Tag Archives: New Hampshire primary

Bernie now No. 1 in WaPo’s ranking

The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake’s quasi-quarterly ranking of the 2020 Democratic Party presidential candidates has Bernie Sanders topping the list of 15.

(Blake notes that “this list is in order of likeliness to be the Democratic nominee” and also notes that “The field is also largely set now, with just a few big question marks outstanding,” with which I pretty much agree.

The Post notes that Bernie returns to No. 1, but I don’t remember that he ever made No. 1 before — that spot usually was reserved for establishmentarian candidates who weren’t actually No. 1, like Kamala Harris.)

In ranking him at No. 1, Blake too-briefly notes of Sanders: “Sanders’s $18.2 million raised in the first quarter tops in the field. Now we’ll see if he can rekindle some of the magic of 2016, which I’m not sure we’ve really seen just yet. It would sure help if he can get past this tax-return unforced error.”

Even while calling him No. 1, the establishmentarian, corporately owned and controlled media can’t resist taking a shot at Bernie.

Bernie’s “tax-return unforced error,” I guess, is that although he’s been railing against millionaires and billionaires (or millionayahhhs and billionayahhhs) for years now, he has become a millionaire himself from book sales. (Bernie has promised to release 10 years of his tax returns no later than tomorrow.)

If you’re already a Bernie hater, then you ignorantly, smugly, disingenuously scoff at his financial success — a millionaire democratic socialist! — but how you earn your money fucking matters.

Bernie wrote books that people chose to buy, including his best-selling Our Revolution; he didn’t obtain his money by paying a bunch of overworked employees a non-living wage and/or by outrageously overcharging someone for a live-saving pharmaceutical and/or by contributing to the destruction of the planet in order to get his million. He earned it fairly and squarely. Therefore, I have no problem with his financial success — which, compared to the income of the titans of capitalism, is a fucking pittance anyway.

And why would it be a shock that someone with Bernie’s national renown — he did quite well against Billary Clinton in 2016, and because of his 2016 run he starts out in a much stronger position this election cycle — should have some money?

And as fucked up as it is, we do still live in a capitalist system — in which anyone, if he or she writes a best-selling book, for example, can get some moolah.

But I digress.

In his current ranking of 15, Blake drops Joe Biden all the way down to No. 6, noting:

Whatever you think about the complaints women made against Biden alleging inappropriate physical contact, Biden’s handling of it — deciding to turn it into a joke — was a reminder how quickly things can go awry with the freewheeling Biden.

I’ve been arguing for a while that his stock is too high, and this episode has helped affirm it. He’s got a front-runner’s poll numbers but needs to actually show he’s a much better candidate than he was in 1988 and 2008.

I agree wholeheartedly that Biden’s “stock is too high” and that he “needs to actually show he’s a much better candidate than he was in 1988 and 2008,” and not only do I very much not want the uninspiring, centrist, corporate-friendly Biden as the nominee (again, to me he is Billary 2.0), but I don’t think that he’ll emerge as the nominee, not in the current political climate, in which the party’s nominee won’t be decided by the national electorate (which for the sake of argument we’ll say is centrist), but will be decided mostly by party animals, who these days lean to the left.

But as much as I’m not a fan of Biden, I think that putting him at No. 6 is too low; I think that he still probably still belongs in the top three, as we never should underestimate the power of Democrats to pick (or just sit back and allow…) a shitty candidate to become the presidential nominee. I mean, they just did that in 2016 with Billary.

Blake ranks Kamala Harris as No. 2 (still too high, probably, given her single-digit nationwide polling numbers), Elizabeth Warren as No. 3 (probably too high, given that her polling numbers are even lower than Harris’), Cory Booker at No. 4 (way too high, as he can’t even get 5 percent in most polls), Beto O’Rourke at No. 5 (I believe that the ideas-free O’Rourke stands almost no chance, although he polls closely to Harris), and Pete Buttigieg at No. 7, behind Biden.

Buttigieg actually has a better chance than many if not most might believe, I think.

He has polled in the top three in at least two polls of Iowa voters taken over the past month, and polled in the top three in at least one poll of New Hampshire voters taken this month.

We shouldn’t forget the case of John Kerry, whose presidential campaign was on life support until he came back, Lazarus style, when he won the Iowa caucuses (which Howard Dean was “supposed” to win [he came in third]) and then won the New Hampshire primary — and then went on to win five of the seven states in the next contest, dubbed “Mini Tuesday.”

After that, the nomination was all Kerry’s.

