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Live-blogging: Is Bernie Sanders about to win first-to-weigh-in Iowa?

Updated below (on Tuesday, February 2, 2016)

The Democratic winner of the Iowa caucuses appears to be … a tie (as I type this sentence at 9:30 p.m. Pacific Time).

8:43 p.m.: It’s 8:43 p.m. Pacific Time as I type this sentence, and as I type this sentence, Politico has Billary Clinton at 49.8 percent and Bernie Sanders at 49.6 percent in the Iowa caucuses, a whopping difference of 0.2 percent… This is with 93.8 percent of the reporting in.

Apparently Billary is walking away with more delegates than Bernie, but if Bernie wins the percentage war, he’ll be declared and known as the winner of Iowa, I do believe…

8:47 p.m.: Politico now has Billary at 49.9 percent and Bernie at 49.6 percent, with 93.9 percent reporting.

Martin O’Malley already has dropped out of the race; he stands at 0.5 percent in Iowa right now.

8:51 p.m.: We’re back to 49.8 percent Billary to 49.6 percent Bernie…

8:53 p.m.: Back to 49.9 percent Billary to 49.6 percent Bernie, with 94.1 percent reporting. I truly have no idea which one is going to win, but whoever wins, apparently it’s going to turn out to be almost exactly 50-50, so the bragging rights will be quite minimal, it seems to me (except that, again, Billary very apparently will get more delegates from Iowa than will Bernie).

9:00 p.m.: Ugh. This is painful. Still at 49.9 percent to 49.6 percent, with 94.3 percent reporting.

On the Repugnican Tea Party side, Ted Cruz has been declared the winner of Iowa (with about 28 percent), with Donald Trump and Marco Rubio in at second and third place (with about 24 percent and 23 percent, respectively). Cruz is a scary individual, but I recall that in 2012 Iowans picked as their No. 1 Prick Santorum, so I’m not overly spooked over Cruz yet.

That said, as I’ve noted before, Marco Rubio is the one the Dems should fear. I can’t see either Trump or Cruz winning the White House, but I can see Rubio winning it. He’s evil and insane like Cruz and Trump, but he conceals it much better than they do.

9:09 p.m.: With 95.1 percent reporting, we remain at Billary at 49.9 percent to Bernie at 49.6 percent… Again, round those up and that’s 50-50, so I see no real bragging rights for either candidate, except that, again, apparently Billary is getting at least 28 delegates from Iowa and Bernie is getting 21 of them. (I have to plead ignorance as to how the number of awarded delegates is determined. It very apparently isn’t strictly tied to the percentages, or it wouldn’t be a difference of seven delegates [thus far].)

9:19 p.m.: This is surreal. With 95.4 percent reporting, we’re back to Billary at 49.8 percent and Bernie at 49.6 percent… The way this has been trending, I expect Billary to beat Bernie by no more than 0.3 percent, if she beats him, and he still might win, it seems to me, or they’d have called it already, and they haven’t. Of course, if Bernie does win, I doubt that it will be by more than around 0.3 percent. Again: surreal.

9:30 p.m.: I just found a graphic to go with this and popped it up at top. With 95.8 percent reporting, we’re back at Billary at 49.9 percent and Bernie at 49.6 percent…

9:40 p.m.: We remain stuck at Billary 49.9 percent to Bernie 49.6 percent, with 96.5 percent reporting. I don’t expect the final difference between the two to exceed 0.5 percent.

Yet again: No bragging rights here, except that, of course, it says something about Bernie that he at least tied Queen Billary, whom conventional “wisdom” coronated a long time ago.

I mean, this is her second time around in Iowa, and the best that she could do, apparently, is a tie

And her opponent calls himself a (democratic) socialist; he hasn’t waited for the traitors on the right to slap that label on him as a pejorative. And he hasn’t been running for president (at least) since 2000, like Billary has.

9:55 p.m.: With 97.1 percent of the vote in, we’re still at 49.9 percent Billary to 49.6 percent Bernie. I don’t see Billary hitting even 50.0 percent, although she might, and it seems to me that psychologically, there is something about hitting 50.0 percent that helps a candidate, whereas 49.9 percent is seen as a bigger loss than it actually is. (This is why shit costs, say, $4.90 or $4.99 instead of $5.00…)

In any event, I’m off to bed now. Again, the final results are going to be so close that if Bernie or Billary is declared the “winner” of Iowa, it won’t mean much, as it will have been by a fraction of 1 percent, probably by no more than 0.3 percent.

I’ll update this tomorrow if necessary.

Update (Tuesday, February 2, 2016): This is sooooo typical of Billary. CNN reports:

Hillary Clinton declared victory early Tuesday morning in a razor-thin contest against Bernie Sanders in Iowa. But Democratic party officials have not yet declared a winner.

“Hillary Clinton has won the Iowa Caucus,” the Clinton campaign said. “After thorough reporting — and analysis — of results, there is no uncertainty and Secretary Clinton has clearly won the most national and state delegates.”

The state party indicated in a separate statement that it was not ready to make a call.

“The results tonight are the closest in Iowa Democratic caucus history,” Iowa party chairman Andy McGuire said. “We will report that final precinct when we have confirmed those results with the chair.”

One thing is clear after Monday night’s Iowa caucuses: there’s a long, volatile election season ahead before two deeply fractured parties can unite behind a nominee. …

Again, according to my very limited knowledge as to how Iowa awards delegates, Billary won more delegates in Iowa, but with 99.9 percent reporting, per Politico, she is at 49.9 percent to Bernie’s 49.6 percent.

So for Team Billary to claim that she’s clearly the people’s choice, at least in Iowa, is quite bullshit, given the imperfections of the Iowa caucus system (gotta love that line “there is no uncertainty”; if you have to claim that, it means that there is some uncertainty), and to brag about a lead of 0.3 percent demonstrates how desperate you are. I mean, Billary came in at third place in Iowa in 2008, so of course she’d love to claim a No. 1 win today, even if we’re talking a whopping difference of 0.3 percent.

Bernie will go on to win New Hampshire on February 9. (His lead there approaches 20 percent; see here and here.) Only if Billary clearly had won Iowa would she have been able to improve her outcome in New Hampshire.

We’ll see how Nevadans vote on February 20 (Nevada is the third state to weigh in). If Bernie wins Nevada, then yes, we will be in for a bit of a wrangle, methinks.

In the meantime, the degree to which Billary and the Billarybots spin her embarrassing tie in Iowa as a win demonstrates their desperation (as well as their character). Billary, with all of her corporate cash and her establishmentarian support, should have done much better in Iowa than she did against a rumpled, 74-year-old (democratic) socialist who only relatively recently obtained a comb. That it was a tie reveals, as 2008 did, what a weak candidate Billary Clinton is, that those of us who are left of center just aren’t at all that into her.

P.S. Speaking of the psychological significance of hitting at least 50.0 percent, if you add Bernie’s 49.6 percent and Martin O’Malley’s 0.6 percent, you get 50.2 percent of the vote in Iowa last night that was not for Billary. Just sayin’.

P.P.S. To (try to) clarify, the percentages to which I have referred above (i.e., 49.9 percent for Billary, 49.6 percent for Bernie and 0.6 percent for O’Malley) are percentages of “state delegate equivalents” earned in Iowa, not percentages of individuals’ votes.

Again, I don’t claim to be an expert in the fairly complicated ins and outs of the Iowa caucuses’ process.

Slate.com’s Josh Vorhees does a pretty good job of briefly explaining the process here.

Vorhees concludes that “There is a strong case to be made that more Iowans showed up to caucus for Sanders [last] night than did for Clinton,” but notes that “the Sanders campaign says that it doesn’t foresee contesting the final results.”

P.P.P.S.: The Associated Press explains further that in Iowa Billary Clinton garnered 23 delegates and Bernie Sanders garnered 21.

The AP notes that 2,382 delegates must be won in order to secure the party’s presidential nomination, and that thus far Billary has 385 so-called “superdelegates” on her side to Bernie’s 29. (“Superdelegates” may switch from Billary to Bernie, and many of them probably will if he racks up a lot of wins in the coming states’ primaries and caucuses.)

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Martin O’Malley’s supporters might help Bernie in tight race in Iowa

Democratic presidential candidate, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley leads attendees in a song after holding a town hall at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Associated Press photo

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley sings during an appearance in Grinnell, Iowa, last week. O’Malley is polling around 4 percent in Iowa, and his supporters switching their allegiance to Bernie Sanders or to Billary Clinton during tomorrow night’s caucuses could make a difference in the tight race there between Bernie and Billary. 

I was thinking about this last week, when I read that under the Iowa caucus rules, if a Democratic presidential candidate does not have the support of at least 15 percent of the attendees of the caucusing site, then his or her supporters are to then pick another, stronger candidate.

Wouldn’t this help Bernie Sanders? Wouldn’t most of Martin O’Malley’s supporters switch their allegiance to Bernie? I thought, but until today I hadn’t seen this discussed in any news article; until today, I’d seen only the Iowa polls discussed.

This is from Yahoo! News today:

Des Moines, Iowa — [Tomorrow] night, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s tiny band of supporters will be the center of attention in Iowa precincts across the state.

O’Malley had only 3 percent support in the final Des Moines Register-Bloomberg Politics poll, but because of the Byzantine rules of the Democratic caucusing process, his supporters could end up deciding the incredibly close race between Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders.

In each of the state’s 1,681 caucusing locations, a candidate must get 15 percent of voters to be considered viable during an initial count that’s taken at the beginning of the evening. O’Malley isn’t expected to reach that threshold in the vast majority of precincts, which means his supporters will be up for grabs — they must either choose another candidate, or their vote will not count.

Wooing voters who back candidates that fail to meet the threshold has made a big difference in elections in the state in the past: John Edwards finished a surprise second in 2004 thanks in part to Dennis Kucinich’s supporters defecting to him. And Bill Richardson’s backers joined Barack Obama’s camp in 2008.

The Clinton campaign is arming its precinct captains with special software to help them figure out how to keep O’Malley supporters from defecting to Sanders’ camp, BuzzFeed News reported [yesterday]. Meanwhile, Sanders’ precinct captains are being told to beef up on their O’Malley knowledge so they can entice his fans over to their side and to offer them delegates for the county convention as inducement.

… Mitch Henry, a Democratic activist who was leading a small training for Sanders precinct captains Saturday afternoon in a coffee shop in Des Moines … [said] that he believes most [of] O’Malley supporters’ second choice is Sanders.

“Talking to a lot of O’Malley supporters, there are a lot of ways Bernie lines up on the issues. A lot of them will say the environment [is their top concern], and Bernie is clearly superior to Hillary on the environment,” said Bri Steirer, a precinct captain for the Drake University area.

But the Sanders plan to convince O’Malley fans with delegates and issues may not be able to compete with Clinton’s scheme.

The Clinton campaign has trained its precinct captains to use software that calculates when it benefits Clinton to give O’Malley supporters a few of their votes in order to block them from defecting to Sanders. That means Clinton supporters would help O’Malley become a viable candidate in precincts where she would still carry the day.

A Sanders precinct captain, Darlene Lawler, asked Henry about whether Bernie supporters should be trying to do the same thing — helping O’Malley become viable in cases where it would help Bernie.

“I would not give them three or four people to be viable because you just don’t know what could happen,” Henry said, adding that the “math” can get complicated as the night goes on, and it’s easy to make a mistake.

Clinton’s campaign has an app that will help caucus leaders calculate the risks, however, which means they don’t have to worry about mistakes.

So Team Billary has to resort to dirty tricks? To lie in order to help Billary? (Yes, having Billary supporters pretend to be O’Malley supporters in order to boost Billary and block Bernie is lying.) What a shock!

