Stupid Campaign Tricks


Of all the arguments that try to support Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, and undermine Bernie Sanders’s, this one must be the dumbest — the argument that Bernie support is coming from “privileged” types who won’t suffer if Donald Trump or some other right-wing whackjob is elected.

First, the data coming from the primaries tell us that Clinton voters are on average both older and more affluent than Sanders voters. So much for the “privileged” argument. Here in the greater NYC area, you can go to wealthy white communities like Scarsdale and see “Hillary Clinton for President” on every other Audi bumper.

Second, the argument assumes that only Hillary Clinton can beat Trump or Whatever in November. Personally, I suspect any reasonably presentable vertebrate could beat Trump in November, and Cruz, too. Current “head to head” polls, for whatever they are worth, have Clinton beating Trump by an average of 11.2 points, a factoid that has been splashed robustly all over social media as “proof” that Clinton must be supported.

But the same polls have Sanders beating Trump by 17.5 points.  Likewise, Sanders does better than Clinton against Cruz.

If Republican voters were to wise up and choose Kasich, however, he would beat Clinton handily. That’s what the polls say — Kasich by 6.5 points — and that’s what my guts say, also.  The same polls currently have Sanders beating Kasich by one point; it’s pretty much a tie. And while Kasich is a long shot, given the, um, situation the Republicans are in, nobody could be ruled out. A contested convention could nominate anybody.

The “only Clinton can win” hysteria seems to have arisen from the notion that as soon as everyone finds out Sanders calls himself a “socialist,” voters will stampede to Clinton. But IMO the ones most likely to stampede will be voting Republican, anyway. This argument ignores the fact that Clinton is more disliked than liked (see poll results).

Trump’s “unfavorable” rating is even higher, of course, which is why he would lose to a can of soup. And why I am very weary with arguments that we progressive voters have to settle for a candidate we don’t like and didn’t choose because otherwise we’ll end up for President Trump.

See also Matt Taibbi, “Why Young People Are Right About Hillary Clinton.”

28 thoughts on “Stupid Campaign Tricks

  1. While I agree it’s a dumb argument, there’s one Hillary demographic you’re missing. Saw a strange article a few weeks ago that tried to break out voters by credit scores (of all things, how would they know?). It said that people with poor credit scores are for Hillary. I can only guess that this means the black vote. So she has this weird bifurcation – with people in Scarsdale allying themselves with blacks who trust her, and who don’t feel the Bern. The common thing is that both of these demographics are more conservative, wanting to go with a known thing.

    (When my credit score went south a year or two ago, I was amazed by the various sales pitches I received from banks. As my score dwindled, the skin color of the people in the advertising got darker. There was an entire montage built around this idea in a Kurt Vonnegut novel – involving a two sided billboard, each side with its own message, pitching the same product, a washing machine – one message for whites, one for blacks, depending on where you were living in relation to its location above the railroad tracks. Fortunately my nose-dive toward insolvency braked, and the FICO gods are smiling upon me again. And the predatory lending pitches stopped).

    • “The common thing is that both of these demographics are more conservative, wanting to go with a known thing.” I think there’s a lot to that, especially among southern blacks, to whom a Brooklyn Jew like Sanders may seem downright alien. However, it’s illogical to extrapolate from that the claim that only the “privileged” are comfortable supporting Sanders. Privilege really doesn’t have much to do with it, as far as I can see.

  2. The fact that Kasich isn’t leading, tells me that the base wants to go down with one of the two they love, and not the current Governor and former Congressman.
    He’s too “Establishment.”
    And after McCain and Mittens, they’ve had it with losing with warmed-over oatmeal.

    They want some red-hot “Christian”chili conservatism, in Cruz.
    Or some fuck-it-all, and either start over with an in-your-face no governmental experience reality show assclown, or let the country burn!
    Forgetting that the bases former beloved, W, was an epic disaster. Both as a “Christian” conservative, and as a Governor of a state where the position was largely ceremonial – and one of the few requirements, besides breathing, was being able to sign execution orders. So, W wasn’t exactly an expert on governance.

    Kasich would be adored by the MSM, who’ll be happy to reapply the same moderate “Compassionate Conservative” label they did to an equally immoderate W.
    So, I hope the GOP base holds fast, and demands either Trump or Cruz.

    Kasich wouldn’t be the epic diaster W was – unless, of course, you’re a woman, an immigrant, a minority, LGBT, or a non-“Christian.”

