A note on the illustration above: It is an anti-women’s suffrage cartoon originally publish in the satire magazine Puck, showing the horror that could befall the country if women actually got the vote.
We have a busy few days coming up for presidential politics. Today is the Louisiana primary, and Hillary is expected to win overwhelmingly on the Democratic side. There will also be Democratic and Republican caucuses in Kansas and Nebraska. For Republicans, there will be additional caucuses in Maine and Kentucky. Maine Democrats will caucus tomorrow and there will be a GOP primary in Puerto Rico. Then on Tuesday there will be primaries in Michigan and Mississippi.
Tomorrow night there will be a CNN Democratic debate in Flint, Michigan and on Monday night Fox News will hold a Democratic town hall event. Hillary originally declined the invitation, but yesterday she agreed to go. I think it’s a mistake for her to go, but we’ll see. The next Republican debate will be on March 10 in Miami.
Washington Post: Five more states ready to chip in delegates to campaign 2016.
Hunting for delegates, Trump added a last-minute rally in Wichita, Kansas, to his Saturday morning schedule and Cruz planned to stop in Kansas on caucus day, too, one day after Rubio visited the state.
Trump’s decision to skip an appearance Saturday at a conference sponsored by the American Conservative Union in the Washington area to get in one last Kansas rally rankled members of the group, who tweeted that it “sends a clear message to conservatives.”
The billionaire businessman’s rivals have been increasingly questioning his commitment to conservative policies, painting his promise to be flexible on issues as a giant red flag….
With the GOP race in chaos, establishment figures are frantically looking for any way to stop Trump, perhaps at a contested convention if none of the candidates can roll up the 1,237 delegates needed to snag the nomination. Going into Saturday’s voting, Trump led the field with 329 delegates. Cruz had 231, Rubio 110 and Kasich 25. In all, 155 GOP delegates are at stake in Saturday’s races.
On the Democrats:
Clinton is farther along than Trump on the march to her party’s nomination, outpacing Sanders with 1,066 delegates to his 432, including pledged superdelegates. It takes 2,383 delegates to win the Democratic nomination. There are 109 at stake on Saturday.
In Louisiana, Clinton was hoping that strong support from the state’s sizable black population will give her a boost. Both Democrats have campaigned heavily in Nebraska and saturated the state with ads. In Kansas, Clinton has the backing of its former governor and onetime Health and Human Services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius. Sanders held a pre-caucus rally in Kansas’ liberal bastion of Lawrence hoping to attract voters.
A couple of big stories out of Louisiana:
Think Progress: BREAKING: Supreme Court Reopens Clinics Closed By Anti-Abortion Law.
The Supreme Court handed down a brief order Friday allowing four Louisiana abortion clinics to reopen after they were closed due to a recent decision by a conservative federal appeals court.
Last week, an especially conservative panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit handed down an “emergency” decision permitting an anti-abortion Louisiana law to go into effect. Under this law, physicians cannot perform abortions unless they have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital — an increasingly common requirement masterminded by an anti-abortion group that drafts model bills for state legislatures. A challenge to a similar Texas law is currently pending before the justices.
The Supreme Court’s order temporarily suspends the Louisiana law, effectively preventing the Fifth Circuit’s Wednesday decision from taking effect. Only Justice Clarence Thomas explicitly dissented from the Court’s order.
Could this be a good sign for the Texas case that is currently being considered by SCOTUS?
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the Texas case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, this Wednesday. During those arguments, conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy appeared open to striking down the Texas law — although he also seemed concerned with a procedural issue unique to that case. The Court’s decision to halt the Louisiana law is another sign that the conservative-but-not-absolutist justice believes that laws like the ones in Texas and Louisiana may go too far.
I sure hope so. Meanwhile Louisiana’s economy is in desperate shape, thanks mostly to former Governor Bobby Jindal’s horrendous policies.
Already, the state of Louisiana had gutted university spending and depleted its rainy-day funds. It had cut 30,000 employees and furloughed others. It had slashed the number of child services staffers, including those devoted to foster family recruitment, and young abuse victims for the first time were spending nights at government offices.
And then, the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards (D), came on TV and said the worst was yet to come.
Edwards, in a prime-time address on Feb. 11, said he’d learned of “devastating facts” about the extent of the state’s budget shortfall and said that Louisiana was plunging into a “historic fiscal crisis.” Despite all the cuts of the previous years, the nation’s second-poorest state still needed nearly $3 billion — almost $650 per person — just to maintain its regular services over the next 16 months. Edwards gave the state’s lawmakers three weeks to figure out a solution, a period that expires March 9 with no clear answer in reach.
Louisiana stands at the brink of economic disaster. Without sharp and painful tax increases in the coming weeks, the government will cease to offer many of its vital services, including education opportunities and certain programs for the needy. A few universities will shut down and declare bankruptcy. Graduations will be canceled. Students will lose scholarships. Select hospitals will close. Patients will lose funding for treatment of disabilities. Some reports of child abuse will go uninvestigated.
“Doomsday,” said Marketa Garner Walters, the head of Louisiana’s Department of Children and Family Services. If the state can’t raise any new revenue, her agency’s budget, like several others, will be slashed 60 percent.
