Archive for category This Blog
This year’s Democratic Party convention in Philadelphia July 25–28 will be the first in which super-delegates will make the decision on a presidential nominee. The questions that will be asked: (1) Are super-delegates supposed to choose the most electable candidate? or (2) Were super-delegates given the job of making sure the establishment-chosen candidate wins over an insurgent?
What is a super-delegate? From Wikipedia:
[A] “superdelegate” is a delegate to the Democratic National Convention who is seated automatically and chooses for whom they want to vote. These Democratic Party superdelegates include distinguished party leaders, and elected officials, including all Democratic members of the House and Senate and sitting Democratic governors. … Because they are free to support anyone they want, superdelegates could potentially swing the results to nominate a presidential candidate who did not receive the majority of votes during the primaries.
Why does the Democratic Party have super-delegates?
The super-delegate story begins with the traumatic 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, which resulted in the nomination of then Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey (President Lyndon Johnson decided not to run for re-election that year after being challenged by popular anti-Vietnam War candidate Rep. Eugene McCarthy). There was widespread dissatisfaction among the voters because Humphrey did not compete in any primary elections. Humphrey lost the general election to Richard M. Nixon.
A commission headed by South Dakota Senator George McGovern and Minnesota Representative Donald M. Fraser met in 1969 and 1970 to make the Democratic Party’s nominating convention less subject to control by party leaders and more responsive to the votes cast in primary elections. The rules implemented by the McGovern-Fraser Commission shifted the balance of power to primary elections and caucuses, mandating that all delegates be chosen via mechanisms open to all party members. The number of state primaries increased from 17 in 1968 to 35 in 1980.
Despite a huge increase in the level of primary participation, McGovern’s 1972 presidential run resulted in a landslide defeat for the party. The same thing happened in President Jimmy Carter’s 1980 race against Ronald Reagan. Party leaders established another commission in an attempt to balance the wishes of rank-and-file Democrats with the collective wisdom of party leaders and to thereby avoid the nomination of insurgent candidates. Following a series of meetings held from August 1981 to February 1982, the Hunt Commission issued a report which recommended the set aside of un-elected and un-pledged delegate slots for Democratic members of Congress and for state party chairs and vice chairs.
The problem for the 2016 election
Neither Dem candidate is likely at this point to finish the primary campaign with a majority of pledged delegates. Un-pledged super-delegates make up about 15% of the overall convention votes, and these delegates will choose the party’s nominee in July.
According to former Vermont Governor, DNC Chair and now lobbyist/super-delegate Howard Dean, “Super delegates don’t ‘represent people.’ I’m not elected by anyone. I’ll do what I think is right for the country.” (86% of voters in this year’s Vermont primary election chose Bernie Sanders, but Dean remains committed to voting for Hillary Clinton at the convention).
Of course, the assumption has always been that Democratic insurgent candidates like Bernie would be less electable in the general election. In 2016 it looks like this isn’t a good year for establishment candidates like Hillary Clinton. A lot of people thought we were doomed to a Bush-Clinton contest, but Donald Trump won so much support among Tea-GOP voters that he’s their presumptive nominee. And it looks like Bernie is the more electable Democratic candidate.
Hillary Clinton Now Loses to Trump in Polls. Bernie Sanders Beats Trump by 10.8 Points. (Hillary’s poll numbers have gone down, however she is within the margin of error against Trump — and the Democrats can expect a built-in advantage in the Electoral College, the so-called “Blue Wall”).
It’s up to the super-delegates to decide. Win with Bernie (and nudge the party to the center) or risk losing with Hillary (confirming that right-wing Dems cause progressives to abandon the party).
Both parties’ presidential front-runners are growing increasingly unpopular, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds, with Hillary Clinton showing an especially steep decline over the past month.
Among voters in both parties, 56% hold a negative view of Clinton and 32% hold a positive view. That 24-point gap is almost twice as wide as in a Journal/NBC poll last month, when 51% viewed her negatively and 38% positively, a 13-point gap. In other words, the more Americans get to see of Clinton the more they don’t want her.
Compared to frontrunners in previous presidential primary races, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s unfavorable ratings (57 percent and 52 percent respectively) are the highest in CBS News/New York Times Polls going back to 1984, when CBS began asking this question.
If the two major parties nominated Clinton and Trump, the electorate would be divided three ways:
1. American voters who would refuse to vote for Trump.
2. American voters who would refuse to vote for Clinton.
3. American voters who would refuse to vote for either one of them!
And we could forget about the actual issues in the 2016 election, because the media would cover all the mud slinging and nothing else.
By contrast, Bernie Sanders has the highest favorability of any candidate. Bernie averages a +5.3 compared to Hillary’s -24.
