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Member since: Wed Jun 20, 2012, 02:49 AM
Number of posts: 45,251

About Me

https://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=5664118; https://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=5664129

Journal Archives

Just for Fun: Six Bizarre Factors That Predict Every Modern Presidential Election (so far, anyway)


Populist Group Post: Countin' Yer County.

So, a year or more ago, I was watching The Daily Show via On Demand. Brian Williams was the guest. Jon Stewart mentioned something or other relating to the electoral vote. Williams replied something like, "People who really know this stuff tells me it drills down to eight counties." Jon Stewart was stunned. So was I.

We hear every vote counts. We hear about purple states. However, apparently, it's really about purple counties--and not very many of those, either. Take $2.5 billion in donations to only one candidate, add soft money, then divide by the number of people in eight counties. How many hungry people could you feed? Ah, never mind. Hungry people are unmentionable anymore and I hate long division.

Anyway, I googled after hearing that and found stories about 8 counties. Also stories about more counties than that. But, never more than 100 counties. Think about that. All this time, energy, money, etc.

http://www.businessinsider.com/swing-state-counties-florida-ohio-wisconsin-virginia-2012-9 (article has a wonderful pic of Obama carrying a toddler--my favorite kind of Obama pic)

In 2014, the 8 counties were (alphabetically by state):

Jefferson County, Colorado
Hillsborough County, Florida (includes Tampa)
Cedar County, Iowa
Washoe County, Nevada
Hillsborough County, New Hampshire (what are the odds?)
Wood County, Ohio
Henrico County, Virginia
Brown County, Wisconsin

I wonder which counties, and how many counties, will determine the 2016 Presidential election? Keeping abreast of that next year will be important.

Populist Group Post: Our friends across the pond have a view of centrists, too.

On our side of the Atlantic:

George McGovern lost an election to an incumbent who had served 4 years as President and 8 as Vice President in an otherwise unusual election. Conservative US Democrats used that as an excuse to repeal the democratic reforms to the Party that McGovern had instituted and also as an excuse to try to institute super delegates. They failed to institute the super delegates then, but succeeded when they used Mondale's loss to another unusual candidate as an excuse for both super delegates and turning almost the entire party Third Way, even though winning the Presidency was their target.

(Before some clown chimes in to disrupt and tell super delegates can't decide a primary, they get almost 20% of the primary votes in a nation of 350 million people, more or less. I'll let readers decide how helpful that is or isn't.


Bill Clinton did become the first Democratic President in a while to win two terms. However, three things probably had something to do with that. Incumbency is a huge advantage. Yes, Bush 41 blew re-election, but that was its own story. Another thing was a strong "Southern strategy:" among other things, both the President and the Vice President were from Southern states. Someone even made up campaign materials bearing the confederate flag.

Last (for this post, anyway--there were more factors than 3), but far from least, two words: Ross Perot. Both in 1992 and 1996, but more important in 1992.

However, the DLC took full credit and many either fell for that or pretended they had fallen for it.

The 1994 midterm, however, resulted in Republicans holding the majority in both Houses of Congress for the first time since the Eisenhower administration and holding on to at least one house has been iffy ever since. As we know, the 2010 midterm enabled the Republicans to gerrymander. Inasmuch as incumbent House members also have an enormous advantage in elections, despite Congress's low approval ratings, there is a good chance they will get another shot at gerrymandering in 2020. Meanwhile, the party that went right to improve its chances at the Oval Office saw more losses in 2014 than it had since 1928.

The response of the Third Way think tank was to promise to work even harder to compromise with Republicans. (You tanked. Think again.)


So, merrily, get to the point already: what DID happen across the pond and how did they react to a centrist election debacle?

Across the Pond:

Liberal Democrat activists say leaders took them down a centrist blind alley
Abandoning ‘radical progressivism’ resulted in the worst result since 1970


The Lib Dems were reduced from 56 MPs to a rump of just eight on a dreadful night that saw them routed in former strongholds in the south-west, and across large swaths of the rest of the country.


