Sanders Voters Scarce So Far
By Doug Porter
With the deadline for primary voting in California less than a week away, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came to San Diego to talk foreign policy.
This talk wasn’t about what she would do as President. It was all about The Donald, who–as far as I can tell– mostly formulates his ideas by playing upon fear or flight fantasies based on too much TV drama.
Who knows what Trump believes? And that may well be the scariest part of his persona. We do know that he seems incapable of moderating his passions in the face of a perceived threat, like a reporter asking a tough question. He’s also apparently never been wrong. About anything.
The billionaire businessman inhabits a world where ticking terrorist timebombs can only be stopped by (his) superhuman efforts. There is no place in his universe for nuance, nor is there time for diplomacy.
Here’s Eric Levitz from New York Magazine writing about Trump’s grand address on foreign policy at DC’s Mayflower Hotel earlier this year:
As with so many of the Donald’s remarks, most of his address at the Mayflower reads like satire. His speech was framed as a call for “a disciplined, deliberate, and consistent foreign policy,” yet was littered with obvious contradictions: Trump criticized Obama for raising doubts about America’s willingness to support its allies — then promised that if those allies refused to donate to American arms manufacturers, “the U.S. must be prepared to let these countries defend themselves.” He lamented America’s misguided interventions in Iraq and Libya and Obama’s reluctance to intervene in Syria. He called nuclear weapons “the single biggest problem that we have today in the world,” and demanded that we “renew” our nuclear-weapons arsenal. He promised that “unlike other candidates for the presidency, war and aggression will not be my first instinct,” then suggested that Iran’s brief detention of ten U.S. sailors (who had drifted into its territorial waters) was an act of belligerence that demanded a muscular response.
And then there was his plan for defeating ISIS, which reads like a book report from a sixth-grader who didn’t do the reading…
The 10 most ridiculous conspiracy theories Donald Trump believes in https://t.co/rOVZeVuTGN
— Salon.com (@Salon) June 2, 2016
Clinton: Trump is Dangerous
As could be expected, the advance text of Clinton’s speech was widely shared among reporters covering the campaign.
Here are a few snips from the New York Times:
Hillary Clinton plans to deliver a scorching assessment of Donald J. Trump’s foreign policy prescriptions on Thursday, casting her likely Republican rival as a threat to decades of bipartisan tenets of American diplomacy and declaring him unfit for the presidency.
Mrs. Clinton’s campaign aides said the speech, which she will deliver in San Diego, would be the start of a persistent assault to portray a potential Trump presidency as a dangerous proposition that would weaken American alliances and embolden enemies…
…Mrs. Clinton will deliver the address on her final campaign swing before California holds its Democratic primary on Tuesday, when she is widely expected to reach the threshold of delegates needed to secure her party’s nomination. But in choosing to raise concerns about Mr. Trump’s foreign policy stances, she will be speaking to swing voters in general election battleground states who have doubts about a Trump presidency.
While Mrs. Clinton must be cautious not to alienate liberal Democrats who oppose some of her hawkish foreign policy stances, her campaign says national security could be the catalyst that drives independents and wavering Republicans to support her this fall.
While Hillary Clinton is correct in her assessment about the irrationality baked into Trump’s policy pronouncements, she largely misses the basis of his appeal in this arena.
The failures of US foreign policy to many voters are less about the questions of use/misuse of military force than they are about the impact of deals made under the guise of protecting the national interest.
Back to Levitz at New York:
…In fact, most of the trade agreements the United States forged in the postwar period were explicitly tailored to advantage foreign exporters over domestic ones, so as to secure Western Europe and Japan as allies in the Cold War. Economists have estimated that more recent agreements like NAFTA and the China-WTO deal cost the United States hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs. And, of course, the working class enjoyed little reward for its disproportionate participation in the last 15 years of foreign wars.
The bipartisan consensus on geopolitics has failed a lot of people. War on that consensus is the health of Trump’s campaign.
While the former Secretary of State has seemingly come around on pending trade deals, understanding the failure of those treaties as they relate to the well-being of far too many Americans is not part of her package.
