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The Hillary Voter?

It’s ironic. The media has been talking non-stop about who is voting for Bernie Sanders (anti-establishment young people) or who is voting for Donald Trump (anti-establishment white working-class men). Or as the New Republic puts it “The media has saturated us with profiles of the voters who are turning out for these anti-establishment candidates.”

On the other hand, all we hear about Hillary Clinton is that she is favored in states with large numbers of black people. But how can they be her main supporters? Clinton has won more votes in the primaries than any other candidate: 2.5 million more than Sanders and 1.1 million more than Trump. And yet, the media can’t seem to figure out who these voters are, and why they are voting for her.

Why? Because it disturbs their conventional wisdom that people don’t like Clinton. According to the media, Clinton is phony and can’t be trusted. As a recent article in the NY Times put it, Clinton is winning “votes, not hearts”. The media doesn’t say she has “momentum”, instead they say she has a “sizable delegate lead”. Is there a difference?

The media also likes to remind us that Obama came from behind and upset a seemingly invincible Clinton in 2008. But what they don’t point out is that Clinton holds a lead in both popular votes and delegates over Sanders that far surpasses Obama’s lead over her at this point in the race in 2008. The media loves a horse race, and so ironically turns Clinton’s popularity with actual voters into a liability.

Even more ironically, the media narrative unintentionally turns Clinton into the underdog, which may be what is getting her supporters to the voting booth.

Clinton also upsets the media narrative that voters are angry. I suspect there are more voters out there who believe that Obama has been a damn good president, especially considering the shit that the Republicans have been throwing at him since even before he was elected. It’s the same crap that they have been throwing at Hillary Clinton for even longer. Sure some people are manipulated into fear and hatred, but I think that the majority of Americans realize that Clinton is the best bet we have for continuing and expanding the gains made by the Obama presidency.

And what gains! Progressive victories include the Affordable Care Act, gay marriage, the beginning of legalization of marijuana, the Fair Pay Act for women, the Paris environmental accords, ending two Republican wars, the nuclear deal with Iran, and normalizing relations with Cuba. All while pulling us out of the Great Recession.

Meanwhile, even with a majority in both the House and Senate, Republicans have failed to pass any meaningful pieces of legislation at all. According to Salon, that’s what happens when compromise becomes a heresy in your party.

One argument used repeatedly by the media to support the idea that voters are angry is that Republican turnout during the primary has been higher than normal, while Democratic turnout is lower. But as Five Thirty Eight points out, primary turnout has no relationship with turnout in the general election. Turnout is more of a function of the competitiveness of the running politicians, and Republicans have certainly gotten more attention in that area. However, in four of the last five presidential elections, the party that had a higher increase in turnout in the primary actually lost the general election.

If I were Republicans, I would be afraid, very afraid.



  1. Hassan wrote:

    Although I am not liberal and not share many ideological values with her, so I have to judge her with her ideology and ideology of her base.

    Of course the list is long for her troubling record/remarks from point of view of her base. Of course she does not have to be totally in-sync with her base, but issue is lack of consistency. So for example, if she was consistently hawkish with military intervention, then it is one thing.

    So she voted for Iraq war and then by 2008 was “if I knew then when I know now” logic for being against it later. Anyway, even Republicans evolved from nuclear weapons to “Saddam was bad guy” and “democracy be bombed into them”

    Which leads to Libyan intervention. In her campaign trail, either interviews or debates, she defends regime change because Qaddafi was bad guy and now Libya has “democracy” etc.

    Just like Iraq (perhaps even worse), Libya is in chaos with “elected government” may be controlling 10%, and ISIS is strong and getting stronger.

    I was listening to Fox news radio last week, Bill Kristol said if Trump is nominee, he will support Hillary because she is better in foreign policy, because it is more hawkish. Imagine Hillary having endorsement from a neocon.

    Although, neocons may be happy with Trump, after he kissed AIPAC ass yesterday (it seems both Hillary and Trump had same speech writer, lot of similarities).

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016 at 2:56 am | Permalink
  2. ThatGuy wrote:

    I can’t add much to what Hassan has there. Clinton is a hawk with deep ties to Wall Street, and while I’ll back her over anyone the GOP puts forward, it’s absolutely a vote-not-heart situation.

