Taking A Step Back – Dems

February 17, 2016 By: Juanita Jean Herownself Category: Uncategorized

Just in case you’ve been busy with your life, and have not spared much of a thought to the primaries beyond what wanders across any of the various screens you view on a daily basis, you might think that the Democratic primaries have only just begun, the results are mixed, and we’re in it for the long haul, and that Nevada Saturday and South Carolina next week are the be all and the end all of the story.

You could be forgiven for thinking so, because the huge lead-up and grandeur of these early caucuses and primaries gives them an outsize value. But in the grand scheme of things, they are not the whole enchilada. In two weeks, however, March 1 will be either the end of the beginning, or the beginning of the end, for this nominating fight.

(In order to not get too bogged down in specifics and statistics, I am going to round numbers.)

The number of delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination is roughly 2400. So far, we’ve seen about 70 regular delegates get allocated via the Iowa and New Hampshire contests, barely a dent in the amount needed to win. However, by this time in two weeks, one quarter of the final number, i.e. one half of the winning number, will have been doled out via primaries and caucuses.

One thousand of those delegates are being awarded on March 1, across a dozen contests. If Sanders continues to build on his early success, and fights to a win, or even roughly a draw that day, then his viability is confirmed and we are in it for the long haul.

But if Hillary is a clear winner that night, then it is all over but the shouting.

That seems like a disproportionate outcome, I know, but the disproportionality stems from the super delegate system the Democrats put in place decades ago to avoid the tsuris the Republicans are feeling from Trump. Approximately 700 party elders, elected officials and the like are also given a voice in selecting the candidate. Hillary already has about half of those committed to her. Bernie has 8.

So any clear victory by Hillary Clinton on March 1 will create a delegate hole too deep for Bernie to climb out of, given that there are no winner-take-all primaries in the Democratic contest. Even a clear victory by Bernie will only bring the contest closer to a tie, but he will still be behind, and we will settle in for a longer duration.

Another prospect working against Bernie is the SuperPAC money.   The ideological simonizing gives him a stronger moral underpinning – which plays, don’t get me wrong! – but the sad fact of the matter is that the Hillary will enjoy a significant advantage in the air war, thanks to SuperPAC money doubling her total, freeing up her campaign cash-on-hand to concentrate on the ground war.

With roughly the same amount of campaign money, Bernie will have to spend proportionately more on ad buys, and expensive media markets for 3/1 include Atlanta, Denver, Dallas, Houston, Boston and Suburban-DC Virginia. This will exacerbate throughout the primaries and, even if he wins, he’ll need the help of unaffiliated SuperPACs to win the general, whether he wants them or not.

Based on delegate and money math, then, the weather report for the Democratic nomination is mostly Hillary, with a chance of Bernie.  I’ll cover the GOP state of play in a later post.


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30 Comments to “Taking A Step Back – Dems”

  1. Thanks for tsuris. I didnt know that bit of Yiddish. And sadly, a very accurate evaluation. I would worry about an October Surprise on the Republican Party’s part regarding Hillary, but they’re such a bunch of mealy mouthed whiners that if they had something they would have liked it already. Even though I’m a Bernie supporter I realize that Hillary with her experience as Secretary of State is the most capable candidate in the race.

  2. @Primo E

    Thanks for my word of the day, tsuris. May the deity of your choice continue to rain tsuris upon the snacilbupeR.

    I know in a future post you’ll provide a clear learned description of the enemy’s selection process, such as it is. Frankly, I wish they would dispense with all this intensely intellectual stuff, a job for which most snacilbupeR are not suited, and simply pair them up by height, duct tape their left wrists and hands together and arm each with a fairly dull machete. Survivors would advance to the next round until there remained a pair of running mates.

  3. Polite Kool Marxist says:

    Spot on as always, Primo!

    Admittedly my observations of SC politics are filtered by my adherence to a SC “native son,” Stephen Colbert. But that’s a general statement. I also read everything you, Ms JJ, and the da chipster write. To elevate my opinion somewhat higher than a VP candidate from a few years back, I can name what I also read. But enough about me.

