Browsing the archives for the elections category.


Primal Scream Time

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elections

I woke up thinking of this passage from an article Matt Yglesias wrote for Vox last spring, during the primaries.

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.

Well, Clinton certainly dominated the liberal coastal states, no question. Plus Illinois. And I understand she’s got Minnesota.

There’s a lot of finger pointing going on today, but until someone has time to do an in-depth crunching of the final numbers we don’t know that the third-party candidates made any difference. Jill Stein only got 1 percent of the popular vote. Gary Johnson got 3 percent, but my impression is that his support came more from Never Trump voters than Never Hill voters.

Here’s a graphic I borrowed from the New York Times that I think speaks volumes about what happened yesterday.

There’s your Electoral College loss, folks. The Dems needed most of those upper Midwest “rust belt” states, and she probably was counting on getting most of them. She got Illinois and Minnesota. Michigan hasn’t been called yet, but she’s behind there.

This map is revealing, also:

These are people the Dems have ignored for decades. The GOP hasn’t ignored them, however. The GOP is brilliant at manipulating them, and persuading them that down is up, the sky is orange and liberals are the boogeyman. It’s true that these voters often are not sophisticated thinkers, so they are easy to manipulate. And it’s true that there’s a lot of racism and xenophobia in this crowd.

But the Dems haven’t bothered to reach out to them in any meaningful way in many years. The Dems were too busy mediating “between the claims and concerns of left-wing activists groups and those of important members of the business community,” as Yglesias wrote. White blue-collar rust-belt folks were not part of that picture.

And yesterday those  white blue-collar rust-belt folks screamed out loud, We are still here. We matter. Pay attention to us.  As wrong as I think they are about Trump, I can’t really blame them.

A day or two ago some talking head on the teevee said that most voters couldn’t name five things Clinton stood for, but they knew what Trump stood for. I had said something like that to a Clinton supporter awhile back, and she pooh-poohed the idea and began to rattle off Clinton’s policy positions, which I knew as well as she did. But, I said, I don’t think most people who are not politics junkies are getting that information. And then I was told that if people were too lazy to study Hillary Clinton’s website to learn how wonderful she is, that was their own fault.

Harry Truman wouldn’t have made that mistake.

But the problem isn’t just Hillary Clinton, but the whole attitude of the Democratic Party. We’ve needed them to be an ideologically left-wing party for a long time. We’ve needed them to go to those rust-bucket states and sell people on progressive economics for a long time. And nobody bothered. The only messages received by most voters not in the liberal coastal states are ideologically right-wing messages.

Having spent most of the general election campaign season in Missouri, I can tell you that people here weren’t hearing any reasons to vote for Hillary Clinton. Almost all of the Clinton campaign ads on television here were intended to scare people away from voting for Trump. Obviously, that didn’t work.

A lot of the discontent here is about Obamacare. This is a state that didn’t expand it, of course, so genuinely poor residents don’t get it. And there’s a lot of genuine poverty here, especially in rural areas. I’m not sure people here in Missouri ever understood what Obamacare even is. They believe that whatever is screwed up about the health care system is the fault of Obamacare, because that’s what right-wing media keep saying, and they want it abolished.

I say the single biggest failure of the Obama Administration is its failure to communicate to most Americans what it was doing and why.

Now, a lot of this is a problem with news media going back many years. Most people get their information on television, and you and I know that books and books and books could be written about all the things wrong with television news coverage. It hardly mattered that the New York Times and Washington Post wrote big exposes on Trump as a failed businessman and cheat. None of that reached Missouri. It wasn’t on the television news that most people watched.

But I am old enough to remember when there were was a progressive Democratic vote even in the rural areas. The state went to Carter in 1976 and to Clinton in 1992 and 1996. Now all the Republicans have to do is run oppo ads with the words “liberal,” “Obamacare” and “Clinton” in them, and it’s over.

We’re probably going to be told (if they haven’t said it already) that Clinton under-performed with millennials and nonwhites compared to Obama. I expected nonwhites to come out and vote against Trump, big time, but I could have told them to not count on millennials. In fact, I believe I did say that from time to time.

For the past several years the Democrats have been assuring us that, some day, all the stupid old conservative, bigoted white people will die off and be replaced by younger, more liberal, voters. And then the Dems will be winners!

But now I’m watching the establishment Democrats kiss off a whole generation of voters, telling them to go home and play with their toys and leave politics to the grown ups. Good luck turning those people into Democratic voters in the future, geniuses.

Probably Clinton wasn’t hurt by Stein supporters as much as by left-leaning young people who just weren’t excited enough about Mrs. Establishment to go out and vote for her. And that’s on her, but it’s even more on the Democratic Party establishment that cleared a path for her to get the nomination.

