Monday, March 28, 2016

Pundits Call Race at Halfway Point, Hope We Have Amnesia

The primaries/caucuses that will lead to allocation of over 45% of pledged delegates to the Democratic National Convention, which is where the presidential nominee will be chosen, are yet to be held.  Nonetheless, corporate media maintain -- as they began to do when said share was above 50% -- that ex-senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) has an "insurmountable" margin over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) among delegates.  In reality, her margin among pledged delegates is 12 percentage points.  Furthermore, the other delegates -- namely "super" ones, who can vote at the convention merely because they are bigwigs -- would invite calamity upon their party if they were to override the majority of pledged delegates.

The aforementioned propaganda -- which is used by surrogates for the former secretary of State as an excuse to say the ex-representative should not mention differences between her and him anymore -- failed to deprive him of overwhelming victory in six of the seven most recent contests, failed to stall his campaign's fundraising, and failed to end the series of large crowds that, from the launch of his candidacy, have assembled to hear him.  Those failures might be due to awareness of these facts: pundits in corporate media are grossly unreliable at prognostication and are employees of moguls whose greed fuels bias against Sanders, who, unlike Clinton, is a populist.  Next are examples of incorrect predictions that pundits have made about this race.
"One well-connected Democratic operative in Iowa told The Daily Beast Sanders's ceiling would be 15% at best in a... matchup versus Clinton...  [T]hat... leaves him far short of... national relevance."
Ben Jacobs
"...Sanders Likely to Flop against Hillary in Iowa," The Daily Beast, 16 May 2014
"In the Democratic field, O'Malley is probably the strongest candidate to take on Clinton...  [I]f one of her rivals somehow can win a few primaries and force Clinton to work hard [for] the... nomination..., that rival is likely to be O'Malley...  He is likely to have a moment in [which] he polls close to Clinton, at least in the early states..."
Perry Bacon Jr.
"Martin O'Malley is Hillary Clinton's Strongest Rival...," NBC, 30 May
"Sanders will win one primary: Vermont." 
Michael Tomasky
"Who Can Resist... Sanders's Strange Allure?: Why Sanders Draws the Crowds, Excites the Base... and Still Won't Make Much of an Impact in 2016," The Daily Beast, 2 June
"The... poll in [New Hampshire] since Sanders declared candidacy... gave a narrow lead of 44 points to... Clinton...  The... poll... saw a big spike in her support... because prior polls included Sen. Elizabeth Warren... because... nobody else had a chance against Clinton...  The reason why Sanders's numbers are so close to where Obama's were in 2007 is: in 2007, Clinton and Obama... had to contend with the reasonably strong bid by fmr. sen. John Edwards (D-NC)...  Sanders is... second over [Vice President] Joe Biden (5%) and... O'Malley (3%).  Give all of that support to Sanders, and he would be down by only 36...  Oh, and: Clinton won NH... [d]espite... trailing in the polls...  [T]he Sanders optimist might say, 'See?  A candidate can come from behind and win!'  ...I would reply, 'Sure, if the candidate is... Clinton.'"
Philip Bump
"We Have a Secret of Our Own for Bernie Sanders: Your Odds in New Hampshire Are Not That Good," The Washington Post, 9 June
"Not long ago, ...Sanders was surging.  In just a few months, the... senator halved... Clinton's lead in IA and moved to within shouting distance of her in NH...  No longer is Sanders surging.  He has surged.  From now on, to pick up additional support will be more of a slog...  Sanders is maxing out on gains simply because of increased name recognition."
Harry Enten
"The... Sanders Surge Appears to Be Over," FiveThirtyEight, 11 August
"Sanders... has maximized his potential support and [is] bumping up against his ceiling."
Ken Goldstein
Quoted in "Has Bernie Sanders Peaked?," Bloomberg, 6 November
Biden, Obama (Peter Souza / White House)
Enten referred to data that showed Sanders at 26% in IA and at 35% in NH.  Before the cited article by Bloomberg was published, the latest polling it had commissioned in both states found the ex-mayor of Burlington at 41%.  But he subsequently scored 50% in IA's caucuses and 60% in NH's primary, between which O'Malley, who is a former governor of Maryland, terminated his own campaign.
"Clinton... could lose [in] the primar[ies].  Perhaps there's some scandal of which we're unaware.  Perhaps she'll have to drop out because of some health issue.  Maybe Martin O'Malley will straight-up beat her...  [Sanders would] win some plaudits on the left, but that's about it...  Clinton has her left flank well-covered...  [T]here [are no] holes in her support...  [T]he ideological differences between candidates are so small in primaries, voters tend to look to elected officials for cues."
Harry Enten
"The Hillary Clinton Steamroller Rumbles to Life," FiveThirtyEight, 10 April