    My mother and I’ll be voting for Bernie in NYS’s primary. But if Hillary is the candidate, I’ll work hard to GOTV for other Dem’s – even if either of the Dem’s should win fairly easily in our state. But, I won’t assume – especially, down-ballot.

  3. “Reasonably presentable vertebrate” is probably true, but may be setting the bar a bit high. I am quite sure that it will require a carbon-based life form to do the trick, and am inclined to think that a vertebrate will have an advantage over other life forms.

  4. moonbat… Banks are equal opportunity predators. As long as you still have a dime to your name they won’t let up in trying to put you in complete bondage. It’s in the nature of the beast. I’ve made the statement before that Bank of America owns me, but that’s not a statement in jest….it’s a statement in fact.

  5. Trump’s “unfavorable” rating is even higher, of course, which is why he would lose to a can of soup. And why I am very weary with arguments that we progressive voters have to settle for a candidate we don’t like and didn’t choose because otherwise we’ll end up for President Trump.

    I agree with the first part, and although I agree with the second part even more, I’m not sure what sort of sentiment you’re trying to express other than pure frustration. Yes, HRC sucks – of course she will support TPP; of course she will back Wall Street; of course she will step up the war efforts and further cheerlead efforts at eradicating privacy and attempts at whistleblowing; of course she will cheerlead whatever horrible things Israel decides to do, etc – her views are completely neoliberal and neoconservative…and she (not to mention the DNC) is utterly corrupt on top of that.

    She’s lying, opportunistic, awful scum who clearly believes she’s entitled to be POTUS.

    But here’s the thing: with all of that, she’s still far more qualified and far better than any of these Republican assholes vying for the White House. If she wins the nomination then I will vote for her. That sucks, and I mean SUCKS, but what else can I (or any progressive) do but bitch and whine before and after holding my nose at the polling booth?

  6. I voted for Sanders in the primary, but will vote for whomever is the dem nominee, including Clinton. If its Hilary vs Trump, Cruz or Kasich in the general, then for many, including myself, it will be about voting for who will do the least harm. That’s undoubtedly Clinton.

    As for the black vote, as far as your every day people go, I would bet that for most its that they simply do not know Sanders, let alone that he’s Jewish. Hillary is a known quantity — the Clinton brand is a net positive among black folk, and for the average person who doesn’t spend a fraction of the time on politics as many of us do, going with a known brand is the safer bet.

    That said, what’s troubling is Hillary supporters seem to have difficulty putting forward specific arguments supportive of her that have nothing to do with Sanders or Trump. If I was going to buy a car and all the salesman could tell me was negative stuff about competing cars, but nothing positive about the one I am thinking about buying, it would be a tough sell. The arguments supporters put forward are rarely about some Clinton position or policy proposal that would be a net positive for voters, but always some “negative” about Sanders that’s either unfounded or just plain ridiculous, save for platitudes about “fighting for you,” etc.

    Given that Clinton most likely will be the nominee, I’d like to start hearing from her supporters substantive arguments about why Hillary, her policy proposals, what they will fix, details.

  7. On this paragraph at the end of the Matt Taibbi article from RS….

    “And they’re voting for Sanders because his idea of an entirely voter-funded electoral “revolution” that bars corporate money is, no matter what its objective chances of success, the only practical road left to break what they perceive to be an inexorable pattern of corruption.”

    I’m gonna toot my own horn, just a little. While I know that my flight alone didn’t change anything, statements like the one I cite here weren’t being made (much) a year ago. No one can measure if I led the curve in social awareness about corruption or if I helped shape the curve that made bipartisan corruption a mainstream topic. But it’s there in a big way now and I’m thrilled every time I see a mainstream writer make the issue I flew for into the punch line of his screed.

    I’m coming up on sentencing in 19 days (but who’s counting) and without searching hard I’m finding evidence ( that the landscape has and is changing since my flight. As long as it gets done before I die, I don’t care who gets credit.

  8. Sanders wins Alaska and Washington State. I think he’ll take Oregon and California as well. This could get interesting. Swami, I know what you mean about BOA. EVIL.

  9. One of the things I find appealing about Sanders is the fact that he is a Brooklyn Jew.. Being raised on Long Island I have a bias of respect for the Jewish community and the contributions they’ve made for social justice in New York. I like Sanders mannerisms. How he raises his arm in an”I wanna tell you” manner that you know whether you like it or not you’ll be getting an earful of honesty. No pretense, no guile.
    Last time I was up in New York a very wise attorney friend of mine said to me..Look at the foundation..Trump at his base is a contractor from Queens. That might not mean anything to a lot of people, but growing up in New York it said all that needed to be said. Service to his fellow man is not on his agenda.

