The Battle Is On Between Dangerous Donald & Crooked Hillary

Trump Clinton Celebrity Death Match

While I will not entirely give up hope of an upset in the Democratic race by Bernie Sanders, the media is getting set for the showdown between Dangerous Donald and Crooked Hillary. Those are the current nicknames each has chosen for other, and they are both right about the other. I had planned to call them greater evil and lesser evil, but found that too many readers disagree as to which is which, even if we agree both of them are too evil to be fit to be president, or hold any other elective office.

Dangerous Donald is trying hard to win over the Republicans. He already has the racist and xenophobic base of GOP voters, but reaction to him is mixed among the more ideological GOP leaders (who never figured out that the base doesn’t really care about their economic theories). Trump is backing away from one of his more dangerous and controversial ideas. He now says that banning Muslims from entering the country was “only a suggestion.”

It hardly sounded like only a suggestion when he first stated: “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

By this logic, does Trump think that Hitler’s rants in Mein Kampf were only suggestions?

Will he let Clinton get away with saying her proposals for military intervention in Iraq, Libya, and Syria were only a suggestion?

Will the media continue to play softball with Trump, or will they start asking him the types of followup questions which he does not appear capable of answering?

But here’s another sign that Trump is getting more moderate. He has disavowed his butler after he called for the killing of Barack Obama. A month ago Trump would have probably backed the proposal at his rallies.

Meanwhile it hasn’t been a good week for Crooked Hillary. As I warned months ago, the moment the Republicans settled on a candidate, the winner would look more like a serious candidate and would get a bounce in the polls. As I noted Tuesday, the election has become a virtual tie based upon the polls. Since then, a Reuters/Ipsos survey released on Wednesday also shows Clinton leading by just one percent. While the news media has generally been biased towards Clinton, CNN has posted an article entitled Why Sanders is a better bet against Trump on Thursday.

We might be seeing a lot of additional information demonstrating why Crooked Hillary deserves her name. While Sanders didn’t use such scandals against Clinton, there is no doubt that Trump will. Today there were reports that Clinton Charity Aided Clinton Friends.

While I have been far more concerned about the violations of policies regarding government transparency and the influence peddling by Clinton, the FBI investigation has dominated talk in the media. Clinton has tried to downplay this, saying it is just a security inquiry. This week, FBI Director James Corney has contradicted Clinton’s statement. Security inquiry is not a thing. This is an investigation. Still, I continue to doubt that Clinton will be indicted considering her position, even if lower level people have been prosecuted for less. However, nobody knows for sure what will happen, and it makes no sense for a major political party to even consider nominating Clinton under the circumstances.

Clinton has also faced difficulties policy-wise too this week, with Huffington Post and Common Dreams chastising Clinton for refusing to Rule Out Any and All Benefit Cuts to Social Security. On the other side, I’m sure there are a lot of Republicans who are angry with Dangerous Donald for not promising to cut Social Security.

While Sanders remains Clinton’s major challenger for the Democratic nomination, there might be members of the party establishment who will not accept Sanders but realize that Clinton is a major liability for the party. There seems to be some who are out floating a Biden/Warren trial balloon.

Focus Group & Further Polls Show Clinton Could Have Difficulty Beating Trump

Trump Sanders Clinton

Bernie Sanders is projected to win the West Virginia primary, and additional polls out today showed that he would make the stronger candidate against Donald Trump. Public Policy Polling shows Clinton in a very tight race with Trump, with Clinton losing support to the likely Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson and likely Green Party candidate Jill Stein:

PPP’s new national poll finds that Republicans have quickly unified around Donald Trump, making the Presidential race more competitive than it has previously been perceived to be.

