Democrats, South Carolina, and wrapping up our primary season
Random thoughts and musing on the state of the Democratic race:Don’t be a dick! If you are a Hillary Clinton person, you want to spike that football, but we need to stick together to win the all-important general election. Never let go of the big picture. On the flip side, if you think Clinton can’t win against Donald Trump, you are a fucking moron. Seriously, you are as dumb as rocks. “But!” you yell, “Her unfavorables are 54 percent!” Yes, they are! But a big chunk of that is Sanders supporters. Check out the chart below: see that inflection point when Clinton’s unfavorables overtook her favorables? That was April 2015. You know what month Bernie Sanders entered the campaign? April 2015. Most will come home after Sanders bows out. Next up, you can’t argue 54 percent unfavorables makes her unelectable while claiming that Donald Trump can win with unfavorables of 58 percent. Look at his chart below. People have always thought that Donald Trump was a dick, and little has changed since the day they started polling his favorables. But you want to argue that the guy people have always hated is more electable than the woman who is less polarizing? That said, even his numbers will improve after he clinches the nomination as most Republicans rally home as well. Clinton’s victory speech was fantastic! “We don’t need to make America great again. America never stopped being great. But we do need to make America whole again." Funny seeing conservatives, who love to yell about America being “number one!” suddenly arguing that this place is a hellhole. Optimism trumps hate.
Saturday we all saw what the “demographic ceiling” looks like, and for Bernie Sanders, it wasn’t pretty. Iowa was all white, and the candidates effectively tied. New Hampshire was all white, and Bernie Sanders won big. But it’s been downhill for Bernie as the states have gotten browner—first Nevada, and now the South Carolina near-50-point blowout.I keep coming back to this again and again—imagine if Sanders had half a year camped out in South Carolina and Nevada, getting to know Latinos and African Americans as intimately as he got to know white farmers in Iowa? The primary calendar does a disservice to Democrats, and this has to be the last year Iowa and New Hampshire lead the pack. There is no correlation between primary turnout and general election performance. Fact is, Democrats have long assumed (correctly) that Clinton would be the nominee, so there has been less impetus to vote than in the GOP civil war. In fact, the lower-than-expected turnout is an indictment on the Sanders campaign, because despite all the talk of revolution, fact is, he hasn’t inspired casual Democrats to turn out in any real numbers.
You know who did turn out given the opportunity? African Americans in South Carolina. That’s the Trump effect. So yeah, white Bernie Sanders supporters might not be feeling the Clinton, but that’s because you don’t have Donald Trump challenging your very right to exist. If you are a Sanders supporter and can’t understand that, perhaps that’s why you weren’t able to help expand Sanders’ support beyond his white base.
The big takeaway? If you want a revolution, find a candidate/leader that looks like the Democratic Party, or has done the hard work of building credibility in communities of color.Also, it’s hard to spark a revolution when you are arguing that your own party’s president has fucked shit all up. Especially when that president has an 81 percent approval rating among your party. Endorsements don’t mean shit. They’ve never meant shit, and they still don’t mean shit. We just saw that in South Carolina, where Sanders’ high-profile African American endorsements didn’t do squat. But my favorite example is Massachusetts 2008, when everyone including Ted Kennedy endorsed Obama, but Clinton still won the state easily, 56-40. So yup, endorsements don’t mean shit. I won’t speak for African Americans, but Latinos have had enough revolutions, none of them good. It’s literally the reason why I ended up here in this country. So Sanders’ “revolution” rhetoric was never going to win Latino support. But worse, they definitely see “revolution” when they look at Trump and his supporters, and it’s fucking terrifying.
Ultimately, some white Bernie Sanders supporters might pull a PUMA this year (roundly mocked 2008 Clinton supporters who decided to support John McCain to show Obama people the consequences of, uh, winning a primary). But that will be more than offset by ever-increased brown and black support. The polls already suggest that, and South Carolina’s results provided added evidence.The public polling in South Carolina was brutal, completely understating Clinton’s final margin. And you can’t blame this on funky caucus turnout. This utterly contradicts Team Sanders arguments that the polling understates his support because young people can’t be reached. Right now, polls are sometimes good, sometimes bad, and when they’re bad, they’re bad for no real consistent reason. Meanwhile, Super Tuesday polling generally looks like South Carolina polling looked. Sanders’ best-case scenario for Tuesday is a hometown blowout victory (Vermont), along with Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Massachusetts. Indeed, those are the only states in which his campaign is currently spending on the air. He pulls that off, five of 11 states, and he lives to fight another day. Worst case? He wins just one or two, and any rational impetus to carry on is severely compromised. Clinton lingered long past her time in 2008 and it was pathetic. We don’t need that this year, not when we need to focus our guns on Donald Trump. So what is Sanders’ deadline to show real results? Not this Tuesday, but by March 15. By then, the states of Michigan, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, and North Carolina will have voted. Right now, Clinton has big leads in all of them (where polling is available). If Sanders can’t win a significant chunk of those, then it’s over. Winning the Maine and/or Nebraska caucuses aren’t a viable counterbalance. You can play the “delegate math” game all you want, but if Sanders can’t win states now, keeping the delegate count close doesn’t mean shit. Losing by a little is still losing, particularly in a proportional allocation system in which making up lost ground becomes exponentially difficult. Sanders doesn’t need X number of delegates to have a prime convention speaking slot. He’s earned that already. The establishment didn’t beat Sanders. In fact, he exceeded every possible expectation in spite of serious institutional