“At that level,” she said in an interview, “the agency is unsustainable.”
Read more about the disastrous consequences of Jindal’s embrace of Koch brothers politics at the link.
The Tax Policy Center just released its analysis of Bernie Sanders’ tax plan, and it’s stunning. Here’s the abstract:
Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders proposes significant increases in federal income, payroll, business, and estate taxes, and new excise taxes on financial transactions and carbon. New revenues would pay for universal health care, education, family leave, rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, and more. TPC estimates the tax proposals would raise $15.3 trillion over the next decade. All income groups would pay some additional tax, but most would come from high-income households, particularly those with the very highest income. His proposals would raise taxes on work, saving, and investment, in some cases to rates well beyond recent historical experience in the US.
You can read the entire report in a pdf at the link. From Bloomberg:
Senator Bernie Sanders’s proposals for sweeping tax hikes on businesses and individuals to bankroll universal health care, infrastructure and free college tuition would raise $15.3 trillion over the next decade but “substantially reduce incentives to save and invest in the United States,” according to a new policy study.
Sanders’s plan would “modestly raise” tax rates for average taxpayers and “raise them significantly for high-income taxpayers,” according to the report by the Tax Policy Center, a research group in Washington, D.C. that’s a joint venture of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution. The report is the last of the center’s analyses of leading presidential candidates’ tax plans.
While the plan — which would be sure to face opposition in a Republican-controlled Congress — could generate benefits by increasing “the nation’s investment in productive physical and human capital,” economists are unsettled on the question of just how much increases in tax rates spur or stymie economic growth. Sanders’s proposals “would be a great experiment,” said Len Burman, director of the Tax Policy Center.
Warren Gunnels, Sanders’s policy director, criticized the tax center’s findings. The analysis was conducted “in a vacuum without taking into account the savings the American people would gain” under the candidate’s proposal to replace private health-insurance with a publicly funded “Medicare-for-all” plan, he said. Gunnels cited an earlier study by Citizens for Tax Justice, which found that 95 percent of U.S. households would see their take-home pay increase under Sanders’s health plan.
As before, the Republican plans are all the same: a tiny tax cut for the middle class as a sop to distract them from the enormous payday they give to the rich, and a massive hole in the deficit.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton’s plan is fairly modest. It leaves the middle class alone and taxes the rich a little more. Once her domestic proposals are paid for, it’s probably deficit neutral. Bernie Sanders is far more extreme. He’s basically the mirror image of the Republicans: he’d tax the middle class moderately more and soak the hell out of the rich. This would raise a tremendous amount of money, which he’d use to pay for his health care plan and his other domestic proposals. It’s impossible to say for sure how this would affect the deficit, but the evidence suggests that it would blow a pretty big hole.
It looks like Sanders is going to continue and even increase his attacks on Hillary Clinton even though she will likely have the nomination in hand by March 15. It doesn’t seem to bother him in the least that he’s hurting the Democratic Party and making it more difficult for their candidate to win the White House in November.
From The Hill: Sanders blames Clinton for Michigan’s declining middle class.
“If the people of Michigan want to make a decision about which candidate stood with workers against corporate America and against these disastrous trade agreements, that candidate is Bernie Sanders,” he said during a rally in Traverse City, according to a campaign statement obtained by NBC News.
Sanders argued that Clinton’s support of legislation like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) had helped create the Great Lakes State’s crippling poverty.
“[NAFTA] is one of the reasons that the middle class in this country is disappearing,” the self-described Democratic socialist said.
“[NAFTA and other trade deals are] crafted by the big-money interests and corporations. Hillary Clinton was on the wrong side of many of these trade agreements.”
Hillary did not hold political office when NAFTA passed Congress. I believe she opposed NAFTA as first lady, but to blame her for bill passed by a right wing Republican Congress and signed by her husband is both unfair and sexist. But that’s how Bernie rolls.
Markos laid down the law at Daily Kos yesterday, and the reaction was hilarious. As background, the front pagers have been supporting Hillary in 2016, but the majority of diarists have been pushing for Bernie, attacking Hillary using every right wing meme they can find and the most misogynistic language they can dream up. Read about it here: March 15, and Daily Kos transition to General Election footing.
The gist is that Kossacks have to stop attacking Hillary with right wing memes and ugly sexist language and if they are planning to vote for Donald Trump or Jill Stein if the Democrats nominate Hillary, they have to keep it to themselves. They can criticize Hillary, but only in positive ways that could help the party.
The response was predictable, with people posting “goodbye cruel world” diaries and threats to continue advocating for Bernie in any way they choose if if Kos bans them. It was like watching kids arguing on a playground or like the last GOP debate.
So . . . what are you hearing and reading about today? I’ll post a live blog later for discussion of the primary and caucus results.
Dakinikat will have a post up later, but I just had to share this amazing interview that President Obama did with Glen Thrush of Politico. As Thrush noted in an article summing up his reactions:
Barack Obama, that prematurely gray elder statesman, is laboring mightily to remain neutral during Hillary Clinton’s battle with Bernie Sanders in Iowa, the state that cemented his political legend and secured his path to the presidency.
