Democratic Primary 2020

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Re: Democratic Primary 2020

Postby cmsellers » Fri Feb 08, 2019 7:20 am

Doodle Dee. Snickers wrote:5. Beto: I'm going to lightning round these, because I take them less seriously. Beto is great and all, but I think he's been too bigheaded by his Texas loss in which he got close to beating the most hated senator in Washington. He has little experience, not a very clear policy, and most importantly, doesn't have a massive nationwide following.

From what I've seen, I feel like Beto has a bigger following outside of Texas than in it. But he's not making good decisions if he wants to run for president. I voted for Beto twice (primary and general), and he's an impressive campaigner, but I don't think he'd make a good president.

Doodle Dee. Snickers wrote:9. Castro: Nope. Feel like he's more of a person that the media is aware of than the electorate. I know nothing about the guy but for his place in Obama's administration, and that it's all I know should show you there's a problem.

I forgot Castro was in the Obama administration. I think of him as the ex-mayor of San Antonio, since that's what people in Texas talk about.

Doodle Dee. Snickers wrote:5. The Rock: Come on. You know why, and it doesn't matter what you think.

The Rock is the least unappealing celeb candidate, but please no.

Doodle Dee. Snickers wrote:I think that one of these candidates is likely to win with 33-40% of the primary electorate. I also don't think the electorate is quite as massively leftist as everyone seems to want to think, which is why I think moderate candidates will have good appeal, especially if they're more moderate in tone but quietly leftist in policy. I also don't believe Howard Schultz will be Al Gore, as many people seem to think. I also believe people underestimate the chance of him drawing Trump voters away, as if it's only Democrats he could ever appeal to.

Currently 55% of Democrats self-ID as liberal or "very liberal," though I don't think this includes Dem-leaning indies, and even "very liberal" doesn't necessarily mean "progressive."
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Re: Democratic Primary 2020

Postby gisambards » Fri Feb 08, 2019 4:45 pm

The reporting is now that Sanders is fairly certain to run. As of right now, I think he'll lose out to particularly Harris (who I agree with Doods is probably the most likely to win as of right now), as I think the attitude in the party is, while further left than it was, not as far left as Sanders, and is certainly more in favour of a young black female candidate than an old white male one. Plus, Sanders does have a negative side that started to come out most prominently after he lost in 2016 and has been on display occasionally since - beneath the friendly grandpa exterior, he has a fairly blatant egotistical streak, and I can actually see that coming out more this time, when he's running mostly against people who have much of the same policies as him - he does sometimes give the impression (at least, I think) of considering it more important that he be the one to make positive changes than that they're actually made. I can see that rubbing people up the wrong way if left unchecked, particularly in a field otherwise comprised nearly entirely of women and minorities.
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Re: Democratic Primary 2020

Postby cmsellers » Fri Feb 08, 2019 5:12 pm

I would have voted for Sanders in 2016 if I hadn't had issues voting in Texas because of voter ID laws here. But that's because he was running against Hillary, who I deeply distrust, and was the only candidate left with half a shot at beating her. Factoring into this is that I assumed at least the House, and probably the Senate, would be GOP-controlled. With Sanders, I assumed that the only things he would really have control over were judicial appointments and foreign policy, and I trust him more than Hillary on both those things.

However in 2021, the House will be Democratic, and the Democrats have a shot of picking up the Senate. (Here's hoping they finally have the sense to eliminate the legislative filibuster if they do.) So suddenly, Sanders' far-left economic proposals look at lot more concerning. And at the same time, there are a lot more options. They will be winnowed considerably by the time they get to me, but since whether I'm living in MA or TX then I vote on Super Tuesday, I should still probably have more than two choices with a better shot than Martin O'Malley or Mike Gravel did in 2016 and 2008. (Liked Gravel, didn't like O'Malley, but neither one had a snowball's chance in Houston by Super Tuesday.)

