Sunday, May 22, 2016


This is an argument that's been made by many observers, but I'll just quote Maureen Dowd's version:
Hillary says Sanders needs to “do his part” to unify the party, as she did in 2008. But even on the day of the last primaries in that race, when she was the one who was mathematically eliminated unless the superdelegates turned, she came onstage to Terry McAuliffe heralding her as “the next president of the United States.” She then touted having more votes than any primary candidate in history as her fans cheered “Yes, she will!” and “Denver!”
Yes, Hillary Clinton refused to drop out of the race until the very end and kept the party divided long after it was clear she couldn't win the nomination. (I hated her for it.) But everything worked out just fine in 2008, right? Why shouldn't we assume that history will repeat itself?

Because 2008 was a very different year. Democrats were trying to replace a Republican president who had job disapproval ratings in the mid-60s to low 70s throughout the summer and fall of 2008. Democrats -- both Obama and Clinton-- were pledging to change the direction of the country in a year when more than 80% of Americans consistently told pollsters the country was on the wrong track.

So Democrats could afford a little disunity. They had the wind at their backs.

They don't have the wind at their backs now. They're trying to win a third straight election, something that's been done only once by a party in the past 56 years (the GOP in 1980/1984/1988). President Obama's approval/disapproval numbers right now, according to Gallup, are 51%/45% -- but that's not overwhelmingly positive the way Bush's numbers in 2008 were overwhelmingly negative. And the "right direction/wrong track" numbers are still negative -- not as negative as they were in 2008, but they'd have to be as positive now as they were negative in 2008 for the two elections to be analogous for the Democrats. We'd need 80+% of the country to be happy with the way things are going; we have about 30%.

(And even in 2000, when the country was extremely happy with the status quo under a retiring Democratic president, the Democrat who wanted to be his successor couldn't put the election away.)

No, the Democrats can't afford the luxury of a sustained fight. Not this year.


AllieG said...

It's obviously going to be a close election. It's up to Sanders to decide if he wants his alleged side to win or not.

Victor said...

Yes, @AllieG,

Like Ms. Sarandon said, a tRUMP victory will hasten the revolution!

I'm just not sure whether that'll be before or after he brings on Armageddon...

Feud Turgidson said...

Why has the clown car race moved on so quickly such that even contestants with hurt butts are making nice-nice with their objectively ridiculous winner, while the Dem side, by the numbers just as over, has increasingly apocalyptic.

IMO it's deja '08 all over again: on one side winning means competing in a presidential general election; on the other it means running a big chunk fo the country.

Ten Bears said...

Speaking of Armageddon... I'm all for it, bring it on. Let these sub-humans have their dog-damned little apocalypse and when their precious dog-damned lord and master doesn't float down out of the sky on a flying unicorn with thousands of extraterrestrials on flying unicorns to carry them all away to a virgin paradise we can get started on cleaning up the mess these animals have. Seven billion people on a planet that under the best of circumstances can barely support one. Do the math.

I've been hanging out here for a long time now - No More Mister Nice has been blogrolled at my z-list blog going on ten years - and I really have wonder about some the newcomers who've shown up here the past couple of months. Shown up right about the time it became public that Wassermann-Shultz and the a Clinton campaign are paying people to troll progressive websites and shit on Senator Sanders.

Not unlike Trump and the Retards.

Marc McKenzie said...

Ten let me get this straight--everyone else can go get screwed while I suppose you and a few others go off somewhere and wait things out?

Talk about selfish. And yet you have the stones to call yourself "progressive" or whatever the hell you think you are.

Blackstone said...

Between 1920-28 republicans held the whitehouse 3 terms, followed by 5 democratic administrations, republicans failed in 1960; democrats came close in 68 (failure due to purity voters on Vietnam- as though Nixon would be better), republicans failed in 76. The next opportunity was in 88 and the GOP held on. Gore won the popular vote in 2000 so the democrats came close again (again purity voters- this time costing Florida). Republicans failed in 2008.

When put in perspective I don't know that it's that big of a deal, but I do see a worrisome trend, but hopefully Sanders will do his part in the end. Democratic senators need to have the balls to tell him he will be isolated as he has nowhere to go unless he wants to put his progressive cried in jeporady by allying with Trumps party..

Cathie from Canada said...

Thanks, Steve -- I keep reading about how Sanders will give up in June and will join Hillary then to battle Trump, and I just don't believe it. Especially after his "lesser of two evils" remarks today.
Sanders seems to believe, quite sincerely, that the only way the Democrats can save the nation from Trump is to make Sanders their nominee. And he seems to believe he has a path to win the nomination because Hillary can't claim to be the party's nominee until the vote at the convention in August.
Here's their argument: there are 4766 delegates in total (715 supers and 4051 pledged through primaries) and Hillary could only claim the nomination if she obtains a majority of 2384 delegates through the primaries alone (which almost no one has ever done.)
In other words, as far as Sanders is concerned, its not good enough for her to reach the 2384 number through a mix of pledged delegates plus the 505 super delegates who have already said they will support her. Rather, they think she cannot say she has “won” unless she has a majority that doesn’t include any of the supers — all of whom could conceivably vote against her because Bernie will convince them to do so by August.
Its a form of "Bernie Math" that I'm afraid will keep the Democrats split all summer.