"Sanders... drew enthusiastic throngs in IA last week...  MSNBC's Rachel Maddow... wondered, 'If Bernie Sanders will continue to do as well as he has been doing, what will that mean?'  Answer: Not much.  IA produces adoring mobs... every four years, often for sharp-edged ideologues and fiery insurgents whose candidacies have the lifespan of a fruit fly...  [T]hat hundreds have turned out to hear him doesn't mean thousands upon thousands more share similar sentiments, much less that Democrats in IA are ready to abandon the front-runner.  The crowds Sanders has attracted are not the tip of the iceberg, but the tip of the ice cube...  If there were a big constituency for a distinctly more liberal option [than Clinton], more candidates would jump in to appeal to it...  [T]he crucial thing about magic moments is not that they're magic.  It's that they're moments."
Steve Chapman
"Bernie Sanders's Liberal Moment," The Chicago Tribune, 5 June
"[P]eople will have a fling with Bernie.  Bernie is like a great, fun date because you know he won't be around town [for] long."
David Axelrod on Hardball, MSNBC, 15 June
"For the fringe candidate to draw huge crowds and surge in the polls... is nothing new.  He'll strut and fret his hour upon the stage and then be heard no more -- just like then-Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) in 2012.  In The Wash. Post on April 1, 2012, Nina [sic] Malika Henderson summed up the state of Paul's campaign:  '[E]nthusiastic crowds who... fail to carry him to victory...  After running in 30 states and gaining a scant 50 delegates..., Paul has learned...: Crowds don't vote.'  Sanders will learn the same... in a few months...  Any argument by which... he'll score the mass appeal Paul lacked is... zero parts reality.  Sanders's... rise... will slam headfirst into the socialist ceiling...  If the rest of Sanders's problems don't shut his campaign down, the money problem will.  Michael Hagen, associate prof. of political science..., points out, 'For Sanders to let Democrats know who he is and what he stands for will be made difficult by his funding situation.'  The largest differences between Paul and Sanders are the advantages Paul enjoyed, which Sanders does not enjoy...  The real story about candidates like... Sanders is the same every four years: big crowds, big hype, big loss."
Eddie Zipperer
"Bernie Sanders is the Ron Paul of 2016," The Hill, 10 July
"Sanders will have a good showing in NH and a decent showing in IA, and I think he will fade to black after that...  To think any of these insurgency candidates will best... Clinton beyond the early primaries is a pipe dream."
T.J. Bucholz
Quoted in "Sanders Finds Fans Among Michigan Democrats," Detroit News, 21 July
"In the early stages of the primary process..., base voters are drawn to a candidate who... taps into a simmering dissatisfaction within the party...  [But], usually when the time comes for actual votes to be cast, the insurgent's support begins to fade...  To get a bunch of news coverage and put together some well-attended rallies is one thing, but a much more complicated task is to get voters to the polls, which is a task that relies on entrenched networks and institutions under the control of party leaders.  That's why endorsements matter in primaries: not just because they signal to voters that their party is behind a particular candidate, but because the right endorsements bring with them connections and resources that make a great deal of difference...  [T]his is the time for insurgent candidates to flourish, which is precisely because no one is voting yet."
Paul Waldman
"This is the Insurgents' Moment -- But It Won't Last," The Wash. Post, 13 Aug.
"[E]xcept[ for] possibly Vermont, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin, he will likely continue to lose though April...  One day soon, Sanders will take to a lectern and announce he has suspended his campaign." 
Goldie Taylor 
"This is the Date Bernie Sanders Berns Out," The Daily Beast, 22 February
"According to our latest polls-plus forecast, Hillary Clinton has a greater than 99% chance to win the Michigan primary."
FiveThirtyEight, 8 March
Clinton (William Ng/
Dept. of State)
Sanders won NH, VT, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Maine, MI, Democrats Abroad, Utah, Idaho, Alaska, Washington and Hawaii, has garnered 6.4 million votes in this fight, and has amassed an estimated 1,004 delegates.
"Obama's failure to lead a bold progressive movement has dulled the appetite for another anti-establishment, outsider campaign."
Matt Taylor
"How the Left Wing Learned to Love Hillary Clinton: In 2008, Progressives Knocked Her Out of the Race.  This Time, They're Lining Up Behind Her...," The Atlantic, 13 Aug. 2013
"Progressives have... given up [on] denying Clinton the nomination..."
Noam Scheiber 
"How Hillary Won Over the Skeptical Left: The Surprising Source of Clinton's Invincibility," The New Republic, 29 June 2014
Among liberals, Sanders won in VT, NH, OK, MI, Missouri, Nevada, Illinois and IA by 76, 22, 14, 8, 7, 5, 4 and 4 percentage points, respectively, and narrowed the gap in Ohio to 3, in North Carolina to 5 and in MA to 5.
"[T]he Sanders surge is about to hit a wall...  Nearly half of the Democratic primary electorate is moderate or even conservative...  [T]he only candidates who could threaten Mrs. Clinton's path to the nomination would be ones who could break her grip on the party's moderate wing."
Nate Cohn
"...Sanders's Momentum is Not Built to Last," The New York Times, 8 July
With regard to the demographic that combines moderates and conservatives, Sanders won in VT, NH, OK and MA by 62, 23, 11 and 9 points, respectively, and narrowed the gap in MI to 9, in MO to 11, and in IL to 13.

