Antonin Scalia, 1936-2016

Supreme Court

I’m struggling to maintain my composure.

From now on, poor Clarence Thomas will need to consult a Ouija board to write his opinions.

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Last Night’s Debate

Sanders and Clinton

Anybody watch? Opinions? I’m reading that it was a really good debate for both of them.

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Obama Administration

The Final Four surrendered.

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The Sanders Coalition: More Rural and Blue Collar Than Expected

Obama Administration

Steve Kornacki writes that the Sanders coalition isn’t just the collection of liberal millennials every assumes it is.

Sanders bested Clinton across virtually all regional and demographic boundaries in the Granite State, crushing her overall by 22 points. But he fared best with economically downscale voters and won over a number of blue-collar cities and towns that had been Clinton redoubts in her 2008 campaign. In so doing, Sanders essentially flipped the ’08 script, in which Clinton’s main challenger, Barack Obama, relied disproportionately on higher-income voters and those with college degrees.

For instance, among voters making less than $50,000, Sanders defeated Clinton by 33 points. By contrast, Clinton won those same voters by 15 points over Obama in ’08. Sanders’ margin was only half as big – 17 points – with voters making more than $50,000, a group that Obama actually won by 5 points. Similarly, Sanders rolled up a 36-point spread among voters without college degrees, while winning college-educated voters by only 13 points. In ’08, though, it was Clinton who won voters without college degrees by 8 points, with Obama taking college graduates by 5 points.

There’s also the geography of Sanders’ win. While he claimed almost every city and town in the New Hampshire, he didn’t fare much better than Obama in many of the state’s more upscale liberal areas. In Hanover, home of Dartmouth College, Sanders ran just 281 votes ahead of Clinton, a margin of 6.5 points. Eight years ago, Obama won that same town by 32 points, a plurality of more than 1,500 votes. In the coastal city of Portsmouth, another liberal enclave, Sanders performed only modestly better (a 12-point win) than Obama (6 points).

But it was a very different story in the state’s older, post-industrial cities and towns, where Sanders improved by leaps and bounds over Obama’s ’08 performance. Take Berlin, a struggling mill city in the North Country, where Obama actually ran third, behind John Edwards. Clinton was so strong in Berlin in ’08 that her vote total actually exceeded that of Obama’s and Edwards’ combined. But this time, she lost the city by 13 points to Sanders. Rochester, another blue-collar mill town, was another Clinton stronghold in ’08, where she ran up a 976-vote plurality over Obama – a 16-point margin. Sanders, though, won Rochester Tuesday by 21 points.


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Stalwart Patriots / Drama Queens Update

Wingnuts Being Wingnuts

The FBI has surrounded the last holdouts at the Malheur bird sanctuary, and notorious deadbeat/welfare queen Cliven Bundy was arrested in Portland. Read more here and here. The holdouts have said they would surrender at 7 am Oregon time.


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A Shout Out to the Old Dogs: Better Learn Some New Tricks

Sanders and Clinton

I’ve spent the past hour just cruising around skimming post-New Hampshire commentary.  All the Smart People are saying Sanders doesn’t have a prayer with the rest of the primaries, so enjoy the win now, Berniebots.  Nate Silver is giving Clinton a 95 percent chance to win South Carolina; no predictions yet on the Nevada caucuses.  Most national polls are still putting Clinton way ahead of Sanders. The exception is Quinnipiac, which has Clinton at 44 % and Sanders at 42 %.

That said, I’m wondering if the pollsters are really on top of this election.

Before the results of yesterday’s primary, a lot of news coverage focused on the gaps in Bernie Sanders’s support. He captured Iowa on the backs of young voters, but didn’t perform as well with older voters or voters who weren’t white.

But last night, according to New York Times exit polls, Sanders swept nearly every demographic on the way to his 22-point rout over Hillary Clinton.

Sanders won 83 percent of young voters, virtually identical to the percentage of young people he attracted in Iowa. But he also won the next two age brackets, finishing eight points ahead of Clinton among voters ages 45 to 64. This age range is Clinton’s sweet spot, and losing it really bruises her mantle of popularity. Clinton did win among one generation, though – voters ages 65 and up swung 11 points in her favor.

Sanders scored strongly among men (66 percent), an unremarkable outcome given repeated polls showing men warming to him more than Clinton. But he also won women handily, 55 percent to Clinton’s 45, taking the demographic that formed the core pitch of Clinton’s campaign.

