Lazy Saturday Reads: The Politics of Rage


Good Afternoon!!

This isn’t going to be a very coherent post; I’m just going to throw out some thoughts about the rage-filled campaign we are watching.

The rage candidate on the Democratic side will soon be irrelevant. He appears to be running out of money, based on this article in Politico: Sanders downsizes his campaign. Following a series of disappointing finishes, the Vermont senator tightens his belt.

After months of spending an unparalleled amount on campaign operations across the country and regularly outspending Hillary Clinton on ad expenditures, Bernie Sanders is tightening his belt.

The campaign slashed the payroll Wednesday by axing hundreds of workers — primarily on the field organizing team — scaling the staff down to its smallest size in months. It downsized its campaign jet, even as the Burlington, Vermont-based candidate spends increasing amounts of time hopping from coast to coast. Top aides no longer travel everywhere with the candidate, choosing instead to stick to Washington and Vermont. Even Sanders’ wife, Jane, hasn’t been traveling with him, opting to play the main surrogate role from home. On Thursday, the campaign cut its ad spending in Indiana, the next battleground state on the calendar.

The set of moves follows a series of disappointing primary finishes that have increasingly narrowed Sanders’ path to the Democratic nomination and raised questions about how long he’ll remain in the race. The campaign continues to insist that it will push forward at least to the end of the primary season, armed with a new set of imperatives that include winning over a trove of delegates from California and on shaping the party’s platform — rather than on kneecapping Clinton….

Cash has never been an issue for a senator who could boast of a fundraising haul of more than $182 million through March, thanks to his online cash juggernaut. (The next public binary options brokers that trade bitcoin report is not slated to land until late May.) But by the end of the last reporting period, Sanders had also spent about $166 million, making him the candidate who both raised and spent the most — leaving him far behind Hillary Clinton in terms of actual cash on hand: $17 million vs. $29 million at the beginning of April. Tap here to read more

Sanders’ communications director Michael Briggs claims the downsizing has nothing to do with donations falling off; and we won’t know for sure how much they are raising until the next reporting date in late May. But does anyone really believe the campaign would be making these drastic cuts if the money were still flooding in?

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Bernie knows it’s over. Even though many in the media are still trying to make this a race, Sanders is not going to be the Democratic nominee.

It’s a different story on the Republican side. Donald Trump is almost surely going to be the nominee of the Republican Party unless the leadership somehow pulls off a coup and installs Paul Ryan. I really don’t see how that can happen at this point.

The next challenge for Hillary and her supporters is going to be dealing with racist, sexist, nativist candidate who can command vast amounts of free media. Even worse, although Trump is obviously running a campaign so obviously based on racism that his followers include neo-Nazis and KKK members, most members of the mainstream media has so far failed to point that out.

A few journalists have demonstrated alarm about Trump’s racism. Several writers have compared him to George Wallace. Andrew Kaczinsky and Nathan McDermott did so at Buzzfeed in January: George Wallace’s Family, Former Staff: Donald Trump Is Doing What He Did.

Segregationist presidential candidate George Wallace’s daughter and two of his former top aides said in interviews this week that candidate Donald Trump is squarely in Wallace’s racist, populist tradition.

“There are a great deal of similarities as it relates to their style and political strategies,” said Wallace’s daughter, Peggy Wallace Kennedy. “The two of them, they have adopted the notion that fear and hate are the two greatest motivators of voters. Those voters that feel alienated from the government. Those voters tend to make decisions based on an emotional level rather than intellectual.”

“They both understood, my father and Donald Trump, that low-information voters, they tend to feed off of the threats to their livelihood and safety without really considering what that threat really is, or even if it’s real,” she continued. “So daddy and Trump have this magnificent personality, a brave put-ons that the average American wants in a leader.

“He’s very similar to George Wallace in a lot of ways,” said Wallace’s 1968 campaign executive director Tom Turnipseed. “Both of them use a lot of the same kind of scare tactics and fear.”

“He appeals to the fear,” continued Turnipseed, who describes himself as a “reformed racist” (he became a civil rights lawyer and, at one point, sued the Ku Klux Klan). “That’s why he pushed the Mexican thing, and now he’s throwing the Chinese in there too. He uses that same kind of thing, that fear thing that Wallace did…. As far as the tactics they use, the scare thing, is a lot alike to be honest with you. The way they use the scare thing. In Trump’s thing it’s the Mexicans, the wetbacks that we used to call them, the Chinese too a little bit. Back in Wallace’s time it was African-American people.”

Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace at a Goldwater rally in 1964.

Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace at a Goldwater rally in 1964.

Wallace’s daughter, who endorsed Barack Obama in 2008, noted some differences between her father and Donald Trump.

“I think my father had more self-restraint and respect for the institutions of government than Trump does,” she said. “I think my father understood the limitation of the executive branch of government, where I don’t think Trump does. And I think Daddy, even though he used coded language to use racial themes, he never attacked a culture based on their religion and race. He used coded language to suggest the racial themes. But he never specifically attacked a group of people based on their religion and their race. And I think Daddy had a respect for the process and the candidates. A great respect for the process and especially the process. He would have never leveled vicious attacks on the other candidates, especially those have been so personal. Daddy never would have done that.”

Wow. That’s scary. And I honestly think that when Wallace ran for president, there was more pushback from the media on his racism than there is today on Donald Trump’s.

Just look at the people who have endorsed Trump. Back in February, David Duke endorsed Trump and urged his fellow KKK members to support him; and Trump refused to repudiate Duke’s endorsement. As Trump campaigns in Indiana, he has received two more horrifying endorsements. From Bustle:

At his Indiana rally Wednesday night, Trump proudly announced endorsements from two “tough guys” — Mike Tyson and Bobby Knight. Indulge me now in a brief walk down memory lane.