Democrats March Toward Cliff
Unpopularity dogs Trump, Clinton, Cruz: Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton viewed unfavorably by majority – CBS/NYT poll
Bernie Sanders vs. Donald Trump: General Election Match-Up Polls & Favorability Ratings
This was the last thing I wanted to wake up and read this morning. It looks like a lot of young people in New York, who would most likely be voting for Bernie Sanders, have missed the boat, due to restrictive laws on voting registration.
I just happened upon this “Democracy Now” segment that was taped the day after the Utah caucuses caught the nation by surprise and gave Sanders an overwhelming victory here. I don’t think the extent of the failure in the Arizona election had been looked at yet. It’s great to see my favorite Utah politician standing up for my favorite national politician and stating Sanders’s obvious advantages over Hillary:
Of course Sanders went on to a long string of solid wins after Utah and Idaho, showing a strong momentum if there ever was one. Polls in Utah showed that even Republicans trust Sanders more then the current front runner in their party and, like Rocky says, he’s a shoe-in over Hillary against any Republican now running for the general election slot.
Anderson, of the “Justice Party”, is upset about a blatant hit piece on Sanders in “The Washington Post”, derived from a poorly conducted and carved up interview from a rag called the “New York Daily News”. He’s made a list of questions a tough journalist could ask Hillary. It’s obvious this won’t happen at “The [Bezos] Post”; a publication which recently did 16 negative articles on Sanders in 16 hours.
Nina Turner is just awesome. If Bernie can win in New York, he can go all the way!
— C. R. Bergen (@crbergen) March 31, 2016
Utah’s 72 Hour Waiting Period has marginal impact on abortion rates – it just makes things harder and more inconvenient for women
The lead paragraph pretty much says it all:
A new study of women seeking abortions in Utah has found that the state’s 72-hour waiting period didn’t dissuade the vast majority from going through with the procedure, though it did present them with additional financial and logistical difficulties.
Despite all the pious noise from politicians, the inconvenience was the point of the law – it’s a feature not a bug.
From the Tribune in 201
Sponsoring Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, believes the concerns are misplaced.
“I think it’s a positive change for women and children,” said Eliason. “At the end of the day, it’s a consumer-protection law.
“The focus of this bill is women having time to consider all of the information that is given to them when facing a life-altering decision that somebody else is making money off of,” he said.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the whole point of these laws is the idea that women are too stupid to make their own choices and need counseling before making them – as if any woman who wants an abortion hasn’t thought though the issues.
And it turns out the law has done nothing other than make it harder for poor women to access abortions. Wealthy women of course will have no problems getting their counseling visit and getting back to the office. Middle class women will be able to do the same. The burden of Republican moralizing, once again, falls not on male, Republican legislators, but on poor women.
With the Hawaii caucus, there were some sketchy events that were happening. The most obvious one is that the election results were not posted until very late in the day.
Now one could argue that they needed time to count the votes, but if you look at the picture above, this clearly wasn’t the case. While Hawaiian voters kept track of the votes in their precinct, they put the results in a Google doc and called the election hours before the mainstream media did. Not only were they able to tally up the votes, they did so with great accuracy. Maybe this goes to show that the media doesn’t have as much power over the people who are inquisitive.
The 2016 election is different. Donald Trump is running as a Tea-GOP populist, and he has a lot of support from large numbers of Americans that elite politicians do their best to ignore in favor of the rich.
Via The Guardian:
Over the past 35 years the working class has been devalued, the result of an economic version of the Hunger Games. It has pitted everyone against each other, regardless of where they started…
…In Ohatchee, Alabama, Larry, taking a day off work to take his son fishing, is gracious but frustrated: “I have worked in foundries all my life, since I was 15. Hard work, and I don’t got a lot of money to show for it.”
The frustration isn’t just misplaced nostalgia – the economic statistics show the same thing.
Over the past 35 years, except for the very wealthy, incomes have stagnated, with more people looking for fewer jobs. Jobs for those who work with their hands, manufacturing employment, has been the hardest hit, falling from 18m in the late 1980s to 12m now.
The economic devaluation has been made more painful by the fraying of the social safety net, and more visceral by the vast increase at the top.
Earlier this month MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough (who I often disagree with) offered this simple explanation for Trump’s groundswell of support:
“The problem with the Republican Party over the past 30 years is they haven’t — and I’ll say, we haven’t — developed a message that appeals to the working class Americans economically in a way that Donald Trump’s does,” the former Republican lawmaker explained. “We talk about cutting capital gains taxes that the 10,000 people that in the crowd cheering for Donald Trump, they are never going to get a capital gains cut because it doesn’t apply.”
