Morning Ed: Politics {2016.06.07.T}

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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186 Responses

  1. Michelle says:

    So, the Trump campaign, aside from being morally bankrupt, is also broke. TPM has also been doing quite a few stories lately on Trump’s wealth or relative lack thereof and the Trump “University” story seems to be heating up, helped along by der Trumpster’s repeated attacks on the “Mexican” judge presiding over the case. I wonder how many more Republicans will be washing their hair come July?Report

  2. Kolohe says:

    I think you, Will, have made this joke before, but all they need to tell Kaisich is that they’ll be free food in Cleveland, and he’ll be there.

    Milo seems to me like one of the types that get liquidated in the purge after his side takes absolute power (e.g.)Report

  3. North says:

    I suspect that HRC would really have preferred the AP keep their yap shut about the delegates until after Tuesday. Further proof that things aren’t ‘rigged’.

    Also Trump’s money issue is a rather significant one. Also his general disdaining of analytics. Normally the down candidate races draw on the work of their Presidential campaign for this kind of info and GOTV support. It looks like in 2016 Trump is going to reverse that depending on the RNC and down ticket races to support his campaign. It will be very interesting to see how that turns out.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to North says:

      Yes, and what’s more, I’m not really sure what it was that made the AP think anything had changed. The CW all along had been that superdelegates would break overwhelmingly for Clinton, and by a lot of counts incorporating that assumption, Clinton went over the top weeks ago. By “earned” delegates, she still needs to go over the top but seems all but certain to do so in the six primaries taking place today (rendering superdelegates superfluous). Even if Sanders exceeds the margin of error in his favor in all six primaries, the proportional delegate pledge to Clinton from California alone should put her over the top to the place the AP said she was at yesterday.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Burt Likko says:

        They got the Superdelegates on the record is what changed, which in turn allowed them to be the first to make it official. They verified the assumption.Report

      • That the superdelegates would do anything except break overwhelmingly for Clinton has always been a wild-eyed fantasy. These are people who, for the most part, have spent their adult lives working for the Democratic Party. Bernie’s been an official Democrat for, what, a bit over a year now? The other day I saw an article in one of the big papers that still had “(I-VT)” behind the first appearance of Sen. Sanders’s name.Report

  4. Richard Hershberger says:

    It does seem to me that Hillary is oddly ill-equipped to battle Trump, while Bernie would excel in that contest.

    I have the opposite impression. Clinton has spent the last quarter century having monkeys throw poo at her. She knows how to deal with it. She is fully capable of laughing in Trump’s face. Sanders strikes me as someone more likely to respond with humorless self-righteous indignation.Report

    • North in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      Agreed. What exactly is Trump going to do? Hurtle hysterical accusations while screaming at the top of his lungs? HRC’s been dealing with that for decades.Report

    • Mo in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      Jeet Heer seems to think that to win, Hillary needs to be pulled to the left. That strikes me as wishful thinking. Donald Trump’s appeal to sane people is that he’s pushing back against the p.c. police. Hillary tacking left to appeal to those groups, rather than tacking to the center and focusing on competence and governance.

      Not to mention, Sanders doesn’t seem to inspire confidence in what is likely the most effective line of attack against Trump, “That he’s an irrational hothead that has no idea how to do anything.” The NYDN interview showed that Sanders has just as much empty rhetoric.Report

      • Autolukos in reply to Mo says:

        Clinton’s primary challenge will be to continue doing three things:

        1. Breathing
        2. Having a pulse
        3. Having a D next to her name on the ballot

        If she can keep these up between now and November, she is a solid favorite.Report

        • Will Truman in reply to Autolukos says:

          I think this is accurate. She can afford a lot of mediocrity as a candidate.Report

        • Troublesome Frog in reply to Autolukos says:

          I’d agree with you, but I’m starting to wonder if Trump will melt down severely enough to have to pull out of the race before the gavel comes down on his primary win. It does *not* appear to be going well for him right now. I’d still bet on him being the winner, but he does need to hold on a while longer.Report

          • North in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

            Yeah this Trump University thing is potentially a huge tire fire. Yes Clinton has her own charges but her allegation is “Mishandled emails” and his “Conned people like the voters with a fake university”.Report

          • DavidTC in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

            Why would Trump pull out of the race after a meltdown?

            Seriously, I’m with you on the meltdown, I’m suspecting there are a lot of possible triggering events for a Trump meltdown.

            For example, Hillary Clinton pointing out some facts at the first debate. I am not even convinced that Trump is able to stand silent and respectfully allow someone their time to talk, *especially* if they’re saying bad things about him. The first debate could result in Trump acting like the man-child he is, in front of everyone.

            Or the media could do it. The media could get a hold of his actual finances, for example. Or start asking him why he *isn’t* actually self-financed.

            Oh, sure, BSDI, but Trump has repeatedly attacked the media itself. And not for real attacks that complaints about had other reporters nodding along (Like when Hillary occasionally points out how the media just keeps repeating *made up stuff*.), but stuff that is entirely legit for reporters to be asking about. I can even imagine the media getting so fed up by Trump’s attacks on them that they start *actually* responding. And if the media start attacking in the correct way, hell, if the media just pick one or two *obvious* things to keep questioning him about, he will get pissed and say more dumbass things, rinse, repeat until he blows up.

            So I can see Trump just totally freaking out on camera. Screaming, yelling at people, overturning tables. I don’t know the odds, but that’s because I don’t know how far other people will push him….I consider the odds of it happening near 100% if people *do* keep pushing him. I’ve babysat three-year olds before, I know how it works. Maybe Trump can reign it in *once*, but that’s just going to make him more angry and meltdown-prone. (Actually, I think we sorta saw that when he started attacking those reporters in the middle of his speech a few weeks ago.)

            The thing is…I’m not seeing him dropping out before the nomination. In fact, I’m not even seeing him allowing the party to pick someone besides him. Even if it’s completely clear he cannot win. Even if he has had a meltdown in public.

            Moreover, I’m not sure it actually makes sense for the party to do that. ‘Yeah, we completely screwed up, here’s a better nominee, we guess. I mean, it’s not the one you wanted, but that one was unacceptable, so…how about this one?’ How exactly does that work? Is there any precedent for parties doing that? Is there any possible way they could win at that point?Report

            • Will Truman in reply to DavidTC says:

              Historically “Hey, general public, we have decided this person is the nominee” is how nominees were decided. It’s also how it’s decided in most of the rest of the world.

              I don’t think there is anything they can do to win (but who knows?). I think the reason they would do it is so that they don’t have to spend the next five months defending Donald Trump. Unfortunately for the politicians, the decision isn’t theirs to make. They would basically have to convince the delegates that it’s bad for the party that they should need to defend Donald Trump for the next five months. Which is not impossible (more are loyal to Cruz than Trump), but pretty hard.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Will Truman says:

                I don’t think there is anything they can do to win (but who knows?). I think the reason they would do it is so that they don’t have to spend the next five months defending Donald Trump.

                See, that’s what *I* was thinking was going to happen a while back. As recently as two months ago, I argued that the party wasn’t going to allow Trump to be nominated. That the party elite would pick someone else, probably Cruz (And isn’t *that* a weird thing to say?), and keep presenting him as a potential nominee all the way up to, and even *past*, Trump mathematically winning…and then trying to flip people at the convention. All while keeping up a steady attack on Trump, and, more importantly, make sure the *media* never presents him as the actual winner.

                I was basically imagining, at this point, we’d be right here in the election, vote-wise, but we’d have the GOP desperately trying to keep their options open, trying to shove Cruz or even some random person forward. I wasn’t quite 100% sure if they’d *actually* try to get that person nominated over Trump, but I thought they’d, at least, keep forcing ‘the race’ to still be open.

                But…they didn’t. And they can’t reverse that. They’ve already started giving him their grudging support. Everyone else dropped out. The media is treating him as a nominee. (And you can’t blame them, as everyone else dropped out!) It is *way* too late to flip around on that, no matter what Trump does.

                What I was thinking would have crippled the party. But flipping now would destroy it.

                They would basically have to convince the delegates that it’s bad for the party that they should need to defend Donald Trump for the next five months. Which is not impossible (more are loyal to Cruz than Trump), but pretty hard.

                And that ‘more are loyal to Cruz than Trump’ would have been relevant *if Cruz hadn’t dropped out*.

                If the first place person proves unacceptable, you select the running up…but that sorta depends on someone else actually *finishing* the race, not the guy who quit 3/4th of the way through as the winner passed the finish line.

                If there really is a pressing need to replace Trump, Cruz will play a role…but it will probably be in directing his delegates to vote for someone, perhaps in return for a cabinet post, or as the presumptive nominee next time.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to DavidTC says:

                I mention the Cruz loyalty as a way of saying not-Trump, not that they’d turn around and give it to Cruz. The lack of a person to turn around and give it to is one of the impediments.

                As you point out, they had more of an opportunity to do this in the past and didn’t. So it seems pretty unlikely that they will going forward. If nothing else, the degree of coordination required can likely only be done by a party strong enough to prevent itself from being in this position to begin with.

