Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Hey, I'm back. Thanks again, Yastreblyansky, Tom, and Crank, for filling in while I was away.

I see that Yastreblyansky is skeptical about my prediction that Jill Stein could get a lot of attention from the media in the fall and a surprising number of votes, possibly more than any third-party candidate has received since 2000. I'll say this: A significant third-party run by someone other than Stein seems highly unlikely after the weekend.

Bill Kristol, of course, would like me to have the opposite reaction:

But there's a damning-with-faint-praise quality about that word "impressive." It's a word you might use in reference to the new intern in your office, someone you'd otherwise refer to as "a really bright kid." If there really is a Kristol candidate, I expect it to be someone who might have been ready for political prime time in a decade or two, but certainly isn't ready now. I assume the "strong team" will be the same clowns and losers who've been doing such a terrible job masterminding the right-wing #NeverTrump movement, or maybe a group of retreads pressed into service by Mitt Romney, even though he refuses to run himself. I think this candidate is going to fade into obscurity, motivating no one other than neoconservative pundits (yes, whoever it is will be the subject of forty or fifty Jennifer Rubin blog posts). I don't even think we'll remember this person is on the ballot by November.

I also don't think the Libertarian ticket of Gary Johnson and Bill Weld is going to set the world on fire -- hell, the Libertarians themselves don't seem to like them very much. (Here's a RedState post: "Gary Johnson and William Weld Are Fake Libertarians Miseducating the Public.") If you know one thing about Johnson, you know he likes marijuana, has been open and unapologetic about past cocaine use, and has speculated that total drug legalization might be the way to go. The one thing Donald Trump knows about Bill Weld is that he's rumored to have a drinking problem. That's now how you appeal to Republicans put off by Trump's (non-substance-related) excesses.

Maybe the drug stuff will help Johnson with Sanders voters -- but this year, I think what matters most to the Sanders hardcore is progressivism on economics, and Jill Stein is going to say all the right things on that subject, while Johnson/Weld won't.

Yastreblyansky thinks there simply can't be very many states where Stein could get more votes than Trump's margin of victory over Clinton. But why not, say, Ohio? That's a state with a lot of electoral votes where President Obama won in 2012 by less than two percentage points. Ohio State is in Ohio. Kent State is in Ohio. Oberlin is in Ohio. I don't think a state needs to be a youth epicenter to be a place where Jill Stein could get a significant number of votes -- there just have to be a few small concentrations of Sanders-base voters. Why not Florida or Virginia or New Hampshire or Pennsylvania, states where Obama either won by an eyelash in 2012 or won with a a significant number of white votes?

I'm not saying this is going to happen -- I'm saying it might. I'm saying that the media will want to write "Whither the Sanders Coalition?" stories, and finding some Berners aligned with Stein will make a good story. So I'm saying she'll outpoll Johnson and whatever palooka Bill Kristol puts up -- and she might have an influence on the final outcome.


Gerald Lillpop said...

Yeah and everyone of us Bernie supporters would rather see President Trump over President Clinton. What drugs are you on?

Ten Bears said...


Unknown said...

In the unlikely event that Hillary loses, Democrats will need Someone To Blame. (Someone other than Hillary Clinton, of course.)

They won't need to press Jill Stein into service. They already have "Bernie didn't motivate his supporters to switch to Hillary", "Bernie shouldn't have campaigned as long as he did", and, if necessary, "Bernie should never have run in the first" place safely tucked away for that rainy day.

Steve M. said...

Gerald, meet Unknown. The problem isn't that Sanders supporters want a President Trump. It's that many of you -- maybe not you personally, but plenty of others -- feel no responsibility for the outcome in November if Sanders isn't the nominee. Even if Trump beats Clinton in key states by less than Stein's vote total in those states, we'll be told that anyone blaming Stein voters is making "excuses."

And I will absolutely acknowledge that Clinton is a mediocre candidate at best. She bears a lot of the blame. But if you lose a 1-point basketball game, everyone who missed an easy shot deserves blame for the loss.

Unknown said...

You are correct, Steve. I do not take responsibility for the outcome of the election. I am responsible for casting an informed vote for the candidate of my choice - just like you, just like everybody else.

If you think people have some moral obligation to vote only for a Democratic nominee, then you ought to legislate to have all competing parties outlawed. After all, you seem to think them too dangerous to be permitted.

Ernest Lamonica said...

Bernie Sanders was @ Warriors game Sunday night. He was shocked, I tell you. shocked to find out the team scores the most points wins.

Steve M. said...

Elections are about choosing an officeholder. They're not about self-actualization. Only two people will have a chance to win this presidential election. One of them is a pig-ignorant neo-fascist monster. Now, you could weigh that and vote for the other one, for the good of the country. Or you could say, "No, voting is about me." Your choice. It's a free country.

The New York Crank said...

Note to Unknown,

When Nader ran and Bush won we got Iraq.

When Stein runs, if Trump wins, we'll get some kind of emulation of the Third Reich.

Jill Stein is a menace wearing a green halo. I assume that Sanders is trying to have an impact on the Democratic Party platform and that he'll swing around to full support of Hillary in time to do her some good. But if Stein throws a monkey wrench into the works....well, go have your own damn nightmare.

Yours very crankily,
The New YOrk Crank

Unknown said...

Circular reasoning.

"You shouldn't vote for Jill Stein."
"Why not?"
"Because he can't win the election."
"Why not?"
"Because not enough people will vote for her."

Steve M. said...

Oh, I see: If we all clap loud enough, Jill Stein can win 270 electoral votes.