Thus far I’ve focused on the nationwide presidential preference polls and have neglected to talk about the slingshot effect that winning Iowa and/or New Hampshire usually has on a presidential race. (The Iowa caucuses are the first contest of the presidential primary season, followed quickly by the New Hampshire primary.) Win one or both of those two states, and you are in good shape.

(The only Democratic presidential nominee who hadn’t won Iowa or New Hampshire in my lifetime was Bill Clinton, who came in at second place in New Hampshire but still eked out a win of the nomination.

In case you were wondering, in 2016 Billary “won” Iowa by 49.8 percent to Bernie’s 49.6 percent — yes, it was that close in the midst of talk about cheating by Team Billary — and Bernie blew Billary out of the water in New Hampshire, 60.1 percent to 37.7 percent.)

I think it’s unlikely that Pete Buttigieg will pull a surprise win like John Kerry did in 2004 — I mean, Kerry had been a U.S. senator at that time, whereas Buttigieg has been only the mayor of a not-huge city — but it’s not impossible.

As the voters on the Repugnican side chose outsider Pussygrabber in 2016, it’s not impossible that the Democratic voters in 2020 will want a fresh, young face, and that would be Buttigieg’s.

Still, though, if I had to put my money on it, I’d say that Bernie Sanders is going to be the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nominee — not just because he’s the candidate I want to become the nominee, but because he came surprisingly close to Billary in 2016 and because the party today is more Bernie’s than it is the Billarybots’, as evidenced by how most of the contenders for the 2020 nomination have adopted Bernie’s key positions.

You don’t mimic a loser. You mimic a winner.

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Bernie wins N.H., of course; Robo-Rubio apparently KO’d from race

Updated below

With 92 percent of the precincts reporting, Bernie Sanders beat Billary Clinton in New Hampshire yesterday by more than 20 percentage points — 60 percent to 38.3 percent, per Politico.

Final polling had Bernie beating Billary by around 13 percent, so I had expected him to win (by at least high single digits), but no, I didn’t expect him to beat Billary by the 20 percent or so that he’d garnered in some of the polls.

We’ll see how the Nevada caucuses pan out on February 20, but until then, Bernie gets to be the victor for the next week and a half. We’ll see if that’s enough time to erode any lead that Billary might have had in Nevada.

I mean, keep in mind that Billary won New Hampshire in 2008, but just barely — she beat Barack Obama by 3 percent in the popular vote, but both of them walked away from the state with the same number of delegates.

So ponder the fact that Billary beat Obama (barely) in New Hampshire in 2008 but lost by double digits there to a self-proclaimed democratic socialist yesterday. Methinks that the times have changed but that Billary still lives in the 1990s, when a center-right Democratic Party, a Repugnican Lite Party, a Democratic Party in name only, still was OK with enough Democratic voters for sellout DINOs like Billary to be able to win a nationwide (or other big) election.

On the Repugnican Tea Party side, with 92 percent of the precincts reporting, it’s Donald Trump at 35.2 percent in yesterday’s primary election in New Hampshire, John Kasich at 15.8 percent, Ted Cruz at 11.7 percent, Jeb! Bush at 11.1 percent and Robo-Rubio at 10.5 percent. Just after Robo-Rubio is the man who brought him down, Chris Christie, at 7.5 percent.

If there were fewer competitors and if Christie hadn’t beaten him down at the last Repugnican Tea Party presidential debate, Robo-Rubio would have done better than fifth place (thus far) in New Hampshire yesterday. (Yes, the vote-counting isn’t over, but with more than 90 percent of it complete, I don’t expect Robo-Rubio to get into the top three.)

So it looks like the Repugnican Tea Party is stuck with Donald Trump and with Ted Cruz, the only two candidates who ranked within the top three in both Iowa and New Hampshire (unless Jeb! Bush actually overtakes Cruz and finishes at third place in New Hamsphire; we’ll see).

Trump loses to both Bernie and Billary in the match-up polling, but Cruz actually barely beats Billary in the match-up polling, whereas Bernie barely beats Cruz. Bernie does better against both Trump and Cruz than does Billary, in fact, so, as Robo-Rubio might say: We can dispel with the fiction that Billary is more electable than is Bernie. We can dispel with the fiction that Billary is more electable than is Bernie. We can dispel with the fiction that Billary is more electable than is Bernie. We can dispel with the fiction that Billary is more electable than is Bernie. We can dispel with the fiction that…

Update: It’s being reported now that Chris Christie is dropping out of the race. 

Well, we can’t say that he accomplished nothing; he apparently knocked Robo-Rubio out of the race, and, again, Robo-Rubio had been polling against Billary and Bernie better than anyone else in his party.