“We talk about getting rid of the death tax,” he continued. “The death tax is not going to impact the 10,000 people in the crowd for Donald Trump. We talk about how great free trade deals are. Those free trade deals never trickle down to those 10,000 people in Donald Trump’s rallies.”
“You sound like Bernie Sanders,” NBC’s Chuck Todd pointed out.
“But herein lies the problem with the Republican Party,” Scarborough complained. “It never trickles down! Those people in Trump’s crowds, those are all the ones that lost the jobs when they get moved to Mexico and elsewhere. The Republican donor class are the ones that got rich off of it because their capital moved overseas and they made higher profits.”
There it is. Bernie Sanders is leading a “political revolution” from the left. Trump is leading another revolution in the Tea-GOP.
As the party chairman, Corroon is automatically a superdelegate, meaning he can pick his favorite candidate regardless of the statewide vote. Not a fan of this process, Corroon had said he’d side with whichever candidate won Utah’s caucus and that is undeniably Sanders.
…Two of the state’s superdelegates — Patrice Arent, the national committeewoman, and Breanne Miller, the party’s vice chairwoman — are backing Clinton. National Committeeman Wayne Holland remains undecided.
The message is:
Bernie Sanders is our choice for President. Give people candidates they’re excited about, and they will show up. This is an opportunity to bring more Utahns into the democratic process. The Democratic Party establishment is too far to the right. The Gallup Poll indicates both parties are at historical low points in the percentage who identify themselves as core supporters of the party. We’re independents – you need us to win in November.
Peter Corroon (Thank him, he’s for Bernie): firstname.lastname@example.org
Wayne Holland (Undecided): email@example.com
Breanne Miller (Supporting Hillary): firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Patrice Arent (Supporting Hillary): email@example.com
[Democratic Party Executive Director Lauren] Littlefield called the big turnout, which included 20,000 new voters, “the largest growth opportunity for Utah Democrats in decades,” and yet she and Corroon criticized state leaders for not funding a full primary, instead of the party-run caucuses.
Instead of hundreds of polling locations statewide and the option for mail-in and absentee ballots, the party spent $20,000 to fund 90 voting locations, resulting in lines that stretched for city blocks. More than half of the precincts ran out of ballots and had to print more.
Utah’s last undecided Democratic superdelegate threw his support behind Bernie Sanders on Wednesday, and the state party finalized its tally from last week’s presidential caucuses, in which a high turnout led to a lengthy vote-counting process…
Wayne Holland, Utah’s Democratic committeeman, was the last holdout, and as such received a barrage of calls and emails…
The party announced his support for Sanders early Wednesday. In an interview, Holland said he’s more ideologically in tune with Sanders and he liked that his pick matched the caucus vote. While he says “the odds are long” that Sanders claims the party’s nomination, Holland, a union organizer, felt the senator was bringing in new voters with his populist message…
The current party chairman, Peter Corroon, is also backing Sanders, tying his vote to Utah’s caucus results. Clinton received the support of Utah Democratic Party Vice Chairwoman Breanne Miller and Democratic Committeewoman Patrice Arent, both saying she is the most qualified candidate, having previously served as secretary of state, a senator from New York and first lady. Miller and Arent have heard from Sanders supporters who want them to switch allegiances, but they are not budging.
Utah’s never seen anything this bizarre.
The republicans are turning out in “Huuge” numbers to vote AGAINST their presumed nominee, (Donald Trump), and democrats are turning out in “Huuge” numbers to vote AGAINST their presumed nominee also, (Hillary Clinton).
We won’t know until morning, but from what I’ve seen on my, (so far), republican-bias TV stations here, the democrats are voting for the person they actually want.
Guess we’ll find out in the morning. I saw a lot of Hillary supporters. My “Bernie” badge didn’t get any real opposition on my little walk.
Barack Obama on today’s attack in Brussels:
“We will do whatever is necessary to support our friend and ally Belgium in bringing to justice those who are responsible,” Obama said. “This is yet another reminder that the world must unite. We must be together regardless of nationality, or race, or faith, in fighting against the scourge of terrorism. We can and we will defeat those who threaten the safety and security of people all around the world.”
Updates from HuffPo here.
Story from MSNBC.
It’s worth noting that the same poll showed a comfortable victory in Utah for either Cruz or Kasich. IOW, at least according to this one poll, a Trump nomination has the potential to scramble the electoral map. If Trump puts Utah into play, then a Trump nomination has the potential to make Goldwater’s 1964 loss look like a pleasant walk in the park.
All that said, I will believe that Utah would vote Democratic against Trump when I see it.
The nearest analogy I can find is 1992 when George HW Bush came in first, Perot second and Clinton third. If (and I think this is likely) there’s a three way contest, whoever the Republican establishment puts up against Trump will win in Utah.