Hillary Clinton leads Trump 42-38, with Libertarian Gary Johnson at  4% and Green Party candidate Jill Stein at 2%. In a match up just between Clinton and Trump, her lead expands to 47-41. That’s because supporters of Johnson and Stein would prefer her over Trump 36-18. Although there’s been a lot of talk about third party candidates drawing support away from Trump, they’re actually taking a little bit more from Clinton at this point…

Bernie Sanders continues to do the best in general election match ups, leading Trump 47-37 with Johnson at 3% and Stein at 1% in the full field, and leading Trump 50-39 head to head. The difference between how Clinton and Sanders fare against Trump comes almost completely among young people. In the full field Clinton leads 46-24, but Sanders leads 64-18 with voters between 18 and 29. In one on ones with Trump, Clinton leads 49-27, but Sanders leads 70-14.

The undecideds in a Clinton-Trump match up right now support Sanders 41-8 in a match up with Trump, so the bad news for Clinton is that she has work to do to win over a certain segment of Sanders supporters in the general, but the good news is that they are at least somewhat Democratic leaning and she has the potential to increase her advantage over Trump by a couple points if she is eventually able to get them in her corner. Democrats lead a generic question about which party people would vote for President 49-41, so that may be somewhat of a forecast for where the race could be headed if/when Sanders supporters unify around Clinton for the general.

It remains to be seen how many Sanders supporters will vote for Clinton versus voting third party or staying home. While there has been talk of Donald Trump losing Republican voters to third parties, pundits often ignore the fact that Clinton’s views are further from the mainstream of her party than Trump’s views, making it likely that there will be Democratic voters who will not vote for Clinton under any circumstance. While the numbers backing third party candidates are small, this could be enough to cost Clinton the victory in a close election.

I find the views of both Stein and Johnson to be far preferable to the views of either major party candidate from the authoritarian right segment of the political spectrum. While unlikely, there has been more talk recently of an even better third party candidate–Bernie Sanders.

Sanders still hopes to be the Democratic candidate, having an increasingly strong argument that he is more likely than Hillary Clinton to beat Donald Trump. In addition to the Public Policy poll above, a new Quinnipiac poll shows Clinton in a tight race in three key battleground states–Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Sanders does better than Clinton in all three states.

With a campaign between Clinton and Trump expected to be a battle to get votes to fear and hate the other major party candidate more, The Washington Post reports that Democratic focus groups are showing that swing voters are not believing the Democratic arguments against Trump. Bloomberg points out that, compared to Obama, Clinton has serious negatives in such a battle:

Clinton has been subjected to a quarter century of political and personal attacks, many of them vicious, more than a few outlandish. For every smear of President Barack Obama as a Kenyan anticolonial socialist or terrorist enabler, Clinton can probably cite two similarly inspired delusions — that she killed White House aide Vincent Foster or, for reasons no one ever seems able to explain, that she preferred to let a handful of Americans die in Benghazi rather than use her powers as secretary of State to protect them.

But the differences between Obama and Clinton are at least as telling as the similarities. More than half of Americans consistently have rated Obama “honest and trustworthy” during his presidency. Of nine Gallup measurements taken between 2008 and 2015, Obama fell below 50 percent only once, in 2014. In April 2008, the spring of his first campaign for president, 60 percent of Gallup respondents said Obama was honest and trustworthy.

By contrast, in a March 2016 Washington Post/ABC News poll, 37 percent of adults agreed that Hillary Clinton is honest and trustworthy, and 57 percent said they don’t think she is. Even Democrats aren’t sold. In Wisconsin, where Bernie Sanders defeated her on April 5, exit polls showed only 57 percent of Democratic voters rated her honest and trustworthy. Two weeks later in her home state of New York, which she won, only 60 percent of Democrats leaving the polls said she was honest and trustworthy.

Neither Sanders in 2016, nor Obama in 2008, aggressively attacked Clinton’s integrity. She finds herself in this hole as a result of conservative attacks on her and of doubts she raised by her own actions. History weighs on her.

