Monday ReadsPosted: February 22, 2016
So, most of my friends and family know that politics is my favorite blood sport. I’ve been at this since volunteering in high school for a friend’s father’s re-election to Congress. I also was forced to drop Nixon flyers along with knocking on doors for the Congressman which is something I may never forgive myself for doing. I did drop them a variety of places though, I might add. It was a different time back then as my “very flamboyant” friend Mark who was door knocking with me will tell ya. We didn’t quite have the right words for that sort’ve thing back then other than “very flamboyant”. My grandmother was still thrilled she been given the right to vote in middle age too. Who among us would want to go back to that?
Every wide open primary is like the Super Bowl/March Madness/World Cup all rolled into one big Shindig for me! They just have to put up with my normal issue-centered self and watch me go Super Fan until the nominations get sewed up. Then, there’s my deep hibernation until fall. You know my birthday is usually on an election day too. Maybe that has something to do with it!
So we’re headed towards a ton of primaries! Early voting is on here in Louisiana and many other places!!! Our Sky Dancers in Massachusetts, Georgia and Texas will be voting shortly too! Speak up and let us know what it’s like on the ground in your state!!! We’re going to have our usual live blogs and we just love hearing from every one!!!!
Turnout has not been high among Democrats compared to 2008. Turnout is high among Republicans. This is America folks! We invented democracy here!! Get out there and vote!!!! (Warning this goes to the Washington Times.)
Republicans’ turnout streak continued, with GOP voters shattering their South Carolina primary record Saturday night.
With almost all precincts reporting, more than 737,000 votes had been counted. That was more than 20 percent higher than 2012, when about 603,000 voted.
It follows record GOP turnout in Iowa’s caucuses and New Hampshire’s primary earlier this month.
By contrast, Democrats’ turnout has tumbled from its 2008 records in all three contests, including Saturday’s caucuses in Nevada. About 80,000 voters took part in the caucuses, with was 33 percent less than 2008’s level.
Republicans hold their caucuses Tuesday in Nevada, while Democrats shift to South Carolina next weekend.
Clinton leads in 10 of the 12 early March Primaries. Her win in Nevada was significant. It also looks like Trump is on the way to becoming the Republican nominee according to Mark Halperin.
Only suckers bet on presidential politics or professional wrestling, especially in this most tumultuous campaign cycle in recent memory. But if you were playing the odds, you would have to say that the weekend’s electoral results have, for now, put Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in extraordinarily commanding positions to become their parties’ de facto nominees as early as mid-March.
The two New Yorkers arrived here by different routes. For Clinton, her solid victory over Bernie Sanders in Saturday’s caucuses in Nevada provided a circuit breaker on her rival’s weeks-long run of momentum, punctuated by his landslide win in the New Hampshire primary.
Such is the inexorable power of the expectations game in determining the meaning of election results that what would have, only a few weeks ago, been seen as a miraculous showing by Sanders in Nevada (losing to Clinton by just 5 points) is now a potentially candidacy-ending loss. The Vermont senator’s campaign compounded some bad luck with some bad judgment. First, after a long period without any credible polling in the Silver State, a CNN survey released three days before the caucuses showed the race effectively tied. Then, Sanders’ team made it clear to reporters that they were playinghard to win on Saturday and their body language suggested they thought they would prevail. Thus, Clinton’s victory was seen as a reassertion of her hold on non-white voters, seniors, and other elements of a majority coalition that can be replicated in almost every upcoming contest.
It is crude and irrational, but the impact of the CNN poll and Team Sanders’ misplaced display of confidence was to take the full measure of his momentum and transfer it to the former secretary of state in one fell swoop Saturday night. Now, Clinton has regained the Big Mo just in time for a three-week stretch after South Carolina and created a potential killing field for Sanders.
So, a Trump nomination is really interesting for RepublicanLand. I guess the Southern Strategy really is biting the oldtimer’s country club asses. Nate Silver characterizes it as going to war.
If you think the arguments between the Republican candidates have been bad, well, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Pundits, reporters and political analysts are going to really have at it. Two competing theories about the Republican race are about to come to a head, and both of them can claim a victory of sorts after South Carolina.
The first theory is simple. It can be summarized in one word: Trump! The more detailed version would argue the following:
- Trump has easily won two of the first three states.
- Trump is ahead in the polls in pretty much every remaining state.
- Trump is ahead in delegates — in fact, he may win all 50 delegates from South Carolina.
- Trump has been extremely resilient despite pundits constantly predicting his demise.1 He’s been at 35 percent in national polls for months now. That’s as steady as it gets!
So, um, isn’t it obvious that Trump is going to be the Republican nominee?
Not so, say the Trump skeptics. Their case is pretty simple also:
- Trump is winning states, but he’s only getting about one-third of the vote.
- Trump has a relatively low ceiling on his support.
- Trump now has a chief rival: Florida senator Marco Rubio.
What did the Trump skeptics find to like about South Carolina? Quite a lot, actually. They’d point out that Trump faded down the stretch run, getting 32 percent of the vote after initially polling at about 36 percent after New Hampshire, because of his continuing struggles with late-deciding voters. They’d note that Trump’s numbers worsened from New Hampshire to South Carolina despite several candidates having dropped out. They’d say that Rubio, who went from 11 percent in South Carolina polls before Iowa2 to 22 percent of the vote on Saturday night, had a pretty good night. They’d also say that Rubio will be helped by Jeb Bush dropping out, even if it hadalready become clear that Rubio was the preferred choice of Republican Party “elites.”