But in a candid 40-minute interview for POLITICO’s Off Message podcast as the first flakes of the blizzard fell outside the Oval Office, he couldn’t hide his obvious affection for Clinton or his implicit feeling that she, not Sanders, best understands the unpalatably pragmatic demands of a presidency he likens to the world’s most challenging walk-and-chew-gum exercise.
“[The] one thing everybody understands is that this job right here, you don’t have the luxury of just focusing on one thing,” a relaxed and reflective Obama told me in his most expansive discussion of the 2016 race to date.
Here are some of my own takeaways from the interview transcript. First, there can be no doubt that Obama wants Hillary to win the nomination and the presidency. He damns Sanders with faint praise.
GLENN THRUSH: I mean, when you watch this, what do you — do you see any elements of what you were able to accomplish in what Sanders is doing?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, there’s no doubt that Bernie has tapped into a running thread in Democratic politics that says: Why are we still constrained by the terms of the debate that were set by Ronald Reagan 30 years ago? You know, why is it that we should be scared to challenge conventional wisdom and talk bluntly about inequality and, you know, be full-throated in our progressivism? And, you know, that has an appeal and I understand that.
I think that what Hillary presents is a recognition that translating values into governance and delivering the goods is ultimately the job of politics, making a real-life difference to people in their day-to-day lives. I don’t want to exaggerate those differences, though, because Hillary is really idealistic and progressive. You’d have to be to be in, you know, the position she’s in now, having fought all the battles she’s fought and, you know, taken so many, you know, slings and arrows from the other side. And Bernie, you know, is somebody who was a senator and served on the Veterans’ Committee and got bills done.
On the contrasts the media is drawing between Hillary and Bernie (i.e. he has the enthusiasm, she’s just a boring policy wonk):
I don’t think that’s true. I think that what is — you know, if you look at both of them, I think they’re both passionate about giving everybody a shot. I think they’re both passionate about kids having a great education. I think they want to make sure everybody has health care. I think that they both believe in a tax system that is fair and not tilted towards, you know, the folks at the very top. But, you know, they — I think Bernie came in with the luxury of being a complete longshot and just letting loose.
I think Hillary came in with the — both privilege and burden of being perceived as the frontrunner. And, as a consequence, you know, where they stood at the beginning probably helps to explain why the language sometimes is different.
On the media coverage of Hillary and the failure so far of the media to vet Bernie:
GLENN THRUSH: …Do you feel like it’s a little bit unfair to her, to some extent, the way this has been stacked?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yeah – well, yes. But I think that Hillary is tough and she has been through this before and she could anticipate it. If you are a frontrunner, then you are under more scrutiny and everybody is going to pick you apart….
GLENNTHRUSH: …and Bernie, of course, is an untested 74-year-old kid, right?
PRESIDENTOBAMA: Yeah, yeah.
GLENNTHRUSH: So, to what extent do you think it’s appropriate for that process to be aimed at him right now?
PRESIDENTOBAMA: Well, he hasn’t won anything yet.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I think that there’s always just a rhythm to this thing. I think that if Bernie won Iowa or won New Hampshire, then you guys are going to do your jobs and, you know, you’re going to dig into his proposals and how much they cost and what does it mean, and, you know, how does his tax policy work and he’s subjected, then, to a rigor that hasn’t happened yet, but that Hillary is very well familiar with.
On the way the Obama campaign reacted to criticism from Hillary Clinton in 2008:
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, here’s my view: that whoever the nominee is is going to need the other person’s supporters. And I think it is entirely legitimate to draw sharp contrasts where there are contrasts and it is important, however, to maintain a tone in which people feel as if you’re playing fair. And I think Hillary has done that so far, and I think that the truth is in 2007 and 2008, sometimes my supporters and my staff, I think, got too huffy about what were legitimate questions she was raising. And, you know, there were times where I think the media probably was a little unfair to her and tilted a little my way in the — in calling her out when she was tough and not calling some of our folks out as much when we were tough in ads….
I think — look, I’ve gotten to know Hillary really well, and she is a good, smart, tough person who cares deeply about this country, and she has been in the public eye for a long time and in a culture in which new is always better. And, you know, you’re always looking at the bright, shiny object that people don’t, haven’t seen before. That’s a disadvantage to her. Bernie is somebody who —although I don’t know as well because he wasn’t, obviously, in my administration, has the virtue of saying exactly what he believes, and great authenticity, great passion, and is fearless. His attitude is, “I got nothing to lose.”
On Hillary’s strengths as a candidate:
…like any candidate, her strengths can be her weaknesses. Her strengths, which are the fact that she’s extraordinarily experienced – and, you know, wicked smart and knows every policy inside and out – sometimes could make her more cautious and her campaign more prose than poetry, but those are also her strengths. It means that she can govern and she can start here, [on] day one, more experienced than any non-vice president has ever been who aspires to this office. Her strengths, in terms of the ability to debate, the ability to, I think, project genuine concern in smaller groups and to interact with people, where folks realize she’s really warm and funny and engaging— ….
the other thing that I’ll always remember is the sheer strength, determination, endurance, stick-to-it-ness, never-give-up attitude that Hillary had during those primaries. I mean, we had as competitive and lengthy and expensive and tough primary fight as there has been in modern American politics, and she had to do everything that I had to do, except, like Ginger Rogers, backwards in heels. She had to wake up earlier than I did because she had to get her hair done. She had to, you know, handle all the expectations that were placed on her. She had a tougher job throughout that primary than I did and, you know, she was right there the entire time and, had things gone a little bit different in some states or if the sequence of primaries and caucuses been a little different, she could have easily won.