Of course fact checkers have also demonstrated a large number of false statements coming from Trump. Trump beats Clinton in terms of number of falsehoods, but there is a major difference between the two. Trump tends to make up facts regarding policy matters. In contrast, Clinton’s lies tend to be to either cover up unethical actions and as part of a Rovian style smear campaign against political opponents. I suspect that Clinton’s type of dishonesty might be a more serious issue should the presidential campaign come down to character.

Sanders Doesn’t Sound Very Interested In Being Clinton’s VP Despite Media Hype

Sanders CNN

I saw several headlines today along the lines of  Sanders leaves door open to Clinton VP spot. Reading the headlines does give the impression that Sanders might be interested, but the actual interview does not really suggest this:

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders on Friday left the door open to being Hillary Clinton‘s running mate if she were to offer him the position after the party’s convention this summer.

“Right now, we are focused on the next five weeks of winning the Democratic nomination. If that does not happen, we are going to fight as hard as we can on the floor of the Democratic convention to make sure that we have a progressive platform that the American people will support,” Sanders said during an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer broadcast on “The Situation Room.”

“Then, after that, certainly Secretary Clinton and I can sit down and talk and see where we go from there.”

Asked if Sanders would drop out of the race if he were offered the VP slot now, the independent Vermont senator responded, “I think that that is a hypothetical that will not happen.”

Clinton has all but clinched the Democratic nomination but she has shied away from directly calling for her opponent to drop out of the race

Sanders has insisted that he’ll fight until the party’s convention in July, hoping to play a role in crafting a more progressive party platform.

“We’re going to be in this until the last ballot is cast,” Sanders reiterated Friday.

Sanders said that while he will continue to differentiate between his and Clinton’s positions, “What’s most important is we defeat Donald Trump.”

“Hillary Clinton and I disagree on many issues, I think her judgement on the war in Iraq was bad, I think her judgement on trade policies where she supported virtually every one of these disastrous trade policies was bad, I think the fact that she supports a $12 minimum wage when clearly we need a $15 an minimum wage, I think that’s bad. I think her creating super-PACs and raising money from Wall Street and other powerful special interests, not a great idea,” Sanders said.

From both this description and watching the video of the interview, it looks to me like Sanders pretty much ignored the question of being Clinton’s vice president to get back on message about continuing to run against Clinton on the issues. The headlines are technically true that Sanders did not close the door, but I think that is more because he wanted to talk about other things, not because he is interested in the position.

If not for the degree to which the Democratic Party (including Democratic-leaning independents) are divided this year, it normally would not make much sense to have both Sanders and Clinton on the same ticked, in either order, due to their age. It would make sense for either to have a younger running mate.

This year there is the outside chance that if Clinton wins the nomination she might offer the vice presidency to Sanders as many Sanders supporters are currently unlikely to turn out to vote for her if she is the nominee. Having Sanders on the ticket would probably lead to some Sanders supporters to hold their nose and vote for the ticket.

Establishment Democrats are also upset to see that Donald Trump is repeating (and to some degree exaggerating) Sanders’ charges that Clinton has poor judgment. While that could hurt Clinton in a general election, the fact is that this is true about Clinton. Rather than blaming Sanders for speaking the truth, they should never have done so much to rig the nomination battle in Clinton’s favor. While Clinton currently has a strong lead, should she lose to Trump, the fault would belong entirely to those who have backed a candidate such as Clinton who is unfit to be president.

Sanders also discussed how he would make the strongest candidate against Donald Trump due to his greater support from independents. Numerous polls have demonstrated that Sanders does significantly better than Clinton in head to head polls against Donald Trump. He also repeated that if he is not the nominee he would do everything he can to keep Donald Trump from being elected president.

The full video of the interview is below:

Sanders Protests That Democratic Convention Is Rigged Against Him

Sanders May

I’m sure it wasn’t any surprise to  Bernie Sanders that the Democratic establishment would rig the convention against him, and I see his protest more as an effort of Sanders to continue to fight for the nomination, despite the odds against him. Politico reports:

In a letter to the chairwoman, Sanders noted that of the 45 names he submitted to Democratic National Convention committees, Wasserman Schultz appointed only three.