Jim Newell wrote this morning:

The party establishment made a grievous mistake rallying around Hillary Clinton. It wasn’t just a lack of recent political seasoning. She was a bad candidate, with no message beyond heckling the opposite sideline. She was a total misfit for both the politics of 2016 and the energy of the Democratic Party as currently constituted. She could not escape her baggage, and she must own that failure herself.

Theoretically smart people in the Democratic Party should have known that. And yet they worked giddily to clear the field for her. Every power-hungry young Democrat fresh out of law school, every rising lawmaker, every old friend of the Clintons wanted a piece of the action. This was their ride up the power chain. The whole edifice was hollow, built atop the same unearned sense of inevitability that surrounded Clinton in 2008, and it collapsed, just as it collapsed in 2008, only a little later in the calendar. The voters of the party got taken for a ride by the people who controlled it, the ones who promised they had everything figured out and sneeringly dismissed anyone who suggested otherwise. They promised that Hillary Clinton had a lock on the Electoral College. These people didn’t know what they were talking about, and too many of us in the media thought they did….

…The Democratic establishment is a club unwelcoming to outsiders, because outsiders don’t first look out for the club. The Clintons will be gone now. For the sake of the country, let them take the hangers-on with them.

Dems: In future nomination fights, assuming there are any, let the people decide. Oh, and kill the superdelegate thing. Thanks much.

I was wrong to think that Trump was such a terrible candidate even Clinton could beat him, but I wasn’t wrong to predict that the nomination of Hillary Clinton could signal the beginning of the end of the Democratic Party. That I saw pretty clearly. I just didn’t think it would happen this fast.

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Election Return Live Blog

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Bad Hair, elections, Hillary Clinton

Well, folks, hang on to your butts.

Everybody says that Florida will tell the tale. If Clinton hangs on to Florida, Trump is probably shut out, the bobbleheads say.

Indiana and Kentucky already called for Trump. Clinton takes Vermont.

There was a shooting near a polling place in California. No indication the shooting was related to the election.

Rudy Giuliani is on MSNBC saying that Clinton got away with multiple crimes, and Chris Matthews isn’t challenging him to be specific.

(7:30) West Virginia called for Trump. No surprises so far.

Steve Kornacki tells us that Trump is doing better with non-college-educated whites than Romney did four years ago.

South Carolina called for Trump; again, no surprise.

(8:00) Okay, they are calling a bunch of states. Let’s see if I can get it straight.

States just called for Clinton: Illinois, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia.

Tammy Duckworth will be a Senator from Illinois!

Trump picks up Tennessee, Mississippi and Oklahoma.

Marco Rubio re-elected in Florida. Damn.

Florida — 59 percent of precincts reporting, and it’s dead even.

Evan Bayh, centrist Dem Senate candidate, loses in Indiana, MSNBC says.

(8:30) Arkansas called for Trump.

Returns seem awfully slow this year.

New projections — Clinton wins New York. Trump wins North and South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

Clinton wins Connecticut.

Florida — lots of votes to be counted in Broward County yet.

(9:30) Trump wins Louisiana.

This is making me crazy.

Fox News has called New Mexico for Clinton, I understand.

(10:00) Trump wins Montana.

Missouri called for Trump.

The fivethirtyeight crew is saying that Republicans probably will keep the Senate.

NBC is calling Ohio for Trump.

Clinton is pulling ahead in Virginia.

Clinton wins Colorado.

Virginia called for Clinton, finally.

Florida called for Trump.

Clinton wins California.

People, this is not looking good. Clinton has to win some states in which she’s behind right now to get to 270. And I doubt she can do it.  I think she’s going to fall short.  Assuming she takes all of the states she’s currently leading, she’s going to be short. She’ll need Michigan — possible, but she’s behind right now — and one other state with at least 5 electoral votes. And I don’t know what state that would be.

So, folks, it looks like we’ll lose this one.

If there’s a possible silver lining here, it is that it’s going to shake up the Democratic Party.

(1:45 am) Some news outlets are officially calling the race for Trump, sorry.

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Live Blog Tonight

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elections

You’re welcome to hang out with me here at Mahablog as we watch returns. I’ll try to get started just before 7 o’clock eastern time.

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This Miserable Election Is Almost Done

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elections

We’ve reached the point in the election that the closing arguments are done, and we’re waiting on the verdict. I plan on spending today and most of tomorrow trying to distract myself from politics as much as possible. I plan to live blog returns tomorrow night and hope some of you will be here.

Here, watch some people being happy.

And here are puppies.

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Comey on New Emails: Never Mind

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elections

FBI Director James Comey on Sunday afternoon sent a new letter to Congress notifying members that after reviewing a new batch of emails to and from Hillary Clinton, the bureau has not “not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton.”