On Friday, Steel, who has given his backing to Tim Farron as the next leader following Clegg’s resignation, said that this strategy of splitting the difference between the two main parties had “set back the progress of Liberalism for several decades”.


“I think presenting ourselves as a coalition party rather than setting out our values and where we come from was a serious mistake,” she (Baroness Hussein-Ece, a Lib Dem peer) said. “We should be the centre-left party that this country desperately needs.”


Lucas said: “The system is wrong and we should have electoral reform, but that could be some time coming. So we need other ways to work together in a progressive alliance. Where it is appropriate, only one progressive candidate could stand in a seat – a sort of electoral pact. Cooperation during the EU referendum campaign could be the start of it."


I had to chop when I copied and pasted because of the 4 paragraph rule. I recommend reading the entire article. There isn't much more, but it's choice.

ETA: Some of the readers' comments below the article are choice, too.

So, what do we do about this?

As an experiment, earlier, I googled "Centrists betrayed the values of the Democratic Party." One of the hits was this article from shortly after passage of ACA, sans a strong public option.


You know how some of us have been saying we don't give to the DNC, DCCC or DSCC anymore, only to individual liberal candidates? Well, according to this 2010 article, the joke's on us. (Isn't it always?)

As you read it and weep, bear in mind that the Progressive Caucus is, and always has been, larger than the New Democrat Coalition and the Blue Dog Coalition.

Since 1995, members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus have collectively given $6.3 million directly to members of the Blue Dog and New Democrat coalitions, according to an analysis by the Huffington Post of data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. That's not an overwhelming sum when the average winning campaign nowadays costs more than $1 million, but it represents one-sixth of all giving from one faction within the party to another. It doesn't include the millions that progressives have given to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee -- rank-and-file members are supposed to cough up $150,000 every two years (though many miss that mark), committee chairmen $250,000 and up. The DCCC turns around and funnels that money to conservative Democrats in close races. Add to that the millions spent by organized labor and outside groups such as MoveOn.org, and it's clear that progressive donors have become major financial benefactors of the conservative Democrats who battled to undermine their agenda. "That tension exists a lot," George Miller says about the party's demand that progressives fund their intramural rivals. "That tension exists a lot. And it's real."

Democrats play it too safe, says Grijalva. "When I give my dues to the DCCC, or when you contribute to it, you have no distinction as to where your money is going to go. And it goes to front-liners and usually Blue Dogs and [they] usually vote against our issues. And that's a real frustration. And usually, if there's a progressive running, it's the last consideration in terms of support," he says.

The Blue Dog and New Democrat coalitions emerged in the 1990s in the wake of the successful Republican campaign to take control of Congress, and have continuously expanded their membership ever since. The prototypical Blue Dog comes from a socially conservative, rural district; New Democrats are more likely to represent pro-choice bankers from the suburbs. Both groups offer automatic protection against accusations that their members are too liberal.

The money flows almost entirely in one direction:
The conservative coalitions have given progressives less than $600,000. While Blue Dogs and New Democrats have each given their fellow travelers $2.4 million in the past 15 years, members of the much larger progressive caucus have helped each other to the tune of just $1.3 million.

Please do read the entire article.

So, as we've preened over donating only to the most left candidates we identify, our money has been going to New Democrats and/or Blue Dogs anyway. How you like your selective donating now?

Every time I think I'm getting too cynical, I find out I'm not even close.

Can anyone think of a way out of this bind, short of not donating at all?

"Centrists betrayed the values of the Democratic Party"

What are some of the things that come up if you google that?

First hit: http://www.jackwadeshow.com/wades-words/are-centrist-dems-democrats-or-demorats

Power Struggle: Inside The Battle For The Soul Of The Democratic Party

Liberal Democrat activists say leaders took them down a centrist blind alley

Alan Grayson on “Democrats In Name Only”: They betray our side

Senate Democrats Betray Their Supporters By Scheduling A Vote On Keystone XL

And so on.