“I believe the composition of the standing committees must reflect the relative support that has been received by both campaigns,” Sanders wrote in the letter dated May 6. “That was why I was so disappointed to learn that of the over forty people our campaign submitted at your request you chose to select only three of my recommendations for the three standing committees. Moreover, you did not assign even on of the people submitted by our campaign to the very important Rules Committee of the Democratic National Convention.”

Sanders said that if the disagreement over convention committee appointments is not resolved, he would have his delegates move to change the platform on the floor of the convention.

“It is my hope we can quickly resolve this in a fair way,” Sanders wrote. “If the process is set up to produce an unfair, one-sided result, we are prepared to mobilize our delegates to force as many votes as necessary to amend the platform and rules on the floor of the convention.”

As I discussed recently, the system is heavily rigged to prevent insurgent candidates such as Sanders from winning the Democratic nomination. The Democratic primary system turned out to be even more rigged and less Democratic than the Republican. Despite the likelihood of Sanders beating Clinton in the upcoming primaries, the system has guaranteed that Clinton will go into the convention with a majority of delegates. Sanders’ only remaining hope is if superdelegates defect from Clinton to him.

It is unlikely that the superdelegates will support an outsider over the establishment candidate. This could only happen if the situation changes considerably between now and the convention. There is the long shot possibility that superdelegates could change their mind if they saw how much weaker a candidate Clinton would make against Trump than Sanders, but I fear that many establishment Democrats would rather lose with Clinton than allow Sanders to take control of the party.

As I discussed yesterday and Gawker discussed today, Clinton is capable of blowing it against Trump, despite her considerable lead at the present. She has demonstrated both in 2008 and this year that she is a terrible candidate and makes many mistakes with messaging. While she currently has a strong lead over Trump, she would be facing a very tough race against virtually any other Republican, and it is not impossible that Trump could overcome his deficit in a race against a candidate who is as unpopular and flawed as Clinton.

Sure Clinton Is The Lesser Of Two Evils, But Does She Have A Winning Message?

Trumps and Clintons

Polls have consistently showed that Bernie Sanders does better than Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump. That is partially due to specific issues, but does anybody really believe that all the independents who support Bernie are as far left as he is? I think that the reasons Sanders does better than Clinton among independents include factors such as that Sanders, as opposed to Clinton, stands for something, along with matters of character.

Often voters will support a candidate who simply stands for something and appears sincere in their beliefs. This does not apply to the leaders in either nomination battle.

Both Clinton and Trump have very high negatives. If they are the general election candidates, both will try to make voters fear or hate the other more. If Clinton can maintain the electoral college advantage which Democrats now have, it might not matter, but if the election gets tight Clinton cannot count on winning by demonizing Trump as voters do not trust her either. Attack ads which might work for some candidates will not be enough for Clinton to win.

Clinton has been hurt in her campaign against Sanders because of lacking any real message or justification for her campaign. Believing  that it is her turn is not enough.

Trump is by far the smarter of the two politically. He defeated a large field of Republicans with surprisingly little difficulty–fooling many of the otherwise smart pundits. In contrast, Clinton lost to an inexperienced Barack Obama in 2008, and is having difficulty against Bernie Sanders this year.

Trump took down opponents one by one with effective attacks against them. Danielle Allen might be right that Clinton is walking into Trump’s trap for her.

Donald Trump has set a big, fat trap for Hillary Clinton, and so far she has stepped right into it. He turned his attacks against women against her. She is, he argued, playing the “woman card.” And Clinton anted up, offering her supporters the chance to buy a “woman card.” From now until Nov. 8, Trump will surely continue to insult women. If Clinton routinely responds to those attacks, Trump will turn her into the “women’s candidate,” and she will lose. She is already perilously close to being that candidate.