Mike Tyson was convicted of rape in 1992 and originally sentenced to 10 years in prison (he served three). He is currently still registered as a Tier II sex offender. Also, Trump — with whom Tyson is the best of chums, or at least of significant financial interest — tried pretty hard to keep him from serving any prison time. At the time of the conviction, Trump proposed that Tyson should continue to be allowed to box — specifically, in a predicted-to-be-lucrative match against Evander Holyfield — and give the proceeds to the woman he was convicted of raping, Desiree Washington. Trump said at a press conference in 1992:

Instead, you let him [Tyson] go out, he would have made between $15 million and $30 million in his next fight: tremendous amount of money, tremendous amount of good (it) can be doing … Millions and millions of dollars could pour in to help people that were truly hurt, that won’t have anything and that will live penniless without it. And I think a lot people, a lot of people, can be helped if this is properly handled.

I assume you’re all cringing now. Trump’s campaign spokesperson declined to comment on the Mother Jones report on this incident, and Tyson’s rep told the publication he was “too busy” to speak about it.

Meanwhile, in addition to his penchant for throwing chairs, Bobby Knight is a former basketball coach who once told NBC news correspondent Connie Chung that, “I think if rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it.”

Bobby Knight

Trump has also inspired angry and violent behavior both among his followers and protesters both inside and outside his rallies. The latest such incidents were in California over the past two days. From the LA Times: Protests rage outside Trump rally in Orange County; 17 arrested, police car smashed.

Hundreds of demonstrators filled the street outside the Orange County amphitheater where Donald Trump held a rally Thursday night, stomping on cars, hurling rocks at motorists and forcefully declaring their opposition to the Republican presidential candidate.

Traffic came to a halt as a boisterous crowd walked in the roadway, some waving American and Mexican flags. Protesters smashed a window on at least one police cruiser, punctured the tires of a police sport utility vehicle, and at one point tried to flip a police car.

One Costa Mesa police officer was struck in the head by a rock thrown by a protestor, authorities said. The officer wasn’t injured because he was protected from by his riot helmet.

About five police cars were damaged in total, police said, adding that some will require thousands of dollars’ worth of repairs.

“Dump the Trump,” one sign read. Another protester scrawled anti-Trump messages on Costa Mesa police cars.

Costa Mesa police car wrecked by anti-Trump protesters

Costa Mesa police car wrecked by anti-Trump protesters

Apparently the philosophy of passive resistance taught by Ghandi and further developed by Martin Luther King has been thrown by the wayside. From The Guardian: Donald Trump forced from his motorcade amid chaotic protests at California convention.

Protesters in California forced Donald Trump to leave his motorcade and walk along a highway on Friday, amid chaotic demonstrations in which activists torched an American flag and set fire to a piñata of the Republican frontrunner.

Hundreds of protesters repeatedly tried to storm the hotel where Trump was due to address the California Republican convention in Burlingame, near San Francisco International Airport.

Some protesters managed to get inside the Hyatt Regency by booking rooms in advance. When inside they unfurled two large Stop Hate banners from the upper floors that could be seen from outside, where protesters hurled eggs, clashed with baton-wielding police, and blocked roads.

With the hotel entrance blocked, the billionaire was forced to exit his vehicle and, guided by secret service agents, cross a freeway on foot and squeeze through a barrier in the fence to access the hotel.

Read more at the link.

So these are signs of what is to come. As we move closer to the end of the primaries and on to the party conventions, we can expect to witness more violence and rage over politics. Yesterday, Dakinikat wrote about the parallels with 1968–a violent and rage-filled presidential year. I have a lot of faith in Hillary Clinton’s ability to deal with the chaos to come, but it will be very difficult for her and for the country.

What are your thoughts on the politics of rage in 2016? What other stories are you following?


Friday Reads: The Good, the Bad, and the Very Ugly

cagle-trump-pied-piperGood Afternoon!

It’s been a difficult year for those of us that generally relish and appreciate the drama and throes of the ever-becoming state of American Democracy. Watching pols devour Iowa Corn Dogs and pizza in New York City with the awkwardness of landing gooney birds is always great fun.  However, this year’s campaigns and candidates have some worrisome dynamics.  My spidey sense tingles with vibes of cultural upheaval and a heavy side of disturbing blow back wrapped up in some of the worst racism I’ve seen since I was a kid in the 1960s.

I was barely cognizant of political dynamics back in 1968 but I lived open-eyed through enough of it to appreciate the number of historians drawing parallels between that rambunctious election year and this one.  I finished the year as a teenager so you could probably write a gooey coming of age story.

Every weekend, we visited my Grandfather in KCMO including the weeks of race riots after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.  I remember really strange things afoot that year when we were in Madrid and Rome  It was probably the first time I tried to pass as something other than American while travelling outside the country being supremely embarrassed to be seen among a bunch of them by the rest of the world.  Americans were loud, obvious, and always on the defensive. I decided to keep up with my French homework at that point, just in case.

I remember being keenly aware of technology like lots of TV and movies in the classroom.   The DNC convention riots were all over TV at the time.  Nothing like watching wars, riots, and your basic street chaos along side your moon shots, Monkees, and Laugh-In.  There’s this similar vibe of violence, anger, misplaced patriotism, over the top entertainment and music all wrapped up in a technology-induced information overload.

Are we about to party like it’s 1969?

Donald Trump’s campaign and followers have overwhelmed the abilities of American journalists.  He’s running and an overtly racist campaign and his followers images (11)are responding in kind.  BB alerted me to both this article and the response to the author by the Trumpsters last night. The UK Guardian has a fairly succinct tick tock as well as analysis about the blatant, over-the-top antisemitic attacks on writer Julia Ioffe for profiling the current Trump arm candy/wife.

In the 24 hours since her profile of Donald Trump’s wife, Melania, appeared in GQ magazine, the Russian-American journalist has received a torrent of antisemitic, vitriolic and threatening messages from supporters of the Republican frontrunner.

In the deeply disturbing response to her piece, Ioffe said she sees a frightening future of what freedom of the press – and the country – might look like under President Trump.

“What happens if Donald Trump is elected?” Ioffe said. “We’ve seen the way he bids his supporters to attack the media, his proposal to change libel laws to make it easier to sue journalists.”