Ten of the dozen states in which the media neglected to commission exit/entrance polling are states in which Sanders triumphed: AK, UT, ID, WA, HI, KS, ME, MN, CO and NE, where his margins of victory were 63, 59, 57, 46, 40, 35, 28, 23, 19 and 14 points, respectively.  Several of those margins substantially exceeded expectations.  The other two states in question are Louisiana and Arizona.  Clinton won in the latter amid suppression of voters that was so severe, Gov. Douglas Ducey (R) branded it "unacceptable" and Mayor Gregory Stanton (D-Phoenix) requested a federal probe of it.

Warren, D-MA (US
Senate Historical Office)
But in the following ways, the exit/entrance polls that have been conducted supplement the ongoing streak of national surveys that conclude Sanders would be more likely to win the general election than Clinton would be.

In the general election of 2012, the Republican ticket prevailed among independents.  (In this entry, "independents" include affiliates of minor parties.)  They comprised 29% of the electorate then.  People under age 30 vote at a lower rate than does any older age-demographic.  Forty-two percent of people who were eligible to vote in 2012 did not.  The reason why corporate media hope we forget those facts is that, as evinced by data below, Sanders is much better able to stimulate turnout from those demographics than Clinton is.

Among independents, Sanders won in VT, NV, OK, NH, IA, MI, IL, MO, OH, MA, NC, Arkansas, Virginia, Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina and Texas by 84, 48, 48, 48, 43, 43, 39, 34, 33, 33, 24, 19, 16, 14, 9, 7 and 6 points, respectively.

Among voters under age 30, Sanders won in VT, IL, IA, NV, NH, OK, OH, MI, MO, NC, VA, MA, FL, TN, TX, AR, SC and Georgia by 90, 72, 70, 68, 67, 65, 62, 62, 57, 44, 39, 30, 29, 22, 19, 18, 8 and 8, respectively.

Among voters who were participating for the first time in a Democratic presidential caucus in their state or participating for the first time in a Democratic presidential primary, Sanders won in VT, OK, NH, MO, MA, NC, SC, IA, TX, NV and VA by 84, 57, 57, 47, 45, 35, 26, 22, 20, 9 and 8 points, respectively.  (In TN, AR, GA, Alabama and Mississippi, that demographic failed to constitute a representative sample.  In MI, IL, OH and FL, that demographic was not measured at all.)

The corporate media's narrative that implies Sanders is supported by virtually no nonwhites has, since the last entry, continued to be disproved.  Cases in point:  He received 38%, 37%, 32%, 25% and 25% of the nonwhite vote in MO, IL, OH, FL and NC, respectively.  Specifically among Latinos, he won in IL.  Also, HI has a nonwhite population of 77%.

Sanders won the primary of Democrats Abroad by 38 points.  Someone who voted in it is writer Leslie Lee III, who, on behalf of his fellow nonwhite supporters of Sanders, recently launched a viral defense against the aforementioned narrative.

Moreover, as the following examples demonstrate, Clinton and her surrogates remain stunningly undisciplined despite the narrative that suggests they are best-suited to battle the Republican team.
"[B]ecause of Pres. and Mrs. Reagan..., we started a national conversation [about HIV/AIDS] when, before, nobody would talk about it [and] nobody wanted to do anything about it...  [H]er very effective, low-key advocacy... penetrated the public conscience..."
Clinton on MSNBC, 11 March
That comment was so much falser than her usual falsehoods are, it sparked an uproar that elicited an apology from her.  Nevertheless, in a speech the next day, Clinton uttered another bizarrely false remark:
"I... chuckle when I hear my opponent talk about [standing up to powerful forces].  I don't know where he was when I tried to [reform] health care in '93 and '94, standing up to the insurance companies [and] the drug companies."
(Gage Skidmore)
Sanders's campaign immediately provided the answer:  He stood with her, literally and -- as Clinton, in 1993, said and wrote -- figuratively.

On March 13 on CNN, Clinton stated in reference to potential creation of jobs in clean energy, "[We'll] put a lot of... coal companies out of business...  [W]e must move away from coal and all other fossil fuels."  But after that remark was criticized by Sen. Joseph Manchin III (D-WV), she wrote to him on March 15, "I was mistaken in my remarks...  [C]oal will be part of the energy mix for years to come."  Surely, the donors in the oil, gas and coal industries who have given a total of over $1.3M to Clinton's campaigns were glad to read she is not as committed to clean energy as she had seemed to be days prior.

