By Doug Porter
The first actual voting in the 2016 presidential primaries took place last night and the frustrations of the people manifested themselves by way of solid victories for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (+22%) and The Donald (+19%).
Today I’ll celebrate my one thousandth post at San Diego Free Press by sharing some observations on the implications of these victories.
The New York Times analysis of voting patterns showed Sanders winning with majorities from men, women, first-time voters, past voters, non-gun owners, middle-income people, and low-income people. Hilary Clinton won voters 65+ and households earning more than $200,000 annually. The Democratic candidates split voters in the 45-64 age demographic.
Trump carried every major GOP demographic group: men, women, young voters, old voters, high school-educated voters, college-educated voters, voters who make less than $50,000 per year and voters who make more than $100,000 per year.
The real contest among Republicans was for second place. Ohio Gov. John Kasich finished in second place, making him the flavor of the day for establishment conservatives looking for a candidate. Outlier Sen. Ted Cruz took third, positioning himself as the candidate on the right for alienated voters should Trump stumble.
From Charles P Pierce at Esquire didn’t think Kasich’s time as the front runner would last very long.
Kasich and Sanders were celebrating about six minutes away from each other. The state capitol was the political sweet spot on Tuesday. Sanders won going away, and in a fashion that cannot be dismissed as a fluke of either demography or geography. Kasich, meanwhile, squashed the other contenders for the runner-up slot behind He, Trump. (We here at the shebeen would like to thank Chris Christie for the fine way he fulfilled his mission—wrapping his arms around Young Marco Rubio and hurling himself off a cliff.) In both cases, though, the respective campaigns won by having enough people willing to sleep on floors and knock on doors to overcome the overwhelming financial advantages of better-heeled opponents. They were aided immeasurably by the political equivalent of what the Irish call “travelers,” political transients willing to see the country from the basement window of somebody’s abandoned rumpus room…
…..Of course, the Republican race now moves along to South Carolina, which not only is the home office of American sedition, but also is the birthplace of the late Lee Atwater, the man from whom a generation of Republican ratfckers learned their trade. It was in South Carolina in 2000 where the Bush campaign spread scurrilous rumors about John McCain and his family. That campaign was run by Karl Rove, an Atwater acolyte, and Atwater learned his trade at the feet of Strom Thurmond. Ratfcking is generational down there. And as much as I would like to believe that Kasich is right, and that the light has defeated the dark, I also know that the exit polls in New Hampshire showed that 66 percent of the Republican winner’s voters believed that Muslims should be forbidden from emigrating to this country for some period of time. And I know that this is ground that was softened up for the likes of He, Trump decades ago, and it has been waiting there in the breathing dark for someone like him to conjure up again its dark and everlasting energy.
Due to a quirk in the Democrats nominating process, the next match-up between Clinton and Sanders is in Nevada, where caucuses for both parties similar to those in Iowa will take place on February 20th.
Republicans in South Carolina will vote for presidential candidates on the same date. Democrats in the Palmetto State don’t vote until February 27th.
The Sanders campaign has been on the ground in Nevada for months now, with National Nurses United leading the way. Some observers think the state’s Latino voters could swing the door open for Hillary Clinton to win. Mother Jones posted a report this morning suggesting that the previous successes of legendary campaign organizer Mark Mook in Nevada bodes well for a Clinton victory.
From the Washington Post:
There is this perception that New Hampshire, which Bernie Sanders won Tuesday, is too white and too close to Sanders’s home state of Vermont for Clinton to win. After New Hampshire, though, the states get significantly more diverse; basically every one of the next couple dozen states to vote is less white than Iowa and New Hampshire.
We’ve called this Clinton’s “nonwhite firewall.” Basically: More-diverse electorates start voting, and Clinton has a better chance of putting together a series of wins and ending Bernie Sanders once and for all.
But while Clinton might indeed be a shoo-in in South Carolina, that isn’t so clearly the case in Nevada.
The Middle Won’t Do
Drake University Law Professor, writing at The Conversation, defines what the core challenge is to the Clinton campaign. I think you could switch up the names of the candidates and this analysis could apply to the Republican Party as well.
… the fundamental problem Clinton faces is the liberal base of the Democratic Party is no longer interested in merely winning elections. After years of following the centrists’ lead, liberal Democrats want to see the party – and the country – move to the left.
New Hampshire is a case in point. In 2008 about 56 percent of New Hampshire Democrats identified as liberal. But in 2016 the percentage of liberals surged to two-thirds of New Hampshire Democrats. As more Democrats self-identify as liberals, issues such as income inequality have moved to the forefront of the Democratic agenda for the first time in decades.
Accordingly, the centrist politics of Bill and Hillary Clinton and the cautious politics of Barack Obama no longer satisfy the liberal base of the party.
Liberals want to take their party back from the moderates, and they see the Sanders candidacy as the right vehicle to achieve that goal. The New Hampshire results thus make clear that the deep connection between Sanders and the liberal base of the party is a potentially grave threat to the Clinton campaign.
The End Game: Can the Party Establishments Prevail?
At this point, I believe the Republican nomination will be decided at the convention. I also believe that Donald Trump has as good a chance as any of the candidates of being the nominee, not because of his anti-establishmentarianism, but because the author of The Art of The Deal will make a behind-the-doors deal.
Senator Ted Cruz represents a bigger threat to the Grand Old Party establishment because he’s demonstrated a willingness to act in ways the party elders consider suicidal.
The challenge for the Democratic Party will be to keep from eating its young. I’ve lived through two of these generational/ideological divides (I was Clean for Gene McCarthy in 1968 and Came Home for George McGovern in 1972) and now fear a repeat of those elections.
For the record, I’m sold on the Sanders revolution. But anybody who thinks this kind of change will come quickly or easily is delusional. Change is hard work. Change takes time.
The petty bickering currently on display in the Democratic Party does nothing but help the right. Come November I’ll support the candidate who will best represent my visions for the future. And if that means voting for a less-than-perfect candidate, so be it.
There’s always 2020. Just think about the damage four Republican-approved Supreme Court justices could do in the meantime.
On This Day: 1956 – Little Richard recorded “Long Tall Sally”. 1989 – Ron Brown became the first African-American to head a major U.S. political party when he was elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee. 1998 – A man became the first to be convicted of committing a hate crime in cyberspace. The college dropout had e-mailed threats to Asian students.
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