The harassment from Trump supporters is not directly linked to the candidate. Yet he has fomented a culture of violence at his rallies, encouraging supporters to retaliate against protesters. He once offered to pay the legal fees for a man who sucker punched a protester at his rally. He also failed to immediately disavow former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, who said he supports Trump’s candidacy. His campaign has been contacted for comment.

On Thursday, Ioffe answered a phone call from an anonymous caller who played a Hitler speech. She received another call from “Overnight Caskets”. On Twitter, users posted photos of her face superimposed on a mug shot from Auschwitz. The Daily Stormer, a white supremacist site, attacked Ioffe in a blogpost titled: “Empress Melania Attacked by Filthy Russian Kike Julia Ioffe in GQ!”

giphy (2)This is appalling.  Yet, at least it’s out there instead of some coded little side attack that no one knows quite how to handle. I’ve written about this before but found a succinct description this morning on Paul Krugman’s site about the Southern Strategy and the Republican Establishment’s historical need to bring over some voters to be able to do the bidding of the richest of the rich in this country. Krugman says that what we’re experiencing is the “wrath of the conned” in that white, blue collar men have found what they really want in Donald Trump. These angry disenfranchised white men no longer have to watch their anger be channeled into policy that only benefits the one percent while some side act panders to them.

Things are very different among Republicans. Their party has historically won elections by appealing to racial enmity and cultural anxiety, but its actual policy agenda is dedicated to serving the interests of the 1 percent, above all through tax cuts for the rich — which don’t support, while they truly loathe elite ideas like privatizing Social Security and Medicare.

Probably more important, however, is the collision between demography and Obama derangement. The elite knows that the party must broaden its appeal as the electorate grows more diverse — in fact, that was the conclusion of the G.O.P.’s 2013 post-mortem. But the base, its hostility amped up to 11 after seven years of an African-American president (who the establishment has done its best to demonize) is having none of it.

What Donald Trump has been doing is telling the base that it can order à la carte. He has, in effect, been telling aggrieved white men that they can feed their anger without being forced to swallow supply-side economics, too. Yes, his actual policy proposals still involve huge tax cuts for the rich, but his supporters don’t know that — and it’s possible that he doesn’t, either. Details aren’t his thing.

Establishment Republicans have tried to counter his appeal by shouting, with growing hysteria, that he isn’t a true conservative. And they’re right, at least as they define conservatism. But their own voters don’t care.

If there’s a puzzle here, it’s why this didn’t happen sooner. One possible explanation is the decadence of the G.O.P. establishment, which has become ingrown and lost touch. Apparatchiks who have spent their whole careers inside the bubble of right-wing think tanks and partisan media may suffer from the delusion that their ideology is actually popular with real people. And this has left them hapless in the face of a Trumpian challenge.

Probably more important, however, is the collision between demography and Obama derangement. The elite knows that the party must broaden its appeal as the electorate grows more diverse — in fact, that was the conclusion of the G.O.P.’s 2013 post-mortem. But the base, its hostility amped up to 11 after seven years of an African-American president (who the establishment has done its best to demonize) is having none of it.

The point, in any case, is that the divergent nomination outcomes of 2016 aren’t an accident. The Democratic establishment has won because it has, however imperfectly, tried to serve its supporters. The Republican establishment has been routed because it has been playing a con game on its supporters all along, and they’ve finally had enough.

Krugman also argues that “Trump is playing a con game of his own”.   But seriously, there are folks that are arguing that the Trump candidacy looks a lot like George Wallace’s 1968 run for the Presidency. Wallace was a true believe–at the time–in strong arm, government enforced racism.  Is Trump cynically using racism to win or is he really the new George Wallace?699f303796098d250833b9be7368e302

Some 50 years ago, another vociferous candidate put the scare in traditional power brokers. George Wallace fired up crowds with a similar anti-establishment message, and drew protests as passionate as are being seen at Trump’s rallies today. Wallace also became a face of racial tension in America as the leading symbol for segregation in the 1960s.

When Wallace entered presidential politics in 1964, the then-Alabama governor was famous for declaring, “Segregation now. Segregation tomorrow. And segregation forever.”

Wallace allies and family see parallels today in Trump.

“It’s just a replay,” Charlie Snider, one of Wallace’s most trusted political aides, told NPR. “We’re looking at a modern-day George Wallace.”

Snider is a Trump supporter. Wallace’s daughter, a Democrat, hears it, too, but in a different way.

“Trump and my father say out loud what people are thinking but don’t have the courage to say,” Peggy Wallace Kennedy told NPR. Wallace Kennedy was 18 when she was on the campaign trail with her father in 1968. She believes Trump is exploiting voters’ worst instincts, the way her late father once did.

“They both were able to adopt the notion that fear and hate are the two greatest motivators of voters that feel alienated from government,” she said.

The Trump campaign has not responded to NPR’s request for comment on the comparison.

Which brings me to this headline at CNN and another group of disgruntled, angry primarily white men:  “Donald Trump’s new target: Bernie Sanders supporters”.  You’ll 165906_600remember that there was much anger all over the place in 1968.  This is another resemblance to 1968. Much of the left was outraged by the ongoing, long Vietnam War but there were still civil rights issues percolating out there in groups that weren’t related directly to the interests of white men.  White men didn’t want to get drafted. Most of the rest of us just wanted civil and rights and equal treatment under the law in those days. Peace was a bonus card.

The GOP front-runner has ratcheted up his rhetoric against presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in recent weeks, calling her a “crooked” politician who is unqualified to be president. But when it comes to her challenger, Bernie Sanders, Trump has taken a notably softer tone, praising the Vermont senator’s rhetoric and encouraging him to launch a third-party bid.
“I think Bernie Sanders should run as an independent. I think he’d do great,” Trump said at a victory rally in New York City Tuesday night, after sweeping five GOP contests in the Northeast.
The next morning, Trump said on MSNBC: “Bernie Sanders has a message that’s interesting. I’m going to be taking a lot of the things Bernie said and using them.”
Trump’s advisers say these comments are a preview of more explicit overtures the campaign is ready to make to Sanders’ supporters once the populist liberal exits the 2016 race. That strategy is based on the broad areas of overlap between voters attracted to Trump and those who have flocked to Sanders. Both have angrily denounced the political system as corrupt and expressed deep frustration that Washington is not helping ordinary people. They both oppose international trade deals, saying they hurt American jobs.
And, of course, targeting Sanders supporters could serve to undermine Clinton.