                There’s something in the water over the last couple of days, though, and the realization that things aren’t going to change is starting to set in. They still probably won’t do anything, but the quiet acquiescence a la Mitt is still not happening, and we’re in uncharted territory.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to DavidTC says:

                Based on this it looks like Ted has come up with a grand strategy of dropping out staying completely out of the spotlight, wait for Donald to blow everything up between now and November, then get back in, pick up all the pieces, emerge as the heavy favorite for the nom in 2020 – and have a better than average chance to defeat Clinton then.Report

              • Michelle in reply to Kolohe says:

                I don’t know. I kind of think of Cruz as a smarter, slicker version of Rick Santorum. More brains; less heart. I’m just not sure there are going to be enough evangelical culture warriors to make a Cruz candidacy viable. They’re a dying breed (literally).Report

            • North in reply to DavidTC says:

              I think TF’s point was that Trump -doesn’t- have the actual nomination yet. The convention hasn’t happened. If Trump utterly melts down, if he gets handcuffed on TV or something else utterly nuts the GOP is 100% capable of denying him the nomination. All the delegates would have to do is the following:
              -Ryan “I call this GOP convention to order”
              -Delegate “Mr. Chairman, I move that the convention rules be amended to allow all delegates to vote their conscience for President of the USA.”
              -Delegate 2 “Mr. Chairman I second the motion.”
              -Ryan “All in favor?”
              -Convention “AYE!”
              -Ryan “All opposed?”
              -A few voices “…nay”
              And trump loses the nod. The GOP wouldn’t dare do this unless there’s a huge meltdown because their voters would kill them. But if Trump has a bad enough melt down right now he could still not be the nominee, the mechanism is in place. Popular opinion holds it back alone, Trump lives or dies by it.

              Now after the convention if Trump has a melt down then the GOP is in a far deeper kettle of crap.Report

              • Troublesome Frog in reply to North says:

                This is along the lines of what I’m talking about. There are two possible crazy outcomes I can see:

                1) Scandals like Trump U and whatever else he’s had his fingers in over the years just keep spilling out and he decides he doesn’t want to bear the personal cost of all of those skeletons. He can say the media is beating him up and they’d never let him win a fair campaign and leave in a huff.

                2) He can become such an embarrassment to the party that they decide that the cost of pulling him is lower than the cost of having their future tied to him for the next few months / years.

                Normally we wouldn’t even be considering either possibility, but with Trump, I’m not 100% certain that he can keep it together for a month+ without pushing the party to far or that here isn’t an even bigger scandal than a fraudulent university that he wants to keep the lid on. It’s certainly more likely that he’ll make it through, but he’s weaker than any other politician I can think of on that front.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                I’m not 100% certain that he can keep it together for a month+ without pushing the party to far or that here isn’t an even bigger scandal than a fraudulent university that he wants to keep the lid on.

                The biggest ‘scandal’, or rather the entirely legal secret that is going to seriously ding his support *and* turn him in a giant ball of anger, is:

                Trump is not a billionaire, except in his own head.

                He’s actually said that his ‘worth’ can vary from day to day, based on what *he* estimates his brand to be worth and how he feels. I.e., he’s just *inventing* a lot of his fortune based on intangible nonsense.

                In real, actual money, he is worth *maybe* half a billion dollars…and probably less. (Actual billionaires do not mess around with college scams, or selling idiotic steaks.)

                The corollary to that is that Trump is actually a *horrible* businessman, considering he was given something like $200 million in 1980. It’s possible he has *less* money now than he had then.

                People wonder what ‘attacks’ will stick to Trump, considering his supports seem completely fine with all dishonest things he does?

                This one. It’s this attack that will stick. It directly impacts the idiotic hero-worship that Trump supporters have of him.Report

            • Chip Daniels in reply to DavidTC says:

              People keep talking about a “Trump meltdown”.
              How would we know if it happened?
              Seriously, this guy is a permanent “shrieking white hot ball of rage”; He thrives on drama and bizarre antics.

              A “meltdown” would be him speaking calmly and professorially to a group of scholars about the effect of a Syrian détente with Russia on European banking stability.
              That’s when I would look for the exits and dive for cover.Report

              • j r in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I dislike Trump more than the average person, but this simply isn’t true. You’re confusing the image that you want to have of Trump with the reality of Trump.

                Anger can only go so far in politics. Trump has the support he has because has a rapport with his supporters. He has a great amount of reverse-likability, meaning that lots of people believe that Trump would like them. It’s most likely an act. Non-candidate Trump likely wouldn’t give his average supporter the time of day, but politics is about perception.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to j r says:

                Of course his anger is not omnidirectional- its focused on the same people who his supporters, (also shrieking white hot balls of rage), hate and fear.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to j r says:

                “Trump has the support he has because has a rapport with his supporters. ”

                Trump hasn’t got shit with his supporters. What they see when they look at him is whatever they want to see. All he really has is the ability to convince people that whatever it is you want a President to be, he’ll be that.

                His whole thing is to be nothing. The way he operates is to walk into a room knowing absolutely nothing, listen to five minutes of explanation, make a snap decision about what the solution will be and who will implement it, and then move on to the next thing. He figures that it must work because he’s got tons of money in the bank, big houses, nice cars, hot wives and daughters, and would a dumb loser get all those things? Of course not.

                Which is, in fact, what Hillary Clinton is going for as well, but she has a lot more trouble making it look natural rather than calculated; making “my solutions are always correct because I am who I am” look like confidence rather than smarm.Report

              • The way he operates is to walk into a room knowing absolutely nothing, listen to five minutes of explanation, make a snap decision about what the solution will be and who will implement it, and then move on to the next thing.

                The last time we elected that guy, his gut told him to invade Iraq.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Then what did Hillary’s considered, rational, introspective judgement tell her?Report

              • North in reply to Kolohe says:

                To vote yes because the mood of the country was such that she’d be endangering her position if she opposed it.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to North says:

                Which itself was a very poor judgement and calculation. (that cost her over 13 million dollars, personally)Report

              • North in reply to Kolohe says:

                Indeed, had she had future vision she would have very vehemently opposed it instead of doing what everyone was doing. No one claimed she was a visionary, she’s just a pol. Hell, even Trump supported Iraq.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to North says:

                And because she’s not nearly as skeptical about the use of the military as she should be.

                Does that make her as culpable as the architects of the damned thing? No.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                You’re right. I’m definitely not going for vote for Cheney, Rumsfeld or Wolfowitz for President this year, no matter who else is running and might win.Report

              • j r in reply to j r says:

                @chip-daniels and @densityduck

                Your comments both demonstrate the one constant about Trump across his supporters and detractors. When he is the topic, people can’t help but let their normative judgments overwhelm their ability to make accurate positive assessments.

                Spend some time listening to Trump supporters and you will realize that most of them really believe that Trump is for then, cares about them, and wants to make them better off in ways that the political establishment does not.

                Also, the idea that he is all things to whomever wants to believe whatever is incorrect. He’s had the most consistent messaging of this campaign. The fact that the message is less than consistent is another matter.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to j r says:

                He’s had the most consistent messaging of this campaign. The fact that the message is less than consistent is another matter.

                I don’t know what this means. How does the fact that he’ll often contradict himself in consecutive sentences jibe with “consistent messaging”?Report

              • Consistent in themes, inconsistent in policy particulars.Report

              • It’s true that he rarely strays from “I have a really big dick.”Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to j r says:

                Trump is for then, cares about them, and wants to make them better off in ways that the political establishment does not.

                Yes, yes, absolutely. Trump is on the side of people who hate and fear immigrants, who hate pressing 1 for English, people who are terrified of Sharia Law, people who think we were better back when kids could still pray in school, when a Ford and a Chevy would last for ten years, when a woman cooked, still would, still could.

                Trump wants to make the lives of those hard working Real Americans better, by stripping away all the 98% of the government funding that goes to those shiftless strapping young bucks buying T Bone steaks.

                Trump wants to make America great again by bombing the bejesus out of anyone who disses us.

                Yeah, I get it- Trumps message is not inconsistent of mysterious, it is a blaring klaxon, by people who are shrieking loudly that they hate what America is becoming.

                I’m not saying his people don’t find solace and comfort in it- I’m saying the entire message is predicated on the promise of purging and cleansing America of the recent impurities and profane elements.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to j r says:

                Anger can only go so far in politics. Trump has the support he has because has a rapport with his supporters. He has a great amount of reverse-likability, meaning that lots of people believe that Trump would like them.

                @chip-daniels might be talking about ‘anger’, but what I, and I think @north also, mean by meltdown, is that Trump just loses control of himself.

                Less ‘anger’ and more basically pitching a fit. Yelling a bit and storming off stage.

                He’s already come close a few times with the media, and this is *the American media in 2016*, aka, the pre-programmed regurgitating-press-releases media!

