Friday, March 25, 2016

Last Call For Threading The Space Needle

The bottom line is if Bernie Sanders has any chance left of winning this nomination, he will need massive 25-30 point wins to run the table, starting in Washington state tomorrow.

Without a big win in Washington Saturday, there’s no path forward for Bernie Sanders. And that cold political reality has turned this state into an unlikely battleground between the Vermont senator and Hillary Clinton.

Sanders recognizes Washington is as close to a must-win as it gets after his disappointing loss in Arizona on Tuesday. With 101 delegates at stake, only New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and California have more delegates at play after this weekend. If he has any hope of catching Clinton, he’ll have to start here, in a state where progressive-oriented Seattle sets the tone.

“If Senator Sanders is ever going to do well, I think it would be in Washington,” explained Gov. Jay Inslee, a Clinton supporter, acknowledging Sanders’ appeal in his state. “That’s no surprise."

Clinton doesn’t have as much urgency to win. She simply needs to keep it close, to deny Sanders the kind of runaway caucus victory that could dent her 300-plus delegate lead and provide him some desperately-needed momentum going into the April 5 primary in Wisconsin, another state that figures to be receptive to his brand of progressive politics. (Alaska and Hawaii, much smaller delegate contests, also hold caucuses on Saturday.)

But it won’t be easy to hold Sanders back. According to one analysis, Seattle ranks No. 1 among the 50 biggest U.S. cities for per-capita contributions to his campaign. He’s got seven campaign offices in the state and has drawn huge crowds in his visits to the Pacific Northwest. While most of the state's high-profile Democrats are backing Clinton, Sanders has the endorsement of the state’s largest newspaper, the Seattle Times -- by far his biggest endorsement from a daily publication.

Is it possible?  Sure, mathematically Sanders has not been eliminated.  Is it probable?  Again, Washington is a caucus state, not a primary state, something that definitely favors him.  The state has a very low black population (4%) and a larger than average Millennial population.  If there's anywhere that Sanders can shave off a chunk of Clinton's substantial delegate lead, it's tomorrow.

The issue at this point is time and math. Sanders will need to win here by a lot, and he'll have to continue winning all the remaining contests by 30 points, including New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and California by those margins, and the numbers just aren't there for him to do more than break even.

And a Clinton win here where she increases her delegate lead?  If that happens here tomorrow, Bernie's done.

We'll see what happens tomorrow.

Cenk Yourself Before You Get Berned

I can take or leave Cenk Uygur and his Young Turks, but his interview with Bernie Sanders this week was very, very telling.

Uygur: But, you have convinced them that Hillary Clinton is the establishment candidate. If you were to lose, and the Democratic Party comes to you and says, "Okay, now take this movement, that is full of energy and is against the establishment, and make sure they vote for the establishment candidate," what do you say? 
Sanders: Well, you know, what I say. Number one, I'm not big into "being a leader". You know, I much prefer to see a lot of leaders, a lot of grassroots activism. Number two, what we do is together, as a nation, as a growing movement, is we say, "All right, if we don't win (and, by the way, we are in this thing to win, please understand that) what is the Democratic establishment gonna do for us?" 
Uygur: Oh, that's interesting... 
Sanders: All right, for example: Right now, you have a Democratic establishment which has written off half the states in this country, you know that
Uygur: Mmhmm. 
Sanders: And they've given up on the slate in the South, the Rocky Mountain area—are they gonna create a 50-state party? Are they gonna welcome into the Democratic Party the working class of this country and young people, or is it gonna be a party of the upper middle class and the cocktail crowd and the heavy campaign contributors? Which to a significant degree it is right now. You know, I've talked to Democratic Party leaders and said, "You know what? Instead of going around and raising all kinds of money from wealthy people, why don't you meet in some football stadium and bring out fifty, a hundred thousand people, bring the damn Senate in there, Senate Democrats, and start talking to people, ask them what they want you to do. How about that?" Better? Radical? So, in other words, if I can't make it, and we're gonna try as hard as we can 'til the last vote is cast, we wanna completely revitalize the Democratic Party, and make it a party of the people, rather than just one of large campaign contributors.

There's one very, very large group of Democrats that Sanders is overlooking here because it's been something he's been overlooking his entire campaign: non-white voters in red states. When Sanders says that the Democrats have given up on "the South" and the "Rocky Mountain area" what he means is the Democrats have given up on white voters in those states.  That's true for the most part, but Bernie's efforts to reach out to white voters is coming at the direct expense of black and Latino voters in those states.

Bernie's entire campaign has been "I'm going to bring white hard hat, lunch pail Democrats back into the fold and I'm going to basically ignore non-white voters because what are they going to do, vote for the GOP?"

It's annoying ans obnoxious.  I don't like Clinton's obvious pandering to voters of color like myself, but it's infinitely preferable to being taken for granted by the Sanders campaign. Sanders wants an award for extreme cleverness or something and I'm about to get very tired of him.

Speech Impediment

Trump is winning the public opinion argument against his protesters, and always was going to win it.

Our poll asked respondents whom they would specifically blame for the Chicago protest. Fully 54 percent agreed that protesters were responsible for the violence — "if they wanted to protest peacefully, they should have done so." But among Republicans, support for that position rose to 74 percent; among Democrats, it sank to 37 percent
This makes sense: We know that when partisan information is introduced into an example, people’s partisan instincts determine how they answer questions. But with a significant number of Democrats and independents agreeing with blaming protesters for the violence in Chicago, it seems that protest and violence are two different situations in the minds of voters. 
To that end, the electorate is pretty evenly split on the question of whether Trump should bear any blame for violence occurring at his rallies: 30 percent say they pin "a lot" of blame on him, while roughly the same number, 29 percent, say they don’t blame him at all. The split is almost entirely due to differing views among Democrats and Republicans. 
One fact that reflects the deep partisan divide over the importance of this issue: Fully 37 percent of Democrats said they’d heard "a lot" about violence at Trump rallies. By contrast, only 23 percent of Republicans said the same; many more said they’d only heard a little about the controversy or hadn’t heard of it at all. 
That’s probably because the news sources that Democrats are more likely to read — from mainstream publications to liberal blogs – fixated on the bouts of violence as threats to the functioning of democracy. Conservative media outlets tended to write about the violence less; at least one, Breitbart, actively attempted to tamp down on an alleged assault on its own reporter by Trump’s campaign manager. 
And by at least one measure, the media’s attempts to link Trump to violence have failed. Only 14 percent of poll respondents — Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike — think Trump was to blame for his supporter’s attack on a protester; about the same, 16 percent, actually thought it was the protester's fault. (Far more people, 52 percent, blamed the audience member who sucker-punched the protester for causing the violence.)

People aren't buying the notion that Trump's words cause violence at all.

Even one in four African-Americans think the protesters were at fault for Trump's Chicago rally violence, nearly 40% of Democrats do, and more than half overall.

So yes, as long as Trump keeps screaming about how protesters are trying to "silence" him and 35-40% of Democrats keep agreeing with him on that, he's going to keep winning this argument.
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