roadblocks. The stupid debate schedule was irrelevant, as was the lack of traditional media coverage. In this day and age, none of that shit really matters. You can use digital media to bypass the traditional gatekeepers and build support and raise money, and he did. (Compare to whatever the heck it was that Martin O’Malley did.) He even had $100 million to spend! Sanders’ problem was the presence of someone with universal name ID and huge respect in the party, and who was explicitly running on continuing the legacy of a popular incumbent Democratic president. What if Sanders had started laying the groundwork for a run two years ago, spending time getting to know voters in black and Latino communities? What if he’d become a Democrat earlier and spent time helping other good Democrats win (like Elizabeth Warren has been doing since elected to the Senate)? Maybe things would be different. But you don’t get to parachute into a party less than a year before the first contest and expect to win huge swath of support. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was irrelevant to the ultimate outcome of this primary contest. To think she kneecaped Sanders would assume that she’s competent at something. And she’s not. If anything, she was inadvertently one of Sanders’ biggest allies. By burying the debates and hiding Clinton, she allowed Clinton’s foes to set the terms of the debate. Remember, Clinton’s high-water marks last year were the week of the first debate and Benghazi hearings. The longer she was out of the public eye, the worse her primary numbers became. So I’m genuinely amazed at how DWS has achieved boogeyman status. She’s a joke, and yet people are acting like she’s a kingmaker. She’s too pathetic to be that! A reminder: No president, no matter how revolutionary, can single-handedly kill Citizens United. But you know who can? A new liberal replacement to Justice Scalia. Donald Trump doesn’t give us that. Even if you assume the worst nonsense about Hillary Clinton, she does give us that. Regardless what side of the primary lines you’re in, If you aren’t fighting for a Democratic victory this November, then fuck you go away. This isn’t your place.
Finally, I know the spacing between bullet points is funky. It’s on the to-do list of things to fix.
Open thread for night owls—Scientists: estimates of how much carbon we can release are too generous
Tim Radford at Climate News Network writes—Carbon budget is only half as big as thought:
Climate scientists have bad news for governments, energy companies, motorists, passengers and citizens everywhere in the world: to contain global warming to the limits agreed by 195 nations in Paris last December, they will have to cut fossil fuel combustion at an even faster rate than anybody had predicted.
Joeri Rogelj, research scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria and European and Canadian colleagues propose in Nature Climate Change that all previous estimates of the quantities of carbon dioxide that can be released into the atmosphere before the thermometer rises to potentially catastrophic levels are too generous.
Instead of a range of permissible emissions estimates that ranged up to 2,390 billion tons from 2015 onwards, the very most humans could release would be 1,240 billion tons.
In effect, that halves the levels of diesel and petrol available for petrol tanks, coal for power stations and natural gas for central heating and cooking available to humankind before the global average temperature—already 1 C higher than it was at the start of the Industrial Revolution—reaches the notional 2 C mark long agreed internationally as being the point of no return for the planet. [...]
To stop temperatures increasing another 3 C or more and sea levels rising by more than a meter, humans have to reduce fossil fuel emissions. By how much these must be reduced is difficult to calculate.
The global carbon budget is really the balance between what animals emit—in this context, the word animals includes humans with cars and aeroplanes and factories—and what plants and algae can absorb. So the calculations are bedevilled by uncertainties about forests, grasslands and oceans.
HIGH IMPACT STORIES • THIS WEEK IN HIGH IMPACT STORIES
TWEET OF THE DAYx
Donald Trump tried to warn us all he was a racist when he demanded a birth certificate from the first Black President of the United States.— ¡Gabe! Ortíz (@TUSK81) February 28, 2016
BLAST FROM THE PAST
At Daily Kos on this date in 2008—Republicans To Use The Troops For Political Gain:
Once again showing that "supporting the troops" is just a slogan, Senate Republicans unexpectedly agreed to debate Senator Russ Feingold's bill that would require troops to begin withdrawing from Iraq within 120 days and cut funding for further combat deployments. Is it because Republicans have finally decided to listen to more than 60% of the American people?
Or did they finally realize that the ever-increasing cost in blood and treasure is too high a price to pay? Of course not. It's because Republicans:
...want to highlight the security achievements over the past year under President Bush's troop buildup strategy.
That's right; they want to do a little political grandstanding on the backs of the troops that they claim to support.Monday through Friday you can catch the Kagro in the Morning Show 9 AM ET by dropping in here, or you can download the Stitcher app (found in the app stores or at Stitcher.com), and find a live stream there, by searching for "Netroots Radio.
No amount of hard work is going to pull people up if they don’t get paid for working hard
One of the things corporate special interest group marketing takes advantage of is differences between the generations and their understanding of the economy.
You’ve seen the memes. The most famous example was Mitt Romney characterizing 47 percent of Americans as lazy.
Typically, I see posts like this on the Internet:A Baby Boomer friend of mine explaining how hard he’s worked.
Implicit in my friend’s post is the idea that anyone can pull themselves up if they just work hard.
The problem is that things today are very different. There are no more paper boys. Or pensions. Hell, newspapers may not even be around much longer.
What my Baby Boomer friend experienced was very different than today’s reality. Because of these life experiences, it’s often difficult for Baby Boomers to understand just how different today’s economy is from the economy of the 1950s and 1960s.
How can you help people like this (especially in your own family) understand the realities of today’s economy?
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