I suspect Bernie’s demand that former congressman Barney Frank and Connecticut governor Daniel Malloy be removed from the Democratic Platform committee has more to do with his being thin skinned than with politics…both have gone after him in ways that Bernie found upsetting (not to mention effective). Frank has exposed weaknesses in Bernie’s Wall Street reform policies (he was brutal after Bernie’s stumble with the Daily News) and Malloy has been furious with Bernie since Bernie unfortunately sided with the NRA on a couple votes after the Sandy Hook shooting. Bernie lost Connecticut, in part because of Malloy’s impassioned campaign against him, and he earlier lost Frank’s state of Massachusetts. But in particular Bernie got stomped in New York after a huge investment of resources, money and credibility, and doubtless Frank’s incessant appearances in the news after Bernie’s tongue-tied Daily News interview helped with that stomping.
But such an angry demand leaves Bernie’s own Platform Committee choices–e.g., James Zogby, Cornel West–open to demands they be booted on the same basis (especially West, who has been extremely critical of Hillary Clinton and President Obama) and as such it seems less driven by strategy than by temperament. Perhaps it actually is a sign that he, as Rachel Maddow suggested, is planning on forcing a contested convention by any means possible…but I am not convinced this was all that Machiavellian. I just think that Bernie hates the guys. He and Frank, in particular, have been arguing for decades. They have never gotten along and it has carried over into the campaign.
Of course, things like this are also a useful way to drive fundraising, as the Sanders campaign’s already weakened cash flow money will start drying up even more once the primaries are over. The campaign will have to force a series of such confrontations that will get lots of media and social media coverage and keep some funding coming in. The fact that Bernie is making these demands now, before the primaries are even over, is probably not accidental. He is still telling his supporters that they will win all the remaining contests, a belief that is critical in driving social media debate on this. He won’t win all of them, as he must know–he will lose New Jersey, Washington DC and Puerto Rico definitely, New Mexico probably and is still behind in California, where he would have to win his first ever primary in a state with less that 75% white voters–and if he does lose those races, his demands will have a lot less force behind them. So now is the time, as Bird said so emphatically on his horn.
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. Continue reading
Been checking in sporadically on the Nevada caucus predictions, and it was neck and neck a few days ago and now Hillary is edging out Bernie again, but who knows, it’s a caucus. It’s really impossible to tell who will show up to a caucus and where and with both sides as fired up as they are and the Culinary Union sitting this one out (membership being so split) it’s all quite up in the air. I know that for the Democratic Party in Nevada (looking at the Nevada’s Secretary of States voter data here) you have the initial caucuses which selects about ten thousand delegates (out of about 600,000 Democrats in the state, though how many are expected to attend the caucuses on Saturday I have no idea), then over the next three months those delegates meet at their respective county Democratic conventions (there are 17 counties in Nevada) and are whittled down to maybe three or four thousand delegates who go on to state Democratic Party convention in May which manages to pick the 24 delegates who will go on to the Democratic national convention. And kind of like how the electoral college is weighted in favor of small states and against big states (so that a Californian’s presidential vote is worth about one-third of what a North Dakotan’s vote is worth*) residents of rural counties (a couple of which have in Nevada are disproportionately represented in the state convention. Thus a candidate can do really well in the biggest county–Clark (450K Democrats)–and win the popular vote count yet lose in the delegate count by not having enough delegates Washoe (95K Democrats) and in the small counties (none of which come close to 10K registered Democrats and six of which have less than a thousand, Esmeralda County has 120 registered Democrats, Eureka County has 112). This is what happened in 2008 (using date from here) when Hillary won over 50% in the caucuses but wound up losing the final delegate vote at the state convention because the Obama campaign had worked the small counties and thus had more delegates on hand because Hillary had majorities in less counties. The initial vote in the Caucuses of 50% Hillary to 45% Obama (due to Hillary’s high turn out in Clark County) in January became 55% Obama to 45% Hillary at the convention in May, because Obama had managed to get more caucus goers to attend the precinct caucuses in Washoe County (Reno) and the small counties back in January than had Hillary (who won in hugely populated Clark County), even though Hillary had more total caucus goers state wide. Basically it’s not so much how many supporters you have, but where you have those supporters. Obama had more in the right places, even though he had less overall, and wound up with fourteen delegates to the national convention to Hillary’s eleven. If California selected its delegates in the same manner, a candidate could win most of the big counties in the Bay Area and Southern California yet still lose the delegate total because the other candidate won all the small rural counties, and there are many more small rural counties in California than big urban ones. Same goes for Nevada. It’s not whether you win or lose in the Nevada caucuses, so much, but how you play the game. Obama’s team in Nevada outplayed Hillary’s in 2008. It was not that far different from how the more popular Al Gore was defeated by George W Bush in 2000. Gore got a half million more votes, but Bush got his smaller number of votes in the right places. Of course, the results of the Nevada caucuses, skewed as they were, did not affect the outcome of the nomination race at all. Indeed, they had little significance in the overall picture. It’s just that the Nevada Caucuses were the fourth contest that year (preceded by Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan) and as such get a lot of media attention. Which, at the time, gave Hillary a “win”, since the actual delegates weren’t to be selected for months, long after Obama has already racked up the delegates he needed. Continue reading
The very same people who are demanding that the media quit running stories about Donald Trump are the same people who can’t seem to stop reading and sharing and commenting on all those stories about Donald Trump. The audience for Donald Trump stories consists of two basic demographics….the conservatives who really, really like Donald Trump and the progressives who really, really hate him. As there are more Americans who can’t stand Trump (including me, actually) than there are those who like him, it’s the Trump haters who are driving most of the media frenzy. After all, Trump lovers are mostly following him on FoxNews. Trump haters are following him across a wide spectrum of news media. If those Trump haters would stop obsessively following his campaign, stop commenting in such vast numbers on the stories, and stop the incessant sharing and posting of everything Trump on Facebook and Twitter…then the monetary value of Trump news would plummet…less ad revenue, less page hits, less fundraising value on public radio and television. Right now, though, you have to be nuts to not cover Trump as much as possible, especially since Trump haters are by far the most high value advertising demographic. Trump lovers, on the other hand, are a relatively low value advertising demographic, if only because they make so much less money than Trump haters. It’s Trump haters that are driving this media explosion because every time television news, public radio, newspapers, news weeklies, blogs or news sites run a Donald Trump story it draws the very audience that pays the bills…Trump haters. Only FoxNews is the exception to this. Which means the only way to end the Trump media frenzy is if the very people who demand the media stop running Trump stories stop watching or reading those stories. But they can’t, because they are as addicted to Donald Trump as they were to Mad Men. And it’s hard to tell right now where the political news ends and entertainment begins, and how many people now can tell the difference.
After the Paris attacks the GOP conveniently went after Syrian refugees which allowed the American Left to turn the debate of Islamic terrorism into a part of the 2016 presidential election contest. It became part of the classic battle between the Democratic party’s multi-culturalism and the Republican Party’s resurgent racist nativism. In the process the threat of real live Islamic terrorism was ignored, even belittled. I wondered, a month ago, how we on the Left would react when American Islamic terrorists, inspired by ISIS, would attack. Continue reading