Bleep bleepity bleep.

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Please Make It Stop III

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elections

I’ve sworn off even looking at polls. In less than 72 hours the damn election will be over and the winners declared. Worst. Election. Ever.

Last night’s SNL cold open is worth watching to the end, if you haven’t seen it —

See also an explanation of the anti-Clinton insurgency at the FBI at Vox. And if Trump wins, the insurgency will make the core of the American KGB.

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Please, Make It Stop …

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elections, Hillary Clinton

Just encountered a woman on Facebook who was screaming that Hillary Clinton plans to privatize Social Security.

This particular panic came about because of a headline on an opinion piece in Forbes titled “Clinton Might Be Moving Toward Social Security Privatization” that offered absolutely no evidence of anyone on the Clinton team thinking about SS privatization. Do read it; it’s short. Basically, the author says that Social Security is a mess, and how else will Clinton save it but privatization? Seriously; that’s the argument. I am not making this up.

There’s a lot of regressive stuff I fear Clinton might pull, but that is not one of them. Remember all the crazy we went through with Dubya’s privatization plan more than a decade ago? The more Bush talked about his plan to “reform” Social Security, the less popular the idea got. And that was before the 2008 crash.

Having invested so much political capital in this issue, President Bush embarked on the first of what proved to be a long series of tours crammed with events at which he pitched his plan to the people. It soon became apparent that it would be a tough sell. Within weeks, observers noticed that the more the President talked about Social Security, the more support for his plan declined. According to the Gallup organization, public disapproval of President Bush’s handling of Social Security rose by 16 points from 48 to 64 percent–between his State of the Union address and June.

By early summer the initiative was on life support, with congressional Democrats uniformly opposed and Republicans in disarray.After Hurricane Katrina inundated what remained of the President’s support, congressional leaders quietly pulled the plug. By October, even the President had to acknowledge that his effort had failed.

Since then, Democrats have been running on promises to protect Social Security from the evil machinations of privatizing Republicans. Even Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Bush’s plan would put “Americans at risk of losing their retirement savings with the ups and downs of Wall Street.” The 2016 Democratic Party platform plainly states “We will fight every effort to cut, privatize, or weaken Social Security, including attempts to raise the retirement age, diminish benefits by cutting cost-of-living adjustments, or reducing earned benefits.”

In short, this is an issue in which the Dems have absolutely no wiggle room. And I don’t think they’re so stupid they don’t know that. If on the remote chance Clinton were to offer a Bush-style plan as part of some “grand bargain” with a Republican Congress, the political fallout on the entire Democratic Party would be radioactive.

So, while I distrust Clinton in many areas of policy, privatizing Social Security is very low on my list of Ways Hillary Might Sell Us Out.

And the whole point of that Forbes article was planting that headline in the magazine, so that soft-headed progressives and Greenies would link to it and get hysterical, possibly costing Clinton some votes. It was bait.

Yesterday I linked to an article by Josh Marshall that explains what “oversampling” means to a pollster.

Campaigns do extensive, very high quality polling to understand the state of the race and devise strategies for winning. These are not public polls. So they can’t affect media polls and they can’t have anything to do with voter suppression.

Now you may be asking, why would the Democrats skew their own internal polls? Well, they’re not.

The biggest thing here is what the word ‘oversampling’ means. Both public and private pollsters will often over-sample a particular demographic group to get statistically significant data on that group. So let’s stay you have a likely voter poll with 800 respondents. The number of African-Americans in that sample is maybe going to be 100 people, maybe less. 800 people is a decent sample for statistical significance. 100 is not. So if you’re trying to draw conclusions about African-American voters, levels of approval, degree of opposition or support of a candidate, demographic breakdowns, etc. you need to get an ‘over-sample’ to get solid numbers.

Whether it’s public or private pollsters, the ‘over-sample’ is never included in the ‘topline’ number. So if you get 4 times the number of African-American voters as you got in a regular sample, those numbers don’t all go into the mix for the total poll. They’re segmented out. The whole thing basically amounts to zooming in on one group to find out more about them. To do so, to zoom in, you need to ‘over-sample’ their group as what amounts to a break-out portion of the poll.

In other words, campaigns and parties do not “oversample” demographic groups in order to generate fake poll numbers. That hasn’t stopped half the Intertubes from reposting headlines like WIKILEAKS BOMBSHELL EXPOSES Clinton Campaign and Mainstream Media “RIGGED POLLING”. And the people posting this that I’ve seen are lefties. The links are followed by comments such as “Money talks and if they don’t listen, thee is always the threat of imminent ‘suicide’ to keep witnesses silent.”

