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Donald Trump, SUPERGENIUS

[ 396 ] March 17, 2017 |

Perry Anderson puts some some emerging conventional anti-wisdom into the microwave:

Taken by itself, the difference in the popular vote is arguably not much less misleading than Trump’s sweep in the Electoral College, since in a money-driven system, Clinton paid twice as much as Trump to obtain her votes, getting far less for her expenditure per dollar. This was in good part because she wasted so much time buttering up wealthy backers and flooding air-time in states like California and Illinois which she was bound to win anyway, piling up useless margins there, while Trump was concentrating on four or five decisive rustbelt states, by the end ignoring the big states—Texas, Georgia etc.—where he was safe, which could probably have generated equally pointless surpluses.

I would say that this is what happens when self-impressed public intellectuals opine on subjects they don’t really know anything about, although in fairness the analysis consistent with the cited source, the normally more reliable John Judis.

Anyway, this idea that Trump win because he was relentlessly and shrewdly focused on battleground states while Clinton was wasting huge sums of money in safe blue states is complete bullshit. One one hand, Clinton was not ignoring swing states because she was spending huge amounts of California and Illinois. But the even bigger problem is the crucial states where Trump allegedly outsmarted Clinton. This is just flatly false:

Fig4-768x660

Let’s start with Pennsylvania, where so much Wednesday morning quarterbacking founders. Clinton started spending quite heavily 15 weeks out and outspent Trump throughout that period, often by large margins. And that’s the ballgame, because without Pennsylvania Clinton loses. And, in addition, Clinton losing the state should give pause to assumptions that spending more money in other states would have shifted the result, and should given even more pause to blithe assertions that Clinton’s significant popular vote margin was the product of advertising.

What about Michigan? Again, it’s certainly not a story of Trump understanding that it was in play and Clinton failing to. With the exception of one brief spike by Trump two months before the Election Day — a let’s-try-this from a campaign that thought it was foundering, not a considered, sustained attempt to target the state — both campaigns largely ignored it until the last week. And as soon as the polls actually indicated a turn, Clinton flooded the state with money, but lost anyway. Both campaigns clearly thought Clinton had the state in the bag until the last 10 days.

As you know, I think it’s massively implausible that the wave of negative coverage generated by the Comey letter was not responsible for enough of this apparent late break for Trump to have been decisive. But let’s say arguendo that the apparent late break towards Trump is a statistical illusion and he was ahead in the key states all along. What’s relevant is that it’s simply not true that Trump saw something that Clinton didn’t and won because Clinton didn’t target swing states. At best, the narrative applies to Wisconsin, but the election didn’t turn in the state. It’s also pretty gross, from the nominal left, to use this patently erroneous analysis to handwave away the massive democratic defects of the Electoral College.

You can criticize the content of Clinton’s advertising and the precise allocation of resources, and given how close the election was perhaps different choices could have changed the result (although this kind of counterfactual is more of a “could Wolverine beat Mike Tyson?” parlor game than a serious analysis.) But the idea that Clinton was so abjectly incompetent she didn’t bother to contest swing states, or Trump had some special insight Clinton lacked, is just ludicrous.

Much of the rest of Anderson’s piece is a “Barack Obama, perfidious neoliberal” account you’ve read a million times before, and you’ll agree with it or you won’t (although his blithe declaration that most of Obama’s executive actions were ultra vires from someone with a decidedly underwhelming grasp of the details of American politics is a nice touch.) But I do want to cite this bit of rhetoric for people who want to learn the language of bullshit:

Admirers of Obama excuse the domestic failure of his Presidency to represent anything like an ‘audacity of hope’ on the grounds of Republican obstruction in Congress.

See how this works? Only an uncritical “admirer” looking to “excuse” Barack Obama could think that Republicans having control of at least one legislative veto point for 7/8ths of his presidency, control of the House for 3/4 of his presidency, and Democrats well to the right of Obama and/or the Lieberman for Connecticut Party controlling a veto point the remaining 1/8th meaningfully constrained Obama’s agenda. This allows you to imply, especially to your European readers, that Obama could have transformed the American political economy into Denmark’s but Didn’t. Even. Try, while allowing yourself some plausible deniability if someone calls you on it. Nicely done!

[via humanoid.panda]

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  • shah8

    I think a more careful version of that hypothesis would work, but given Scott’s description of the rest of the column…meh, I’ve gotta go to work.

  • brad

    There is one thing that’s clear; of course Wolverine could beat Mike Tyson.

    • Q.E.Dumbass

      Yeah seriously. It’d be almost as idiotic as if he used “could Magneto beat Wolverine” as the metaphor.

    • JMP

      Seriously; even if it Logan kept his claws sheathed, between his adamantium bones and healing factor there’s no way an unpowered human would beat him in a straight fight.

      • random

        Even without the healing factor, punching a metal skeleton probably does more damage to you than him.

        • ASV

          But without the healing factor he dies of heavy metal poisoning, so you can probably wait him out.

        • Hob

          So you avoid punching, and bite off his ear (which of course has no bones). He’ll regrow it, but if you keep biting it off, he’s bound to get tired just from the cumulative loss of blood and protein – while you gain nourishment!

          • Q.E.Dumbass

            Without the healing factor, asphyxiating measures seem to have a fair chance of actually killing him.

            • liberalrob

              Even with it. I don’t think it’s ever been established that Logan can survive in space or underwater without breathing any longer than comparable humans can. Of course I’m not up on the latest X-info.

    • EliHawk

      I mean, Tyson’s big strength was that he would knock you out early: He wasn’t someone who won stamina fights or decisions. (It’s one reason Buster Douglas and Holyfield, who don’t go down easy, had his number). So yeah, guy with a healing factor is gonna beat his ass handily.

  • anapestic

    John Judis is not really rational on this subject. He has the worldview of a number of old school liberals that hold that the Democratic Party will always shoot itself in the foot and that no other explanation for a loss is possible. I will sometimes start reading a piece on TPM and start thinking WTF? and then I’ll look more carefully and say, “Oh, John Judis” and stop reading.

    • liberal

      The Democratic Party _did_ shoot itself in the foot, twice:

      1. You can rationalize it all you want, but HRC is a piss-poor retail politician. By that I don’t mean that we should have picked Bernie, but rather that the process that catapulted her into the top ranks of nominee-wantabees was fucked up. While she seems relatively intelligent and extremely hard-working, she got there because of her ties to her husband’s machine within the party elites, not because she’s an effective politician. She never should have even been in the running at all, not in 2016, not in 2008, not ever.

      2. Comey, Comey, Comey. Who appointed Comey? Oh, yeah, Mr. Eleventy-dimensional chess himself.

      • sibusisodan

        “You can rationalise it all you want” isn’t actually a method of preventing criticism of very silly hot takes like this one.

        We can! There’s quite a lot of what you wrote which dissolves into mush when you try to…think rationally about it.

      • Dilan Esper

        I have a more philosophical view of the HRC nomination.

        In a perfect world, the Democrats would have nominated somebody else. She had big negatives, the field should not have been cleared and the debates should not have been scheduled to her benefit, and the party should have realized that younger and lefter was its future.

        But in the real world, parties don’t work that way. They reward people with names and connections, they make judgments about electability that are based on the ideological priors of the people making them, and they don’t really trust primary voters.

        There were also aspects of this that nobody would foresee, like the Republicans running a protectionist (which made HRC’s background as a free trade supporter a liability).

        So we were going to get HRC. And having gotten her, she really did very well in the campaign. She wasn’t my preferred nominee, but she did a lot of stuff right. And certainly Scott is right that nobody has identified any mistake that was cataclysmic (although I do think that there were some mistakes on the margins having to do with running up the score).

        • sibusisodan

          the field should not have been cleared

          One day, perhaps when I’m long retired, clever researchers in the field of fieldclearingology will be able to give an account of the relevant mechanism in the 2016 that is not entirely vacuous.

          Unfortunately the account will be immediately overshadowed by accusations that the funding committees cleared the field to allow the field clearing investigation to be conducted by the field clearing investigators. Ironic, really.

          • Dilan Esper

            Field clearing works through signalling, phone calls, and sometimes threats. It isn’t out in the open.

            But like a black hole, you can see its effects. Only 5 people ran, and only 4 of them were Dems. Logical candidates didn’t run. Etc.

            • Field clearing works through signalling, phone calls, and sometimes threats. It isn’t out in the open.

              So what evidence actually exists that any of this stuff happened?

              like a black hole, you can see its effects. Only 5 people ran, and only 4 of them were Dems.

              When the effects of a black hole are detected, scientists have reasons for thinking that a black hole is the only plausible explanation of the observed phenomena.

              Is “field clearing” of the sort described above the only plausible explanation for the relatively small number of Presidential primary candidates on the Dem side?

              • Nick056

                It’s the so-called invisible primary. Simply put, Clinton was such a prohibitive force in the invisible primary that during the actual primary her only real competition was an insurgent who did not participate at all in the previous stages of the nomination campaign. Ezra Klein tried to describe Clinton’s success as the product of a unique strategy born out of necessity, given her status as a woman competing in a heavily gendered contest. But I find the opinion that he summarizes and attempts to rebut more convincing here.

            • Murc

              So you’ve got literally nothing except the claim that the absence of evidence is evidence itself.

              Clinton “cleared the field” because a bunch of looked at her and said either “I don’t think I can beat her” or “Fuck yeah, Clinton! I like Clinton!” and declined to run.

              Why that is problematic I can’t even begin to guess.

              • humanoid.panda

                I think that Dilan’s description of the process is terrible, but c’mon: the fact that 90%+ of Democratic electeds endorsed a non-incumbent candidate was pretty significant.

                However, describing this as some kind of conspiracy of favors is revisionist history: it ignores the fact tht while she was winning the invisible primary, Hillary was extremely, extremely, popular. I remember reading stories from 2014 about red state Democrats sallivating about their comeback on the wings of the Clinton restoration, exactly because Hillary was popular with the people who soured on Obama.

                • Well, yes. Fact is, in party leadership races where there is a clear frontrunner from the start there tends to be fewer candidates. The reason for this is not hard to guess. SPOILER: It doesn’t require backroom armtwisting to keep the field clear for the frontrunner.

                • nemdam

                  To build on what you’re saying (I’m not arguing), of course all of her endorsements were significant and helped her clear the field. But the “cleared the field” critique assumes that Clinton didn’t do this as a result of her own talent and skill but that it was a product of the party bosses getting together, deciding on Hillary, and coercing others to support her. Instead of the actual reason which was Hillary was genuinely popular within the establishment of the party and through her hard work and talent earned that trust and popularity.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  I’ve been meaning to do a post on this, but I’m also curious about who the great political talent Clinton muscled out of the race is supposed to be. Biden is the most common answer, but you can’t muscle out the vice president (and if the VP has no independent fundraising ability that means he’s a shitty candidate anyway.) I think Biden concluded he couldn’t beat Clinton and I think he was right.

                • Murc

                  I think Biden concluded he couldn’t beat Clinton and I think he was right.

                  I think in a head-to-head, Biden and Clinton could go either way.

                  I think in Bernie/Clinton/Biden, Bernie wins a non-Condorcet victory because Biden kneecaps Clinton enough for Bernie to get in Romney style.

                • Dilan Esper

                  Biden, Warren, and a whole bunch of younger ambitious politicians who usually fill out primaries.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  Biden, Warren, and a whole bunch of younger ambitious politicians who usually fill out primaries.

                  There remains no evidence that EW actually wanted (or wants) to be president.

                • sibusisodan

                  But prominent candidates not running is a frequent occurrence in primaries. There’s even its own little section in wiki.

                  What’s different this time round that means we need to reach for a nefarious explanation rather than the bog standard political calculations any politician makes when deciding to run?

                • Scott Lemieux

                  There remains no evidence that EW actually wanted (or wants) to be president.

                  And, also, if Bernie count mount a credible challenge Warren certainly could have if she wanted to. She’s not O’Malley — she didn’t need endorsements to raise money or attract volunteers.

                • efgoldman

                  Biden, Warren, and a whole bunch of younger ambitious politicians

                  As we ALWAYS say in a thread like this: you can’t Shanghai people to run. Anybody with any sense at all (which means most likely Dems) knows what an enervating grind it is, and how being president is even more (if a different kind) of a grind.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  As we ALWAYS say in a thread like this: you can’t Shanghai people to run. Anybody with any sense at all (which means most likely Dems) knows what an enervating grind it is, and how being president is even more (if a different kind) of a grind.

                  And people keep forgetting that Elizabeth isn’t a career politician. She’s run for office exactly once.

                • djw

                  I think in Bernie/Clinton/Biden, Bernie wins a non-Condorcet victory because Biden kneecaps Clinton enough for Bernie to get in Romney style.

                  This depends a great deal on how much of Sanders’ support was of the “last candidate-with-a-penis standing” variety, which he presumably would have split with Biden.

                • liberalrob

                  Do people remember that Biden did actually run for president once before, and got his clock cleaned before the primary voting even started? Something about Neil Kinnock being a key contributor to that cleaning? (And he ran for the big chair again in 2008, once again briefly.)

                  He was not a good option for 2016. Not compared to Clinton. To Sanders, maybe, but then that wasn’t the goal in backing a Biden run was it.

                  a whole bunch of younger ambitious politicians who usually fill out primaries

                  Like the GOP primary with its clown car of lightweights? Yeah, no.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  Do people remember that Biden did actually run for president once before

                  Not once, twice. The idea that Biden was some Obama-level political talent who woulda beat Hillary if Hillary hadn’t muscled the VP out of the race by [unspecified mechanism] is very weird.

              • JMP

                I really can’t think of any way that’s a problem that doesn’t boil down to “how dare she act competitive and political like that when she’s a mere woman!”.

              • Slothrop2

                She had all the corporate-class money committed to her campaign, thanks and no large part to the connections made by the foundation. So yeah, she cleared the field.

                She lost a bunch of voters because of her unapologetic ties to neoliberal gutting of the middle class, abetted by Obama free-trade everything, ACA notwithstanding.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  She lost a bunch of voters because of her unapologetic ties to neoliberal gutting of the middle class, abetted by Obama free-trade everything

                  I thought it was because she didn’t support gay marriage early enough and said superpredator 20 years ago.

                  (Anyone else notice how much the anti-“identity politics” crowd brought up those particular “identity politics” points rather a lot?)

                • ColBatGuano

                  ACA notwithstanding.

                  Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?

            • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

              Logical candidates didn’t run.

              I may have missed it, and you’ve named them before, but who were these “logical candidates”?

              • rea

                I’m sure he thinks that the guy born in 1942, and in the middle of a recovery from a family tragedy, and who made a fool of himself every previous time he ran, was one.

                • nemdam

                  And I’m sure he really wanted to run except that calculating and duplicitous Hillary threatened him Vince Foster style not to. It couldn’t have been that he decided he had no chance because Hillary was a juggernaut.

            • veleda_k

              It isn’t out in the open.

              But like a black hole, you can see its effects.

              Yeah, dude, okay. It’s Clinton and the Illuminati.

            • sibusisodan

              The problem is if your field clearing measurement instruments are made of cheese and a rarified sense of grievance what you think is a black hole may not exist.

              2008 primary candidates: 8 (per wiki)
              2016 primary candidates: 6 (per wiki)

              2016 field obviously smaller. Not massively smaller. But missing a couple of candidates. Who in particular?

              Primaries where at least one logical candidate doesn’t actually run: pretty much all of them.

              So, what’s unique about 2016 where we need to invoke some kind of force majeur, rather than the run of the mill explanations for earlier years (didn’t think they could win, family commitments etc)?

              • humanoid.panda

                Endorsements.

              • Dilan Esper

                First of all, it was 5, not 6.

                Second, how about comparing it to 1988? Or to the Republicans in 2012 or 2016?

                You are cherry picking.

                • sibusisodan

                  I decided to use the same source for both primaries for consistency. Wiki includes Lessig for 2016, which is an odd choice. But at least it means you can’t accuse me of cherry picking…

                  …why would I want to compare the primary process across generations? The simplest comparison is with the previous competitive primary, when we can reasonably assume the party and its structures haven’t changed too much.

                  Of course, if you can’t tell the difference between the 2016 and 2008 primaries as regards field clearing, that doesn’t say much for your theory.

