Thursday Reads: Bye Bye BerniePosted: April 28, 2016
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.
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.
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?