Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Bernie vs Hillary

   OK let's get the obvious out of the way first. Unless there is some kind of huge turn around Hillary Clinton has put together the kind of mathematical advantage that she was on the wrong side of in 2008 versus Obama. The Clinton campaign has learned some important lessons from Obama by putting together a series of big wins, support of super delegates and winning big chunks of delegates in states that Sanders won. Over the next couple of weeks they can put a solid lock on the nomination if the results reflect what the polling says it will. Even though I support Bernie Sanders and voted for him in the Tennessee primary, I will vote for Hillary in November over whoever pops out of the GOP clown car. Hillary Clinton would be a better president than Cruz, Trump, or whoever the GOP picks in Cleveland if they successfully stage a coup in July. So the bottom line of all this is simply Bernie Sanders is the candidate I would like to be the nominee, but Hillary Clinton is the one I am going to get.

   Jamelle Bouie from Slate has done a really good job of summing the state of the Democratic race in his piece "The Real Difference Between Bernie and Hillary". Mr. Bouie says, " Hillary Clinton is running to lead Democrats, Bernie Sanders is running to lead liberals." That one sentence covers why I am supporting Sanders over Clinton. While I am Democrat because they tend to be more liberal than the current GOP, I support Sanders specifically because he represents a more liberal wing of the party. I am not naive and I understand that you need coalition of voters to win the nomination much less the White House. Senator Sanders is having a difficult time winning with just liberals, just like Senator Cruz is having trouble winning on Republican side with mostly very conservative voters. Based on that reasoning we can assume that Hillary Clinton will not only be the nominee, but has a very good chance of being the next president. Based on that, let's look at where we stand with Clinton 2016.

   At first it appeared that Clinton had no true competition for the nomination, and it looked it was going to be a fairly easy path for her, but then Bernie Sanders came out of the left wing of the party and message caught on especially with younger voters. Hilary was forced to talk her progressive and tried to get left on Bernie on guns to try and show that she and not Bernie is true progressive champion. her tag line is, "I am a progressive that gets things done", which indicates that Sanders is an out of touch idealist who has no shot of getting anything done as president. She is trying to get younger voters on her side, but has done much better with older voters who tend to be more conservative. She has overwhelming won the support of other elected officials, who seem to feel more comfortable with her than Sanders. She has done very well with African American voters, especially in southern states where they make a up large part of the Democratic base. It is the African American vote that let her gets big wins in the Southern states.  Although I think the Sanders campaign has served a purpose. If nothing the success of Bernie Sanders has forced Clinton to at least acknowledge the liberal wing of the party instead of going straight for the more centrist positions.

  One of the more frustrating aspects of the election cycle is Hillary Clinton and her supporters are not only trying to sell the idea that she is the true liberal but that she is also some kind of anti-establishment outsider. Bill and Hillary Clinton helped create the coalition that not only won two elections for Bill, but was pretty much the template that helped Obama win two terms and Al Gore and John Kerry used in their narrow loses to George W. Bush. Despite all the claims by the Republicans of runaway liberalism, the Clinton/Obama coalition has mostly been a center left one. It's hard to believe that Gore or Kerry would have been substantially different as president than Clinton or Obama. It seems Hillary is trying to say she is a voice of liberalism, but her actual policies are much more in line with the more moderate wing of the party. Such as I can collect large speaking fees from big corporations but as president I am going to crack down on them. Also I understand establishment seems to be a dirty word this cycle and Clinton is trying to downplay that angle in some ways, but her actions all but scream I am the establishment. Having most of the female Senators on stage with you or having a never ending stream of elected supporters is no way to play up your outsider street cred. The real test will be what Team Clinton does when they feel they have a true lock on nomination, early indications are they will immediately pivot to the center which will be more comfortable for her than trying to pretend that is anything other than a hawkish blue dog.

   Which brings us to the general election in November. If Ted Cruz is the nominee at the very least her electoral map will match what Obama was able to accomplish. There is nothing to indicate Ted Cruz can win the swing states that have been in play since 2000. If Republican establishment manages to get someone other than Trump or Cruz the nomination, they are probably facing a full scale war inside the party and will probably mean a fairly easy win for Clinton. If Trump wins the nomination, I have no idea what would happen. So far the conventional wisdom about Trump has been wrong, so it is just very hard to predict what a Clinton versus Trump election looks like. Clinton should be able to beat Trump, but then again nobody thought he would be in the position he is now. In the next week there are primaries in Ohio, Florida, and Michigan. For Trump, in Florida and Ohio it will be a test of how he will do in states the Republicans need to win if they want to win the White House in 2016. For Clinton, Michigan and Ohio will be test of her appeal outside of the south. For the most part Clinton has run up big wins in states that Democrats will probably not win in November, and having much closer races in traditionally blue or battleground states, because no matter what the Industrial Midwest will play a big part in deciding who the next president is. At the end of the day most of the Bernie people will support Clinton, and while it is gotten a bit testy at times, it is nowhere near the mosh pit the Republican as become. Most of disagreements have been about policy, instead of how big is Trump's dick or any of the other silly things that have come in the GOP debates. The Democrats will probably be united, while the Republicans are a ticking time bomb on the verge of a civil war.

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