                Put him on a stage with Hillary Clinton, demand he remain quiet while Hillary talks about him in unflattering terms, watch the resultant explosion.Report

              • North in reply to DavidTC says:

                Yes, by meltdown I basically mean either some action by Trump or some scandal about Trump that basically blows the bottom out of his campaign.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to North says:

                Yes, I also think that’s what we normal would call a “meltdown”, but if Trump snarled at the media and walked offstage, his supporters would be jubilant at his “epic victory over the MSM”.

                Remember when somebody confronted Newt onstage about his infidelity, and he sneered and refused to answer? How his team saw that as a yuge win for Newt?
                Same people here.

                They have been waiting for this since Gore Vidal called Wm. F. Buckley a crypto-facist.Report

              • North in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                And yet I think it’ll avail them as much triumph this time as it ever did before.Report

        • dragonfrog in reply to Autolukos says:

          I would be inclined to believe that – but then I was inclined to believe he couldn’t possibly be nominated either.

          Also, Rob Ford was an immensely popular mayor of Toronto, and he didn’t stop being mayor because of smoking crack, saying obviously racist things, being slobbering drunk in public, getting in fights, driving recklessly, arranging jailhouse hits, driving away every competent city administrator, or otherwise being a pitiable buffoon. He stopped being mayor because he got cancer and withdrew from the race while he still enjoyed a sturdy lead in the polls.Report

      • Burt Likko in reply to Mo says:

        Yeah, Heer’s thought strikes me as very much not correct. She needs to stay the course she’s been on since about Super Tuesday — right down the middle of the road. That’s a natural place for her to be (simultaneously a strength and a weakness for her, IMO).

        What she shouldn’t do, because she’s not good at it, is pretend to be someone she isn’t. She’s basically a technocrat, she’s basically a centrist who fades left on marginal decisions, a Democrat because of partisan affiliation rather than ideological affinity, someone who wants to deploy her intelligence and willpower rather than some sort of a grand vision, someone who would rather implement incremental changes rather than dramatic sweeping ones. She tried a couple of sweeping maneuvers early in her career and got bit, badly, and she’s smart enough to have learned that lesson. That’s just who she is.

        She’s fortunate that
        a) she’s managed to draw an exponent of a new (new to the American national scene, new within living memory) sort of ideology on the other side so she can offer technocracy and competence as an alternative to the new, weird, and untested platform of her opponent;
        b) she’s managed to draw an opponent whose personality is initially amusing in its outrageousness and later tiresome to the point that a lot of people, having been saturated with it, will prefer to simply turn it off and make it go away — her rather more bland appeal is calculated abd sculpted to be inoffensive to a large number of people;
        c) associated with an outgoing President who also, for the most part, has governed as a technocrat rather than an ideologue, whose dramatic policy changes are many years behind from early on in his administration, and whose policies have created a better-than-baseline economy and a sense of (if not the reality of) overall peace, making being associated with the incumbent a net advantage.

        Here’s how Trump gets around that: he needs a black swan event. Some shithead somehow smuggles in a nail vest into a concert in some major American city, shouts something scary-sounding in Arabic, and kills himself and a few dozen innocent kids nearby. America panics, demands retaliation and visible signals of safety. Or a major investment house fails, or a hedge fund gets embroiled in a scuzzy scandal. Populist railing against a corrupt Wall Street overpowers a generalized sense of “Hey I finally got my retirement account back in order.”

        Those are the sorts of things that change the game enough that the centrist, steady, unspectacular technocracy Clinton offers will seem less desirable than the mercurial populism of Trump. Something sudden, visceral, and scary. Stuff we wouldn’t want to have happen anyway separate from political effect.Report

        • Will Truman in reply to Burt Likko says:

          I think this is largely correct. I think the worst thing she can do is try to change her footing. Keep her feet planted ideologically and temperamentally where they are with only comfortable variations, have her campaign explore different avenues of attack, and try to improve as a candidate.Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to Will Truman says:

            Not 100% sure on how the Black Swan event breaks for the electorate.

            I thought Douthat’s Grey Swan theory worth contemplating.

            Though mostly I’m just anti-swan. Last time we tried raising them they ate all our lettuce, pooped in all the wrong places, and were surprisingly fierce… I learned the hard way why Mother Goose carries a crook. And, in the end, the birds were underwhelming when cooked (though even their normal sized livers were exceptionally good).Report

            • North in reply to Marchmaine says:

              I’ve heard swans taste fishy. I’ve had Canada Goose once and it was excellent albeit dense and very fatty.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to North says:

                Dang, I had a massive brain fart there… was writing swan and thinking goose.

                We haven’t raised any swans nor killed any (well, possibly once on a golf course when I was about 16, but that was accidental, never confirmed, and hey, the statute of limitations is way past, so get off my back, man.) nor eaten one; I can only speculate on the quality of their livers.

                Besides, everyone knows that the basis of a government should in no way be set upon the foibles of aquatic birds.Report

              • Autolukos in reply to Marchmaine says:

                From what I’ve heard, swans make geese seem positively cuddly.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Marchmaine says:

                It depends on what the goose has been eating. A goose that’s been living in a cornfield tastes great. A goose that’s been living on a golf course is full of fertilizer and pesticides, and tastes like a chemical factory.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Agreed… these geese (aka faux swans) were pastured in our garden. All the literature said they would help weed the strawberries, eat under the fruit trees, and help keep our trellises clean. Instead they ate our lettuce, trampled our garlic, pooped in the shade of the trees, and attacked our children. And, despite all that, never really fattened appropriately… though possibly we ended the experiment prematurely, if you catch my drift.Report

        • My biggest fear is that she’s a foreign policy interventionist at heart, and if consigned to a caretaker role on domestic matters by an uncooperative Congress, is likely to blunder into another overseas military mess.Report

          • North in reply to Michael Cain says:

            Hell, I support her and that’s my fear too. But in theory the voters could keep her honest in that area. the Dem bas is not in a very pro-war mood these days.Report

        • Stillwater in reply to Burt Likko says:

          What she shouldn’t do, because she’s not good at it, is pretend to be someone she isn’t. She’s basically a technocrat, she’s basically a centrist who fades left on marginal decisions, a Democrat because of partisan affiliation rather than ideological affinity,

          Exactly. She needs to figure out a way to not only maintain those strengths (rule 1: don’t play “yo mama” with Trump) but to bring them into positive relief. And if she can’t do that – just that! – against the Trumpster, then it’s true. She’s just really bad at this.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Mo says:

        Jeet Heer seems to think that to win, Hillary needs to be pulled to the left. That strikes me as wishful thinking. Donald Trump’s appeal to sane people is that he’s pushing back against the p.c. police. Hillary tacking left to appeal to those groups, rather than tacking to the center and focusing on competence and governance.

        Personally, I think she needs to tack higher, rather than laterally. Her most recent speech should give her a blue-print for success: aim higher than the level of your opponent. She doesn’t have to be all things to all people, she just needs to present herself as a better choice than her opponent and let the chips fall where they may. I mean, let’s be honest here. She’s not gonna win food fights with Trump, and a tactical move to the center (on issues, say) is gonna stink of pandering. The weakness of Trump is that he’s a gutter feeder who (very intentionally!) appeals to the basest instincts of pissed off white Americans. So her best strategy, seems to me, is to stay above that. (For example, forget about finding a devastating nickname for Trump.)Report

        • Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

          Thinking about Burt’s comment some more, I think the Tactics and Strategery which give her the best chance of winning (add: against Trump) would be to refrain from tactics and strategry. Just embrace her wonky self out on the campaign trail. Unfortunately, I can’t imagine any of her people refraining from engaging in serious Tactics and Strategy. (Maybe Bill…)Report

        • Alan Scott in reply to Stillwater says:

          You’re absolutely right that this is the winning strategy–and it’s a strategy that Clinton can pull off better than just about any other candidate, primary or general. I’m a little bit more hopeful than you that Clinton is smart enough to employ it.Report

    • Michelle in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      Amen. Plus, Trump’s pretty much laid out his most damning arguments against her already (as has Sanders). Meanwhile, the GOP left a lot on the table when going after Trump. I’m sure there’s a lot of nasty stuff left to expose and the Clinton team will be all over it.Report

  5. Michael Cain says:

    For the Californians here, anyone got a feel for how much of the voting was done before the polls open this morning (ie, by mail)?Report

    • Autolukos in reply to Michael Cain says:

      About half of registered voters are permanent vote by mail, but I don’t know how well that will characterize the actual primary electorate.Report

    • I vote by mail; my wife does; my colleagues at work all do.

      Well, the ones that vote at all do. Some are content with reading Facebook memes and getting outraged by them.

      That said, I thought I read yesterday that the registrar of L.A. County had received about 400,000 mailed ballots. That’d be about one in four actual voters, assuming the same approximately 50% population-to-registered-voter ratio that prevails most places.Report

    • 3-1 by mail.