                • MyNameIsZweig

                  how about comparing it to 1988?

                  Because 2016 has nothing in common with 1988?

                • Hogan

                  How about comparing it to 2000, the last time the Dems went for a third consecutive term? Three candidates, counting Lyndon LaRouche.

                • “How about comparing it to 1988, or the Republicans in 2012 and 2016”?

                  In 1988 there was, if I remember rightly, no clear favorite at the starting gate. In 2012 the closest thing to a front-runner in the Republican race was Mitt Romney, but there was enough dissatisfaction with his candidacy on the right to fuel competing candidacies, albiet none that were actually very plausible. In 2016 there was no clear favorite at the start of the Republican primary. while on the Democratic side Clinton was the clear favorite. In an echo of the 2012 Republican primary, however, there was enough dissatisfaction with Clinton on the left to fuel a competing candidacy. Unlike that race, rather than a flavor of the week wingnut candidate we got Bernie. The fact that the other, less ideological alternatives to Clinton were quickly eclipsed helps explain why there weren’t more candidates from the mainstream of the party: Clinton, as the clear front-runner, already had those votes.

                • Dilan Esper

                  In 1988 there was, if I remember rightly, no clear favorite at the starting gate.

                  But that’s my point. “Favorite in the starting gate” is how fields get cleared.

                  The inability of Hillary’s supporters to accept that work was done behind the scenes to give her the easiest path possible through the primaries is one of the oddest things I’ve seen in the last couple of years. (Of course one of the other oddest things is their inability to see why anyone would object to the speeches. There are just a lot of blind spots here.)

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  rather than a flavor of the week wingnut candidate we got Bernie

                  Mmm.

                • sibusisodan

                  The inability of Hillary’s supporters to accept that work was done behind the scenes to give her the easiest path possible through the primaries is one of the oddest things I’ve seen in the last couple of years.

                  You’ve presented no evidence for it.

                  It’s trivial that someone being viewed as the presumptive frontrunner will change the slate of candidates.

                  That’s not the same as the idea that people were working behind the scenes to create an outcome which the mere fact of the candidacy alone wouldn’t bring about.

                  You’re saying that the latter happened in 2016. Based on…?

                • liberalrob

                  The inability of Hillary’s supporters to accept that work was done behind the scenes to give her the easiest path possible through the primaries is one of the oddest things I’ve seen in the last couple of years.

                  Because there was no work done behind the scenes. All the work that needed to be done was done right out in the open. She was the runner-up in 2008, was a good soldier who served well as SecState, and was accepted for years in the media as the most-likely person to run for the nomination and be the nominee in 2016. The field cleared itself with no need for additional help from the DNC. It was obvious she was going to run and there was no dispute over her qualifications or name recognition; and certainly there was no disputing her ability to raise money. No other possible candidate came close.

                  I think that’s one reason why it took so long for Sanders to announce; he had to decide whether it was even possible to get heard, or if he would just be wasting his time and money.

                • liberalrob

                  Part of that “being a good soldier” was NOT running in 2012 seeking some kind of vindication/revenge for 2008.

            • sigaba

              Field clearing works through signalling, phone calls, and sometimes threats. It isn’t out in the open.

              In other words, “field clearing” is just a sinister innuendo for “politics.”

            • Spider-Dan

              If the Democrats were REALLY healthy, they would have run 17 primary candidates like the GOP did!

            • ASV

              Only 5 people ran

              I’ve stood in cleared fields, and none of them contained five people.

      • Morse Code for J

        She got there because more people voted for her in all of the state primary elections and caucuses. Maybe they were stupid to have voted for a white woman over a white man, since we only just recently elected a black man in this country, but the choice was made by the people who turned out to vote. Zero out the superdelegates and it’s closer but still hers.

        • CP

          She got there because more people voted for her in all of the state primary elections and caucuses.

          I really don’t grok why this is so hard to understand.

          • Morse Code for J

            Because it saws right through the butterfly knot in every Sanders holdout’s panties.

            • Q.E.Dumbass

              butterfly knot in every Sanders holdout’s panties

              I agree with the broader point, and consider the griping about “BernieBros” being sexist/misgendering thin-skinned idiocy, but dude, come the fuck on.

              • Abbey Bartlet

                I would suggest “undies” is a better choice here.

              • rea

                Guys can’t wear panties?

                [looks down] Excuse me while I change . . .

              • Morse Code for J

                Fair points, and I apologize. Would that I could edit.

          • sappymallow

            Well, I saw a bunch of my lefty left friends and acquaintances cast aspersions on the intellectual capacity of the Southern and/or black voter, in that apparently we didn’t know what was best for us and that we were doing “something” to ourselves. I believe even Bernie said something along the lines of “of course she won the South” like those votes were somehow lesser. I imagine the rigged! people are still trying to roll that particular intellectual burden up the hill every day.

            • Abbey Bartlet

              I imagine the rigged! people are still trying to roll that particular intellectual burden up the hill every day.

              Yes, just visit Debbie’s mentions.

            • nemdam

              As a resident of Minnesota, I remember Saint Bernie saying that Minnesota will vote for him on Super Tuesday because they are too smart not to. That basically sealed my vote for Hillary.

              • Slothrop2

                Wow. What a loser mentality; trifecta for beetle bomb.

                Bernie had all of the energy among younger voters. Lots of old-and-in-the-way going on. Can hardly wait until the boomers are in the nursing homes.

                • Hogan

                  When I’m in my nursing home, you’ll still be a useless jackass.

                • ColBatGuano

                  among younger voters

                  You mean the ones that only 50% show up to vote on election day?

      • You can rationalize it all you want, but HRC is a piss-poor retail politician.

        Every account I have read says the opposite. She has a reputation for being very effective face-to-face with voters. She’s weak on the stump, but good in debates. The most convincing critiques of her last two campaigns have been on overall strategy, though.

        • Q.E.Dumbass

          Also:

          While she seems relatively intelligent and extremely hard-working, she got there because of her ties to her husband’s machine within the party elites, not because she’s an effective politician

          Given his past history I’ve been willing to assume the disdain was overwhelmingly on policy grounds…but (to put it lightly) I’m struggling to find such a basis in here.

      • Scott Lemieux

        What does a presidential election have to do with retail politics?

        • nemdam

          I think it matters in the early primary states, particularly Iowa. Which she won even though the demographics and caucus format say Bernie should’ve crushed her. So there’s another debunked criticism.

          • Q.E.Dumbass

            The question Scott’s asking makes a lot more sense when you realize that the real answer is usually along the lines of “BERNIE WOULDA WON,” and comes with the barely-implicit assumption that Sanders’ leftism was not just salutary but would’ve totally kept the media chickenfucking noise machine from dragging it down like it did Gore/Kerry/HRC, because reasons. This isn’t Green Lanternism, it’s Waiting for Purple Man.

          • Scott Lemieux

            It certainly matters in the primaries; I was talking about the general.

            • jim, some guy in iowa

              code for “likability”?

              • jim, some guy in iowa

                “likeable”

                goddamnit I make myself look bad enough *with* an edit function

          • ForkyMcSpoon

            I’m not sure I even remember seeing Sanders ever participate in retail politics.

            He was all about the rallies and speeches (much like Trump).

            Clinton liked going to local diners and things like that, from what I could tell.

      • Spider-Dan

        Well, you know what they say: when you have a politician in your party with 90%+ name recognition and favorability ratings over +20 the week after a Presidential election, you gotta make sure that person does not enter the next primary!

      • MyNameIsZweig

        HRC is a piss-poor retail politician

        This is actually the opposite of what I’ve heard from people who have actually met her, so I think you might not know what “retail politician” actually means.

      • TopsyJane

        I like “relatively intelligent.” Hillary Rodham Clinton thanks you for the crumbs from your table, Mr. (or Ms.) Dives.

    • msdc

      I will sometimes start reading a piece on TPM and start thinking WTF? and then I’ll look more carefully and say, “Oh, John Judis” and stop reading.

      So it’s not just me!

      • weirdnoise

        Nope. I’ve had the same experience. Now I check the byline on TMP’s “Editor’s Blog” first and don’t even bother…

      • ASV

        Not just you. I also have that reaction when the weekend David Atkins sludgefest begins at Washington Monthly.

      • ColBatGuano

        Add me to this list as well. He’s a big “identity politics is bad” screecher.

    • FMguru

      In the 1980s and 1990s, Judis was terrific, with a really sharp big-picture understanding of the ebbs and flows of American party history, leading up to 2002’s prophetic “Emerging Democratic Majority”.

      The 2017 version of him is just painful to read, doubly so if you remember his glory days. Dude has definitely lost his fastball.

      • petesh

        +538

        • FMguru

          At least he hasn’t fallen as far as some of his 1980s TNR stablemates like Kaus and Easterbrook.

      • Scott Lemieux

        It’s depressing to read someone as talented as Judis engaging in bog-standard “the candidate lost ergo the campaign was abysmal” tautologies you could get from any Halperin or Fournier, but it happens a lot.

  • President Putinfluffer

    Super Genius?!? OH Yeah that is SOOOOO true!!

    The Washington Post: “Trump’s budget makes perfect sense and will fix America, and I will tell you why”
    Read More Strait outta my daily spam puffery

    The State Department, by 29 percent: Right now, all the State Department’s many qualified employees do is sit around being sad that they are never consulted about anything. This is, frankly, depressing, and it is best to put them out of their misery. Besides, they are only trained in Soft Diplomacy, like a woman would do, and NOBODY wants that. Only HARD POWER now that we have a man in charge who thought the name Rex Tillerson was not manly enough and rechristened himself Wayne Tracker. With the money we will save on these sad public servants, we will be able to buy lots of GUNS and F-35s and other cool things that go BOOM and POW and PEW PEW PEW.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/wp/2017/03/16/trumps-budget-makes-perfect-sense-and-will-fix-america-and-i-will-tell-you-why/

    BRILLIANT!!

    • Q.E.Dumbass

      Fuck your lonely shit /b/!!!!! This might be Valentine’s Day, but god damn stop being p***ies. This is a manly thread, we talk manly shit up in here!!!!! SO WHAT DID YOU HAVE FOR BREAKFAST????

      >> A HOT ENGINE BLOCK SMOTHERED IN RANCID OIL! WASHED THAT SHIT DOWN WITH A STEIN OF DRANO THEN PICKED MY TEETH WITH A SIGNPOST

      >> [picture of spinning rims] I HAD ME SOME RIMS FOR BREAKFAST

      >> INSTEAD OF BREAKFAST, I HAD SEX WITH A BEAR.

    • Abbey Bartlet

      This is the best part BY FAR.

      • John F

        I’ve ceased being amazed when, every now and then, someone (usually a “conservative”*) falls for an Onion or Onion-like article as being real.

        It’s not just that liberals have a hard time discerning RW parodies from actual RW stuff, right wingers themselves are having trouble.

        *Actually I have never ever seen a liberal mistake a RWers parody/satire of leftwing thought as anything other than a RWer’s attempt at parody, but more and more I see RWers getting fooled by parodies…

        • efgoldman

          I have never ever seen a liberal mistake a RWers parody/satire of leftwing thought as anything other than a RWer’s attempt at parody

          Because “RW parody” and “RW humor” are no more found in the wild than jabberwocks are. In fact, they’re even rarer than jabberwocks.

      • Scott Lemieux

        SATIRE IS ALREADY DEAD LEAVE IT ALOOOONE

    • erick

      One of the comments nailed the only thing that would make it even better: audio version read by “Ron Swanson”

      • President Putinfluffer

        Ooh, he makes my favorite Pot Pie.

  • Just_Dropping_By

    How many people have been claiming Trump was a genius for focusing on these states versus how many people have been claiming Clinton didn’t focus enough? Because I hear lots of people making the latter argument and virtually nobody making the former argument and the charts suggest that in Wisconsin and Michigan at least the latter was true, although as you note, one can legitimately argue that based on the results in Pennsylvania more spending earlier in the other states wouldn’t have helped anyway. (There’s also the question of the effect of in-person appearances versus television spending — this says Trump/Pence visited PA, MI, and WI more times than Clinton/Kaine did: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/11/10/donald-trump-spent-more-time-in-the-states-that-handed-him-the-presidency/?utm_term=.0fdb5f67bc87 )

    • Nick056

      Yes. The New Left article is silly left-wing score settling about how Obama was a celebrity neo-liberal President and not a true comrade. Not persuasive stuff. But the point in Judis’s piece and the general criticism is of Clinton’s campaign choices, not a claim that Trump is an electoral super-genius. I don’t really know how much of the results are attributable to campaign affects vs. the fundamentals of the race, and she certainly did compete in Pennsylvania. But her team badly misallocated resources, and, although Trump is no supergenius, when his data team began to see that the shape of the electorate would favor them (prior to the Comey letter) they moved decisively to exploit the advantage.

      • Scott Lemieux

        But her team badly misallocated resources

        Nah. The misallocations were minor and plainly non-decisive.

        hen his data team began to see that the shape of the electorate would favor them (prior to the Comey letter) they moved decisively to exploit the advantage.

        Nope. This just didn’t happen.

        • Nick056

          My source for that clam is an interview Josh Marshall did with Josh Green right after the election. Admittedly it’s been a few months, but Green describes how the Trump data operation was giving Trump almost no chance of victory (7% IIRC) until mid-October, when their model started to predict an older, whiter electorate than even their initial assumptions in key states. They acted accordingly.

          • Scott Lemieux

            They acted accordingly.

            BUT THEY DIDN’T! Trump won Michigan in spite of spending almost no money there in the last month, and won Pennsylvania despite getting badly outspent by Clinton in the last month.

            • Nick056

              This is not really true. I just went back and re-listened to the relevant part of the interview. The Trump data team redid their model on the 18th with a much whiter screen, and then immediately sent Trump to visit states like Wisconsin. Again: based on the data and before Comey.

              I don’t mean to claim these visits as a “but for” factor for his win. But the Trump campaign did identify and respond to data trends in October by increasing their activity in key states. GENIUS CAMPAIGN? No. Exploiting favorable conditions in a rational way? Yes.

              • Scott Lemieux

                Trump won Michigan in spite of spending almost no money there in the last month, and won Pennsylvania despite getting badly outspent by Clinton in the last month.

                and then immediately sent Trump to visit states like Wisconsin.

                Now that’s what you call non-responsive!

                They might be saying now that they knew they had a great shot in Michigan and Pennsylvania, but that’s not how they acted at the time.

                • Nick056

                  This is ridiculous. I claimed that when their data showed a much more favorable electorate in the blue wall states, they “acted accordingly” by sending Trump there to campaign, which is a matter of record. I’ve cited to an interview laying out the details. And you’re calling me non-responsive to your claim, which, again: patently false, disingenuous, etc. I can only assume you don’t want to concede that the data team did see something moving in October, and adjusted the campaign strategy accordingly (an utterly banal observation) because that timeline would undercut your claim that there was absolutely no basis in data to predict this shift in the electorate and react, in either campaign, prior to the Comey letter.

                  That is simply not so.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  Whatever their data said, it didn’t cause them to allocate their resources more efficiently than Clinton in Michigan or Pennsylvania, which was the claim being discussed.

                • Nick056

                  Well, their data increased his chances of winning from 7% to 30% in mid-October, and they sent him to the crucial states. Per Green, paraphrased:

                  “All of a sudden Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania come into play, they immediately send Trump off to these states. Journalists asked, ‘what are you doing, Republicans don’t win those states? That’s why they were out there.” … Trump’s data people were wrong, but they had a better sense of where true North was than the Clinton people.

                  Since that interview, we’ve gotten more studies trying to evaluate the effects of Comey, and 538 says it was possibly dispositive. But just as a matter of the record it is correct that there was a wave building prior to Comey. And there is evidence that one campaign seemed more sensitive to that building wave than the other.

          • Aexia

            What I’ve seen about his data shop (once you clear away the Cambridge Analytics psychographics snake oil) is that they quickly realized they were likely going to lose badly and that the only way they could win was drawing an inside straight in the rust belt. So they backed the only play that could put them in a position to win if that happened.

            • Nick056

              No. In mid-October, they realized the electorate might be much whiter and older than they predicted, redid their modeling with new assumptions, snd saw Trump’s chances rise from 7% to 30% internally. They then reworked the campaign.