“So what?” sayeth the Trump optimists. Second place means you’re a loser! There’s no guarantee that the other candidates will drop out any time soon. And as Trump himself has argued, it’s a mistake to assume that all of the support from Bush and other candidates will wind up in Rubio’s column. Some of it will go to Trump!
There’s still plenty of trouble coming from Bernie’s Thralls. Amanda Marcotte discusses the recent attacks on the integrity of Dolores Huerta who is a modern day working class shero for many of the left’s most precious causes. It seems that many of them have a complete misunderstanding of intersectionality and of outreach to minority voters.
Things are tense right now because the Nevada loss is starting to look like a devastating blow to the Sanders campaign. From the beginning, the biggest obstacle to the Sanders campaign was convincing voters that this was about serious change instead of a bunch of privileged people posturing about how radical they are.
It seemed, until Saturday, that the campaign had a real shot at this. Sanders is an articulate candidate who sells his ideas well, and the improved poll numbers and real inroads with voters outside of the privileged white guy tent were heartening.
Unfortunately, Nevada showed that the inroads just weren’t enough. “He lost among women, blacks, nonwhites, and self-described Democrats,” Charles Blow of The New York Times writes. Early reports that Sanders had outperformed Clinton with Latino voters proved unlikely, as caucus results show that Clinton won the more Latino-heavy precincts. The Sanders message of economic populism is not resonating with people of color, women, or union workers— the very people you need to convince people your campaign is a serious one and not the electoral equivalent of the white guy in dreads wearing the Che shirt playing guitar in the quad.
Under the circumstances, it’s understandable why Sanders supporters would be a bit touchy about Dolores Huerta accusing them of disrespect. Huerta sits right at the intersection of three demographics — labor, women, people of colo r— that the Sanders campaign needed, and failed, to win over in order to convincingly argue that this is a real political revolution instead of a social signaling opportunity for people who want to be seen as radical.
So it’s easy to see why Sanders supporters want to yell at Huerta. She’s an easy punching bag for those frustrated with voters they believe should vote for Sanders but stubbornly refuse to do what Sanders supporters want them to do. (It’s similar to way that older female Clinton supporters have gotten bossy with younger women who vote Sanders.) Painting Huerta as delusional, corrupt or a liar makes the loss of these voting blocs easier to swallow, because the alternative possibility, that Clinton voters know what they are doing, is too painful to contemplate.
I still continue to shake my head at the horrible treatment of Congressman Lewis by the Bernie Bros. This just sort’ve doubles down on those reactions. South Carolina does not look like it will be kind to Bernie even though he’s saying many things Black Voters want to hear. This could be because he frames much of his issues and candidacy as a criticism of President Obama.
There are lots of explanations, but the most important one is the most obvious. Sanders committed the cardinal sin for any Democratic presidential hopeful in 2016: He framed his candidacy as a critique of Barack Obama’s legacy. As much as conservatives revile the nation’s first African American president, the base of the Democratic Party reveres him — especially black voters, who can make or break a Democratic primary candidate’s campaign in many states.
What exactly did Sanders do? He suggested in 2011 that Obama needed a primary challenge from the left. He entered the 2016 race suggesting that the progressive agenda hasn’t been adequately advanced under Obama, and that he would do more to fight inequality and to take on the financial elites of Wall Street.
In an effort to dispute what they say is a false narrative that union voters are closely split between Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a group of more than 20 unions representing more than 10 million workers released a statement on Monday reaffirming support for Mrs. Clinton.
“Secretary Clinton has proven herself as the fighter and champion working people and their families need in the White House,” says the statement, which was embraced by several large unions, including the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, the American Federation of Teachers, and the Service Employees International Union. “That is why, of all unions endorsing a candidate in the Democratic primary, the vast majority of the membership in these unions has endorsed her.”
The statement is partly a reaction to the aftermath of the announcement by the A.F.L.-C.I.O., a federation of unions, that it would not vote during its executive council meeting this week on whether to endorse a candidate in the Democratic presidential primaries, essentially postponing an endorsement until the primaries are no longer competitive.
“I have concluded that there is broad consensus for the A.F.L.-C.I.O. to remain neutral in the presidential primaries for the time being,” Richard L. Trumka, the A.F.L.-C.I.O. president, said in an email to union officials last week.
The dissection of the now-dead Bush campaign is starting. Here’s the take from writers at WAPO.
At what would become a crucial moment, Bush’s team had no clear strategy for a rival who was beginning to hijack the Republican Party that the Bush family had helped to build, other than to stay the course set months earlier of telling Bush’s story to voters.
“There was no consensus,” senior strategist David Kochel said of the discussions about how to combat the threat of Trump’s candidacy. Other campaigns were wrestling with the same problems, but as the front-runner in the polls at the time, Bush would suffer more than the others.
The Republicans have become a party of insurgents and insurrectionists. Many of them also hold extremist religious views. It’s no wonder that the penultimate party insider was an easy target and never got off the ground despite scads of cash. Only Kasich and goofus Rubio continue to be the Great White Hope of the Country Club Set. My guess is that Rubio may get the Trump VP nod eventually. We’ll see how the Terrible Trio feeds on each other going into Nevada and March.
The photos today come via the dazzling Lynda Woolard who has started a twitter handle called @TweetsToHillary and featuring the New Orleans Krewe of Hillary. We’re GOTV for Hillary! How about you?
So, this has been a fairly political post today! What’s on your reading and blogging list?