Posted: February 6, 2016 | Author: bostonboomer | Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Bernie Sanders, financial sector donors, Goldman Sachs, Hillary Clinton, ideology, Latinos, New Hampshire primary, people of color, polls, Veterans Administration, white majorities in Iowa and New Hampshire |
So now it’s New Hampshire’s turn–a state that is even whiter than Iowa. Iowa is 92% white and New Hampshire is 94% white. Some interesting facts about New Hampshire from The Connecticut Post:
New Hampshire is even whiter than Iowa. Its largest “city” has 110,000 people in it.
Its population is slightly more educated and well off than the rest of the country.
Together, Iowa and New Hampshire tell us something about the voting behavior of white people who don’t live in or near large cities.
Blacks, Asians and Hispanics are basically excluded from the first two elections in the presidential nomination process.
This distorts results for both parties, but it especially affects Democrats because minorities vote in Republican primaries far less.
Hillary Clinton, for example, does far better than Bernie Sanders with minority voters in all the polling so far, so Sanders is lucky that Iowa and New Hampshire come first.
The big contest after the first two is South Carolina, which has a large minority population.
If Clinton wins big there, the Democratic race will suddenly look very different than it does today.
The U.S. is growing more diverse very quickly. For example, in 2012 there were 23.3 million Hispanic eligible voters; there are 27.3 million this year, making Hispanics the largest block of minority voters.
In 2014, there were four states where minorities make up the majority; by 2044, the U.S. will be majority-minority.
Some primary envy from The Detroit News:
The campaigns spent $40 million to sway Iowa caucusers; at the end, the spending hit a $6 million-a-week pace. Over the the past year, Iowa and New Hampshire residents had to be in hiding to avoid bumping into a candidate.
It would be one thing if these two states were microcosms of the nation. But neither represents the industrial or demographic diversity of America.
Fewer people live in Iowa than in Metro Detroit. Ninety-two percent of the population is white; fewer than 1 percent of businesses are owned by African-Americans. New Hampshire is even smaller and, at 94 percent, whiter.
Appealing to Iowa and New Hampshire voters requires different messages than would resonate nationwide. But if candidates fail to move the homogenous voters of these states, they’re at risk of seeing their funding dry up and their ambitions busted.
Presidential hopefuls should have to prove their appeal to a broader audience early on. The primary season should be revamped to force them to spend those early months demonstrating the resources to mount a national campaign.
The lack of diversity in the two earliest states has handed a big advantage to Bernie Sanders. We’ll have to wait for Nevada and South Carolina to see how much impact his “enthusiastic” support in Iowa and New Hampshire has had on voters in states that are more representative of the U.S. population.
And let’s not let voters forget that Sanders clearly stated in a debate that he considers white people to be the “general population” and African Americans and Latinos to be somehow outside the “general population.”
Sanders was asked about this exact problem at the debate Sunday night in Charleston. His answer:
“When the African American community becomes familiar with my Congressional record and with our agenda, and with our views on the economy, and criminal justice — just as the general population has become more supportive, so will the African American community, so will the Latino community. We have the momentum, we’re on a path to a victory.”
A little bit condescending, no? So we can only wait and see what happens on Tuesday and go from there. I don’t think it’s time for the Clinton campaign to panic just yet.
For a little deep background on the New Hampshire primary, here’s a great article from 1988 by the Washington Post’s Henry Allen: New Hampshire is a fraud.
New Hampshire is a fraud.
Which is to say that behind that idyll of white-steepled, sleigh-belled, town-meeting, republican-with-a-small-R America lurks a much realer and hidden New Hampshire — the souvenir hustlers, backwoods cranks, motorcycle racing fans who sometimes face trouble after a motorcycle crash so they can find legal help from accident lawyers in Dallas, out-of-state writers, dour French Canadians and tax-dodging Massachusetts suburbanites who have conspired as New Hampshire has conspired for two centuries to create an illusion of noble, upright, granite-charactered sentinels of liberty out of little more than a self-conscious collection of bad (if beautiful) land, summer people, second-growth woods full of junked cars and decaying aristocracy, lakes howling with speedboats, state liquor stores that are open on Sundays and the most vicious state newspaper in America — the Manchester Union Leader, which recently greeted the birthday of Martin Luther King by describing him as a Communist dupe.
They sell the rest of the country maple syrup, lottery tickets and Yankee sagacity the way Indians on reservations sell moccasins, bingo and environmental wisdom. They never shut up about how closemouthed they are. They beat you rich and they beat you poor. They do this by taking a Calvinist pride in the riches from the high-tech boom in the southern part of the state, and then asssuming the smugness of Thoreau in defending the poverty of the swamp Yankees and shack people living back in the woods with yards full of mean dogs and broken snowmobiles. They exhibit the ethics of Switzerland and the shrugging shabbiness of New Jersey.
Or as Emerson wrote: “The God who made New Hampshire taunted the lofty land with little men.”
The question is not who they think they are, to be holding us hostage every four years with their presidential primary. Instead, who do we think they are, to let them get away with it, this white, tight and right smidgen of a place, this myth-mongering bastion of no-tax/no-spend conservatives with no minorities to speak of and a total of .43 percent of the American people? As Thomas Jefferson said, after New Hampshire town meetings had attacked his Embargo Act, “The organization of this little selfish minority enabled it to overrule the union.”
Read more at the link. It’s a long read, but a fun one.
The media is finally beginning to vet Bernie Sanders with some serious research. Some examples:
Michael Grunwald at Politico: Bernie’s Radical Dilemma: If we need a revolution, how does he explain that things are already getting better?