              Somehow a conventional wisdom has solidified in which Trump’s team simply had no reason to be optimistic prior to the Comey letter, but they became quietly a good deal more confident as soon as early voting showed a whiter and older electorate in key states.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      Pennsylvania does not only suggest that more spending in Michigan and Wisconsin wouldn’t have helped, but also that, even if it would have led to wins there, Clinton would still have lost the presidency, because she lost Pennsylvania.

    • Murc

      How many people have been claiming Trump was a genius for focusing on these states versus how many people have been claiming Clinton didn’t focus enough? Because I hear lots of people making the latter argument and virtually nobody making the former argument and the charts suggest that in Wisconsin and Michigan at least the latter was true

      How the hell were they supposed to know that beforehand, tho?

      Seriously. I’ve posed this hypothetical before, but. Let’s say it is early September, 2016. You’re a Clinton campaign advisor in a meeting with her and the rest of the senior staff. “Madame Secretary,” you say, “we need to dump a lot more resources into Michigan and Wisconsin; we’re vulnerable.”

      Across the table, the other advisors look at you like you’re nuts. “No, we’re not,” one of them says. “Want to know how I know that? Because we’ve never been up by less than five points in either of those states. In any poll. Ever. Even Fox and Rasmussem have us outside the margin of error. Fox. There is literally zero evidence those states are anything other than comprehensively secure, and we should not divert resources from Florida and Virginia to them.”

      Clinton nods thoughtfully at this, and turns back to face you. What is your rebuttal?

      • rea

        Or, alternatively, Clinton agrees with you, and narrowly loses Virginia, and loses Florida by a wide margin.

      • Abbey Bartlet

        Let’s say it is early September, 2016. You’re a Clinton campaign advisor in a meeting with her and the rest of the senior staff. “Madame Secretary,” you say, “we need to dump a lot more resources into Michigan and Wisconsin; we’re vulnerable.”

        Across the table, the other advisors look at you like you’re nuts. “No, we’re not,” one of them says. “Want to know how I know that? Because we’ve never been up by less than five points in either of those states. In any poll. Ever. Even Fox and Rasmussem have us outside the margin of error. Fox. There is literally zero evidence those states are anything other than comprehensively secure, and we should not divert resources from Florida and Virginia to them.”

        Clinton nods thoughtfully at this, and turns back to face you. What is your rebuttal?

        Shit, let’s say it’s any time before October 28th. That still holds up.

        • nemdam

          Any campaign would’ve wanted to be in the position Hillary was in on the morning of October 28th. There had been at most like two public polls in WI, MI, or PA that had Hillary down since the conventions and from what I gathered her internal polling had her up even more. Yet another reason why the “Hillary sucks!” argument is so flawed.

      • sibusisodan

        “Madame Secretary, those rumours about Obama’s time machine? All true. How do I know? Well, I used it to come back here. Listen up…”

      • Scott Lemieux

        What is your rebuttal?

        “I just know!”

        Also, as best as I can determine, the percentage of people calling Clinton an idiot for not pouring resources into Wisconsin and Michigan after the fact who argued this at the time was roughly 0%. If anyone has counterexamples I’d like to see them.

        • herewegoagain3

          Polls are significantly underreporting trumps support because of shitty likely voter screens. What if the likely voters are telling the truth?

          • Two points within a three point margin of error is a “significant” underestimation? Herwegoagain indeed!

            • herewegoagain3

              Yes, 2 points in a 3 point race is significant. In fact, its 50% of 4%. It is more than half of any percentage under 4%.

              • My point is that national polls are “accurate within a margin of error of three points” either way, nineteen times out of twenty. The last national polls before the election showed an average Clinton lead of four percentage points. The actual Clinton lead- two percentage points- was therefore well within the expected margin of error. There was no national polling error requiring explanation beyond the usual statistical noise. One could make a better argument that certain state polls were off but remember that the margins of error for state polls were larger still. States like Michigan were not considered to be battleground states by pollsters and so were not polled regularly in the same way that Florida and Ohio were.

                • herewegoagain3

                  “States like Michigan were not considered to be battleground states by pollsters”

                  This is my point. Pollsters adjust their raw data to what THEY think is the correct demographics that is going to turn out, who the “real” likely voters are, etc. And they “decided” which states weren’t battlegrounds and were dismissing “likely” trump voters because they hadn’t voted last time or they weren’t getting the right result (an obvious clinton win.) If they knew what the fuck they were doing, explain the misses throughout the midwest.

                  And THAT’S what I’d tell clinton to get her to stop wasting money in fucking arizona and dump some in WI instead.

                  Not that it’d matter – I don’t think it was the logistics of her campaign that was the failure. I was just answering the question.

        • Incontinentia Buttocks

          Arguably Nate Silver, who was the one person suggesting some weekness in those states in the weeks leading up to the election.

          But, again, Pennsylvania.

          • Incontinentia Buttocks

            Also: Silver afaik has never called Clinton an idiot.

            • Rob in CT

              Right. Nate was warning that things could go wrong, and it ended up going wrong the way he said it could. Those articles (which resulted in a bunch of “what’s wrong with 538?” stuff) could have been the backup.

              But PA and FL…

          • Scott Lemieux

            Nate’s analysis holds up exceptionally well, but I don;t recall his arguing specifically that Clinton should be targeting Michigan and Wisconsin (although he may have and I’m forgetting.)

            • altofront

              Well, there’s the table of “must-win” states for both Clinton and Trump in this post (9/19, by Harry Enten), which identifies (in order) MI, WI, MN, VA, and PA as the most important states for Clinton to win.

              Then there’s this post (11/9), which describes Clinton’s focus on FL and NC as “playing offense,” while noting that NC could become an important backstop for her if her support among white non-college voters in the Midwest collapses (the focus of a 10/4 post). The 11/9 post then turns to PA and MI, describing them as Clinton’s “outer firewall,” and saying, “the scenario by which Clinton loses a state like Michigan or Pennsylvania isn’t hard to fathom.”

              Maybe there’s more; I’m honestly finding it too painful to go back and read over the election projections to continue. And it’s true that he’s not giving advice to either candidate. But my respect for Silver as an analyst has grown substantially since the election: he was right about a hell of a lot of things, and he stuck to it despite being seriously out of step with other prediction outfits, and getting a lot of flak for it.

          • Nick056

            No kidding. Based on Silver’s map, “we are almost certain to lose Ohio and even perhaps likely to lose Florida, so we need to fall back to and firm up our blue wall to the maximum extent possible with tons of traditional negative policy ads” is not per se a ridiculous strategy. Perhaps not an obvious one, but what I remember is that absolutely everyone in early October though she was a shoo-in, with plenty of people predicting a blowout. When Silver called if s close race, he was mocked mercilessly for trying to generate clicks. People here bet significant money personally on the outcome in Florida.

            • Spider-Dan

              1) Silver was calling it a close race before the Comey letter dropped.

              2) In that same article, Silver “predicts” anything from a Trump win to a Hillary blowout. All bases are covered!

              I don’t understand why people are falling over themselves to pat Nate Silver on the back when the LA Times had Trump winning pretty much wire-to-wire.

              • altofront

                I don’t understand why people are falling over themselves to pat Nate Silver on the back when the LA Times had Trump winning pretty much wire-to-wire.

                Because the LA Times poll had significant methodological blind spots, and actually did a pretty lousy job of predicting Trump’s percentage of the vote? Just a guess.

                Silver’s basic argument was “we think Clinton will probably win, but there are far too many undecided voters to be very confident that this is the case.” He was pretty much the only predictor saying this.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  And Silver also thinks Trump probably needed the Comey letter to win.

                • Spider-Dan

                  The non-538 MSM is not being bashed because they got Hillary’s percentage of the vote wrong. They are being bashed because they got the outcome wrong, which is not coincidentally 538’s entire claim to fame this cycle (they were the “least wrong” about the outcome). Mobile goalposts.

                  Unless you’re saying that 538’s prediction of the popular vote percentages was much better than all the outlets that predicted 320+ EVs for Hillary?

                • Harry Hardrada

                  Due to their weighting scheme, there’d be major swings in the tracker depending on whether one particular respondent (a 19-year-old black Republican in Chicago) was in that day’s sample or not: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/13/upshot/how-one-19-year-old-illinois-man-is-distorting-national-polling-averages.html?_r=0

                • Spider-Dan

                  Let me put this another way:

                  From my link above, 538 was trumpeting the “uncertainty” in the race BEFORE the Comey letter. So imagine a world where Comey still releases a letter on October 28, but it’s announcing an investigation into Trump’s ties with Russia, and Hillary wins in a landslide.

                  Would we then say that a website that was predicting the absolute certainty of a Hillary blowout was “proven more accurate” than the doomsayers at 538?

                • herewegoagain3

                  The fact that it was close enough that a fucking worthless “letter” could tip the balance of history is what we should be concentrating on. Not that ratfuckers gonna ratfuck.

                  Clinton failed. She was not failed.

                  If we are going to nominate people where a single letter from some assclown is going to fuck us forever…just FML already.

                  Yeah I’m still pissed.

                • altofront

                  And Silver also thinks Trump probably needed the Comey letter to win.

                  Right, but the two go together: the Comey letter was potent because there were so many undecideds.

              • Herewegoagain state YET AGAIN,

                The fact that it was close enough that a fucking worthless “letter” could tip the balance of history is what we should be concentrating on. Not that ratfuckers gonna ratfuck.

                Clinton failed. She was not failed.

                The fact that the election was close enough to be stolen is proof of Clinton’s failure if, and only if, the election only be close because of the Democratic candidate’s failures.

                With this in mind, let us look at the failed candidate Barack Obama, who won the popular vote by “only” four percentage points against Mitt Romney, a man whose own party offered only lukewarm support and who was easily typecast as an out of touch plutocrat, flanked by the zombie-eyed granny starver – compare that to Clinton, who won by “only” two points against Trump. Clearly that was entirely his fault.

                For that matter, it was also entirely Obama’s fault that he beat McCain by “only” seven points. McCain, after all, was in many ways a “weak” candidate who had picked the absurd Palin to be his VP. He was also running against the headwinds of a major financial crisis and a highly unpopular Republican incumbent. And yet Obama only beat him by seven points! It should never have been that close!

                So why is it always close? Is it entirely the fault of the Democratic candidates?

      • nemdam

        Right. People who think Clinton should’ve put resources into WI and MI when she was up big are in effect saying she should’ve ignored all data, public and private, and gone with her gut.

        And I always point out that her decision to go to AZ late was a wise one as she lost the state by the same margin as NC. And she was right to pull out of CO and VA early since they indeed had gone from battlegrounds to safe states. She her data team got some unconventional things right.

        • altofront

          People who think Clinton should’ve put resources into WI and MI when she was up big are in effect saying she should’ve ignored all data, public and private, and gone with her gut.

          Hardly all data, though. Even when she was up big there was lots of evidence that she was running well behind Obama across the Midwest, and specifically with non-college white voters.

      • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

        “This blog post by Michael Moore says…”
        [pelted to death with briefing books]

        • liberalrob

          At least it wasn’t Twitter.

      • Brien Jackson

        If a week before the election someone said Clinton would win VA, CO, and NH but lose PA, WI, and MI we’d all have laughed them off as clueless morons.

        • altofront

          If so, we would have been fools, because there was a very evident reason why this might be the case: the ratio of college to non-college white voters in each state. Moreover, this was an observation that Silver and his crew made repeatedly during the fall.

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

      I don’t understand the idea that in-person appearances make much difference. Only a tiny number of people go to them, and with rare exceptions they were people who were already going to vote for that candidate anyway.

      Go back to the era before TV and before radio, and back then personal appearances were the only way candidates could connect with voters directly. Now we’ve got 24/7 media and the internet, and any voter who hasn’t had a chance to hear the candidates is actively hiding from them.

      • nemdam

        Local media covers them a lot for whatever that’s worth.

      • Just_Dropping_By

        I don’t know what the data shows on the effect of in-person appearances, I’m pointing it out mostly because the thesis of the post relies entirely on TV ad volume as a proxy for “campaigning” when there’s already evidence that political TV ads hit a point of diminishing returns past a certain point, which means that at some stage running more ads isn’t “campaigning,” it’s just making noise.

        But yes, obviously the people who actually attend in-person events are going to overwhelmingly be committed partisans, however (a) there’s generally local media coverage (is local media coverage maybe more persuasive than paid advertising, possibly especially when there’s already a large volume of paid advertising? seems worth investigating) and (b) it seems plausible that attending an in-person rally might make existing supporters more energized and motivated, which I could imagine has secondary effects (e.g, could it make them proselytize non-attendees more aggressively/effectively for the the candidate? again, worth checking).

        • Nick056

          There was a study last week of the ad content Clinton ran. It was remarkably low on policy and high on Trump being terrible. The strategic decision to go away from policy-based ads was, in retrospect, not a good one.

          • Rob in CT

            Yeah. She couldn’t get anyone to focus on her policies when she talked about them at campaign events or what have you. Maybe more in her ads would’ve helped.

            But I get this sinking sense that nobody was gonna listen to her regardless. She got painted as a crook and people trusted the obvious conman.

            *glug glug glug* (soon, so so soon)

          • How do you know?

            • Scott Lemieux

              Right. Also note the goalposts-moving from resource allocation (where the arguments that Trump outdueled Clinton are plainly wrong) to unfalsifiable assertions about advertising content.

              • Nick056

                Oh for the love of … it’s not goal post moving to simultaneously point out multiple (probable) less than optimal strategic choices. Goal post moving is a form of bad faith, e.g., your description upthread that I was non-responsive when I supported my claim that the Trump team shifted strategy in response to movements in their data … by describing how they shifted strategy in response to movements in their data operation.

            • Nick056

              I don’t know, but I have in mind the exit poll saying that people who disliked both candidates broke for Trump by a decent margin. So that suggests that generating negative feelings about Trump’s character or conduct was not a super efficient way of getting people not to vote for him. In addition, people for whom the economy was the most important issue broke for Clinton. Also the balance of ads away from policy seems so disproportionate from previous years that it’s reasonable to say, in light of Clinton’s loss especially, this year’s outlier status renders it suspect. I’m also thinking of the apparently sizeable group of people who thought that Trump was different, as in some kind of quasi-populist on economic issues. Finally, even today, it seems to me like unpopular policies hurt him more than outrageous conduct.

              • Hogan

                I don’t know, but I have in mind the exit poll saying that people who disliked both candidates broke for Trump by a decent margin. So that suggests that generating negative feelings about Trump’s character or conduct was not a super efficient way of getting people not to vote for him.

                Or it suggests that the Comey letter–which was the last big thing lots of people heard, and which the Clinton campaign couldn’t have foreseen–made the difference for those people.

          • randy khan

            I’ve said repeatedly that this strikes me as the one potentially valid criticism of the campaign’s tactics. That said, like with most things, we can’t be sure whether positive ads would have broken through the clutter.

            • ASV

              The research on political ads is not high on their content mattering all that much (or them mattering all that much in general). To the extent that they have effects in a comparably funded election like a presidential race, it tends to be indirect. To get a feel for this literature, I suggest plugging “Wisconsin ad project” into Google Scholar. This is a project based out of the University of Wisconsin political science department that has a measure of ad exposure based on actual ad-buy data in each survey respondent’s market, crossed with their TV watching habits.

          • Aexia

            There’s a few problems with that study. One is that it combines campaign ads with their SuperPACs. Another is the fairly subjective definition of “policy” versus “personality” ads.

            Also there’s the notion (not necessarily from the paper) that policy based ads would’ve been more effective.

            • Nick056

              It’s important to avoid thinking correlation is causation. However, Clinton ran a losing campaign in which she, inter alia, focused heavily on personal attacks rather than policy attacks, described Trump as different from Republicans rather than an extension of Republicans, and did not devote resources/messaging in the correct places.

              But the problem people are having with my argument, full stop, is when I say she ran a losing campaign. Forget about drawing the wrong lessons from a loss; people don’t want to admit there was a loss.

              • Scott Lemieux

                people don’t want to admit there was a loss.

                What? I think everyone here has noticed that Clinton is not the president. This doesn’t make “advertising strategy x would have changed the outcome” anything but a just-so story.

          • My criticism at the time was that HRC focused too much in her ads on “Trump is bad!” & not enough on “I will do these things for you!”