And, perhaps most remarkably for Sanders, he swept the ideological spectrum, winning over both voters who called themselves “very liberal” and “moderate.” He won the latter category by 21 points, despite pitching his campaign as one that would not bend to the forces of moderation.

I take it this is a crushing blow to the Clinton campaign, even though they were expected to lose New Hampshire. Hillary Clinton won New Hampshire in 2008, after all, keeping her candidacy afloat.  I think they were expecting to at least make it close.

Among other things, I get the impression the girl-shaming she tried to do to get the votes of younger women backfired, big time.  “Vote for me because I’m a woman” is just not a compelling message even to most feminists, sorry. It might have worked if Sanders showed any anti-feminist inclinations, but he doesn’t. You’ve basically got two feminists competing for the nomination, and just because one is a man doesn’t make him any less reliable on women’s issues, IMO. But maybe now the Clinton campaign will try something else.

I really like what Matt Yglesias wrote in Bernie Sanders Is the Future of the Democratic Party.

Whether the first Sanders-style nominee is Sanders himself or Elizabeth Warren or someone like a Tammy Baldwin or a Keith Ellison doesn’t matter. What’s clear is that there’s robust demand among Democrats — especially the next generation of Democrats — to remake the party along more ideological, more social democratic lines, and party leaders are going to have to answer that demand or get steamrolled.

Amen, Brother Matt. At the very least, the old dogs had better learn some new tricks.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign — and, frankly, many DC journalists — has been repeatedly taken by surprise by the potency of some of Sanders’s attacks, because they apply to such a broad swath of the party. But this is precisely the point. Sanders and his youthful supporters want the Democrats to be a different kind of party: a more ideological, more left-wing one. …

…. But though Democrats are certainly the more left-wing of the two parties — the party of labor unions and environment groups and feminist organizations and the civil rights movement — they’re not an ideologically left-wing party in the same way that Republicans are an ideological conservative one. Instead, they behave more like a centrist, interest group brokerage party that seeks to mediate between the claims and concerns of left-wing activists groups and those of important members of the business community — especially industries like finance, Hollywood, and tech that are based in liberal coastal states and whose executives generally espouse a progressive outlook on cultural change.

Sanders’s core proposition, separate from the details of the political revolution, is that for progressives to win they need to first organize and dominate an ideologically left-wing political party that is counterpoised to the ideological right-wing Republican Party.

I think that is exactly right.

Sanders’s most significant legacy, win or lose, is going to be what his campaign has shown about the ideological proclivities of younger Americans. Specifically, he showed that the hefty liberal tilt of under-35 voters is not a question of Barack Obama’s cool-for-a-politician persona or simply an issue of being repulsed by this or that GOP stance.

Clinton tried hard to make waves with superficial appeals to youth culture, include selling Yaaas Hillary T-shirts, appearing with the cast of Broad City, and campaigning in Iowa with Katy Perry.

Even I thought that was pathetic. It was right up there with the pathetic dweeb who launched “the can kicks back” promotion, or the Republican hipster guy.

The problem is that the young progressives the party is counting on to deliver them to the promised land are, as Sanders has shown, really quite left-wing. They aren’t going to be bought off with a stray Snapchat gimmick or two. To retain their loyalty and enthusiasm, party leaders are going to need to change and adapt to what it is these voters want — even at the risk of alienating some of the voters and campaign contributors they already have.

I fear that if Clinton wins the next few primaries, as she is expected to do, she will not change. And when she wins the White House, the opportunity of this moment will be lost. There will be no remake of the Democratic Party; there will be no left-wing party to carry forward the hopes and needs of future Americans.

After all, mainstream Democrats have no real plan to win Congress or state offices, so in terms of big schemes for change it’s a choice between two different flavors of wishful thinking, not between realism and impracticality.

More fundamentally, the Sanders contention is that if liberals want to change America in fundamental ways, they need to start by creating an ideologically liberal political party. Once you have control of a party, the chance that your Reagan-in-1980 moment may arrive is always lurking out there in the mysterious world of unpredictable events. But if you don’t have control of a party, then you are guaranteed to fail.


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New Hampshire Says Hello, Bernie! And Bye Bye, Marco!

Obama Administration

I’m just catching up on the New Hampshire primary. I don’t know what percentage of the votes are in, but most news outlets are calling it Sanders 58, Clinton 40. Not close, in other words. This was expected. I’ll come back to Sanders and Clinton in a moment.