With 95.7 percent of New Hampshire’s precincts reporting, Robo-Rubio remains at fifth place, with only 10.5 percent of the vote.

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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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Bernie and Billary agree to four more debates, including one before N.H.

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and rival candidate U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders speak simultaneously at the NBC News - YouTube Democratic presidential candidates debate in Charleston

Reuters photo

Billary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are pictured at the Democratic Party presidential debate earlier this month in South Carolina. The two front-runners have agreed to four additional debates, one wedged between the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary and three more after the New Hampshire primary.

Politico reports today that Bernie Sanders and Billary Clinton have agreed to four more debates, which would bring the total number of 2016 Democratic Party presidential debates to 10.

The Democratic National Committee (that is, Debbie Wasserman Schultz) would have to approve the additional debates, however.

The first proposed new debate would be sandwiched between the Iowa caucuses on Monday and the New Hampshire primary on February 9. This additional debate would help Billary, especially if Bernie wins Iowa — something that Nate Silver says is more unlikely than likely to happen yet still is quite possible, given that the two have been neck and neck in Iowa recently but that Billary is up around four points right now and has the support of the establishment, yet if Bernie can get his more-enthusiastic-but-younger supporters to turn out, that could win it for him.

(Right now Real Clear Politics’ average of Iowa polls has Billary at 3.4 percent ahead of Bernie, while the Huffington Post’s average of Iowa polls has Billary up over Bernie at 4 percent right now.)

Indeed, an additional debate sandwiched between Iowa and New Hampshire would do more good for Billary than it would for Bernie, given that Bernie has been leading Billary in New Hampshire by double digits for some time now. (Right now RCP’s average of New Hampshire polls has Bernie at 14.3 percent ahead of Billary, and HuffPo’s average of New Hampshire polls has Bernie beating Billary there by 13 percent.)

Especially if Bernie wins Iowa, another debate before New Hampshire could, I surmise, harm his chances there. Recall that in 2008, Billary came in at third place in Iowa and then turned on the waterworks and won New Hampshire (because The New Feminism is all about attacking others for their sexist or even supposedly sexist stereotypes — but employing blatantly sexist stereotypes oneself when it benefits oneself).

On the balance, though, the addition of three more debates after New Hampshire should help Bernie, because the Democratic National Committee/Debbie Wasserman Schultz thus far has scheduled only two debates after New Hampshire: on February 11 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and on March 9 in Miami, Florida.

In addition to the debate wedged between Iowa and New Hampshire, the Bernie and Billary camps have agreed to additional debates in March, April and May, Politico reports.

If the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primary season is stretched out, like 2008’s was (recall that Billary didn’t finally concede to Barack Obama until June 2008), the three extra debates after New Hampshire, bringing the total post-New-Hampshire debate total to five, would benefit Bernie.

Indeed, scheduling only two debates after New Hampshire apparently was Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s tactic to expose her precious Billary to as few debates as possible after the earliest-voting states.

So while I’m hoping for the four extra debates — even though live-blogging the debates, as I have been doing, can be a bit of a pain in the ass — I’m not holding my breath that the Democratic National Committee/Debbie Wasserman Schultz will say yes to them.

The process has not been very democratic thus far.

P.S. In other news today, the New York Times quite stupidly has endorsed Billary Clinton for the Democratic Party presidential nomination. (This endorsement comes on the heels of the resurfacing of E-mailgate — news yesterday that Billary’s home-brewed e-mail server contained at least 22 top-secret e-mails. Yeah, it’s really smart to endorse a candidate who might be indicted any day now…)

Can you say “establishment”? The establishmentarian New York Times had endorsed Billary in 2008, too, and we know how well that turned out.

What so many people forget (or ignore) is that the corporately owned and controlled mass media want a corporation-friendly president. Therefore, their endorsements reflect what’s best for them, not what’s best for the majority of the American people.

The Times once again has perceived the most corporation-friendly candidate to be Billary Clinton. Let’s hope that the Times is as right this year as it was in 2008.

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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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Billary probably can’t survive losing both Iowa and New Hampshire

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) takes a question during a news conference

Reuters photo

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is seeking the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination, appears at a news conference in Washington, D.C., today. A new poll for the first time shows him beating Billary Clinton in the pivotal early state of Iowa, albeit within the poll’s margin of error. He wasn’t supposed to ever do even that well against the “inevitable” Billary, on whom he has been maintaining a solid lead in the also-pivotal early state of New Hampshire already.