            You gotta give low-info voters a reason to vote FOR you, not just against the other side. And media ignored her policy message,so ads were crucial.

            I still think the pussy-grabbing tape was bad for HRC, because her team’s reaction was to put even more ads out attacking Trump, because srsly, this guy!?? But by that point, I bet anyone who could be persuaded to vote against Trump already had his number. Bad mistake to double down on negative ads.

            All that said, no Comey letter, she wins – more of a squeaker than expected, we’re all like WOW, that idiot coulda almost won!

            I’m going to go drink some more now.

            • Nick056

              Agree with all this.

            • liberalrob

              I had no criticism at the time, nor do I have one now. I think she ran a good campaign, won the popular vote, and lost the race anyway mainly due to two things: 1) a technicality, that being the Founders’ lack of foresight in designing the electoral process; and 2) the fecklessness and venality of the media going back decades. Dishonorable mention goes to those segments of the citizenry who either don’t care enough to vote thoughtfully or who know precisely what they’re doing when they vote for authoritarian assholes. Never has my estimation of my fellow Americans sunk lower than it is right now.

              • herewegoagain3

                The media? Everyone saw the pussy tape. Everyone.

          • EliHawk

            That study is terrible because it decided 2016 includes outside dark money and super PAC groups as part of the “campaign ad content.” So OF COURSE you get a lot more ‘non policy’ ads because those ones are the ones that frequently do the character/negative dirty work. You literally can’t have them coordinating with the campaign and doing positive ads about agenda and stuff. (That’s setting aside how you define “policy” ads as opposed to other ones from a negative perspective anyway.)

            • Aexia

              And then they try to compare 2016 to cycles where SuperPACs didn’t exist.

  • Yes.

    Mind you, Obama didn’t even run on turning the US political economy into anything like Denmark’s, so it’s not like he would have even if those obstructions hadn’t been there. He was always a moderate center-left reformist within the US political system. That didn’t stop Republicans from lambasting him as a socialist, of course. It also didn’t stop people further on the left from acting betrayed at the fact that he wasn’t actually a socialist.

    • Scott Lemieux
      • Hob

        Recently had a FOFOF (friend-of-friend on Facebook) try to offer me, as proof that the president is simply a pawn of the Deep State, the fact that once Obama got into office he totally failed to put an immediate end to the war in Afghanistan, and even ended up sending more troops there. I pointed out that that was something Obama had specifically promised to do in his 2008 campaign. The response was: “I think you’re underestimating the fervency of 2008 Obama’s promises to end the wars.” Well okay then.

        • djw

          It’s a testament to the brilliance of the 08 Obama campaign that he was able to get so many different constituencies to see exactly what they wanted to in him.

          • liberalrob

            Projection isn’t just for conservatives.

  • Dr. Waffle

    According to some on the left, winning more votes than your opponent is meaningless. Finishing second in a primary and doing well in a Fox News opinion poll are the actual gold standards of likeability.

    • SatanicPanic

      The talk about rigged primaries is kinda Trumpish.

      • petesh

        Yeah, that’s mean but remarkably close to true.

        • SatanicPanic

          Who on the left decided the nutjob gap needing closing? I was proud of the fact that we were losing that particular arms race.

      • rea

        The talk about rigged primaries is kinda Trumpish.

        Sad but true: Bernie did it first; Trump got the idea from him.

        • Rob in CT

          Trump did unfortunately latch on to some of Bernie’s rhetoric – whenever it fit into his “crooked Hillary” frame.

      • nemdam

        My favorite part of this is those who think it was impossible for Bernie to overcome DWS bitching about him private after he had refused to concede yet also think Hillary should’ve had no problem overcoming the FBI, Russia, and the media. If you think DWS is impossible to overcome, then Bernie had no chance in the general.

        • Scott Lemieux

          My favorite part of this is those who think it was impossible for Bernie to overcome DWS bitching about him private after he had refused to concede yet also think Hillary should’ve had no problem overcoming the FBI, Russia, and the media. If you think DWS is impossible to overcome, then Bernie had no chance in the general.

          Oh, yes. The people who believe on the one hand that the director of the FBI implying that one candidate was a crook 11 days before the election couldn’t possibly have shifted 100,000 votes and on the other hand believe that holding fewer debates and feeding Hillary a blindingly obvious debate question was totally worth 4 million votes are grimly amusing.

          • herewegoagain3

            And this is the reason we need to dispense with the “it’s comey’s fault” nonsense.

            I’d have to say the dumbest argument made by the “hillary can’t be failed” crowd is that because bernie could not beat clinton with one subset of voters, and clinton could not beat trump, therefore bernie could not beat trump in the general election. I mean, why not pick a different subset? Clinton couldn’t beat sanders in WI, therefore she can’t beat trump in the general. Or trump can’t beat Cruz in Texas, therefore he can’t beat clinton in the general.

            This just fucking stupid.

            Would any of you argue that the same liberal inclusive message that would maximize your votes in the general in CA also maximize your votes in the general in WV? Cause let me help you out with something: WI and MI and OH and PA are a lot more like WV than CA, than any of you seem to realize.

            Clinton lost because she had a shit message for the midwest (and I’m including PA, I’ve lived there long enough to know) and she didn’t excite enough young or black people to overcome this. We warned the clinton dead enders about playing with matches (I know, this is what caused the fire, our warning, not the clowns with the matches. Got it.)

            It’s fucking appalling that what we all knew before – Trump is not like any other candidate – is suddenly unlearned, cause Clinton lost, and that can’t be! Trump was just like any other GOP! Fundamentals!

            I’d like anyone where to point out any other time in history that either party nominated someone who was hated by the majority of the general electorate before primary voting even began, much less both parties doing so. This was not a fucking normal election. This was decided by people who ended up voting for someone A) they hated and B) they thought was unqualified. And it took them to the last minute to eat that shit sammich. Again, someone point out to me any other time in history that THAT has happened.

            If Putin fabricated a tape of Clinton saying “I’d grab him by the balls” and trumps tape didn’t exist, y’all would be telling us all right now how it was Putin who threw the election, and that if instead Trump had a tape saying “I’d grab them by the pussy” there’s no way he could have won!

            Both parties nominated someone who was hated by the majority of the general electorate on the day primary voting started, and ours just had a worse message for that race. Comey, Putin, etc, are so far down the list of reasons we lost its fucking laughable we even talk about them. Which is why we need to quit with this fucking narrative that has taken hold of our party. It’s not “if not for Comey” its “if not for a hated candidate with a shit message.” It shouldn’t have been fucking close AGAINST TRUMP. That is our fault. Our party needs to own this and never do something so fucking stupid again. And by “party” I mean democratic party primary voters. The majority of us voted for this disaster. We have no one to blame but ourselves.

            So quit telling them its someone else’s fault. Cause it ain’t.

            • the dumbest argument made by the “hillary can’t be failed” crowd is that because bernie could not beat clinton with one subset of voters, and clinton could not beat trump, therefore bernie could not beat trump in the general election.

              That is NOT the argument that Scott made – y’know, the argument you are supposedly responding to here. The argument he is making is that Bernie dead-enders who complain that things like debate cost Bernie a primary election he lost by four million votes have no business dismissing the impact of the Comey letter. It is hardly surprising that you decline to address that argument head on.

              Note that this says nothing about whether Sanders would have had more appeal to the general electorate than Clinton did. However, anyone who is going to say that Clinton was a shitty candidate because the Comey letter did her in must acknowledge that, by the same logic, Sanders was a shitty primary candidate because he could be done in by something as marginal as debate scheduling.

              By the way, if you’re going to say that Clinton was a shitty candidate yet somehow managed to beat Sanders, who was a great candidate, because there’s something wrong with Democratic primary voters, then by the same logic Clinton was not actually a shitty candidate, the problem is that there is something wrong with American voters.

              And then consider that Democratic primary voters tend to be more left-leaning than American voters in general, and ask yourself why you believe that a more centrist candidate was a better fit for Democratic primary voters, while a self-described socialist would have had greater appeal to the general electorate.

              Clinton lost because she had a shit message for the midwest

              How was that message different from that of Obama, who won all those states TWICE?

              It shouldn’t have been fucking close AGAINST TRUMP.

              Why not? Again, people assume that because we see Trump as being manifestly ignorant, vicious, and unqualified, that he should have been easy to beat. Morally, sure, he ought to have been. But in a just world, many things would be true that are not true in this world. Would it have been a cinch for any “halfway decent candidate” to beat Trump? You assume that that must obviously be true. But that is only an assumption. Where’s the evidence to back this claim?

              • And then consider that Democratic primary voters tend to be more left-leaning than American voters in general, and ask yourself why you believe that a more centrist candidate was a better fit for Democratic primary voters, while a self-described socialist would have had greater appeal to the general electorate.

                Note that this is not actually as devastating an argument against Sanders as it might seem to some.

                A lot of us are frustrated, and have long been, that right-wingers are the ones who get to play the role of “populist” while we, who actually want to help the people, are typecast as out-of-touch policy wonk elitists who tell the people what’s good for them but don’t actually talk to them. Note that this is at least as big a problem for the left as it is the “center-left”. For some of us, Sanders represented the possibility that we too could be “populists”.

                Could Sanders have effectively countered Trump’s brand of populism with his own? We don’t know. I don’t dismiss the possibility out of hand. But neither do I think it would have been a slam-dunk near-certainty, as HereWeGoAgain implies yet again.

                • herewegoagain3

                  Of course its not 100% but only an idiot would argue that they think clinton had a better chance than sanders. I get people who thought that before, they did nit understand or were dismissive of our arguments. What scares me are the people who still think it now. You have to be wilfully ignorant of American politics to still belive it.

                • sibusisodan

                  You have to be wilfully ignorant of American politics to still belive it.

                  I am not a professional us politics watcher, but this sounds suspiciously unhinged.

                  There are good reasons to suppose Sanders would have been attacked as illegitimate as least as furiously as Clinton. Given recent us history (Presidents Kerry and Gore say hi!), it’s reasonable to say they would have had an effect.

                  The notion ‘It’s stupid to believe Sanders would have done more poorly than Clinton’ is…not proven, at best.

              • sibusisodan

                The commentarion to which you are replying reminds me of 14 year old me: I was right, and everyone else was not only wrong but doubly wrong for not realising I was already right.

                It was, in short, more about me and my ego than either the issues or external shared reality.

              • herewegoagain3

                Fair enough on point one; I read the argument he was expounding on differently. As long as we are in agreement.

                As to you second point: this is what ive been fucking saying all along. There is something wrong with american voters. They are fucking stupid. Maybe our primary voters should have been concerned with the general electorate we have instead of the general electorate we want? Just a thought.

                Your socialist smear is silly. Trump won. If i described to you 2 years ago what trumps candidacy looked like, youd have informed me he’d lose by 10 points to a cardboard cutout. And this is my point: our parties voter have learned nothing. You have no idea what animates the general electorate. Youre saying “socialist” and “pussy grabber” when these midwestern morons are saying “i dont give a fuck; dey took er jerbs!”

                Have any of you lived a decade in WI PA or MI or is it really flyover country to yinz?

                As for my evidence, it aint happenstance that were high numbers of undecideds. And my assumption that this shouldnt be is no different than those who assume there was no real cause of it – oh, and that its a necessary precondition of comey’s letter being decisive. Funny how yall get to make unevidenced assumptions to fit your just so stories but others must have HARD EVIDENCE.

                This was going to be a south park election either way. But instead of DEY TOOK ER JERBS we made it GIANT DOUCHE V TURD SANDWICH. I liked our chance in the former.

                • There is something wrong with american voters. They are fucking stupid. Maybe our primary voters should have been concerned with the general electorate we have instead of the general electorate we want? Just a thought.

                  Well, now we’re talking about “electability”. It waa generally thought that a more centrist candidate would be more “electable” than a self-described socialist, especially since polling indicates that generally socialists aren’t all that popular. Which brings me to my next point:

                  Your socialist smear is silly.

                  I’m a socialist, I daresay possibly more so than Sanders is. But then, I am not like most Americans – especially, I reckon, those in “flyover country”.

                  You have no idea what animates the general electorate.

                  Possibly, but I’m not convinced you have any more of a clue on that than I.

                  when these midwestern morons are saying “i dont give a fuck; dey took er jerbs!”

                  Especially given your utter contempt for them.

                  By the way, whoare they saying took “their” jobs? Which leads me to my nexdt point:

                  This was going to be a south park election either way. But instead of DEY TOOK ER JERBS we made it GIANT DOUCHE V TURD SANDWICH.

                  If it had been Sanders vs Trump and the main issue had been “those damn foreigners stole our jobs”, Bernie would have lost too. Bernie would have had to change that conversation. Could he have done it? We don’t know. It’s not obvious.

      • Aexia

        As are the claims that Clinton murdered a DNC staffer.

  • Morse Code for J

    When the DNC hack occurred, I remembered being a little disturbed that anyone at DNC would recommend making an angle out of a candidate’s supposed atheism. I was also willing to meet the Sanders supporters in my feed on the point that the DNC should cultivate a studious neutrality in its internal communications about any presidential contest.

    About 8 months ago, when I saw the Sanders holdouts try to disrupt the convention speakers after the Sanders campaign selected half the platform committee, I was frustrated. 3.5 months ago, when five Democratic electors chose to cast their vote for someone else as a “statement,” I was furious (and I hope that the idiots from Washington state who chose to vote for Colin fucking Powell are never allowed to handle anything more important than a pizza order in this party again). Several dozen Bernie-woulda-wons or Russia-didn’t-matters later, it is now pretty much impossible for me to hear criticism of the party’s actions from the “left,” i.e., people too cool to be ordinary liberals or Democrats, especially when that criticism centers on issues where Democrats present as far better than the alternatives.

    • Dilan Esper

      The fact remains, the party should be neutral in primaries (and won’t be) and Democrats shouldn’t think in terms of attacking atheists (especially since plenty of professed Christian politicians almost certainly don’t believe either).

      • Abbey Bartlet

        The fact remains, the party should be neutral in primaries

        The fact remains, there continues to be exactly zero evidence that Debbie and her neoliberal perfidy influenced a single vote. The fact also remains that one of the candidates spent a significant portion of his time *attacking the party*.

        (and won’t be) and Democrats shouldn’t think in terms of attacking atheists (especially since plenty of professed Christian politicians almost certainly don’t believe either).

        I’d really, really love to see what ideas were floated and shot down in internal Sanders communications. Funny how we don’t have those to compare to.

        • Morse Code for J

          I’d really, really love to see what ideas were floated and shot down in internal Sanders communications. Funny how we don’t have those to compare to.

          Yeah. It’s almost as if the people who hacked the DNC succeeded in carrying out a specific agenda.

          • JMP

            And the “liberals” who attacked Clinton based on those hacks were dupes.

            • Morse Code for J

              Not them! They’re the smart ones! Bernie woulda won!

        • humanoid.panda

          (and won’t be) and Democrats shouldn’t think in terms of attacking atheists (especially since plenty of professed Christian politicians almost certainly don’t believe either).

          I am sure that if someone hacked your email, no one finds you saying things in private that a lawyer shouldn’t. I am certain for sure that anything I say in my private email is fully professorial, and I never made stupid dick and/or Holocaust jokes to my wife.

        • Aexia

          I’d love to see if there were any emails around when one of their senior staffers stole Clinton campaign data completely and totally on his own without any input from anyone else on the campaign. I mean, except for his deputies of course. But no one else!

        • FlipYrWhig

          I’d really, really love to see what ideas were floated and shot down in internal Sanders communications.

          I just about guarantee they referred to Bill Clinton’s “zipper problem.”

      • petesh

        The facts remains that opinions are not facts. The words “should” and “shouldn’t” are a dead giveaway, and “almost certainly” is right behind them.

      • Morse Code for J

        I can agree with both as a matter of optics, but neither proposition nor the timing of debates had much to do with why Bernie Sanders failed to win the Democratic primary.

        • Dilan Esper

          I didn’t say it did.

          • petesh

            This is technically accurate, you did not. However, you made the statement in the course of a conversation about the deluded elements among the Sanders supporters. We are not in a court of law here, nitpicking and careful parsing are not appropriate. The fact remains that you appeared to convey that impression. (See what I mean about that phrase?)

