Posts Tagged ‘Democratic Primary’

Could Bernie Sanders have won? (2) Probably not

April 21, 2020

Some Comments on the Sanders Campaign by Yves Smith for Naked Capitalism.

Bernie Sanders Campaign: How He Lost the White Working Class by Dan McLaughlin for National Review.  [Added 4/15/2020]  From March.  Lots of interesting polling data.

Bernie Sanders Offered Us the Future | Why Did He Fail—and What Did We Forfeit? by Moshik Temkin for Newsweek [Added 4/15/2020]

#DemExit Now: How the Democratic Party Cheated Bernie Sanders Out of the Nomination by Anis Shivani for Medium [Added 4/18/2020]

Reflections on the Bernie Campaign by Nathan J. Robinson for Current Affairs [Added 4/21/2020]

Bernie’s Campaign Strategy Wasn’t the Problem by Paul Headman and Hadas Thier for Jacobin [Added 4/23/2020]

Bernie Sanders: a politician who never sold out

April 10, 2020

Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally in Denver. Via Common Dreams

Bernie Sanders is a rare example of a politician who cared more about the people he represented than his personal ambitions.  He compromised, but he never sold out.

While Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden spend their early years in climbing the American political success ladder, Sanders spent his youth in apparently doomed campaigns against established power.

It was only at age 47 that he won a narrow victory as mayor of Burlington, Vermont.  Against the opposition of the City Council and many city employees, he was able to rally the public and impose reform on the city government.

I don’t know whether he could have done the same with the government in Washington.  The corruption and dysfunction runs much more deeply there.  But it would have been interesting to see him try.

He was respected for his honesty and sincerity even by his political opponents, whereas somebody like Newt Gingrich or Karl Rove is mistrusted even by his political allies.

I remember an article about Sanders in the 2016 campaign that I thought showed what he was all about.  I searched for on the Internet, but was unable to find it.

A reporter traveling with Sanders had hoped to rise with the campaign staff from the airport to the hotel where they all were staying.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t room in the vehicle for all, and it seemed as if the reporter was going to have to find his own transportation.

Sanders noticed what was going on, and started trying to figure out a way to rearrange the luggage so there would be room for the reporter.  He was surprised at Sanders’ concern, because he hadn’t been especially friendly on the flight.  He decided it was a reflection of a sense of justice that encompassed everybody.

If you were going on an ocean cruise, the reporter said, Sanders wouldn’t be a particularly congenial companion.  But he would be the one who noticed if you fell overboard.

I think one reason Sanders ended his campaign when he did, instead of going all the way to the convention the way Hillary Clinton did in 2008, is that he didn’t want to expose his supporters and other voters to the risks of voting in person.

I never would have dreamed, in 2015, that somebody like Sanders could come as close to winning the presidency as he did.  But, as somebody said, “close” only counts when you’re playing horseshoes.

The question for the future is whether Sanders was unique or whether others can follow, building on what he achieved.  His campaign was always as much about building a movement—maybe more about building a movement—than it was about winning office.  I hope his campaign is a beginning and not an end.

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Could Bernie Sanders have won?

April 9, 2020

I was disappointed, but not surprised, that Bernie Sanders conceded defeat in the Democratic presidential primary.

To have won the Democratic nomination, he would have had to have gotten an absolute majority of the delegates to the nominating convention, and he never got an absolute majority in any state.

Many Sanders’ supporters blame him for running too gentlemanly and restrained a campaign.  I myself would have like to see him be more aggressive, but I don’t think that would have brought him victory..

The system was rigged against him.  I think it is remarkable that he got as far as he did.  But there were two political dilemmas that he failed to resolve, and that nobody may have been able to resolve.

One was how to win the votes of loyal Democrats while appealing to independents and non-voters who were disgusted with the leadership of both parties.

The other was how to win the votes of both the old-time New Deal liberals and the “woke” progressives.  I haven’t seen much written about this, so I’ll go into this aspect a little more.