    Short and long of it, SC voters are butt hurt. Saw a couple of them this morning on TV. They’re hurt. Not only did they lose the Civil War, they lost the Toilet Revolution. Was a day a man could succeed without a college education by learning a trade like becoming a plumber. But the when indoor plumbing became the preference over outhouses, how can a SC man compete?

    Here in NV we have more than a few political people who are as big an embarrassment to us as anyone TX has had to endure. But there was a glimmer of hope in the insignificant polls this morning. Jeb(?) is at less <1% here. Between that and his pistol tweet he can distinguish himself not as "45" compared to Dad "41" and Dubya "43." No, he will never be elected, but he can take comfort in being known as Dolt 45.

  4. Micr: I dunno, under your plan, even if the machetes were dull, they’d probably end up a pair of hopping mates, not running mates.

  5. @daChipster

  6. As much of a clown car show the republicans are involved in right now, I would prefer that to what the democrats have. Which is no choice with the “winner” being the one with the most corporate sponsors. This is why younger people who are liberal don’t vote; why should they when their votes demonstrably don’t count when choosing who should even run for president in the general election. The democrats aren’t being democratic at all.

  7. @glf
    “… younger people who are liberal don’t vote …” depresses the life out of me. One never gets what one wants by quitting the game. If the game is rigged you might not win either but quitting guarantees the loss, rigged or no.

  8. Micr,
    The point is that one can’t “get what one wants” in a rigged game. If, indeed, Bernie gets the majority of delegates in the various primaries but still is not the nominee because of the rigging ( the special delegates) the whole exercise becomes pointless because it is simply a coronation. Why even bother to vote if you have no chance. The national Democratic Party is corrupt and Bernie is our chance to get it right again. That is what the young people see. I started in Democratic politics when Goldwater ran and am not making an uninformed statement.

  9. The younger people who are liberal might just surprise you this time around.

  10. A good argument for a nationwide, same-day primary. As a Californian it would be nice, once in my life, for my primary vote to actually mean something. By the time I vote it’s all over because a slew of states that do not fairly represent the nation have already made the pick.

    Having the two party system allows them to game the system horribly. The primaries are primarily a power grab.

  11. @Old Bob
    I agree “one can’t “get what one wants” in a rigged game.” But I stand by “One never gets what one wants by quitting the game.” Even a rigged against you game. You have to stay in the fray. Think of the mouse in the last great act of defiance.

    And yes I’ve been at this a while as well. I help my sainted father hand out JFK-LBJ stuff door to door cause MSF admired to the point adoration LBJ.

  12. Exactly what Old Bob said. If the game is rigged and you don’t quit even though you know the end result will be the same no matter what you do then that is the definition of insanity (doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results).

  13. Some people say the game is rigged; others argue that it was set up to avoid just the scenario playing out among snacilbupeR.

    But there are couple of things to know about the superdelegates this time, versus last time (2008). Last time, there were many superdelegates who kept their powder dry a lot later into the process. “Party elder” DNC superdelegates broke early for Hillary, and kept her in the race. But elected superdelegates like Governors, Congressmen and Senators trended towards Obama. I commented at the time (story link below) that people who worked with both candidates in Congress seemed to prefer Obama, the anti-establishment candidate.

    This year, they are ALL going for Hillary. This time, people who know both candidates well, and have worked side by side with them, seem to prefer Hillary, the establishment candidate.

    You may say that this constitutes a rigged game, but it’s no secret. So knowing ahead of time that the game was “rigged,” Bernie chose to get in it, just as Obama did, anyway.

    If his plan all along was to work the refs such that they would jettison the rules everyone agreed to ahead of time, that just ends up sounding like that kid we all played with who, as soon as he was losing, called for “New Rules!”

    I will say this: the Democratic Party EXCELS at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, but even they wouldn’t let this come down to just a superdelegate victory. If Bernie pulls an Obama, and carries a substantial lead in, say, 6 weeks, you will see two things happening: no more SuperDs will endorse, at least ahead of their own state’s primary and some who have endorsed will pull back, maybe even flip.

    But I was reporting on this 8 years ago, and folks, Bernie ain’t no Obama. I’m not the guy(s) saying how it oughta be; I’m just the guy(s) saying how it is.


