Sunday, July 24, 2016

IF YOU'RE PITTING BLOOMBERG AGAINST TRUMP, YOU'RE MAKING A CATEGORY ERROR

So there'll be a prime-time speech at the Democratic convention from Mike Bloomberg:
Michael R. Bloomberg, who bypassed his own run for the presidency this election cycle, will endorse Hillary Clinton in a prime-time address at the Democratic National Convention and make the case for Mrs. Clinton as the best choice for moderate voters in 2016, an adviser to Mr. Bloomberg said.

The news is an unexpected move from Mr. Bloomberg, who has not been a member of the Democratic Party since 2000; was elected the mayor of New York City as a Republican; and later became an independent.

But it reflects Mr. Bloomberg’s increasing dismay about the rise of Donald J. Trump and a determination to see that the Republican nominee is defeated.
I don't know why this is "an unexpected move" from Bloomberg, who endorsed President Obama in 2012 (though he did so late in the race and didn't speak at the convention). It's been obvious for months that he's comfortable with a Clinton presidency, but not with Trump or Bernie Sanders. As The New York Times noted in March, when Bloomberg announced that he wouldn't be running for president,
Had both Mr. Trump and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont appeared headed toward victory in the Republican and Democratic presidential primaries, Mr. Bloomberg was determined to run, according to his advisers, several of whom insisted on anonymity to speak candidly about confidential discussions.

But Mr. Bloomberg balked at the prospect of a race against Mr. Trump and Hillary Clinton, who has established a dominant lead over Mr. Sanders on the Democratic side.... Mr. Bloomberg said he could not in good conscience enter a race that could lead to a deadlock in the Electoral College -- and to the election of Mr. Trump...
Does it make sense for Bloomberg to speak at the convention? Most people would say yes -- but I don't see the point.

Bloomberg isn't a popular figure -- in a February CNN poll, 28% of respondents had a favorable opinion of him and 34% didn't. He's more disliked than liked by men, whites, Republicans, and older people, and if you think he might appeal to suburban women, note that is numbers are 29%/27% with women and 30%/31% with suburbanites. He's liked in the Northeast, but Clinton already has an excellent chance of sweeping all the states there, and he's disliked in other regions of the country. Moderates like him, but only by a 34%/26% margin.

So what's the point of having him speak? This, obviously:
... with the Republican nominee basing his campaign on his background as a businessman, Mr. Bloomberg, a billionaire media executive and philanthropist, may help counter the Trump sales pitch.
But in 2016, Trump isn't running as just a businessman -- he's (dishonestly) running as a businessman who's also a class traitor. He's pretending to be a champion of the common people, and nearly half of America believes that's precisely what he is. If you want to counter Trump, you don't counter him with a businessman who's uncritical of the rich. Not this year.

Bernie Sanders will be a good foil for Trump -- a real economic populist vs. a fake. Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, too -- like Trump, they have healthy egos and star power, and they can speak as long as Trump does, but they really do know what they're talking about when they talk policy.

Bloomberg? Unless he tells some tales out of school about Trump's business failings, I don't see what he brings to the convention. He'll probably also speak in favor of immigration, and I'm certain he'll talk about the need to reform our gun laws, but there'll be plently of speakers to do that. (Bloomberg's support for gun control groups is almost certainly the reason his numbers are so low among Republicans and men.)

Warren Buffett might have been effective in this slot -- deserved or not, he has a reputation as a
billionaire with the common touch. As for Bloomberg, while I don't really think he'll send all that many voters permanently into the Jill Stein camp, I don't think he'll win many over, either.

25 comments:

Lit3Bolt said...

I've been sighing for the past few days, just because all of these moves (Kaine, Bloomberg) reinforce the perception that Clinton Is For Clinton, and not the Left.

We've seen the Clinton Triangulation Machine in full swing, because instead of mobilizing the Democratic base, Clinton is instead going for Republicans who maybe just this once, this election cycle, might be Dem-curious.

That's great for HRC...not so great as a long term strategy for the Democratic Party.

Kaine I could handle, he's like a little Biden clone. This is just...well, it makes me think they don't quite get it.

Ten Bears said...

Just another Corporate Democrat.

Jeff Ryan said...

@Lit3Bolt: It's not the job of the Democratic Party to reflect the aspirations of "the Left." In fact, were the party to veer into this oncoming lane, the result would end in pretty much the same debacle the Republicans now face. I really don't understand this sense that the Democrats have to move to the Bernie side to be a valid choice. In point of fact, Bernie stood about as well-positioned to win in the general as my dog. And the idea that the Left should receive its dream slate of candidates irrespective of electability is juvenile at best.