At any rate, the rules of Iowa caucuses indeed apparently are complicated (and apparently can be subverted too easily by those of low character), and having never participated in a caucus I’m largely ignorant of the process, but, barring dirty tricks by Team Billary, which very apparently at least widely will be attempted, I hope that in the end we can rely on the basic math of the Iowa polling.

Right now, Real Clear Politics’ average of Iowa polling has Billary Clinton at 47.3 percent, Bernie at 44 percent and O’Malley at 4.4 percent. (The Huffington Post’s average of Iowa polling is quite close: 47.4 percent for Billary, 44.1 percent for Bernie and 4 percent for O’Malley.)

Not only is Bernie within most or all polls’ margin of error, being only 3.3 percent behind Billary, but if Bernie can win over most of O’Malley’s supporters, that could help him beat Billary. In fact, it seems to me that it just might come down to O’Malley’s supporters winning Iowa for Bernie by the majority of them switching their allegiance to him.

I’ve seen no poll of O’Malley supporters as to whether Bernie or Billary would be their second choice, but given the fact that O’Malley’s most useful function in the four Democratic Party presidential debates thus far has been to point out how craven Billary Clinton is, I can’t imagine that it would be natural for the majority of his supporters to now support her.

I mean, Billary has been around for decades; if you haven’t supported her by now, are you going to magically support her tomorrow night in Iowa? Not without a lot of arm-twisting by Team Billary, right?

On that note, I expect Team Billary to engage in plenty of arm-twisting and other dirty tactics tomorrow night, but playing dirty often backfires and has an effect that is opposite of the effect desired. (Look at Billary’s 2008 bid for the White House, for example; that’s a textbook example of that phenomenon.)

In any event, Bernie Sanders’ having polled as well as he has been polling in Iowa for a candidate who couldn’t possibly stop the coronation of Queen Billary is quite impressive. Bernie and Billary are neck and neck in Iowa when she has been on the national stage for decades and is in her second run for the White House but he has been obscure for most of his years in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

This demonstrates, I believe, what a weak primary contender Billary is. Again, I know of no one, not one person, who actually is excited by or enthusiastic about Billary.

We’ll see how far this lack of excitement and enthusiasm for her can carry her.

If Bernie wins Iowa tomorrow night, then he no doubt will then win New Hampshire on February 9.

Billary will then play the victim and cry in public again, perhaps even two or three times, and/or she’ll lash out and dash to the right, as she did in 2008, only sealing her fate.

Unfortunately, I pretty much agree with Nate Silver’s assessment of how important winning Iowa is for Bernie. Silver writes that if Bernie loses Iowa (links are Silver’s):

It’s probably over [for him]. Not that I’d expect Sanders to drop out of the race. Nor would I expect the media to stop covering it. Depending on Clinton’s margin of victory, you’d probably see some headlines about her resilience, but others saying the results had “raised doubts” about her campaign.

None of that would necessarily matter. Iowa should be one of the half-dozen or so most favorable states in the country for Sanders; New Hampshire is one of the few that ranks even higher for him.

If Sanders can’t win Iowa, he probably won’t be winning other relatively favorable states like Wisconsin, much less more challenging ones like Ohio and Florida. His ceiling wouldn’t be high enough to win the nomination unless something major changes [such as a federal indictment of Clinton].

On that note, there are many unknowns in terms of how Iowa will turn out, such as how O’Malley’s supporters will break and whether or not there will be any effect from the news that broke on Friday that at least 22 top-secret e-mails were found on Billary’s home-brewed (as in in-her-house) e-mail server.

Will this Friday news be mostly lost in the shuffle? Or will it spook enough Iowa caucus-goers, making them believe or suspect that Billary is too risky to put forth as the party’s presidential candidate? As Silver raises the specter, as I have, what if Billary wins the presidential nomination but then is indicted? What then?

And the Friday news has come too late for its effect, if any, to be reflected in the Iowa polling, it seems to me. Indeed, the final Des Moines Register/Bloomberg poll, widely called the most respected Iowa poll, came out last night, too soon to be able to measure the full effect (if any) of Friday’s news on tomorrow’s caucuses, it very much seems to me.

So we’ll see…

In any event, I count Bernie Sanders’ candidacy a win, whether or not he wins the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.

His level of support — 37.2 percent nationwide per Real Clear Politics and 35.8 percent nationwide per Huffington Post — coupled with O’Malley’s admittedly small support (around 2 percent nationally) demonstrates that more than a third and almost 40 percent of Democrats and Democratic leaners nationwide aren’t on board with Billary.

If she actually makes it to the White House, Billary wouldn’t have nearly the political support behind her that Barack Obama did when he first sat in the Oval Office in January 2009.

Bernie, on the other hand, win or lose, had the courage and the industriousness with which to take on Billary Clinton, something that no one else of his caliber dared to do. (My best guess is that Elizabeth Warren didn’t run primarily because she didn’t want to step on Queen Billary’s regal cape, didn’t want to be seen as a spoiler within the party. [She might also have calculated, of course, that she couldn’t win the nomination.])

If Bernie Sanders doesn’t make it to the White House — if he fails at the level of the Democratic Party presidential primary race or if he wins that race but doesn’t become president in November — he will, I surmise, be the left’s Barry Goldwater; recall that Goldwater lost the 1964 presidential election badly, but that his right-wing politics ushered in Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and both George Bushes.

Bernie Sanders himself might not get us to the promised land, but at the very least he has set us upon its path.*

*I would be thrilled if Elizabeth Warren were our first female president, whether she were preceded by a President Sanders or not. (If Bernie wins the 2016 nomination, I hope that he and Warren strongly consider her as the vice-presidential candidate.)

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Live-blogging the fourth Dem debate

FILE - In this Oct. 13, 2015, file photo, Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, right, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speak during the Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas. Taunted by Republicans to declare war on “radical Islamic terrorism,” Democrats are turning to an unlikely ally: George W. Bush. President Barack Obama, under pressure to be more aggressive on terrorism, regularly cites his predecessor’s refusal to demonize Muslims or play into the notion of a clash between Islam and the West. As Clinton put it, “George W. Bush was right.” And, Sanders visited a mosque this month in a show of solidarity that evoked Bush’s visit to a Muslim center just days after 9/11. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Associated Press photo

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and former U.S. Secretary of State Billary Clinton spar during the first Democratic Party presidential debate in October. Polls right now have Billary with only a 4-point lead over Bernie in Iowa, which caucuses on February 1, and Bernie with a 6-point lead over Billary in New Hampshire, whose presidential primary election is on February 9.

The fourth Democratic Party presidential debate of this cycle is scheduled for tonight at 6 p.m. Eastern Time, via NBC. The debate takes place in South Carolina, which is friendly ground for Billary, who is big in the South, since she isn’t a progressive but is a Repugnican Lite.

I’ll be live-blogging tonight’s debate, using California (Pacific) time (we’re three hours ahead of Eastern Time).

This is the final Dem debate before the Iowa caucuses on February 1, which are 15 days from today.

Right now, Real Clear Politics’ average of polls has Billary Clinton’s national lead at 12.7 percent over Bernie Sanders’, and the Huffington Post’s average of polls has Billary up by 16 percent nationally.

However, the nation won’t vote on one day, but states will vote over the course of several weeks; and the earlier states’ results will affect the subsequent states’ results in a domino effect.

On that note, RCP’s average of Iowa polling right now has Billary at only 4 percent ahead of Bernie. Ditto for HuffPo. Team Billary must be panicking, and I’m expecting Billary to act desperately tonight, because she has to be desperate, and when she’s desperate, as she was against Barack Obama in 2008, she incredibly stupidly attacks her primary opponent from the right, apparently not understanding the Democratic Party primary voter (and caucus-goer).

Also, as Rachel Maddow recently put it when she had Billary on her show, Team Billary as of late has been attacking Bernie, who “doesn’t have an enemy in the world in the Democratic Party.” (Kudos to Maddow for not kowtowing to and cowering before Billary’s Being A Woman!; every legitimate criticism of Billary that a male dares to utter immediately is branded by the Billarybots as “sexism” or “misogyny” or “mansplaining” or the like.)

Recent polls (which I’ll define as reputable nationwide polls taken within the past month) unanimously show that Billary is disliked by more people than she is liked, whereas the opposite is true for Bernie, so yeah, a candidate whose favorability already is upside down attacking his or her opponent whose favorability already is right-side up probably is making a mistake.

But I digress. (That said, I hope that Billary is a raging harpy tonight; it will only harm her further.)

In New Hampshire, RCP right now has Bernie beating Billary by 6.2 percent, and HuffPo has Bernie beating her by 6 percent, so I’d be surprised if Bernie doesn’t win New Hampshire, regardless of the outcome of Iowa.

Again, I rather doubt that Billary could survive losing both Iowa and New Hampshire to Bernie.

If Bernie accomplishes that, we will see a nationwide phenomenon in which weak Billary supporters (and there are, I surmise, millions of them) seriously and significantly will reevaluate their choice of Democratic Party presidential candidate.

And, again, if Bernie wins both of the first two states, Billary no doubt will act in ways which will only make even more people dislike her. (Seriously, she’ll act much like Ellie Driver does when she loses her remaining eyeball. That isn’t attractive.)

5:45 p.m. (again, I’m using Pacific Time): The debate is scheduled to begin in 15 minutes.

5:56 p.m.: The talking heads of NBC (including Chuck Todd, whom I’ve never liked) are blathering about Bernie Sanders’ “electability” (specifically, his supposed lack thereof) even though the polls have shown for some time now that Bernie does better overall against the top three Repugnican Tea Party presidential wannabes (Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio) in hypothetical match-up polls than does Billary Clinton.

Facts won’t topple the corporately owned and controlled media’s conventional “wisdom.” (And shockingly, the corporately owned and controlled media wouldn’t want a president who calls himself a “democratic socialist.”)

6:02 p.m.: The candidates are on stage now. Billary already has had some water. She must be nervous

6:04 p.m.: The opening statements are largely an obligatory tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. (due to tomorrow being MLK Day and due to the setting of the debate; I prefer spontaneously heartfelt statements to politically obligatory ones…). Bernie kind of went too quickly from MLK to his standard stump speech yet once again. (At least he’s consistent.) The maudlin Martin O’Malley reminds us of the massacre that happened in Charleston in June.

6:07 p.m.: Bernie gives “healthcare for every man, woman and child as a human right,” a $15 minimum wage, and fixing our crumbling infrastructure as the top three priorities of his White House administration were he to be elected.

Billary says she’d make pay parity between men and women one of her top three priorities, as well as renewable energy and infrastructure improvement, and says she’d improve/build on “Obamacare,” but doesn’t go nearly as far as does Sanders on that issue.

O’Malley lists strengthening labor unions among his three top priorities. I like to hear that, but he won’t win. He’s still mired in low single digits.

6:11 p.m.: Bernie reminds us that the National Rifle Association has given him a rating of “D-” for his support of its priorities, and he basically (correctly) calls Billary a liar for claiming otherwise.

6:13 p.m.: Billary retorts that Bernie has voted in favor of the NRA many times. Whether that’s true or not, as this is an awfully new-found “concern” of human weather vane on crack Billary’s, I can’t see it as anything more than politics. People have died from guns so that Billary could use their deaths to try to win the White House. Craven.

Martin O’Malley says both Bernie and Billary have been “inconsistent” on gun legislation.

Gun control is low on my list of priorities. It’s not unimportant, but we have bigger fish to fry, and I see its being raised as a big issue as an attempt by the Democratic establishment and the Billary campaign (which are the same thing, pretty much) to crowd out the more important topic of income inequality, which kills far more people than do guns (just less dramatically).

