Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Why Bernie Sanders Is Losing Fair and Square

While an ego obsessed Bernie Sanders continues to sow resentment against the Democrat Party among his followers with claims of a "rigged system" that echo Donald Trump with the GOP, the real truth is that he is losing the Democrat nomination because the majority of Democrats do not want him as the party nominee.  It is really that simple.  In fact, Sanders' support has begun to decline (see above image).  A piece in Daily Kos lays out why Sanders is losing fair and square.  Here are article highlights:

Bernie Sanders exceeded all primary season expectations and was en route to building something of a real movement. But rather than locking in those gains and settling in for a long-haul effort, he’s opted for a legacy-busting temper tantrum instead, heading out the (primary) door in a cloud of whining, conspiracy mongering, and blame casting. It’s a bizarre finale to what was undoubtedly an incredible run. So here are some observations, not because it matters—he’s lost—but because his claims of victimhood are absolute bullshit and need to be corrected. 

1. If you plan for a coup, you’ve already lost
Let’s just take a moment to appreciate what Sanders is trying to accomplish here—he knows he’s lost the election. He’s all but acknowledged it. Which is why he’s now focused so heavily on getting the establishment superdelegates to overturn the election in his favor. 
Like a despotic dictator, he is so sure of his supremacy that he sneers at the choices of his electorate and seeks to callously toss them aside. He dishonestly tells his supporters that there’s a conspiracy standing between him and victory. 

Not only is this undemocratic, it’s outright delusional. These are the same superdelegates representing the same establishment he’s repeatedly bashed and even sued. These are the superdelegates he spent the first year of his campaign blasting as an affront to the democratic process and illegitimate. NOW, things are different. Having lost the election, he expects these supers to overturn the will of the electorate, including the heavy preferences of key growth party demographics like Latinos and African Americans, in order to hand the nomination to the loser of the contest. 

2. He may want to disenfranchise them, but communities of color voted against Sanders
Take another moment to savor what that would mean—a party establishment ignoring the choice of the communities of color, who have heavily chosen a woman, to undemocratically hand the nomination to yet another white guy. That, my friends, is the essence of white privilege. It’s EXHIBIT A, and in case you are wondering, yes it fucking pisses me off. 

I get that it’s really hard for the old guard to surrender power, but this is a new party, and one that gives voice to more people than ever before. You want someone with Bernie’s politics to get the nomination, perhaps find someone who isn’t from the whitest state in the union, unable or unwilling to deal with the communities that drive our modern party. 
Fact is, Clinton won people of color by massive margins. Sanders won white people. Sanders thinks the election results should be tossed aside in his favor. Whose votes would be disenfranchised in that scenario? This is simple extrapolation, and don’t think us people of color aren’t noticing. 

3. No, Sanders won’t do better than Clinton against Trump.
Current polling has Clinton’s negatives baked in. They are her floor. Current polling doesn’t have Sanders’ negatives baked in. They are his ceiling. And dear god, there is plenty in Sanders’ background to feed the Republican Noise Machine for the general election. And by the end of the cycle, his negatives would match those of Clinton’s.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned this primary cycle, it's that demographics are destiny. And it's the same case for the general election. The biggest predictor of how people will vote this year is to look at how they voted last presidential election, and those choices are heavily correlated to race, sex, and marital status. 

In alternate universes—one in which Sanders wins the nomination, the other in which Clinton does—they both would end up roughly the same in November. Democrats won’t cross over to vote for Trump, and Republicans won’t cross over to vote for Sanders (and certainly not for Clinton). In the end, the final outcome will be determined by turnout, and given our opponent, turnout will hopefully be high. We’d have to fight for that equally hard, regardless of who was our nominee.

4.  No, the system wasn’t rigged against him
The system was rigged, for sure, but in his favor. The first two states? Two of the most unrepresentative states in the union, states that glossed over his failures in reaching communities of color. It’s a calendar that benefits white candidates and silences the issues that matter to the communities that drive the modern Democratic Party. 

And how about them caucuses? Sanders won nine of 11, getting a significant percentage of his delegate haul from these undemocratic, exclusionary contests. In fact, those nine states are exactly half of his victory total. Take caucuses out, and Sanders is barely in the frame. 

Now, there’s nothing wrong with winning caucuses as long as they exist! In fact, Barack Obama owes his presidency to them. But designing a system that prevents people from participating and eliminates the secret ballot is exactly what rigging the system looks like, and it wasn’t Clinton that benefited from that. . . . . 

7. The system was rigged because of closed primaries!
All primaries should be closed. If you want to choose the Democratic nominee, become a Democrat. If you are too pure and awesome and independent and iconoclastic, that’s awesome too! Just don’t ask to pick someone else’s leaders. I don’t waltz in to the local Shriners Club, tell them their little hats are stupid, then demand to pick their leadership. If I cared that much about who led them (and what they wore), I’d join the organization. 

It costs nothing to be a Democrat. It’s free! Just check a box! And then you don’t have to worry about primary deadlines or whatnot. And if that’s too much of a lift for you, then too bad—you shouldn’t have a say until the general election rolls around. (And yes, I think parties should take over from the states and handle the nomination stuff themselves.)

That said, there have been 23 open contests, and Clinton has won 13 of them. That’s a majority. So even this stupid talking point is stupid. And you know what makes it even more stupid? Take away caucuses, so that we’re just talking about open primaries, then Clinton has won open primaries 13-6.  So can this stupid talking point die already? 

8. The system wasn’t rigged because red states voted
Democrats all over the country get to choose the nominee, and that includes African Americans in southern states, and Latinos in places like Arizona and Texas. And if you have a problem with that, fuck you. Seriously, I can’t believe that in this day and age, people are trying to argue that the votes of these critical communities of color don’t matter. 

You know what would rig the system? Disenfranchising those voters. Maybe just let the whitest states vote? Would that make Sanders happy? Apparently, since that’s exactly what he is arguing. 

9. If the system is rigged, why does Sanders have more delegates than his vote share?
Sanders has won 43 percent of the popular vote, yet he’s won 46 percent of the delegates. How rigged! FTS.

10. The system is rigged because more voters are voting for my opponent!
Bottom line, Clinton is winning significantly more voters—millions and millions of them—than Sanders. Now, there is a new strain of argument running around claiming that the raw vote deficit is smaller than claimed because caucus states aren’t properly accounted for. You can see some of that nonsense argument being made here. The reality?

This has been floating around so long, in fact, The Post's fact-checkers looked at this issue at the beginning of April. Did Clinton at that point actually lead by 2.5 million votes, as she claimed? No, she didn't. She led by 2.4 million votes. As of today, that raw vote advantage is at 2.9 million, including caucuses. . . . . 

Quite simply, for a campaign that argues that the elections should be overturned in his favor, the Democratic electorate is increasingly in disagreement. Last week’s antics won’t help reverse those trends. Heck, they may accelerate them. 

The system can be beat. Barack Obama just did it eight years ago. Donald Trump did it on the Republican side this year. Technology now gives insurgents a huge advantage over more stodgy establishment candidates. The smart ones with a winning message can take advantage of that, and the ones with an insufficiently winning message can’t. 

Being a sore loser won’t change those facts, that reality, or the fact that we have bigger issues to deal with than Sanders’ insane temper tantrum. 

No comments: