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November 14, 2016


Blargh! I am sick and tired of these "analyses".

There is no mystery here. There is no secret conspiracy. There is nothing that demands explanation. The reason Hillary Clinton won the Democratic primary is that there are a lot of Democrats (including me) that like her, for a wide variety of reasons. The reason other major Democrats didn't run against here is because it was an obviously steep climb (even steeper than 2008 now that she had the backing of many Obama supporters as well). Just because you (and other people) don't like like her doesn't change that. For crying out loud, she ran neck-and-neck with Obama in 2008 even after her aura of inevitability was gone. If her campaign had been smarter about targeting caucuses, she could easily have won back then.

There's a reasonable argument to be made that the people who voted for her made a poor strategic decision because liking her could make it harder to see how a campaign would play out given the large fraction of the wider electorate that disliked her (or worse), but that's a very different claim. Nor is that claim obviously true, especially with respect to Sanders (given what we're now hearing about his oppo file).

tl;dr Just because you don't like Hillary Clinton doesn't mean there aren't a bunch of people who do.

I fully agree that plenty of people liked her. That doesn't alone explain why she faced essentially no opposition.

Though I'm not even sure you're disagreeing with me. What do you think 'steep climb' means?

I phrased that poorly. I meant "Does steep climb" mean something outside what I discussed above?

There is no mystery here. There is no secret conspiracy. There is nothing that demands explanation.

The first two are true; the last assertion not so much, I think.

It would be absurd to suggest that Clinton wasn't the candidate of the Democrat establishment, and wrong to think that many Democrats were unhappy about that.
If all were sweetness and light, then the current moves to oust various Democratic state chairs wouldn't be underway:

I am not a Clintonophobe, but she had significant weaknesses as a candidate.

Hillary Clinton has long been known to be an especially vindictive player of intra-party politics.

I'm sorry, but this is crap. I'm not saying that Hillary is a saint, but any politician and politician's staff keeps track. The Politico article was just a bunch of wanking journalists who wanted to see a fight. We see where this kind of journalism got us, a part time president.

By all accounts, Hillary was able to work with a range of senators who treated her like shit before. I'd have been a lot more vindictive than her and I dare say anyone else on this board would have been. In fact, her willingness to try and get stuff done with other members of the Senate is what some anti hillary folks continue to use as ammo.

Furthermore, vindictive like Christie? Vindictive like Trump? This is just the normalization of their behavior that is beyond the pale.

Unfortunately, this just indicates that the range of acceptable behavior for a woman is this infinitely narrow tightrope and that's what I think she ran afoul of. It's sexism and I wish people would call it what it is. I appreciate that others may have other opinions, but that's my take.

This isn't to suggest that she's perfect, but that line suggests you are buying into a narrative that none of us knows. Certainly her tendency to hunker down contributes to this impression, but if she were as vindictive as claimed, she would have stiffed Obama when he asked her to be Sec of State.

Saying no to the Secretary of State position wouldn't have been vindictive. It was clearly furthering her own ambitions. It suggests that Obama wasn't vindictive, which is a different issue.

but that line suggests you are buying into a narrative that none of us knows.

I'm not. I posted the article as evidence of what I wrote, which in view of the fights for state chairs seems reasonable.
The views of the Politico columnists are their own.

I meant the line in the OP that I quoted.

OK, no problem.
(Im not a massive fan of Politico editorial, but they do report stuff.)

Notable that Digby, who was squarely behind Hillary during the election (and completely agrees that she was consistently judged by unfair double standards), also criticises the campaign:

But, it was worse than the mere quantity of the Trump coverage. The little coverage that Clinton got, comparatively, was approximately two-fold, nearly all of it awful, and a lot of it her campaign's own fault. Most that I saw was either:

1. Ethical scandals that clearly made her look as corrupt as Trump.

2. Policy articles by her and others in her campaign that were so incredibly boring, so inside-baseball, and so badly written that no one in their right mind would ever bother to read them. ..

Uh, Nigel, that's a criticism of press coverage, not of what the Clinton campaign did.
There was plenty of heartwarming just-folks Clinton campaign content, if the press would have featured it.
HRC and the press are enemies, and so we have Trump. Alas.

you may be right, Sebastian. Clinton was the odd-son favorite this time around. and it's not inconceivable that some people decided they didn't want to waste their time. (she was the presumptive pre-primary nominee in 2007-8, however)

but, the exact same thing every time an incumbent runs - sane people usually don't bother primarying an incumbent President.

the problem i have with this kind of article is that it's usually accompanied by claims that the evil DNC, headed by the wicked DWS, made sure nobody else ran and "cleared the field" to "rig the election" for HRC's "coronation". as if primaries are decided in back rooms and voters are irrelevant.



It's sexism and I wish people would call it what it is. I appreciate that others may have other opinions, but that's my take.