    In any case, the NYT’s non-stop Clinton-palooza has given me a decent idea of who her voters are. She does very well with minorities and women, and typically the older they are the more likely they will be to vote for her. These are huge demographics for the Democrats and they will turn out against someone like Trump in droves in the general, so yes, the GOP should certainly be scared.

    But so, perhaps, should the Democrats. Maybe not this election, but if we keep getting relatively hawkish (and I would say Obama, by his second election, could fit that bill) then I think we’ll see more candidates like Sanders, and perhaps even further from the beaten path. Democrats will also have to worry if their candidates preside over continuously rancorous race relations while failing to do anything meaningful about it. In short, they may face something similar to what the GOP faces right now if they can’t deliver meaningful gains to their core supporters.

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016 at 6:45 am | Permalink
  3. Wildwood wrote:

    Being one of those old white women, I voted for Trump in the primary, because I live in Missouri and it was close between him and Cruz. Husband did this also. Cruz is scarier than Trump. Neither one of us will vote for him in the fall, (at least if this marriage wants to hit 50 years instead of just 49).

    Ideologically, I prefer Sanders, emotionally, I prefer Clinton. I don’t have a strong preference as to which gets the nomination. I’m not alone and I think that’s why voter turnout was low for the Dems. Give us either one and we will be happy. There are things about both that are not perfect, and I too would prefer a less hawkish president.

    Hawkish or not, I’m not convinced that Clinton will act too aggressively. At least I hope not. Part of that hawkishness is possibly trying to appear “strong” and not too weak like “the little woman”.

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016 at 8:11 am | Permalink
  4. Ralph wrote:

    Hassan – Kristol is hedging for Clinton because he knows Trump is bad, perhaps fatal, news for the GOP, whether he wins the nomination or, in the unlikely event, the whole shebang.

    She’s clearly the odd-on favorite to be the next Prez, and I’d have to vote for her over any of the GOP bozos, but her unforced errors and the impression that she’s always got something up her sleeve (esp. her Wall St. obfuscations) gives many people reasonable cause for concern. The latest example is her vacillating answer to a recent question from Scott Pelley on 60 Minutes. To paraphrase, “Have you always told the truth”, to which she replied, “I’ve always tried to…”, as she wove her way delicately around the topic. Rather cringe-worthy and not exactly a comforting reply, even when given several shots at the right answer.

    I mean, is there any easier question to answer, short of the one Trump was given about the KKK (which he also hedged on)?

    She is a very skilled and intelligent politician and knows how this moneyed game is played. OTOH, a major reason Sanders is close on her heels is the unquestioned integrity he brings to the table, something sorely lacking in our political system more than ever these days and what the public desperately cries out for.

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016 at 8:20 am | Permalink
  5. Ralph wrote:

    Wildwood – you may be right about her lean towards hawkishness. It’s almost like she’s trying to channel Margaret Thatcher’s “Iron Lady” mantle, and show the (largely) all-boys club that she can play ball. Anyway, it’s not like Obama has been exactly a dove either, especially in his second term. We still have Gitmo (remember how that was gonna be gone the first year or two?) and seems virtually addicted to drone warfare. It’s “clean”, it’s cheap, and it’s largely below the headlines. But you have to wonder if it just makes the mess over there even worse. Because it turns out not to be so “clean” after all. But I digress.

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016 at 8:29 am | Permalink
  6. Babe of the Boom wrote:

    Mrs. Clinton is just more of the same old same old of the last 40+ years. She is the embodiment of everything that is wrong with politics in the good ol’ U.S. of A. Her only saving grace is that she is not officially a Republican.

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016 at 8:49 am | Permalink
  7. Carter Shmeckle wrote:

    In evaluating a politician’s integrity, I apply the “would I let this person hold my wallet if I suddenly had to be taken to the emergency room” test. Respecting the current crop of leading candidates, my answers would be:

    Bernie – Yes. (He’s an honest pol, as proven by his rumpled wardrobe. Also, I’m not rich, so I don’t have to worry he’d confiscate my cash.)