Simply look at what's happening on the Trump side: Massive bailouts by Republicans. Is this merely because he's an odious toad? No. It's because they recognize that his positions are profoundly unpopular in the nation as a whole. Consider: The furthest right they ever swung was Reagan, and he was adept at appearing harmless while the Dems had the (unfair) perception abroad that Carter was simply incompetent. Throw in the economy, stir, and you have Reagan.

The stampede by voters toward Trump is not the result the party was seeking. Nor is the nomination of Bernie who, sorry to say, is not a Democrat, has no agenda of action, just aspiration, and who would be decimated in the general. An eternal gadfly (and, hence, someone who has never had to be responsible for anything), the reality is that he would face not merely a Republican House, but Democratic office holders who not only have no loyalty: They hate his fucking guts. Zealots are usually immune to reality, and Bernie is their guy. Little matters, like control of Congress, mean nothing to them, because, fundamentally, they have no clue as to how the government works. I encounter this to the point of exhaustion: Bernie Bros slept through American History as much Trumpalos did.

If you think that Hillary is going after Republican votes, you have a magical interpretation of reality. You may not like her, but she's no fool.

And the simple truth is that every time Democrats have chased the "progressive" unicorn, the result was abject humiliation. By all means, champion your ideals. Just don't expect to make a huge difference. Because you never do.

Politics is the art of the possible. It is not the art of precious feels.

Lit3Bolt said...

@ Jeff Ryan

I like HRC just fine. My main point was like Steve M's, there's a battle of optics here, and the image of the two mainstream parties as a billionaire battleground doesn't help preconceived perceptions about HRC. Nothing more than that.

I'm not a BernieBro, and think him and his followers were horribly naive and missed a lot of opportunities. Sorry that your insults were wasted.

And Hillary is going after disaffected Republicans, same as Obama did. The safe choice, the governing choice. Trump is freaking the fuck out of the financial community. HRC they can deal with and give rates of return. Not so with Trump.

So I guess I'm just kvetching that there could be a choice by HRC that would mobilize the Maoists among us, a la Warren, but I guess there really isn't. That bridge has been burned, a long time ago.

Steve M. said...

Simply look at what's happening on the Trump side: Massive bailouts by Republicans.

Massive bailouts by prominent Republicans. Not by the rank-and-file, who are mostly on board.

And there's a sizable buy-in by blue-collar white males, who've never been as solidly with them.

AllieG said...

Campaigns take what support they can get, they can't make it up. Bloomberg will have as much effect on the campaign as Scott Baio will.

Ten Bears said...

I expect the rubes to shit all over Senator Sanders for the next ten years, nothing naive about. You want to know what naive is, boy? Naive is when I tell you you are welcome to run anyone you choose but I won't vote them, and you shit your panties when you run them expecting me to do as ordered, and I vote a third party. School yard "it's her turn" bullying, belittling, insulting condensending bullshit is naive.

Steve is right, Trump could win this. And you no one to blame but yourselves.

AllieG said...

Ten Bears, your kind is all over the Internet,, and I issue the following challenge. Come back in late November and tell us about a "progressive" candidate untainted by compromise you helped get elected. State Rep, Register of Deeds, school board, anything. Until then, you and your kind are just jacking off.

AllieG said...

I think Bloomberg represents the real scorn actual billionaires feel for Trump the fake one. But of course it would be better to have the most articulate of the many businessmen Trump has screwed over speak instead. I think the most effective line of attack on Tump is "everyone who's gone into business with him winds up very sorry." White anger at loss of social capital is a real thing, but so is risk aversion, a common human trait.

Yastreblyansky said...

Bloomberg is scheduled Wednesday night, as a minor speaker along with Jesse Jackson and (ugh) Leon Panetta, on a night that climaxes with Joe Biden and Barack Obama.

By two minutes into Biden's speech nobody will even be able to remember Bloomberg's name, except for those hardy no-labelsists, all 14 of them, who really care that Bloomberg was there. Maybe they'll write a piece in the New Republic about the discovery that Clinton is in favor of sensible gun control and against smoking (who knew?!) and convert another 30 or 40. It's really not going to do any harm. (Unless to the extent it focuses attention on however many millions he's plowing into the SuperPac, but I'm not sure a lot of voters are going to be able to pay even as much attention to that as they do to Soros on one side or Kochs on the other, which is really not much.)

Feud Turgidson said...

I haven't felt dread over Trump's chances until now, leaning not just of Bloomberg's endorsement (which makes me uneasy on its own), but of the decision of the HRC to use up precious DNC time to have him speak of it there.

this is stupid. It sends exactly the wrong message out to young voters HRC the Ds are going to need. This is the kind of move that reflects 'strategic political thinking', but in a really bad way - AOT in a way that strongly suggests this sort of mistep is going to happen again and again.


She could throw it away - she cold throw US away.

Ten Bears said...