I mean, I’m as weary of knee-jerk rah-rah yay for our side as anybody. But this perpetual screaming hysteria is absolutely exhausting. I wish there were nothing on the Web but cats and babies.

In other news — the text of the talk I gave Sunday is posted here.

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The Least of Four Evils

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elections

John Oliver on the fringe candidates, Johnson and Stein.

I’ll be on the road tomorrow; will check in tomorrow night if all goes well.

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Startling New Revelation About Al Gore

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elections

So a guy on my Facebook friend’s list posted that Hillary Clinton’s problems in the polls have “everything to do with gender. One only need to look at the false equivalency and over reactions to anything Clinton and the blindness towards Trump’s criminal activity.”

But if you’ve been paying attention these past, oh, 36 years, the false equivalency thing has been going on since the Carter-Reagan contest in 1980. The Dem candidate gets picked apart; the GOP candidate gets a pass.

This reached a peak during the Bush II years. In 2000 Al Gore got slammed for random things like misstating the cost of dog food. Remember when the talking point on Gore was that he was a “serial liar”? Meanwhile Bush had some major ugly things in his background as a businessman and as a governor that got overlooked.

Gore also was called out because of his fashion sense — too many earth tones. Remember that one?

So I’ve come to a startling conclusion: Al Gore is a woman. And maybe John Kerry is, too.

Another Al Gore related tidbit — this weekend I ran into a wingnut making fun of Al Gore’s environmental predictions. Gore had predicted that global climate change would be causing flooding on the coastlines by now. Ha, ha, the wingnut said.

But, dude — global climate change IS causing flooding on the coastlines now.

The wingnuts won’t recognize truth until they’re underwater in boiling seas, I’m afraid.

Also — I’m thinking about live blogging the debate tonight. Anyone interested?

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Red and Redder

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elections, Obama Administration

I’m getting ready to resurrect the old slogan “Better dead than Red.” Of course, back in the day, “red” meant “Communist.” I’m struggling to come up with a term that sums up what “red” means now, other than “we are so screwed.”

In Red State Missouri the general election candidates are all running on the platform of Redder Than Thou. There’s an open seat in the governor’s mansion; the two candidates are:

  • Chris Koster, the Democrat, who brags about being tough on crime and how he is endorsed by the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police. After Ferguson, that’s, um, a tad alarming.
  • Eric Greitens, the Republican, whose primary campaign ads featured him gunning down some farmer’s field. His major selling point is being former Navy Seal.

I’m pleased to say Kostner is ahead in the polls. Kostner appears to be okay on women’s reproductive rights and also on marriage equality and Obamacare. He may be trusted to continue the illustrious legacy of the current governor, Jay Nixon, who functioned primarily to veto whatever nonsense the legislature came up with. Greitens will, I fear, do to Missouri what Sam Brownback did to Kansas, and also will green light whatever shit-for-brains laws the state legislature comes up with. If Greitens wins, I would advise anyone with business interests in the state to get the hell out before the inauguration.

Republican Senator Roy Blunt, patron saint of lobbyists, is up for re-election. He’s one of those incumbents who feels as if he’s been around since Reconstruction, but it’s probably only been since the Coolidge Administration. The man’s a walking archetype of what’s wrong with Washington. If Blunt were an actor, he’d be the guy they’d always want to cast as the fat cat politician. Naturally, Blunt, who has never served in the military, enjoys the endorsement of the NRA and has featured this prominently in his campaign.

The NRA released an ad attacking Blunt’s opponent, Democrat Jason Kander, who is currently the Missouri Secretary of State. Kander released this ad:

Basically, Kander has the nerve to think there are some people who shouldn’t have guns. People with criminal records, for example. He’s also on the record as being opposed to “stand your ground” laws and thinks there are some places civilians shouldn’t be carrying guns,, such as schools. This makes him an official Enemy of Freedom as far as the gun nuts are concerned.

Gail Collins commented on this race, and added:

Now Hillary Clinton is running on centrist reforms like background checks, while Donald Trump wants to eliminate gun-free zones at, say, nursery schools and give people from Missouri the right to carry their permit-free concealed weapons in Midtown Manhattan.

In gratitude, the N.R.A. has been running an ad that shows an intruder smashing into a house where a woman is sleeping, alone. When the terrified resident opens the safe where she keeps her gun, said weapon vanishes, and it’s pretty much curtains. This could happen to you, if you let Hillary Clinton take away our “right to self-defense.”

Of course, a woman is less likely to be shot by an intruder than by a member of her family. And really, Missouri, do you want to have everybody in St. Louis carrying a concealed weapon? Let’s talk.

Blunt is leading in the polls, but it’s close enough that Kander “has a shot.” Please, oh please …

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