  14. I’ve seen “tsuris” defined as “the kind of worry and anguish that only your child can give you,” which makes it a particularly apt word for what Trump is giving the GOP.

    I like Bernie and he has good ideas, but he doesn’t have a clue how to get them through a hostile Congress. He’s proposed something like 383 bills, and only 3 passed, 2 of which were renaming post offices in Vermont. I can’t see electing a president who can get even less done than Obama has with that gerrymandered Congress of snacilbupeR.

    I’m not a big fan of Hillary Clinton, and she has character issues and people who hate her, just as people will hate the socialist. But she seems like the best chance out of two to actually accomplish something, or at least hold back the walls of GOP ugliness inflicted on the country.

    “It’s no use, they’re all the same, I won’t bother voting” is handing the country, the Supreme Court, the environment, and your future over to people like Trump and Cruz. It is about as stupid as stupid gets.

  15. Marcia in CO says:

    Thank you, Rhea …

  16. Let’s not forget what the RepubliKlan did in the 2008 primaries. They instructed their faithful to register as Democrats in order to vote for Obama, figuring he couldn’t win the general election because he is African American and because they feared facing Hillary in the general. Then they re-registered for the general election thinking they’d win in a landslide. Their sleazy bigotry let them down bigtime. I was told this by my boss who was hard core Repug and thought it was such a great trick to play on Democrats. He was one of the sleazebags who registered Democrat for the primary.
    Not that I don’t admire Bernie, but there could be more at work here than just anti-establishment voters coming on strong for a candidate who labels himself a democratic socialist. The RKlan absolutely does not want to face Hillary in the general election.

  17. Wally said:
    “Even though I’m a Bernie supporter I realize that Hillary with her experience as Secretary of State is the most capable candidate in the race.”

    That’s exactly where I’m at too. One of the things I try to keep in mind is that snacilbupeR have spent a quarter century trying to shred every single aspect of HRC’s character. It started when she had the temerity to deviate from their sacred “little woman at home.” Remember she said she’s not a “stand by your man” woman in 1991. Then she had to bake cookies to keep them happy.

    SnacilbupeR have hated her ever since. They’ve lied about Hilary, relentlessly pushed absurd theories like she murdered Vince Foster, etc.

    How would any politician look after 25 years of concerted and well-funded character assassination? What was proven? Nada, except Bill’s infidelity. Yes, Hilary has faults, and she is not the amoral monster snacilbupeR portray her as, even if the national media has bought into it.

    I like Bernie’s plans and I have no problem supporting Hilary.

  18. Bob Boland says:

    Rhea, you might look at the number and character of the amendments Bernie has managed to get passed. He’s been quite successful at that.

    Super delegates can endorse all they want since their endorsements are not set in stone like that of the regular delegates. They can, and some have in the past, change their minds right up to the time of the votes at the convention.

    As far as getting his ideas through a hostile Congress, neither Bernie nor Hillary has a magic wand to accomplish this. Bernie, however, is trying to change the playing field by getting lots of people to nominate and vote for Progressive candidates, both in the House and the Senate. Conventional wisdom seems to be that the Dems will take back the Senate this election cycle but can he change the makeup of the House? Probably not, although with sufficient Progressive Democrats being elected this time, a few more moderate Republicans (do moderate Republicans still exist or are they all Snacilbupers?) might decide to vote in favor of his policies. Yes, I know. That’s unlikely but it’s more likely than Hillary proposing, and getting passed, Progressive legislation with the current crop of Snacilbupers retaining their numbers in the House.

    I’ve seen no evidence that her campaign is making any serious attempt to push for Progressive Democratic candidates to run for either House. Certainly the head of the DNC, Debby Wassermann-Schultz, is sitting on her hands regarding this task. Without that effort the House will retain its Snacilbuper majority and nothing she proposes will get passed.

  19. As Dems we can intellectualize as desired here. BUT vote for one or t’other. But the morning after the nomination when the fors have sobered up and the againsts have licked their wounds, game on, get out there and campaign your a$$es off for the Dem.