      Assuming my immediate family is a representative sample.Report

      • That’s sort of what I was guessing. The California Sec of State has nice historical statistics up. Two years ago, the primary votes cast were 69.3% by mail and the general election votes cast were 60.4% by mail, both up sharply from 2012. Assuming another several percentage point increase, I figure the legislature will say, “Why are we maintaining this expensive parallel voting method that a shrinking minority of our citizens are using?” sometime in the next couple of years.Report

  6. RTod says:

    . It does seem to me that Hillary is oddly ill-equipped to battle Trump, while Bernie would excel in that contest.

    I hear this from all quarters, and I just don’t get it. I think of the primaries have taught us anything, it’s that unflappable helps you against Trump and being fueled by emotion dooms you.Report

    • Michelle in reply to RTod says:

      Yep. Trump is the poster child for narcissistic personality disorder. Getting all emotional and dropping down to his level plays to his strengths because he’ll always be able to go lower. The man has almost zero impulse control. Ignoring him or brushing his insults aside, however, causes him to melt down.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to RTod says:

      Jeb was relatively unflappable in the primaries, and that hurt him far more than help him. There may be the tendency to blame it on the GOP primary voters rather than Trump per se, but the contrast mattered a great deal. I’m not saying that the ideal opponent to Trump be manic, but HRC veers too far in the other direction: inaccessible with the media, over-controlled, etc. Her persona is also rather conducive to the rigged and corrupt system argument, which was also a problem for Jeb. She’s barely less unpopular than Trump himself is, and I’m not sure the juxtaposition will make her more popular as time goes by.

      As for Sanders, he has a lot of drawbacks as a candidate, but Trump negates a lot of them. The same things that would make him look a lot worse compared to Paul Ryan (for example) don’t matter: he still comes out the more responsible and thoughtful guy next to Trump.

      It’s all somewhat comparative. I mean, I believe that HRC is going to win. But I think we may be looking at more uncertainty than we would be against a candidate showing more signs of life.

      (That being said, HRC has had a really good few days. I commented on Twitter yesterday it’s looking like she and her people are starting to get the hang of this.)Report

      • Richard Hershberger in reply to Will Truman says:

        Recall her at the Benghazi! hearing. She was both unflappable, and openly contemptuous. It warmed the cockles of my heart. Jeb! was unflappable and passive. These aren’t the same thing.

        On a different note, I also think that she will make a far better president than would Sanders. He strikes me as too concerned with his virginal purity to play well with others. She has a history of doing this very well, when the others aren’t constrained by their base to stick with histrionic shrieking.Report

        • I think “incredulous” may ultimately be the thing that works for her. But it can rub people the wrong way. Especially when done on things where the public is more sympathetic to what she’s responding to than her position. Trade, for example, or immigration.

          Her performance in the Benghazi hearings helped her with Democrats, but it didn’t seem to help her much in the overall.

          Regarding how good of a president she might be versus Sanders, I am inclined to agree.Report

          • North in reply to Will Truman says:

            Her performance helped her with Democrats, didn’t move the needle with independents and did no good with the GOP (beyond a lot of rueful “well that was a dud for us” musings). On a table of outcomes from excellent to disastrous that performance is definitely in the upper quintile.Report

            • Will Truman in reply to North says:

              It didn’t move a needle that needed to be moved. Not sure what she could have done to move it, but as it is I think it solidified some impressions.Report

              • North in reply to Will Truman says:

                Ah but that’s where we disagree. The emailgate stuff matters a great deal to us informed minority people but virtually not at all with the low info middle. Try explaining it that involved her mishandling how she sent and received her email correspondence as SoS and you can see the eyes glaze over. I grant it reinforced the whole somewhat shady branding the Clintons have acquired but Hillary didn’t really need to convince the independents that she was great or innocent, just that there was nothing to see here and in that she largely succeeded.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to North says:

                The argument that she succeeded would be more impressive if people actually considered her honest and trustworthy. If she weren’t the second most unpopular nominee in polling history (and remains so, even as Obama’s polling has improved) . And on and on.

                I don’t know the particulars of why these things are true, but I think it has something to do with stuff that people kept telling me don’t matter.

                I don’t think the Benghazi stuff, or the email stuff, matters all that much individually. But the overarching attack has, for some reason or another, stuck.Report

              • North in reply to Will Truman says:

                Well have a party representing some 40-50% of the electorate call you a crook for 25 years and true or not you’ll be viewed in general as kind of a crook. Add in the missteps her hyper defensiveness (see party calling you a crook for 25 years) has landed her in and the branding is going to stick.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to North says:

                If Republicans had that amount of sway over popular opinion, they’d win more elections.Report

              • North in reply to Will Truman says:

                Well of course they have that power, so do the Dems, but it’s limited. The GOP has been saying the Clintons are corrupt all the way through also anti-American and murderers… and the masses have taken away that the Clintons are kindof shady. That’s not what the GOP wants but it’s not nothing. Same with the Dems, they said W. was an utter imbecile and the masses took away that W. was kind of a dim bulb.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to North says:

                So what you’re saying is if only the GOP had simply taken off the kids gloves and come down really hard on Barack Obama and cricitized him relentlessly, they could have gotten a majority of people that he’s really bad?

                That’s cool. I know a lot of people who believe that.


              • Autolukos in reply to Will Truman says:

                Obama’s favorability numbers seem to show that this was working until the current crop of candidates messed it all up.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to Autolukos says:

                I don’t think Obama’s numbers ever looked like Hillary’s have for the last few monthsReport

              • North in reply to Will Truman says:

                Of course not. I’m saying that if the GOP establishment says you’re X then a considerably majority of the GOP base will believe X as a partisan matter, and a not inconsiderable number of the mushy low info people will split the difference and believe something like 1/2X. That shows up in general opinions and polls regardless of whether X is true. It works the same way in the reverse. This is utterly separate from whether they can use that power to win elections or not. The other side has the same ability.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to North says:

                None of this gets us to where Hillary’s numbers are lower than Obama’s were in 2008 or 2012. Or Romney’s in 2012 the day that he lost.Report

              • North in reply to Will Truman says:

                Well Obama didn’t have attacks coming in from both sides; just one. I expect Hillary’s numbers will significantly improve once Bernie exits the stage though I doubt they’ll soar. She does have some problematic baggage, partially unfairly attributed to her by her opponents and partially self inflicted by her actions.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to North says:

                Obama didn’t have attacks coming in from both sides; just one.

                He did in 2008. Or rather, he was being attacked by Republicans and Democrats both during the primary. His numbers were still better. As were Mitt Romney’s in 2012, despite being attacked on both ends. I do expect HRC’s numbers to improve, but there is no context in which you can look at her numbers and say “This is normal.”

                Except, that is, if you close your sample set to “2016 Presumptive Nominees”!Report

              • HRC’s coronation in spite of her unpopularity even among Democrats demonstrates that, much as I make fun of the GOP for claiming that this year’s collection of has-beens, never-wases, and outright lunatics constituted a deep bench, the D’s have no bench at all.Report

              • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Is there no bench or did the bench not want to run against the person with almost the same politics as them, but with 20x the money and institutional support.

                I mean, Cory Booker or John Hickenlooper or whomever sound like a nice plan, but what do they do in a debate versus Hillary – “we agree on 99% of the issues, but I haven’t been in the spotlight for 25 years, so vote for me?”

                Bernie had the good government and move things to the left thing going for him. Somebody like Liz Warren or to a lesser extent, Sherrod Brown would’ve had a shot. But nah, not Mark Warner or Deval Patrick.

                Also, as we saw this year on the other side, having a bunch of elected officials doesn’t necessarily mean you have a deep bench.Report

              • Another candidate could have found a way to differentiate himself from Clinton, just as Obama did.Report

              • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Eh, I get what you’re saying @mike-schilling, but there was a very recent difference Obama could seize on – the Iraq War.

                There’s really nothing of that importance that any other candidate had publicly differed from Hillary on. I mean, what is John Hickenlooper or Tim Kaine going to hit Hillary on that resonates w/ the Democratic primary electorate?

                Like I said, Sherrod or Liz Warren would’ve had a good shot, but with Martin O’Malley, I think we saw what would’ve happened if somebody would’ve tried the “I’m slightly more liberal/honest/etc. than Hillary and I haven’t been around forever” tactic.Report

              • El Muneco in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Warren could have done it if Clinton had not been there, but direct competition would not have been a Good Thing(tm).Report

              • Richard Hershberger in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Also, what do we mean by a deep bench? It is a sports metaphor, but the application to politics is not entirely clear. In sports, a deep bench refers to the guys who are starters. A deep bench means if you have to send one of the bench guys in to replace a starter, you are still in good shape, since your bench guys are also good.