6:16 p.m.: Now the topic is white cops killing black males. The moderator brought up Walter Scott, who was shot in the back by a white cop in South Carolina as he was fleeing the cop.

Billary says one out of three black men end up incarcerated, and asks us to consider how we’d feel if one out of three white men ended up behind bars.

Bernie echoes this, stating that we disproportionately have black and Latino men behind bars, and that only China has more individuals incarcerated than does the United States.

6:19 p.m.: The moderator (Lester Holt) asks Bernie how he can win when Billary has minority support that bests him by two to one. Bernie says that when the members of the black community become more familiar with him, just as with the general population, his support among them will increase. (I concur, although I acknowledge that there are some who aren’t smart enough to vote in their own best interests, and so they’ll buy Billary’s bullshit that she’d be better for minorities than would Bernie. Never mind her husband’s “welfare reform,” NAFTA, “criminal justice” “reform,” etc., all of which have harmed minorities and which she would continue as president.)

6:23 p.m.: Bernie says that the death of anyone in police custody automatically should be investigated by the federal government. I concur. He also calls for the demilitarization of our police forces and says that the composition of our law-enforcement agencies must reflect the composition of the communities that they serve. Yup.

6:25 p.m.: Discussion on opioid overdoses and the “war on drugs” now. Bernie adds that the pharmaceutical industry shares responsibility for widespread addiction to opioids and adds that we need to improve mental health care services.

6:31 p.m.: Billary says she is committed to universal health care. She calls Obamacare a “path to universal health care.” She again says we need to “defend,” “improve” and “build on” “Obamacare.”

6:32 p.m.: Bernie again asserts that health care is a right to every human being. Twenty-nine million Americans still have no health insurance, he says, adding that the United States pays more per person for health care than does any other nation. (Yeah, that would be because of the profiteering that we see in wealth care — er, health care — here in the United States.)

6:34 p.m.: Billary again defends “Obamacare” and accuses Bernie of recently changing his plan for health care for all. “To tear it up and start over again” is “the wrong direction,” Billary proclaims of “Obamacare.” This is getting heated.

Bernie adds that not only are 29 million Americans not insured, but that many are under-insured and can’t afford their co-pays. Yup. Bernie says he has no plan to “tear up” “Obamacare.”

6:36 p.m.: Billary keeps repeating that Bernie wants us to start all over again on health care, and that we can’t do that. Sure, we can. How inspiring is Billary’s mantra, however, that we can’t. Bernie says we need to have “the guts to stand up” to the private health-care insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry. Yup.

6:39 p.m.: Billary keeps saying we have to beef up “Obamacare.” She rejects Bernie’s plan for “Medicare for all,” saying that we couldn’t achieve that under Barack Obama, so we can’t achieve it now. Bullshit.

6:41 p.m.: Bernie says that the Democrats and Repugnicans can’t get along in Congress is a red herring for the fact that Big Money prevents most of the members of Congress from voting in the people’s best interests. Yup.

6:44 p.m.: The maudlin O’Malley is parroting the canard that we all really can hold hands and sing “Kumbaya.” We can’t. We shouldn’t. And we won’t. There are irreconcilable differences between the right and the left. There is no middle ground, for instance, on such issues as same-sex marriage (which is a constitutional right) and women’s constitutional right to control their own reproductive organs. And a “middle ground” on such a universal issue as climate change, which needs action, not even more foot-dragging in the name of “moderation,” will result in misery and death for millions if not billions of human beings around the globe (as well as the continued extinction of species and irreversible adverse planetary changes).

6:47 p.m.: When asked why Bernie has the support of young people by two to one over her, Billary stated that she’ll do her best to appeal to Bernie’s supporters. I’m one of Bernie’s many, many supporters who won’t cast a vote for or give a penny to Billary, no matter what — and that’s because while Obama said “Yes, we can,” she says “No, we can’t.” (She apparently says this for the benefit of her huge campaign contributors.) And, of course, I cannot and will not support her because she’s no progressive. She’s a pro-corporate, pro-plutocratic, centrist sellout.

6:48 p.m.: On break now. Twice O’Malley has tried to break in, but moderator Lester Holt won’t let him. Hee hee. I still wish that O’Malley would drop out already, but I don’t expect him to; he needs a job, apparently, and he apparently still is angling for veep.

6:52 p.m.: The topic is Wall Street and the big banks now. Bernie reminds us that he doesn’t take money from the big banks and doesn’t take speaking fees from Goldman Sachs. Bernie says we have to “break up these huge financial institutions” and bring back the Glass-Steagall Act.

6:53 p.m.: Billary now says that Bernie Sanders’ criticism of her having taken money from Wall Street actually impugns Barack Obama, since Obama also has taken money from Wall Street. (The “argument” there, I suppose, is that if someone else has committed the same wrong that you did, then you did not commit a wrong after all.) This is more bullshit Clintonian triangulation. This is classic Billary.

6:55 p.m.: Billary continues her line that Bernie has attacked Obama. Billary is so unpopular herself that she must try to damage Bernie by alleging that Bernie has attacked the much more popular Barack Obama. Pathetic.

6:57 p.m.: O’Malley says that Billary’s proclamation that she’d be tough on Wall Street is “not true.” He says that like Bernie and unlike Billary, he supports the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall, and he totally calls her out on trying to use Barack Obama as a human political shield, just like how in a previous debate she actually tried to use 9/11 as her justification for her coziness with the Wall Street weasels. Wonderful.

7:00 p.m.: Billary tries to deflect from her Wall-Street-boosting corruption yet once again, stating that we should look at the Repugnicans and how they are supporting the Wall Street weasels. Jesus fuck, this woman’s character is abysmal.

7:02 p.m.: Bernie says he has documented how we would pay for his ambitious agenda, including making Wall Street pay its fair share. Billary vows that as president she would not raise taxes on the middle class and also says that she has detailed how she would pay for all of her proposals.

7:04 p.m.: Bernie says that Billary’s criticism of his “Medicare-for-all, single-payer program” is a “Republican” criticism. Well, yeah, she’s a Repugnican (Lite)… Bernie says his health care plan would give Americans a significant net savings by lowering their cost for private health care. Yup. You can pay more in taxes for health care and pay much less (or even zero) for private health care and end up ahead. It’s called math.

7:08 p.m.: Climate change now. Bernie says climate change is settled. Agreed. It’s called science. For future generations we must switch from fossil fuels to sustainable energy, Bernie says.

O’Malley says we can achieve sustainable energy by 2050. Billary attempted to chime in on this important issue but just got cut off… Break now.

I’m still torn on O’Malley’s continued presence at these debates. It’s great when he calls Billary out, such as for her latest pathetic kick of trying to triangulate among her, Bernie and Obama, since she apparently feels that she has to piggyback on Obama’s popularity, but O’Malley doesn’t poll at even 3 percent nationally.

7:17 p.m.: Iran now. Bernie calls for “normalized relations with Iran.” He states that the agreement that prevents Iran from getting a nuclear weapon is a good one, and that we need to move in the direction of better relations with Iran.

Billary says we have to continue to watch Iran, that we have to watch Iran for a longer period of time before we can normalize relations with Iran.

Now Syria. Billary says she opposes American ground forces in Syria. She says she supports supporting existing militaries in the Middle East in combating the problems in Syria and in combating ISIS.

Bernie says he opposes “perpetual warfare” in the Middle East. “As president I would do everything in my power to avoid” such a(n increased) quagmire, he says.

O’Malley says, as Bernie has said, that overall he supports Obama’s current strategy in the Middle East. And he had to get maudlin again, saying that we never should refer to a soldier as “boots on the ground.” Seriously, who advises Martin the Maudlin?

7:24 p.m.: Bernie says the wealthy nations in the Middle East, like Qatar, need to do more in the Middle East to oppose ISIS and other terrorists.

7:26 p.m.: Billary is bragging about her foreign-affairs chops (she was, after all, secretary of state, and spent a lot of time advising the more popular Barack Obama in the Situation Room!).

Bernie says our first priority in the Middle East must be to destroy ISIS, and then to focus on Syria’s dictator.

7:29 p.m.: Lester Holt apparently more or less blamed the annexation of Crimea by Russia on Billary’s having been secretary of state. Meh. I don’t want Billary in the Oval Office, but I’ve always viewed Crimea as belonging to Russia, not to Ukraine. Billary has called Vladimir Putin a “bully” whom always must be stood up to.

7:32 p.m.: O’Malley is speaking in favor of privacy rights as guaranteed to us by the Constitution. Yup. O’Malley says the government must obtain a warrant to violate our privacy, and that it doesn’t matter whether it’s a privacy violation from the “front door” (that is, a more old-school privacy violation) or from the “back door,” such as via our increasingly more technologically advanced electronic devices. Yup. Yup. Yup.

Bernie says that our public policy hasn’t caught up with our technology, and I agree. We don’t give up our constitutional rights solely because we do things electronically these days. Fucktards who don’t respect others’ constitutional rights have refused to recognize this, so our laws must be updated to fully protect us from those who would violate our constitutional rights.

Billary is cut off again for the break. It does seem to me that all three candidates should have the opportunity to respond to every question, but the NBC moderators are not allowing this.

7:39 p.m.: Billary is given is a chance to address the question, but doesn’t speak in favor of our privacy rights. Hmm…

7:40 p.m.: O’Malley has attacked Donald Trump’s vilification of Muslim Americans, kind of out of nowhere. One of O’Malley’s debating tactics apparently is to try to link anecdotes to issues, but it comes off as more amateurish than anything else.

7:42 p.m.: Billary is asked how much of a role Bill Clinton would have in her economic agenda. She claims that she is undecided, but says she would use him as a “goodwill emissary” around the nation to boost her economic agenda.

7:43 p.m.: Bernie says a White House stacked with Wall Street weasels won’t accomplish much for the nation’s economy. Yup. Bernie says that his Treasury secretary wouldn’t come from Goldman Sachs. Ouch. And yup.

Bernie was baited into talking about Bill Clinton’s sexual affair with Monica Lewinsky. Bernie called Bill Clinton’s behavior in that “deplorable,” but emphasized that he didn’t want the discussion to be about Bill Clinton’s sexual behavior. Yup. (Billary, unsurprisingly, agrees…)

The corporately owned and controlled media embarrass themselves, the way that they patently pander to the lowest common denominator.

7:50 p.m.: As the debate draws to a close and the candidates are asked if there are any statements they’d like to make that they haven’t yet made, O’Malley remarks that the debate hasn’t tackled such important issues as immigration reform and the treatment of Puerto Rico by the financial weasels. He now launches into his anodyne closing statement.

Billary says she is “outraged by what’s happening in Flint, Michigan.” She points out that the city’s population, disproportionately poor and black, has been drinking contaminated water, whereas rich denizens of a city would not.

Bernie says the Repugnican Tea Party governor of Michigan should resign.

Bernie says that nothing will improve in the United States of America until Citizens United is reversed, super-PACs are abolished, and there is meaningful campaign-finance reform. Yup. Agreed: The hands of the members of Congress are tied by their Big-Money donors.

Another President Clinton would do little to nothing to solve this overarching problem. It would be more of the same: More promises, yet nothing in our lives actually improves.

7:57 p.m.: The debate is over. Like the previous three debates, I don’t see this debate changing a whole lot. That is, if you were a Billarybot before this debate, I’m sure that you’re still a Billarybot, and if you were a Berner before this debate, I’m sure that you’re still a Berner. If I had to declare a winner of this debate, I’d say that it was Bernie, but of course I’ve supported him for months, so take that for what it is.