Let’s be honest. Polling shows that Trump has a problem with women, but it also shows that Clinton has a problem with men. Thanks to Bernie Sanders’s pushing and prodding over the course of the primary, Clinton’s vision has expanded, but we all know its core: She is a battle-tested warrior for women and children.

While I don’t agree with all of Allen’s arguments, and Trump’s misogyny should also be damaging to him, she is right that Clinton is taking a risk if she does not run as anything beyond a woman’s candidate. Beyond women’s issues, Clinton is a rather unaccomplished conservative/establishment candidate of the authoritarian right portion of the political spectrum. Her husband’s record, which includes policies she supported,  falls apart on close analysis. Her own record is one of poor judgement and failures. She botched health care reform terribly as first lady. She has no accomplishments in the Senate, and what she did promote, such as to make flag burning a felony, often sound more like ideas we’d expect from Donald Trump. She was a failed Secretary of State, between promoting excessive military interventionism such as in Libya, to unethically making decisions regarding parties making payments to her husband and the Clinton Foundation.

Sure there is a lot to attack Trump with, but the truth is that both candidates have atrocious ideas, and neither is fit to be president. They share similar right wing ideas on civil liberties. Trump’s xenophobia is as repugnant as his misogyny, but as Susan Sarandon pointed said,  “I’m more afraid of, actually, Hillary Clinton’s war record and her hawkishness than I am of building a wall, but that doesn’t mean that I would vote for Trump.” If Clinton doesn’t come up with positive reasons to support her, it is possible that by next November more voters than she expects might vote for him. Democrats would be wise to go with a stronger candidate, such as Sanders, while that option remains open.

Update: There have been some comments on Facebook questioning if Trump is really the greater evil of the two.

I’d give the title of greater evil to the candidate who is openly campaigning on racism and xenophobia, and who advocates torture and targeting the families of terrorists. While Clinton is wrong to oppose Medicare for All, Trump is worse in also opposing the reforms in the ACA.

Still, the post shows that Clinton is also quite an evil on her own, with neither being worth voting for. Plus, for those Democrats who think that she is the way to stop Trump, Sanders offers both a more electable choice, as well as one which is not evil.

Also note that the question of which is the greater evil is different from the question of which would do more harm. There is the danger that Clinton triangulating and compromising with Republicans could push the country further to the right than Trump as Democrats would go along with Clinton’s right wing policies and wars while resisting Trump.

Trump Clinches Control of GOP While Sanders Continues To Fight Clinton For Democratic Nomination

sandersindiana_0

Who would have predicted that Donald Trump would clinch the Republican nomination while Hillary Clinton still has an opponent in the race after the Indiana primary, even if Bernie has a huge uphill battle to pull it out? Sanders’ only hope is that something major happens which erodes support for Clinton among the remaining primary voters and/or the superdelegates. While many Republicans continue to oppose Trump, it is hard to see any way to stop him now that both Cruz and Kassich have left the race.

While I do not want to give up all hope of an acceptable presidential candidate emerging from a major party, the pundits are concentrating on a Clinton versus Trump race, as horrible as those options are. Clinton certainly starts out with the advantage when you consider both the advantages for any Democrat in the electoral college, along with how Trump as alienated so many groups, including women and some minorities. On the other hand, the decline in Clinton’s support must raise the question of whether she can survive a general election campaign.

Some Republicans are even talking about voting for Clinton over Trump. Perhaps this will be like the PUMAs of 2008 with the majority ultimately voting for Obama despite initial threats to vote for McCain in protest over Clinton’s defeat. Trump is at a greater risk of a real defection this year. While he is wrong on many, many issues, Trump’s views are vastly different from the GOP mainstream. A neoconservative, DLC Democrat like Clinton is  not very far ideologically from the faction of Republicans which are not outright bat-shit crazy, and the old Goldwater Girl would actually be a sensible choice for many Republican voters. Neocons have already been talking about supporting Clinton for quite a while, and she has received the endorsement of Robert Kagan.