Finally, on the notion of a woman president:
…my No. 1 priority is having a Democratic president succeed me, and I think there’s no doubt that, given our history, I want more women in politics generally, and I want my daughters to feel that there’s nothing that they can’t do. I don’t think that Democrats are going to vote for Hillary just because she’s a woman any more than they’re going to vote for Bernie just because they agree with him on one particular issue. I think, you know, voters are pretty sophisticated. They’re going to take all these things into account. I am proud of the fact that the Democratic Party represents today the breaking down of all sorts of barriers and a belief that you judge people on what they bring to the table and not what they look like or who they love or their last name.
I’ve quoted a lot, but I still hope you’ll go read the whole interview. I wonder if Obama agreed to do this in order to boost Hillary’s chances? His comments are certainly extraordinary, and they are going to be very disconcerting to the media and to Bernie’s supporters.
What do you think?
Tonight’s debate is likely to feature some fireworks and a good exchange of ideas between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders–as long as the moderators can keep Martin O’Malley from constantly breaking in with his patented line “I’ve actually already done that in Maryland.”
Mediaite has the basics on how to watch the debate. It will be available on line at the NBC News website and YouTube. It begins at nine and goes for two hours.
The back and forth between Hillary and Bernie this week has been interesting, to say the least. Hillary seems to have gotten under Bernie’s skin too, because he has now partially flip flopped on his vote to immunize gun dealers from liability, his campaign has promised to release specifics on his health car plan and how he hopes to pay for it “very soon,” and they’ve also said they’ll release a “doctor’s note” on Sanders’ health.
Just a couple of days ago the Sanders campaign announced they wouldn’t release the health care tax figures and they previously pooh poohed the need to release medical records.
I’ve thought for awhile now that Sanders has begun to believe his own reviews in the media. After reading what he said on Face The Nation this morning, I’m convinced he has allowed the failure of the media to vet him and the adulation of his supporters to go to his head.
“I think we have a good chance to win both those states,” he said of Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two states to hold nominating contests. “I think we have a good chance to win this election.”
If he does win, Sanders predicted his campaign would come to be known as “one of the great political upsets in modern history.”
He is feeling so good, in fact, that the Vermont senator told “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson that while he was watching President Obama’s final State of the Union address last week, “the thought did cross my mind” that he could be delivering that address in the near future.
Then he caught himself.
“It’s a very humbling feeling,” he said, but added a moment later, “It’s a long way to go before we talk about inaugural speech, before we toss State of the Union speeches in.”
Hmmm…. he doesn’t sound so humble.
I have a few other good links for you on Bernie.
First a diary from DailyKos (!) on the health care law that Sanders has proposed multiple times in Congress: Sanders’ Health Care Plan. The diarist simply reports the contents of Senate Bill 1782, introduced in December 2013. Please go read it.
The law would end Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, the Federal Employees’ Health Benefits Program, and TRICARE. The money that was going into those programs, and use it to fund a “single payer” plan to be run and partially paid for by the states.
We already know that Supreme Court is not going to force states to accept something they don’t want from the Feds. That was their decision on the ACA Medicaid expansion. Even if Sanders could somehow get this through the Republican Congress, it would never get past SCOTUS.
I can’t even imagine what would be involved in implementing this. Right now, Medicare has low overhead costs because it turns over administration of supplemental plans to insurance companies–which would be outlawed in Sanders’ alternative universe.
I’m on Medicare and I get help paying my premiums from the government. Those premiums are more than $100 per month. Basic Medicare only pays for hospital bills, so I also have a government funded supplemental plan with very high co-pays that I get “free.” At least I can go to a doctor if it’s absolutely necessary. What would happen to people like me when all that infrastructure is demolished?
Here’s another must-read that Babama posted in a comment yesterday.
Recently, Chelsea Clinton got panned for saying that Bernie Sanders’ health care plan – commonly heralded as ‘Medicare for All’ by the revolution-peddlers – would give Republican governors the opportunity to dismantle publicly funded health insurance for the poor and middle class, that is, Medicaid and the health insurance exchanges. Seems absurd to accuse a self-proclaimed socialist with a proclaimed demand for single-payer universal health insurance of trying to take away health care. Politifact rated Chelsea Clinton’s claims ‘mostly false.’
Politifact got it wrong. Bernie Sanders’ plan does, in fact, allow for states to take away health care from the poor and middle-income, if not most everyone in a state. Although, that shouldn’t be a surprise, given that Sanders’ plan itself targets the economically disadvantaged for punishment. As Politifact notes, Sanders hasn’t proposed a full health care plan for his presidential campaign, instead choosing to use a bill Sanders introduced in the Senate in 2013 without a single cosponsor, titled ‘American Health Security Act of 2013’ as the template.