Anonymous said...

were pledging to change the direction of the country in a year when more than 80% of Americans consistently told pollsters the country was on the wrong track.

And the wrong track numbers have continued to be bad since 2004 (as Josh Marshall will tell you). I think they're meaningful but both Bush and Obama got reelected with them so I'm not clear its applicable in this situation. I don't think Trump can creditably promise to 'fix the system' unless you know, you think the problem is blacks and Mexicans and Muslims.

(And even in 2000, when the country was extremely happy with the status quo under a retiring Democratic president, the Democrat who wanted to be his successor couldn't put the election away.)

True. But that completely contradicts your point about the wrong track numbers. Neither B. Clinton nor Gore could get to a majority. The question comes down entirely to whether Hillary can. I think she can - I don't think she can if she runs as the reincarnation of Bill.

No, the Democrats can't afford the luxury of a sustained fight. Not this year.

Enh. I don't regard it as a luxury - I regard it as a necessity. If it weren't for the Sanders campaign Clinton's projected political position would not be in a near as good a shape as it will be. That still might not be enough.

In any event, everyone is freaking out when there's no reason to do so. Trump is getting a bounce... because he's not that far out of line compared to other Republicans. He's an obnoxious, racist, narcissistic boor, and he's just overt about it. (He's far out of line compared to the elite self-image of Republicans, but you know, its not my fucking problem if they don't like what they see in the mirror. Likewise with the media.)

In any event, this weekly freakout (or is it manic-depression?) on the part of the Dem muckety-mucks is getting a little annoying. It was always gonna be like this (how could it not given the situation over the last two decades and also considering the situation of the Obama presidency) and it'll come clearer in July.

['Hill is not going to get surprised, we're not going to be strung out all over hell and creation when the Trump shows up, and so on. It's fine.']

Feud Turgidson said...

Two more months of seeing "Dems In Disarray" on Drudge's page ain't about to lose HRC this general election. Ups and downs, downs and ups, polls like before, polls like always, and then there will be Cleveland. Then Philly in contrast. Then the fall debates: Trumpghazi. Do voters now imagine HRC got HURT at the 11 hour siege? Only if they're predisposed to Trump, and those number of those folks are not legion. Do folks imagine Trump will get away with crapping over the general election debates as he did the funny car prelims? Those folks are in a for a rude awakening, and their numbers are not legion. Do folks seriously think the ReTrumping will work? 5 months of actually witty anti-Trump ads will not allow for that anyway, but folks who think he can do it have forgotten how McCain found he could not and Romeny also: the Beast Must Eat! And so the rebranding will be trashed.

And do folks here and out and about think First Woman President has NO MEAANING? What, on Bernie's Say So? Bernie will be fish wrap by the end of Philadelphia if not earlier.

Yes< I remember how the Hillarybots destroyed the Obama candidacy, and led to 8 years of President McCain. And I remember how Polls Don't Lie gave us President Romney.

Riverboat Grambler said...

Gosh, it would have been so much nicer for Hillary and "party unity" if that troublemaker Sanders just hadn't run at all. Primaries are so icky and Sanders is actually running a campaign and not dropping out partway through to throw his full support behind Hillary, how awful of him. Damn progressives, can't they see that now is not the time for them to have a voice in the Democratic party?

Seriously though, I'm not sure what to make of all the hand-wringing about Sanders on this blog. "He's hurting her!" Oh please. Many Dems had a negative opinion of Hillary long before Sanders started his campaign, and that was due to Hillary herself. It's unfair to blame Sanders for bringing down Hillary while ignoring the greater context of the pushback against the party's triangulation and neoliberalism of the past decades.

CF2K said...

Sanders has devolved into a ne'er-do-well resentnik, or maybe he always was. It's not like his political career has been a net benefit for the American Left, and all that's left to validate him is to try to blow up the 2016 Democratic primary. A pathetic spectacle--and I say that as someone WAY ideologically closer to him than to Clinton.

R. Stanton Scott said...

See my take on the "right direction/wring track" poll numbers here:

Ten Bears said...

The good news is for the next several generations our grand-children and our grand-children's grand-children will undergo a long overdue iteration in the evolution of the human species. The bad? If we don't stop what we're doing right focking now, they won't make it.

A pissed-off pistol-packing Progressive, Marc, of the Teddy Roosevelt, John Muir, Gifford Pinchot, Samuel Clemons, Big Bill Hayward, Eugene Debs and Walt Perry Progressive tradition, thank you very much. A conviction that we should leave the world to our grand-children a better place than we found it. That's not happening.