The first group are populists.  They side with the struggling majority who are being exploited by the financial and corporate elite.  The second group is suspicious of populism.  They side with minorities who are being oppressed by the dominant majority, which is defined by race, gender and sexual orientation.  For this group, a poor and unemployed straight white male can still be an oppressor.

These two perspectives aren’t necessarily in opposition.  You can be opposed to monopoly business and opposed to discrimination against black people or gay people.  The question is the balance between the two .

An example of the problem was the controversy over Sanders’ accepting the endorsement of Joe Rogan, the popular on-line talk show host.

Rogan appeals to a mass audience who don’t necessarily follow politics closely, so his endorsement was golden.  But to some Democrats, he was unacceptable because he opposes transgendered women who are biological males competing in women’s sports, especially mixed martial arts, and he opposes puberty blockers for gender-confused children.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez opposed Sanders’ accepting Rogan’s endorsement  She reportedly dialed back her support for the Sanders campaign for that reason.  If this is so, it is not an attitude that wins elections.

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Voter suppression in the Democratic primary

March 11, 2020

The line to vote in the Democratic presidential primary at 9:25 p.m. March 3 at Texas Southern University. Photo: Texas Observer

I don’t blame voter suppression for Bernie Sanders’ losses in the Democratic primary.  Not entirely.  There were a lot of reasons he lost and Joe Biden won.

Sanders appealed to young, first-time voters, and registering to vote for the first time can be complicated and time-consuming, even under normal conditions.

Voter registration is especially difficult for renters, because you have to re-register every time you move to a new district.  Young people, poor people and minorities are disproportionately renters.

In most states, you have to register by a certain deadline.  Michigan had same-day registration, but there were long lines of would-be new voters yesterday several hours after the polls closed.

Some state governments have closed polling stations in places where there are high concentrations of college students, minorities and poor people.  This is mainly a result of a Republican effort to discourage voting by core Democratic constituencies, but it worked against Sanders.

Also, voting in most places is done with electronic voting machines that can be tampered with.  I’ve been writing about this for years.  There are suspicious discrepancies between exit polls and the actual vote.

The only way to guarantee this won’t happen is with paper ballots counted by hand in public.  In New York state, where I vote, there are paper ballots scanned by machines.

In principle, these ballots could by hand-counted if there was a question as to whether they were scanned correctly.  But in practice, the verification would almost certainly be done in a second scanning by a different machine.

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Democratic primary: It’s not over until it’s over

March 4, 2020

Click to enlarge.  Source: CNBC.

The Super-Tuesday primary results were a disappointment to the Bernie Sanders campaign, but the primary campaign is far from over.

We won’t know the full results until the votes in California and Maine are counted, but Vox news service reports that Joe Biden only got 60 more delegates than Sanders in Tuesday’s primary vote, and only has 57 more pledged delegates than Sanders overall. Other news services count differently.   I’ll post the full delegate count when the full results are in.

Biden will undoubtedly get the 26 delegates pledged to Pete Buttigieg and the seven pledged to Amy Klobuchar, and probably will get the 44 pledged to Mike Bloomberg.  And if no candidate gets a clear majority on the first convention ballot, he’ll undoubtedly get the 771 superdelegates who are chosen by the Democratic party establishment.

There’s no denying his advantage.  But it’s early times yet.  The Democrats have chosen 1,344 convention delegates, but there are 2,635 yet to go.

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Michael Bloomberg as a presidential candidate

February 7, 2020

Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg’s emergence as a major Democratic presidential candidate reminds me of a saying attributed to Harry Truman.

If you run a Republican against a Republican, the [real] Republican will win every time.

LINKS

Michael Bloomberg Wikipedia page.

A Republican Plutocrat Tries to Buy the Democratic Nomination by Nathan J. Robinson for Current Affairs [Added 2/9/2020]  This says it all.

Michael Bloomberg’s Right-Wing Views on Foreign Policy by Mehdi Hasan for The Intercept.