On the Republican side, Trump is way ahead with 34 percent of the votes. Second is Kasich, at 15 percent. Toast! and Ted Cruz are currently tied at 12 percent. Little Marco, who was the establishment hope a few days ago, got only 10 percent. And Chris “Big Chicken” Christie, whose bashing of Marco possibly cost him a nomination, got 8 percent. Poor little Marco.

Kasich could be a genuine threat in the general, and he’s a nasty little right-wing toad, but I’m not sure he’s let’s-eat-bugs-on-toast crazy enough to win in the South.

Sanders was indeed expected to win New Hampshire, so this win should not be a shock to anybody, but the Clinton campaign seems to be taking it hard.  The Editorial Board of the New York Times (which, I believe, has endorsed Clinton:

Eight years after she went over the line in attacking Barack Obama, Mrs. Clinton’s team, notably her husband and some prominent supporters, were making tone-deaf attacks on Mr. Sanders, who has proved a tougher opponent than they had expected but was the odds-on favorite in New Hampshire.

On Tuesday, Mrs. Clinton sent an email to her backers, thanking them, asking them for $1 and complaining that Mr. Sanders “went to the extraordinary measure of outspending us on the airwaves three-to-one here in New Hampshire.” Mrs. Clinton knew she was going to lose the first primary. But she has no reason to panic since she remains well ahead in the next few contests and has plenty to say about herself rather than allowing her campaign to attack Mr. Sanders and, especially, the motives of his supporters. …

… As the days ticked down to the New Hampshire vote, events resurrected bad memories of unsavory drama from Mrs. Clinton’s 2008 run. The Clinton campaign once hoped to hold Mr. Sanders to a single-digit win, but that looked impossible even before Tuesday morning, and rumors of a coming staff shake-up (candidates always blame the staff first for losses) struck a demoralizing blow to her team working long hours in New Hampshire.

At Mrs. Clinton’s get-out-the-vote rally on Monday night, Bill Clinton seemed to be second-guessing the campaign’s ground game. He joked, using a rather bizarre turn of phrase, that sometimes he wished he and Mrs. Clinton weren’t married, ostensibly so he could vent his spleen about her challenger even more than he has. On Tuesday, David Brock, the Clinton Svengali, said on CNN that because the senator from Vermont was from a neighboring state, he held some kind of automatic (read: don’t blame us) 15-point advantage, and made the dark prediction that “he’s going to be brought down to earth.”

Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign worked to tar Mr. Sanders with news that he’d attended vacation retreats sponsored by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee — which, like most such committees, accepts corporate contributions — and “was even once spotted chatting sociably for close to an hour with a financial services lobbyist who was in a hot tub while the senator sat nearby.” Pressing that story seemed pointless, and probably damaging to Mrs. Clinton.

Over the past few hours social media has gotten absolutely toxic with the screechings of Clintonistas about the evilness of Bernie Sanders and how his supporters hate women and a vote for Bernie Sanders is a vote against Planned Parenthood, or something.

They’ve gone completely off the wall, in other words. I expect tomorrow to hear that Sanders used to keep slaves and likes to bite the heads off puppies.

Another interesting bit from the New York Times:

Senator Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton among nearly every demographic group in the Democratic New Hampshire primary, according to exit polls.

He carried majorities of both men and women. He won among those with and without college degrees. He won among gun owners and non-gun owners. He beat Mrs. Clinton among previous primary voters and those participating for the first time. And he ran ahead among both moderates and liberals.

Even so, there were a few silver linings for Mrs. Clinton. While Mr. Sanders bested her among all age groups younger than 45, the two candidates polled evenly among voters aged 45 to 64. And Mrs. Clinton won the support of voters 65 and older. And, though Mrs. Clinton lost nearly every income group, she did carry voters in families earning over $200,000 per year.

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Why the Dems Need Bernie More Than Bernie Needs the Dems

Democratic Party, Sanders and Clinton

One of the objections to Bernie Sanders’s candidacy that I keep reading on social media is that “he’s not even a Democrat.” People who say this appear to believe that it’s vitally important to be loyal to the institution of the Democratic Party as the last and only bulwark against the rising tide of insanity and chaos that the Republicans have become. And I’d like to address that.

For lo these many years — at least a dozen, maybe more — we liberal/progressives have been promised that some day demographics will turn the tide and make our policies viable again. Some day the knee-jerk right-wing voters will die off.  Some day voters will stop responding to racist dog whistles. Some day cultural conservatism will stop driving troglodytes to the polls to vote against their own economic interests. And when that happens, my dears, progressive policies can finally be enacted. But in the meantime, we must modify our positions and negotiate with ourselves and meekly propose only those milquetoast little baby-step policies that we might be able to sneak past The Right-Wing Beast.