The NBC commentators are discussing right now how Billary wrapped herself in Obama tonight. Yup. This might come back to haunt her.

Not only was it classic Clintonian triangulation, but Bernie Sanders’ supporters largely if not mostly are those of us who never forgot — and never abandoned — Barack Obama’s ubiquitous but undelivered-upon promises of “hope” and “change.”

We haven’t seen the much-promised change (not enough of it, anyway),  but we haven’t lost all hope; we still believe, after several years of disappointment, that Yes, we can. But here is Billary saying No, we can’t.

I’m not saying that she’s entirely wrong about what is and what is not achievable in D.C., but I do know that if we start off with the motto of No, we can’t, then we probably can’t (or at least we probably won’t).

Which is exactly what Billary Clinton’s Big-Money campaign contributors want us to believe: that no, we can’t. They want us to believe that so that we won’t even try.

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Live-blogging the third Dem debate

Democratic U.S. presidential candidates Sanders and O'Malley resume debating with rival Clinton missing from her podium as she failed to return from a break at the Democratic presidential candidates debate at St. Anselm College in Manchester

Reuters photo

Tonight’s third Democratic Party presidential debate resumed for several seconds without Billary Clinton, who hadn’t returned to her center podium on time after a break. Apparently the Force wasn’t with Billary quite enough… Anyway, tonight’s debate may have boosted the on-fire Bernie Sanders a bit, but probably didn’t change the overall dynamics of the race; Bernie and Billary remain the frontrunners, with apparent veep wannabe Martin O’Malley remaining at a distant third.

5:00 p.m. (Pacific Standard Time): The debate starts any moment now. It’s in Manchester, New Hampshire, and is being hosted by ABC News.

5:02 p.m.: Pre-debate chatter has included George Stephanopoulos claiming that the San Bernardino massacre is at the top of the voters’ minds. Really? Is it? Or is that the corporately owned and controlled media trying to tell us commoners what to be concerned about? I mean, they wouldn’t want us to be concerned about, oh, say, income inequality, would they?

Anyway, since Stephanopoulos worked in the Clinton White House, how impartial can he be?

5:08 p.m.: Prognosticator Nate Silver just gave a too-short cameo. He stated that whoever wins the Iowa caucuses on February 1 can expect about a seven-point bounce in the polls. Yup. That’s why I very much hope that Bernie Sanders wins Iowa. He’s already leading in New Hampshire, so a win in Iowa for Sanders no doubt would lead to a win in New Hampshire (on February 9), which probably would result in the collapse of Billary Clinton’s campaign.

5:14 p.m.: The talking heads are blathering about the Repugnicans’ presidential race. WTF? I don’t watch the Repugnican Tea Party presidential debate coverage, as I won’t waste my time on their hate- and lie-fests, but I highly doubt that during the Repugnican Tea Party presidential debate coverage, the Democrats are discussed.

5:26 p.m.: 5:00 p.m. was widely advertised as the start time of this thing, but apparently 5:30 p.m. is the actual start time…

5:31 p.m.: ABC’s live stream keeps freezing on me, so the times of my comments that you see here might be a bit off… The three candidates are on the stage now. Once again, Bernie Sanders is to the left of Billary Clinton’s left as you look at them. I still love that symbolism.

5:33 p.m.: Billary, who wants to be panderer in chief, speaks first. She mentioned ISIS before she mentioned Americans’ socioeconomic well-being. Typical of her.

5:34 p.m.: Martin O’Malley speaks second. He mentioned ISIS first, too. Creep. Democratic leaders lead the debate; they don’t follow the Repugnican Tea Party’s “lead,” don’t let them set the agenda.

5:36 p.m.: Bernie Sanders speaks now. He mentioned the economy first. That’s called leadership. Bernie also has spoken about climate change. He spoke about ISIS and combatting it and terrorism last, which was in order of our national priorities (well, OK, I’d put climate change first).

5:39 p.m.: Of course “Datagate” has come up. Bernie blames the IT vendor for allowing his campaign staff to have seen Clinton campaign data and states that the one staff member who is known to have looked at Clinton campaign data has been fired. (They just cut away to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whose smug face I would love to wipe off of her head.)

Bernie, although prompted, has apologized to Billary for “Datagate.” She has accepted his apology and states that an independent investigation will be done of “Datagate” (“Datagate” is my word [and The Nation’s], not hers) and that we need to move on. Yes, we do.

(Bernie also has reminded us that during the first debate he “pardoned” [my word, not his] Billary for E-mailgate, and he indicated that he’d like “Datagate” not to consume all of the oxygen in the room, either, as the nation has much larger fish to fry. Yup. Martin O’Malley has concurred.)

5:45 p.m.: Now discussion of ISIS. ISIS is not our greatest issue, so I don’t think that I’m going to play along and regurgitate everything about ISIS here.

5:48 p.m.: O’Malley seems earnest, but he polls in the low single digits. Um, yeah.

Bernie reminds us that he voted against the 2003 Vietraq War, and states that he opposes unilateral American military action. He states that he believes that Muslims in the Middle East should lead the war against ISIS. Yup.

5:50 p.m.: Now gun control. I do agree with Billary on this issue, although it’s a new-found “concern” of hers. Billary states that we need to work with Muslims here in the United States to prevent their “radicalization.” Of course we do. (Of course, we need to work with the “Christo”fascists also to prevent their radicalization, since [9/11 aside] they kill many more Americans than do the “Islamofascists.”)

5:52 p.m.: Bernie reminds us that people do have the constitutional right to own guns. Yup. That said, Bernie says, we need “sensible gun safety regulations.” Yup. We need to strengthen background checks and “eliminate the gun-show loophole,” he says, adding that civilians do not need military-grade weaponry. Yup.

5:54 p.m.: O’Malley is acting like he’s in a Repugnican debate and is refusing to play by the rules of the debate. He’s being allowed to talk over the moderator. He’s being an asshole, acting like a candidate whose polling is trapped in the single digits…

5:56 p.m.: Bernie is adamantly defending himself against O’Malley’s attack. Go, Bernie! We need this in our champion. Bernie reminds us that any change in gun laws needs consensus in Congress. Unfortunately, my live streaming is going in and out now and I’m missing much of this discussion… I apologize for that…

6:01 p.m.: Billary just said that Donald Trump, with his Islamophobic demagoguery, “is becoming ISIS’ best recruiter.” Yup.

Bernie reminds us now that Americans aren’t concerned just about terrorism, but are concerned about their socioeconomic status and their children’s future. Bernie is very animated, talking about how while Donald Trump demagogues that Mexicans and Muslims are our enemy, “the rich get richer.” Yup. And wow. Bernie is on fire!

6:04 p.m.: Moderator Martha Raddatz, whom I’ve always liked (she is firm and stern but fair), just had to check O’Malley, something that the male moderator, whose name I don’t know (he looks like a vapid underwear model who fairly recently became a TV news “talent”) couldn’t do. As I’ve said before, O’Malley seems to be hanging in there only in order to become the vice-presidential candidate.

6:07 p.m.: O’Malley just awkwardly name-dropped the name of an American Muslim friend of his (kind of like saying that you have a black friend or a gay friend) and told a maudlin story about his Muslim American friend’s child asking his father if a President Donald Trump would remove them from their home because they’re Muslim. Jesus fuck, Martin.

6:10 p.m.: The discussion now is on refugees from the Middle East. O’Malley is eager to let us all know that he’s better than his opponents on this issue.

6:11 p.m.: Martha now asks Bernie Sanders why he doesn’t support boots on the ground against ISIS when in the past he has supported boots on the ground against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

The U.S. can’t be the world police, he responds. Bernie says the boots on the ground should be Middle Eastern Muslim boots, not American boots. He slams rich Middle Eastern nations for not doing enough to combat ISIS, but squandering their resources elsewhere, such as on hosting the World Cup. Hell, yeah!

6:15 p.m.: Billary states that ISIS wants American troops back in the Middle East (especially in Iraq in Syria), “Americans soldiers on the ground fighting them,” giving them “a great recruiting opportunity.” Wow. I agree with her on this.

But Martha now follows up, reminding us that the small special operations forces that Billary supports against ISIS in the Middle East could end up like Vietnam, which began with small operations forces there… Billary calls that a “false choice.”

6:18 p.m.: O’Malley is talking. Does it matter? Just keeping it real… Well, OK, he has called ISIS a “genocidal threat,” which is fairly accurate. As I have stated before, I want ISIS vanquished, as I would want any mass-murderous theocrats vanquished, but the U.S. is rotting from within here at home, and we can’t return to the days of the unelected Bush regime in which it was All Terror, All The Time, while things here at home continued to disintegrate.

6:21 p.m.: Bernie reminds us once again that he voted against the Vietraq War in October 2002 while Billary voted for it, and he charges that Billary is too much into “regime change.” He stats that “regime change” too often creates a “political vacuum filled by terrorists,” such as happened in Iraq because of the Vietraq War.

Billary fights back, stating that Bernie voted for regime change in Libya against Moammar Gadhafi.*

6:24 p.m.: The topic now is Libya, on which I’m largely ignorant. Billary now states that she opposes having Iranians in Syria, something I don’t know that Bernie Sanders ever advocated, if that is what she was implying.

“The destruction of ISIS” is our primary concern regarding the Middle East right now, since it was ISIS that struck Paris and apparently inspired the San Bernardino mass murderers, Bernie stated. (Again, there has been zero evidence that there was any actual coordination between ISIS and the San Bernardino mass murderers, so to me the comparison of San Bernardino to Paris is a very, very weak one, usually made by those [treasonous right-wingers, that is] who would love an actual attack on the U.S. by ISIS for political gain, such as how 9/11, which the unelected Bush regime had done precious little to nothing to prevent, was great for the Bush regime to use for political gain. [They were able to use it long enough to at least to “win” “re”-election in November 2004.])

6:27 p.m.: Martin O’Malley just got booed by the audience — quite deservedly so — after stating that he wanted to bring a younger generation’s perspective to the issue of the Middle East. Wow. It was an ageist statement, and perhaps the lowest that he has sunk in these debates thus far.

6:30 p.m.: Whew. Finally, a break.

Thus far I believe that O’Malley has harmed himself by having made an ageist comment and having made an asshole of himself by ignoring the underwear model cum moderator (whose name apparently is David) and talking over him.

I don’t see that either Billary or Bernie can be called the “winner” thus far. That is, if you’re a Clintonista, perhaps even a Billarybot, you’ll say that Billary “won” this debate, and if you are a “Berner,” you’ll say that Bernie “won” it. This pretty much was the same dynamic that we saw in the first two debates.

That said, Bernie has been on fire and has made no flubs or gaffes that I have spotted.

6:37 p.m.: Uh-oh — Billary was late in returning to the stage. They resumed without her. Awkward…

The subject now is the economy. Bernie says that we need “to tell the billionaire class, ‘You cannot have it all.'” He says we need a $15/hour minimum wage, equal pay for women, youth employment, job creation via infrastructure work and tuition-free higher education. Yup.

O’Malley is talking, but he pretty much lost me with his ageist comment. I wish that he would drop out already and stop wasting our time, but I doubt that he will. He really needs a new job, apparently.

6:41 p.m.: Billary states that income inequality is bad for our economy and our democracy. “You’re not going to hear anything about this” from the Repugnican presidential candidates, she stated correctly. She states, among other things, that we need to raise the minimum wage, but she doesn’t tell us that she supports only a $12/hour minimum wage, not a $15/hour minimum wage.

6:43 p.m.: Billary states that the super-wealthy should pay at least 30 percent in taxes. Yup. She talks about helping small businesses, which is a canard frequently used by those of the center-right to support capitalism, even though capitalism stopped being about small businesses decades ago and has been about large to gargantuan corporations for decades now.