Mike Bloomberg’s $ymbiotic Relationship With NY’s GOP: ‘We Agreed With Him on So Many Issues’ by Ross Barkan for Gothamist.

Bloomberg Has a History of Donating to Republicans—Including in 2018 by Bobby Cuza for Spectrum News NY1

Election fraud charged in Democratic primaries

May 13, 2016

lawsuit-book-and-paperAn organization called Election Justice USA has filed a lawsuit charging election fraud in New York state’s primary election.  A reporter for Counterpunch obtained the complaint and the exhibits.  Here is what was charged:

According to Stewart McCauley, who helped collect the data and analyzed it by affidavit for Exhibit I, EJUSA has found that “[t]here are four broad methodologies that were used” to disenfranchise New York voters, the first two of which were also present in Arizona.

“Two by hackers (possibly), and two that had to have been carried out by BoE [Board of Elections] officials and/or employees:

1) Logging in (most likely after identifying the voter’s candidate of choice) to the BoE database remotely and tampering with registration records, including back-dating of changes

2) Crudely forged hand signatures to alter party affiliation via paper forms

3) BoE “nuclear” approach: actively purging eligible voters through a variety of methods, including intentional bouncing of maintenance letters (but note that the majority of our respondents/plaintiffs could not legally be removed as it has been less than five years since they registered)

4) BoE officials and employees actively neglecting to register new voters.”

Source: Counterpunch.

The whole U.S. civil order rests on public acceptance of the outcomes of elections as legitimate.   It is possible for a reform candidate to mobilize people power to overcome the built-in advantages that the rich and powerful have in the electoral process.  But that is only true if citizens can register to vote and the votes are counted.

The right to vote, and have your right counted, is the only way you have of ensuring your other rights are respected—short of revolution.

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What are Bernie Sanders’ options if he loses?

May 2, 2016

What could Hillary Clinton offer Bernie Sanders if she wins?  What could he accept?  Above all, will he turn over his list of 2 million small donors and on what terms?

Peter+Daou+on+Twitter_+_THE+CAUSE_+If+Bernie+Wants+Real+Progress+He%E2%80%99ll+Align+HisSome of Clinton’s supporters say they aren’t willing to modify the Democratic platform in order to placate Sanders.  From their standpoint, that makes sense.

Sanders already has done immense damage to Clinton by raising peoples’ hopes.  The whole argument for Clinton is that nothing much good can be done, and she is the one qualified to keep things from getting worse.

I think Clinton’s election strategy will be try to persuade corporate conservatives that she is preferable to Donald Trump or Ted Cruz—which, from their standpoint, she is.  She will treat progressives and Sanders supporters as an embarrassment—which, from her standpoint, they are.

What she could offer Sanders is the promise of not trying to block him from retaining his Democratic Senate committee assignments and seniority rights.  This would be important to him carrying on the progressive fight from the Senate.

His endorsement of Clinton wouldn’t help her much, but the lack of an endorsement, or a lukewarm endorsement, would hurt.

Sanders’ core supporters back him because of his positions on important issues.  Some still are under the illusion that Sanders and Clinton stand for the same things, except that he is a bold idealist and she is a cautious pragmatist.  The first group would not be influenced by his endorsement or lack of endorsement; the second group might.

The big thing that Sanders has to offer is his donors list—the 2 million people who kept him in the race, mostly with donations of less than $200 each.

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Sanders started too late—or too early

April 20, 2016

I don’t think Bernie Sanders became a candidate for President with the idea that he could actually win.

I think he filed in order to make progressive ideas part of the national political debate.

Bernie SandersI think he filed only because he saw that no other progressive Democrat was going to enter the race.

I think he would have been perfectly happy to support Elizabeth Warren or some other progressive Democrat.

As it was, he started late and started from behind.

Every American knew who Hillary Clinton was.  Hardly anybody outside Vermont had heard of him.