“You have two candidates in Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders which have reignited a group of people who have been disenfranchised and disappointed with the way Washington, D.C. and career politicians have run the country,” Lewandowski said. “Bernie Sanders has large crowds — not as large as Mr. Trump’s, but large crowds — and so there is a level of excitement there for people about his messaging and we will bring those people in.”

My guess is this may be somewhat successful. I’m still not convinced that all the white men in the Bernie movement aren’t in it for themselves and will go where they think their personal interest will flourish.  Those of us active in 1cbc6e3241e776b5cb8bf0d2f42825d0social media are still taking shit from BernieBros.  Again, this fits in very well with the Trump tactics of slash and burn.  As I write this, there are protests happening in Orange County outside of a Trump Rally.

Hundreds of demonstrators filled the street outside the Orange County amphitheater where Donald Trump held a rally Thursday night, stomping on cars, hurling rocks at motorists and forcefully declaring their opposition to the Republican presidential candidate.

Traffic came to a halt as a boisterous crowd walked in the roadway, some waving American and Mexican flags. Protesters smashed a window on at least one police cruiser, punctured the tires of a police sport utility vehicle, and at one point tried to flip a police car.

 About five police cars were damaged in total, police said, adding that some will require thousands of dollars’ worth of repairs.

“Dump the Trump,” one sign read. Another protester scrawled anti-Trump messages on Costa Mesa police cars.

“I’m protesting because I want equal rights for everybody, and I want peaceful protest,” said 19-year-old Daniel Lujan, one of hundreds in a crowd that appeared to be mostly Latinos in their late teens and 20s.

“I knew this was going to happen,” Lujan added. “It was going to be a riot. He deserves what he gets.”

Video footage showed some anti-Trump demonstrators hurling debris at a passing pickup truck. One group of protesters carried benches and blocked the entrance to the 55 Freeway along Newport Boulevard, with some tossing rocks at motorists near the on-ramp.

There’s a really good bit of analysis at The Observer by Lincoln Mitchell  on how we might remember this election cycle.  It even has a nod to the 1968 one.trumpusanimated

Presidential campaigns are also a way to tell stories. The 1968 presidential campaign, for example, was, among other things, a way we now understand the stories of street protests around the war in Vietnam, the racist backlash led by George Wallace, the terrible assassinations of the decade and the victory of the silent majority represented by Richard Nixon. More recently, the 2008 election told the story of America’s ongoing efforts to wrestle with its apartheid past, the continued rise of the angry, but unfocused, right wing and the country’s exhaustion with the Bush years.

The 2016 election will also tell a story about our country, but at the moment it is hard to determine exactly what the plot will be. One of the complex, perhaps even paradoxical, dynamics at this point in the election is that despite the tremendous amount of coverage and buzz around the notion of outsiders, voter anger and similar sentiments among the American people, as well as the energy and excitement generated by the two candidates, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, who best speak to that element within the American electorate, the outcome of this election will probably tell a very different story.

It is still too early to say anything for certain about what will happen in November, but the public opinion data as well as most expert opinion, including that of many Republican experts, suggest that when the election is finally over the winner will not be an entertaining, or inspiring outsider, or somebody who has successfully tapped into voter anger, but a consummate insider. Hillary Clinton has all but won the Democratic nomination and is in a strong position to defeat any Republican opponent in November.

What then does this tell us about America in 2016? It would be a mistake to dismiss altogether the voters who have been excited by Bernie Sanders progressive outsider campaign, but it would also be a mistake to overstate the significance of that campaign by not placing it in the context of similar Democratic primary campaigns such as those of Jerry Brown in 1992, Howard Dean in 2004 and even to some extent, Barack Obama’s more successful campaign in 2008. Mr. Trump, however, seems to have mobilized a different force within the American electorate. He has energized a group of voters who are generally Republicans and who have no affection for the socially liberal and, in their views, elitist leadership of the Democratic Party. However, the Trump campaign has successfully divorced those voters from their longtime support of a conservative economic orthodoxy that has for years done little to help them.

This analysis of the appeal of Trump echoes Krugman’s.  Does this election have more parallels to 1968?  (It’s a piece by Howard Fineman.) I certainly don’t want to people-who-hate-trump-cartoonargue that Hillary Clinton is Nixon unless I can also make the argument that she’s representing the silent majority of women, African Americans, Hispanic immigrants, GLBT who are now voting to ensure they have a continuing voice in the White House.  BB’s argued that Trump’s borrowed that Nixonian phrase.  I’ve certainly felt the Nixon in the dirty tricks of campaigns this year. However, Fineman argues that Clinton is HHH.

The Hillary Clinton role in 1968 was played by Hubert Humphrey, the beleaguered vice president of the by-then-wildly unpopular President Lyndon B. Johnson. Like Clinton, Humphrey had the support of most of the party’s establishment: African-Americans, unions, Jewish voters, elected officials at the federal, state and local levels.

But Humphrey was weighed down by the administration’s unpopular policies, chief among them the war and the draft. This time around, Hillary is having trouble defending her own version of interventionism (in the Middle East) as well as the free-trade and pro-big-business policies of both President Barack Obama and her own husband.

And the prospects for a disastrously disrupted convention this time aren’t on the Democratic side, but within the Republican Party.

For one, there is no certainty Trump will amass the 1,237 delegates that he needs for a majority before the GOP convention in Cleveland in July. Indeed, there is no certainty that, even if he does, it will prevent establishment efforts to derail him.

It will be messy, in part because the GOP hasn’t had such an experience since 1976 (when Ronald Reagan narrowly lost a challenge to President Gerald Ford) and the Trump people have no idea what to expect or how to plan.