Traditional Democrats ain't the ones who hijacked the Party's message or betrayed the values of Party. They always were the Party. Duh.

Some race issues and facts relative to Bernie Sanders.

First, IMO, anyone who thinks race issues, poverty issues, jobs and labor issues and affordable education issues are unrelated doesn't know Schick from Shinola.

Although he (civil rights icon, John Lewis) was forced to tone down his speech (at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom) under pressure from the representatives of other civil rights organizations on the march organization committee, his words still stung. The version of the speech leaked to the press went as follows:

"We march today for jobs and freedom, but we have nothing to be proud of, for hundreds and thousands of our brothers are not here — for they have no money for their transportation, for they are receiving starvation wages...or no wages at all. In good conscience, we cannot support the administration's civil rights bill.


Now, to Sanders.

Sanders grew up all too well-acquainted with poverty and racism. Sanders's father was a Polish Jew. Most of the family of Sanders's father had been killed in the Holocaust. His father was an unsuccessful paint salesman. The family lived in a three and a half room apartment in a poor section of Brooklyn.


“The lack of money caused stress in my family and fights between my mother and father,” Sanders explained to TIME in an interview this month. “That is a reality I have never forgotten: today, there are many millions of families who are living under the circumstances that we lived under.”


In high school, Sanders ran for class president on the platform of raising scholarship money for kids in Korea orphaned by the Korean War. Sanders lost that election, but the victor did go forward with the program. In college, Sanders turned to the American civil rights movement, a dangerous activity, especially as Sanders undertook it.

By the 1960s, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, aka NAACP, established in 1909, was not seen as a threat by white liberals. Still, even working for the NAACP might well get you an FBI file and wiretap. On the other hand, people were not sure what to make of civil rights organizations that sprung up after the sit-ins and demonstrations had begun, such as the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, formed in 1960, aka SNCC. "In the years that followed, SNCC members were referred to as “shock troops of the revolution."

In the later 1960s, led by fiery leaders such as Stokely Carmichael, SNCC focused on black power, and then protesting against the Vietnam War. As early as 1965, organization leader James Forman said he did not know “how much longer we can stay nonviolent” and in 1969, SNCC officially changed its name to the Student National Coordinating Committee to reflect the broadening of its strategies


Warner C. White, a white minister who was a civil rights activist in Alabama and Mississippi, said during an interview:

North of the border

White's band of clergymen were never attacked. Did his skin color offer him protection?

"Oh no — I don't think so, at all," he said. "Lots of white people were attacked. Heavens: look at the number of murders there were back then."

Was he ever fearful for his safety?

"Yes, absolutely."

Where was that?

"Back in Chicago," White answered. "That's where I met the real hostility from whites."


Under such circumstances, as a student at the prestigious University of Chicago, Bernie Sanders was a student organizer for SNCC. He also became a leader of the Congress of Racial Equality, aka CORE, at a time when most civil rights leaders were African American.

A few months after he arrived at the University of Chicago, Sanders went to a center in a rough Chicago neighborhood run by a Quaker service group, the American Friends Service Committee. He ventured out to local apartments, painting walls.


In 1962, at age 20, he led Chicago's first civil rights sit in. Standing on the steps of the University's administration building, he protested the University's segregated housing policies: “We feel it is an intolerable situation, when Negro and white students of the university cannot live together in university owned apartments.” He then led his fellow students into the building, where they camped overnight outside the president’s office. This made national news.

He was arrested while demonstrating for desegregated public schools in Chicago. He put up fliers around Chicago protesting police brutality.

After half an hour, he realized a police car was following him, taking down every paper he’d up, one by one. “Are these yours?” he remembers the officer telling him, holding up the stack of the fliers.

In 1963, Sanders and other students boarded buses to attend the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, in which SNCC had played a significant role.