                That’s now how the phrase is used in politics, but I’m not sure what is meant. Does it mean the party has lots of people who can compete for the nomination on a roughly equal basis? Or that there are lots of people who could compete well in the general, once they were nominated? Or does it mean that there are lots of people who could perform the job well, once they were elected? I don’t know.Report

              • scott the mediocre in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Hickenlooper could have run on having cobuilt a business before going into politics (the all-important brewpub vote), having made his career in electoral politics more or less on his own (as much as anybody does) and thereby being somewhat less vulnerable to the elite/dynasty problem, having significant public sector executive experience (yeah, the SoS position has some; being a mayor and governor rather more) and having won an election (2014 reelection) against a fairly substantial headwind.Report

              • I am increasingly convinced that to win the top Democratic slot, your political career has to come out of a handful of states: one of the NE urban corridor, Illinois, California. Perhaps it’s just my perception, but I think the California folks looking at high federal office are less interested in the Presidency than in the Senate seats, where they think they can better look after their interests…Report

              • You left out Arkansas.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                You forgot Poland.Report

              • scott the mediocre in reply to Michael Cain says:

                Over what timeframe? There aren’t that many datapoints available for “plausible candidate for Dem nomination” unless you want to go back to the 88-92 timeframe. Counting Gore (more from Washington DC than Tenn.) as an incumbent, we have exactly three contested nominations (since 2004).

                1) Vermont (Sanders and Dean) may be in the Northeast but I’m not sure how much it counts as NE urban corridor (of course both are originally from NY, but their entire political careers were in VT, which is indeed populated partly by [recent] NY emigrants, but is really a very different animal than any state that borders the Atlantic.

                1A) Although I agree it’s hard to imagine a path by which Sanders actually won the nomination (remarkable how close he came), I think Dean might have been able to pull it off.

                2) I’ve never had anything but disdain for Edwards, but he started 2008 as a viable candidate, I think (and definitely in 2004).

                3) I assume Mike Schilling meant the Clintons, but Arkansas is also the home state of Wesley Clark. Marginal as a plausible nominee, I think, but far more plausible than the Trump suit.

                4) Not sure what you mean about California Dems (i.e. versus Democratic pols in other states) looking to the Senate “where they think they can better look after their interests”. Do you mean their D vs R partisan warfare interests or their personal political career interests?

                CA Senate seats haven’t been competitive since the Nineties (though we’ll see what happens when Feinstein retires), but I’m not sure that say Washington Senate seats are all that much more competitive.

                4A) Any of my fellow Californians (or others who follow these things) want to bet on Newsom making a run at the Presidency around 2024, assuming he

                4A1) Wins the 2018 Governor’s race (a decent bet IMHO)


                4A2) has a gubernatorial record that can at least be spun as successful?Report

              • North in reply to Will Truman says:

                I get that, hell, seeing this woman who the GOP have been hell bent on destroying for my entire adult life (with a strategic pause when they tried to use her to beat up Obama) is a third of the appeal of electing her for me.Report

              • El Muneco in reply to Will Truman says:

                By my reading of this timeline, since 1992, Hillary has had decent favorability numbers for: 1997-1999, 2005, and 2009-2013. Integrate under that curve and you end up with a baseline of, what, 52-53%?

                She’s been under attack by a lot of people for a long time. She’s a strong, accomplished woman who doesn’t go out of her way to present a warm facade – anathema to a third of the population. She’s only going to get significantly over 50% when everyone who has not already made up his (and believe me, it’s his) mind is temporarily in her corner. 40% popularity is not the disaster for her that it would be for Obama.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to El Muneco says:

                It’s not anything she can’t recover from. Probably. But it’s something she needs to recover from. Probably. Or at least concern herself with. And it’s outside the typical ebb and flow.Report

              • El Muneco in reply to Will Truman says:

                I don’t disagree. I just think that looking at absolute numbers overstates the effect – “40% favorability!” is a meaningful cause to panic, while “temporarily about 10% down, trending neutral” is bad, but just something worthy of attention.Report

              • j r in reply to North says:

                Spend 25 years in electoral politics and there is a good chance that you are a crook of some kind.Report

              • North in reply to j r says:

                Well yes, that helps too. Let’s be clear, the Clintons are a bit crooked, no doubt about it. I just don’t think they’re particularly more crooked than any of their politician peers.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to North says:

                That’s what they said about Nixon!

                (and they were right)Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Will Truman says:

                The problem with emailgate is that you explain what happened to people, and they say “holy shit, why is this woman not under the jail,” and you don’t really have a good explanation, and so they figure that maybe it wasn’t such a big deal after all and you’re just exaggerating.Report

              • Michelle in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Didn’t Colin Powell and Condi Rice also use private email servers? Why not call for their heads as well? Oh yeah. It’s only criminal if a Democrat does it.

                From what I’ve read, Clinton didn’t do anything illegal. But she was arrogant in assuming she could simply do as she pleased, a particularly boneheaded move given she clearly knew the right was gunning for her. Her email scandal is largely self-inflicted. Bill made the same kind of mistakes based on arrogance. He had to know, given how anxious the Republicans were to tie him to a scandal, that it behooved him to keep his fly zipped for eight years. He didn’t. Moron.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Michelle says:

                You’re right – I’m definitely not going to vote for Rice or Powell for President this year, no matter who else is running and might win.Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to Michelle says:

                If I recall the IG’s report, both Powell and Rice (and senior staff) used private e-mail accounts, but did not maintain their own servers. When FOIA requests were filed for those after both had left office, the accounts and e-mail associated with them had been deleted. In both cases, working from information on State Department servers, the IG concluded that a small number of messages that should have been classified Secret or Confidential had passed through those accounts.

                There was also a flurry of legal and rule changes at the end of 2008 and early in 2009.Report

              • notme in reply to Michelle says:

                No but she kept her own home brew server in violation of rules and passed classified info over it. You sound like Madeleine Albright who essentially said that know one died from her emails so who cares. Clinton was wrong and it would be nice if you could admit it.


              • Good Lord, she outed a CIA agent to settle a personal grudge against the agent’s husband? You’re right, I don’t know why the hell she wasn’t executed.Report

              • El Muneco in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Holy. I mean, I’m just…

                Back when Heinlein was just starting to go off the rails, and dealing with crossing timelines and parallel universes, he had a thing where he calibrated by having characters go back through shared memories until they found a signal incident that they could then use to describe which of the various permutations each of them came from, e.g. “Armstrong-1969”, to indicate that in that character’s universe, Neil Armstrong was the first man to land on the moon, in 1969.

                From the original comment, I think I’m going to have to ask for your bona fides.

                Literally none of what you described corresponds to anything in my lived experience. And I’m not in a Kael-esque bubble – I worked with law enforcement and ex-military types who were quite dismissive of Clinton as a person and as a candidate. Despite personal feelings, none of them ever took any of the rounds of bullshit accusations seriously.Report

      • North in reply to Will Truman says:

        Well look, the thing about Bernie is nobody really laid a finger on him. Hillary couldn’t, she needed to appeal to his voters or at least not entirely alienate (this was the same problem the GOP stable had with Trump); the GOP wouldn’t- he was the preferable nominee for them; the press didn’t- a horserace gets clicks and eyeballs. So of course Bernie polls okay, no one’s tried to take him down.

        Hillary and Jeb! probably do have some parallels (similar dynastic concerns for instance) but Jeb is from a dynasty strongly associated with spectacular failure, economic collapse, torture and failed war making. Hillary from a dynasty strongly associated with the 90’s, yes some sleazy surface stuff but fundamentally associated with prosperity and peace (Americans don’t count wars where we win on the cheap). That makes a huge difference. Also Jeb was an especially bad campaigner and had no fight or steel in him at all; Hillary is an average campaigner and she’s full to the brim with fight.Report

        • Road Scholar in reply to North says:

          North: Well look, the thing about Bernie is nobody really laid a finger on him. Hillary couldn’t, she needed to appeal to his voters or at least not entirely alienate (this was the same problem the GOP stable had with Trump); the GOP wouldn’t- he was the preferable nominee for them; the press didn’t- a horserace gets clicks and eyeballs. So of course Bernie polls okay, no one’s tried to take him down.

          You keep saying that as if it’s significant, but I’m not sure what you imagine the attacks would consist of. That he’s a socialist? That’s how he refers to himself and everyone already knows it; no big surprise attack there. Part of his appeal is that he’s not your typical pay-to-play politician. He’ll barely even speak to lobbyists, much less take their bribes campaign contributions.

          Basically, he’s the anti-sleaze candidate and that strikes me as something that could sell very well in the general, particularly against the King of Sleaze himself.Report

          • Kolohe in reply to Road Scholar says:

            Bernie also can be associated with a sketchy ‘academic’ institution via his wife.Report

          • North in reply to Road Scholar says:

            Road, I’m sorry but it is significant. If you get a big pile of money and hurtle negative assertions at someone their favorable are going to drop especially as your own side begins to consider your target their “enemy”. Bernie hasn’t suffered that and that is reflected in his poll numbers. This is without even discussing whether your allegations and charges have any concrete basis in reality. Bernie, who for the record I think is a fine fellow, has been paddling around in the left wing’s waters for decades and he’s said all kinds of thinks that’re outside the mainstream. The GOP could make hay on him until the cows came home. Hillary and Bernie are two tanks. Hillary’s been bombarded for over two decades, Bernie hasn’t. Pointing out that that is a significant reason for Bernie not looking very dented and scuffed doesn’t require that I go all in on what exactly would be shot at him.Report

          • Alan Scott in reply to Road Scholar says:

            For starters, he’s a backwards looking shitty socialist.