That's got naive written all over it. You couldn't come with something more substantial than more name calling? That's all you got: school yard bullying, name-calling, chicken-shit little insults.

You people are no different than the fucking Retards.

Yastreblyansky said...

@Lit3Bolt: there could be a choice by HRC that would mobilize the Maoists among us, a la Warren

Sounds as if you think Bloomberg is the only speaker!

You do realize that Warren is speaking too, and will be in a much more featured spot than Bloomberg? To say nothing of Bernie Sanders who will be in the prime position tonight?

And that other speakers include Al Franken, Bill de Blasio, Sherrod Brown, Undocumented Immigant DREAMer Astrid Silva, and the Mothers of the Movement, and many more members of the authentic left? Along with numerous Democrats we don't love, because that's how the party works.

Lit3Bolt said...

@ Yastreblyanksy

Hey yeah, sorry about that. Was being extremely bitter and tried to make a joke.

Not really an authentic left guy anyway, I traffic more in media optics, like you, drifty, and Steve M. Just tired of arguing with my authentic left friends that voting for HRC is ok, and stuff like Kaine and Bloomberg don't help the Wall St. narrative...or any narrative at all, really. At this point, who does Bloomberg persuade?

Jeff Ryan said...

Based on the above posts, I have a couple of points that need making. And then there's the matter of where this might go.

First, it is not just the "prominent" Republicans who are bailing - there are plenty of regular, longtime Republicans from the McCain/Romney wing who are refusing to support this ticket as well. As for "blue-collar white males," they left in 1968 and 1972. They never came back, and aren't about to come back. They are what we called in Chicago "local Democrats/national Republicans." They are blue-collar males and females who voted Democratic until you got to the senate and presidential tickets, and then voted the other side. For the over 20 years I spent in Chicago (including some years spent tending bar, and, believe me, you get a pretty good view of voter sentiment doing that), the white "local Democrats" didn't vote for Democrats at the national level. And they loved Reagan. They are not new, and they were for Trump in spirit even before he ran. They are the Reagan Democrats, and they are not new voters for the Republican side.

I would have liked Warren for VP, but there were two very good reasons she wasn't picked: One, we would lose a Democratic Senate seat, and we simply can't afford that. Two, no matter my preference, it is reasonable to believe that a two-woman ticket is a bridge too far politically.

As for the "progressive" base, please name a time when Democrats won by nominating a Lefty. I can't think of one, and there's a reason for that.

Now, there is a very real opportunity here for Democrats: Let the "experts" decide who hacked the DNC email. If party people start blaming Russia, they will not be believed. But let the party point out the only RNC platform item Trump cared about, namely backing off of any commitment to Ukraine. Trump's forces made sure the plank became a pro-Putin plank. Why? Trump and Priebus should be asked about this every time they are near a microphone or a reporter. Every. Single. Time. I cannot conceive of an acceptable response Trump or the RNC can make. Hang Putin around Trump's neck. Hang Trump's business dealings with the Russians around his neck. Hang all his kind words for Putin, as well as Saddam and the latest North Korean loon around his neck. Then lift and squeeze.

CH said...

One reason for the fact that the D's haven't won by nominating a "lefty" recently, Jeff, is that the D's have not nominated a so-called "lefty" since 1972 (unless you count the incumbent, currently completing his second term). They did, however, find ways to lose several elections with the "centrists" they did nominate: Carter (not Kennedy) in '80, Mondale (not Jackson) in '84, Dukakis (not jackson) in '88, Gore (not Bradley) in '00 (yes, I know Gore won the pop vote, but I also know he never got the keys to Air Force One), Kerry (not Dean) in '04.

Jeff Ryan said...

@CH - I don't count the incumbent as a lefty. But I do count him where he belongs, a centrist like Bill Clinton. (Had Brown been nominated, do you think he would have won? I sure don't.) You elide over the fact that Carter won his first term, and it wasn't his "centrism" that cost him reelection. It didn't help that Kennedy tried to unseat his own party's incumbent, Carter, and acted like a two-year-old in the process. Jesse Jackson would no more have won in 1984 than the ghost of Eugene V. Debs would have. Same in 1988 - if you are seriously going to argue that Jackson was at any time electable, then I have a problem taking your point, erm, seriously.

McGovern remains, of course, the blueprint for progressive suicide (and hell, I voted for him). And don't forget what the extreme left wing of the party did to help Humphrey back in 1968. Which, of course, led to McGovern. And two terms for Richard Nixon.

But the real problem is that the majority of the party just doesn't want the lefty candidate. If for no other reason than that the Left decimated the party all the way up to 1976. Thanks to the Left, droves of Democrats abandoned the party, allowing Reagan and Bush I to romp to victory and hold the WH for 12 years. Those lost Democrats have never, and will never, come back. If you think Sanders would have snagged them, send me some of what you're smoking.