“I’m not sure the Trump people fully understand what the establishment is going to try to do to them in Cleveland,” said Roger Stone, a longtime advisor, friend of Trump’s and student of how to win (or disrupt) conventions.

The scene outside the arena in Cleveland could be even more chaotic. Hosts of protest groups, from Black Lives Matter to to various Hispanics and Muslim groups, joined together to protest a Trump appearance in Chicago last week. They will have months to plan for Cleveland, and they have every reason to be indignant and afraid. (And they will show up for the Democrats in Philadelphia, too, no matter what Hillary and Bernie do to make peace.)

So, I’m not wanting to elucidate the role of Cruz/Fiorina in all of this waxing poetic on the chaotic year of 1968. I only want to say that I hope that Carly’s next song is a version of “You’re so Vain” sung at the Republican Party to all of them and that every one of them loses miserably. Meanwhile, where’s our rocket to Mars?

What’s on your blogging and reading list today?

Thursday Reads: Bye Bye Bernie


Good Morning!!

The end is near for the Sanders campaign, thank goodness. Yesterday Bernie began laying off hundreds of campaign staffers. He is still claiming he has a “narrow path” to the nomination, but he has no chance at this point. He would have to win each of the remaining states by an 80-20 margin to catch up with Hillary. Politico:

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — Bernie Sanders’ campaign started letting hundreds of field staffers go on Wednesday, hours after five states in the Northeast voted and the Vermont senator fell further behind Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic nomination, five people familiar with the situation told POLITICO.

It’s not the campaign’s first round of departures, but it’s by far the most significant, coming at a time when Sanders is signaling that he is looking to shape the Democratic platform at the party’s convention, but also insisting he will remain in the race until then.

Sanders trails Clinton by well over 300 delegates.

Staffers who were working in states that voted Tuesday were told by campaign manager Jeff Weaver to look elsewhere for work rather than continue on to the next voting states, according to people close to the campaign. The news comes as Sanders looks to spend more time in California, which is set to vote in June.

The New York Times noted yesterday that on the stump Sanders has begun talking more about influencing the Democratic platform than actually becoming the nominee.

Most likely those $27 contributions have started to dry up. How long has it been now since Bernie sent out a press release about getting millions in donations? His campaign spent $46 million in March, and had only $17 million on hand at the beginning of April. He outspent Hillary in New York and in the five states that voted on Tuesday. We’ll see what happens, but as of today it looks like Bernie is finished.

The *white* millennials, that is

The *white* millennials, that is

Of course Hillary will still have to respond to Bernie’s ridiculous demands for her to put all of his polices into the party platform. Gabriel DeBenedetti on What Sanders Wants:

Democrats close to Clinton’s camp saw Sanders’ post-results statement Tuesday evening as a tacit admission that his role at the convention would be in shaping the formal policy platform rather than contesting the nomination. That late-night missive specifically identified a carbon tax and opposition to “disastrous trade policies,” as well as support for a $15 minimum wage, universal health care, breaking up big banks, banning fracking and implementing tuition-free college — all points on which Clinton and Sanders have meaningful disagreements — as policies the party should adopt.

Yet the Vermont senator, who began laying off hundreds of field staffers on Wednesday in the wake of his Northeastern defeats, has also started regularly raising the specter of fundamental changes to the Democrats’ nomination process in recent appearances, including providing a greater role for independents.

He has added complaints about closed primaries — such as in New York, which doesn’t allow independents to participate — into his standard stump speech and interviews, including Tuesday, after he won the only non-closed primary of the night in Rhode Island. Making the case that Democrats need independents on their side to win general elections, Sanders has repeatedly suggested that more primaries should use an open format so the party can select the best candidate to beat Republicans in November.

I would be totally opposed to that. Why should people who are not Democrats have any say in who the party’s nominee will be. I think primaries should all be closed and caucuses should be eliminated entirely.


Historically has any losing candidate ever been permitted to tell the winner she has to capitulate to his demands? I hope Hillary lets Sanders have some input into the platform, but she can’t be expected to adopt policies that she doesn’t believe in. That’s just ridiculous.

Michael Tomasky at The Daily Beast:

Another handful of Clinton wins in big states, and the margins grow. I’m writing before the full pledged delegate count from tonight is known, but she led by 244 coming into tonight, not counting super delegates, and that may grow by another 30 to 40. (Here’s a great delegate calculator; bookmark it.)

As for the popular vote, she led it by a lot coming into Tuesday night: 10.4 million to 7.7 million, a nearly 2.7 million-vote difference, or 57 to 43 percent, numbers that we call a landslide in a general election. She may have added a couple hundred thousand to that margin tonight. Depending on what happens in California and New Jersey, this could end up being close to 60-40.

So forgive me for being a little confused about why these margins give Bernie Sanders such “leverage” in what we presume to be his looming negotiations with Hillary Clinton over the future of the party of which he’s not a member. It is “incumbent” upon Clinton, he told Chris Hayes on Monday on MSNBC, “to tell millions of people who right now do not believe in establishment politics or establishment economics, who have serious misgivings about a candidate who has received millions of dollars from Wall Street and other special interests.”

F**k off, Bernie. He acts as if he’s actually running neck and neck with her when he actually has been way behind since March 15.

Is there precedent for the losing candidate demanding that the winning candidate prove her bona fides to his voters? I sure can’t think of any. The most recent precedent we have for this kind of thing is 2008, a contest that of course involved Hillary Clinton. Let’s have a look at how that one wound down.

Clinton did indeed run until the end, winning states all along the way. On the last day of voting, June 3, they drew—she took South Dakota, and Obama won Montana. At that point, depending on what you did or didn’t count (Michigan and Florida were weird races that year after they broke the DNC calendar to move their primary dates up, and the party punished them by taking away delegates), she was actually ahead of Obama on popular votes. But even excluding Michigan, where Obama wasn’t on the ballot, it was a hell of a lot closer than 57-43. It was 51-49.