            The people voting for Bernie Sanders are the kind of people who associate “Socialism” with places like Scandanavia. But Bernie’s a guy who preached solidarity with the Sandanistas, honeymooned in the USSR, praised Castro, made side deals with Hugo Chavez, etc. None of that would play well with the general voting public.

            That plus his anemic legislative record, his slow response to VA scandals, his wife’s administration of Burlington College, his flip-flops on gun control, statements that could be uncharitably read as endorsing pedophilia, and those are just the things I happen to know about in an environment where nobody’s actually doing much to find and spread dirt on him.

            Is there a line of attack that makes him look sleazy? Probably not. But there are lines of attack that make him look like a dangerous radical or an incompetent dreamer in over his head. Clinton didn’t make those attacks because she thought she would hurt herself more by alienating Sanders supporters than she would by letting him stay in the game. In an alternate universe where Sanders is the Democratic candidate in the general, Trump doesn’t have to worry about any of that. And US voters have shown an ability to put up with a great deal of sleaze when they have stronger reasons to dislike the other candidate.Report

            • El Muneco in reply to Alan Scott says:

              And there are years and years and years of public quotes that could be mined to make Sanders look stupid in a five-second sound bite. Clinton’s already been through that gantlet.Report

          • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Road Scholar says:

            As other people have said, the issue isn’t that he’s a “socialist.”

            The issue is that he’s a socialist who could be painted to have gone to his honeymoon in the USSR, wrote some creepy rape fantasies while in college, publicly said charities were a waste of time, said that having choices for deodorant was needless, praised Cuba beyond the usual lukewarm ‘hey, their health care and education systems seem to be good’, and a bunch of other wacky things. Plus, he refuses to release his tax returns and his wife seemingly ran a small liberal arts college into the ground.

            That’s not even getting into the fact that his policies, while I think some are awesome can be painted as terrible for middle class families.

            For instance, imagine this ad against Medicare for All –


            Child: Mommy, why are we waiting so long? My head hurts!

            Mom: I’m sorry hun, but after President Sanders passed his health care bill, we now have to wait in line like everybody else.

            A VOICE COMES OVER THE INTERCOM – “Mr. Guiterrez, please come to the front room” – A LATINO GANGBANGER walks past the family.

            Other Child: But, why can’t we go to Dr. Gupta’s? She was so nice. She even had an iPad for me to play with!

            Mom: Well, when the health care bill made it impossible for Dr. Gupta to keep her practice running, she quit being a doctor in America and went back to India to be with her family.

            THE INTERCOME COMES OVER AGAIN – “Mrs. Johnson, please come to the front” – AN OVERWEIGHT BLACK WOMAN WITH FIVE KIDS WALKS BY.

            Child: But, Mommy, Daddy works hard for us. But, he said we couldn’t go to Disney World this year.

            Mom: Sorry kids, but thanks to the President’s tax increases, we ca’n’t afford going to Disney World and our good private insurance that let us go to Dr. Gupta’s when we chose too no longer exists. I guess this is what they call equality.

            FADE OUTReport

        • DensityDuck in reply to North says:

          ” the thing about Bernie is nobody really laid a finger on him. ”

          uh dude people lay fingers on him all the goddamn time. People have been “laying fingers” on Sanders since Day 1, mostly “well THESE are his supporters, what kind of candidate attracts THIS sort of person, HMMMMMMM?”Report

      • Alan Scott in reply to Will Truman says:

        Will Truman: As for Sanders, he has a lot of drawbacks as a candidate, but Trump negates a lot of them. The same things that would make him look a lot worse compared to Paul Ryan (for example) don’t matter: he still comes out the more responsible and thoughtful guy next to Trump.

        I don’t think that matters, though. Sanders and Trump are both so far away from “responsible and thoughtful guy” that few people are going to be making choices along that metric.

        Like, if you’re choosing between a fruit plate and a cheesecake for dessert, you might care a lot about the calorie count. But if your choices are between a chocolate cheesecake and a strawberry cheesecake, you’re going to make that choice based on whether you prefer chocolate or strawberries. The fact that one is 350 calories and one is 400 calories doesn’t really affect your decision. You’ve already decided to eat unhealthy by choosing to order dessert.

        Similarly, voters choosing between Trump and Sanders don’t care that they’re both unhealthy choices–they’re picking which flavor of unhealthy choice they want.

        And on that metric, I think Trump wins. People on the left, of course, will go for Sanders and people on the right will go for Trump. But Trump is doing a better job of tapping into people’s frustrations than Bernie is, he presents the image of a leader in a way Bernie doesn’t. Trump’s appeal plays well with the mushy middle, in a way that Bernie’s does not.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to RTod says:

      Trump responds with anger when he is dismissed, marginalized, patronized, or otherwise minimized. And it’s not a good look on him. Remember the look when Cruz was using the rules to snake delegates Trump thought he’d won? That’s the go-to emotional vent when he doesn’t get his way, the reaction of a bully not getting the reaction from an intimidation ploy that he wants.

      I see Clinton saying a lot of things like, “Oh, Donald, you still have so much to learn.” Straight to the stratosphere.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Burt Likko says:

        His reaction to Cruz didn’t really seem to hurt him, though. Not just with Republicans, but the press and general population took his side. And Cruz’s popularity plummeted (again, not just with Republicans). I could see (though am not predicting) condescension not going over well. It works on me, but voters as a class are terrible.

        “The way to beat Trump is obviously X” is something I hear a lot. But I’ll believe X when I see it. (Most likely, Trump will simply lose because he’s Trump and can’t get ~50% of the vote but for heavens sake I hope HRC isn’t counting on that.)Report

        • Richard Hershberger in reply to Will Truman says:

          By the time Cruz resorted to gamesmanship to snare delegates, the boulder was already rolling down the hill. Also, and uncharacteristically, Trump had a valid gripe. That is in the nature of the proverbial stopped clock, and unlikely to happen again soon. Finally, the general is a different audience. The people voting so enthusiastically for Trump weren’t concerned that he isn’t “presidential.” Quite the opposite. These people will vote for him in the general, but that isn’t the issue.Report

        • Michelle in reply to Will Truman says:

          Did anybody actually ever like Cruz?Report

          • Will Truman in reply to Michelle says:

            He polled surprisingly well for a while, not just in the primary but in the general election as well. That seems something that would likely have changed over time in any event, but that it changed when it did strikes me as significant.

            I believe he was absolutely in the right, and that it absolutely didn’t matter. Trump had the cleaner narrative, and people like clean narratives. To the extent Trump poses a general election danger, that’s it.Report

            • Michelle in reply to Will Truman says:

              I actually felt sorry for Cruz when Trump insinuated that he’d been involved in JFK’s assassination and Cruz had a mini-meltdown. I never thought I’d feel sorry for an unctuous lizard man.Report

          • North in reply to Michelle says:

            Professional politicians and pundits and us informed voters don’t like Cruz but he’s very popular with many of the voters and especially the GOP base.Report

            • Mike Schilling in reply to North says:

              There are two sorts of people in the world: people who like Cruz and people who’ve met him.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                I think you just argued that 90% of the people here do not exist.Report

              • El Muneco in reply to DavidTC says:

                Outside this forum, for all intents and purposes, we don’t.

                Libertarians and ex-libertarians are massively over-represented. As for religion, although we’re demographically largely Boomers and Gen-X, we poll like Millenials – I can only think of one regular offhand who is deeply religious and whose religion primarily informs their political thinking (that number is somewhere between 30% and 60% of all USAns). LGBT people are also very well-represented, and it’s generally as positive a place as you’re likely to see that (a) is contentious, and (b) wasn’t established as a safe zone. Even the fracture lines in the community are often along lines that the general public sees as minutiae and/or never cared about in the first place.

                OG is massively unrepresentative of any real-world politics that have any significant numbers of votes behind them.Report

              • Alan Scott in reply to El Muneco says:

                El Muneco: LGBT people are also very well-represented

                Point of order: GBT people are well-represented. We’re very short Ls, as best I can tell.

                Which, of course is a factor of our single and most obviously glaring demographic skew.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Alan Scott says:

                Point of information – correcting a fact is a point of information, not a point of order.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Kolohe says:

                You’re right: pedants are massively overrepresented,Report

              • Alan Scott in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                And I wouldn’t have it any other way. We just need some Lesbian pedants to round things out.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Kolohe says:

                Point of order: It is a violation of regular order to randomly call out information, even if you call it ‘point of information’, and I’d like to ask the chair to make everyone stop.

                Another point of order: There does not appear to any motion on the floor, so this entire discussion is out of order.

