote as a whole. This is important because for the modal Republican it will confirm that everyone who isn’t in that list can be safely ignored. If he loses, they will decide it’s just because he was tacky. There will be no attempt to broaden their appeal even to middle class religious Hispanics. We will be facing an organized party with significant political power at the state level that sees most of the people in this country as something other than their fellow citizens and who have no desire to change their minds.

      Even in my worst Eeyore moments, I recognize that this situation cannot hold for very long and that if we can avoid blowing ourselves up with nukes, the fever will break, because eventually there won’t be enough of the current crop of old white people left to make a difference. (See the NBC piece on what the election would look like if only school kids voted.) The problem is that it’s going to take at least another decade to completely work itself out. We have a bumpy ride in store.

      • so-in-so

        Not because he was tacky; because the damn libs rigged the election by getting so many blah people to vote. They will work harder to prevent that from happening again.

        Meanwhile, we liberals need to keep going and figure out how to increase Democratic turnout in 2018 to at least 2012 levels.

        • Karen24

          Obama says that’s how he plans on spending the rest of his public career, so we can hope.

          • Matt McIrvin

            If Trump gets in Obama could spend the rest of his public career in a prison cell, along with every other Democrat of importance.

            • vic rattlehead

              I don’t think Obama would be in prison. Although he could always resign on January 19, 2017 and have Biden pardon him.

              Incidentally, I’m wondering what Obama should do about Hillary if Trump wins.

              Trumpenproletariat along with wingnut politicians are going to DEMAND that Trump make good on his promise to jail Hillary. There’s a simpatico FBI. Trump will appoint simpatico US Attorneys. So pragmatically speaking, I think Obama should pardon Hillary and Hillary should accept the pardon.

              Now the counter argument is that that’s the PERFECT propaganda coup for the right. It looks fishy as hell and the right doesn’t even have to work to make their case in court. It will validate ALL the bullshit smears from the right over the past quarter century and it will be difficult to counter it.

              But again, pragmatically, Hillary is 69. She has grandchildren. As much as she might not want to give the republicans that kind of victory, spending time with her family might be more important to her than fighting that bullshit for the entire Trump Administration (however long it might be…)

              Plus, even if Hillary beats the bullshit charges, prosecuting her on trumped up charges would be a nakedly partisan exercise that seriously damages democracy in this country.

              • BiloSagdiyev

                Would it finally stop the GOP pity party over the unfair persecution that was Watergate?

                Magic 8 Ball says: Ha!

              • Taylor

                Hillary would not accept the pardon, on the principle that she did nothing wrong. No way she would give the press that moral victory, let alone the Reich Wing.

      • I think it’s worse than that. The Rs are the party of racist white people who don’t understand others and don’t want to. The paternalistic liberals who don’t understand others but feel bad about it are either becoming disgusted with what the party has undoubtedly become (if they weren’t Ds to start with) or have succumbed to the anti-PC critique and are trying to feel less bad.

        And then there are the Rs who aren’t that racist but “life’s not fair” so they overlook their discomfort and pull the lever. Or who convince themselves “they know I’m one of the ‘good ones'”

        But the end result is even more support for the don’t-care racist, sexist whites who all agree should be in charge of the thing.

    • los

      John F says:

      They think Rubio/Kasich/Cruz/Fiorina any of them, would have beaten HRC in a walk…

      maybe:
      Rubio, Kasich, Graham, ‘Jeb’

      sketchy:
      Cruz, Paul

      no:
      Christie, Failorina, coocoo Carson, random roadkill armadillo, the other forgotten clowns

      in their dreammares:
      drilly spilly pallin w terrorists Palin

      How this plays out should be interesting, apparently no one learned a damn thing from 2012

      McCain lost, Mittens lost…

      which is why Rubio, Kasich, Graham, ‘Jeb’ could easily have lost.

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