  20. Polite Kool Marxist says:

    Micr @18 … very wise words, good friend!

    At the start of this long Democratic primary season, when I wasn’t born, Senator Sanders was a young man and Sec/Sen Clinton was in the midst of selecting a law school, I promised not to cry in my beer over the election process. Maybe one thing for which I should be grateful to the snacilbupeR: whichever D wins the primary pulling the D lever in the general will be ever so easy.

  21. @PKM
    As per usual you make a point on which I am compelled to comment. I have never voted a straight ticket before. There was always an independent or a Green or whatever that I liked personally and so I sought their race in order to case a cant possibly win vote. Not this year. Straight Dem ticket vote. In and out in seconds. Not voting this year in races in which have no Dem candidate.

  22. The SuperDels do not HAVE to vote for HRC – in fact, if they override the popular vote from the primaries, it will be the death of the party. And a well deserved death it will be. Under that scenario, HRC will never win the GE.

  23. Juanita Jean, i just did my early voting. Happy to say I voted for Bubba, but will note that at my polling place (Bowie Middle School) I did not see any campaign signs for Bubba. Did see one for his opponent. Maybe you all need to slap some signs out there?

  24. notjonathon says:

    HC has her superpacs, but they have to pay higher advertising rates than the campaigns do. So most of Bernie’s money goes farther in the media than Hillary’s.
    Now as a 74 year old cantankerous balding old guy with a thyroid deficiency and a mean jump shot, I gotta support Bernie, although I’m cynical enough to think that the oligarchic takeover of the country is unstoppable. Nevertheless, the outpouring of support for Sanders is encouraging.

  25. Prup (aka Jim Benton) says:

    Okay, let me start by saying that, despite what I say below, I will vote for Bernie if he is the nominee. In fact, I would vote for Andrew Cuomo (the Democratic Richard Nixon), Joe Manchin, or even Mike McIntyre if it meant keeping Ted Cruz out of the White House. I’m surprised Texans aren’t more worried — or perhaps they think he is no worse than a Perry, Abbott or Cornyn.

    (The key iis the endorsers he has, and how he presents them. We’re all used to Republicans begging for the endorsements of the semi-huckster publicity hounds like Robertson, Falwell, Graham, even Jim Bakker, and the like. But Cruz is touting the endorsements of people who the average fundamentalist hasn’t even heard of. Mike Bickel, Kevin Swanson, Sandy Rios are not household names, but he announces and defends them when they endorse him.

    And these people are among the worst of the political preachers out there. Remember when McCain begged for Hagee’s endorsement, then had to drop him when he discovered Hagee was both anti-Catholic and had called Hitler a ‘hunter sent by God to drive the Jews back to Israel.’ Both are true about Bickel — and when it came out Cruz continued — and continues — to defend him.

    And while there are several ministers who helped with the Ugandan ‘Kill the Gays’ bill – and I think most are endorsing Cruz, Kevin Swanson has spoken out and written books calling for killing the gays in America. Those books were for sale, and he spoke on the subject at a conference he held where Cruz was an honored guest.

    Again, these are not Big Names among fundamentalists who can bring hundreds of thousands of votes Cruz’ way. None of them have the following of that Colorado guy – dumb name blank — who was such a shooting star with a gigantic megachurch until he was caught smoking crack with his gay lover.

    In fact, they are getting far more out of being featured on Cruz’ webpage than he can be getting from them. We expect Republican hypocrisy, but a Republican who ‘really believes that stuff’ is even scarier, and I have no doubt that Cruz does.

    Some people use ‘dominionist’ as a generalized ‘snarl-word’ for ‘conservative Christian Republican I don’t like.’ I try to be very careful to use it only to refer to a particular religious-theological set of beliefs that include a belief that only Christians should be at the head of the ‘seven mountains’ of civil society. The list varies, but it includes law, government, education and entertainment, among others.

    By that definition, many of Cruz’ endorsers and his father are dominionists — and I see little doubt that Cruz could be as well. (I didn’t mention his birther father — who might be ‘off limits’ if Cruz didn’t use him as a surrogate — who has been aptly described as a collection of conspiracy theories who makes Palin look like a JEOPARDY Champion. Then there’s David Barton, Glenn Beck — the list is so long I could give a dossier on a different one every day from now until the election without repeating.