    Trump – Yes. (He’s not particularly honest, but doesn’t need my meager money. Anyways, Trump University is closed for the time being).

    Cruz- No. ( Too many dirty campaign tricks. Let him spread false rumors, like he did about Carson, with his own money. Or Goldman Sachs’)

    Hillary- LMAOTF No. (Start, e.g., here: . Plus, honest pols don’t need private email servers.)

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016 at 9:41 am | Permalink
  8. westomoon wrote:

    IK, you surprise me. I read the WaPo, the NYT, and my local paper; I listen to NPR; I watch msnbc and my local ABC-affiliate news. They all trumpet Clinton’s inevitability and glory in her tiniest victory, while basically maintaining a Cone of Silence around Sanders.

    Like ThatGuy, I’d been thinking I had a pretty clear notion of who supports Clinton, and so do most of the people I interact with — in fact, as an old white feminist D, I’ve been getting tired of automatically being lumped in with them.

    I normally admire your acuity. So I am bewildered by this piece. The media has been devoting a huge majority of its coverage to the R primary, clearly. But of what’s left for the Ds, I would have characterized them as fawning on Hillary and ignoring Bernie. What media has led you to your opposite conclusion?

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016 at 9:55 am | Permalink
  9. Wildwood wrote:

    Ralph, I was thinking Thatcher when I wrote that. Obama has brought, at least to me, some big disappointments. But he has also succeeded in much in spite of long odds with the Congress he was dealt. And with any president, I think you get two versions. The first four years have to be played differently so that you can get to the second four years. And with Obama and the drone strikes, I think they are better than boots on the ground, but still a problem. I think we should just walk away from that part of the world and let them stew in their 14th century messes until they self destruct or find a way to make things work.

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016 at 10:46 am | Permalink
  10. Dave, TN wrote:

    WW, leaving that part of the world is becoming evermore difficult as the world shrinks everyday with the passing of time. Isolationism didn’t work before WW1, before WW2 and conditions are even more precarious with the current state of affairs. While I agree we cant be the worlds police force, we can at least be the worlds SWAT team coming on the scene when called and conditions warrant as a backup to the local government.
    How we get there is entirely another topic, one I would like to see discussed in details at debates. Establishing a working government is not Republiecans forte, after all their favorite sentiment is “government bad”. That being given the Dems are having issues in this department in the middle east as well. I would like to hear some formulated plan in this regard.

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016 at 7:42 pm | Permalink
  11. Michael wrote:

    Carter’s post seems to be a bit of lying by omission, as he only points to Hillary’s false statement list. Here’s a more complete run-down of some statistics from Politifact (you can get to each person’s page from

    Clinton: 174 statements reviewed, 125 (72%) are at least half true, 2 pants on fire.

    Sanders: 75 statements reviewed, 52 (69%) are at least half true, 0 pants on fire.

    Kasich: 61 statements reviewed, 41 (67%) are at least half true, 3 pants on fire.

    Rubio: 139 statements reviewed, 81 (58%) are at least half true, 4 pants on fire.

    Cruz: 100 statements reviewed, 35 (35%) are at least half true, 7 pants on fire.

    Trump: 115 statements reviewed, 27 (23%) are at least half true, 21 pants on fire.

    Toss out the half true, and the order is almost the same (Kasich pulls ahead of Sanders). Sort by just entirely true and you get Kasich-Clinton-Sanders as the order.

    Sure, there are a lot of limitations to this quick analysis. For starters, not all lies are of equal magnitude. And there certainly is a lot of implied guilt by association when the Clintons are involved. But I find it interesting how easily the “Clinton is a liar” theme gets passed around without sufficient evidence that she is any more dishonest than other politicians. On the contrary, most analyses (of public statements, at least) that I have seen show that she tends to be more honest than her peers. Granted, that means honest for a politician, which is a pretty low bar to reach, but the point remains.