  10. Swami and Moonbat:

    I saw that report about guns at the GOP convention. The Trump supporters especially would want to have guns on hand. (Their idea of a “riot”.) I don’t know why Kasich would want that. This calls for a massive disciplined nonviolent protest with evident moral clarity. (On the part of the anti- Trump movement of course, and outside the venue.) It could be a valuable learning experience for the gun nuts, who don’t seem to have an adequate grasp of reality. Yes, of course it could also mean a bloodbath. Oh those Republicans!

  11. I just read that the GOP convention will be held in the Quicken Loans Arena. That’s kind of ironic, huh? If these gun nuts get their way and things go awry they might have to rename it the OK Corral II. Personally I think they should be encouraged to bring frag grenades to their convention in the hope that something triggers a free for all.

  12. Open-carry at the GOP convention?

    Sure, why not?
    It’s a SLAM-DUNK!

    BTW, is the NRA HQ open-carry?
    And If not, why not?
    Let’s spread the “TEH STOOOOOOOOOOOPD” around equally!!!

  13. Guns at the GOP convention sounds like a winner to me, though “The Journal says the National Rifle Association declined to comment on the petition”? Interesting the NRA also didn’t allow open carry (except for the security team) inside the hall they had their convention at either? Seems like they should change their motto to: “Uncertainty and fear for thee and armed guards and security for me”.

  14. By the way, Doug I finally mailed the letter of support last Monday. I stuck with the things that someone could know by reading a person’s comments. The down side is that I reminded myself of that character in “Animal House” defending his fraternity, not that you are anything like the guys in the fraternity. Anyway, it will help to make the stack of letters a fraction of a millimeter thicker.

    Best of luck.

  15. Last time I was up in New York a very wise attorney friend of mine said to me..Look at the foundation..Trump at his base is a contractor from Queens. That might not mean anything to a lot of people, but growing up in New York it said all that needed to be said. Service to his fellow man is not on his agenda.

    Wish I knew New York better to get what your friend was saying.

  16. One problem I immediately see with the polls about Kasich is that he isn’t much known. We saw in the last couple GOP primary races that each so-and-so tended to his turn as a supposed appealing candidate when they were just becoming more widely known as a result of moving toward the front of the pack. But as soon as they did people naturally heard more about each and every time the “appealing” candidate started dropping in the approval polls.

    What people want, what distorts these sorts of polls, is that people want a real, decent, non-crazy GOP candidate, and as long as they don’t know much about Candidate X they can imagine that candidate to be that ideal. But when the candidate moves out front and therefore gets more attention they get known, and it turns out people don’t want that actual candidate; they wanted the imaginary candidate he could be before he was better known.

    Bottom line: sure, it’s a potential problem but really doesn’t seem that likely to me. The last two GOP primary seasons showed that familiarity with GOP candidates tends to breed dislike.

  17. “… as long as they don’t know much about Candidate X they can imagine that candidate to be that ideal.”

    “But as soon as … people heard more … the “appealing” candidate started dropping in the approval polls.”

    Interesting observations.

    I have a friend who purchased his tickets to Crazytown a few years back. He would vote for Sanders, but if Sanders doesn’t get the nomination, he says he will vote for Trump. He “believes” that Trump is secretly a liberal and is only pretending to be the Tea Party’s golem. He believed something similar about Mitt Romney. When there is so little of a record available, people can opt for JDM’s imaginary candidate, no matter how out of out of sync their concept is with the reality.

    The sad thing about my friend is that his instincts once led him in a better direction. He was on the Selma March and worked for Coretta Scott King, personally. Now, he is someone’s crazy uncle.

    I have notified my wife that if I ever get to be like him, she should find a way to put me out of our misery.

  18. Doug: If I remember correctly, you have identified yourself as an agnostic so the phrase “God works in mysterious ways” won’t mean anything to you. However, maybe you can imagine that everything in the universe is connected and there really is a “force” that permeates all. Jung called it the collective unconscious. I like to imagine that thoughts and ideas send out little ripples along the force and they are picked up by like-minded people. Perhaps that is what is happening. May the force be with you!