Bernie Sanders, whose foreign policy chops are significantly less than Clinton’s, grasps that fundamental flaw.
For me it’s not a matter of whether the insurgent candidate will win the nomination of the Democratic party, it’s whether or not the policy makers of the next administration are willing to chart a better course. (Better being a relative term. And certainly not better for too many people around the planet.)
Sanders could win the nomination and the election and still lose the political battle being fought here. The military and its network of contractors as presently constituted amount to the government’s largest social and economic program. Too much of what is called necessary for the national defense has little to do with national security. And those profiting from the current system have demonstrated the ability to throw money at elected officials, along with a revolving door for policy advisors/makers.
Trump’s insanity aside, almost all policy questions come down to their economic assumptions. He doesn’t even acknowledge the fundamental bias towards the 1% inherent in such questions: it’s all about smoke and mirrors. And promises he’ll throw a bone in the direction of the disenfranchised.
The real questions for Hillary Clinton on foreign policy shouldn’t be about bombs or bluster; they should be about economic and political justice.
Republicrats For Sanchez
GOP strategists are crossing party lines and supporting Loretta Sanchez in a bid to thwart Kamala Harris in the contest for replacing Barbara Boxer in the US Senate, according to Bloomberg.
For the California GOP, which hasn’t won a statewide race since Arnold Schwarzenegger was reelected governor in 2006, the prospect of a faceoff between Harris and Sanchez in the fall is an invitation to play kingmaker. “You will see Republican operatives and business organizations working aggressively to support Loretta Sanchez,” says strategist Mike Madrid, a former state GOP political director. “That is where most of us will go.”
Stu Mollrich, a media strategist who worked for Schwarzenegger—as well as for Carly Fiorina, who ran against Boxer in 2010 and lost badly—is already actively backing Sanchez. “You look at that combination of moderate views, being able to work in a bipartisan way, and being very, very strong on national security—that’s a good portfolio,” says Mollrich, who’s advising a pro-Sanchez super-PAC called California’s New Frontier.
In the House, Sanchez has joined Republicans on some issues, including shielding gun manufacturers from liability and curbing regulations on for-profit colleges. In a closely divided Senate, having a Democrat willing to side with Republicans could help the GOP.
Registrations Are Up, But Will They Vote?
This year’s surge in California voter registration leading up the primary is getting lots of press. Two million people have signed up, and that number is preliminary.
Democrats in San Diego have added 77,000 voters to the rolls, outpacing Republicans.
Any perusal of social media creates the impression of a massive upswing in support for left/liberal causes by younger voters. Except these folks aren’t actually voting.
Andrew Keatts at Voice of San Diego talked with Paul Mitchell, vice president of Political Data Inc. about what’s going on:
The enthusiasm is making people question the conventional wisdom that June primaries favor local Republicans. If the boom in registration translates to a boom in voting, this June might be different for local Democrats.
Mitchell, focusing statewide, said new registrations haven’t translated into new votes. Yet.
Of newly registered voters, he said, 65 percent are under 35. But of those who’ve already voted, just 10 percent are under 35.
The survey politicos have been waiting for is in, and the results indicate Bernies Sanders has pulled to within the margin of error versus Hillary Clinton.
According to the Field Poll, Sanders is “supported by a five-to-one margin among voters under age 30 and Clinton backed two-to-one among those age 65 or older.”
The Vermont Senator leads among first-time voters (72% – 28%), independents (68% – 26%), voters younger than 45 (66% – 30%), men (54% – 43%) and –this is news–Latinos (49% – 46%).
Clinton, however, is ahead among those who have already voted, 58% – 41%.
The word “yet” may come to haunt the sanders campaign.
On This Day: 1786 – Twenty-six journeymen printers in Philadelphia staged the trade’s first strike in America over wages: a cut in their $6 weekly pay. 1935 – George Herman “Babe” Ruth announced he was retiring from baseball. 1998 – Voters in California passed Proposition 227. The act abolished the state’s 30-year-old bilingual education program by requiring that all children be taught in English.
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