For the first time, Bernie Sanders has taken a lead over Billary Clinton on the first-in-the-nation-to-weigh-in state of Iowa (the Iowa caucuses are on February 1). True, his lead is within the margin of error – he polled at 41 percent to Billary’s 40 percent – but still, it is the strongest that he has polled thus far in Iowa. A series of recent polls already has him leading Billary well outside of the margin of error in the second-to-weigh-in state of New Hampshire (the New Hampshire primary is on February 9).

Team Billary is under the assumption – or at least wants the rest of us to believe – that Billary can lose both Iowa and New Hampshire yet still win the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination.

Can she?

Probably not.

The only Democrat who won the party’s presidential nomination without having won, that is, come in at No. 1 in at least Iowa or New Hampshire, was Bill Clinton, in 1992. Since the Democratic Party went to its current system of selecting its presidential candidate in 1976, the he-Clinton remains the only candidate who did not win Iowa or New Hampshire yet still won the party’s presidential nomination.

Bill Clinton had come in at third place in Iowa and second place in New Hampshire in 1992, so his eventual win of the nomination perhaps was a statistical outlier, but it was not shocking.

Can Billary – if she doesn’t come in at first place in Iowa or New Hampshire in February – repeat her hubby’s 1992 performance?

Methinks not.

In 1992, the Clintons were unknown to the majority of the nation. Bill Clinton was fresh back then. Since then, The Mountain of Clinton Baggage has only grown, and Billary Clinton never has been as popular as has been her spouse. She’s always only ever been a cheaper knock-off of him.

Perhaps it goes back, at least in part, to the fact that before Billary, no former first lady ever had sought the White House herself; perhaps this is considered (fairly or unfairly) by some if not even most Americans to be an unseemly thing to do.

But the No. 1 factor that is harming Billary is Billary. She is unlikeable. She comes across as wooden and insincere, as cold and calculating – because she very apparently is – and whether it’s “fair” or not, superficial factors harm her, such as her voice, which aptly has been compared to the sounds of fingernails on a chalkboard. Unlike Elizabeth Warren, for example, who comes across as wise and reassuring (the strong, good mother archetype – an actual pit bull with lipstick), Billary comes across as shrill and self-serving (the shrieking harpy, the bad mother archetype).

As far as her record is concerned, human (well, we think she’s human) weather vane Billary’s politically (mis)calculated October 2002 vote for the Vietraq War in the U.S. Senate (Sanders wisely voted against the war in the U.S. House of Representatives) is reason enough to keep her from ever occupying the Oval Office.

Team Billary’s plan, the media have reported, is to be able to lose Iowa and New Hampshire to Bernie Sanders but then come back resoundingly on “Super Tuesday,” which is March 1, when a dozen states will hold caucuses and primary elections. (Only four states hold primaries and causes in February: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, in that chronological order.)

This “comeback plan” assumes that E-mailgate won’t continue to take its toll on Billary between now and “Super Tuesday,” but expect unflattering Billary-related news to roll in over the coming months – the Repugnican-Tea-Party-controlled Congress really wants to talk to the man whom Billary paid to set up her home-brewed e-mail server, and Billary is scheduled to testify again before Congress regarding Benghazi next month, for instance – and expect this news to remind us of what it means to have a scandal/“scandal”-magnet Clinton in the White House.

Don’t get me entirely wrong; Benghazigate is mostly bullshit, and it’s interesting that the same Repugnican Tea Party traitors who never have cared about the more than 4,000 of our troops killed in the illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust Vietraq War suddenly care so much about the lives of four Americans in the Middle East, but nonetheless, what Billary faces now that her husband did not face in 1992, when he eked out a victory in the Democratic Party presidential primary season, was Clinton Fatigue.

Will the Democratic and left-leaning primary-season voters still be able to surmount Clinton Fatigue and make Billary the nominee if she doesn’t win Iowa or New Hampshire?

Or will Billary implode if she doesn’t win Iowa or New Hampshire? Will she bleed out fatally, as voters suddenly finally realize how weak a presidential candidate she truly, actually is?

My money would be on the latter.

And as I’ve noted, it’s awfully interesting that the conventional-“wisdom” pundits and the Clintonistas assert, when winning Iowa alone gives a big boost to a candidate — the last time that the Democratic winner of Iowa didn’t go on to become the party’s presidential nominee was in 1992 (which was an odd year for the Democratic presidential race in general) — that Bernie Sanders might win both Iowa and New Hampshire yet still not win the nomination.

In the meantime, my dream ticket for 2016 would be Bernie Sanders and his fellow U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren. The No. 2 spot would position Warren nicely to be president of the United States of America after President Sanders.

We’re long overdue for our first female president, but our first female president should not be the dynastic, center-right, Democrat-in-name-only Billary Clinton.

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