    As for the private email server, she’s not the first politician to use a personal account for official business, and she won’t be the last. For instance, John Kerry was the first Secretary of State to use an official email address in the position. Personally, I find it as more evidence that she goes a bit overboard with the “vast right-wing conspiracy” paranoia, which is why she’s not my favorite politician. Until there’s actual evidence of definitive wrongdoing (which I fully admit is possible), I tend to think the email server scandal is much ado about nothing.

    If I were Politifact, I would rank Carter’s evaluation as mostly false based on the statistics above, particularly as Sanders has a lower percentage of honest statements than Clinton. (…though he is the only one to avoid a Pants-on-Fire rating…)

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016 at 8:04 pm | Permalink
  12. Iron Knee wrote:

    Where to begin. Sigh.

    Hassan attacks Hillary Clinton because Bill Kristol “supports her” when he says that Clinton has more foreign policy experience than Donald Trump. Forget for a moment that nobody really cares what Bill Kristol says anymore (see and

    However, isn’t Kristol saying something that is trivially true (even a broken clock is right twice a day)? Trump’s only experience with foreign affairs is marrying a foreigner. That’s a joke, but the point is he has no foreign policy experience, while Clinton is a former secretary of state. And Kristol didn’t endorse her (he prefers Ben Carson), and said he would vote for her only if Trump were the GOP nominee.

    Ralph, I laughed at your example of her response to “Have you always told the truth?” First of all, that is a really dumb question. How many people can honestly say they have never lied in their lives? Did she ever tell Chelsea that Santa Claus is real? As secretary of state, did she ever lie by omission about something that would compromise national security? And using Carter as an example. I love Jimmy Carter, but his honesty earned him scorn and even hatred. Not to mention very low approval ratings (as low as 28% during his presidency, lower than Trump’s current rating). While Saint Ronnie even admitted he lied.

    Ralph asks “is there any easier question to answer?”. So I guess the easy answer is to just lie and say you have never lied. But because she tried to give an honest answer, you attack her? Give me a break.

    I agree with you that Obama is no dove, but your example of Gitmo is ludicrous. Obama tried (repeatedly) to close Gitmo, but doing so requires congressional approval and the Republicans have blocked him at every turn. There are much better examples.

    Finally, this country has oscillated wildly between interventionism and isolationism. Both extremes tend to be very bad. The last period of isolationism led to the rise of the Nazis and WWII. After WWII, we became very interventionist, which resulted in CIA coups in the Middle East and Latin America, and wars in Korea, Vietnam, etc. I think it would be as stupid at this point to just walk away from the Middle East and let IS take over as it was to think that we could invade them and they would magically become democratic. And swinging between the two is the worst. A steady middle ground is best.

    I like the fact that Clinton has admitted that she should not have voted for the Iraq war. I remember very well the run-up to the war, when even Jon Stewart was calling for revenge. Not only do we now know that the Bush administration lied to get us into that war, but at the time anyone against the war was condemned. The politicians who voted against it were isolationists. They may have been 100% right in that case, but I still don’t like it as a national policy.

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016 at 8:54 pm | Permalink
  13. Carter Shmeckle wrote:


    “Carter’s post seems to be … lying by omission.”

    I am very offended by your statement. FYI, I only lie deliberately. (Is there any other way?) If I were so incompetent, so as to be able to lie by “omission,” I’d be making big bucks working for the Republican National Committee.

    Now, if you’re accusing my comment of being, say, “misleading,” but that word escaped you, I have but one response (at the moment):

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016 at 9:56 pm | Permalink
  14. zyvlyn wrote:

    Great post IK.

    Is anyone else starting to believe that Carter is a living, breathing avatar of Poe’s law?

    Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at 5:59 am | Permalink
  15. ThatGuy wrote:

    WESTOMOON, while Clinton’s media coverage has dwarfed Sanders’, the prevailing statistic is that much of that coverage is devoted to her “scandals.” So the media is both giving her more exposure and backing up the idea that she is not so trustworthy while also making her seem inevitable as the nominee. Unlike Trump, there is such a thing as bad publicity for Clinton.

    Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at 7:09 am | Permalink
  16. Hassan wrote:

    Iron Knee, it is for liberals to decide and judge Hillary on their values, not me. If Bill Kristol and Henry Kissinger (whom Hillary looks upto and was all in praise for) are role models for them, that is fine.