Sanders has never since wavered in his dedication to equality and economic justice for all people, regardless of race, gender, religion or orientation. As a federal official, he has also continued to speak out against police violence, militarization of police, etc. https://www.facebook.com/senatorsanders/photos/a.91485152907.84764.9124187907/10152599730597908/

From Reply 16 below, of mary625:

....Senator Sanders was one of the first, if not the first, official outside of Missouri, that commented on the horrors that happened in Ferguson last summer. (My god that was almost a year ago! )

......he does address social issues and education. He does talk about the police going after young black men. He does talk about community policing.



See also: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10026743489

A Senate voting record doesn't impress me greatly. Senators can only vote yea or nay and usually vote with their caucuses. Moreover, the U.S. Senate is a conservative body.

With those caveats, on civil rights, Sanders has a 93% rating from the American Civil Liberties Union, aka ACLU (the ACLU rates on a variety of subjects, including women, NSA, etc.) vs. 60% for Hillary; a 97% rating from the NAACP vs. 96% for Hillary; and a 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign vs. 89% for Hillary.

For specifics as to bills and votes, see: http://www.democraticunderground.com/12778397

Oh, as for having white faces when Sanders announced his candidacy in Vermont, Vermont is 94% white. I would have been offended if he had attempted faux diversity for cameras.

Chicago, however, has many people of color, yet Obama was criticized for all the white faces in a photo of his Chicago 2012 campaign headquarters: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/04/10/an-obama-campaign-photo-that-looks-like-a-young-republican-rally.html IIRC, in 2008, Obama was also criticized for placing white people within camera range for one of his speeches.(The point here is not whether Obama was right or wrong, but that, when people want to find something wrong, they will.)

Strictly for fun

Since the year 1900, the taller nominee has won the Oval Office most of the time.


This is one of the reasons that, in televised Presidential debates, the bipartisan commission decided that the only time viewers should get to see the candidates side by side is when they shake hands. Maybe someday, they'll even do away with that.

Of course, only men have been nominees so far. We don't know what will happen to the statistic when women become nominees.

Although he did not have to worry about comparative height, President Washington was 6'2''.


President Lincoln was 6'4". Washington and Lincoln were the two Presidents whose birthdays the US used to celebrate each year with a national holiday, before Presidents' Day came along.

Analysis of the height issue.

Presidents by height and weight. http://www.presidenstory.com/stat_tal.php

(Speaking of Presidential weight, President Taft famously sat in a bathtub full of water, causing him, the water and the tub to break through the bathroom floor.)

Again, this post is strictly for fun. Don't bet the deed to the farm based on height.

Populist Group Post: Is it really out of order to mention Bill Clinton?

A while back, DUers were posting lists of things that should not be mentioned in connection with Hillary Clinton during this primary, lest he or she who mentioned it be considered sexist. Not a difference of opinion or a different interpretation of facts, mind you, but bigotry. (Months before that, I'd been "informed" that anyone who made any mention at all of the Bosnia airport story was sexist, but that claim is too ludicrous on its face to warrant discussion.)

The list included Bill Clinton and his administration--as though Hillary somehow has nothing to do with the man she chose to be her husband and the father of her child, nothing to do with the man she helped sell to America in 1992, the man to who she has chosen to remain married for decades, etc. As a mom and a wife with my own career, I find this nonsensical as well as all too convenient.

In 1985, the conservative wing of the Democratic Party founded the DLC in hopes of altering the Democratic Party. Among the founding members were a group of professional politicians.....and Hillary Clinton. As best as I have been able to determine, she was the only founding member of the DLC who joined as the spouse of a politician.

When Bill Clinton ran for POTUS in 1992, he said that electing him would give America two for the price of one, meaning him and Hillary.