The candidates I like less than Sanders are mostly either in the progressive "lane" (Brown, Warren) or really improbable (Oprah, Avenatti, Bloomberg) so Harris is the only candidate where it seems like it could come down to her and Sanders and I might prefer Sanders. But note the "might." I'm still deeply concerned about how the nepodultery thing will play, and her off-the-cuff embracement of Canadian-style single-payer horrified me and made me question both her grasp of policy and political instincts. But while my views on Sanders were pretty well settled since around 2005, Harris is someone where it's still fairly easy for her to shift my opinion of her. If she handles questions about the nepodultery well and shows strong political instincts on the trail, I could easily end up preferring her to Sanders too.
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Re: Democratic Primary 2020

Postby NathanLoiselle » Fri Feb 08, 2019 7:42 pm

When Biden's past comments and actions are brought up he must do one thing. "I never did that. That's fake news."
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Re: Democratic Primary 2020

Postby Crimson847 » Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:59 am

What's your view on how Sanders' past would affect him in a general election, sellers?

https://www.newsweek.com/myths-cost-dem ... ion-521044

I have seen the opposition book assembled by Republicans for Sanders, and it was brutal. The Republicans would have torn him apart. ...

Here are a few tastes of what was in store for Sanders, straight out of the Republican playbook: He thinks rape is A-OK. In 1972, when he was 31, Sanders wrote a fictitious essay in which he described a woman enjoying being raped by three men. Yes, there is an explanation for it—a long, complicated one, just like the one that would make clear why the Clinton emails story was nonsense. And we all know how well that worked out.

Then there’s the fact that Sanders was on unemployment until his mid-30s, and that he stole electricity from a neighbor after failing to pay his bills, and that he co-sponsored a bill to ship Vermont’s nuclear waste to a poor Hispanic community in Texas, where it could be dumped. You can just see the words “environmental racist” on Republican billboards. And if you can’t, I already did. They were in the Republican opposition research book as a proposal on how to frame the nuclear waste issue.

Also on the list: Sanders violated campaign finance laws, criticized Clinton for supporting the 1994 crime bill that he voted for, and he voted against the Amber Alert system. His pitch for universal health care would have been used against him too, since it was tried in his home state of Vermont and collapsed due to excessive costs. Worst of all, the Republicans also had video of Sanders at a 1985 rally thrown by the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua where half a million people chanted, “Here, there, everywhere/the Yankee will die,’’ while President Daniel Ortega condemned “state terrorism” by America. Sanders said, on camera, supporting the Sandinistas was “patriotic.”

The Republicans had at least four other damning Sanders videos (I don’t know what they showed), and the opposition research folder was almost 2-feet thick. (The section calling him a communist with connections to Castro alone would have cost him Florida.)


Some of this is difficult to confirm, but what I can confirm (like the rape essay) holds up, and the rest seems entirely plausible.
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Re: Democratic Primary 2020

Postby NathanLoiselle » Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:21 am

Sanders: "Did I say SOCIALISM?? I did! I DID say socialism. Socialism ROCKS! Winning!"
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Re: Democratic Primary 2020

Postby cmsellers » Sat Feb 09, 2019 3:55 am

I think old scandals are probably less likely to resonate with the population, Crim, especially if they're based on a politician having extreme views. Look at how little traction Sinema's past from under two decades ago gained, despite GOP attempts to make hay of it. Look how irrelevant Ron Paul's supporters considered his name on a racist newsletter. I also feel like "Sanders is kind of a left-wing crackpot and used to be way more of one," is kind of baked into voters' views, but I may be projecting because I've been familiar with him since around 2002.

Still, I think that the bed-of-nails thing that helped make Trump seem less awful to people could work for Sanders and his cranky left-wing views. The bed-of-nails effect is also why I prefer Biden, with his gaffe-riddled past, to Warren, with her one issue with unforced yet extremely petty errors on the Cherokee thing.

To address each of your specific issues
Sanders being an unemployed bohemian who stole electricity and went to rallies with left-wing dictators seems like they're all things he could dismiss by saying "I was young and foolish then, I'm older and wiser now." He's definitely evolved to a more pragmatic foreign policy, from the nineties on.

While his condemnation of Hillary for the crime bill is recent, hypocrisy usually doesn't undermine politicians too much, and there's a case to be made for that while he voted for a bad compromise like pretty much everyone not named "Russ Feingold," he didn't go on TV and call young black men "superpredators." I do think it was hypocritical of him myself, but I totally get how he could see it otherwise.