Did Clinton carry on about her campaign of the people? Did she say it was incumbent upon Obama to prove his worth to her voters? Did she put her forefinger on her cheek for weeks and make Obama twist in the wind? No, of course not.

Four days after the voting ended, she got out of the race, gave the famous 18 million-cracks-in-the-glass-ceiling speech, and said: “The way to continue our fight now, to accomplish the goals for which we stand, is to take our energy, our passion, our strength, and do all we can to help elect Barack Obama, the next president of the United States. Today, as I suspend my campaign, I congratulate him on the victory he has won and the extraordinary race he has run. I endorse him and throw my full support behind him. And I ask all of you to join me in working as hard for Barack Obama as you have for me. I have served in the Senate with him for four years. I have been in this campaign with him for 16 months. I have stood on the stage and gone toe-to-toe with him in 22 debates. I’ve had a front-row seat to his candidacy, and I have seen his strength and determination, his grace and his grit. In his own life, Barack Obama has lived the American dream…” and so on. She laid it on thick, and gave a strong and gracious convention speech later.

I doubt if Bernie will be able to demonstrate the kind of grace that Hillary did in 2008. Democratic leaders need to read him the riot act soon. He may find himself even more isolated in the Senate than ever and with no important committee assignments. As we have discussed here, perhaps the DNC could find a real Democrat to run against him in the 2018 Vermont primary. Bernie needs to get over himself or else face serious consequences.

The next challenge for Hillary will be dealing with Donald Trump, and it’s probably not going to be easy–especially since she will have to run against Trump and the mainstream media at the same time. Even considering the obvious danger of letting Trump get anywhere near the White House, I still expect many in the media will continue to enable his attacks on Hillary.

We got a preview of what we can expect in Trump’s ludicrous speech on Tuesday night when he attacked Hillary by calling her “crooked” and claiming she is using “the woman card.” Here’s the famous part of his speech along with Mary Pat Christie’s infamous eye-roll.

How anyone could even consider voting for that idiot I will never understand, but I do know that he’s not popular with women. Yesterday Trump “doubled down” on the “woman card” attack. NBC News reports:

When confronted about the sexist nature of his remarks during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Wednesday, Trump did not back down. Instead, he used an increasingly common line of attack on Clinton delivered mostly by her male critics — that she shouts too much.

“I haven’t quite recovered, it’s early in the morning, from her shouting that message,” Trump said. “And I know a lot of people would say you can’t say that about a woman because of course a woman doesn’t shout. But the way she shouted that message was not … that’s the way she said it and I guess I’ll have to get used to that over the next four or five months.”

Despite polls consistently showing Trump with historically poor approval ratings among women voters (69 percent unfavorable to 20 percent favorable), he predicted “we’re going to do very well with Hillary and with women as soon as we start our process against her.” He also suggested that it’s unclear whether Clinton will become the Democratic nominee because of her email server scandal.

“She’s guilty. Everybody knows she’d guilty but they don’t want to go after her,” Trump added, without detailing what crime Clinton has allegedly committed. ‘It’s going to be an interesting thing … because people who have done far less are sitting in jail cells.”


And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Trump will have no problem using sexual innuendo about Bill Clinton to attack Hillary. Some CBS writer named Will Rahn claims Trump could definitely beat Clinton.

The case against Trump’s electability is strong. But it is also perhaps overstated. The Manhattan billionaire does have a narrow path to the White House. In fact, he may be the GOP’s most electable option at this point, at least among the candidates who are actually still running for the job….

Trump…still has a few things going for him. His general election strategy, such as it is, seems to be predicated on two strategies: pivot left as far as possible and launch a scorched earth campaign against Clinton.

Let’s look at these one at a time. On the face of it, insulting your way to the presidency seems like a stupid, unworkable idea. Then again, Clinton has shown herself vulnerable to attacks on her character, not to mention her husband’s.

The reaction to Rosario Dawson’s in-passing reference to Monica Lewinsky over the weekend shows how sensitive the Clinton camp is to such things. Lewinsky is a sympathetic figure wrapped up in a sympathetic cause; Dawson only said that she agrees with her anti-bullying efforts. And yet still there were calls for Dawson to get off the trail for Bernie Sanders, that she had somehow crossed a line just by mouthing the word “Monica.”

What happens when Trump, after Hillary inevitably accuses him of sexism, says that Bill is a rapist, a serial assaulter of women, and that she is his enabler? What happens when he incorporates this into his stump speech? The upside, if you can call it that, to Trump’s refusal to act “presidential” is that he is the only candidate who will go that far. Trump, and Trump alone, is the only candidate who would not only resurrect all the Clinton sex scandals, but make them a centerpiece of his campaign.

I’m sure Clinton strategists have been working on how to counter this garbage for months now. Trump himself has plenty of baggage, include sexual stuff, and he is a lot more thin-skinned than Hillary is. I’d bet on her any day of the week. I also have to believe that women will not like Trump’s sexist attacks, but there’s no doubt it’s going to get ugly.

You’ve probably seen this before, but here’s a map that Nate Silver produced showing what would happening if women refused to vote for Trump.



It’s going to get interesting in the Fall. Right now, Hillary just has to set Bernie straight and finish winning the nomination. Then she can get ready to wash her hands of Donald Trump.

I have a few more links that I’ll put in the comment thread. What stories are you following today?

Wednesday Reads: There’s got to be a morning after….

A big fuck you to all those making derogatory comments about “voting with my vagina” …I think y’all know of which Berned out group of assholes I’m talking about!

But if you look around the social media sites, many are not willing to get on with it.

If you thought Bernie was like a tunnel vision bull dog, focusing on one issue over all others….then his vocal supporters are exactly the same, latched on to the obsessive notion that Bernie is the only answer. And that his losses are a conspiracy tied to a truly deep seeded hatred of Hillary Clinton.  It goes beyond the normal political dialogue and disagreement. This shit is psychotic, I’m talking some crazy ass shit.

