Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Last Call For Numbers Games

Remember, Donald Trump is getting a lot of attention for a guy at 21% or so.  More people support Bernie Sanders, but you wouldn't know it from our media. The Fix's Philip Bump to his credit does the math.

For all of the attention paid to the Republican primary -- thanks in large part to the classy marquee name of Donald Trump -- it's worth pointing something out: More Americans currently support Hillary Clinton than Trump, which you probably already knew. But it's safe to assume that more Americans alsosupport Bernie Sanders. 
We looked at this a bit back in May, when the Sanders phenomenon was first emerging. But it's worth revisiting now that he has surged. 
If you extrapolate Census turnout estimates into 2016, we can figure that some 137 million will turn out to vote next year. That's maybe a bit high, but it doesn't really matter. It gives us a figure to work with. 
In September, Gallup did its regular assessment of how Americans identify politically. The number who said they were Democrats or Republicans was the same, 27 percent. The rest were "independents," though a number of those independents leaned toward one party or the other. (This is not uncommon at all.) 
Those partisanship figures change a lot, but let's use them as-is. If we apply those percentages to the 137 million people that vote, assuming (unfairly) that partisans vote at even rates, we get about 37 million people in each party, about 25 million Republican-leaning independents and about 23 million Democratic-leaning ones. 
If we then apply polling averages to those numbers, we get a look at how many people (generally) support each candidate. Note that the ratios below don't change even if the numbers of voters change; it's a percent of a percent. But the upshot is this: More Americans support Sanders than Trump.
Both demographics and electoral college politics favor the Democrats in 2016, and the GOP knows it.

If only our liberal media would do a better job of remembering that.

Would Anyone Else Like To "Negotiate"?

With the House GOP in chaos, it's up to Senate Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, to conduct serious talks with Democrats and the White House on preventing a debt default in November and a shutdown in December.

Mitch McConnell privately wants the White House to pay this price to enact a major budget deal: Significant changes to Social Security and Medicare in exchange for raising the debt ceiling and funding the government. 
Several people familiar with the high-stakes fiscal negotiations said the Senate majority leader's staff is trying to drive a hard bargain in the private talks with the White House and Democratic leaders. 
McConnell is seeking a reduction in cost-of-living adjustments to Social Security recipients and new restrictions on Medicare, including limiting benefits to the rich and raising the eligibility age, several sources said. In addition, the Kentucky Republican is eager to see new policy riders enacted, including reining in the Environmental Protection Agency's clean water regulations
White House officials are already rejecting such entitlement changes. But the demand by McConnell showcases the major gulf that exists between the two sides as they try to avoid a potential fiscal calamity if the United States fails to raise the national debt ceiling by Nov. 5 or stumbles into a government shutdown by mid-December.

And this is McConnell's opening bid: cuts to Social Security and Medicare, raising the eligibility age, and destroying the EPA, or he collapses the economy.

Sound familiar?  It's what they wanted last time.  Obama said go to hell and they lost, but voters gave them the Senate anyway.  I guess the plan is to destroy the economy so badly that America just gives up and stops voting.

The Great Debate Debate

My thoughts on last night's Democratic party debate:

Hillary Clinton stuck and moved, nobody really landed anything on her, but her answers on her obvious flip-flops were (necessarily) evasive. She's not going to win over any Sanders voters, but she didn't lose any either because she managed to judo flip several crapass questions from Anderson Cooper and Jake Tapper into attacks on the GOP.  Nobody does that better, she's a fighter and she looked very solid and will remain the frontrunner.

Bernie Sanders looked feisty, if not outright salty on a couple of things, but gave some really goofy answers on guns, immigration, and foreign policy. Sticking up for Hillary against the Village's "Hillary's e-mail server" question was a class, class act, however.  He did well enough for himself. Note he finally got the memo on Black Lives Matter.  He'll pick up a few points in the polls.

Martin O'Malley had a decent showing, but nowhere near what he needed to climb into serious contention.  He had some good responses on gun control as Governor of Maryland, but the rest was sloppy.

Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee, why are you even in the race?  Stop it.

And Joe Biden?  Anybody know where Joe Biden is?  Stop taunting us, Joe.  Run or bow out, but make up your mind already.

Winners: Clinton as clear frontrunner, Sanders as scrappy rival keeping her honest, O'Malley as the plausible dark horse. Democratic party as group of adults in the room rather than the GOP clown show.

Losers: Lincoln "Block of Granite" Chafee, Jim "Neck Frill" Webb, Jake Tapper and Anderson Cooper, Joe Biden not making the hard decision, GOP clown show livetweeting the debate (Trump and especially Huckabee looked like complete assholes.), and the idea that we need more than six debates. For once, DWS was actually right.


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