The rape story doesn't need a long and convoluted explanation; I can explain it in one sentence. Lots of people, men and women both, have rape fantasies, which doesn't mean they believe rape is OK. Since I'm a kinky person myself, I can't predict how other people will take it, but it does have a justification which is perfectly reasonable and can be explained easily, unlike any long, convoluted, post-hoc justification of Hillary's email mistakes which were, very clearly, stupid mistakes.

I don't know how well "environmental racism" will play with swing voters, though I'd like to use this opportunity to complain, yet again, that if we allowed breeder reactors in the US we wouldn't have nearly so much of a nuclear waste problem.

The problem with Vermont's single-payer system, is that state tax burdens tend to be a lot lighter than federal programs, making any state entitlement require ridiculously high taxes. I remember commenting on this to progressive friends at the time. They didn't believe me then, but if they have any sense, they'll use that to justify its failure (and California's) when it comes up.

Amber alerts probably don't actually work for abductions where a child is actually in danger, but good luck convincing people of this. I feel like this is one of the most potentially damaging bits of information, and if I were a GOP strategist, I'd probably have focused on this and anything else he did that could be framed as putting children in danger, though I don't know if there are more things of this nature.

Basically, I think that when running against a candidate, you want a coherent messages like Crooked Hillary and Her Emails, and not a bunch of seemingly unrelated stuff for "throw everything at the wall and see what sticks" approach like the Democrats used against Trump. From what you say, it sounds like the GOP was salivating at the idea of running against Sanders as much as Hillary salivated about running against Trump, and we all see how that worked for her.

So to answer your implied question: I'm not certain Sanders would have won, but I think it's more likely than not, and I definitely think he would have outperformed her in the Midwest and Pennsylvania. But I also think what might have happened is not particularly relevant, because I have better options than Sanders this time, and that was the point of my previous post.
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Re: Democratic Primary 2020

Postby Crimson847 » Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:25 pm

I'm not so much interested in 2016 as 2020. You indicated that you prefer Sanders to Brown, Warren, possibly Harris, and other plausible candidates, presumably on electability grounds, whereas if that oppo is accurate I'd place him near the bottom of the list on that measure. Note that if voters don't care much about old scandals as you say, this also absolves Harris of her scandal. And if they care about her healthcare gaffe, presumably they'll care more about Sander's actual proposed legislation on the subject, which says the same thing she did.

As far as the failure of the PR campaign against Trump, I'm not really convinced it failed. By election time Trump was the most hated politician in history, and remains the most unpopular President in recent history. The problem, apart from the Electoral College, is that Hillary stepped on the most effective lines of attack against him by being a criminal herself (albeit a minor crime) and the very avatar of the hated DC establishment. So instead of the election being a choice of decent versus corrupt, it became a choice between a corrupt leader who will maintain the status quo and a corrupt leader who will change it.
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Re: Democratic Primary 2020

Postby Absentia » Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:13 pm

Crimson847 wrote:As far as the failure of the PR campaign against Trump, I'm not really convinced it failed. By election time Trump was the most hated politician in history, and remains the most unpopular President in recent history. The problem, apart from the Electoral College, is that Hillary stepped on the most effective lines of attack against him by being a criminal herself (albeit a minor crime) and the very avatar of the hated DC establishment. So instead of the election being a choice of decent versus corrupt, it became a choice between a corrupt leader who will maintain the status quo and a corrupt leader who will change it.


I'm still waiting for somebody to tell me what crime Hillary committed. The State Department's info security protocols are not law.
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Re: Democratic Primary 2020

Postby cmsellers » Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:14 pm

Brown is definitely more electable than Warren or Sanders, I just really, really hate his policy views to a degree that trumps electability considerations, especially when, unlike Klobuchar, he didn't do that much better relative to his state's lean than a replacement-level Democrat. I've already explained part of why I think Sanders is more electable than Warren in my last post, but the other part is that he's just more charismatic than her. Warren not only underperformed relative to other Democratic Senate candidates, she underperformed Clinton's 2016 MA performance in 2018, which I think bears out her weakness empirically.

I said that old scandals are less likely to matter, not that they never matter. I literally just started a thread on the Governor of Virginia wearing blackface in the eighties after all. I think it depends on factors including the kind of scandal, the political climate when it comes out, how the politician handles it, and how relevant it seems to stuff the politician does today. So Northam handled his scandal poorly in a time when the Democrats are really keen on tackling racism, while Sinema simply explained that she'd changed and pointed to her moderate voting record today.