I’ve seen how the Bernie bros will attack one of there own how post something simple about party unity and how they will support Hilary if she is the nominee. (This was months ago before the primaries first started.) I thought the Bernie supporters would bern her at the stake for saying something so logical. She took the post down almost immediately. I wasn’t even able to get a screen shot of it…now some of the things I read on her wall is too ridiculous to comprehend.



So the thread will be peppered with screenshots of Bernie supporter Facebook post….and away we go…


imageThis is something we have all been saying: THE CAUSE: If Bernie Wants Real Progress He’ll Align His Message with Hillary’s – Blue Nation Review

There are certainly differences between Bernie and Hillary, but there’s a lot of common ground too, on climate change, women’s rights, education, LGBT rights, minimum wage, campaign finance reform, and immigration, among other things.

Bernie would do well to turn his fire against Republicans and to show America that the Democratic candidates share a progressive vision, a vision that is infinitely better for our nation and the world than what Trump and the GOP are offering.

It’s not easy to change tone in an election this intense — it takes courage and discipline. Most importantly, it takes leadership. This is Bernie’s moment to show his true character, to lead by example. To move the Democratic primary away from cheap attacks on Hillary’s speech transcripts and vitriolic attacks on her character.

Time to rise to the occasion.

Leadership is not a strong point. Take this little comment from a Susan Sarandon interview as an example of Bernie’s leadership:

Susan Sarandon attends the première of “The Meddler” on the day of the New York primary. – The New Yorker

imageA few weeks ago, Susan Sarandon, the actor and Bernie Sanders supporter, told Chris Hayes, on MSNBC, that she did not know how she would vote if given a choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. She added, “Some people feel Donald Trump will bring the revolution immediately, if he gets in.” Things would “explode.”

Last Tuesday, when New York’s Presidential primary coincided with the New York première of “The Meddler,” in which Sarandon stars, she left her Chelsea apartment at dusk, wearing bright-red lipstick, a tuxedo, and a boot cast protecting a foot that she had fractured while hiking in Colombia. “I did not say I was voting for Trump,” she said in the elevator, recalling the national eye-roll that her remarks prompted. “And I did not say I wanted a revolution.” She reached a waiting S.U.V. “But the status quo is not working, so to sell people a system based on shoring up the status quo is not pragmatic.” She said that, during that fuss, Sanders had called her to say, “You’re doing a great job, hang in there, we’ve got your back.”

So if you ever wondered about Bernie Sanders reaction to his surrogates unbelievable assholery and utter disrespect and anti-caucus behavior, there you are…“You’re doing a great job, hang in there, we’ve got your back.”

Maddow: ‘No Way’ Sanders Wins Now, So Big Question Is How He Decides to ‘End This’ | Mediaite

At least Maddow has seen the light…

MSNBC’s Steve Kornackiexplained to Senator Jeff Merkley––the only senator endorsing Bernie Sanders––tonight exactly how impossible Sanders’ path to victory is from this point forward.

Maddow followed up by saying, “As somebody who is legitimately impartial between these candidates, I feel like there is no way Senator Sanders ends up with the nomination.”

She wondered what the “right way [is] for Senator Sanders to end this in a way that’s gonna be the best for the cause” and the Democratic party.

But the Bernie supporters are not letting this dead dog lie in peace:



If you need to plant the truth gospel, this is the link to the dudes article: Bernie Lovers: A Revolution Is What You Signed Up For, And This Is Only The Beginning

Other Bernie Bro postings:
















Other news from last night:

image5 takeaways from Tuesday’s primaries – POLITICO

US election 2016: Donald Trump sweeps five US states – BBC News

The parallel universe where Cruz is beating Trump – POLITICO

Donald Trump has earned more than 9 million votes in the Republican primary and amassed a lead that puts him on the brink of clinching the GOP nomination. But in the shadow contest for the delegates to a contested national convention, he’s getting obliterated by Ted Cruz.

It’s halftime in the hustle for loyal convention delegates. By the weekend, more than 1,300 will have been elected in county, state or congressional district elections or selected by local Republican leaders. So far, Cruz has consistently dominated these contests, securing slots for hundreds of loyalists to the convention in Cleveland in July. Trump, on the other hand, has consistently flopped.

A Politico analysis suggests the mogul is headed for an even rougher second half, limiting his opportunities to survive a contested convention and dramatically raising the stakes of his quest to secure the nomination outright.


imageIn other news, mainly in keeping with the fuck you vagina theme:

El Salvador Strict Abortion Laws – Abortion Laws in Latin America

As the abortion wars rage here at home, El Salvador, the country with the strictest anti-abortion laws—where women are put in prison or risk death to avoid having a baby—shows how we might live in a world without reproductive rights.

Missouri Republicans spend more than $8 million to block less than $400,000 in federal funding for Planned Parenthood –

Fiscal responsibility goes out the window when policing of women’s healthcare access is concerned

Let that stew for a little while…

Those GOP muthafukkerz.

The rest of today’s links are dealing with other newsy items.

imageYesterday was 30 years since Chernobyl.

BBC – Culture – The people who refused to leave Chernobyl

It is 30 years since the world’s worst nuclear disaster. Fiona Macdonald explores the work of Andrej Krementschouk, who has documented destruction – and new life – at Chernobyl.

Paris Review – Voices from Chernobyl, Svetlana Alexievich

On April 26, 1986, at 1:23:58 a. m., a series of explosions destroyed the reactor in the building that housed Energy Block #4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station. The catastrophe at Chernobyl became the largest technical disaster of the twentieth century. . . . For tiny Belarus (population: ten million), it was a national disaster. . . . Today, one out of every five Belarussians lives on contaminated land. This amounts to 2.1 million people, of whom seven hundred thousand are children. In the Gomel and Mogilev regions, which suffered the most from Chernobyl, mortality rates exceed birthrates by twenty percent.

—Belaruskaya entsiklopedia, 1996, s.v. “Chernobyl,” pg. 24


Animals Rule Chernobyl 30 Years After Nuclear Disaster

Three decades later, it’s not certain how radiation is affecting wildlife—but it’s clear that animals abound.