This kind of thinking hamstrung the early years of the Obama Administration. Granted, he may have done about as well as anyone could have done passing the Affordable Care Act, given that even many Democrats in Congress were working against him and fought to water it down. But anyone who has been paying attention these past several years ought to have known there’s no working with foaming-at-the-mouth wingnuts. Attempts to be conciliatory will fail. To them, either you are avowedly 100 percent pure Hard Core Right, or you are the enemy.

So, we’ve been told, look to the young folks. They will save us. But younger people are notoriously bad about voting, especially in mid-terms. So The Beast owns Congress and and a large portion of state governments.

Enter the Democratic National Committee. For some reason beyond my comprehension, Decisions Were Made some time back that Hillary Clinton would be the Dem standard-bearer in 2016. No one else need apply. The establishment and the money people said so. Actual progressives were not consulted. I railed about this a couple of years ago. Why aren’t we having an ideological discussion on the future direction of the Democratic Party? (And yeah, I said back in 2014 that Sanders would be un-electable in a general election, but I’m less sure about that now. Depends on whom the Republicans nominate.)

But we had no discussion, and Hillary Clinton was presented to us as the nominee-presumptive. Without a big media build-up and the support of the establishment, Martin O’Malley probably was doomed. He should have just gone on the road with his Celtic rock band, O’Malley’s March.

I am hugely — should I say yugely? — ambivalent about HRC. No question she is very smart and very knowledgeable on both foreign and domestic policy. No question she knows how to work the buttons and levers in Washington. I do trust her on issues involving women and minority rights, so if she is the nominee she’s got my vote.

And, of course, the Right has been trying to pin something criminal on her for 25 years, and they always fail. I assume Benghazi! and email-gate are more empty issues that have been spun to look criminal, and when the dust clears nothing will come of either one. Just as nothing came of the Travel Office thing or the Vince Foster thing or Whitewater or anything else The Beast has been howling about all these years.

However, the Right has done a bang-up job persuading the average American who is not a news-politics junkie that she must be guilty of something. That’s not fair, but it’s the truth. And, to me, that would make her a lot less electable than a lot of other Dems the public never got a chance to know. And damn Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

My primary objection to HRC is that she’s the queen of self-negotiation and incremental baby steps. That might have been necessary in the 1990s, when the Right was on the ascendancy. But right now, the Right is in chaos. It is falling apart. It has never been so vulnerable. Yet the DNC and HRC seems stuck in self-negotiation, baby-step, kick-the-can-down-the-road mode.

Worse, HRC herself doesn’t seem to Get It. See, for example, “Hillary Not Truthful About Wall Street Speaking Fees.” Do read the whole thing; there’s a lot of really shoddy stuff going on with her regarding her Wall Street connections that she needs to come clean about now, but you know she won’t. This is just the executive summary part:

But the boarder reason may lie in the fundamental relationship between the Clintons and their wealthy friends and benefactors. Hillary, Bill and Chelsea (whose husband is a hedge fund partner) believe that Wall Street is a vital part of economy, composed mostly of very bright, honorable and talented people, like their classmates at Yale and Stanford. Sure, every now and again there are a few bad apples, but the barrel is fundamentally sound.

How could she be so politically tone deaf on this issue?

It’s because she still lives in world surrounded by so many of the best and brightest in and around Wall Street. Attacking them would be like attacking her community of friends and financial supporters. How could taking money from such decent, talented and productive people be wrong?

Maybe that isn’t what she really thinks, but it sure as hell looks as if that’s what she thinks, and if so, we can count on a Clinton II Administration to be a big defense of the financial sector Status Quo. And that means the fundamental changes that we really need to move forward as an actual, functioning democracy and not an upscale banana republic will not happen in a Clinton II Administration.

What Clinton and the DNC don’t get is that it isn’t just the future of the Democratic Party, and the United States. It’s the future of capitalism. The day when a politician had to be 100 percent rah-rah on capitalism is, um, passing. And HRC and the DNC don’t see this.

See, for example, American capitalism has failed us: We’re overworked, underemployed and more powerless than ever before. Again, do read the whole thing. I just want to say that this exchange quoted in the article just plain disgusted me.

One night I tuned in to the Democrats’ presidential debate to see if they had any plans to restore the America I used to know. To my amazement, I heard the name of my peaceful mountain hideaway: Norway. Bernie Sanders was denouncing America’s crooked version of “casino capitalism” that floats the already rich ever higher and flushes the working class. He said that we ought to “look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway, and learn from what they have accomplished for their working people.”