            • Dilan Esper

              I was saying precisely the opposite of what you think I was saying. That it doesn’t matter whether these things were outcome determinative, they still shouldn’t happen.

              • petesh

                “Precisely” is not the mot juste

    • CP

      I was at Philly, and as far as the protesters outside were concerned, all it took from me was one look at the “eat your caviar, drink your wine, your days are numbered, bourgeois swine” signs to realize that none of these fucking people had ever or were ever going to vote for a Democrat in any case. They may have gotten temporarily Democrat-curious because of the S-word associated with Sanders, but they’d have become disappointed with him before November even if he had won.

      • humanoid.panda

        One of my favorite moments in the campaign was reading the Israeli coverage of the DNC, heavy on “Hilary supporters are waiving Palestinian flags, and burning Israeli ones.”

      • Abbey Bartlet

        I was at Philly, and as far as the protesters outside were concerned, all it took from me was one look at the “eat your caviar, drink your wine, your days are numbered, bourgeois swine” signs to realize that none of these fucking people had ever or were ever going to vote for a Democrat in any case. They may have gotten temporarily Democrat-curious because of the S-word associated with Sanders, but they’d have become disappointed with him before November even if he had won.

        I don’t disagree that many or most of them were never going to vote Democrat. The problem is that (with some help from Russia) their bullshit spread to people who would have.

      • Brien Jackson

        Yeah, this is what pisses me off to no end. I work in construction and operate a side business that’s also highly physical, while squeezing in having a wife and kids and being involved with local politics and every new local activist group I can get in contact with. I get like 3-4 hours of sleep a night and fuel myself on coffee and the adrenaline rush I get from listening to Woodie Guthrie, Dropkick Murphy’s, and other radical oriented bands. But sure, tell me all about what a wealthy establishment hack I must be because I think Jacobin is a rag, care about “identity politics,” and don’t have an especially high opinion of Bernie.

        • FlipYrWhig

          But, Brien, college educated dilettantes have always been the backbone of the working class people’s revolution! :/

    • SatanicPanic

      Those faithless electors made me so mad. I’m still fuming about those idiots.

      • Abbey Bartlet

        Those faithless electors made me so mad. I’m still fuming about those idiots.

        I didn’t cry on November 8th. Or 9th. Or any other day. I held it in. That was the breaking point. That final show of pure sexism and disrespect. I suspect that if I saw any of those electors in person I would have to be physically restrained.

        • Rob in CT

          Protesting the perfidious neoliberal Hillary Clinton by voting for… Colin Powell.

          I understand your tears. For me, it just triggered disgust. Disdain. Total, utter, disdain. The person who did that beclowned themselves.

          • Spider-Dan

            They voted for Colin Powell because they couldn’t bring themselves to cast a vote for a candidate with such rampant disrespect for the integrity of government e-mail, you see.

          • CP

            Colin Powell: a.k.a. a person who actually was everything Hillary Clinton was accused of being. A lifelong Beltway made man, a lying piece of crap who went along on My Lai, Iran-contra, and the Iraq War, and… a guy who used a private email server while Secretary of State.

            (He’s pretty much the only public figure I can think of who actually tops John McCain in terms of the sheer unearned Moderate-Maverick-Straight Shooter-VSP cred he gets from the media and elsewhere).

            • Rob in CT

              RIGHT?!?!?

        • SatanicPanic

          I briefly contemplated a trip to WA state to go kick some dudes in the junk. I’m thinking maybe this should be an issue before the next presidential election- getting faithless elector laws with teeth, like community service at least. They’ll be able to crowdfund their way out of fines. If such laws are possible, IANAL.

          • Abbey Bartlet

            getting faithless elector laws with teeth,

            Yes, biting them sounds perfect!

            like community service at least.

            …oh.

        • efgoldman

          I would have to be physically restrained.

          Nah, I would have let you, nay, encouraged you, to kick ’em in the ‘nads.

      • Joe_JP

        Those faithless electors made me so mad. I’m still fuming about those idiots.

        “Hillary Clinton, lost five of her pledged electors while the Republican Party nominee and president-elect, Donald Trump, lost two. Three of the faithless electors voted for Colin Powell while John Kasich, Ron Paul, Bernie Sanders, and Faith Spotted Eagle each received one vote.”

        The Powell votes were all in WA along with that Faith Spotted Eagle vote. The fifth Hillary Clinton vote was an elector that went to Sanders in Hawaii. It wasn’t merely some sort of “fu” to HRC. It was a token “Hamilton electors” action to try to defeat Trump.

        • SatanicPanic

          Isn’t that the opposite of the Hamilton Electors strategy?

          • Joe_JP

            Isn’t that the opposite of the Hamilton Electors strategy?

            Their website defines the goal:

            Hamilton Electors believes that to stop Donald Trump Electors of both parties must unite around a more qualified Republican alternative.

            So, no.

    • nemdam

      And let’s not forget that Bernie still encourages this crap. He makes sure to periodically tell his supporters that there is still a divide in the party (see both he and his SuperPAC’s comments after the DNC race) and loves to lecture the party about how they have abandoned the working class.

      Before you say Bernie isn’t responsible, contrast his behavior with Hillary in ’08 and Keith Ellison. They both immediately and clearly signaled that they are for unity after they lost and that supporters who don’t want to get behind the party are not welcome.

      • herewegoagain3

        Waaaaaaaa.

        You lie.

      • Morse Code for J

        As long as he’s selling something you can’t find on the Democratic Party’s shelves, or so he pretends, people will not treat him like the non-entity he was for his entire congressional career until he deigned to run as a Democrat for President.

      • Well, there are differences within the party. So how do we deal with that? Do we pretend they aren’t there in the hope that ignoring them will solve the problem? Do we let them divert us from the supreme task of fighting the common foe? Nuts to both notions. And Sanders is fighting Trump just as much as anyone.

        • gccolby

          I fully endorse this.

          Maybe this is a digression, but: the difference between the Left-on-Left Twitter feuding and the actual intra-party arguments is that the actual politicians are mostly conducting themselves like adults and arguing in good faith. The tenor of a lot of the attacks on so-called neoliberal Democrats aren’t disagreements on strategy but accusing the advocates of more moderate polices of doing so because they are immoral and like being immoral. There’s a hell of a lot of room to scuffle forcefully on this stuff without being a total asshole to people you ultimately need as allies. You can go hard after Clinton and her campaign for endorsing an undefined minimum wage increase instead of Fight For Fifteen, but suggesting they made that choice because they like counting their money while laughing at poor people is both over the line and clearly wrong on the facts.

          Anyway. Yes. There are differences. I said this during the discussions about the DNC chair race: the denial that Perez’ entry had anything to do with intra-party factionalism was just bizarre. That may not have been his personal reason for running, but the idea that he represented a more comfortable choice for party insiders nervous about a Sanders takeover and preferring some continuity didn’t just come out of nowhere.

    • MyNameIsZweig

      3.5 months ago, when five Democratic electors chose to cast their vote for someone else as a “statement,” I was furious

      Holy shit, I hadn’t heard about that – probably because I had to tune out for a while after the election.

      But shit. I’m with you. Fuck those people.

  • Brett

    This allows you to imply, especially to your European readers, that Obama could have transformed the American political economy into Denmark’s but Didn’t. Even. Try, while allowing yourself some plausible deniability if someone calls you on it.

    There’s a tiny sliver of truth to this, which was that Obama and his top-level folks let his 2008 election machine and Change to Win coalition wither in 2009.

    • Hogan
    • Aexia

      OFA 2.0 put more people into states than the 50 State Strategy ever did.

      OFA also tried to repeatedly energize people for various initiatives. The people who complain today about OFA being “shut down” were complaining back then about OFA asking them to lobby for Obama’s big sellout to the insurance companies.

    • gccolby

      Serious question: which successful campaign operation in modern history has ever been converted to a permanent party-owned organizing and GOTV operation?

      I’ve heard this criticism a few times, and even agreed with it. But then I thought about it in those terms – wouldn’t that be highly unusual and unprecedented? Not that that makes it a bad idea, but I’m not sure maintaining that kind of organization is all that practical.

      Hey, I don’t know much about this. I’m probably totally wrong. But I think letting OFA wither feels like a failure because Obama is so exceptional, not because it’s super rational to expect Obama can build a permanent election-winning organization.

  • First, Comey turned the election. Period.

    That being said, the relevant question is why the election was so close that Comey could turn it. And the answer to that much more complex that one or two issues. It took many factors lining up just right for Trump to win the election.

    • humanoid.panda

      Among other things, we ought to consider the role of plain bad luck. Think about it: right wingers start spreading rumours of her dying. And then she catches pneumonia and collapses in public, thus reinforcing the rumours, and the “secretive Hillary” meme.

      • Abbey Bartlet
      • drwormphd

        I think Hillary’s flu should be the go-to example of how awful this election was, and why she didn’t win. It wasn’t simply that right wingers were spreading conspiracy theories about Hillary’s health in the weeks before, it was that CNN et al covered them as ‘both candidates have questions about their health’ instead of ignoring the right wing stuff and/or unambiguously calling it bullshit. Because the media was pushing the narrative that both candidates were cagey about their health, she decided not to announce she had the flu (which would have been headline news that ‘confirmed suspicions’ about her) and instead plow through, which she would have gotten away with except for her swooning at the 9/11 ceremony. THEN the media runs with ‘Hillary is dangerously secretive!’ thing, which, before Comey, was the most aggravating manufactured story of the election, and a take that allowed the media to avoid considering how badly they handled the health issue. Meanwhile, Trump never really answered questions about his health and was not pressed to. I don’t think this incident’s gotten a lot of subsequent coverage because Hillary recovered nicely afterwards, but that was the moment where I started worrying Hillary would lose, because it confirmed that any issue was going to be framed against her, whether or not she did something wrong.

        • Q.E.Dumbass

          I recall NBC being the leading pusher of Pneumoniagate.

        • nemdam

          Took the words out of my mouth. I’ve been a broken record with blaming the media among others for the election, but their worst malfeasance was how they covered Hillary’s health. Like you, the time I realized Hillary could lose was when I was randomly watching Anderson Cooper the day that Trump went on Dr. Oz, and the 8 person panel’s bipartisan consensus was that the move was genius for Trump. The panelists were even saying that Trump now has the transparency edge because of how open he was about his health. I was numb watching this as at that point I realized that if the media was going to treat Hillary like this for the rest of the race, there was virtually nothing she could do to overcome it. Thankfully it got marginally better until the infamous day of Mr. Comey.

          • CP

            I don’t think it “got better” so much as Trump was so repeatedly bad over and over that even the media couldn’t cover for him. Though they sure tried. Virtually any other Republican would’ve made it far easier for them.

        • I don’t have any data, but anecdotally “Hillary is weak and/or sick and/or dying” seems to have had legs. I think it managed to reinforce a lot of negative feelings people had about her, especially since the media made the absolutely fucking ridiculous choice to make a scandal out of several hours of vague campaign statements. (The idea that Clinton was obligated to disclose a respiratory infection to the press is ludicrous; the idea that the initial statement being about “dehydration” is some kind of lie is even more ludicrous.)

        • msdc

          That was when I realized I had to get off my ass and start canvassing for her. Because it was clear the media were going to do everything in their power to make it a close election.

      • Scott Lemieux

        The local, hideously bad NPR panel show (anyone who’s lived in the NY Capital region of Berkshires will know what I’m talking about), led by the epitome of a smug liberal joined by various people who make Cokie Roberts look like a deep thinker was just obsessed with the “Hillary IS GOING TO DIE” angle. They wanked over it almost as furiously as EMAILS! I don’t know if it mattered much but Christ it was awful.

        After the election they all transitioned seamlessly into “Trump is awful and Comey destroyed the country,” of course. I frankly have more respect for the “never discuss anything except that Clinton sucks” crowd, who are at least consistent.

        • Abbey Bartlet

          The local, hideously bad NPR panel show (anyone who’s lived in the NY Capital region of Berkshires will know what I’m talking about), led by the epitome of a smug liberal

          I like when they do fundraisers with the slogan “If you hear something, give something” like there’s a fucking terrorist involved somehow.

  • humanoid.panda

    My first front page reference, woot!

    I’d like to add 2 things to the discussion.

    1. As far as I am concerned, there is exactly one Clinton resource allocation critique that makes sense: the campaign kept throwing money and to lesser extent time to Ohio and Iowa, while it should have moved them to Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. This is not a particularly strong argument (imagine media reaction to HRC pulling from 2 states), but at least it makes sense. Alas, it doesn’t work with “Hillary hates white heartlanders and voted to campaign only in mansions and Starbucks shops full of gay barristas.
    2. It’s really hard to read Anderson’s sneering at Hillary’s laziness, refusal to campaign and burning money in California just because she enjoyed hanging out with celebs there as anything else but a finely tuned misogyny. Seriously: attack Hillary for being a neoliberal, a hawk, a slave to Goldman Sachs, whatever. But in what world is she stupid and lazy?

    • Murc

      My first front page reference, woot!

      It’s an exclusive club, to be sure, Panda That Walks Like A Man, but you haven’t really arrived until Scott dedicates an entire post to declaring and dissecting why you are wrong.

      • Q.E.Dumbass

        Lucky. He’s shouted out links by me twice, but didn’t name-drop me either time, although he did like my first tweet.*

        *Seriously, though, WTF happened to Lord Shafer?

      • Jordan

        But is rural New York basically like Alabama or nah?

        • Q.E.Dumbass

          I dunno. Is Massachusetts’ racial climate basically South Africa’s (without either the weather or wildlife to justify its inhabitance)?

          *sees efgoldman, ducks incoming fist*

          • Jordan

            Its quite rude to refer to efgoldman as wildlife.

            • efgoldman

              Its quite rude to refer to efgoldman as wildlife.

              Maybe I’ll go gout back and help the squirrels search for acorns.

              • Jordan

                This is probably a strong survival strategy in the age of trump.

          • efgoldman

            *sees efgoldman, ducks incoming fist*

            And I had to go out for a while, and just got here.
            Really rural New England is not much different from rural anywhere else, except it’s colder. The old, failed industrial mill cities are a mix. Some are racist white (especially up-country Maine), but a lot are majority or near-majority immigrant. Boston isn’t San Francisco or New York, but it’s not an insular white catholic town any more – it’s hugely cosmopolitan. Hell, Billy Bulger’s old state senate eat is held by a Haitian woman. The president of the city council is (or was, I don’t keep track) an Asian women.

            • Murc

              Really rural New England is not much different from rural anywhere else, except it’s colder. The old, failed industrial mill cities are a mix. Some are racist white (especially up-country Maine),

              I have a friend who grew up in and still lives in Millinocket. (Left for a brief stint at WPI and a couple years in California before returning home.) Millinocket is as close to a generic test case for an industrial mill town as you can get, and according to him the kind of racism, misogyny, and provincialism you get up there is weird.

              Like, the town itself went Obama then Trump, and according to him a non-trivial reason for that was “Vote for Romney? Governor of Massachusetts? Not in my house! Not with MY daughter!” followed four years later by “Why does this bitch from New York who got all them people kill at Benghazi think she can be President?”

            • gccolby

              The president of the city council is (or was, I don’t keep track) an Asian women.

              Yes, that’s Michelle Wu, she’s awesome, and, oh shit she’s literally my age (31) what am I doing with my life.

        • Scott Lemieux

          “Rural” NY being like Alabama would have been an OK argument. He said “upstate” is like Alabama, which is the problem — the only way to make sense of it is to redefine it to “if you ignore the parts of upstate where people actually live it’s like Alabama.”

          • Jordan

            Makes sense, it was a while ago and I didn’t completely remember the argument.

          • Murc

            In hindsight, I massively overstated my argument and didn’t use nearly enough qualifiers and caveats.

            That whole exchange actually led me to drastically re-think how I structure arguments, and made me less willing to make super bold claims.

            Also, I fell into the classic New York trap, which is to dump all of “upstate” into a big bucket. It isn’t. The I-90 corridor is actually, you know… civilized. There are certain generalizations you can make about upstate as a whole, I’d have been justified with anodyne claim of “we’re generally more conservative than the city.”

            But man. There are large swathes up here that are dirty, filthy red.

            • Scott Lemieux

              This is why you’re a Hall of Fame commenter when also- rans like JFL can’t cut it!