  19. Grannyeagle – I agree with your conclusion about how consciousness is connected. My philosophy about religion tends to be agnostic and mildly cynical, but I do believe spirituality can be expressed through any number of religions or none. My political belief about the application of religion is agnostic – laws have to work for people of any religion or people with no religion but the more spiritual a political leader is, the more likely he/she will respect all religions in an unbiased expression of political power.

    I have an opinion that there is a creator or God, but I’m reluctant to try to define that entity. None of us humans trying to understand the motives of an omnipotent being can avoid projecting our own selves in the persona of that ‘God’. With that in mind, I am free to consider the wisdom of different theological ideas while I automatically reject the dogma of any of them.

    My initial upbringing was Catholic with parochial school which gave me a strong foundation in the New Testament, but I’m most comfortable with Unitarian Universalists. I like Pope Francis a lot because he seems to think that it is his role to emulate Christ in the modern world by extending New Testament teachings in the modern world. This is blowing dogmatic minds all over the globe.

    I avoid getting into my personal beliefs most of the time because I don’t think I have any answers for anyone except myself, and only for me only on a very good day. But you tempted me, Grannyeagle.

  20. Re: Grannyeagle/Doug above

    It seems to me that religion provides us with a handy vocabulary and a set of metaphors that refer to some persistent concerns of the human race. This is part of the culture that formed us, and there are a lot of variations spread out across the world. I recall seeing a video of a George Carlin rant against religion, (I have to confess, I never thought that he was very funny.) He goes on about how ridiculous and destructive religion has been, and then ends the evening with, “Good night, and may God bless.” Some of us who are of a certain age will imagine that he was channeling Red Skelton, but the phrase conveys a fairly complex set of emotions, attitudes and hopes, irrespective of the pattern of beliefs held by the people involved.

    Quite some time ago, Bill Moyers had a series of discussions involving people of different faiths. Regarding the “why” of creation, a Sufi on the panel answered that man was created to “reflect the glory of God.” I find that a beautiful concept, and in a way it relates to what Pope Francis seems to be bringing to light. You don’t really have to attach the concept to a “god,” but, it seems to me that a very good way of reflecting the glory of the universe is through compassion, empathy and curiosity. Whether you believe in a Creator or simply some sort of glorious accident that brought us about, serving the general welfare and progress of humanity seems a fitting expression of joy and gratitude. I just wish I were better at it. Pope Francis certainly is a contrast to the current stock of the prominent “religious” leaders.

    I once heard Pat Robertson respond to a young person who asserted that throughout history “Man has created God in his image,” and not the other way around. Robertson’s response was nonsense, but the young person had condensed a lot of meaning into a few words.

    Nomaste, y’all.

  21. Doug, Goatherd: I think I have been misunderstood. I get confused about the definitions of atheist and agnostic. But that is beside the point. And I definitely am not trying to proselytize and change anyone’s thought, beliefs, opinions about religion or the existence of a God or Gods. Maybe my mistake was in using the word “God” since there are so many attachments to that word and it is defined in most religions. I like the concept of the Tao which cannot be defined according to Lao Tzu. He said the Tao that can be spoken of is not the Tao. To me, that means that in defining it, we limit it and actually we cannot comprehend it with our puny human minds. We can only experience it. I have personally rejected the Christian religion because I cannot accept the idea that one man can be responsible for the sins of all mankind. Jesus may or may not have existed and it is a nice story but I believe that if he did, his message has been distorted over the many years since his death. And I think all religions fall short because they attempt to define God and therefore set up a bunch of rules to follow.
    As Carl Sagan said, the cosmos is all there is, all that ever was and all that ever will be. That is an awesome and beautiful concept and all we need to know, I guess. Life is a mystery and I like it that way.
    Pope Francis is expressing love as he feels that was Jesus’s message. If all humans did that, would we not have peace on earth?

  22. I have personally rejected the Christian religion because I cannot accept the idea that one man can be responsible for the sins of all mankind.

    grannyeagle.. Maybe you might want to recant that statement before it officially gets logged into the Lamb’s Book of Life. 🙂

    But seriously.. When it comes to Christianity I agree wholeheartedly with the young person that goatherd referred to in his post above…Man made God in his own image. One definition I thought was rather insightful and original was spoken by Neil deGrasse Tyson in a discussion about Isaac Newton. Saying that as we discover the universe and peel back its knowledge that God will always be just beyond our limit of knowledge dwelling in the unknown.
    I can handle that!

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