He had to build a campaign organization from scratch.  Hillary Clinton already had a network of campaign supporters in place from 2008 and had been working for the nomination since 2013.

She began with an enormous head start, with a campaign staff already in place, a strategy already prepared, millions of dollars in campaign funds and support of established leaders of the Democratic Party.

If Sanders had decided to run in 2013 instead of 2015, he would have better name recognition and a better organized campaign than he does now.  He wouldn’t have to be learning as he goes.

But he has been catching up.   The fact that he is a real contender may be as big a surprise to him as it is to most people, including me.

I hoped he would do better in New York state than he did, but, when he filed, nobody would have dreamed he would have done as well as he did.

The reason he is a stronger candidate than Jesse Jackson, Dennis Kucinich and progressive insurgents of the past is that the USA is now ripe for such a candidate.

Sanders was the catalyst for bringing together people who participated in the Fight For Fifteen, Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street and the anti-Walker protests in Wisconsin.

Such movements will grow and multiply as long, but this may not be their year.  At this point it is unlikely Sanders will catch up, although it is still possible – as I will explain below.

I don’t think Sanders is under any obligation to drop out, any more than Clinton was in 2008 when she was trying unsuccessfully to catch up with Barack Obama.  His obligation now, as hers was then, is to his supporters.

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Super-delegates and super Tuesdays

April 6, 2016

Bernie Sanders’ strong showing in the Democratic primaries is remarkable because today’s primary system was set up specifically to prevent somebody like him from winning the nomination.

Bernie_Poster_Large_Web_Graphic_72dpiSuper-delegates are Democratic party and elected officials who automatically get a seat in the convention, but are un-pledged.  They have the power to tip the balance against any undesired upstart grass roots candidate.  About 15 percent of this year’s delegates will be super-delegates.

Super-Tuesday is a day early in the election year in which a large bloc of states, mainly Southern and Midwestern, hold primary elections on the same day.  The expected result is for the front-runner to lock in a lead before New Yorkers and Californians vote.

The super-delegate system was set up in 1982 and the first Super Tuesday was in 1984.  The avowed purpose, which was frankly stated at the time, was to prevent the nomination of another George McGovern, an anti-war, left-wing candidate who swept the primaries in 1972 but only carried Massachusetts and the District of Columbia in the general election.

mcgovernbd74cdee16334b204b22d6ece81699c2It’s almost forgotten now that 1972 was the first year that all delegates to Democratic or Republican national conventions were chosen in primary elections.  From 1832 to 1908, there were no presidential primaries, and presidential candidates were nominated at conventions, usually after many ballots.  From 1912 to 1968, some states held primaries, but the results were frequently disregarded.  The Democrats nominated Hubert Humphrey in 1968 even though he did not win a single primary.

Things changed in 1972 when George McGovern was nominated against the virtually unanimous opposition of the Democratic Party establishment.  Under party rules of that year, there was guaranteed minimum representation of racial minorities, women and youth, but not of Democratic governors, senators and congressional representatives, many of whom failed to win election as delegates.

McGovern went down to ignominious defeat—which was partly, but probably not mainly, due to lack of support from Democratic regulars.   Moderate, business-friendly Democrats founded the Democratic Leadership Council to steer the part away from what he stood for.

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Zephyr Teachout gets 34% of the Democratic vote

September 10, 2014

ny_primary-300x241Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu received slightly over 34 percent of the Democratic vote for governor and lieutenant governor in yesterday’s New York primary election.  Andrew Cuomo and Kathy Hochul got virtually all of the rest.

That was an excellent showing against an incumbent candidate, considering Cuomo had the power of incumbency and name recognition, and Teachout and Wu were virtual unknowns with next to no money.

The size of the Teachout-Wu vote will make it harder for Gov. Cuomo to retaliate politically against their supporters.

Click on Zephyr Teachout’s primary election loss has the air of a victory party for more from the New York Daily News.  [via Naked Capitalism]