Now that Bernie Sanders is looking less like a quixotic left-wing protest candidate and more like a serious contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, a contradiction at the heart of his campaign is becoming more glaring. You can call it the Radical’s Dilemma, or the Revolutionary’s Quandary, or maybe just Bernie’s Obama Problem. Whatever you call it, it was on stark display at last night’s debate in New Hampshire, even though Sanders tried to gloss over it.
The conundrum boils down to a schizophrenic view of a nation where progressive change is impossible and where progressive change is simultaneously happening. On one hand, Sanders argues that the political system is hopelessly corrupt, that the economy is outrageously rigged, that nothing good can happen as long as Wall Street, drug companies and fossil-fuel interests own Washington. On the other hand, Sanders says President Barack Obama has done a “fantastic job,” that America is in “much better shape than we were seven years ago,” that there has been significant progress on financial reform, health reform and climate action.
This is not just a political problem, as Sanders tries to carve out space to Obama’s left without denouncing a president with a 90 percent approval rating among Democrats. And Sanders can’t wave away the problem by saying the progress under Obama has been impressive, considering the Republican opposition, but insufficient; Obama says the same thing. This is a philosophical problem for a radical candidate, a question he hasn’t figured out how to answer: If things are never going to get better without a political revolution to take power back from special interests, how is it that things are getting better?
Tim Mak at The Daily Beast: The Veterans Scandal on Bernie Sanders’ Watch.
Bernie Sanders’s tenure as chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee was characterized by glaring neglect of his oversight responsibilities, allowing the 2014 VA scandal to unfold under his watch, veterans’ rights advocates argue.
Sanders has touted his work on veterans’ issues, most recently citing his involvement in “the most comprehensive VA health care bill in this country,” in a debate Thursday.
Left unsaid however, is that he was the chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, responsible for overseeing the Department of Veterans Affairs, as the scandal erupted.
Dozens of veterans died while waiting for medical care at Phoenix Veterans Health Administration facilities, a scandal CNN broke in the spring of 2014. The imbroglio spread with reports of secret waiting lists at other VA hospitals, possibly leading to dozens more preventable deaths.
He held one-sixth of the hearings on oversight that his House of Representatives counterpart held. Republicans griped that they had made multiple requests for more oversight hearings, but received no response. A news host even challenged Sanders as the scandal erupted, saying he sounded more like a lawyer for the VA than the man responsible for overseeing it.
“We feel that he did not live up to his responsibilities as SVAC chairman to provide oversight into this. He keeps hiding behind the mantle [of the title]. And yes, he did pass the $15 billion piece of legislation, but that’s… akin to closing the barn door after the chickens have escaped,” said Matthew Miller, the chief policy officer of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
CNN on Sanders’ history with big donors from Wall Street, including Goldman Sachs:
In recent years, Sanders has been billed as one of the hosts for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s retreats for the “Majority Trust” — an elite group of top donors who give more than $30,000 per year — at Martha’s Vineyard in the summer and Palm Beach, Florida, in the winter. CNN has obtained invitations that listed Sanders as a host for at least one Majority Trust event in each year since 2011.
The retreats are typically attended by 100 or more donors who have either contributed the annual legal maximum of $33,400 to the DSCC, raised more than $100,000 for the party or both.
Sanders has based his presidential campaign on a fire-and-brimstone critique of a broken campaign finance system — and of Hillary Clinton for her reliance on big-dollar Wall Street donors. But Sanders is part of that system, and has helped Democrats court many of the same donors.
A Democratic lobbyist and donor who has attended the retreats told CNN that about 25% of the attendees there represent the financial sector — and that Sanders and his wife, Jane, are always present.
“At each of the events all the senators speak. And I don’t recall him ever giving a speech attacking us,” the donor said. “While progressive, his remarks were always in the mainstream of what you hear from senators.”
And Sanders has personally benefited:
He got a hand from the party in 1996, when Rob Engel, then the political director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, pushed a Democratic contender out of the race for the House seat Sanders held as an independent.
In 2006, when Sanders ran for the Senate, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee pumped $37,300 into his race and included him in fundraising efforts for the party’s Senate candidates.
The party also spent $60,000 on ads for Sanders, and contributed $100,000 to the Vermont Democratic Party — which was behind Sanders even as he ran as an independent.
Among the DSCC’s top contributors that year: Goldman Sachs at $685,000, Citigroup at $326,000, Morgan Stanley at $260,000 and JPMorgan Chase & Co. at $207,000.
During that 2006 campaign, Sanders attended a fundraiser at the Cambridge, Massachusetts home of Abby Rockefeller — a member of the same family whose wealth he had one proposed confiscating.
Hmmm . . . I wonder where that info came from? If it was from the Clinton campaign, I say good work!
And then there’s this from Matthew Yglesias:
Bernie Sanders’s strong campaign is solving Hillary Clinton’s biggest problem.
…the reality is that no matter how annoying Clinton, her team, and the dozens of senior party figures backing her may find it, Sanders’s attacks are in Clinton’s long-term best interest. That’s because his framing of Clinton as a temperamentally cautious, ideologically moderate politician who tries to straddle the divide between progressive activists and status quo business groups is, for better or worse, exactly how she is going to want to portray herself for the coming general election.
After all, though this is obviously not what most of the Democratic Party base wants to hear, there’s simply no evidence that the mass public in the United States is eager to mobilize on behalf of Sanders’s vision of a drastic policy lurch to the left.
And this: another poll showing the race getting closer in New Hampshire. Remember, Hillary scored a surprise win in New Hampshire in 2008 when Obama was coming off a big win in Iowa.
What are you hearing? What stories are you following today? Now I have to go out and shovel some snow and I’ll be back soon.
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