6:45 p.m.: Bernie states that while corporate America might love a President Billary, as she just said that they should, as president corporate America will hate him. Go, Bernie! Bernie reminds us that he won’t take campaign contributions from corporations. Greed is destroying our economy and the lives of million of Americans, he just said forcefully. Again, he’s on fire tonight.

6:47 p.m.: O’Malley just stated that the way forward is not through Bernie Sanders’ socialism, “which the rest of the world is moving away from” (let the fact-checkers sort that one out [and O’Malley’s shameless red-baiting is pathetic and is just another symptom of his desperation]) or Billary Clinton’s “crony capitalism.”

Bernie pretty much just ignores the red-bating bullshit and Billary once again tries to deflect, indicating that the Repugnicans are the main enemy. Weak. (She’s used this rather pathetic tactic in the previous debates.)

6:51 p.m.: Bernie reminds us once again that he has no super-PAC and that Billary has taken a lot of money from Wall Street over the years.

6:52 p.m.: The topic now is health care, including “Obamacare” (the Affordable Care Act). While “Obamacare” has made some improvements in our national health care system, such as no longer penalizing those with pre-existing conditions, out-of-pocket expenses and prescription-drug prices need to be reined in, Billary says. “We need to build on it and fix it,” she says (“it” apparently being “Obamacare”).

6:55 p.m.: Bernie calls for single-payer health care and proclaims that health care should be a right. I agree wholeheartedly. He points out that nations that pay much less for health care have better health-care outcomes than does the U.S. He states that under his plan, the average American family would save thousands of dollars a year on health-care costs.

6:58 p.m.: Bernie is asked how tuition-free college would work. He cites new sports facilities and overpaid college and university administrators as part of the problem of overpriced higher education. Bernie says a “speculation tax on Wall Street” would pay for his plan for tuition-free college.

7:00 p.m.: O’Malley touts “an income-based [student-loan] repayment plan.” I support a no-payment repayment plan — that is, student loans need to be eliminated altogether and we need to make higher education a right, just like health care. (We can afford to educate our people; we need only significantly pare down our bloated-beyond-belief military budget, which exists far more for fat government contracts for greedy traitors than it does for the actual defense of the nation.)

7:02 p.m.: Billary correctly states that the states have defunded their colleges and universities over the past decades and put the money elsewhere, such as prisons (and tax breaks for the wealthy, of course, I would add).

Billary does not support free tuition, however, she states. As I’ve said before, Billary wants a Band-Aid where an emergency surgery is required. She doesn’t go nearly far enough, which is part of her long history of progressive rhetoric but center-right action that preserves the status quo so that she doesn’t step on any toes so that the campaign cash keeps flowing to her coffers.

Billary Clinton and her fellow hypocritical baby boomers should want today’s college students to have it as well as they did when they were of college age, when the “greatest generation” gladly paid for their college education and did not saddle them with crippling student-loan debt.

7:08 p.m.: It just got a little feisty there between Bernie and Billary, but not rancorous, which is to the Democratic Party’s credit, I believe. I’m having live-streaming issues again, so I hope that I’m not missing anything right now…

7:10 p.m.: I guess we’re on break now. Harry Enten and Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com are being interviewed now. I like both of the nerds and read them regularly. Silver says Billary’s lead in Iowa “is not that large.” He says Billary still “has vulnerability in Iowa.” He says that Bernie can win both Iowa and New Hampshire. Wow.

I’m now having live-streaming issues yet once again… I missed what this Clair (spelling?) pundit had to say…

7:15 p.m.: We’re back to the debate. Now the topic is relations between law enforcement officers and civilians. O’Malley indicates that as mayor of Baltimore he inherited a deeply troubled city but that as mayor of the city and then as governor of Maryland he brought down crime and incarceration rates.

Bernie points out that we have 2.2 million, predominantly black and Latino, Americans behind bars. We need to end institutionalized racism and reform the criminal justice system, he says, adding that our law-enforcement officers need to stop shooting unarmed, predominantly black, Americans, and that the “war on drugs” needs to end. Police departments should look like the communities they serve and minimum sentencing must stop. We need more jobs and less incarceration, he said.

Bernie handled that question remarkably better than did Billary, whose repsonse was unremarkable and unmemorable, or O’Malley.

7:22 p.m.: Now the topic is drugs (primarily heroin and other opiates, apparently). Bernie says that addiction is a medical issue, not a criminal issue. Yup. He says part of a health-care overhaul must be fast and effective drug-addiction treatment. Yup.

Billary has “a five-point plan” to combat opiate abuse, she says. She advocates for greater availability of the drug Naloxone, which prevents opiate overdose deaths.

O’Malley is name-dropping again; apparently he has known people addicted to opiates. (When you’re unemployed, I guess, you have the opportunity to meet a lot of people…) He advocates for a $12 billion federal program to combat opiate addiction.

7:26 p.m.: Martha Raddatz brings the discussion back to Libya. “How much responsibility do you bear for the chaos that followed elections” in Libya, Martha just asked Billary. Wow.

Billary doesn’t really answer, but claims that things in Libya are getting better now, adding, “this is not easy work.”

That wasn’t good enough for Martha, who never lets you off easily. She repeats the question almost verbatim.

Billary claims that Libyans were not responsive to offers from help after Gadhafi was overthrown. So I guess she blames the Libyans.

“Were mistakes made?” Martha, probably exasperated, asks.

Billary still won’t actually answer the question.

7:30 p.m.: Bernie reminds us that regime change often doesn’t work. Overthrowing a dictator is relatively easy; it’s hard to predict what will happen after regime change, he said.

7:32 p.m.: O’Malley seems to share Bernie’s distaste for regime change. Before that, Billary made an odd remark that we need to both be able to support “strong men” in the Middle East and promote democracy. Whut?

7:34 p.m.: I guess this is the last question, and it’s a dumb one; apparently the question is whether or not it’s time to change the role of a president’s spouse, and it seems directed mainly at Bill Clinton, who would be the nation’s first first gentlemen should (shudder) Billary win the White House.

Bernie now is talking of his own wife, adding that she was a foster parent before he married her, and that as first lady of the U.S. she would be a “forceful advocate” for our youth.

O’Malley states that as first lady of Maryland, his wife was an advocate against domestic violence, but that as first lady of the nation she would do or not do whatever she pleased, that it would be up to her. (Why wouldn’t it be, Martin? Anyway, she won’t be first lady of the U.S. unless O’Malley becomes vice president and the president dies or otherwise no longer can serve in office, but OK…)

7:39 p.m.: A break now. We’re told there is “much more to come.” Oh, I hope not. This has been enough…

7:40 p.m.: Oh, good. George Stephanopoulos, of whom we’ve seen little tonight, thankfully, has said closing statements are close at hand. George and his ABC News companion are talking about the Repugnicans’ reponse to tonight’s debate thus far. I could give a shit what their response is…

7:44 p.m.: Closing statements now. Bernie first. “On our worst day” he and his two competitors for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination have more to offer the American people than the best that the Repugnican presidential contenders can offer the American people, he says. Yup.

Bernie says that he will bring about a “political revolution” in which millions stand up and say “enough is enough,” that “this country belongs to all of us, not to just a handful of billionaires.” (I quasi-paraphrase, but that’s pretty darn close.)

O’Malley now. He says tonight has been “a healthy exchange of ideas.” He says the Repugnican debates are filled with “anger” and “fear,” but not the Democrats’. Yeah. True that. Now O’Malley brings up climate change and reminds us that we live in “divided and polarized times.”

Billary now warns of a Repugnican taking over the White House in January 2017. She’s now pretty much fear-mongering, even though O’Malley just said that the Dems don’t do that…

Not that she’s wrong about what a Repugnican White House administration would do and how bad it would be for the nation, but she’s using the old Clintonian triangulating tactic of “Vote for me, because the Repugnicans are even worse and scarier!”

That lesser-of-two-evils tactic stopped being good enough long ago, if it ever was good enough. Read my lips: I. Will. Not. Vote. For. Billary. Clinton. Ever.

Jesus Christ. Billary just had the very last words of tonight’s debate, which were “May the Force be with you.”

Was that supposed to be funny? Did some nerdy, virginal intern come up with that, telling her it would make her appear to be hip? It was just awkward and a bit weird.

Anyway. The debate is over, thank Goddess. (While I still strongly maintain that it’s bullshit that thanks to Billarybot and Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz we have gone from 26 Democratic presidential primary debates in 2008 to six this cycle, I probably won’t complain that I have only three more live-blogging sessions to go. [Twenty-six debates in 2008 was excessive, but we could have gone with at least 10 or 12 this time around. Fuck, at least eight.])

I don’t think that this debate will help O’Malley. We’ll see whether his ageist comment comes back to haunt him or not. (Not that his poll numbers could go much lower…)

“Datagate” probably is pretty much over now — it was a “scandal” that lasted all of two days…

I believe that tonight Bernie Sanders had his best of three-thus-far debate performances. He gets a bit repetitive if you follow him, as I do, but that also is called keeping on message, for which I can’t fault a serious candidate. And I don’t see it as his inability to be flexible, but I see it as his recognition that important issues easily can be sidelined with the corporately owned and controlled “news” media’s scandal du jour, such as the San Bernardino massacre, and that we can’t solve our largest problems if we’re constantly bouncing around from one smaller thing to the next. (The corporations and the plutocrats who own and love them don’t want us to solve our largest problems, of course, since they are our largest problems.)

Billary Clinton just doesn’t excite me. Not only am I intimately familiar with her center-right/Repugnican-Lite record, but her rhetoric is so designed to appeal to and not to offend as many people as possible (including the Wall Street weasels who continue to give her campaign cash) that most of it is lifeless and uninspiring.

But that is lost on the Clintonistas, the Billarybots, I know.

Again, I don’t think that the race has changed based upon tonight’s debate. The race remains a two-way race between Bernie and Billary, the real Democrat and the Democrat in name only, respectively. If tonight’s debate helped either of them more than the other, my hunch is that it boosted Bernie a bit more than it did Billary, as for a long time now, I surmise, he’s had significantly more room for growth in support than she has had.

I think it’s telling that the only candidate who got booed tonight was Martin O’Malley, when he prickishly made his ageist comment. Could it be a harbinger of his dropping out? I wish, but, alas, it probably isn’t.

Perhaps tonight’s biggest takeaway message for me is Nate Silver’s statement that of course Bernie Sanders can win both Iowa and New Hampshire.

Let us hope that Bernie does — and finally drives that long-overdue stake through the cold and slimy hearts of Billary Clinton, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the many, many other DINOs everywhere.

*Fact check: Slate.com notes:

… Clinton’s statement that Sanders “voted for regime change” in Libya is questionable, since Congress didn’t vote on the issue, which was part of the whole problem: The Obama administration just announced late in the afternoon one day that it would establish a no-fly zone in Libya. (The Sanders campaign believes Clinton is referring to this nonbinding resolution that basically said Qaddafi is terrible and should go.)