    So Hillary who supported regime change in Iraq and then became against it, and then after becoming against it then supported regime change in Libya and perhaps in future will change and regret Libya, and then support some other regime change etc. If this is what liberals and progressives stand for, then she is perfect candidate.

    Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at 8:13 am | Permalink
  17. Hassan wrote:

    David Duke? Where did I mention him or Trump even?

    [oops, you’re right. That was Ralph who mentioned Trump and the KKK. Sorry. –iron]

    Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at 8:14 am | Permalink
  18. Ralph wrote:

    IK – I take your point re. Clinton, but we’re not talking about Santa Claus here and Carter’s negatives were related to the economy at the time, as well as the Iran hostage crisis, not to any negative perceptions around his honesty or integrity. I get it, politics ain’t beanbag and, ironically, Carter has sometimes been criticized over the years as someone who was TOO honest and nice to be President!

    But she could have dealt with a question like that more deftly, and this was hardly the dumbest one I’ve heard from either side, BTW. Yes, it’s rhetorical and we all know politicians couch the truth to one degree or another and can appreciate issues like national security are legitimate areas for that. But she must know that many, even among her own base, perceive her as sometimes too clever by half, to use a colloquialism, and can come across as less than genuine or upfront. Perhaps she bears an unfair reflection coming off Bill (remember his sometime nickname “Slick Willie” back in the day? and not just with Lewinsky). Unfair perhaps, but she hitched her star to that wagon when she said “I do” and there’s a rather strong commonality that has emerged in their public personae and approach to politics. I’ll vote for her in the general election over anyone in the clown car on the right that gets the wheel but not without some trepidation that we’re liable to find a new skeleton or two in her closet along the way, sooner or later. With Sanders there’s more a sense of what you see is what you get, at least for this voter.

    Am I judging her unfairly or is there some other reason(s) her net unfavorability rating (-21%) is the lowest (next to Trump’s -33%) of any presidential front runner since 1984, according to the latest CBS/NYT poll?

    I think she’ll be our next President, it’s about time we have a highly qualified woman in the Oval Office and suspect she do just fine, but will also have my fingers crossed that “we don’t get fooled again”, to steal lyrics from that tune by The Who. Because a few years down the road we don’t want to be finding the new boss is the same as the old boss. That song’s getting old!

    And yes, I also take your point about Obama re. Gitmo. It’s a real tough nut he inherited from Junior. But it seemed to fall off his radar after the first year or two and he could have held Republicans’ feet to fire more, IMHO. It’s an albatross, a major recruiting tool for ISIS & Co. and an affront to our country’s founding ideals of habeas corpus. I think it will move back to the front burner soon again though, as we try to normalize relations with Cuba. Bring them here for trial or set them free, but holding them for a decade or more without trial, many being held there for years even without specific charges, is truly un-American and what we often accuse other undemocratic countries of doing.

    Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at 8:39 am | Permalink
  19. Carter Shmeckle wrote:


    “Poe’s Law”

    Once upon a daybreak dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
    Over many a lame and curious screen shot of Internet lore—
    While I scrolled down, nearly yawning, suddenly there came a dawning,
    As of some one loudly shouting, shouting at me more and more.
    “‘Use emojis,” he exclaimed, “when your comment’s not ground floor”—
    “But that wouldn’t be ‘ironic’,”
    – Quoth the Carter evermore.

    Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at 8:45 am | Permalink
  20. Iron Knee wrote:

    Ralph says:
    > Am I judging her unfairly or is there some other reason(s) her net unfavorability rating (-21%) is the lowest (next to Trump’s -33%) of any presidential front runner since 1984, according to the latest CBS/NYT poll?

    Could it possibly be because the Republicans, Fox News, Beck, Limbaugh, etc. etc. have been manufacturing faux scandal after scandal to throw at her? After a while, you can’t even remember what the scandals were, you just have this uneasy feeling that you can’t trust her. Why do you even care if she used a private email server? Nobody objected when other secretaries of state did the same thing. And remember, News Corp (parent of Fox News) was caught breaking into officials’ cell phones in England and the NSA got hacked from the inside by Snowden. Meanwhile there is no evidence that her private server was ever hacked. So maybe it was a good thing.