It certainly makes sense for Clinton to try to attract Republican votes, and such votes might make up votes Clinton will lose from those on the left who will not vote for her out of principle. A small percentage of Sanders supporters might even prefer Trump over Clinton. On paper Trump is preferable on foreign policy, showing far less interest than the ultra-hawkish Clinton in military interventionism and regime change, but I would also fear that he would blunder us into a war. Many Sanders supporters  prefer Trump over Clinton issues such as trade and legalization of drugs. Many other issues will make it unlikely for Sanders supporters to vote for Trump.

Sanders showed that his campaign is very much alive with his upset victory in Indiana. Many Clinton supporters are now calling on Sanders to leave the race, but they miss the point. Sanders has been facing an uphill battle from the start, but there is a need for a candidate to present an alternative viewpoint to those of Clinton and Trump. Hillary Clinton still has major negatives leaving a long shot chance of her campaign still being stopped, and even if she cannot be prevented from winning the nomination, voters in remaining primaries deserve an acceptable choice. This is also a campaign over principles and the future direction of the Democratic Party, regardless of whether Clinton wins the current nomination.

While Terrible Choices Lead Nomination Battles, Bernie Sanders Is Nation’s Most Popular Senator

Clinton Trump Baked Potato

I’ve already noted that a Clinton versus Trump race would place us on the darkest timeline. While I it might not be the most accurate polling outfit, Rasmussen reports that 24 percent of voters would stay home or vote third party if left to this choice. Many liberal Democrats will never support Clinton, seeing conservative DLC style Democrats as being little better than Republicans, and many Republicans will similarly not accept Trump. Republican Senate candidates are considering  distancing themselves from Trump, and Republicans are saying they would not be his running mate. While some conservatives are reaching the acceptance stage, George Will still writes, If Trump is nominated, the GOP must keep him out of the White House.

As bad as this choice might be, having Ted Cruz be the GOP nominee would probably be even worse. Although his views appear to be more in line with conventional Republican thought, he is so hated by many Republicans that they would still take Trump, whom some Republicans irrationally see as a Northeastern liberal. John Boehner sees Cruz as Lucifer in the flesh. Don’t think this means that Satanists want anything to do with Cruz:

Prominent Satanists want to be clear: Ted Cruz need not apply.

After former House Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday called the current Republican presidential candidate “Lucifer in the flesh,” saying he found it difficult to work with him, staunch Satanists decried the comparison.

“Having a conservative Christian likened to Lucifer — one who opposes equal rights for same sex couples and promotes the ability to deny services to any with different values — we Satanists see as besmirching the positive, heroic aspects of that character as portrayed by Milton in his epic ‘Paradise Lost,'” Magus Peter Howard Gilmore, the high priest of The Church of Satan, said in a statement.

Lucien Greaves, a spokesman and co-founder for the Satanic Temple, told ABC News he thinks Cruz engages in “clearly deplorable behavior” and that Boehner’s comments were “thoughtless and ignorant.”

“Christians can’t just push Cruz off on Satanists,” Greaves said. “All he’s trying to say is that Ted Cruz is some type of embodiment of evil. I think that’s a rather destructive, backward mindset, because when you take clearly Christian individuals, clearly Christian activities, and things go sour, you pass them off as the influence of Satan.

“It really prevents you from thinking clearly,” he said.

I doubt Cruz will mind being rejected by Satanists, or by the KKK leader who endorsed Trump over Cruz.

Of course things could have been different if not for Democratic Party rules which rigged the system in Clinton’s favor. Bernie Sanders is the one candidate running who is well-liked, and would bring in independent and Republicans would happily vote for him as opposed to holding their nose to possibly vote for Clinton or Trump. In one of the latest examples of his support, Bernie Sanders was ranked the most popular Senator in America. Sanders has an 80 percent approval rating, while surprisingly Cruz is above water at 55 percent.