    Because of my fear of Cruz, I will be out there working for Bernie’s election if he is the Democratic candidate, but, by now, I can no longer convince myself that he is actually qualified to be President, understands what being President entails, has a visible foreign policy, understands the need for him to have a Democratic Congress to achieve ANYTHING, is willing to work for down ballot candidates or that his election will not set Liberalism back for another four decades — which is better than setting Western Civilization back four centuries, as Cruz could do.

    Hs only argument is that he will be the rallying force for many people who are disgusted with politics and wouldn’t vote for anyone else. But he hasn’t increased the turnout in the two states that held votes, and his followers seem to be the same college-type white Liberal Democrats who usually support a liberal insurgent. In a strange, sad way, he’s the Democratic Trump — ONLY in that he has a loud, noisy crowd behind him that represent a strong minority but not quite a majority of his own party — and has no appeal outside that large but limited crowd.

    Understand, I still admire him for the wonderful Senatorial gadfly he was, and agree with many — but not all — of his positions. He just doesn’t belong in the White House or in an Administrative position.

    (And I have to say that, were he to join or appear to join the Republicans in delaying Obama’s Supreme Court appointment, or were he to have any ‘quibbles’ that keep him from whole-heartedly endorsing the pick, I’ll need an extra Dramamine before filling out my ballot.)

  26. Oy. First, Bernie has what, three decades of elected experience, including an executive office? That’s more than Hillary.

    And, related to that, per convo above, yes, Bernie’s the real “can do” candidate:


    Second, as someone who, like friend Brains, supports Plan B, I invite Sandernistas to vote Green this fall.

  27. The Bernie supporters I know believe that Bernie is going to win. More power to them. I’ll vote for whichever Dem wins the primaries.

  28. Oh, and we need Dems in office at every level.

  29. Prup (aka Jim Benton) says:

    Notjonathan makes two mistakes. By law no political advertising can be charged at anything but the lowest possible rate charged by that medium for the nuber of insertions. (I believe this is equally true for SuperPAC money and ‘issue advertising during a campaign’ but I am not sure, as I realized after I started this.

    More importantly, no candidate, by law, ‘has’ a SuperPAC. To quote JOBSANGER from last Wednesday:

    The truth is that no candidate “has” a super-PAC. If they did, they would be violating federal election law. The law prohibits any candidate from having a connection with (or even coordinating with) a super-PAC. His inference, of course, is that Hillary Clinton has a super-PAC. She does not. She has super-PAC support, but so does Sanders (a fact that he omits when talking about this).

    He also charges that Hillary Clinton has raised money for a super-PAC. That is true. Clinton has helped the Priorities USA Action super-PAC to raise money. That is a progressive super-PAC founded to support the election of Barack Obama, and now supports the election of a progressive to be elected president in 2016. Priorities USA Action has spent very little in the primaries — preferring instead to save their money to fight for the Democratic nominee in the general election (which, ironically, would be Sanders if he could win the nomination).

    The impression Sanders is trying to give Democratic voters is that he is not getting super-PAC help, while his opponent (Clinton) is getting massive super-PAC help. Is that true. No. That turns out to also be a lie. The money spent to help the Clinton campaign in the primaries by all outside groups (Priorities Action USA, Correct The Record, Planned Parenthood, and the League of Conservation Voters) is $847,000. Those groups together don’t equal the super-PAC support Sanders has received from the National Nurses United super-PAC, which has spent about $1,000,000 to support Sanders.

  30. Rhea, one of my concerns is how Sanders would handle a full-on Repub attack. They destroyed Kerry by attacking his strength. They’ve been after Hillary Clinton for years and she has resisted astonishingly well–for example, the Benghazi hearing.

    The fact that Sanders is a socialist could be used as a point of attack. The Repub base won’t really understand what that means, but they’ll hate it.

    My primary concern is for a Dem to win. I would take either Clinton or Sanders, but I think that Clinton has the best chance. People dislike her for being more of a politician than Sanders, but elections are political.


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