There's two major components to the Kamala Harris thing: nepotism and sex. The sex bit has two components: she used her body to get ahead, which is anti-feminist, and she committed adultery. I think that in the #metoo era, she's more likely to be seen as a victim in this regard than a perpetrator, and people care a lot less about adultery than they did, so I don't think the sex aspect will harm her much but am not certain. The nepotism is more problematic, because her first two jobs launched her career. It's entirely possible she wouldn't be where she is without that boost, which makes it still potentially relevant. But again, I think that will ultimately matter here is how she handles it when it comes up.

That's a bad bill, and the fact that this is what Sanders is pushing lowers my view of him. OTOH, my reactions to both these things involved anchoring. I see that and I shake my head and go "Oh, Bernie," while the reputedly moderate Kamala Harris does the same thing and I go "what the fuck? Really?" When you point out Sanders' bill I can say, "OK yeah, Sanders is at least as bad and probably worse on healthcare than Harris," but her off-the-cuff remarks calling for a Canadian-style system definitely felt worse to me, and I think feelings are how most voters make decisions. At a minimum, stuff like this makes it easier to brand her as a far-left candidate, something I initially rolled my eyes at the first time I heard Republican commentators call her that.
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Re: Democratic Primary 2020

Postby Doodle Dee. Snickers » Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:33 pm

I still don't really buy the "Bed of nails" thing. It implies that Hillary Clinton had only one single scandal that sunk her when there were a vast number of them. Yes, a lot of people were really bothered by the e-mails, but I imagine the e-mails were a proxy for everything people detested about her, much how spending was with Obama before Republicans suddenly started spending like the deficit didn't matter. Also, it's not like Trump hasn't paid for all his scandals: he's very unpopular, even if his unpopularity hovers at a stable number.

As for bipartisan, I suppose I misspoke and should elaborate. I'm not interested in a Democrat winning Republican votes. We're not in a place right now, as a country, where Rs will vote for Ds unless that R is literally Roy Moore, and even he almost won. Oh, there are a lot of Republicans who bemoan that everyone votes party line, but they then turn around and blindly vote party line. What the midterms did tell me was there are a core of moderates who just want all this nonsense to end, independents who are repelled by Trump, and people like me who may not much like the Democratic party but decided they couldn't countenance what the Republicans had become (I used to call myself Republican, once upon a time, then I went independent and now here I am). Those are the people I think a Democrat more moderate in tone can reach and weld to the current base, which might create a damn powerful bloc at the moment.

As for the Rock, I was kidding. I think my fifth choice would be either Booker or Gillibrand.
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Re: Democratic Primary 2020

Postby cmsellers » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:32 am

There were a lot of "scandals," but pretty much all of them were bullshit. They likely contributed to the reason half the country saw her as the devil incarnate, which is why I said repeatedly nominating her was a stupid idea, but those voters were never on the fence, and I doubt they made up a large chunk of Democratic primary voters.

There's decent evidence that Comey's letter had something to do with Trump's victory. Now, admittedly, that could also be explained by any Hillary-related scandal being back in the news, or by it pumping the Access Hollywood tapes from the news, but it's there. The other things that makes me think the emails mattered is that even most of her supporters admitted the emails are a problem, and that they reinforced two of the reasons I disliked Hillary—bad judgment and entitlement—reasons which were also common reasons for people who don't believe Hillary is a serial killer to cite not liking her.

But beyond this, the main reason I believe in the bed-of-nails theory is that anecdotally, I've seen a lot of politicians do a lot of slimy and even illegal things and get away with, but when politicians are utterly destroyed (as opposed to merely losing), it seems to be because of one thing, rather than the exposure of years of malfeasance, and that one thing seems to be a relative to the politician's reputation rather than any objective measure of badness.

My understanding of human psychology also lends some support to the idea as well. First because people aren't "rational" even about material goods. We steeply discount good things on top of good things and bad things on top of bad things. People tend to prefer getting a good present to getting the same present plus a mediocre present. And then, it seems to be the case that people like clean, simple narratives, which is why soundbytes are a thing.