He believes, he added, in “a society where all people do well. Not just a handful of billionaires.” That certainly sounds like Norway. For ages they’ve worked at producing things for the use of everyone — not the profit of a few — so I was all ears, waiting for Sanders to spell it out for Americans.

But Hillary Clinton quickly countered, “We are not Denmark.” Smiling, she said, “I love Denmark,” and then delivered a patriotic punch line: “We are the United States of America.” Well, there’s no denying that. She praised capitalism and “all the small businesses that were started because we have the opportunity and the freedom in our country for people to do that and to make a good living for themselves and their families.” She didn’t seem to know that Danes, Swedes, and Norwegians do that, too, and with much higher rates of success.

The truth is that almost a quarter of American startups are not founded on brilliant new ideas, but on the desperation of men or women who can’t get a decent job. The majority of all American enterprises are solo ventures having zero payrolls, employing no one but the entrepreneur, and often quickly wasting away. Sanders said that he was all for small business, too, but that meant nothing “if all of the new income and wealth is going to the top 1 percent.” (As George Carlin said, “The reason they call it the American Dream is because you have to be asleep to believe it.”)

See also Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton’s debate over capitalism, explained.

Young people are getting the short end of the stick, and all but the most privileged know it. Young people are not buying what the DNC wants to sell them. See Charles Blow, Hillary Has Half a Dream.

One of the most striking statistics to come of the Iowa caucus entry polling was the enormous skew of young voters away from Hillary Clinton and to Bernie Sanders. Only 14 percent of caucusgoers 17 to 29 supported Clinton, while 84 percent supported Sanders.

On Thursday, I traveled to the University of New Hampshire, site of a debate between Clinton and Sanders that night. Before the debate, I mingled on campus with people rallying for both candidates, with the Sanders rally many times larger than the Clinton one. The energy for Sanders at the school was electric.

For the actual debate, I went to a debate-watching party for Clinton supporters at the Three Chimneys Inn, just off campus. There were more heads of white hair in that room than a jar of cotton balls.

The two scenes so close to each other drove home the point for me: Hillary Clinton has a threatening young voter problem.

Young folks are facing a warming planet, exploding student debt, stunted mobility, stagnant wages and the increasing corporatization of the country due in part to the increasing consolidation of wealth and the impact of that wealth on American institutions.

Young folks are staring down a barrel and they want to put a flower in it, or conversely, smash it to bits. And they’re angry at those who came before them for doing too little, too late. They want a dramatic correction, and they want it now.

From this perspective, the difference between Clinton and Sanders is that one will try to change the system and the other won’t. Maybe Sanders will try and fail, but Clinton won’t try at all. She’ll just tweak it so that it’s slightly less pernicious.

And in four, or eight years, the Right may have self-corrected and be stronger than ever, and the can will be kicked down the road some more.

Let me add that I am a 64-year-old feminist. I have no illusions that Sanders will have an easy time of it, but I do hope he would make effective use of the bully pulpit and persuade America that we don’t have to put up with this crap.  And I have no illusions that he be an easy sell in the general. Yes, I remember the 1972 McGovern disaster. I voted for McGovern in that election. But we are living in a very different world now. I think too many Dems don’t see that.

Politics in the U.S. being what they are, it’s likely HRC will prevail and be the nominee. My fear is that the Democratic establishment will win a battle but lose the future. Good luck getting them ever to persuade the young folks to support them, no matter how awful the Right gets. Because if the demographic promise is ever going to come true, the Dems have got to offer something more than “we’re not as awful as those other people.”

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Meanwhile, Back at the Bird Sanctuary …

Wingnuts Being Wingnuts

I know we’ve all moved on from the clown-shoe occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, but the last of the occupiers have not moved on. Four of the brave and resolute patriots remain on the Refuge, saying they will not leave unless they are promised law enforcement will not be mean to them, and that they will not be arrested. However, a federal grand jury just indicted their sorry butts, so I doubt that’s going to be an option.

Presumably speaking from a jail cell, this week Ammon Bundy issued an order to state and federal authorities to go home.

Ammon Bundy, leader of the monthlong armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge, said from jail Thursday that the takeover was “a needed action” and called on state and federal law enforcement officials to leave eastern Oregon. …

…”Government officials chose to end our educational efforts with attacks of force and it appears they attempt to do it again,” Bundy said in the minute-and-a half statement. “Go home, Oregon State Police. You have already killed enough. Go home, FBI. It is time to end this.”

