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The Primary Beginning of the End

I know, less than half the primary delegates have been allocated, but it is starting to look like the primary season is wrapping up.

On the Democratic side, The Daily Kos has announced that unless Sanders can narrow Clinton’s delegate lead by March 15 (less than a week away), then the entire site will declare the primary over and transition to General Election mode. Not just in the presidential race, but also the Senate, House, and state-level races. The time for intra-party fighting is over.

The bottom line for them is that the Supreme Court is just that important. Bill Clinton put both Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer on the court. No matter what you think of Hillary Clinton, the nominees that would come from any of the GOP frontrunners would be a disaster for a generation to come. We need a court that will overturn Citizens United, protect voting rights, and end partisan gerrymandering.

However, the Republican side seems to still be in denial. RedState is trying to get Republicans to unite behind Ted Cruz, but their appeal is only half-hearted. They don’t like Ted Cruz, but he is the only person who has any chance (however slim) of stopping Trump.

Another sign that the primaries are almost over is Michael Bloomberg has announced that he will not run for president. His main reason is that he feels that running could help Trump or Cruz get elected, and that would be a disaster. How? “Bloomberg was afraid that Bernie Sanders might get the Democratic nomination and then be subjected to a hate campaign the likes of which the country has never seen before, with the result of Trump or Cruz becoming President. Now Bloomberg is convinced that Clinton will be the Democratic nominee and is the country’s best hope for averting a Trump or Cruz presidency.”



  1. Hassan wrote:

    Not counting super delegates, Bernie is about 200 delegates short, which he may be able to recover with winner take all states. He has surprising done well in Michigan against all polls, so he may do similar in the rust belt states. So I do not think it is done yet.

    Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 7:06 am | Permalink
  2. ThatGuy wrote:

    This whole march to the inevitable is part of what makes the Clinton campaign so difficult to swallow. I think it’d be irresponsible and insulting of any journalism outfit to act as though the votes of later-race states don’t matter.

    Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 8:04 am | Permalink
  3. Hassan wrote:

    BTW, Michigan has quite large muslim and arab population, and I saw quite aggressive GOTV effort by activist for Bernie.

    Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 8:47 am | Permalink
  4. Mike wrote:

    It always strikes me as odd that the Democratic establishment doesn’t realize that Bernie is the perfect candidate to run against Trump. Trump and Bernie are getting the same kinds of voters – angry Reagan Democrats (with Trump specializing in the racist end of that group). Trump, I think, can threaten the Blue Wall. Bernie, on the other hand may be better able than Hilary to attract independents and moderate Republicans who can’t stand the idea of voting for Trump.

    It’s also, I think, silly to suggest that Bernie would be subjected to a more vitriolic hate campaign than anything aimed at Hilary. Bernie’s story is out there and it’s two phrases – “honeymoon in Moscow,” “socialist.” Aside from that he has been remarkably consistent in his positions for as long as he’s been in public life and there is little to suggest even a hint of scandal.

    Hilary’s story is long, complex and easily manipulated, and her positions on various issues seem to “evolve” depending on who she’s running against. The Republicans could have an ad discussing a new Hilary “scandal” every week from the conventions to the election and not have to repeat themselves. (That’s a slight exaggeration, but not by much.) A Hilary candidacy also will inevitably result in relitigating the Clinton years – not a strong period to attract the current Progressives who are so excited by Bernie.

    Finally, while the black community appears to overwhelmingly vote for Hilary over Bernie, I would not expect them to be as enthused about voting as they were in 2008 and 2012. Hilary, on the other hand, isn’t going to do anything to excite Bernie’s young activist base. Hilary is, if nothing else, “business as usual.” If Trump wins a lot of Reagan Democrats, I’m not too confident the result of a Hilary-Trump contest would be what the Democratic establishment seems to assume is an easy cakewalk to the White House.

    Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 8:57 am | Permalink
  5. Hassan wrote:

    Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 10:16 am | Permalink
  6. ThatGuy wrote:

    @Hassan, it amazes me how the media can be so surprised that American Muslims would vote based on more than historic religious animosities. It’s like they want everything to fit an Israel/Palestine mold that doesn’t even (always) hold up in the Middle East itself!

    Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 10:29 am | Permalink
  7. Iron Knee wrote:

    Hah! That’s hilarious that the American media is surprised that Muslims would vote for Sanders because he is Jewish (and Sanders isn’t even a practicing Jew).

    Now, if they started voting en mass for Trump, that would be surprising.

    Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 10:51 am | Permalink
  8. westomoon wrote:

    Et tu, IK? I, for one, have real problems with this urge to leave the selection of the D presidential nominee up to the voters of New England and the Deep South — why not just let the competition play out to its conclusion? The rest of the country deserves to have a say in this — Mississippi and Vermont definitely do not speak for the West Coast or the Rust Belt.

    As to Daily Kos — they have been weirdly open about declaring their Clinton partisanship this year. It’s not exactly earth-shaking that they would like Sanders to disappear before his strongest States get to vote.

    Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 11:05 am | Permalink
  9. ThatGuy wrote:

    One has to wonder why the Daily Kos would take a position that is, effectively, “the primaries are over, don’t bother voting, we aren’t paying attention.” Even in cases where this is sort-of true, you’d hope our better nature would be to encourage participation in our politics at all times. How those late states vote is going to be instructive for the general election, so discouraging people from heading to the polls at all is pretty awful.

    Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 11:25 am | Permalink
  10. Anonymous wrote:

    “Bloomberg was afraid that Bernie Sanders might … be subjected to a hate campaign the likes of which the country has never seen before.”

    I think it was more like Bloomberg was afraid that Bernie would tax away his money.

    Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 12:13 pm | Permalink
  11. Ralph wrote:

    If you claim to be a staunch supporter of representative democracy, then you’re obliged to let the process play out to its logical conclusion without rushing to a hasty or premature conclusion. We all like to measure the odds (especially the media) and I’d agree it’s a long shot for Bernie at this point but, win or lose, he has done the country a service by bringing the major issues of our time front and center into the conversation and kept them there, when they otherwise would have more likely been given brief lip service. Not to mention raising the civility and seriousness of the debates and campaigns on the Democratic side to a level rarely seen in recent years and inconceivable to the xeno- and homophobic fear mongers and dick waggers on the right.

    It ain’t over till it’s over, but when it is over, Bernie gets my kudos (and vote) for his integrity as a straight talker who walks the walk and as someone we can be proud of for representing the country.

    Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 12:57 pm | Permalink
  12. Iron Knee wrote:

    Ok guys, speaking of partisanship! Chill a little.

    So, Sanders had a surprise upset in Michigan over Clinton. It may have been a surprise, but it was still close. With proportional allocation of delegates in all Democratic primaries, how many delegates did that net him?

    This is not about partisanship. It is about math. I love Bernie Sanders. But I don’t think he has a path to either the nomination, or if by some miracle he is nominated, to winning the general election.

    But that won’t stop me from supporting him completely if he does win the nomination. Like Daily Kos, I’m tired of all the attacks on Clinton, especially ones coming from liberals. We are just hurting ourselves. Our goal should be to protect the Supreme Court.

    Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 2:02 pm | Permalink
  13. Iron Knee wrote:

    Here’s 538’s take on the upset in Michigan. They were completely surprised.

    One thing I noticed that I’m curious about is that Michigan has an open primary, and I know that in states with open primaries, Republicans have been voting for Sanders in an effort to hurt Clinton. (Also in states with closed primaries, like Nevada. See )

    I wonder if this was widespread in Michigan. I don’t have any data, but if someone sees anything about this, please post it.

    Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 2:18 pm | Permalink
  14. Iron Knee wrote:

    Just found this, based on NBC exit polls in Michigan:

    Democrats were 69% of the voters and they broke for Clinton 57 to 41%, but 28% said they were “Independent” and they voted for Sanders 71 to 28%. That’s the difference. You take away that 28% of non-affiliated voters and Clinton wins. It would still be close, but she would have won.

    So if this had been a closed primary, Clinton would have won. Still no idea of how many of those “independent” voters were actually Republicans who have no intention of voting for Sanders in a general election.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not making excuses for Clinton. Just trying to figure out why the polls were so wrong.

    Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 2:24 pm | Permalink
  15. zyvlyn wrote:

    “Like Daily Kos, I’m tired of all the attacks on Clinton, especially ones coming from liberals.”

    That’s where I am too. I have a slight preference for Clinton over Sanders, but I would be more than happy to vote for either.

    Despite the overall civil tone of the primary, especially when compared to the other side, I’ve seen way too many Sanders supporters pile on to Clinton and vice versa. I’m not advocating that the primary should be cut short and that Clinton should be coronated, but this “liberaler-than-thou” bs needs to stop now.

    This election is too important to risk over pettiness. Do not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 3:26 pm | Permalink
  16. Carter Shmeckle wrote:

    “I’m tired of all the attacks on Clinton, especially ones coming from liberals. … Our goal should be to protect the Supreme Court.”

    And apparently also to help Hillary continue to protect Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street concerns. Gotta hand it to Wall Street boys. Between Hillary and Cruz, they really have both sides of the street covered.

    Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 3:34 pm | Permalink
  17. Iron Knee wrote:

    Carter, and your point is?

    Are you saying that electing Clinton would be as bad as electing Cruz?

    The whole point of the original post is that we need to be pulling together, not fighting each other. After the 2008 primary, there was a lot of bad blood between Hillary Clinton supporters and Barack Obama supporters. Remember the PUMAs? Democrats said they would stay home, or even vote for McCain (and Palin!). But we got over that. Clinton accepted a job as Obama’s Secretary of State, one of the most important positions in the government. Their administration did mostly wonderful things.

    If you are going to just attack Clinton with agitprop, then I’m actually not interested in what you have to say. That doesn’t mean you can’t criticize her (or anyone else; heck I criticize Obama plenty). But let’s try to keep this positive.

    Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 5:12 pm | Permalink
  18. Iron Knee wrote:

    Hassan says: “Not counting super delegates, Bernie is about 200 delegates short, which he may be able to recover with winner take all states. He has surprising done well in Michigan against all polls, so he may do similar in the rust belt states. So I do not think it is done yet.”

    I was hoping someone else would mention this, but there are NO Democratic primaries that are winner take all. They are all proportional. The Republicans still have some winner-take-all primaries, but not the Democrats.

    Do you still think Sanders can “recover with winner take all states”?

    Yesterday, Sanders got 7 more delegates than Clinton in Michigan. The same day, Clinton got 26 more delegates than Sanders in Mississippi (and did better than expected). Net 19 more delegates for Clinton. I am not including superdelegates, only pledged (voted for) delegates.

    Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 5:20 pm | Permalink
  19. ThatGuy wrote:

    IK, while I too am skeptical that Sanders can win given the current delegate count, I’m very interested in the idea that mischievous GOP voters could have swung the Michigan primary for him. Certainly, it could have happened that way, for the purposes of argument I’ll even suppose it DID happen. I just have to follow up that concession with this question: Clinton won Mississippi by a wide margin, but who cares?

    Recognizing that this goes against my earlier “let’s treat every vote as if it matters equally” stance, does Clinton’s excellent performance in states the Democrats have no chance of winning come November really make her the significantly more convincing candidate? Her biggest wins, less VA (wish my adopted state was as progressive/anti-establishment as my native state) all of Clinton’s blowout wins have been in states that will not go blue in November, while the tightest victories by either side have been in states dems can count on (MA, MI, maybe IA, NV).