Thank you.

"Saying no to the Secretary of State position wouldn't have been vindictive. It was clearly furthering her own ambitions"

Nobody gets into the big show who isn't ambitious.

I guess I'm puzzled about the point you're making here. she was invited to be Sec of State, and she should have said no, because....?

that's a criticism of press coverage, not of what the Clinton campaign did.

Complaining about press coverage is a little like complaining about the weather. With the difference that it's possible to influence press coverage.

I'm kind of tired of this evil Hillary meme. There's nothing wrong with her charitable foundation, which has an A rating as was described by Forbes as one of the most transparent charities in the US. As for vicious insider politics, her campaign was normal, both this time and with Obama: there were individuals who got caught up and overly enthusiastic in their partisanship, but not outside the range of the kind of misbehavior that often arises in a highly competitive situation and, no, Democrats were not afraid of her. Why the hell should they be, after witnessing Obama's primary win and tis aftermath?

I suggest that instead of looking for character flaws in individual Democrats and the political party equivalent of a character flaws in the Democratic party, that we examine the pathology behind the Republican party. The party has no politicians of merit (quite the opposite--shills, cynis,cranks, fanatics, ideologues and criminals abound), serves no interesst beyond making the rich richer, and gets elected over and over by appealing to the worst instincts of the electorate. That's a problem of great significance and I think it would be a better investment of our time to focus our analysis there.

from Sebastian's article

McCaskill regretted her remark instantly; the anguish brought her “to the point of epic tears,” according to a friend. She knew the comment had sounded much more deliberate than a forgivable slip of the tongue. So did Hillary, who immediately canceled a planned fundraiser for McCaskill. A few days later, McCaskill called Bill Clinton to offer a tearful apology. He was gracious, which just made McCaskill feel worse. After winning the seat, she was terrified of running into Hillary Clinton in the Capitol. “I really don’t want to be in an elevator alone with her,” McCaskill confided to the friend.

But Hillary, who was just then embarking on her presidential campaign, still wanted something from McCaskill—the Missourian’s endorsement. Women’s groups, including the pro-choice women’s fundraising network EMILY’s List, pressured McCaskill to jump aboard the Clinton bandwagon, and Hillary courted her new colleague personally, setting up a one-on-one lunch in the Senate Dining Room in early 2007. Rather than ask for McCaskill’s support directly, Hillary took a softer approach, seeking common ground on the struggles of campaigning, including the physical toll. “There’s a much more human side to Hillary,” McCaskill thought.

Is there any limits to her vindictiveness? Dodged a bullet there. Thank god we have someone taking over whose temperament is 'winning'. Just ask him...

Yet almost no important player in the Democratic Party even vaguely contested her. That was left to Sanders...

Am I correct that you consider Gov. O'Malley to not be an "important player"? Because, while his campaign didn't flourish, he always seemed to this non-Democrat to be a better option than either Clinton or Sanders.

I take comfort (not really) in the fact that we were in for a crap show in foreign policy no matter who won. With Trump we will side with dictators and human rights abusers. With Clinton it would be just the opposite--we would side with human rights abusers and dictators.

The NYT saw fit to put this on the front page after the election--


Good article, but frankly understated.

Trump seems to want to side with the Russians and Assad against Al Nusra and ISIS, as opposed to the really smart people on the other side who wanted to side with rebels who fight with Al Nusra and who include pro-torture Hillary endorsers like Michael Morell, who wanted to kill Russians "covertly" (saying this to Charlie Rose, perhaps in the hopes that nobody watches that old bore and so it would not destroy plausible deniability). We are run by fracking morons in both parties when it comes to foreign policy. I wanted very badly for both to lose on that front.

Trump, of course, will be a disaster on many other fronts, most notably climate change, where he could be catastrophically bad. So far he seems too disorganized to be an effective autocrat--more of an incompetent Czar than a Lenin. I expect him to be a dumber, more paranoid version of Richard Nixon.

He does have a good idea on infrastructure. But I don't know that the Republicans will go along.

I suggest that instead of looking for character flaws in individual Democrats and the political party equivalent of a character flaws in the Democratic party, that we examine the pathology behind the Republican party.

Just doing a drive-by rather than hanging about, but... to what end? The only value I could see in this would be swaying right-leaning independents (as most other audiences would be long-since-preached-to choirs on this subject), and I strongly suspect any such analysis we have here would not be framed in a way that's particularly compelling to someone that far from a doctrinaire liberal POV. If the discussion revolves around the fundamental moral failings of the Republicans, what is there to discuss? To someone outside the bubble, it just sounds like we're re-iterating why we hate the other team, and that's typically not the sort of conversation anyone but the speaker finds interesting (and no one finds persuasive).