The reason most of the party spurned Bernie is because they saw McGovern Redux. Hell, even Dean saw that.

McSchwanger said...

Obama won both of his presidential elections by running to the left (universal healthcare, anyone?) and it's worth noting that the Blue Dogs and other centrist Dems have been decimated in mid-term blowouts in 2010 and 2014. Sanders did not win the primary but there's no doubt that he got way more support than the centrists claimed he would.

But hey, keep on running from the spooky specter of McGovern. It's not as if anything in the country or the party or the economy or the electorate has changed since the 70s.

Jeff Ryan said...

Universal healthcare, universal healthcare,...where have I heard that before?

I'm pretty sure it was long before Obama, but I just can't think where...

McSchwanger said...

I'm not sure I see your point. If you're trying to refute that Obama won two presidential elections by running to the left, you still have a ways to go. Not to mention the other things I brought up that you ignored. I still think the catastrophic failure of centrist Dems to hold Congress in this decade is a bit more relevant than McGovern's loss in 1972.

CH said...

Jeff, whether a candidate who was not nominated is or was "electable" is and was a matter of opinion. On the other hand, it's a matter of historical fact that the candidates I mentioned, promoted as "more electable" than their rivals, did not get elected. You can blame all that on the left if you like, but it's at least as arguable that the centrists' opinions on electability have certainly not been foolproof.

Jeff Ryan said...

@CH - Being the most electable in your party doesn't mean you are more electable than your opponent. If you can't see that from the Mondale/Reagan election, you really can't see anything. And if you ignore the historical evidence (e.g., polling) regarding electability, then you have no argument. Were you old enough to vote in the Mondale/Reagan election? If you were, then you are simply choosing to ignore the massive unpopularity of Jackson. It's not just a matter of opinion. It is, at the least, a matter of informed opinion. There are actually ancient documents, like newspapers, that fairly well traced the course of the elections on a, gosh, daily basis. In fact, your proposition that progressive/left candidates would be more successful is pure speculation on your part. Given the fortunes of the two most "progressive" nominees in post-war history, Adlai Stevenson II and George McGovern, the evidence hardly favors your theory.

Jeff Ryan said...

@McSchwanger - Running to the left? Of McCain? Of Romney? Of course he ran to the left of them, he was the Democrat. That's not "running to the left," really, though, since Romney and McCain were representing the right anyway. Which is my point: It's nonsensical to suggest Obama won those elections by "running to the left." To the left of whom?

As for the failure to win off-year elections, just which demographic failed to show up in droves? The youth vote? Millenials? The ones who voted 7% less than in the presidential election years?

Jeff Ryan said...

I would also suggest that all the "progressives" here take a break and see how Bernie's "progressives" are behaving at the DNC.

This is precisely what those of us who want a Democratic president, a president who isn't Trump, feared.

I have been watching Bernie-or-Bust-ers being interviewed the past two days, and I wasn't surprised. But I was still hopeful. But this, now,...

They all seem young, and they all seem like someone else is paying their bills, and they all act like two-year-olds.

So, way to go, Bernie. Maybe Trump promised you a nice spot on his cabinet? Because, Bernie, you were warned by your peers for weeks, if not months, that this would happen, and you didn't do shite until it was too late.

And it will be little comfort when you go down in history as the most hated man of this election.

McSchwanger said...

Running to the left of Hillary, for example. Running on "universal healthcare" or at least a public option was (and still is) to the left of mainstream Dem party leadership, who have surrendered the issue since Hillary's stab at it. Which is ironic, because Obama used that issue to get ahead of her in the primary; he ran (all together now) to her left. Or am I still being "nonsensical"?

As for the constant complaint of "young voters don't vote for Democrats", what exactly was the Democratic party doing to court Millennials between 2008 and 2010? Were they talking about the broken educational system and the crushing debt imposed on an entire generation? I don't remember that. I recall Millennials suddenly and laughably becoming the main problem with the U.S. Healthcare system; damn "young invincibles", why won't they buy insurance? Could it be the same reason most Americans don't have health insurance, AKA the cost? No, it must be because they're young and dumb.

Dems got creamed in 2010 and 2014 because they had no message other than "don't give them back the keys", and people didn't turn out for it. The ever-sought after "moderate voter" unicorns the Dems were gunning for so hard stayed home just as much as Millennials did. But I suppose the answer is to continue to ignore the spoiled brats and then get pissed when they don't come out to vote for you. Seems like it's been working out real well.

That's why one of my favorite policy proposals by Hillary is making two-year college "free" by way of taxpaying. It shows that maybe Dem leadership is slowly realizing that Boomers aren't the only voters that matter.