Also, a bill has been introduced in Congress that would make the occupiers responsible for paying for the extra law enforcement their occupation required, and also for any damage they’ve done to property on the Refuge. They’ve run up about a million dollar tab so far.

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Dust and Ashes, Egos and Religion

Democratic Party, Sanders and Clinton

The two Dem candidates were asked spiritual/religious questions yesterday, and IMO their answers spoke volumes about how they see themselves and their campaigns.

This is from a CNN town hall meeting last night, a question asked by Rabbi Jonathan Spira-Savett, of Temple Beth Abraham in Nashua, NH:

Rabbi Simcha Bunim taught that every person has to have two pockets, and in each pocket they have to carry a different note. And the note in one pocket says the universe was created for me. And in the other pocket the note says I am just dust and ashes.

I want you to take a moment and think about what you would tell us about your two pockets. How do you cultivate the ego, the ego that we all know you must have—a person must have to be the leader of the free world—and also the humility to recognize that we know that you can’t be expected to be wise about all the things that the president has to be responsible for?

This is a great question. It comes close to being a koan. And may I say it’s so refreshing to glimpse a bit of mature spirituality in mass media.

Anyway, Clinton’s answer — which you can read in the CNN transcript — focused on her desire to be of service, and on the relationships she has with clergy. Here is part of it:

I have friends who are rabbis who send me notes, give me readings that are going to be discussed in services. So I really appreciate all that incoming.

And the final thing I would say, because again, it’s not anything I’ve ever talked about this much publicly, everybody knows I — I have lived a very public life for the last 25 or so years. And so I’ve had to be in public dealing with some very difficult issues and personal issues, political, public issues. And I read a, um, a treatment of the prodigal son parable by the Jesuit Henri Nouwen, who I think is a magnificent writer of spiritual and theological concerns. And I — I read that parable and there was a line in it that became just a lifeline for me. And it basically is practice the discipline of gratitude.

So regardless of how hard the days are, how difficult the decisions are, be grateful. Be grateful for being a human being, being part of the universe. Be grateful for your limitations. Know that you have to reach out to have more people be with you, to support you, to advise you, listen to your critics, answer the questions.

But at the end, be grateful. Practice the discipline of gratitude. And that has helped me enormously.

This is an excellent answer. It reveals more genuine spirituality than all of the Bible-thumpers in the GOP put together.

And here’s a question aimed at Bernie Sanders:

COOPER: You know, I want to follow up, because Jason also mentioned faith, which is something you’ve spoken a little bit about. You’re Jewish, but you’ve said that you’re not actively involved with organized religion.

What do you say to a voter out there who says — and that who sees faith as a guiding principle in their lives, and wants it to be a guiding principle for this country?

SANDERS: It’s a guiding principle in my life, absolutely, it is. You know, everybody practices religion in a different way. To me, I would not be here tonight, I would not be running for president of the United States if I did not have very strong religious and spiritual feelings.

I believe that, as a human being, the pain that one person feels, if we have children who are hungry in America, if we have elderly people who can’t afford their prescription drugs, you know what, that impacts you, that impacts me.

And I worry very much about a society where some people spiritually say, it doesn’t matter to me, I got it, I don’t care about other people.

So my spirituality is that we are all in this together and that when children go hungry, when veterans sleep out on the street, it impacts me. That’s my very strong spiritual feeling.

I would have liked Sanders to respond to the rabbi’s question also, but this was good, too.

Both candidates stressed concern for the well-being of others as a religious motivation for running for President, which to me reveals a more sincere and mature level of spirituality than the nonsense spewing from the likes of Ted Cruz about how God wants him to be President in order to make America the country God wants it to be. If the great host of dead Christian theologians going back to Augustine — indeed, maybe Paul as well — could rise up and speak, they would denounce such presumption. Probably most of the rabbis would, too.

Clinton also spoke to how religion strengthens her and helps her keep going. And that’s fine, in the Christian tradition. Sanders, however, didn’t speak about himself as much as about the great interconnection of human beings.  What happens to one, happens to all of us. This is closer to a Buddhist perspective.

I read a few days ago that a big difference in the two campaigns is that Clinton tends to emphasize her resume and how she is battle-tested and ready to do the job. Sanders rarely refers to himself at all, and instead speaks of the problems we face and change he wants to see.

And if there were some way to combine those two qualities, boy howdy, would that be a great candidate.

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