              What I did find surprising about your argument is that you live in Rochester. The arguments from people arguing that upstate cites are very different than New York City because of educational segregation were more predictable…

              • Q.E.Dumbass

                As a fairy recent reader and only a commenter since last spring, what’s it take to get in?

          • efgoldman

            “if you ignore the parts of upstate where people actually live it’s like Alabama.”

            Yeah, the state capitol of a place as populous as NY isn’t going to be “rural” in any sense of the word.
            I worked in Albany in the early 70s, when they were building the then-new state office campus. If anything, I expect it’s expanded a great deal.
            However. we went upstate for vacation a few years ago, and driving along US 20 (parallel to the thruway) near Rome and Utica, we saw dozens of abandoned farm. I don’t imagine that’s gotten any better.

            • Murc

              However. we went upstate for vacation a few years ago, and driving along US 20 (parallel to the thruway) near Rome and Utica, we saw dozens of abandoned farm. I don’t imagine that’s gotten any better.

              It hasn’t gotten worse either, tho.

              Here’s the thing about rural upstate. The economy used to be a mix of farming, and light manufacturing and industry and the service sectors to support said farming, with a few towns and cities (Elmira, Corning, Binghamton, those sorts of places) with a more solid industrial base.

              The industrial and manufacturing stuff has basically been shot in the head and left to die for the same reason its been shot in the head and left to die everywhere, and farming took some heavy hits too on account of a lot of consolidation and small farming becoming not that profitable.

              However, stuff really leveled off awhile back. There’s still a lot of farming up here, a lot of apples, a lot of dairy, a lot of corn and wheat and suchly. You don’t get the miles and miles of corn stretching to the horizon like in Kansas (its too hilly for that among other things) but its still there and not going anywhere. Things have reached kind of an equilibrium. It’s not AMAZING (I guarantee you were within 500 yards of a meth lab on your drive) but its not a shambolic corpse of a countryside either.

              • Scott Lemieux

                The growth of wine and craft brewing has really helped the Finger Lakes a lot. (To be Scrupulously Fair, this is one thing Cuomo deserves some credit for; he’s been very good about promoting small producers.)

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  I would buy a lot more wine if I didn’t have to go to separate stores for it. And probably more New York wine.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  If you’re coming to my talk at the grad center I’ll have to bring some Ravines Riesling…

                • Murc

                  Yeah, it really has. Tourism too, to a certain extent. It’s led to some interesting dichotomies down there, where the towns actually ON the lakes (Canandaigua, Geneva, even smaller places like Penn Yan and Watkins Glen; Ithaca isn’t a good example because its a college town) can be surprisingly fancy pants, but are surrounded by many towns that aren’t really any smaller, but where you drive through and you can almost hear a mournful banjo playing.

            • Scott Lemieux

              If anything, I expect it’s expanded a great deal.

              The metro area somewhat, the city proper no. The downtowns of Troy and Albany are a lot nicer than even when I moved there 8 years ago, though.

    • Scott Lemieux

      As far as I am concerned, there is exactly one Clinton resource allocation critique that makes sense: the campaign kept throwing money and to lesser extent time to Ohio and Iowa

      Agreed, especially w/r to Iowa. It ended up not mattering, but had things broken differently in Pennsylvania it could have.

      Is really hard to read Anderson’s sneering at Hillary’s laziness, refusal to campaign and burning money in California just because she enjoyed hanging out with celebs there as anything else but a finely tuned misogyny.

      It is looks particularly bad in the midst of a long but very lazy and under-researched analysis from someone who clearly doesn’t know a great deal about American politics.

      • efgoldman

        someone who clearly doesn’t know a great deal about American politics.

        Isn’t that the majority of writers on politics?

  • John F

    An odd article in some ways, accurate stuff with stoopid stuff sprinkled around…

    The following cannot reasonably be disputed:

    The sociological detail of the vote probably still contains some surprises. It is clear, nevertheless, that Clinton failed to corner the full crop of millennial, black and Latino voters she was counting on, while Trump squeezed an extra slice of white workers into his camp. But it is important not to lose sight of the forest for the trees. The big structural fact is how evenly the electorate remains divided, with small shifts in turnout or preference making the difference in end-result.

    The following is something I agree with, but recognize that most here would dispute:

    What was unusual in 2016 is that both candidates were thoroughly disliked by large numbers of those who voted for them—the Democrats could probably have won with Biden or Warren against Trump, the Republicans inflicted a bigger defeat on Clinton with Kasich or Rubio. Striking in the balance of distaste for each party’s standard-bearer is that distrust of Clinton went deeper than of Trump: independents who held their noses at both divided heavily against her.

    His descriptions of many of Obama’s actions (domestic and international) are simply not accurate- he leaves out things, exaggerates some elements minimizes others, repeatedly creates a false picture.

    • humanoid.panda

      The 2nd paragraph really captures why I, personally, was shocked that Trump won. I figured that people who disliked both would end up voting Hillary, because ,well, people tend to be risk-averse. Trump won them by 30 points, and won like 20% of people who think he is not capable of being president.

      • John F

        I think most liberals underestimated how much the Right’s relentless 20+ year demonization campaign against HRC had sunk in- not just among Fox News viewers, but at large, you heard it from the far left, lukewarm Dems, moderates, etc.

        • Rob in CT

          I was personally reassured by her performance at the Benghazi! hearings and the media reactions thereto. I thought the GOP had shown themselves to be such hacks, that she’s shown herself to be calm, cool & collected, and the media had shown they might actually be able to treat her fairly…

          Yeah, no.

        • rea

          You hear a lot of it in this very thread.

          • herewegoagain3

            Yes it turns out no one could have beaten trump because they all would have suffered debilitating attacks. We can’t win! Waaaaaaa!

        • one of the blue

          A big piece of the problem was not just the RW noise machine, which would do what it does to any Democrat running for, or elected, President. But with Hillary (and Bill) the mainstream media joined the chorus right away, and never really stopped. (A lot of the NY coverage of for example Whitewater and the Monica stuff was putrefyingly awful.) And when Hillary ran for President, they got right back at it with obsessive coverage of Benghazi!, Emailz!, and any other piece of alleged scandalous “smoke” they thought might attach to her. And as to Trump’s real scandals, well …

          But there is one thing Trump did do that I did not see much talked about upthread. He spent a lot of time and energy visiting rural areas in WI, MI, PA, FL, and even NC throughout the campaign, and when the election returns came in turnout from rural areas in those states (and many others) was well up from 2012 and the margins in a lot more of them than in 2012 or earlier elections were in the 70-30 – 80-20 range, or worse. In the specifically-named states above, these heightened turnouts and large margins did make the difference. The data can be found at David Liep’s fine site at uselectionatlas.org, where direct comparisons on a county level between 2016 and 2012 are readily available.

        • Docrailgun

          When that’s all one has heard for 1/2 of your life or more, chances are that’s what one is going to believe even if it’s not actually true. This is why Reagan is a saint to even Republicans in their 40s and 50s, even though they should know better.

        • humanoid.panda

          I think most liberals underestimated how much the Right’s relentless 20+ year demonization campaign against HRC had sunk in- not just among Fox News viewers, but at large, you heard it from the far left, lukewarm Dems, moderates, etc.

          This is really the point in which one could plausibly argue that HRC was a weaker candidate than a generic Democrat. But it doesn’t have the same cachet as “entitled neoliberal monster.”

      • nemdam

        Also why the Comey letter mattered so much. It provided wall-to-wall coverage of those who didn’t like both a reason not to vote for Clinton right at the end of the race. A September Comey letter probably has much less impact on the race.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Exactly. Comey’s earlier editorializing also hurt, but there was time to recover. The letter caused a wave of negative coverage at a time when an unusually high percentage of undecided voters where deciding.

          • herewegoagain3

            Yeah, and its clearly not Clinton’s fault that they were undecided against a monster who on tape said he sexually assaults women. Fundamentals or something right?

            If Obama was running for the first time in this election, do you think there are this many undecided voters in the last week?

            This is clearly Comey’s fault.

            • Yeah, and its clearly not Clinton’s fault that they were undecided

              In the same way, if you cannot persuade us that you are right on this and every other issue, that is entirely YOUR FAULT!

        • FlipYrWhig

          And IMHO more than anything it provoked the response “NOT THIS SHIT AGAIN, WHY ARE THE CLINTONS ALWAYS DOING SOMETHING SKETCHY THAT DOMINATES THE NEWS.” Even more than, “Hmm, I am very worried to hear that Hillary Clinton got emails and deleted them or something.”

    • Rob in CT

      An odd article in some ways, accurate stuff with stoopid stuff sprinkled around…

      Yup.

      The things you quoted are, as far as I can tell, factual, and the Party needs to work on that not happening again. But the rest of it, yeesh.

    • Scott Lemieux

      What was unusual in 2016 is that both candidates were thoroughly disliked by large numbers of those who voted for them—the Democrats could probably have won with Biden or Warren against Trump, the Republicans inflicted a bigger defeat on Clinton with Kasich or Rubio.

      The case for Biden is stronger than Warren, but that part is reasonable. The Republican side is more problematic, given the Electoral College — what about Rubio would scramble the map in the way Trump did? Kasich is more plausible, except that he was DOA in the Republican primary, so that’s just a way of saying that if the Republican Party was more moderate it would do better in national elections.

      • Joe_JP
      • humanoid.panda

        The case for Rubio winning is fairly simple, IMO: given that he a fresh face and media loves him, he probably has favorables somewhat upwards of Romney. HRC, unfortunately, is deeply unfavorable. So, he swings the popular vote by 5 percent or so from 2012, giving him a narrow popular majority, and Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Colorado, at the very least. In other words, he wins like Romney thought he would win in 2012: by turning Bush/Obama states.

        • Scott Lemieux

          I’m not saying it’s impossible by any means, but it’s not clear-cut, either. Rubio isn’t a stellar candidate, and not only are WI, PA and MI probably out of play with Rubio little Marco wouldn’t have dominated media coverage the way Trump did, and a more policy-focused election doesn’t help Republicans.

          On net, I think Rubio does better in the popular vote. But I’m not confident he wins the EC.

          • Abbey Bartlet

            I’ve felt since at least December that Rubio/Kasich/Bush/Cruz does better in the popular but loses the EC. A white nationalist didn’t seem to have the invigorating effect one might predict on Democratic turnout, so I suspect that’s about the same whoever the Republican is, and they don’t get the bonus racist turnout.

            I also don’t think they pick up on some of Bernard’s talking points. And Russia is probably less enthusiastic about them. Until this year, the GOP wasn’t exactly Russia-friendly.

          • herewegoagain3

            Clinton was upside down in general favorability before primary voting started. So now your argument is that independents who hate her would vote for her against someone who they do actually like, but those same people didn’t vote for her against someone who they also hate.

            Yeah, I’m the one who doesn’t understand american politics.

            • herewegoagain3

              And btw, this is what scares me about the future. Our party seems to have learned nothing.

              • Morse Code for J

                What exactly do you want the party to take away from this? Hillary Clinton will never run again, so if that’s your worry, that’s over.

                Should we not run another woman until we’ve had a little more time to process a black man as President? Should we be less emphatic about protecting the civil rights of people who aren’t white, because that white Trump majority hates hearing that shit? Should we run on a whites-preferential welfare state and hope that everyone forgets about the Equal Protection Clause? Should we try to get Oprah or Ellen to run, because knowing the square root of fuck-all about the mechanics of government is no longer disqualifying?

                Or should we just spend the next four years jerking off assholes who won’t vote in the midterms over how right they were to vote for a white guy who was almost indistinguishable on policy from the nominee?

            • So now your argument is that independents who hate her would vote for her against someone who they do actually like, but those same people didn’t vote for her against someone who they also hate.

              Who knows what Bernie’s favorability ratings would have been by November, but the notion that he would have been invulnerable to attack is highly farfetched.

      • randy khan

        I also have some trouble with the Kasich/Rubio side of the equation. Trump’s win was triggered by his success in energizing a demographic that neither Rubio nor Kasich would have excited very much.

        • humanoid.panda

          But as I said above, given Hillary’s unpopularity, it was not necessary for them to do so. Give Rubio the suburban voters that did swing to Hillary, some percent of clueless centrist who like how fresh he looks, and lackluster turnout for Dems – and you can easily see a 4-5 point uniform swing from 2012 that gives him 300+ electoral votes.

          • randy khan

            But Hillary campaigns differently against Rubio/Kasich as well – it’s likely much more issue-focused, for instance, which takes the emphasis off the personal.

            And just handing the suburban voters to Rubio because reasons seems to be an example of conclusions driving analysis. (For that matter, Rubio did a fine job of making “fresh” look like “totally unready” during the R primaries.)

            • Scott Lemieux

              But Hillary campaigns differently against Rubio/Kasich as well – it’s likely much more issue-focused, for instance, which takes the emphasis off the personal.

              Missed this, but yes this is an important point.

      • John F

        what about Rubio would scramble the map

        getting to run against the most broadly disliked major party candidate in polling history..

        This is almost exactly what I mean by Dems underestimating the antipathy so many fellow Americans have for HRC – sure its antipathy built upon a foundation of bullshit, but that just means the antipathy is unjustified- not that it doesn’t exist. It exists, and by 2016 I don’t think there was anything HRC could have done to combat it.

        I think she ran a good race, I think she did well in her public appearances much better than I was expecting, I actually thought she was gonna win… It didn’t matter, I overestimated the median American (in swing states anyway), nothing she (or Trump) said or did was gonna overcome that antipathy.

  • David W.
  • Joe_JP

    Wile E. Coyote also didn’t quite know how to handle it after he finally caught the Road Runner.

    http://www.retroist.com/2009/06/09/does-wile-e-coyote-ever-catch-the-roadrunner/

    • Q.E.Dumbass

      The village idiots are currently debating whether they really have to eat that chicken they fucked to death back in November.

  • herewegoagain3

    Im still trying to get over the fact that only white people in the midwest were swayed by comey’s letter.

    Now THAT guy is a supergenius.

    • sibusisodan

      That sounds like a remarkably silly thing to propose.

      • humanoid.panda

        Im still trying to get over the fact that only white people in the midwest were swayed by comey’s letter.

        Let me guess: if someone offers you a raise that puts you at a higher tax rate, you say no, because the government would just take it all in taxes?

        • efgoldman

          if someone offers you a raise that puts you at a higher tax rate, you say no, because the government would just take it all in taxes?

          I know people assholes like that, who refused OT for exactly that reason.

      • herewegoagain3

        That’s Lemieux’s position as far as i can tell. Or he can clarify what he meant by “demographics” as to why some states were immune to comey.

        • sibusisodan

          What gives you the idea that some states were immune, or that Lemieux thinks so?

        • Scott Lemieux

          states were immune to comey.

          ?

          • herewegoagain3

            As I pointed out before in a linked article, late breaking voters in Georgia, Nevada, and Virginia broke for Clinton, not Trump. Do they not have the news in those states? Was the letter not reported?

            Lemieux’s answer was a hand wave and “demographics” – whatever he means by that. (Cause Georgia and Nevada and Virginia are three peas in a pod. Meanwhile Florida and PA broke about the same for Trump but OH was almost even – you’re telling me demographics of FL are closer to PA than OH is?

            Every day this just seems like more propter hoc nonsense to justify Clinton’s loss, when it was multicausual and Comey isn’t anywhere near the top of the list. IE, Comey didn’t swing WI 7+ points. And if you think the economy was fundamentally different, I got a bridge and a building to sell you.

            • msdc

              Got the link? Because you haven’t posted it anywhere in this thread.

        • Or he can clarify what he meant by “demographics” as to why some states were immune to comey.

          Or you can clarify where Lemieux made any such claim.

    • msdc

      Except it wasn’t only the midwest. Clinton saw her numbers drop (not just from the polls, but actual returns from early voting to election day) in the northeast, the southeast, the southwest, across the country. The midwestern rust belt states (and FL, and NC, and possibly AZ) just happened to be the ones that were already close enough for the drop to make a difference.