During the campaign, questions of conflict of interest regarding state business and the politically powerful Rose Law Firm, at which Hillary Rodham Clinton was a partner, arose. Clinton argued the questions were moot because all transactions with the state had been deducted before determining Hillary's firm pay.[3][46] Further concern arose when Bill Clinton announced that, with Hillary, voters would be getting two presidents "for the price of one".[47]


Hillary never demurred. So, I think it's more than fair to say that they sold his administration as as a joint Presidency. Consistent with this, in 1996, America was asked to re-elect Bill AND Hillary, as though Hillary had been elected in 1992.

Bill Clinton had also sold his candidacy by campaigning on national health care. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clinton_health_care_plan_of_1993

Soon after the 1993 inauguration, it was clear that Hillary was to lead the effort to pass health care legislation, something so extraordinary and unprecedented in American presidential politics that Hillary's role, especially the secrecy of the proceedings involving a "private citizen," became the subject of litigation.

The First Lady's role in the secret proceedings of the Health Care Task Force also sparked litigation in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, in relation to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) which requires openness in government. The Clinton White House argued that the Recommendation Clause in Article II of the U.S. Constitution would make it unconstitutional to apply the procedural requirements of FACA to Mrs. Clinton's participation in the meetings of the Task Force. Some constitutional experts argued to the court that such a legal theory was not supported by the text, history, or structure of the Constitution.[15] Ultimately, Hillary Clinton won the litigation in June 1993, when the D.C. Circuit ruled narrowly that the First Lady of the United States could be deemed a government official (and not a mere private citizen) for the purpose of not having to comply with the procedural requirements of FACA.[16][17]

Also in February 1993, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, along with several other groups, filed a lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and Donna Shalala over closed-door meetings related to the health care plan. The AAPS sued to gain access to the list of members of the task force. In 1997, Judge Royce C. Lamberth found in favor of the plaintiffs and awarded $285,864 to the AAPS for legal costs; Lamberth also harshly criticized the Clinton administration and Clinton aide Ira Magaziner in his ruling.[18] Subsequently, a federal appeals court overturned in 1999 the award and the initial findings on the basis that Magaziner and the administration had not acted in bad faith.[19]


The result of the litigation was that Hillary, as First Lady, was declared a public official. Why? Because she was married to Bill while he was President; because he and she chose this role for her and because they decided to litigate to have her declared a public official.

Perhaps ironically....

In September 2007, former Clinton Administration senior health policy advisor Paul Starr published an article named "The Hillarycare Mythology",[30] where he asserted that Bill Clinton, not Hillary Clinton, was the driving force behind the plan at all stages of its origination and development; that the task force headed by Hillary Clinton quickly became useless and was not the primary force behind formulating the proposed policy; and that "Not only did the fiction of Hillary's personal responsibility for the health plan fail to protect the president at the time, it has also now come back to haunt her in her own quest for the presidency."[30]

Had the healthcare bill passed, it would very likely have been the legislation that Bill in fact, would be pointing to today as his legacy, not NAFTA, DADT, DOMA, the Telecommunications Act or Gramm, Leach, Bliley. Concomitantly, I very much doubt that Hillary would have tried to disassociate herself from it when running for President, either in either 2008 or 2016.

As it was, it failed for many reasons, including that Congressional Democrats were not willing to back it. However, it became a model for Romneycare in Massacusetts. (Romney did attempt to distance his plan from that of the Clintons, but his attempts were lame and unconvincing.)

As stated above, in 1996, America was asked to re-elect Hillary and Bill Clinton.

Sometimes, ONLY Hillary Clinton

When Hillary ran for the US Senate against Lazio, she endorsed Bill's action in having ended "welfare as we know it."


Of Hillary and Republican Lazio, Deepak Bhargava, director of public policy at the Center for Community Change, a nonpartisan, nonprofit group based in Washington, said: ''Neither of them can be called a staunch defender of antipoverty programs.'' Instead, he said, they have worked on more marginal items. id.

In 2007-08 Hillary opted for "a tight embrace" of the legacy of the Clinton administration, taking credit for its positive aspects.