Other than Joe Biden, who sat out who had a realistic chance? Who would have had a chance against either of them, either of whom could have made the "it's my turn" argument against anyone but each other? Who was scared off by Hillary's alleged viciousness? As for the bench, who will get a chance to do anything to separate him- or herself from the pack in 2020? Andy? Gillibrand? Booker? O'Malley again? Wyden?

For 2020, pretty much going to have to be a governor. Unless some Senator manages to distinguish himself while being a minority member....

My initial reaction is that unspecified candidates are always better than real ones.

Once you nominate an actual person it turns out that she has flaws, and has made mistakes, and some people dislike her.

But you do have to nominate a specific person, so that's pretty much unavoidable.

Why study the pathology of the Republicans. To see if there is a more effective way to deal with them. TO protect ourselves. Possibly to find a way to communicate with them. To find a way to peal off voters from them.

If you knew about the dangers of the Southern Strategy, you're going to want to get familiar with the horrors of the "Sailer Strategy". Steven Sailer is a popular political strategist and theorist on the Alt-Right. From the 2000 post:

Here at VDARE, we`ve discussed repeatedly how dire will be the long-term impact of immigration on the Republican Party. It`s crucial to understand, however, that the long-term has not quite arrived. The GOP is not yet held hostage. It still has a window of opportunity – definitely stretching through the next recession but maybe not to the recession after that – to save itself by changing the immigration laws. This can be seen by examining the 2000 election results closely.

The reason George W. Bush struggled so much to eke out a 271-267 win in the Electoral College (assuming that he can hold on to it) is not that he got crushed in the minority vote 77% to 21%. No, it`s that he commanded only a measly 54% of the white vote.

To test this theory, I created a huge state-by-state spreadsheet of election results and Voter News Service exit poll numbers), which allows me to play what-if games, such as:


This article is written by a conservative writer. He believes the Trump team were conscious of the Sailer Strategy, that is to use an explicitly racist understanding of identity politics as opposed to the Dog whistles of the Southern Strategy.


Not sure which thread to put this in, but here is a somewhat encouraging piece on how to fight Trump--


On foreign policy, what Donald said.

F'crynoutloud. She won, she's still winning as they continue to count the votes. And she would have won by a bigger margin if the Repubs hadn't done some fairly effective vote suppression.

The electoral college has never been anything but a way to cheat the winning candidate if the powerful chose to do so.

No, the powerful have nothing to do with what the electoral college does. It exists simply because the smaller (population) states wanted some protection from the big states. Back when the Constitution was being written.

Sometimes (this is the 4th out of nearly 60) the person with the most votes doesn't win. That's the way the system was designed, and everybody knows it going in. Along with the implications for campaign strategy.

The only way this is a conspiracy of the powerful is if your personal worldview requires a conspiracy whenever things don't happen the way you would prefer.

wj, I think it was a bit of both. Many of the founders were extremly opposed to any direct election, i.e. one without a filter of wise guys in between. Thus no popular election of senators (the senate composition itself took care of minority state protection). The state elites, not the states, feared to be sidelined by majority rule. But it was indeed not about 'cheating', just (imo) better control.

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned that the way slaves were counted under the 3/5ths compromise probably contributed to the electoral college. A lot of articles floating around about it, stating it to various degrees.

Here's one of those articles on the EC & slavery:

At Philadelphia, the leading lawyer in America, James Wilson, proposed direct elections. Wilson was one of only six people to sign the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. He wrote the words "We the people" in the document. He's one of the first five associate justices on the Supreme Court. And he was for a direct election.

When he advocated this, James Madison's immediate response was: In principle, you're right, but the South won't go for it because they'll lose every time because they won't be able to count their slaves.

Coming back a bit late, but to answer your question Sebastian, my view of "steep climb" has nothing to do with the supposed consequences of losing (which others have refuted far better than I could) but just the sheer amount of work required to compete and the low probability of success. At some point people decide it isn't worth the bother. Maybe if someone thought running would help position them for the VP nod, but pre-primary there was no reason to believe that.

In retrospect, if a younger, more progressive plausible VP-candidate had run to Hillary's left perhaps they would have captured the enthusiasm of Bernie's supporters and more strongly unified the party when picked as VP (and avoided the last damaging round of negative attacks that still echoed months later). But that's hindsight talking and I can't think of anyone who is an obvious fit for that role anyway.

Nigel, I'm not asserting that all was sweetness and light. I'm not saying everyone was happy with Clinton. I'm just saying looking at the primary and asking "How did she win when everybody hates her?" (as this post implicitly does) is a question with a broken premise. Plenty of people liked her. They were often people who don't count in various narratives (most notably people of color and feminists), but they're out there.

Clinton winning the primary is no more mysterious than Gore winning the primary 16 years ago. This is in contrast to Obama (and, to a lesser extent, Kerry) whose victories were unusual enough to be worth digging into.

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