A Majority Agree With Sanders & Trump That The System Is Rigged

Elections rigged

Our two-party political system generally acts to limit consideration of political views to those in one corner of the authoritarian right political spectrum. In a typical election year we would not have discussion of subjects such as eliminating the influence of Wall Street,  ending the drug war, and opposition to American interventionism. Bernie Sanders, despite trying to limit his campaign to economic issues, did broaden the range of discussion this year. In addition, the campaigns of both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump exposed how undemocratic our system is.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll showed that over half of voters consider the system to be rigged:

More than half of American voters believe that the system U.S. political parties use to pick their candidates for the White House is “rigged” and more than two-thirds want to see the process changed, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

The results echo complaints from Republican front-runner Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Bernie Sanders that the system is stacked against them in favor of candidates with close ties to their parties – a critique that has triggered a nationwide debate over whether the process is fair.

The United States is one of just a handful of countries that gives regular voters any say in who should make it onto the presidential ballot. But the state-by-state system of primaries, caucuses and conventions is complex. The contests historically were always party events, and while the popular vote has grown in influence since the mid-20th century, the parties still have considerable sway.

Trump and Sanders have encountered different obstacles to beat the establishment of their party. Trump has led in the delegate race, but there has been talk of using convention rules to keep  him from winning the nomination, especially if he fails to win on the first ballot.

Sanders has had to deal with party rules which have made it difficult for insurgent candidates to win since George McGovern won the nomination. Party leaders subsequently thought the party was best off with moderate candidates who do well in the south despite significant changes in the country since 1972. The use of super delegates, restrictions on independents voting in may states, and front loading of southern primaries make it harder for insurgent candidates to win. Plus the Democratic Party showed even more favoritism this year, including with the debate schedule, failing to release the popular vote in Iowa, as was done eight years ago, which Sanders very likely won, Harry Reid’s actions in Nevada, and changing rules on contributions from lobbyists to help Clinton.

Imagine how different things could have been if Sanders was declared the winner of the popular vote in Iowa, Harry Reid hadn’t intervened and Sanders won or came closer in Nevada, Sanders wasn’t faced with a string of early southern losses, and if the news media wasn’t showing Sanders to be far behind  from the start by counting the super delegates into the totals. Plus we have seen how much better Sanders does in states where independents can vote.

If we lived in a European parliamentary system, where it was possible for new parties to get established, then it might make sense to limit who can vote in a party primary to allow a party to preserve its ideological identity. However, the structure of our system is quite different. It would be very difficult for other parties to seriously challenge the two major parties. This creates a greater need for voters to be able to influence the candidates chosen by each party. With such input being artificially limited by the Democratic Party, we are seeing the party nominate a candidate who is popular with a majority of hard core partisans, but who is vastly out of step with those who lean towards voting Democratic. At the same time Clinton is probably clinching the nomination, her popularity is falling, she is struggling against Donald Trump and other Republicans in head to head polls, and she has lost in multiple recent states where independents were allowed to vote.

Clinton’s Lead Over Trump Down To Three Percent While Sanders Leads By Eleven

Trump Clinton

For the last few months it appeared that it might not matter how unpopular Hillary Clinton is in terms of a general election victory as at least she could beat Donald Trump. There are three major flaws in this viewpoint. The first is that even if Clinton could win the general election, having her as president is quite undesirable. The second is that it is far from certain that Trump will win the nomination considering how hard the Republicans are trying to prevent a first ballot victory, freeing delegates to support another candidate. Clinton has not been polling well against potential candidates other than Trump. Thirdly, Clinton’s lead over Trump is evaporating.