                A third point of order: This, in fact, does not appear to be any sort of meeting at all, a clear violation of the entire rules of order.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to RTod says:

      @rtod ,

      Concurred. On the one hand, Sanders can go against Trump has a malefactor of great wealth. On the other hand, Trump will go after Sanders for being someone who was never really an economic winner and spent most of his twenties and thirties drifting from one job to another.Report

  7. Kolohe says:

    I’m onboard the ‘She’s bad at this’ train, but given how Donald is acting right now, without any sort of ‘pivot’*, Hillary is better equipped to defeat Donald than Bernie is. Hillary has *all* the institutional support, while Donald is still at war with his. The institutional support is lukewarm on Bernie.

    Barack Obama two campaigns were institutional vs institutional. In both (though less in the 2nd) he was able to galvanize institutional support, and bring outsiders into the fold (on both his left and right).

    A campaign of left-center institutional vs right outsider will be won by the left-center institution candidate (like 64). A campaign of the right-center institutional vs the left outsider will be won by the right center institution candidate (like 72, and arguably even 80).

    A campaign of left outsider vs right outsider is more of a crapshoot and doesn’t have much precedent. There would be a strong possibility of the Bern to be burned by his left wing views. (which, btw, aren’t really ‘socialist’, though he calls them that, so he has the worse of both worlds).

    *which in not surprising, but also not completely predictable, there was a chance he wouldn’t act the scorpion he is, simply because his actions are completely random.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to Kolohe says:

      I think Bernie is a pretty bad general election candidate who would have little hope winning against any candidate… except Donald Trump. I think that’s one opponent he is especially likely to excel against. Not because Trump is weak, though he is, but because he robs Trump of much of his rationale to all but the faithful. I think Bernie would have a lot more difficulty against Cruz. Meanwhile I think Cruz’s chances of beating Hillary Clinton are lower than beating Bernie Sanders.

      It’s about matchups.

      To take another example, look at 2000. George W Bush was a good, but not great candidate. He was, however, the perfect foil for Al Gore. Replace Gore with Bob Kerrey and I think GWB loses but Lamar Alexander would win. But Gore probably beats Lamar Alexander. Or, heck, imagine 1994 had turned out differently and it was Jeb instead of W. Gore beats Jeb, but Jeb beats Kerrey.

      Okay, I’m spitballing here a bit. My point is that certain candidates bring out the strengths in their opposition, others expose weaknesses. Hillary negates some of Trump’s weaknesses, and Trump accentuates some of Hillary’s. Bernie negates most of Trump’s strengths, and Trump’s entire rationale depends on running against people who are not Bernie.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Will Truman says:

        I agree about matchups. I agree that Trump’s entire rationale depends on running against people that are more like Clinton (both), Obama (in particular), and Bush (any one of them). I disagree that Sanders being not these people is an unalloyed good for Sanders, simply because then it becomes a battle of Noo Yawk accents trying to persuade the rest of the country that his accent is the one on your side – a battle that Sanders might win, could win, should win, but could very easily lose once the string plays out.Report

      • Joe Sal in reply to Will Truman says:

        I’ll spit ball with ya for a moment and say the economy will be a pivot point. Bill Clinton is/was perceived as economically savvy. Hillary will try to play off that, the problem is Obama has spent most of the Clintons credit in the last 7 years, as much as democrats would posit otherwise. Hillary would only offer reheated Obama leftovers. She just is not that strong.

        Trump is eternally doomed though, for sure, maybe.Report

        • El Muneco in reply to Joe Sal says:

          Part of the split, and the reason that the split is so entrenched, is that both sides are right about the economy…

          There was a real recovery, jobs are (up until the last quarter) being added, and things are getting back to normal. In big cities, high-tech industries, and a number of other areas that have always skewed massively D.

          There also are a lot of people who are not very well served by a lot of US policies. For whom the recovery didn’t really happen. For whom jobs are moving away with nothing coming back in return. For whom economic uncertainty and anxiety is a primary motivating factor – even if they are petit-bourgeous and not proletarian. And these are largely outside cities, in rural areas, small-business owners… All of which have always skewed massively R.

          We’re not just talking past each other on this. Economically, the last 8-12 years there have been two Americas.Report

          • Michael Cain in reply to El Muneco says:

            The rural economy has been a thing for much longer than since the last recession. The Democrats’ stock line in response has been, “More education and move to the city!” The Republicans’ stock line has been, “More tax cuts for the rich (almost all of whom live in cities)!”

            Trump has connected by saying things like: “The lumber mills are closed? We’ll put big tariffs on Vietnamese furniture so the manufacturers will have to use American wood in American factories! The coal mine closed? We’ll change the regulations and burn more coal so the mine opens back up! The meat packing plant is staffed by Hispanics? We’ll deport them and close the borders and you’ll get those jobs!”

            That Trump almost certainly can’t turn the clock back doesn’t detract from the initial response to hearing someone say he will.Report

            • El Muneco in reply to Michael Cain says:

              I don’t disagree with any of this. In fact, I’m going a bit off-message just admitting that the recovery, such as it is, has flat-out missed a lot of people. And that while it wasn’t per se intentional, it was a direct result of the policies that were enacted – not that lack of intentionality makes it any better for the people affected. So of course doubling down on those policies isn’t going to be the basis for a successful outreach.

              It’s just human to extrapolate from the specific to the general. If you look around you and see a community in the crapper, you think “communities are in the crapper”. If you look around you and you see things getting better, you think “things are looking up”.

              This is a case where neither of those generalizations are true. Unlike a lot of pseudo-“two cultures” dichotomies, this one is real and unlikely to go away any time soon.

              Trump (and Sanders, to some extent) is offering hope for solutions to very real problems. Clinton is offering to continue policies that have addressed other very real problems. Neither of them is in any position to address the problems the other one is taking care of.

              I don’t know the answer. I don’t know if there is an answer.Report

      • j r in reply to Will Truman says:

        Do you guys really think a candidate that openly espouses socialism, even of the social democratic kind, can beat a guy promising to make America great again?

        How far left do y’all think this country is willing to bend?Report

        • Saul Degraw in reply to j r says:


          I see your point but Trump has alienated many minorities and also made them hopping angry and mobilized them.

          There seem to be a lot of white guys out there who think Trump can crush it in the general election (note: I don’t know if you are white or not so I am not putting you in this group.) This includes white guys who really dislike Trump and are of a libertarian variety. Or people like HA Goodman who just can’t bring himself to vote for HRC if she is the Democratic candidate.

          This strikes me as the sort of unskewed polls logic that was going around in 2012. Lots of white guys just couldn’t bring themselves to believe that Obama could win reelection and they probably thought this because he was a white guy. Obama received fewer votes in 2012 than 2008 but he still had a comfortable victory of 51 percent of the popular vote to 47 percent for Romney.

          Bouie wrote an article at Slate that said Trump would need to win millions more white votes to win the election. Many of these votes are in states that are solidly red from another article I read (I believe in the Atlantic.)

          So I think a lot of white guys see HRC’s potential election as a kind of existential threat. If she wins with the Obama coalition (either 2008 or 2012 but likely 2012), it kind of means that the white vote especially the white guy vote is irrelevant and powerless on the Presidential scale. So it is the end of white guy domination. I wonder if white guys who hate Trump also feel this on a unconscious level of anxiety.

          Even though Sanders is a Jewish guy from Brooklyn, I think he can get played off as white guy enough to ease anxiety over power loss.

          Now what I disagree with @will-truman about is whether Cruz could be Sanders. I think it would be closer but Cruz is just as alienating in his far-right social politics and grandstanding but it is a different kind of alienating than Trump’s.Report

          • I don’t think Cruz would win on the positions. I think he would win (if he did) by being a more strategic thinker and being able to present himself as the steadier hand. He’d have a lot of room to pivot against Sanders and I think Sanders is an especially bad candidate to point out the radical things Cruz was saying yesterday when he can’t stop himself from saying other radical things today.Report

          • j r in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            I see your point but Trump has alienated many minorities and also made them hopping angry and mobilized them.

            Again, Republicans don’t get that many minority votes to begin with. The idea that voting against Trump is going to get some huge wave of minorities out to vote for Hillary is suspect enough, but for Bernie? Nah.

            Bernie’s brand of progressivism has a ceiling in this country. And it’s likely not enough to take a general election. Heck, it couldn’t even take the Democratic Party.Report

          • Kolohe in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            Saul Degraw:
            @j r

            I see your point but Trump has alienated many minorities and also made them hopping angry and mobilized them.

            I don’t think this is a big of a factor as everyone who is pro-Clinton/pro-Democrat would like, because the *baseline* is already low/high (depending on perspective).

            Obama got record turnout and record share of the African American vote. Even with Trump being a complete wanker, these numbers are likely to decline, because the motivation go out and vote *for* someone is much greater than the motivation to vote against someone, even if the second motivation is created by someone being a complete wanker.