    • EvanHarper

      I mean this is an obvious strawman, but it doesn’t strike me as actually implausible that non-college whites would be dramatically more influenced by the Comey letter than other groups. If you think of “white” as a proxy variable for “likelihood of being swayed by basically non-political factors about ‘character’ and ‘trust'” – because non-whites, having far more to lose, are far more reluctant to just assume that Trump’s most dangerous rhetoric was only show – and “non-college” as a proxy variable for “likelihood of being swayed by headlines, sound bites, and the general tone of coverage as opposed to the specific content of the supposed ‘scandal'” – because these people just aren’t paying as close attention – than yeah, I’d expect non-college whites to be exactly the people most susceptible to the email bullshit. These are the people for whom the election basically looked like a choice between a corrupt, potentially murderous email queen and a sleazy, boorish real estate shyster.

      • Well, yes. I find it hard to understand why this concept is so hard for herewegoagain3 to grasp, or how they do not understand that this concept is not the strawman of entire states being “immune” from the impact of the Comey letter.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Right, I mean obviously committed Clinton and Trump supporters would not be affected by the Comey lette. But the key marginal votes for Trump were people who were OK with Obama and didn’t like Trump but voted for Trump anyway, and obviously these voters were particularly likely to be affected by coverage of the Comey letter.

          • herewegoagain3

            And if the late deciders in one of PA MI or WI had broken towards Clinton by +5 like they did in NV and the late deciders in NV had broken for Trump by +20 to +30 like they did in PA MI and WI, you’d be giving us this same just so story as to why Trump still won.

            Because Comey’s letter came first, then the election, therefore…we get it.

            Do they not have news in Nevada? Georgia? Virginia? Are the news and demographics markedly different in WI and OH (60/30 is different from 46/43.)

            And quit with the “her polls dropped every time…” Cause nonresponse bias is understood. You can look at the polls of enthusiasm and how it drops and rebounds for Clinton when she had shit news. Same happened to Trump (I heard there was a tape…)

            Finally, look at polls from the same pollsters. +3 +3 +2 +2 for example…I don’t see a massive shift there. Trump was either winning or right on the cusp and voters voting for change was enough to put him over the top.

            Again, if we had a decent candidate, this should have been a blowout. I love how Trump was seen and “not like any candidate ever” until he defeated Clinton and NOW he’s just like every candidate ever! It was fundamentals that kept it close! Any dem would have been within a couple thousand votes of losing to trump in the midwest! LEAVE CLINTON ALOOOOOONE….

            • Scott Lemieux

              Again, if we had a decent candidate, this should have been a blowout.

              Everything else is evidence that you don’t understand the argument actually being made about the Comey letter; this is evidence that you don’t understand anything about American politics.

              • herewegoagain3

                As I said elsewhere above, its amazing how Trump went from “HE’S NOT LIKE ANYONE ELSE EVER” to “HE’S JUST ANOTHER CANDIDATE” because clinton lost.

                Tell me another time in history that a party nominated someone who was hated by the majority of the general electorate the day primary voting starting, much less both parties did so.

                Tell me another time in history that the decision as to whom would be the next president was made by people that A) hated both candidates and B) voted for a guy they FULLY ADMIT isn’t qualified.

                You have to call this normal because it had a close outcome and that fits your clinton can’t fail narrative. If there were three reasons for a one point loss, one worth 3 points, another worth 2 points, and the final worth one point, you wouldn’t ask which was the biggest, you’d ask which was last.

                This was not a normal election. We grasped defeat from the jaws of victory.

                Keep blaming Comey. Some of us pointed out that Clinton wasn’t the best pick for us in real time.

                But maybe you’re right. Maybe hundreds of thousands of people in WI and MI and PA changed their votes from Obama to Trump, or sat home, cause Trump was normal and the economy and hand wave and then Comey. Got it.

                It’s just so shocking that Obama was able to win these states when they’re always going to be within one bullshit letter of going the other way.

                • Keep blaming Comey. Some of us pointed out that Clinton wasn’t the best pick for us in real time.

                  The best pick out of the the available choices? Sanders, of course, would have been utterly invulnerable to Republican attack because…”well, I said so”, saith Herwegoagainandagainandagainandagainadnauseum

                  maybe you’re right. Maybe hundreds of thousands of people in WI and MI and PA changed their votes from Obama to Trump, or sat home, cause Trump was normal and the economy and hand wave and then Comey. Got it.

                  Maybe they changed their votes because Trump wasn’t normal and they said “fuck it, what have “normal” politicians ever done for us”?

                  Or because he wasn’t normal and they liked Trump’s appeals to their id of bigotry

                  And maybe that abnormality was enough to make the race close enough in those states for the Comey letter to put Trump over the top.

                  Seriously, Herewegoagainandagainandagainandagainanadagain, your strawmanning displays a distinct lack of imagination on your part.

              • its amazing how Trump went from “HE’S NOT LIKE ANYONE ELSE EVER” to “HE’S JUST ANOTHER CANDIDATE” because clinton lost.

                Nope, he wasn’t just another candidate. He just wasn’t as weak a candidate as we all had hoped.

                Tell me another time in history that a party nominated someone who was hated by the majority of the general electorate the day primary voting starting, much less both parties did so.

                The 2016 presidential campaign of Hillary Rodham Clinton was announced in a YouTube video, on April 12, 2015. She held her held her first major campaign rally June 13, 2015, at Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on the southern tip of New York City’s Roosevelt Island.

                What were the polls saying at the time?

                By May 2015 49% approved of Clinton compared to 47% who disapproved (http://www.people-press.org/2015/05/19/hillary-clinton-approval-timeline/). This was actually a decline from earlier numbers. By September her numbers had declined further. During the fall her numbers recovered somewhat and they were about evenly split. Moreover, those numbers were mainly due to Republicans hating Clinton. How many of these Republicans would have voted for any Democratic candidate?

                Tell me another time in history that the decision as to whom would be the next president was made by people that A) hated both candidates and B) voted for a guy they FULLY ADMIT isn’t qualified.

                Because the head of the FBI had strongly implied that the alternative to the unqualified candidate was an out and out crook? But we’re not supposed to blame the Comey letter because you know because of reasons that anybody else would have trounced Trump because of…reasons.

                • herewegoagain3

                  Google gallup favorability people in the news; then scroll down

                  First vote cast feb 1 2016

                  Try a different line of argument.

                • The question by that time was why the numbers were bad then, especially when they had not been anywhere near that bad near months before.

                  There was good reason to think that the numbers would improve – they had before.

                  Also, most of the people who disliked Clinton were not going to vote for any Democrat. In short, the numbers only had to improve to where they had recently been.

                  They didn’t improve. Why not?

                  I submit that among the reasons for this was folks nominally on the left who were endlessly bashing Clinton. Folks like…herewegoagain. And again, and again, and again.

                  Ihese attacks made it impossible for Clinton’s popularity to recover from the bruising primary campaign.

                  As I say further down, there’s plenty of blame to go around if you want to play that game.

                  I’ve a strange sense of deja vu.

                • herewegoagain3

                  Clinton was upside down in 14 consecutive polls before the first primary vote was cast.

                  Comey cost her the election. Clearly.

                  The fact youre still making the “baked in” argument destroys my hope for the future and makes me throw up in my mouth.

                • You keep citing polls to support your case, yet when it comes to polls that suggest the Comey letter had a decisive impact, suddenly polls don’t mean much anymore.

                • What the hell is the “baked in” argument? Surely the very fact that the Comey letter had a decisive impact suggests that the final result was not “baked in”. If by “baked in” you mean most voters had made up their minds based on longstanding partisan allegiances long before voting day, I’m sorry reality brings you nausea. It happens even to the best of us.

            • Where do you get your “late-breaking numbers” for Nevada?

              For your reading pleasure:

              https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/11/17/how-america-decided-at-the-very-last-moment-to-elect-donald-trump/?utm_term=.c0388930882f

              In Florida and Pennsylvania, late-deciders favored Trump by 17 points. In Michigan, they went for Trump by 11 points. In Wisconsin, they broke for Trump by a whopping 29 points, 59-30.

              But of course nothing to do with Comey, because not everyone reacted to the Comey letter in exactly the same way everywhere. Got it.

              Again, if we had a decent candidate, this should have been a blowout.

              You keep saying this, but “should be” does not mean “is”.

              I love how Trump was seen and “not like any candidate ever” until he defeated Clinton and NOW he’s just like every candidate ever!

              That’s not the argument we’ve been making. Do try to pay attention.

              It was fundamentals that kept it close!

              If by “close” you mean not a 1964, 1972, or 1984 type blowout, correct. And the idea that a self-proclaimed socialist would have upended the fundamentals of the current US electorate by converting a yuuuge number of voters who habitually vote Republican to the Democratic side is sheer fantasy. Bernie might have won anyway, but it would have been fairly close.

              • I”should” have said that “should be” does not mean “would be”

              • Scott Lemieux

                But of course nothing to do with Comey, because not everyone reacted to the Comey letter in exactly the same way everywhere. Got it.

                Yes, this is literally his argument. It’s kind of cute how impressed he is with an argument that’s self-refuting.

                Admittedly, it’s hard to top the empirical rigor of a monocausal “people just voted for CHANGE! in some states and not others, oh and in election where people voted for CHANGE! Donald Trump was a candidate who should have lost by 15 points” explanation. Why do you hate social science?

                • Morse Code for J

                  A “change” election for no office except President, apparently.

                  “This election cycle, 393 of 435 House representatives, 29 of 34 senators, and five of 12 governors sought reelection (several of the governors were prohibited from seeking another term). Of those, 380 of 393 House members (97%), 27 of 29 senators (93%), and four of five governors (80%) won another term. These members of Congress and governors not only won renomination, but also won in November.

                  Those reelection rates are all a little bit better than the already impressive post-World War II averages.”

                • herewegoagain3

                  7 pt swing in wisconsin

                  Comey really is a supergenius

                  What is bigger: the number of voters swung by comey in WI or the number of voters that stayed home in Milwaukee County?

                • herewegoagain3

                  Oh and “but they reacted the way necessary in precisely the states necessary for my not at all propter hoc just so story.”

              • herewegoagain3

                Nate silver.

                http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/why-fivethirtyeight-gave-trump-a-better-chance-than-almost-anyone-else

                Big chart.

                So comey only worked in the states necessary for your just so story? Got it.

                • It was only decisive in the states where it was decisive. Yes.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  Speaking of Nate Silver:

                  Comey had a large, measurable impact on the race

                  It’s almost as if the inane talking point you’ve inexplicably fallen in love with is a complete non-sequitur!

                • herewegoagain3

                  I got my data from him. I think his analysis is wrong on 2 pts.

                  Polls were already moving prior to the the letter, as late deciders were deciding. (They dont all do it the same day.) Yall are picking an event in the middle of the avalanche as a cause. This is reported in real time.

                  He ignores states where the data doesnt fit.

                  But the fact that there were so many late deciders is because both parties nominated someone who was hated. We need to own this loss.

                • “The polls were already moving” could possibly be a rejoinder to a claim that the Comey letter was the only factor in the election. As it is, not so much.

                  We need to own this defeat

                  You mean “you “, I presume, unless you are prepared to accept some responsibility yourself.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  But the fact that there were so many late deciders is because both parties nominated someone who was hated. We need to own this loss.

                  I promise you we will never nominate Hillary Clinton again, okay?

                • msdc

                  Interesting that you cite a chart titled “Voters who decided in the final week went strongly for Trump,” with analysis that explicitly cites the Comey letter, as proof that late-breaking voters didn’t go strongly for Trump and Comey couldn’t possibly have had any effect.

                • msdc

                  “I got my data from him” = “I cherrypicked the three states that say what I want the data to say and ignored the other twelve, not to mention actual election results from other states not included on his chart.”

                  And yet Nate Silver is the one ignoring the states where the data doesn’t fit.

                • Hogan

                  “If you torture the data enough, nature will always confess.” — Ronald Coase

  • Docrailgun

    Drugs are bad, mmm-kay, Hopefully the “New Left Review” realizes that and stops employing that writer.

    In any case, the “Clinton and the Democrats lost because they were only talking to wealty elites” is a GOP idea the the Republicans pushed in the media. The Democrats lost for one reason: a bunch of people who called themselves “progressives” (but aren’t) in supposedly “safe” states either didn’t vote or voted for Trump as a protest vote to show those pesky party leaders who’s really in charge of the party! Instead of sending that statement, they gave Republicans the ability to destroy everything we’ve been working for in the last 50 years or more. Good job, Bernie-Bros!

    • humanoid.panda

      Drugs are bad, mmm-kay, Hopefully the “New Left Review” realizes that and stops employing that writer.

      That writer is the founder of the New Left Review, and one of the most important Marxist writers of the last 30 years or so. Which makes it all even sadder.

    • John F

      The Democrats lost for one reason

      False, I’d put “a bunch of people who called themselves “progressives” (but aren’t) in supposedly “safe” states either didn’t vote or voted for Trump as a protest vote to show those pesky party leaders who’s really in charge of the party!” well down the list, maybe reason number 57. There aren’t enough people who fit that description to swing a single swing state (and it doesn’t take all that much relatively speaking to swing any swing state)

    • herewegoagain3

      You lie.

  • altofront

    Nate Silver has made a somewhat related (and far less tendentious) argument: 1) Clinton spent too much time on close states that were unlikely to be “tipping-point” states (like OH); 2) Clinton concentrated her campaigning in too narrow a range of states (with little time if any spent in IA, MN, CO, VA in the fall, NM, and especially WI).

    The second point seems pretty flimsy to me, apart from WI (and maybe MN, which was really close); IA wasn’t polling well, and she won CO, VA, and NM handily. But the first point makes some sense: there are not many scenarios under which OH was going to give Clinton the presidency, so why did it get over 11% of her fall public appearances? The answer, I’m sure, is that they thought they were running up the margin, and forcing Trump to spend limited resources there. But as Silver suggests, a more defensive approach to EC votes might have suited the situation better.

    • humanoid.panda

      Yep, this is a very smart critique of campaign strategy. But when you want to push the meme that HRC was a privileged princess who didn’t want to be seen talking to the commoners of the heartland, you can’t argue she spent too much time in Ohio and Iowa.

    • Spider-Dan

      Even if you presuppose a time machine and Hillary being forewarned about the Comey kneecapping, the electoral strategy that would result from such information would seem like insanity to any reasonable person:

      – complete abandonment of IA, OH, and FL
      – also abandoning VA and NC? (or are we pretending that she knows exactly which states she can win?)
      – overwhelming majority of campaign time spent in states that were reliably blue

      If Hillary pursued such a strategy and still lost, the media would be even less kind than they have been now.

      I compare these kind of criticisms to those who said she should have ran less on how much of a monster Trump is and more on the issues: when you have the most unpopular and unfit candidate in history as your opponent, you do not run against him as if he is Mitt Romney.

      • altofront

        Keep in mind that Silver is talking about personal appearances, not spending (or message strategies): Clinton had a lot of money, and using it in a wide band of states made sense. Furthermore, you don’t summarize the resulting appearance strategy very well. Silver thought she should have spent more time in VA (debatable, I think) because it was so important, and he also (in other posts) thought spending time and resources in NC made sense as a backstop if her Midwestern support collapsed (would that this had worked…). And you can’t call states like WI, MN, and MI “reliably blue,” even if they’ve been narrowly won by Democrats for a long time. As for abandoning IA, OH, and FL, in terms of personal appearances? FL is perhaps too big a prize (and seemed eminently gettable), but I don’t have a problem with the other two.

        • Scott Lemieux

          even if they’ve been narrowly won by Democrats for a long time.

          While true of PA and WI this does not describe Michigan, which generally hasn’t even been close.

          • Abbey Bartlet

            Plus, one of the Gawker bros assured me Pennsylvania was absolutely safe.

          • altofront

            While true of PA and WI this does not describe Michigan, which generally hasn’t even been close.

            It wasn’t close for Obama, certainly; it was pretty close before then: 3.4% in 2004, 5.2% in 2000. I don’t know how to compare this to the decade before because of Perot, but in 1996 Clinton got 51.6% of the vote, which is virtually identical to Gore and Kerry.

            I would guess that the bottom line for Michigan is that if the African-American vote really turns out the Dems win it easily; if it doesn’t, it’s pretty close.

        • Spider-Dan

          And you can’t call states like WI, MN, and MI “reliably blue”

          What states can I call “reliably blue”?

          CA’s previous governor was a Republican.
          MA elected a Republican Senator less than 2 cycles ago.