The GW Battleground poll shows Clinton only beating Trump by three points (within the margin of error), while Sanders beats him by 11. The poll also shows that 46 percent say they would consider voting for Clinton while 53 percent say they would not consider voting for her in the general election. In comparison, 51 percent say they would consider voting for Sanders and 47 percent say they would not. Trump’s numbers are also under water here, but the head-to-head battle shows that many who would not consider voting for him would do so if Clinton was his opponent

It is notable that Clinton’s support is already falling while in a primary battle in which Sanders is not even mentioning many of the scandals involving Clinton, which would probably hurt her further in the general election. Plus, with Clinton tying herself so closely to Obama during the primary battle, any bad news on the economy or internationally this fall could seriously hurt her.

Of course before looking ahead too much to the general election, we still need to concentrate on the primary battle. Public Policy Polling shows Sanders narrowing the gap with Clinton in tomorrow’s primaries, but he needs strong victories to reduce Clinton’s delegate lead.

What To Do With Bernie’s Email List Rather Than Giving It To The Democratic Establishment

Sanders Fundraising

The nomination battle isn’t over yet, regardless of the odds, but Democratic strategists are already thinking about picking up something of great value from the Sanders campaign–the email list. Politico reports:

The post-campaign fate of Sanders’ list — his 2016 crown jewel, and the backbone of the Vermont senator’s online fundraising juggernaut — is the topic of frequent conversation among operatives working with the Democratic Party committees, down-ballot candidates and a variety of liberal interest groups. Some have already begun strategizing about how to access the list through informal conversations with people close to the Sanders campaign.

For those fighting for the issues Sanders has made the centerpiece of his campaign — like campaign finance reform, the environment and economic justice — his list of several million fervent activists willing to volunteer and donate money, often repeatedly, is regarded as something of an electoral gold mine…

Sanders’ staffers won’t comment on the exact size of the list, but his campaign has said it has 2.2 million donors, and the New York-based firm eDataSource estimates there are 5.2 million email addresses on it. The very fact that Sanders’ online fundraising prowess has become a focal point means that the question of what to do with the list is all the more complex.

“There’s this view among the Washington consultant class that these members are an ATM and you throw some words at them and they’ll give you money no matter what,” said Neil Sroka, a former Obama 2008 campaign aide now working as communications director of Democracy For America, which has endorsed Sanders. “Everyone in the Democratic Party is going to want Bernie Sanders’ seal of approval and a chance to share their message with the people on his email list.”

The Democrats’ eagerness to get their hands on Sanders’ list took off after he sent emails for congressional hopefuls Lucy Flores of Nevada, Zephyr Teachout of New York, and Pramila Jayapal of Washington. While it’s still unclear exactly how much of a Bernie bump they all got, Las Vegas ABC affiliate KTNV reported earlier this week that Flores had already raised $428,000 in mostly small-dollar contributions. Sensitive to any implication that Sanders may lose the nomination to Clinton, the campaign has yet to offer any hints of its plans for the list.

I’m sure that the Democratic Party would like to have this list, but they should not be so certain that those on the list will be willing to continue to contribute money should Clinton win the nomination. There are many Sanders supporters who are coming out of this campaign questioning whether the Democratic Party supports their views. As Sanders recently warned, Clinton and the Democratic Party cannot just assume that his supporters will automatically support them.

I suspect that Sanders will wind up backing the party in the end, but that is far from certain. What we do know is that, regardless of whether any of the Republican candidates or Hillary Clinton wins the election, we will have a president with views and agenda far different from that of Sanders supporters.

Should a Republican get elected, we will probably see Sanders and Clinton supporters united in opposing their agenda. If Clinton is elected, her agenda might not be all that different from that of the Republicans on many issues, and she is to the right of them in areas such as interventionism. The difference is that if Clinton is president, rather than having the Democrats united in opposing her more conservative views, many Democrats will be defending her, as they have done during the campaign.

If Clinton is elected, a top priority will be in establishing an opposition to her from the left, to oppose the corrupting role of money in politics, to oppose her neoconservative foreign policy, and to oppose restrictions on civil liberties which she has been far too comfortable with. I do hope that, rather than falling in the hands of the Democratic establishment, Sanders’ email list is used to help organize such an opposition.