Clinton plagiarizes Sanders even though she accused Obama of plagiarism for his use of someone else's words with permission.

In the debate on March 9, Clinton alleged Sanders has not criticized George W. Bush enough.  Four days later, she affectionately accepted an embrace from Bush that was reminiscent of her interaction with current Republican front-runner Donald Trump at his most recent wedding.

In the debate on January 17, Clinton's attack on Sanders for having dared to critique the king president was so much more dastardly than her typical ruses are, Sanders was bemused, albeit for merely a few seconds.  She reprised that attack in the debate on Feb. 11, somewhat dishonestly saying:
"Today, Sen. Sanders said Pres. Obama failed the presidential leadership test.  This is not the first time Sen. Sanders has criticized Pres. Obama.  Sen. Sanders has called him weak [and] a disappointment.  Sen. Sanders wrote a foreword for a book that basically argues voters should have buyers' remorse about Pres. Obama's leadership and legacy.  I couldn't disagree more with those kinds of comments...  I don't think he gets the credit he deserves...  I expect [that criticism] from Republicans, not from a candidate for the Democratic nomination to succeed Pres. Obama..."
Manchin (US Senate
Historical Office)
However, when White House press secretary Joshua Earnest was asked on Feb. 19 for Obama's assessment of Clinton's tactic of depicting herself as more supportive of him than Sanders is, Earnest did not corroborate that depiction.  His reply included these words to the press corps:
"[H]aving spent an hour with the president... in the Oval Office [on Jan. 27, Sen. Sanders told] all of you about how proud he is of the progress our country has made under Pres. Obama's leadership.  I think that was a pretty strong statement about how supportive... Sen. Sanders is of Pres. Obama's legacy.  That statement... is consistent with the kinds of comments we've heard from Secy. Clinton.  Both candidates... have played their unique role in support for the president...  Sen. Sanders, on a range of legislative priorities, has been supportive of the president... in an important way."
Furthermore, Clinton's husband said this as he campaigned for her on March 21:
"[I]f you believe it's more important to re-litigate the past, there may be many reasons why you don't want to support her.  But... if you believe we've finally come to the point where we can put the awful legacy of the last eight years behind us -- and the seven years before that, when we practiced... no regulation in Washington, [and that lack] caused the crash -- then you should vote for her..."
Such deregulation included the demise of the Glass-Steagall Act.  That demise was a direct cause of the financial crash of 2008.  Yet, Clinton opposes the idea of reinstatement of said law.  Additionally, to nominate Clinton would prompt a toxic re-litigation of the past, especially if she were pitted against Trump, who is the sole presidential candidate in at least 36 years who has reached higher unpopularity than she has.  He would likely try to raise the former first lady's unpopularity beyond his by persistently directing focus to the abyss of a quarter-century of scandals, allegations and suspicions that -- regardless of what fraction of them are legitimate -- have been highly problematic for her.

On March 8, The Wall Street Journal reported that a poll it and NBC commissioned "indicates one-third of... Sanders's supporters cannot imagine themselves voting for Hillary Clinton in November."  If nominated, Clinton would be compelled to portray Trump negatively enough to scare those supporters onto her side.  Said task would be hampered by her continued shortage of credibility with them.  Among voters who, in choosing their candidate, valued honesty above all other given traits, Sanders defeated Clinton in MO, NC, OH, IL and FL by 64, 47, 47, 41 and 31 points, respectively.

Alas, particularly given Trump's unreservedness and Clinton's Nixonian vengefulness, along with their deficiency in ethics, in accuracy, and in consistency, and their nonpossession of any discernible philosophy and even of any obvious reason to seek office, a presidential contest between them would probably be the most disenchanting that anyone alive today will have ever seen.

As for issues, Trump would likely emphasize
  • he was 10 years earlier in condemning the invasion of Iraq than Clinton was
  • the intervention in Libya was disastrous but Clinton, who supported that action even though Congress did not authorize it, calls said intervention "smart power at its best" and refuses to concede that the US made any particular mistakes in that episode
  • Clinton's plan to overthrow the Syrian government would open the door to another catastrophe
  • he, and not she, proposes to cut the bloated budget of the military
  • he opposes free trade but she is highly supportive of it.

None of those points could be applied to Sanders, the nomination of whom would ensure that the general election campaign will include a major-party nominee who leads a candid, informative, constructive, inspirational and urgently necessary discussion about subjects that are both important and relevant.  Sanders, who summons the better angels of our nature and awakens consciousness, has enough moral authority to earn the respect and confidence of the public and of the international community so we can finally begin to heal.  Under his visionary guidance, this nation would muster the courage to initiate an overdue era that we and our posterity deserve.

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