Poltiifact notes it is in fact true that Sanders’ plan repeals all health insurance funding from Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act Health Insurance exchanges. But he would channel the revenue instead to fund the single-payer system! [….]
The problem is, what Sander’s bill “seeks to” do and what it actually does are quite different. Since Politifact helpfully pointed us to Sanders’ 2013 bill, I decided to read it. In short, it ends all funding to Medicaid, Medicare, SCHIP an the ACA insurance provisions, directs it to this single-payer insurance program, raises additional revenue on the back of those who can least afford it, and charges states with the job of actually running it.
Each state, in theory, would have its own program that follows basic guidelines and the vast majority of the funding (80-90%) is provided by the federal government. Nonetheless, for states that refuse to run their own program, federal authorities – specifically, a Board – can do so instead. Sanders’ bill would also ban the sale of private health insurance.
Until I read that last night, I really didn’t understand how clueless Sanders really is. Please read the whole thing if you haven’t already, because Robert Reich is running around saying the plan makes sense.
One more Bernie link from Dean Barker at “Birch Paper.” This one has been getting retweeted a lot today. The piece takes us back to the early days of Sanders’ political career when he ran again and again for office, and always lost. Then he got smart and used guns to get into Congress.
Sanders repeatedly talks about how he lost an election because he supported a ban on assault weapons. What really happened is that Sanders did so well in a third-party run that he got Republican Peter Smith elected. After he got to Washington, Smith’s conscience bothered him and he ended up supporting a bill to ban assault weapons.
In 1990, Sanders ran for the House seat again, and defeated Smith with the help and monetary support of the NRA. So when Bernie went to Washington, he voted against the Brady bill–repeatedly.
You have to read that article! There are tons of good links in there too.
Hillary was on the morning shows today too, and she learned from George Stephanopoulos that Karl Rove’s super pac is running an ad in Iowa that supports Sanders attacks on her.
The web spot, titled “Hillary’s Bull Market,” was launched by American Crossroads, which is run by the Republican strategist and former President George W. Bush adviser. After watching the ad for the first time during her interview on “This Week,” Clinton just smiled.
“I think it shows how desperate the Republicans are to prevent me from becoming the nominee,” Clinton said about the ad, which goes after her ties to Wall Street. “I find that, in a perverse way, an incredibly flattering comment on their anxiety, because they know that not only will I stand up for what the country needs, I will take it to the Republicans.”
CNN’s report on the morning shows: Hillary Clinton zeroes in on Bernie Sanders.
Hillary Clinton on Sunday sharpened her attacks on Bernie Sanders over the Vermont senator’s record on gun control, just hours ahead of their fourth debate as both vie for the Democratic presidential nomination.
“I am very pleased that he flip-flopped on the immunity legislation,” Clinton told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union,” a day after Sanders, who had been hammered by her campaign for his past position, announced he would change course and back legislation to reverse a 2005 law granting firearm manufacturers legal immunity.
She then called on her rival to do the same with the so-called “Charleston loophole,” which allows licensed dealers, once they have initiated a federal background check, to complete the gun sale in question if they haven’t hears back from authorities after three days.
Good news for Hillary:
Hillary Clinton is leading Bernie Sanders in a new national poll ahead of Sunday’s final Democratic debate before the Iowa caucuses.
The former Secretary of State is beating Sanders by 25 points nationally, according to according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll of likely Democratic primary voters. Clinton is the top pick among 59% of Democratic primary voters, while Sanders has the support of 34%, the survey shows. Third-place candidate Martin O’Malley got the support of just 2% of likely voters.
Read the rest at CNN.
And From US News: Yes, Hillary’s Still the Inevitable Democratic Nominee She can recover even if she loses the first two nominating states to Bernie Sanders. Here’s why. Read about it at the link. It’s not easy find a brief excerpt to summarize the findings.
I’m putting this up a little early so we’ll have time to discuss these articles–or anything else you want to talk about–before the debate begins at 9PM. I look forward to reading your reactions to what happens tonight. This is the most important debate yet!
I really didn’t want to look at the headlines this morning after the embarrassing dust-up between the Bernie Sanders campaign and the DNC. Reading and listening to the media coverage last night was depressing as hell for me as a supporter of Hillary Clinton for President and more generally, the effort to elect women to high political offices.
The media generally treated the Sanders campaign as the victim, even though one of their high level staffers and at least three other campaign workers took advantage of a software glitch to run 25 searches, download proprietary data and save it to their personal files. Here is what they did, according to Bloomberg Politics:
According to an audit obtained by Bloomberg, Sanders staffers exploited a temporary glitch in the DNC’s voter database on Wednesday to save lists created by Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon told reporter there were “24 intrusion attempts” by the Sanders campaign. He and Mook insisted that the Clinton campaign did not take advantage of the bug to look at Sanders’ data.
The database logs created by NGP VAN show that four accounts associated with the Sanders team took advantage of the Wednesday morning breach. Staffers conducted searches that would be especially advantageous to the campaign, including lists of its likeliest supporters in 10 early voting states, including Iowa and New Hampshire. Campaigns rent access to a master file of DNC voter information from the party, and update the files with their own data culled from field work and other investments.
After one Sanders account gained access to the Clinton data, the audits show, that user began sharing permissions with other Sanders users. The staffers who secured access to the Clinton data included Uretsky and his deputy, Russell Drapkin. The two other usernames that viewed Clinton information were “talani” and “csmith_bernie,” created by Uretsky’s account after the breach began.
The logs show that the Vermont senator’s team created at least 24 lists during the 40-minute breach, which started at 10:40 a.m., and saved those lists to their personal folders. The Sanders searches included New Hampshire lists related to likely voters, “HFA Turnout 60-100” and “HFA Support 50-100,” that were conducted and saved by Uretsky. Drapkin’s account searched for and saved lists including less likely Clinton voters, “HFA Support <30” in Iowa, and “HFA Turnout 30-70″‘ in New Hampshire.
After the news broke, Sanders’ campaign manager Jeff Weaver blamed the DNC for essentially tempting their workers and did not apologize for or even admit stealing voter information from Clinton.
The Sanders campaign fired its “data director” Josh Uretsky, and then Uretzky proceeded to claim in interviews that they took Clinton data in order to “prove” there was a “breach” in the software. From TPM:
The former data director for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)’s presidential campaign said Friday that staffers for the campaign accessed and saved voter information from opponent Hillary Clinton in order to prove to the Democratic National Committee that their voter information system had been breached.
In a phone interview, Josh Uretsky told MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki that the Sanders staffers “wanted to document and understand the scope of the problem so that we could report it accurately.” Uretsky was fired Friday after news of the breach broke.
He said that he and other staffers accused of accessing the confidential information “knew that what we were doing was trackable” and they did not “use it for anything valuable.”
Come on. Why didn’t Uretsky just call the DNC or the IT provider and let them handle it? Alternatively, they could have informed the Clinton campaign directly. The fact is they stole information they weren’t entitled to and then became outraged when they were caught.
Next, the Sanders campaign actually filed suit against the DNC in Federal court. The dispute was supposedly settled after midnight last night, but there obviously is still bad blood, and BTW the Sanders campaign had to agree to cooperate with an independent audit.
We have to assume that if Sanders is willing to allow his staff to steal data and not even come forward with an apology, we probably can’t trust his promise not to run a third party campaign and stick us with one of the insane GOP candidates as POTUS.
And tonight Sanders and Clinton will meet in the latest Democratic debate.
The Sanders campaign has whined repeatedly about the number of debates, claiming the DNC is putting its finger on the scale for Clinton by having only six debates and schedule some of them on weekends. I really don’t understand why they would do that, since Clinton performs very well in debates. As one of her supporters, I wish there were more of them to showcase her knowledge and experience.
Will Bernie go negative tonight, despite his many promises to run a positive campaign? How will Hillary handle the situation? I hope she’ll be magnanimous, as suggested by the Associated Press:
In the first debate of the Democratic presidential campaign, Bernie Sanders dismissed concerns about Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account and server while she was secretary of state. Americans, he said, were tired of talking about her “damn emails.”
Will Clinton return the favor in Saturday night’s debate in New Hampshire?
The disclosure on Friday that four members of Sanders’ team improperly accessed voter information compiled by Clinton’s campaign shook up what had been a relatively civil race. The development has the potential to transform the debate – the third of the race and the last of the year – into something far livelier.
For Clinton, the question was how forcefully to confront the Vermont senator about the matter and whether to defend the reaction of the Democratic National Committee, which cut off Sanders’ access to the party’s voter database after learning of the breach. Sanders’ campaign said its access was restored Saturday morning….
During the debate, Clinton could choose to play down the issue in the way that Sanders did with his dismissal of questions about Clinton’s email use.
If Clinton did that, she probably would avoid alienating Sanders supporters – the passionate liberal voters she will need to win the general election should she capture the Democratic nomination.
I’m not sure I agree with that last paragraph. Bernie’s most passionate supporters are unlikely to come around to supporting Clinton in the general election. They are a pretty immature group. But these dudebro “progressives” and the media would love to have Hillary attack poor Bernie so they can really pound her. After all, they’ve already been doing it for months.
I saw numerous “liberals” attacking Hillary in very ugly terms on Twitter last night, and many of them said they would never vote for her under any circumstances. These are the same people who freaked out when some Hillary supporters refused to vote for Obama in 2008.
The AP article also notes that the Sanders campaign rushed to take advantage of the “dustup” by raising money on their unethical conduct and the resulting punishment.
Even before the suit, Sanders’ campaign was trying for a political edge, sending a fundraising email to supporters that said the DNC had placed “its thumb on the scales in support of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.”
The email made no mention of the campaign’s decision to fire a worker involved in the data breach or the admission from campaign manager Jeff Weaver that the worker’s actions were “unacceptable.”
That’s simply shameful in my opinion. This story is still developing, so I’ll post more links in the comment thread, and I hope you’ll do the same.
We’re less than a week from Christmas and it’s been slow as usual at this time of year. Unless we get really busy, let’s use this post as a live blog for tonight’s debate. If we get a lot of comments this afternoon, I’ll put up another post tonight. I’ll definitely be watching the entire debate.
What are your thoughts on all this? What other stories are you following? Please share in the comment thread, if you have a minute free today.
The media consensus so far is that Marco Rubio won last night’s Republican clown show. From MSNBC to the Weekly Standard, the pundits are saying Rubio has natural talent and charisma and that is supposed to be very bad news for Hillary Clinton.
I don’t get it. Rubio is at about 8% in the polls. He talks so fast that I can barely understand him. It’s as if he has memorized his talking points and has to get them out quickly so he doesn’t forget what he’s supposed to say. He comes across to me as childish, not charismatic. If that’s charisma, the meaning of the word has changed dramatically since it was applied to John F. Kennedy in 1960. Obviously, I’m not in sync with today’s political talking heads.
Even Charles Pierce says Rubio “won” the “debate” and vanquished his rival Jeb Bush at the same time. Still, Pierce thinks Rubio is a “hack” and the entire exercise was a joke.
If I had to guess, I’d say Rubio probably will be said to have had the best night. He really slapped around Jeb! Bush when the latter called him on Rubio’s confessed dislike of the job of United States Senator. He looked directly into the camera with his young man’s sincerity, and he parried questions about his personal profligacy in just the way guaranteed to appeal to the audience in the hall. He blamed the media for bringing it up.
Of course, when it comes to the actual things he would do as president, Rubio once again is a shoeless, blindfolded kid in a wilderness of rakes. John Harwood–for whom I am going to buy a beer the next time I see the guy–pinned Rubio on the fact that the Tax Foundation scored Rubio’s tax plan and found that it would send the deficit careering off into the Van Alen Belt, as well as shoving even more of the country’s wealth upward. In response, Rubio told Harwood he was wrong. (He wasn’t.) Then, Rubio started talking very fast, mentioned something about his dry cleaner and small business, and probably got more points for being tough with Harwood than he did for his tax plan, which is exactly as bad as the Tax Foundation said it was.
But, mainly, Rubio will be thought a winner because it’s plain now, if it wasn’t plain before Wednesday night, that Jeb! has had whatever little heart he had for this whole enterprise when it began cut out of him as the his campaign has stumbled along.
My lord, what a bunch of children.
Mike Huckabee made a point of the fact that he has been on the other side of Arkansas politics from the Clintons. “And,” Huckabee said, “I lived to tell about it.”
And got a big hand….
This whole debate, which was supposed to be about the economy, and which touched on the actual economy only briefly, when it touched on it at all, took place in the strange wonderland of conservative politics that coalesced when Bill Clinton interrupted what was supposed to be 16 consecutive years of Republican presidents in 1992. That shock to the conservative system was so profound that the Republican party’s immune system, which already was being compromised by the prion disease it picked up when it first ate all the monkey brains at the end of the 1970s, broke down entirely, and disease caused it to construct within the party’s mind an entire geography of illusion and dark, nameless terrors. Huckabee’s cheapest of cheap shots found its mark because the audience in Boulder was made up quite clearly of the people who live in that unreal political consciousness that has been created within the conservative fearscape – which, to them, is a very real place haunted by very real villains.
That says it all for me; I don’t feel the need to quote any other assessments. To be honest, I may just skip the next GOP debate. Watching that horror show last night was a complete waste of time. Not one of the people on that stage is qualified to be President of the US. Thank goodness Hillary Clinton is capable of beating all of them put together.
Many other pundits are writing the Bush campaign’s epitaph today. Here’s Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight: Yeah, Jeb Bush Is Probably Toast. The post-debate spin could become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Yes, we pride ourselves on being skeptical of the conventional wisdom here at FiveThirtyEight. You don’t have to look very far back for examples of it being wrong, such as how it badly overestimated the degree of danger that Hillary Clinton’s campaign was in until a week or two ago. But being skeptical is not the same thing as being a contrarian. There are plenty of times when the conventional wisdom is right. This is probably one of those times.
Bush received poor reviews for his debate performance from political commentators of all stripes (Republican, Democratic, partisan, nonpartisan, reporters, “data journalists”), many of whom also suggested that his campaign might soon be over. The straw poll1 we conducted among FiveThirtyEight writers and editors agreed; Bush’s average grade was a C-, putting him at the bottom of the 10-candidate group….
I agree with the group (I gave Bush a C-). Bush lost a probably ill-advised confrontation with Marco Rubio over Rubio’s absences from the Senate. Bush’s closing statement seemed stilted. He was the setup for a Chris Christie applause line about fantasy football. And for much of the debate, he was an afterthought, receiving the second-lowest amount of talk time among the candidates.
None of these things, taken alone or even together, would ordinarily be all that damaging. Bush didn’t make a catastrophic mistake — an “oops” moment. But the media consensus seemed to be that the debate was a potential make-or-break moment for Bush. Even if you were to charitably round up Bush’s performance to a C+ or B-, it probably wasn’t good enough.
Read more of Silver’s analysis at the link.
On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders is turning mean now that he’s losing ground in the polls. John Heilemann has the scoop at Bloomberg Politics.
Sanders’ attack on Hillary Clinton’s record is all about how she has shifted on policy issues, while he has remained completely consistent for decades. But is that really going to be good enough to catch and beat a candidate who has gathered hundreds of endorsements and leads Sanders in the polls by 20+ points? Will he be able to compete with Hillary’s foreign policy creds and her debating skills? I don’t think so.
Here are the high points of the Sanders strategy, according to Heilemann.
…three members of the Sanders high command—campaign manager Jeff Weaver, communications director Michael Briggs, and field director Phil Fiermonte—were reflecting on what Clinton’s record might say about her character. All agreed that Sanders and his staff believed that Clinton had moved to the left on numerous issues, from the Trans-Pacific Partnership to the Keystone pipeline, for purely political reasons: to foreclose daylight between her and Sanders. I asked Weaver if he thought that made her, as some longtime Clinton critics argue, a craven hypocrite and opportunist?
“A craven hypocrite?” Weaver replied, grinning slyly. “That’s a little bit harsh, don’t you think?” Then he added, with a chuckle, “Look, she’d make a great vice president. We’re willing to give her more credit than Obama did. We’re willing to consider her for vice president. We’ll give her serious consideration. We’ll even interview her.”
Hahahahaha! So clever. Heilemann:
Sanders’s lieutenants provided me with a wide-ranging and at times detailed account of their strategy for the three-month sprint to the first two must-win contests. That strategy is premised on the notion that their campaign has shifted into a new gear, moving from what Weaver calls “the introductory phase” into “the persuasion phase.” This new phase will be more aggressive, hard-edged, and focused on driving home contrasts between Sanders and Clinton. In other words, it will be more negative. Just how nasty things will get remains one of two central questions that will define the battle ahead. The other is whether Sanders, with his deep aversion to negative campaigning, is willing and able to do what is required to take down Clinton without tarnishing his brand as a different kind of politician.
Sorry guys, Sanders has already “tarnished” his so-called “brand.” Deep down, he’s a sexist who dismisses women. If he weren’t, he would have simply apologized for his “stop shouting” comment at the first Democratic debate and moved on. Instead, he and his supporter claim that he’s as much of a feminist than Hillary is.
Amanda Marcotte at Salon:
Last week, Hillary Clinton started trotting out a line implying that Bernie Sanders has got a bit of sexism lurking in his subconscious. During the first Democratic debate, Sanders responded to Clinton’s impassioned anti-gun argument by telling her that “all the shouting in the world” won’t fix the issue. Now Clinton, to huge amounts of applause from the women in her audiences, has taken to saying, “Sometimes when a woman speaks out, some people think it’s shouting.”
It’s a funny line, more of a nose-tweak than some kind of heavy accusation of misogyny. Sanders does, after all, shout all the time. Women like the joke because we’ve all dealt with men who, however well-meaning they are, still end up pushing double standards where they’re allowed to raise their voices or be rude, but blanch if women do it. Most of us know that they don’t mean it, but it’s still offensive.
But even though it’s really not a big deal, a lot of folks are acting like Clinton is accusing Sanders of wife-beating.
William Saletan of Slate in a piece that JJ linked to yesterday really went over the top. He claimed that because Sanders has used this “shouting” line for years with many other people, there was really nothing wrong with using it to condescend to Hillary during the debate. Marcotte:
Okay, so Sanders doesn’t have a sexist double standard, just a Bernie-specific double standard, where he gets to shout but the rest of you should lower your damn voices.
Still, I would ask the people who are getting all bent out of shape over this to put yourself in the shoes of the many women who found the exchange between Sanders and Clinton to be annoying. When a man is condescending to you, it’s often hard to tell if that’s just how he is to everyone or if it’s just women he talks down to. It gets even more complicated when you realize that a lot of men who are condescending toeveryone still turn the volume up even more when they’re talking to women.
And that is exactly how the “shouting” exchange felt during the debate. Yes, Sanders used the same general talking point in response to both Clinton and O’Malley. But he was more aggressive about it with Clinton, saying, “All the shouting in the world is not going to do what I would hope all of us want,” whereas he merely told O’Malley, “Here is the point, governor. We can raise our voices.” His tone and the amount of force he put behind this openly condescending talking point was very different. Telling women they’re just imagining things reads, in and of itself, like it’s sexist condescension.
I apologize for the long digression, but I just had to get that off my chest. Returning to John Heilemann’s reporting on Bernie’s plan to take down Hillary:
Devine and Weaver are well aware that they may—indeed, given the Clintonian precedents, are likely to—have no choice but go full frontal. “On policy, we’re driving the agenda, and we’re happy to be in that position,” Weaver says. “But I think they will to a large extent drive the tone. She’s the quote-unquote front-runner, and really started going after Bernie of late. They obviously are not as confident about this race as apparently the punditry is.”
Devine agrees. “How hard we fight back and how far we push it is very much dependent on them,” he says.
“So if they go hard negative,” I ask, “you guys will…?”
“Let them get run over by a Mack truck,” he says.
Um . . . what? The next Democratic debate on November 14 could get interesting. I don’t think that “Mack truck” remark is going to play very well between now and then. Bernie is going to have to grow a thicker skin or he’s the one who’ll get run over.
What are you reading and hearing today? Let us know in the comment thread below.