          If we’re just talking about the electoral college, WI and MI had been voting blue for as long as CA and MA have, and MN has been (and still is) voting blue for SIGNIFICANTLY longer.

          • altofront

            This is pretty weak sauce. MA has a long tradition of electing centrist Republicans now and then, but every Democratic presidential candidate after Dukakis has won the state in a blowout, usually by 20 to 30 points. CA’s previous governor was due to a fluke special election and did almost nothing to slow the collapse of the Republican party in the state.

            And if you still think MN’s voting history makes it “reliably blue” after Clinton won it by just 1.5%, I don’t know why we’re bothering to have this conversation.

            • Spider-Dan

              The last time MN voted for a Republican President was 1972. I’m not sure how you look at a state that has voted blue in the last 11 cycles and determine that they are wafflers.

              Obama only lost Montana by 2% in 2008. Does this mean Montana isn’t “reliably red” either?

              • altofront

                Not as “reliably red” as Oklahoma or Alabama, certainly. Do the names Jon Tester, Max Bacus, Brian Schweitzer, and Steve Bullock mean anything to you?

                At the current highwater mark for the modern Democratic Party, they almost took the state in the electoral college. But who cares? Any election where they take MT is one where they’re already winning in a landslide. To say this is in any way comparable to Pennsylvania for Republicans is ludicrous.

                As for your flailing about MN, I can’t even. They’re not wafflers because of their voting history; they’re wafflers (stupid way to put it) because Trump almost won. It would be foolish to assume this is a one-off like Obama (or Clinton, for that matter) in MT.

                • Spider-Dan

                  We can sit here and cite opposite-party politicians all day long. Steve Beshear. Ben Nelson. Heidi Heitkamp. Mitt Romney. John Bel Edwards. Linda Lingle. etc.

                  Let’s get to the point: should Democrats start taking resources out of OH, FL, IA, and NC so they can start spending them in MN, WI, MI, and ME? Should they give up on states like AZ and GA entirely? What, exactly, are you advocating when you classify MN as “not reliably blue”?

                • altofront

                  Let’s get to the point: should Democrats start taking resources out of OH, FL, IA, and NC so they can start spending them in MN, WI, MI, and ME? Should they give up on states like AZ and GA entirely? What, exactly, are you advocating when you classify MN as “not reliably blue”?

                  If I were king of the Democratic party? Ceteris paribus, I’d say pull back substantially on OH and IA; invest more in MI and WI; contest NC and FL vigorously (big prizes that seem gettable), and of course PA; worry about MN and ME; and don’t worry about AZ and GA unless the above approaches doesn’t seem to be working. Or, to put it more generally, stop acting like the Upper Midwest “Blue Wall” is a thing, but also recognize that it’s still more favorable terrain than the stretch states of the Southwest and the “New South.”

                  To turn the question back on you: why are you so determined to call MN “reliably blue”? Obama won it by healthy margins, but Gore won it by 2.4%, Kerry won it by 3.4%, and now Clinton won it by 1.5%. Are you saying that because it happened to be Mondale’s home state, giving it such a long unbroken blue streak, that it could never turn the other way?

                  As I understood it, “the point” of this subthread was your assertion that following Silver’s advice would have produced a ludicrous election strategy. You’ve done little to substantiate that so far, and this whole “reliably blue” debate isn’t helping your case.

    • randy khan

      That’s an interesting analysis. I’m generally a bit skeptical of Silver’s “tipping point” approach, but there is something to the idea that you should spend more time in states that are more likely to put you over the top than in other ones.

      One problem there, though, is that for big chunks of the campaign there was reason to think Clinton was going to get 350+ EVs. That kind of makes hash of the tipping point theory, in that you might have half a dozen states that could put you over the top, each with its own specific demographics. While you can, more or less, plot states on a probability graph from least to most likely to go your way, the middle is still pretty squishy, and squishier when it looks like you might win big.

      • xq

        There’s no point in campaigning as if you’re going to win big. If you’re going to win big, campaigns are irrelevant. Assume it’s going to be close. Under that assumption, it actually was fairly straightforward which states were the most important.

        • randy khan

          I want to push back on this, at least as a theoretical matter. Say you have (to pick an extreme case) around 265 EVs you’re pretty convinced are in the bag, 175 that you don’t see winning and 98 in the middle. There’s certainly a range of probability among that group in the middle, but it might not be terribly clear cut from your polling which ones are the ones most likely to put you over, and MOEs likely give you overlaps. Moreover, if you think you’re 75% certain to win State A, but 60% certain to win State B, your best resource allocation between them may depend on what your polling’s telling you about who’s available to convince in those states. You may be at your limit in State A, but have another 5% of the voters you think you can move in State B, or vice versa.

          • xq

            I’m not sure exactly what you’re arguing against. Yes, there’s a range of probabilities in the middle–that’s exactly what Silver shows in the charts in the link.
            No one is saying to campaign only in the single state with the highest probability of being the tipping point state.

        • ASV

          This assumes that the 2016 presidential election is the only thing of interest. But if Senate seats are also important, and if trying to set up a favorable 2020 is also important, suddenly campaigning in states like Arizona makes sense.

          • xq

            Not really. First, because the presidential election is so important that it’s almost never worth sacrificing probability of winning that to help elsewhere. Second, because Clinton wasn’t popular, so it’s unclear that campaigning to help senate candidates in reddish states would even be a net benefit to that candidate.

      • altofront

        One problem there, though, is that for big chunks of the campaign there was reason to think Clinton was going to get 350+ EVs.

        This is obviously my “let’s defend 538” day, but I think they were pretty consistent about coupling such predictions (and they never went quite that high post-convention) with warnings about how much weaker Clinton was than Obama across the Midwest. It’s true that if Clinton won FL and NC she wouldn’t care about WI-MI-PA, and maybe that will become a more important possibility in future elections. But demgraphics aren’t as specific to states as you suggest: she lost FL for exactly the same reason that she lost PA.

        • Abbey Bartlet

          she lost FL for exactly the same reason that she lost PA.

          Wypipo?

  • revrick

    I think any analysis of the 2016 election results that doesn’t look at some long time trends and the lingering ugly impact of the 2008 financial meltdown is missing some crucial information.
    First, why did Hillary win the nomination? In 2014, when the race really began she enjoyed sky high approval ratings. More importantly, she had a lock on the African American community, due to their knowledge of her efforts in Dothan, Alabama right out of law school, her and Bill’s staking their political fortunes in Arkansas, and the great economic strides the African American community enjoyed during Bill’s Presidency. She rode to the nomination on the overwhelming support of people of color and older women.
    Second, she lost the election in Appalachia, a region that has been in stagnation and decline since the 1920’s. We know there was a huge out migration of African Americans from the South beginning in WW1, but there was a similar huge out migration of Appalachian whites into the Midwest in search of jobs in the 1940’s and on. They took their attitudes and beliefs with them.
    Up through the 1970’s the Ozark-Appalachian arc was reliably Democratic, and then it wasn’t. Part of that shift was race. Part of it was economic. Part of it is the frozen gender and social relations that are ingrained in the thinking of those raised there.
    Third, add to the mix the fact that much of the Midwest has not recovered from the Great Recession, and blame is attached to the President’s party.
    Fourth, the drip, drip of 20 years of right wing smears, abetted by MSM about Benghazi! Emails! Foundation!
    And still, Hillary almost won!

    • herewegoagain3

      Cool story bro. Too bad its just not true.

      I have yet to see a poll where she beat sanders with young POC.

      She won old people, period. Then lost to trump.

      BTW, some of the worst Bernie Bros i know are black women.

      Ps. Your analysis of appalachia is dead wrong too. Ever live there?

      • I have yet to see a poll where she beat sanders with young POC.

        I suppose that would be a pertinent observation if only young people voted, instead of actually being underrepresented in every single fucking election that’s ever held.

        • herewegoagain3

          Well let me help you out with something: we are never going to win a general election where only old people vote. You wouldnt dismiss black people out of hand now would you?

          Further: clinton didnt turn out young or black people. And im told that the second part is why we needed to pick her over sanders. Howd that work out again?

          • sibusisodan

            Further: clinton didnt turn out young or black people.

            This is hard to argue against, because as written it’s literally untrue.

            If you mean that the turnouts relative to population share were lower (than 2012?), well, maybe. An easy Google doesn’t show much. Got a link in mind?

            It’s hard to grant you credibility as someone who is saying important things when you say them so carelessly.

            • herewegoagain3

              I assume we are arguing in good faith and i dont have to list every assumption and qualification to every argument i make. Like, “the sun will rise in the east (is not 100% but damn close and i assume you dont live on a pole and i assume you live on earth and i assume a volcano wont black out the world tonight and blah blah blah…)

              Look up milwaukee cty, wayne cty, etc. google it. I already did.

              Yes from 2012.

              • sibusisodan

                It’s not that you didnt qualify your argument enough.

                It’s that you were so sloppy with language as to require clarification to know what your argument is.

          • we are never going to win a general election where only old people vote.

            Well, indeed not, and luckily that is not the case. And your point is?

            Ah, here we go:

            clinton didnt turn out young or black people.

            By this I presume you mean that they didn’t turn out for her to the same extent that they did for Obama. The fact is that 2008 and 2012 had exceptionally high turnouts for young voters and African Americans. Should we have counted on that continuing in perpetuity? Would Sanders, whose support among African-Americans in the primary was far weaker than Clinton’s, have “turned out” more African-Americans in the general? Most likely he’d have done worse even if he had done better among younger African-Americans.

            He might have done better among younger people generally, but he’d have likely done worse among other groups, such as college-educated middle class voters in the suburbs. It might all have added up to a Sanders victory, but certainly nothing close to a blowout. And yet you claim that any “decent” candidate would have trounced Trump!

            • herewegoagain3

              Should we have counted on that continuing in perpetuity?

              You know, youre right. Im an idiot for assuming that democratic primary voters will choose candidates that young and/or black candidates will turn out for.

              But thats been my point all along. They picked Clinton.

              The difference is that you blame voters for not being excited by our picks. I blame our candidates who dont excite them.

              • Im an idiot

                You may so. I have no comment on the matter.

                for assuming that democratic primary voters will choose candidates that young and/or black candidates will turn out for.

                African-Americans did not, by and large, turn out for Bernie. They favored Clinton by a roughly three-to-one margin. So, either Sanders did not win young POC by very much, or he failed to get many of them to turn out to support him, or some combination of the two things. Neither possibility boded well for his ability to get a POC turnout as good as Clinton’s in 2016, let alone as one good as Obama’s in ’08 or ’12.

                The difference is that you blame voters for not being excited by our picks. I blame our candidates who dont excite them.

                Unlike you, I do not believe that blame is a zero sum game. I’ve written of this elsewhere:

                Some say
                “I’m not to blame
                For you see it’s them 
                And it’s me or them
                So it can’t be me
                According to my theory”

                I’m not here to promote a sense of shame
                But all the same
                If you’re talking about blame
                I have to say I’ve often found
                There’s plenty of it to go around

                Also, given the utter contempt you have expressed for the American electorate elsewhere in this thread, forgive me if I doubt your sincerity on this issue.

                And, as I pointed out elsewhere, if someone who fails to make a winning case in court, to the electorate, or in a congressional debate is by definition entirely to blame for “losing”, it must follow that you are entirely to blame for your failure to convince or others here with your arguments.

                • I meant to say, “you may say so”. I have come to rely to heavily on the edit function here.

                • AND

                  if someone who fails to make a winning case in court, to the electorate, or in a congressional debate is by definition entirely to blame for “losing”,it must follow that you are entirely to blame for your failure to convince me or others here with your arguments.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  If I’m told we can nominate someone who does extremely well among African Americans or someone who does extremely well among young people, I’m going to pick the former every time, because young people are notoriously bad at actually voting.

        • herewegoagain3

          Btw, we all know black people dont vote, amirite? Is this still 2004? Why do you get to be ageist instead of racist?

          Maybe its our candidates? Maybe they failed instead of being failed?

          Clinton primary voter 08: but black ppl dont vote
          Clinton primary voter 16: but young ppl dont vote

          • Btw, we all know black people dont vote, amirite?

            See my answer above, if you have interest any fighting anything but strawmen.

            Why do you get to be ageist instead of racist?

            How is pointing out that younger people vote in smaller numbers than older people “ageist”? And what does it say about your own attitudes about race and age when you imply that the overall African-American vote is irrelevant, only the younger voters really matter?

            • Scott Lemieux

              I’ve never understood the significance of this “younger people of color were more likely to vote for Sanders than older people of color” talking point. Yes, both age and race were relevant factors in determining the outcome of the Democratic primaries. So now what? It doesn’t change the fact that a left candidate who does as badly as Sanders among people of color overall has not path to the Democratic nomination, and being in denial about that isn’t useful going forward.

              • herewegoagain3

                Its not a talking point. Its a respone to the argument that sanders lost cause of black people. Age correlated with the outcome better than race as far as I can tell. He lost old people. Badly. A group we always lose in the general. Badly.

                And btw, if you think black ppl are more likely to be swing voters in the general than young people…well, congrats on allowing Trump to win.

                My other point is that maybe our voters should be concerned about the general when…picking a candidate for the general. If the path to our nomination makes it so that we are weaker in the general…maybe our voters should rethink some things. Again, this is what scares me about our party.

                • jim, some guy in iowa

                  2020 is going to be the generational change you’re looking for and it’s going to happen without all this endless pissing about trying to make yourself look smart

                • Age correlated with the outcome better than race as far as I can tell.

                  Not quite.

                  44 states into the primary, the group that favored Clinton by the largest margin was African-Americans. Voters aged 65 plus were slightly more pro-Bernie according to these exit polls.

                  Note also that the 65+ age group comprised 21% of the primary electorate, while African-Americans were 27%. Ages 18-29, which were the most pro-Sanders group, were 17%.

                • btw, if you think black ppl are more likely to be swing voters in the general than young people…well, congrats on allowing Trump to win.

                  This is rich coming from someone who says part of the reason Clinton lost was not because African-Americans are swing voters but because a smaller percentage of them voted than in 2008 and 2012.

                  So you lambaste Clinton for failing to get African-Americans to vote in the general while assuming that Sanders, who got only in in four of their votes in the primary, would have done as well if not better. Because of…well, “because I say so”.

                  Got that?

                • As someone who would like to move politics in this country to the left, what scares me most is that the people who talk the most about how we need to move the Democratic Party to the left appear to have no fucking clue how to do that, since they have learned nothing at allfrom Bernie ‘s loss in the primary, nor are they open to learning anything from it.

                  All they are interested in doing is blaming and dismissing those who “failed” to vote for Bernie. Point out that Bernie didn’t do well with African American voters and it’s “well, most of those voters were old and/or religious and/or in the South and therefore irrelevant.” Seriously?

            • herewegoagain3

              Because its the Bell Curve with age instead of race. “Im just saying they score lower on tests vote less frequently…”

              • sibusisodan

                That’s not even wrong.

                Voting participation by age is both well attested, not a proxy for something else (like iq) and to a large degree within the control of the voters themselves.

                I don’t know why your brain didn’t warn you against making a deeply terrible analogy.

                • herewegoagain3

                  Good to know obama and clinton got the same percentage of young people to turn out.

                • sibusisodan

                  What does have to do with the banal observation that young people consistently make up a smaller proportion of the voting population than they do of the general population?

                • herewegoagain3

                  I dont belive it has to do with their age. And its not set in stone.

                  Seriously stop. Youre making the same argument they did against black people before 08.

                • sibusisodan

                  I dont belive it has to do with their age

                  You don’t believe that age-related differences in voting likelihood, which as far as I know are stable across generations and seen in multiple countries…

                  …have anything to do with age?

                • Hogan

                  You don’t believe that age-related differences in voting likelihood, which as far as I know are stable across generations and seen in multiple countries…

                  …have anything to do with age?

                  Correlation is not . . . the other thing . . . that . . . rhymes with “correlation” . . . I think.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  Youre making the same argument they did against black people before 08.

                  Seriously, what in the living fuck are you talking about?

                • Correlation is not . . . the other thing . . . that . . . rhymes with “correlation” . . . I think.

                  “Poor relation”? “More elation”?

  • Shantanu Saha

    Clearly Clinton misspent the $1 billion that her campaign collected. If she had spent half as much on ads and used the balance to bribe Comey, she would be president now.