Additionally, during her 2008 campaign, she cited her experiences as her husband's first lady as though they added to her qualifications to be President. And she referred to events during his administration using words like "us," "we" and "our." For example, I remember her response when some members of the LGBT community told her they'd worked to elect her husband, then were so disappointed in his treatment of them: "I thought we did very well," she responded. During that primary, she also named Bill Clinton as one of the ten best Presidents in all of US history.

And the main basis for her assertion (of being far more experienced than Obama) is the time she spent as first lady. Bill Clinton is hitting the theme hard as the voting in Iowa and New Hampshire draws closer, pointing back to the 1990s, citing his record as his wife's, referring to the work "we" did in office and, for the most part, brushing past or ignoring the tumult of those years.


On Thursday night in Holderness, N.H., the former president returned again and again in his hour-long speech to the achievements of his administration as proof that his wife would be able to bring results if she were elected. Several times, he cited the statistics on the economic gains of the 1990s -- the rise in family income, the decline in poverty and in the number of uninsured, and the increase in students obtaining college aid ("I still know the numbers," he said).


For all his talk about the 1990s, though, the former president does not go into great detail about the role his wife played in his administration, instead simply leaving the impression that she was part of the team that brought about the decade's gains.


At times, his pitch for his wife is focused so much on his own accomplishments as president that it almost sounds as if he himself is running for reelection. In a two-hour interview Thursday with the Concord Monitor, he referred to his having made a "terrible mistake" while president, an apparent reference to the Monica S. Lewinsky scandal, and then added: "The voters will have to make their own judgments about that. I've done everything I could, first of all, to try to be a good president and, secondly, to try to be a good after-president."

As Bill and Hillary had in 1996, many of her supporters tried to sell her 2008 candidacy as a two for one deal, with no demurrer from either of the Clintons Additionally, Bill also took a highly visible (and vocal) role in her 2007-08 Presidential primary campaign, at times sounding as though he were her Svengali:

Since all that did not work out too well, Bill may take a less visible role this time, but he is still there.


So, it seems Hillary is, and always has been, very willing to be fully associated with her husband's politics and Presidency--as long as it appears that so doing could possibly advantage her. However, one must take all or nothing and it is way too late in this game to opt for nothing, nor has Hillary done so. Bottom line: Neither the Clintons nor their supporters should expect to have it every which way on this issue.

(Obviously, if Hillary had been President first and Bubba had behaved about her administration and his experience as First Gentleman the same way as she has, the exact same realities would obtain if he were runninng for the Presidency.)

ETA: Recently, I heard that Hillary does not want to be judged by her husband's administration or by her past, including her past campaigns for Senate and POTUS, only by her current campaign. No doubt she does not. However, I don't think she gets to decide whether voters will have amnesia. And, trust me, if Hillary or Bill or Hillary's campaign think any of the foregoing will help Hillary's current campaign, we'll hear about it.

Your Guide to the Bernie Sanders kickoff from the Burlington VT Free Press

Burlington is a charming town, btw. As you no doubt know, Bernie was its Mayor before he went to Congress.

Tuesday's big Bernie Sanders presidential campaign event will be equal parts homecoming and political spectacle.

The independent senator has pulled together plenty of Burlington symbolism: Sanders expects to stand on public land he fought for in the 1980s as he announces his presidential ambitions — while spectators munch Ben & Jerry's ice cream at the free, non-ticketed event in Waterfront Park.

Burlington-based band Mango Jam will play in the park. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, of ice-cream fame, and Bill McKibben, the Vermont environmentalist and author, are expected to speak.

Plans for the event came together less than week before the big day, as Sanders campaign staffers unpacked a national campaign headquarters on Church Street. Volunteers on Friday had begun to call New Hampshire residents. The workers were surrounded by cardboard boxes and "Join the political revolution today" T-shirts.

much more at

Bernie Sanders Tweet Brigade TODAY at 6:30 pm est


This is a great reddit post.
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