            The share of the Hispanic vote for the Democrats trended up between the first Obama election and the second (when even the African American vote share declined by a couple of points). Trump will, of course, be completely unable to reverse this secular trend, and will probably enhance it – but the share of the total vote by Hispanics is still (& probably still will be) just shy of 10%. So a 4-5 point enhancement of vote share (what happened between 08 and 12) only translates into a half percentage point of the popular vote. Which can matter (ask Al Gore), but that’s a caution against putting all the election eggs into the Trump is a Terrible Racist basket. (but one should still carry it around, if you want to win)

            Other minorities are similarly alienated (so to speak) from the Republican party, but there numbers nationwide are even lower than African Americans & Hispanics (so the contribution to the overall vote share is far less and also far harder to measure with exit polling).

            On top of all that, at the end of the day, GOTV efforts of minority populations that are concentrated in reliably Blue states don’t influence the final election results for Prez – because of electoral college (these GOTV are *critical* though for Senate, Congressional, and state leg races, as both Obama and Pelosi have learned the hard way)Report

            • North in reply to Kolohe says:

              Hispanics do matter significantly in Florida- a state the GOP simply cannot loose and expect to get the White House, otherwise I generally agree with your analysis.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to North says:

                That is indeed where there’s the most upside, though it comes from conversions vs turnout. CNN had the split at 60/39 (compared to 71/27 nationally) with 17% of the vote.

                Though every white guy that shows up that didn’t before cancels out that vote. Although to that, every white woman that doesn’t show up undoes that cancellation (and that’s Trump’s real Downfall scenario).Report

              • North in reply to Kolohe says:

                I’m with your analysis 100% there.Report

          • j r in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            I will go so far as to say that Trump will win a higher share of the black vote than Romney did and may very well get a higher share if the Hispanic vote.Report

            • Will Truman in reply to j r says:

              I’m betting yes on the black vote, and no on the Hispanic vote. (The Hispanic vote is unlikely to matter, though.)Report

            • Jesse Ewiak in reply to j r says:

              There might be a dead cat bounce effect w/ the African American vote (as in statistically, it can’t get much lower), but if you truly think Trump will do better than Romney with Hispanic’s, then you can probably make a decent chunk of change in the betting markets.Report

            • El Muneco in reply to j r says:

              We’ll probably know more on June 22, depending on how the NYC meeting with evangelical leaders goes. Most black churches are not evangelical, but Obama had a lot of social capital as a solid, honestly Christian Black man that Clinton can’t hope to replicate. If Trump has a Road to Damascus moment this month, that could go a long way to prying the more socially conservative Black voters out of the liberal coalition. Even if he just becomes the lesser of two evils in their minds.Report

        • Michelle in reply to j r says:

          Do you guys really think a candidate that openly espouses socialism, even of the social democratic kind, can beat a guy promising to make America great again?

          No and I voted for Sanders in the NC primary. Heck, the GOP made Obama out to be a communist, despite his being a centrist Democrat. Sanders actually admits he’s a socialist. A socialist with a colorful past. I think that, no matter what the current polls say, Trump will be able to convince swing voters that Sanders is even more dangerous than he is. Sanders has more than a Bill Ayers or two in his past.Report

          • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Michelle says:

            Yup. Like I said above, Sander’s past would kill him.

            If you truly support Sanders agenda, what you need to do is find a clean young (preferably female and/or minority) candidate whose currently in some state legislature in a D-friendly state and instead of branding themselves as a socialist, spend the next 8 years branding themselves as a New Deal Democrat, since Sander’s actual policies didn’t differ all that much from Hubert Humphrey’s platform.Report

            • LeeEsq in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

              Clinton can capitalize on the fact that she is a Clinton and African-Americans loved her husband and her though.Report

            • j r in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

              @michelle and @jesse-ewiak

              This stuff about Sanders’ past and socialist branding and GOP efforts to paint people as communists is a non sequitur.

              And what makes you think that America wants a New New Deal? It took the Great Depression to get the first one and even then, half of it was thrown out.

              America is a country of largely center-right pragmatism. Meaning that the majority of people will support government programs that they believe will work without much in the way of ideological reservations, but aren’t going to bet the farm on a wholesale shift to the left.Report

              • Jesse Ewiak in reply to j r says:

                Actually, @j-r as always, American’s prefer a Swedish social welfare state for those they think “deserve” it, but still want to pay for it with well, Kansas levels of taxation.Report

          • Don Zeko in reply to Michelle says:

            I didn’t realize you lived in NC. Nice. Sometimes it feels like everyone on this site lives out west.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Kolohe says:

      I think I’m back to agreeing with this.

      Though “Democratic Plant” is still on the table!Report

  8. Kolohe says:

    Take as true that finally calling the Bernie campaign all dead yesterday, instead of just mostly dead, depresses the turnout for the California primary.

    Does this make more or less likely a 1-2 finish by Harris-Sanchez in the Senate primary (vice a real (R) getting the 2nd place finish)?

    If it is a Harris vs Sanchez contest in the general, does Sanchez have a shot by seizing the middle and getting the right by default?Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Kolohe says:


      Interesting questions. I wonder what would happen if the general election was Harris and Sanchez. The Democratic Party of CA is firmly behind Harris and she seems to be doing very well in the polls. I suppose the GOP can be strategic and vote for her but that seems unlikely considering the general shambles of the GOP primary.

      Drum predicted that CA would go for Sanders 52-48.Report

    • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Kolohe says:

      All the stats show Harris & Sanchez far ahead of the half a dozen R’s running. (That is a problem with the Top Two – if one side actually consolidates, it can block you out even if in theory, enough people vote for your party that you should have a chance in the primary).

      As for the general, Sanchez has a few issues –

      1.) California’s pretty liberal, so there’s not that many moderate swing voters out there.

      2.) Harris is very liberal on social issues, but from what I’ve read, seems to be firmly in the center of the party on economics and such. It’s not like she’s Bernie Sanders Part II.

      3.) If Sanchez even feints a move to the middle and tries to appeal to Republican’s, pro-Harris SuperPAC’s will have no problem sending out ads painting her as a secret Republican working with climate change deniers, Trump supporters, and billionaires to screw the good people of California over.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        Makes sense. Though with actual Republicans in short supply in California, being secret Republican may be a net advantage (over being an actual Republican) instead of a liability. (and she was an *actual* Republican once upon a time, right?)Report

        • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Kolohe says:

          That’s actually her other issue – she’s been a Blue Dog Democrat and like you said, ran as a Republican in 1994 for Anaheim City Council.

          If this was say, Kamala Harris vs. theoretical liberal female Latino, that person could moderate a bit, but point to their record against any attacks from Harris or her supporters.Report

          • Kolohe in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

            When it is a two person contest, though, doesn’t that work both ways? Can’t Sanchez paint Harris as a Bernster even if she’s not?

            Given that the median California voter is decidedly left of center, you’re still gambling on the magnitude of that ‘decidedly’ if you’re punting on the entire right of the absolute center. Moreso since racial and gender identity will be more or less a push. (even with Trump in the mix at the top of the ticket)Report

            • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Kolohe says:

              She could possibly do that if Harris was actually an outsider. Ya’ know, some activist or minor San Francisco councilperson. But she isn’t. I have zero doubt that the day after the primary, Harris will roll out ads with her standing beside known establishment Democratic figures, both within and outside of the state. For instance, she was endorsed by Jerry Brown, which in 2016, is the most California median Democrat establishment endorsement one can get.

              Now, I don’t think Sanchez has zero shot – but it’s a very tough needed to pass through, plus it’s very likely that if she tries to shore up her liberal side, Sanchez will lose possible Republican supporters (who will just ignore the Senatorial race) or if she tries to moderate, she’ll lose current liberal supporters.Report

  9. notme says:

    Can’t you say the same thing about folks that support any politican, that they really believe that he/she is for them?Report

  10. DensityDuck:
    The problem with emailgate is that you explain what happened to people, and they start helplessly laughing at you.

    fixed. It’s not all that hard to secure a mail server, and if you run your own server you don’t get stuck with some horrific corporate standard mail reader. And, need I mention, not illegal, no matter what the more credulous right-wing blogosphere says about it.Report

    • j r in reply to David Parsons says:

      Yes, we should all be laughing anytime someone points out how the federal government routinely over-classifies documents for reasons of bureaucratic inertia and to keep certain information outside of the reach of FOIA requests. And it’s even funnier that, instead of doing something to reverse this trend, the people at the top simply concoct their own workarounds to dealing with these byzantine systems that would get anyone without the title Secretary featured prominently before their name at the very least fired.

      Of course, it’s much more important to show those credulous right-wingers what’s what than it is to hold government accountable.Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to David Parsons says:

      “It’s not all that hard to secure a mail server”

      Yahoo’s entire reason for existing is to provide mail to people, and they can’t keep their mail servers secure.

      In context, this is like a surgeon saying “I totally keep my hands clean all day so I don’t need to wash before surgery”. Sure. Maybe you actually do keep your hands clean enough to do surgery, all day, every day. If you fucking wash them first then we know for sure.Report

  11. Will Truman says:

    Wow, cool. I’m a RAT.