Grow up.

Unknown said...

If it rankles you less, think of a slow but steady increase in the number of progressive votes cast in future election cycles as the kind of "incremental change" that Hillary is so fond of.

Steve M. said...

Once again: Elections are about electing people. To you they're about everything but.

So I'm through arguing with you, because we don't even agree on the basic purpose of holding an election. I'm not going to respond to any further comments from you.

Feud Turgidson said...

1) Kristol didn't say HIS efforts, did he? Do we have any meaningful historical precedent for 3 non-major-party candidates each, to some degree, with a broad name recognition with the voting public? The one precedent I see is that of major party presidential candidates with the last name Clinton running in general elections with a least one widely nationally known third party candidate.

2) She sure isn't the sort of campaigner that the media is able to equate readily with the only comparators its limited collective memory can summon up: RR, Bill, Obama and Trump. But there's a BUNCH of qualifiers in play there, including:
1) all men over 6 feet tall,
2) all won...in the PAST, and
3) none ran at the front of a disorganized, fractured party sans ground game.

3) It's not like she's got a history of ALWAYS being PREDICTABLY ineffective at campaigning. She ran strong to beat Lazio in New York, and she ran strong enough against Obama to ALMOST overcome a deadful campaign team. She's smart, hugely experienced, and tough in ways for which we really don't have a precedent.

4) She won't be alone out there: she'll have 2 of the 4 most media-effective presidential campaigners of the last half century crossing the country for her, plus a mass of other big name-recognition national-level campaign surrogates (Warren, Frankel, Brown etc), and an entire PARTY united united behind her - even without accounting at all for Sanders.

5) Trump's not sitting still on his negatives: he's increasing them. Over the next 5 months, how many other non-white dude demos will he not just fail to gain but further animate against him (Hint: how many are there??

6) As Wang has written about REPEATEDLY this year, the most reliable head-to-head aggregated polling indication in presidential elections is from February. The next 7 months are mostly distracting process, rah-rah and silliness. February shows HRC with a decided edge on the cusp of what analysts have told us that for over 25 yaers is the level at which Generic D edge must win to overcome the structural R advantages in the House.

7) Anyone else watch Games 6 & 7 of NBA West final series? At what point in an NBA series, uhm, presidential general election, does a presumptive winner really want to be kicking major butt? I say: over the last quart- uh, 2-3 weeks of the contest.

Ten Bears said...

When we look past the post-war "when they came for the homos I didn't speak up because I'm not a homo" platitudes, history rewritten by those in a position to get away with it, we find that Fascism arrives incrementally, often over generations, with slow oft unnoticed changes in what is acceptable, civilized behavior, and what is not; in what is and is not a civil right, indeed what is or is not a constitutionally guaranteed right, and across the spectrum a general breakdown in civil discourse. It sneaks in the back door.

Just last week Sanders was the New Nader, now it's Stein. Just two weeks ago you wrote she couldn't secure more than a couple percentage points in the general. So, which is it?

Don't get me wrong, this is good, level-headed analysis I don't disagree with, but these ongoing demonizations of one and another as the next Nader is first a measure of desperation that were it not so disconcerting would be really rather humorous and second not applicable. Nader is as big a corporate stooge as any of them, and those of us older enough to remember - I thought the Ford Pinto, America's first mass produced economy car, was great - that are Stein and (temporarily) Sander supporters were demonstrably not Naderites. Indeed, quit the opposite. There's no reason to assume the younger voters would see him otherwise.

Erik C. said...

Just how old are you anyway, Unkownn?

Yastreblyansky said...

Well, you're the boss as far as handicapping goes anyway, Steve. I'm still wondering what happened in 1980 (I have an idea, but not all the evidence is in yet--still early days). As far as the future goes I'm sure I'm better than Bill Kristol, but that's not saying much.

Speaking of Dr. Kristol, is anybody taking bets on his palooka? I'm rooting for Tom Cotton, who is kind of Kristol's Aryan ideal, as dumb and vain as Sarah Palin and presumably losing interest in the Senate by now and ready to jump the GOP and start making his play for the big conservative bucks.

KenRight said...

For one thing, Trump could never institute a fascist state but Clinton could provoke war with Russia-with the left very likely being passive.
Otoh, a Trump win would mobilize hispanics and leftists and sundry others in the streets should he, or even should he not make "fascist moves" here, or anywhere in the globe.

But of course, centrist "liberals" prefer continuing unipolar hegemony and all the havoc-wreaking that has involved under Obama and Bush, to an instability at home which can well prevent it abroad, until.....say....we "figure out what happening" here.

Mona Williams said...

Progressives who say they want to vote their conscience in this election, meaning vote for someone opposed to Trump but who is not Hillary, assuming she is the Democratic nominee, remind me of the people who see macroeconomics as not too different from the family budget process. In both cases, the whole societal factor is being overlooked.

In this election, I cannot justify voting my conscience purely as an individual, because I belong to a society and feel some obligation towards it. I have to make the choice that, according to my social conscience, will do the most good. Yes, my vote is precious--too precious to throw away, especially now, on an empty statement of individuality.

Grung_e_Gene said...

There's nothing better than damning the Democratic Party and hoping a Trump win will get Hispanics and leftists in the streets, as if THEY haven't been there multiple times over the last 15 years!!! Trump win means unleashing conservative bully-boys to beat LGBTQ, immigrants, BLM and then liberals.

That is PRECISELY what Trump supporters expect after Trump undoes all Title IX, discrimination protection and other PC-crap.