Because the ABC moderators were frequently awful, Sanders never got an opportunity to respond. But he didn’t seem too upset with that, either. Later in the night, when the issue came up again, Sanders again didn’t jump in to defend himself against Clinton’s charge. …

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Bernie Sanders soars under the radar

Updated below (on Saturday, December 12, 2015)

FILE - In this Oct. 23, 2015, file photo, Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a concert hosted by his campaign in Davenport, Iowa. For Sanders, victory in Iowa’s kickoff presidential caucuses hinges on a simple proposition: that his message of political revolution will inspire people who typically stay home on that deep-winter night. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

Associated Press photo

Bernie Sanders addresses a crowd in Davenport, Iowa, in October. Despite the myth that Sanders is “unelectable,” he is doing better against the top Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidates in match-up polling than is Billary Clinton. As I type this sentence, Real Clear Politics’ averages of match-up polling show Billary beating Donald Trump by 3.3 percent, whereas Sanders beats Trump by 8 percent. Sanders beats Ted Cruz by 5.6 percent, whereas Billary bests Cruz by only 2.5 percent. Neither Sanders nor Clinton beats Marco Rubio — who is, as I have said, the Repugnican Tea Party candidate to take down (Trump is just an incredibly loud distraction) — but while Rubio beats Bernie by only 0.7 percent, he beats Billary by 1.6 percent. Billary Clinton is so disliked by the electorate as a whole that the comparatively unknown Bernie Sanders does better than she does against the top-tier Repugnican Tea Party presidential wannabes.

A few items encouraging to us Bernie Sanders supporters have caught my eye over the past few days.

There are plenty of naysaying pieces on Sanders on the Internet that amount to screaming to us Sanders supporters, “Surrender, Dorothy! But in reality, we have no reason to give up.

First, as I’ve noted, Bernie Sanders is polling significantly better than is Billary Clinton against the top three Repugnican Tea Party presidential contenders (Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz) in match-up polling. (Again, I’m quite confident that Ben Carson will not emerge as the Repugnican Tea Party’s presidential nominee.)

As El Trumpo himself might say, that’s yuuuuuge. It annihilates the “argument,” the conventional “wisdom,” that only Billary can win the White House. In Reality Land, there is a good chance that she cannot.

But then there’s also this (from refinery29.com):

Though there’s no way to know exactly how Americans will vote in the 2016 elections, one university has a perfect record when it comes to predicting presidential outcomes.

Western Illinois University has correctly prognosticated each president since 1975, and it’s got some ideas about next year’s contest, too. According to the university’s mock election, the 45th president of the United States will be Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who’s running as a Democrat in 2016. The university also predicted that former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley will be Sanders’ vice president.

So how did the university reach its conclusion about Sanders? While his main opponent in the Democratic field, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, is leading in many polls, Sanders has managed to raise support from small donors at an unprecedented pace. The senator has supporters from a variety of demographics, explains Liberal America, which makes him a highly electable candidate. And a recent Quinnipiac poll found that Sanders is polling better than all of the GOP’s 2016 presidential candidates, including Donald Trump.

In WIU’s mock presidential election, Sanders garnered more than 400 Electoral College votes. A proposed Jeb Bush/Marco Rubio ticket, meanwhile, earned just 114 Electoral College votes in the mock election. As for the popular vote in WIU’s mock election, Sanders beat Clinton in 22 out of 26 primary states there, too.

Thousands of students at the university simulated the election process, including Iowa caucuses, state primaries, nominating conventions, and the Electoral College vote, from October 20 to November 2, in order to determine the results.

I find it interesting and encouraging that the university that correctly has predicted the next U.S. president since 1975 has predicted that Bernie Sanders will be our next president. (I’m not wild about Martin O’Malley as Bernie’s running mate, but O’Malley is better than is Billary, who wouldn’t deign to be Sanders’ running mate. But Sanders shouldn’t ask her, as her center-right political record and philosophy are contradictory to his left-of-center record and philosophy.)

There’s this, too, from Matthew Yglesias for Vox.com (emphases in bold are mine):

Donald Trump, as you have probably heard, is dominating national polls of Republicans who want to lead their party in the 2016 presidential election. As you have likewise probably heard, Hillary Clinton is currently crushing left-wing challenger Bernie Sanders in national polls of Democrats.

What you have probably not heard as much about is that Trump and Sanders have approximately equal levels of public support. …

Trump right now is a few percentage points ahead of Sanders in terms of the number of Republicans backing him versus the number of Democrats backing Sanders. But because there are more Democrats than Republicans in America, Philip Bump of the Washington Post reckons that there are actually slightly more Sanders supporters in America than Trump supporters.

Nonetheless, Trump has dominated media coverage of the 2016 campaign while Sanders has largely been a non-factor in coverage since Clinton started handing in solid debate performances.

The reasons for this are not exactly mysterious – Trump is ahead in the polls and might win the GOP nomination, while Sanders is losing badly and clearly won’t be the Democratic candidate.

But while the media’s priorities are comprehensible, the horse race fact that mainstream Democrats have consolidated around a single champion while the non-Trump Republicans remain badly divided is creating a distorted picture of the real state of the country. Wall-to-wall Trump coverage is, for example, helping boost morale at white supremacist groups, which are now benefiting from a newfound sense of momentum.

But while there is clearly significance in the fact that a large minority of Republicans are willing to flock to Trump’s banner and the cause of ethnic chauvinism, the reality that an equal number of people are flocking to Sanders’s banner and the vision of an expansive Nordic welfare state is equally significant.

Indeed, in terms of analyzing broad trends in American life, the Sanders phenomenon is probably more significant than Trumpism. Trump’s supporters, after all, are older than the average Republican, while Sanders’s are younger than the average Democrat. The Trump movement is benefiting from an exceptionally chaotic situation among mainstream Republicans, while Sanders is up against the strongest non-incumbent frontrunner in American political history.

In the short term, that all means that Trump is more relevant to 2016. But the values that Sanders reflects are likely to grow stronger in future cycles, while Trumpism is likely to grow weaker.

Don’t get me wrong; I’ll take the word of the students of Western Illinois University over Yglesias’ where it comes to Bernie Sanders’ chances of winning the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination (and then the White House). But I like (and agree with) Yglesias’ conclusion that the future belongs to us Sandersistas, not to the Trumpites.

And, as I’ve noted before, if Sanders’ 2016 run ends up like Barry Goldwater’s run in 1964 – if in retrospect it’s clear that Sanders rescued the Democratic Party from the death grip of the center-right Clintons – then we can count Sanders’ 2016 run as a win, whether he becomes our next president or not.

Speaking of which, it’s true that Billary’s lead in nationwide polls have her far ahead of Bernie – 55.4 percent to 30.8 percent, per Real Clear Politics’ average of polls, and 55 percent to 31 percent, per the Huffington Post’s average of polls. So it seems safe to conclude that right now, nationwide, Billary does beat Bernie by more than 20 percentage points in the polls.

But the nation won’t be voting and caucusing for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee as a whole on one day, but states will be voting and caucusing over the course of many weeks. And wins in early states often (if not usually) snowball into wins in successive states.

First to vote (caucus) will be Iowa, on February 1.

Yes, Billary is leading Bernie by double digits in Iowa polling right now – by about 14 percentage points, per RCP, and by 19 percent, per HuffPo – but, as prognosticator god Nate Silver pointed out recently, since 2004, “In Iowa, on average, only 35 percent of voters had come to a final decision before the final month of the campaign. And in New Hampshire, only 29 percent had.”

That leaves plenty of room for Bernie to win Iowa, as we have more than a month and a half before Iowans caucus.

And Bernie Sanders leads Billary in New Hampshire, which votes on February 9. RCP has him 4 percent ahead of Billary there, while HuffPo has him 1 percent ahead of her there.

Should Sanders pull out a first-place finish in Iowa – which we were taught is not an impossibility when, in 2004, the “inevitable” Howard Dean came in at third place in Iowa after the moribund John Kerry came back from the dead like Lazarus on crack and came in at No. 1 in Iowa and then went on to win the nomination (due to the aforementioned snowball effect) – Sanders no doubt would win New Hampshire, too.

And I don’t see Billary recovering from Sanders winning both Iowa and New Hampshire.

It’s true that Donald Trump has been sucking most of the oxygen from the room, and that the pundits (like Yglesias) have coronated Billary Clinton as the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee already.

But the pundits and the corporately owned and controlled media whores won’t be caucusing and voting in Iowa and New Hampshire (well, the vast majority of them don’t live in those two states, anyway).

I suspect that in February we will see, rather jarringly, that there are two parallel “realities” in the United States of America: (1) our corporately mediated “reality” that pumps up center-right, pro-corporate political candidates like Trump and Billary and, at best, mostly ignores truly populist candidates like Bernie Sanders, since truly populist candidates like Sanders aren’t great for the corporations and the plutocracy; and (2) actual reality, which consists of individuals voting and caucusing the way that they want to, not the way that they’re told to by our corporate/plutocratic overlords.

I suspect that for some time now, Bernie Sanders, in actual reality, has been soaring under the radar of our corporately mediated “reality.”

While we might compare Sanders to the tortoise in the parable of the tortoise and the hare, I think that I’d rather liken him to the bald eagle that had to put Donald Trump in his place.

P.S. I get it that way too many “superdelegates” have jumped the gun, voicing their support for Billlary before we, the people, have weighed in on our choice between Billary and Bernie, but how would these “superdelegates” proceed if Bernie pummels Billary in the caucuses and primary elections?

Many if not most of these “superdelegates” are, after all, accountable to the voters. And they aren’t bound to supporting Billary; they may flip their support to Bernie instead.

Update (Saturday, December 12, 2015): I find it interesting that within 24 hours of my having written that there exists a “corporately mediated ‘reality’ that pumps up center-right, pro-corporate political candidates like [Donald] Trump and Billary [Clinton] and, at best, mostly ignores truly populist candidates like Bernie Sanders,” the Sanders campaign put out an e-mail that reads:

I’ve always been interested in media and have always been concerned that corporate media doesn’t really educate people in this country. They refuse to talk about the serious issues facing our country.

That’s why I wasn’t surprised yesterday when I saw this headline: “Report: ABC World News Tonight Has Devoted 81 Minutes to Trump, One Minute to Sanders.”

It’s no shock to me that big networks, which are controlled by a handful of large corporations, have barely discussed our campaign and the important issues we are bringing up. They’re just too busy covering Donald Trump.

We can’t allow the corporate media to set the agenda. We have got to get the real issues out there. And that’s why I’m asking you to join me in a major petition to the big networks.

Add your name to our petition to tell ABC, NBC and CBS to cover our campaign — and more importantly to cover the issues we are bringing up.

This is what the corporate media is all about: more Americans support our campaign than Trump’s according to recent polls, but still ABC’s news program has spent 81 minutes on Trump and only 20 seconds talking about us. NBC Nightly News only spent 2.9 minutes covering our campaign. CBS? They spent six minutes.

The point is: our political revolution certainly will not be televised. It’s more important than ever for us to hold the large corporations that control the media accountable.

Please sign our petition to tell the big networks to put aside their corporate interests and allow for a free and fair debate in this presidential campaign.

I know we can win this fight if we all work to get the message out there.

In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders

I encourage you to sign the petition.

The corporately owned and controlled mass media give more time not only to Donald Trump over Bernie Sanders, but also to the many Repugnican Tea Party presidential wannabes, like Jeb! Bush, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina and even Lindsey Graham, who aren’t polling at even 4 percent within their own party and who don’t have nearly the chance of securing their party’s presidential nomination that Bernie Sanders does of securing his.

As Matthew Yglesias points out in his piece above, “Sanders is up against the strongest non-incumbent frontrunner in American political history.” Given that fact, Bernie Sanders is, again, soaring — albeit under the radar of the corporately mediated “reality” in which we live.

