Going out on a limb

On the eve of the latest Super Tuesday, March 15….

I haven’t read or watched or listened to or imagined any of the news today, but I’ve been assuming Bernie Sanders has had Missouri for a few days now. Maybe Illinois too, as Rahm Emanuel is so unpopular he’ll probably drive some urban votes to Sanders. But Bernie would have to have a huge Millennial turnout, a huge independent turn out, a huge turn out in the suburbs, and 25-30% of the black vote, not to mention a sizable chunk of the Hispanic vote. It’s a tall order but not impossible. But it would bring him close, even if he lost, to splitting all those Illinois delegates fairly evenly.

I’m not sure about Ohio. The polls–if they are to be believed–have Hillary in a 5% or so lead, but who knows.

In the midwest, Hillary will win the women’s vote, but lose the men’s vote. Men will say that’s because women think they have to vote for her because she’s a woman. Women will roll their eyes and ignore them. Hillary will win the registered Democratic vote by a healthy margin, but lose badly with independents. If Bernie wins any of the midwestern states (and I’m thinking he will win two of the three at least), it will be white men that provide the margin, as it has been in every one of his wins so far, as Hillary even won the under thirty women vote in Michigan. If Hillary wins, it will be women and blacks that give her the margin. White men don’t like Hillary more than white women like Bernie, and even though women outvote men, the men’s anti-Hillary vote could give Bernie a win in any of the three midwestern races if less 80% of the black vote is for Hillary. If the race is really, really tight in Ohio, the forty thousand or so 17 years old voting for him will be a big plus for Bernie. A cool thing to be able to vote in the primary at seventeen if you’ll be eighteen by the time of the general election. They should do that in California as well.

By the way, I don’t believe the trade issue was as decisive as everyone is saying in Michigan, because Hillary actually won the working class vote. In fact she got 61% of the non college grad vote. So if Bernie has been targeting blue collar workers in Ohio with ads blasting Hillary on trade, it might not be working as it didn’t win him any blue collar votes in Michigan. In Michigan, Bernie won with Millennials–his get out the campus vote effort was incredible in Michigan–and with white males and especially independent white males. And the ten percent or so more of blacks who voted for Bernie in Michigan this time were also critical (he normally gets 15-20% , but in Michigan he got closer to 30%). All those helped him get that razor thin margin of victory. It was an impressive win because it was so unexpected (it even surprised his campaign) but they had to fight like hell to get that less than 20K vote margin. Still, the trade issue is the main talking point this week, it seems, and it was a main issue for Millennials in Michigan, few of whom will ever see the inside of a hard hat. One of those little ironies, I guess.

Watching Bernie’s surprise win last week was a blast, it was so unexpected, but in terms of delegate count it meant he won only a handful more delegates than Hillary in Michigan. And in Mississippi, that same day, Hillary’s win was so complete she took four times as many delegates as Bernie. It’s lopsided losses like that have left Bernie in such a delegate hole. Hillary has won ten primaries with at least 64% of the vote (and a 84% in Mississippi) while Bernie has won only one primary (Vermont) and two caucuses by those kind of margins. Bernie’s wins have been hard fought and impressive, but his losses have been catastrophic. So catastrophic, in fact, that Bernie could win all three midwestern primaries and fight Hillary to a draw in North Carolina and still wind up in worse shape than he was the day after Michigan, because he get will get creamed in the closed primary in Florida.

North Carolina will be closer than any other southern state with an open primary so far, because of its smaller proportion of black voters, but a Bernie win or even a draw is unlikely. We’ll see. Florida, though, will be another Hillary blowout. So right now I see two states for Bernie and two for Hillary and one coin toss. Bernie will get another tremendous shot in the arm but will probably wind up, as I said, further behind in delegates than he is today, because his wins will be close, meaning the loser gets almost as many delegates as the winner, while Hillary will come out with the lion’s share of delegates in Florida. Then the slog begins anew.

I have no idea how Trump will fit into this. Some Democrats are apparently dumb enough to vote for him, and some are dumb enough to think that voting for one of his Republican opponents against him somehow makes sense. Sometimes politics doesn’t make any sense.

As a Hillary supporter I am supposed to want her to win them all, I know, but I am thoroughly enjoying this thrilling race and would love it to keep going full bore. This is just great politics, and it’ll be good for our side. Bernie’s been great so far, Hillary’s great, what a helluva campaign.

I understand, however, that loving politics for the sheer sporting hell of it is immoral and I should feel ashamed of myself. And yes, I was paid big money by an unnamed Wall Street media consortium to write this, as so many of you keep asking.

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