223a-DiamondsPearlsUpdates on Prince:

Prince’s Paisley Park Home to Become a Museum

Prince’s Longtime Lawyer Responds to Drug Reports Surrounding Singer’s Death | Vanity Fair

This looks like something many of us Sky Dancers would find interesting: Turner is launching a Netflix for cinephiles — Quartz

And, I will end today’s post with some new information coming out of Egypt:

A new discovery sheds light on ancient Egypt’s most successful female pharaoh – The Washington Post

Hatshepsut was no ordinary Egyptian ruler.

After her husband died, Hatshepsut didn’t just keep the “throne” warm for her stepson to come of age. She became a pharaoh in her own right, and in doing so, became one of ancient Egypt’s first female rulers. While there were likely two or three female pharaohs during the “dynastic” period, Hatshepsut is considered to be the most successful; she ruled for at least 15 years and was aprolific builder.

After her death, her stepson assumed full kingship and most mentions of Hatshepsut’s name and likeness were destroyed, erased and replaced. Over the past several decades, researchers have uncovered and described more and more evidence of her reign as a female ruler during the 1400s B.C.

Last week, Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities announced a discovery connected to Hatshepsut that provides greater insight into the life story of this remarkable female pharaoh. The German Archaeological Institute uncovered blocks that likely belonged to one of her buildings.

Read the rest at the link…about how she was depicted as a man with a beard…

Early in her career, Hatshepsut was depicted as a woman, but later on her likeness was of a powerful, muscular ruler who the same false beard that male pharaohs would wear. The blocks found by archaeologists on Egypt’s Elephantine Island are different. Believed to have been part of a waystation for the deity, Khnum, several of the blocks show Hatshepsut as a woman.

“The building must therefore have been erected during the early years of her reign, before she began to be represented as a male king,” the antiquities ministry said in a release. “Only very few buildings from this early stage of her career have been discovered so far.”

Yeah, seriously…maybe this is what Hilary needs. A beard?

This is an open thread…



Live Blog: The Northeast brings it home!


bed0962d2c9dc131be63eda8b899ea2bGood Evening!

These are the states that are voting today in the 2016 Presidential Primaries!  Here are the number of Democratic Delegates up for grabs as well as the expected poll closing times.

Maryland · 95 delegates
Delaware · 21 delegates
Connecticut · 55 delegates
Pennsylvania · 189 delegate
Rhode Island · 24 delegates

Last poll closes at 8:00 PM ET for all 5 states

Here’s some of the things to consider when watching the returns. The first most important thing is will the front runners close the deal?  Polls show both Clinton and Trump ahead in these states.

A sense of inevitability is growing around both the Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton campaigns, and they could easily build on that momentum this Tuesday. Democratic and Republican voters will cast their primary ballots in five states — Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island — where the respective front-runners hold solid leads.

In delegate-rich Pennsylvania, Trump has a 13-point lead over his closest competitor Ted Cruz, while Clinton has a seven-point lead over Bernie Sanders, according to a CBS News Battleground Tracker survey released Sunday. All told, there are 556 delegates at stake –172 for Republicans and 384 for Democrats.

Will the leaders sweep the five states?    Politico has listed some of the key counties for each of the candidates.  Of course, we’re interested in Pennsylvania with its huge swath of delegates.  The state’s urban areas will influence the overall vote which means that Hillary’s minority support is crucial.37ea30cfda7fefa750424a82ab54bbea


Allegheny County: Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh and the immediate suburbs, holds more GOP voters than any other county in the state.

Pennsylvania’s “loophole primary” makes the focus on specific districts for Republicans trickier, but Allegheny is still a key battleground. Kasich was born and raised in the county, in McKees Rocks. Trump visited Pittsburgh earlier this month.

The county includes all or part of three different congressional districts: the 12th, 14th and 18th.

On the Democratic side, Allegheny is battleground territory: Clinton won it by almost nine points in 2008. A similar performance there on Tuesday could close the door on Sanders’ underdog bid at a statewide victory.

Lackawanna County: This is Clinton territory: She won Lackawanna by a yawning margin in 2008, 74 percent to 26 percent.

Clinton claims Scranton roots that served her well eight years ago. And it’s no surprise one of her closing events in the state was in Dunmore, just outside Scranton, last Friday. (Her husband held an event earlier this month at Scranton High School.)

These are mostly white voters who stuck with Clinton eight years ago. The question is whether they will still serve as a firewall for her on Tuesday, or jump to Sanders, as a number of white Democrats have in other states.

Philadelphia: Clinton managed to win statewide eight years ago despite losing Philadelphia by nearly a two-to-one margin, 65 percent to 35 percent.

This time around, the African-American base in Philadelphia should be strong for Clinton. But the city is also a big college town, and enhanced youth turnout could help Sanders.

Clinton has the backing of former Mayor Michael Nutter — who backed her over Obama in 2008 — and also from longtime supporter Ed Rendell, another former Philadelphia mayor and former two-term governor, who will be under pressure to reinstate his turnout machine to help the former secretary of state.

Here’s the ratfucking meme of the day–likely pushed by BernieBr0s–that simply isn’t (1)

Here’s a contender for weird/fake endorsement of the day: A Grand Dragon of the California branch of the KKK allegedly told Vocativ, an organization “at the nexus of media and technology,” that it is endorsing Hillary Clinton. “She is friends with the Klan,” said Will Quigg, citing as evidence her friendship with Bobby Byrd, the long-time United States senator from West Virginia who was in the KKK as a young man. Quigg also claimed the organization had raised $20,000 in anonymous donations for the Clinton campaign.

This is fairly obviously B.S. The Clinton campaign denies it has received nearly that much money in anonymous funds, and the Vocativ reporter even noted that he factchecked and verified the campaign’s claim using F.E.C. filings. But hey! A Klansman said the name “Hillary Clinton” with a gleeful smile on his face, so take that for what it’s worth, which is probably roughly nothing.

Some how, I can’t see the Klan supporting the candidate that has the overwhelming support of black voters, can you?

Grab your popcorn and let’s watch Hillary win some more on her way to the White House!!!