P.S. Sanders’ e-mail correctly notes, as I noted yesterday, that Donald Trump is sucking all of the oxygen from the room, but the media are covering El Trumpo not only because he is, as he has been called, a carnival barker (on crack, I would add), but also because the plutocrats who own and control our corporate media would much rather that their media outlets cover The Donald’s latest “gaffe” than cover issues that might actually threaten treasonous corporate/plutocratic profiteering, such as:

Income inequality (including, of course, the need to pay every worker a living wage, the necessity of forcing the rich and the super-rich to pay their fair share of taxes, and the need to whack the Wall Street weasels), climate change (our No. 1 problem, even though it might not be evident to us on an everyday basis, because it’s a slow, ongoing progressive problem), the unaffordability of health care (including, of course, treasonously priced pharmaceuticals) and of higher education (student loans have got to go — we must foster our youth, not treat them as cash cows), our crumbling-from-neglect infrastructure, and the waste of billions and billions and billions of our tax dollars on the treasonous war profiteering of the military-corporate complex.

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Bernie Sanders wins the youth vote (also: SEIU sold its members out)

Updated below (on Monday, November 23,2015)

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders takes a selfie with supporters after a campaign rally at the South Carolina Democratic Party headquarters in Columbia

Reuters photo

Two young people take a selfie with democratic socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders after a campaign rally in Columbia, South Carolina, yesterday. Sanders is popular among young Americans, having won Iowa’s student mock election this past week with a majority of the votes, and he leads TIME magazine’s online poll for its 2015 Person of the Year. 

I noted two interesting Bernie Sanders-related items this past week.

First, Bernie Sanders handily won the student mock election held in Iowa this past week. Just under a thousand middle school and high school students participated on the Democratic side of the mock election, sponsored by the state’s secretary of state’s office. The Washington Post reports that 22 of the state’s 99 counties participated in the mock election, but doesn’t indicate whether these 22 counties are more or less representative of the entire state.

That said, Bernie Sanders won the mock election with almost 53 percent of the vote, followed by Martin O’Malley, with 24 percent, and coming in dead last was Billary Clinton, with a paltry 15 percent.

Had these been elementary school students, I would feel at least a little bit better about these results. Why? I surmise that younger students primarily would have voted the way their parents had influenced them to vote, and thus the mock election results would be reflective of how the students’ parents intend to caucus in Iowa on February 1.

But because these are middle school and high school students who voted, I surmise, the students voted more independently of their parents than younger students would have. And since most of these high school students won’t be 18 years old as of February 1, Bernie Sanders’ having garnered a majority of the vote in Iowa’s student mock election won’t translate to much help to him when Iowa caucuses on February 1.

The Huffington Post’s polling analysis right now puts Sanders at 32.5 percent in Iowa, to Billary Clinton’s 54.4 percent. Real Clear Politics’ polling analysis right now puts Billary at 53.8 percent to Bernie’s 29.8 percent in the first-to-weigh-in state of Iowa.

What accounts for such differences in the preference for Bernie or for Billary? Age, apparently; the younger you are, the more likely you are to support Bernie Sanders, and the older you are, the more likely you are to support Billary Clinton.

This is good for Billary and her center-right ilk in the short term, since our elections still will be skewed to the older, whiter and more conservative voters for several more cycles to come, since the older, whiter and more conservative you are, the more likely it is that you consistently vote in elections.

But Bernie’s — and democratic socialism’s — popularity among young people now, if it holds as they grow older, spells doom for the Clintonesque sellout of the Democratic Party to the point that the Democratic presidential frontrunner, Billary Clinton, is quite Repugnican Lite.

(Indeed, as I have noted, much of her campaign rhetoric sounds like Repugnican Tea Party presidential wannabe Marco Rubio’s, and given the too-similar campaign rhetoric, are voters going to vote for the younger, fresher Rubio — or for Billary? [Yes, my money still is on Marco Rubio emerging as the 2016 Repugnican Tea Party presidential nominee.])

It’s quite possible that Bernie Sanders won’t eke out a win in the current Democratic Party presidential primary race, and that history will show him to have been a transitional political figure, the presidential candidate who helped return the Democratic Party to its progressive roots but who couldn’t win the White House himself.

That said, I still won’t write Bernie’s political obituary; at this point he still could win Iowa, like John Kerry did in 2004 (after he had been written off as politically dead), and then, like Kerry did, win the New Hampshire primary and take the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. The numbers indicate that it’s not incredibly likely that Bernie will do so, but it’s still possible that he will.

In any event, Bernie Sanders has been influential, whether he wins the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination or not, and, truth be told, I’d rather that Billary Clinton lose in November 2016 than Bernie Sanders.

Why? Because if Billary wins the party’s presidential nomination but loses the presidential election in November 2016 — a decent likelihood, given how Billary, whom a majority of Americans do not like, is not polling very strongly against most of the Repugnican presidential contenders in polling match-ups — it most likely will be the death of her center-right, Democratic-in-name-only, pro-corporate, pro-plutocratic brand name of politics; it will be, at long last, the stake driven through the vampire’s cold heart.

Bernie Sanders’ loss in November 2016 widely would be interpreted as a repudiation of democratic socialism. I’d much rather that November 2016 be viewed as the DINOs’ loss, not democratic socialism’s.

Again, win or lose, Bernie Sanders already has been consequential. The second item that I noted this past week is that Sanders leads handily in TIME magazine’s online poll* of who should be its Person of the Year.

As I type this sentence, in TIME’s online poll Sanders stands at 63 percent voting that he should be a contender for the 2015 Person of the year, with only 37 percent (primarily the Billarybots and the Repugnican Tea Party set, I presume) voting that he shouldn’t be.

Right now the only other candidates for Person of the Year who even approach Sanders’ level are Malala Yousafzi (the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize winner) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, both with 58 percent. At number three are “Refugees,” from Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere, as a group, with 54 percent of the vote.

Pope Smiley Face — er, Francis — right now comes in at fourth place, with 51 percent, and no other person or group of persons breaks 50 percent in the online polling thus far.

How does Billary Clinton fare in TIME’s online poll as I type this sentence? A whopping 24 percent say that she deserves consideration as Person of the Year, while 76 percent say that she does not. (I’d have voted “Oh, hell no!” had that been an option. A Facebook or Twitter account is necessary to vote, by the way, which should cut down at least somewhat on the same individuals voting multiple times.)

The racehorse American Pharoah (his owner apparently misspelled the word “pharaoh”) right now fares better than does Billary, with 26 percent voting that the horse should be considered as Person of the Year.

(In case you’re wondering, of the Repugnican Tea Party presidential aspirants, Donald Trump fares the best in the online poll for Person of the Year, with only 15 percent; behind him is Ben Carson, with 13 percent. And Barack Obama right now has 39 percent, making him more popular than Billary but not as popular as Bernie.

In case you were wondering even further — and you probably weren’t — my own top three choices for TIME’s Person of the Year for 2015 would be [not necessarily in any certain order] Bernie Sanders, “Refugees,” and Latino journalist Jorge Ramos, who has been an outspoken advocate for the rights of immigrants from south of the border, even before he took on Donald Trump’s chillingly fascistic, jackbooted, nationalist/jingoist and racist — and thus dangerous — anti-immigrant campaign rhetoric.)

Why is Bernie Sanders doing so well in TIME’s online poll?

Well, I surmise, it comes down again to youth: Younger people are more likely to be online and thus are more likely to participate in online polls.

In old, actual votes that actually make or break presidential candidates in the actual caucuses and the primary elections, Billary Clinton, the old, dead hand of the past, no doubt will get scads of actual votes from center-right old fucks.

But the future, apparently, belongs to democratic socialism.

P.S. I’ll take a moment here to note that while the nation’s second-largest labor union, SEIU (Service Employees International Union, which has a membership of around 2 million workers), this past week endorsed Billary Clinton as president, none of us union members at the bottom got any say whatsofuckingever in the matter.

I’ve paid my monthly dues to SEIU for years now (they come out of my paycheck automatically), but the union’s decision to endorse Billary was not made by us dues-paying pee-ons, but only by SEIU’s upper echelon.

We dues-paying pee-ons (that’s not a misspelling; we are urinated upon) had zero opportunity to weigh in on the endorsement, either by snail mail or even electronically.

I have to suspect that the ineffective, self-serving SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, who should have been dumped by now, supports Billary primarily (or even only) because Billary is a fellow woman and because this is what “feminism” has come to mean these days: supporting a woman over a man no matter what the woman stands for or does not stand for.

I mean, fuck: One of SEIU’s stated central priorities is the $15/hour minimum wage for every worker in the United States of America, but Billary Clinton won’t support a federal minimum wage of more than $12/hour. Bernie Sanders supports the $15/hour minimum wage.

SEIU is anti-democratic and cowardly — and apparently misandrist — and stopped representing its members’ best interests years ago.

The nation’s largest nurses’ union, National Nurses United, and the American Postal Workers Union had the brains and the courage to endorse Sanders.

Update (Monday, November 23, 2015): I just saw this tidbit in a piece posted today by prognosticator god Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com (the link is Silver’s):

…[E]xit polls like this one have historically asked voters in Iowa and New Hampshire when they made their final decision on how to vote. These exit polls find that voters take their sweet time.

In Iowa, on average, only 35 percent of voters [caucus-goers] had come to a final decision before the final month of the campaign. And in New Hampshire, only 29 percent had. [Emphasis mine.]

(Why is the fraction lower in New Hampshire than in Iowa? Probably because voters there are waiting for the Iowa results before locking in their choice. In fact, about half of New Hampshire voters make up their minds in the final week of the campaign.) …

This puts the current poll numbers for Iowa and New Hampshire (for both of the duopolistic political parties) into better perspective, methinks.

The title of Silver’s aforementioned piece is “Dear Media, Stop Freaking Out About Donald Trump’s Polls,” and in the piece Silver makes the case that based upon historical trends in the election and the election polling cycle, Trump hardly is a shue-in for his party’s presidential nomination. I don’t see why this advice doesn’t apply equally to Billary Clinton.

As I wrote, I still can see Bernie Sanders winning both Iowa and New Hampshire, just as John Kerry dramatically came from behind in 2004 to take both Iowa and New Hampshire when Howard Dean had been coronated already, much as Billary Clinton already has been coronated…

*TIME proclaims:

TIME’s editors will choose the Person of the Year, but that doesn’t mean readers shouldn’t have their say. Cast your vote for the person you think most influenced the news this year for better or worse. … Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. on December 4, and the combined winner of our reader polls will be announced on December 7. TIME’s Person of the Year will be announced December 9.

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More post-debate thoughts: We all lose when Billary Clinton ‘wins by not losing’

Photo from The Washington Post

Billary Clinton has become Rudy Guiliani in drag. Billary walks, talks and acts like a Repugnican, which means that should she become the “Democratic” presidential candidate in November 2016, a majority of voters probably will just go ahead and vote for the real Repugnican presidential candidate (perhaps especially if that candidate is Marco “Bootstraps” Rubio).

In its post-Democratic-debate analysis, Vox.com (typical of the conventional “wisdom” of the mass media) proclaims of Billary Clinton, “To some degree, Clinton wins by not losing,” adding, “And while she hardly had a perfect night, she definitely didn’t lose.” Vox.com proclaims of Bernie Sanders:

To be somewhat tautological about it, Sanders lost by not winning. The one, narrow path he has to the nomination comes through a surprise win or close loss in Iowa, followed by a big win in New Hampshire — trusting that the momentum from winning early will carry him, much as it did for John Kerry in 2004. Given that Sanders is losing Iowa quite badly at the moment, and he has less than three months to go before the caucuses, he needed something big to happen to get his Iowa numbers rising again.

But while he didn’t do a bad job in the debate, per se, he didn’t have any real marquee moments that would make Iowa caucus-goers stand up and take notice. …

Despite acknowledging that Billary’s “most serious error of the night was implying that she received support from Wall Street, and took Wall Street-friendly policies as senator from New York, because the financial industry was targeted in the September 11 attacks,” adding, “It was a bizarre moment,” Vox.com nonetheless proclaims Billary the “winner.”