    Given this, I think it absolutely behooves democrats, Clinton or Sanders supporters, to finish out the process. Let Clinton win convincingly in states that both have large minority populations AND are conceivably winnable for democrats in November.

    Having said that, I of course agree that the tone needs to be kept more civil than it has been, at least among supporters of a given candidate.

    Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 6:51 pm | Permalink
  20. Iron Knee wrote:

    “Clinton won Mississippi by a wide margin, but who cares?” Because the Democratic primaries are proportional, more votes means more delegates.

    Also, remember that the number of delegates from each state depends on the percentage of people in that state that voted Democratic in recent elections, so states that matter in the general election have a bigger say in the primary.

    I am all for finishing up the process. I am very happy that Sanders is in the race and is keeping Clinton to the left. I am not happy with the nasty attacks against Clinton. Given the level of “dirty tricks” in elections, I would not be too surprised if some of those attacks are coming from Republicans pretending to be Democrats.

    After the election, we need to make sure we clean up the primary process. First of all, get rid of superdelegates. If Sanders won the regular delegates, does anyone think the superdelegates would throw the primary to Clinton? So they serve no purpose. Second, close the primaries. Even better would be to switch to a single, open primary (like in California), where the two highest vote getters go on to the general election, no matter what their party (but that’s never going to happen at the national level!) And do something about the schedule that gives so much power to Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada (that’s going to be hard to fix too).

    Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 7:37 pm | Permalink
  21. Hassan wrote:

    OK, I did not know the democratic primaries are going to be proportional all the way. In that case I doubt he can narrow the gap much.

    Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 8:38 pm | Permalink
  22. Iron Knee wrote:

    Hassan, you’re not alone. I even had to look it up to make sure. Our primaries are a mess, and if it is difficult for voters to understand the process, it is no wonder people get confused and even angry.

    Oh, and in addition to the other reforms, I’d get rid of Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Her clumsy way of trying to “help” Clinton has ended up hurting more than it helped.

    Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 9:35 pm | Permalink
  23. ThatGuy wrote:

    ““Clinton won Mississippi by a wide margin, but who cares?” Because the Democratic primaries are proportional, more votes means more delegates.

    Also, remember that the number of delegates from each state depends on the percentage of people in that state that voted Democratic in recent elections, so states that matter in the general election have a bigger say in the primary.”

    But this still ignores that she’s widening her lead predominantly via states that will provide nothing to the Democrats in electoral votes and aren’t competitive in the general election at all. Put another way, should the Democrats dump money into Ohio or Texas for November? Because one of those is worth 80 more delegates than the other, and it’s the solidly red state, not the key swing state.

    Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 10:30 pm | Permalink
  24. Carter Shmeckle wrote:



    Had to pull my [web] dictionary out for that one.

    It’s defined as “political (originally communist) propaganda, especially in art or literature.”

    You may be the first person who has elevated one of my comments to the level of “art or literature.” Can’t wait to tell mom. Thanks. 🙂

    Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 11:22 pm | Permalink
  25. Iron Knee wrote:

    Thatguy, that is one reason the Republican have said they are pushing Sanders — to force Clinton to spend lots of money on the primary that may be of no help in the general. I still want Sanders to stay in the race — I think it is good for democracy.

    Carter, you’re welcome. Definitely high art!

    Thursday, March 10, 2016 at 4:16 am | Permalink
  26. Jonah wrote:

    Sanders staying in provides Hillary a chance to clear up her image of being too cozy with wall street. That is if she’s capable of clearing it up. Another reason Sanders staying may be positive is to show how to conduct a civil debate. That should should voters the clear difference between the caustic republican candidates and the more pragmatic democratic candidates.

    Sanders also offers an opportunity for a good discussion on some of the issues he addresses. I happen to agree with most of the issues he discusses.

    However given the senate/house split Hillary may be better at getting more things done.

    Thursday, March 10, 2016 at 4:44 am | Permalink