    I should remind you that I was never a big fan of Bill Clinton, and I don’t think Hillary Clinton was a particularly clever or good politician. But I think she is getting better. She is a hard worker and has good ideas. Bottom line is she is definitely treated worse than she deserves. Some of it may be sexism, but it doesn’t matter.

    Finally, Gitmo has not fallen off Obama’s radar. You haven’t been paying attention. Just recently, Obama made another major push to close Guantanamo Bay. See

    Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at 9:57 am | Permalink
  21. ThatGuy wrote:

    Obama has also mentioned closing Guantanamo Bay in most, if not all, of his State of the Union addresses.

    Regarding the email servers, IK is spot on that it’s somehow a big deal when Clinton does it, but not when others do it. My bottom line is that the outrage should be equal, and every government employee, especially the higher ups, should conduct government business on government servers. Very important for FOIA requests.

    I think Clinton’s issue is that she very clearly follows the polls. Part of this is easily excusable; leaders should recognize and adapt to changes in their constituencies to an extent. But Clinton has all the regularity of a weathervane without appearing to have the purpose of a helmsman. The only areas I’d call her somewhat consistent in are foreign policy (interventionist) and fiscal regulation (banks know best).

    Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at 10:35 am | Permalink
  22. Iron Knee wrote:

    One last thing Ralph. What’s wrong with the new boss being the same as the old boss, if the old boss is Obama?

    My biggest fear is that Clinton will *not* be the same as Obama, that she will not be able to overcome Republican obstructionism as much as Obama has been able to do. Again, I think some of that may be due to sexism and/or raw political skill.

    I think a better example of “won’t get fooled again” are the Republicans who are tired to being lied to by the establishment, so they pick someone who lies to them even more.

    Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at 10:47 am | Permalink
  23. Ralph wrote:

    Hey, no fair ganging up on the little guy, you THATGUY and IK guys 😉

    Like I said before, I think she’ll make a fine Prez and it’s way overdue having a woman in the Oval Office and she is more than qualified. I mean, they’ve led in India, Pakistan and practically every other Western democracy at some point. I would have preferred Elizabeth Warren, less baggage, but she wasn’t available, and of course Carly or (gasp!) Palin or Bachmann don’t count, even all but the most dim-witted Republicans figured out that much.

    There’s no perfect candidate, of course, just trying to keep it real, and I do agree she’s been held to another standard compared to many others, as are women generally in politics (or often practically any job, really). I think the email server “scandal” was overblown, given she was hardly the first, but I agree with THATGUY, gov’t workers should be strictly required to do gov’t business on gov’t servers, both for security and FOIA reasons.

    What concerns me more than anything else about her has been her rather cozy relationship with Wall St., the excessive speaking fees being symptomatic. But then I don’t think Obama has exactly been exemplary in this regard either. Bringing some of the primary culprits for the 2008 crash into his inner circle was not most people’s idea of hope and change. Some of those guys should’ve been shackled and frog walked off to the klink, Madoff style, as they were running nothing short of elaborate pyramid schemes and shell games on the entire country, if not the world. The revolving door that is the SEC was their cover and Congress their enabler. But I guess that’s one measure of how tightly the money men have us by the short ones, literally and figuratively. If we rightly locked up all the white collar crooks that screwed the middle class, instead of non-violent drug offenders for example, the prison demographics would look very different indeed.

    That’s my story and I’m stickin’ with it!

    Thursday, March 24, 2016 at 12:19 pm | Permalink
  24. Iron Knee wrote:

    Ralph, I agree with you. Unfortunately, even if Wall Street doesn’t do anything actually illegal, they do control an awfully large amount of our economy and could (again, completely legally) use their money and power to their advantage. Money talks, especially in our government.

    I’m glad you admit that the email server thing is overblown. I mean, compared to lying us into a war, committing war crimes (including torture), and even using that war to enrich their own pockets, using a private email server seems relatively trivial.

    Thursday, March 24, 2016 at 9:41 pm | Permalink