(Actually, Vox.com was quite generous in its report of what Billary actually said. This is what she actually said, from CBS’ own transcript:

Oh, wait a minute, senator. (LAUGH) You know, not only do I have hundreds of thousands of donors, most of them small, I am very proud that for the first time a majority of my donors are women, 60 percent. (APPLAUSE) So I — I represented New York. And I represented New York on 9/11 when we were attacked.

Where were we attacked? We were attacked in downtown Manhattan where Wall Street is. I did spend a whole lot of time and effort helping them rebuild. That was good for New York. It was good for the economy. And it was a way to rebuke the terrorists who had attacked our country. (APPLAUSE)

Again, note Billary’s knee-jerk reversion to playing the feminist/“sexism”/“misogyny” card when she is under attack, even quite legitimately, in this case for her history of taking loads of campaign cash from the weasels of Wall Street.* But claiming that her self-serving, obedient support of Wall Street — which harmed almost all Americans when the economy resultantly cratered in 2007 and 2008 — “was a way to rebuke the terrorists who had attacked our country” is incredibly craven, even for someone of Billary’s character.

No, it’s not that Billary is just another corrupt politician who’s on the take; no, by giving the Wall Street weasels everything that they wanted, she wanted to “rebuke the terrorists”! [As Joe Biden once put it: A noun, a verb and 9/11!])

This bias — to the point of proclaiming that Billary “won” the debate last night even though she uttered the most cringe-worthy lines (including, yes, her refusal to support more than a $12/hour federal minimum wage while everyone else is calling for a $15/hour federal minimum wage) — demonstrates what Bernie Sanders has been up against.

Bernie has been laboring in D.C. even longer than Billary has — he became a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in November 1990, while Billary didn’t become first lady until a couple of years later — but he hasn’t had the fame (or, luckily, the notoriety) that Billary has.

As I’ve stated, Billary has been running for president at least since her 2000 run for the U.S. Senate, and since she ran for the White House in 2008 but lost, she widely is considered by the limousine-liberal intelligentsia (such as the folks at Vox.com) as “having earned it,” as “it’s her turn.”

Therefore, all that Billary has to do to “win” a debate is not have an emotional breakdown or an episode of Tourette’s on stage, apparently. (And even then, were you to dare to say anything about it, it would be cast by the Billarybots that you hate women!)

Martin O’Malley during the debate last night referred to Billary and/or one of her policy prescriptions as “weak tea.” Yup. As I wrote last night as I live-blogged the debate, she would prescribe only a lukewarm glass of water for a raging house fire. On almost every issue, be it raising the minimum wage to a living wage, reining in the gross abuses of the Wall Street weasels, the legalization of marijuana, and even “her” “signature” issue of health-care reform, she proposes doing as little as is humanly possible.

When you start off asking for/demanding so little, in the negotiating process in D.C. you’ll end up with even less.

During last night’s debate Billary surreally praised Barack Obama’s “record” of “accomplishment” (my words, not hers), which is telling, since the hopey-changey President Obama has done little to nothing. I, for one, can’t say that I’m much better off in year seven of Obama’s presidency than I was when George W. Bush was still president, and that’s because Obama has barely touched the status quo; he’s been barely a caretaker president, much more a leader. If he’s Billary’s role model, we know that with President Billary we’d get four more years of the same.

Despite Billary’s staunch refusal to stand up for the common American instead of for her millionaire and billionaire campaign contributors — and for the older, more right-wing voters to whom she appeals — she does, alas, lead in the polls.

Vox.com is correct: Bernie lags by double digits in Iowa, the state that goes first when it caucuses on February 1. On February 9 it’s the New Hampshire primary, where, according to Real Clear Politics’ polling average, Billary is ahead of Bernie by three percentage points, but where, according to Huffington Post’s polling average, Bernie is ahead of Billary by eight percentage points.

I agree with Vox.com’s analysis that if Bernie loses Iowa, it needs to be close; he needs to come in at a close No. 2 if he can’t pull out a first-place win. (And then, he really needs to win New Hampshire; he can’t afford even a close second there, I believe. If he doesn’t come in at No. 1 at least in Iowa or in New Hampshire, I don’t see him recovering from that.)

All of that said, before we write Bernie Sanders off it’s important to remember that John Kerry came back from the dead to beat Howard Dean in Iowa in January 2004. Wikipedia notes of the 2004 Iowa caucuses:

The Iowa caucuses revived the once moribund campaign of Kerry, who proceeded to the New Hampshire primary as one of the front runners, and [he] ultimately captured the Democratic nomination. …

The results were a blow to Dean, who had for weeks been expected to win the caucuses. He planned afterward to quickly move to New Hampshire, where he expected to do well and regain momentum. At the time, he had far more money than any other candidate and did not spend much of it in Iowa. Dean’s aggressive post-caucus speech to his supporters, culminating with a hoarse scream that came to be known as the “Dean Scream,” was widely shown and mocked on television, although the effect on his campaign was unclear. …

What do John Kerry and Bernie Sanders have in common? Tad Devine as a senior adviser.

Could Bernie Sanders pull a John Kerry in Iowa?

Yes, I think so, which is why I refuse to write Bernie Sanders’ political obituary, even though, as Vox.com points out, Sanders has not even three full months before Iowa.

I wouldn’t call Sanders’ campaign thus far to be “moribund,” either. It’s true that in nationwide polls he lags by double digits — 33.5 percent to Billary’s 54.5 percent, per RCP, and 33.2 percent to Billary’s 56.5 percent, per HuffPo — but put into perspective, Bernie’s not doing badly for a relative unknown, a dark horse, who fairly came from nowhere to challenge the “inevitable” coronation of Billary Clinton.

And, as I’ve noted before, the entire nation isn’t voting on the same day, but over the course of several months (even though the race is likely to be wrapped up over the course of several weeks [I don’t expect the race to go past the end of March, by which time more than 30 states will have weighed in).

Therefore, if Bernie scores early wins, it could give him the momentum that it gave the once-“moribund” Kerry campaign. (The once-“moribund” Kerry went on to win all but a handful of states.) This snowball effect makes the nationwide polling a poor predictor of the final outcome of a presidential primary race — because, again, the entire nation doesn’t vote on one day.

I’ve never supported Bernie Sanders merely to push Billary Clinton to the left. This line of thought presumes that Billary was going to be coronated from the get-go, and that any opponent to her would be only for show.

I recognize, of course, that Bernie Sanders might not win the primary race; it remains an uphill battle. (As Bernie tells us repeatedly, unlike Billary Clinton and the other Repugnican presidential candidates [yes, to me Billary might as well be running as a Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate, as a “moderate” Repugnican], he’s not funded by the billionaires). But once it was clear that Elizabeth Warren was sitting this one out, I’ve always seen Sanders as the candidate best suited to be president.

Nor do I have any confidence — none whatsofuckingever — that merely pushing Billary’s campaign rhetoric to the left during the primary race actually would result in any actual progressive action on her part should she actually become president.

Billary’s history is one of lying, of switching her political positions like a human weather vane on crack. We can’t trust any of her promises. Barack Obama, at least, was an unknown; when he relentlessly promised “hope” and “change” in advance of November 2008, I thought that he might actually at least try to deliver on these campaign promises. With Billary, I know that she won’t.

Billary also clearly wants to be president only for her rapacious baby-boomer cohort. It’s clear that she wants to keep things just as they are, until after the baby boomers all finally die off, and leave us Gen X’ers, Millennials and those who follow us X’ers and Millennials holding the bag, with not even the short end of the stick, but no stick left at all. (Clintonista Paul Begala once called the baby boomers “a plague of locusts, devouring everything in their path and leaving but a wasteland.” Yup.)

Leadership is about vision and having an eye to the future. Bernie Sanders has shown that vision, that far-sighted wisdom. Billary, like her Wall Street buddies, views only what she can get in this quarter.

As I’ve stated before, Bernie Sanders might be like Barry Goldwater was in 1964: Goldwater didn’t become president, but he is credited with having started the “Reagan revolution” that came after him.

Similarly, probably especially if Billary Clinton wins the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination but then loses in November 2016 to, say, Marco Rubio (since she’s using his and other Repugnican Tea Party talking points, why wouldn’t the voters go ahead and vote for him or for another Repugnican Tea Party candidate?) and Billary’s losing in November 2016 easily could happen, given that the majority of Americans do not like her — perhaps the Democratic Party finally will wake the fuck up and rid itself of the virulent center-right stain that the self-serving Clintons put on it in the 1990s. (I just now thought of that infamously stained blue dress, but that wasn’t actually meant as a pun…)

Even if Bernie doesn’t win, at the minimum he is breaking ground for another actually progressive candidate, such as Elizabeth Warren, to not only win the White House but to finally take back the Democratic Party, to return it to its rightful progressive roots.

And that would be a huge win.

In that event, you might even say that Bernie won even while “losing.”

*Rolling Stone notes:

Over the course of her career, four of [Clinton’s] top five donors have been Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley. Someone has to be the moron, and if it’s not the rich guys whose jobs are buying things that advance their self-interest, then it’s the people at home buying a new regulatory zeal from someone who’s never much evinced an inclination toward it before.

It gets better. Much like I have noted, Rolling Stone’s Jeb Lund continues:

Clinton’s response took the form of a vaporous appeal to identity politics, followed by an invocation of September 11 crass enough to make Rudy Giuliani’s cheeks redden in either shame or envy. Addressing Sanders’ comments above, as well as the number of small donors to his campaign, Clinton said:

“You know, not only do I have hundreds of thousands of donors, most of them small, and I’m very proud that for the first time a majority of my donors are women, 60 percent… I represented New York, and I represented New York on 9/11 when we were attacked. Where were we attacked? We were attacked in downtown Manhattan where Wall Street is. I did spend a whole lot of time and effort helping them rebuild. That was good for New York. It was good for the economy, and it was a way to rebuke the terrorists who had attacked our country.”

This rancid bucket of word scrofula does a lot of coldly profitable hand-waving and at best only creates more questions than it answers. Clinton’s disclosure forms reveal reams of high-dollar Wall Street contributors, so what does a majority of women donors signify that obviates the former in any material way? Would significant Wall Street backing disappear as an issue for a gay candidate who said, “60 percent of my donors are gay”? Does all of Cory Booker’s “love money” from hedge fund ghouls get less problematic if he hits a threshold of black donors?

And, after 14 years of every opportunist creep in a blue suit and red tie exhuming the corpses of the World Trade Center dead to festoon themselves with sanctified victimhood, it’s amazing that there are still new ways to be forced to ask the question What the fuck does September 11 have to do with any of this shit, asshole? Would Hillary Clinton become a card-carrying Communist if the CPUSA headquarters had been hit by a plane? Would her donor lists be full of members of Supertramp, Fairport Convention and Oingo Boingo if Al Qaeda had attacked the A&M Records building? What possible causal relationship exists here? And how does attending to Wall Street’s fortunes rebuke the terrorists? …

Lund does proclaim that “despite flogging the nation’s honored dead for the billionth beshitted time this century, Hillary Clinton won the debate handily,” by which I take it that he means, from that link (which is his, not mine) that most Democrats think that Clinton won the debate handily.

Sure; I buy that. As I’ve recently noted, most self-proclaimed Democrats seem poised to go right over that cliff with Billary on November 8, 2016. That doesn’t mean that Billary actually “won” the debate — not if we define winning a debate as actually being truthful in the debate and not resorting to such sleazy, slimy, weaselly tactics as exploiting identity politics and using a noun + a verb + 9/11.

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