"Crooked Hillary thinks she's above the law because of her private email server" is a lot cleaner of a narrative than "Donald Trump is a life-long con-artist who defrauded hi employees and the students of Trump University, and he's a sexual predator who bragged about walking in on underage girls naked and grabbing women by the pussy, and he's a racist, and he's a draft-dodger who insulted John McCain's military service and insulted the parents of a dead soldier, and he's a political opportunist who used to be friends with the Clintons, and he acts really fucking creepy to his own daughter, and he got his start through 'a small loan of a million dollars' and his father's political connections, and..."
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Re: Democratic Primary 2020

Postby Doodle Dee. Snickers » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:39 am

Right, and fewer people voted for Trump, so...?

I mean, I get what you're trying to say, but I wonder how much you're subbing in your theory for a much simpler answer: partisanship. Just barely enough people forgive Trump these things not because he has too many scandals for them to care, but because they've voted Republican since Barry Goldwater and they damn well won't stop now. Since the president in modern times has become the avatar of the parties and the parties have basically become part of peoples' identity now, they are forgiven the most for their scandals, not because they've had so many that people simply become turned off to them.
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Re: Democratic Primary 2020

Postby cmsellers » Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:28 am

Trump also had worse net unfavorability ratings than Clinton. People who already disliked Trump or Clinton were probably not persuadable unless they liked both. The people who disliked both broke for Trump, and it looked from polls like this started happening after the Comey letter. Of course there's a lot of things that could explain this, including the fact that people start to make up their minds closer to the election, but I want to at least point out that people who disliked both Clinton and Trump, on average decided Clinton was worse, especially after the Comey letter.

As I said, though, Clinton and Trump isn't the main reason I believe in the bed of nails. It's watching the fates of the likes of Dennis Hastert, Tom Finneran, Elliot Spitzer, Larry Craig, and Jon Edwards, each brought down by a scandal that either stood out from a squeaky-clean record or stood out above the rest, and comparing them Joe Biden, Paul LePage, Ted Kennedy, Rick Scott, and Brian Kemp, who kept each of their scandals on roughly the same order of magnitude and seemed to do fine with it.

Of course, there are exceptions, look at Greg Gianforte or Bob Menendez, but then look at how they also needed to be in very partisan districts to win. Or look at Elizabeth Warren. I attributed her electoral underperformance to her lack of charisma, but it really wouldn't surprise me if the Cherokee thing played some role, especially with those urban blue-collar Catholic voters who usually vote reliably Democratic in MA but also tend to be conservative on social and especially cultural issues.
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Re: Democratic Primary 2020

Postby Crimson847 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:23 pm

As I said, though, Clinton and Trump isn't the main reason I believe in the bed of nails. It's watching the fates of the likes of Dennis Hastert, Tom Finneran, Elliot Spitzer, Larry Craig, and Jon Edwards, each brought down by a scandal that either stood out from a squeaky-clean record or stood out above the rest, and comparing them Joe Biden, Paul LePage, Ted Kennedy, Rick Scott, and Brian Kemp, who kept each of their scandals on roughly the same order of magnitude and seemed to do fine with it.


That list, with annotations:

Five who "died":
Dennis Hastert (for bank fraud and serial molestation of children)
Tom Finneran (convicted of obstruction of justice)
Elliot Spitzer (spent $80,000 on prostitutes in six months)
Larry Craig (Elected as an anti-gay crusader and then found soliciting boys for sex)
John Edwards (fathered a child with his mistress)

Five who survived:
Joe Biden (what verifiable crime did he commit?)
Paul LePage (what verifiable crime did he commit?)
Ted Kennedy (killed a woman through negligence)
Rick Scott (Shady investments and financial fuckery, no jail time)
Brian Kemp (Accused of voter suppression, but not enough evidence to prove it)

Other explanations for the difference come to mind. Except for Finneran (who committed a crime in his capacity as a public official), the guys up top all committed sex crimes, something Americans love to hate. Except for Kennedy, though, AFAIK the bottom list are just jerks who either haven't provably broken any laws or, in Scott's case, broke minor financial ones that people care less about.

Looking at that list, the only thing that cries out to me for an explanation beyond the above is how Kennedy survived (my guess: because it was 1969 and he was a Kennedy).
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