May 15th, 2016
|01:27 am - Democratic Primary Musings – Voting for Clinton|
Oregon's primary elections are coming up Tuesday, but since we're a sensible state, where vote-by-mail is standard (and should be from my PoV the way all voting is handled for all US elections), I'm voting this weekend. I'm voting for Hillary Clinton, which seems a surprisingly contentious choice.
In addition to being the person who is going to win the nomination (barring events that would verge on being miraculous), I also very much see her as the better choice. I agree with Sanders' politics far more, but I simply don't see him as nearly as electable []. Given that Trump's entire campaign is built on lies, it's exceedingly clear he's going to try to pivot to looking like a moderate in the general election, and I fear that he could far too easily paint Sanders as an out of touch lefty crackpot (which given the impracticality of some of Sanders' suggestions isn't as far off the mark as I'd like it to be). Here's a humorously accurate look at Sander's problem with practicality.
I'm pleased that Sander's ran for president, since he's pushed Clinton to embrace more progressive policies, and given that compromise with the GOP is currently impossible (a fact Clinton thankfully knows far better than Obama did in his first years in office), the only people Clinton will both need to and be able to keep happy are Democrats, so I'm expecting that those policies to stick.
Also, I care vastly less about any differences between Clinton and Sanders than I do with the fact that both of them would make an incredibly better president than Donald Trump, and more importantly, both of them would nominate liberals to the Supreme Court – there's a very real chance that the Senate won't let Obama choose Scalia's replacement, and Ginsburg is sufficiently old that she won't be on the court all that much longer. If we get liberal replacements for them both, then we get a good number of years of a court that will be pro-choice, pro-civil rights, pro-sustainable energy, pro-voting rights, and for reducing the impact of the ultra-wealthy on politics. Too me, that's far more important than which Democrat gets elected president
On a related note, one of the most troubling claims I've heard from Sanders supporters is that Clinton is essentially a centrist Republican. In addition to reminding me all too much of similar claims about Democratic candidates made by the GOP-funded sham that was Ralph Nader's two presidential bids (the first of which helped insure Shrub's victory) it's also provably utter nonsense.
At least for politicians who have served in Congress, we can look at their DW-Nominate Scores and determine approximately how liberal or conservative they are. Here's the data for Sander's, Clinton, as well as Rubio and Cruz. It's grimly amusing to look at Cruz's score, very close to a +1, which is the most conservative possible score (no Democrat listed goes past around -0.7), means that claims that the two parties have both gotten considerably more extreme are also utterly worthless.
It's also worth noting that using these scores also shows that the two parties are further apart in ideology now (at least in Congress) than anytime within the last century (that and other data can be found here), which clearly shows a very slight leftward shift for the Democrats over the past 30 years, and an impressively extreme rightward shift for the Republicans during this same timeframe.
In any case, if your primary is still to come, from my PoV, the choice is very clear.
[] I'm ignoring current polls that show Sander's doing better than Clinton against Trump (albeit with both winning) because the GOP has spent the last 20+ years relentlessly attacking Hilary Clinton anytime she ends up in the news, so they've damaged her popularity about as much as they can. So far, they've largely been ignoring Sanders. If by some miracle he wins, then they'd attack him just as relentlessly, and his poll numbers would fall – perhaps too far.
Clinton is leading in head to head polls, totals votes (2.5 million+), delegates, superdelegates, and endorsements. The only edge Sanders can claim is doing better (but not much better) in many head to head national and state polls (but not all polls), which as we know, is not all that predictive as far back as the primary season.
If Sanders became the nominee, the first thing you would see would be wall to wall ads quoting him saying nice things about Castro. If Sanders were the dominating choice among Democrats, I would not concern myself with that; a strong Democratic base and a demoralized GOP would do the rest. However, he is not. In fact Sanders is less popular among Clinton voters than Clinton is among Sanders voters, hence, why she is handily winning. With Sanders as the nominee, the Democrats would enter the race with an enthusiastic but undersized base. Sanders is effectively the Democratic Ted Cruz.
Edited at 2016-05-15 03:01 pm (UTC)
I think it's important to note that, ideologically, Sanders is well more moderate than Cruz. He's still pretty partisan, but, IIRC, his right-wing twin (i.e. someone as ideologically right as he is left) is Cornyn, which is substantially more moderate than Cruz.
(I don't disagree with your assessment and predictions otherwise -- I think nominating Sanders would be an anti-democratic mess and a genuine disaster -- I just think it's important to note that our extremists are much, much less extremist than the Republican extremists.)
Edited at 2016-05-15 07:02 pm (UTC)
anders is well more moderate than Cruz. He's still pretty partisan, but, IIRC, his right-wing twin (i.e. someone as ideologically right as he is left) is Cornyn, which is substantially more moderate than Cruz.
Agreed - I have no idea what a left wing equivalent to Cruz would look like (I'm not certain such a person has ever held national office in the US), but I suspect that while I wouldn't find them as horrific & terrifying as Cruz, I'd find them to be no more reasonable, and just as willing to shut down the government and do similar bone-headed stuff.
yeah, I was only speaking tactically. On the Democratic side, you have two decidedly different yet sane candidates with the same basic idea of what human civilization looks like, and on the Republican side, you have a couple of cynical regional hacks, a narcissistic billionaire, and some people trying to destroy the basics of human survival. Since the Democrats aren't running anyone who is happy to bring about the signs of Revelations and start the End Times, the Democrats don't have an ideological equivalent. Maybe if Dr. Frankenstein or Tony Stark ran as a Democrat.
Fun facts time! The last Senator with a DW-Nominate score beneath -.9 was Wayne Morse
in his late career where he was a -0.909. Still not as partisan as Cruz, but close.
The last Senator who beats Cruz, on the left side, is Glen Hurst Taylor
Both Morse and Taylor did run in presidential campaigns: Morse as a favorite son for Oregon (he lost to Kennedy) and Taylor as the Progressive Party veep.