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Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#14841 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-March-04, 09:46

On Monday I was thinking of posting a question, who will do well on Tuesday. But since I had no idea what I thought, I figured I would just wait and see.

OK, but now I still have no confident predictions of how this will all turn out. My pessimistic view had been that Sanders would win the nomination and Trump would win re-election.


I looked on fivethrtyeight for the Democratic Primary Forecast and they give Biden a 3 in 10 shot, Sanders a 1 in 12. Otherwise put, that's 18 in 60 for Biden versus 5 in 60 for Sanders. Too much of swing for my thinking.


My home state of Minnesota went for Biden, not a surprise, Maryland doesn't get its shot until late April.


I was born during FDR's third term presidency, HST was the first president that I at least sort of remember, then Ike, then Kennedy. Ah the good old days, but of course we recall what we wish to recall.


My not very politically savvy mind thinks Biden is now the most likely nominee, but the 18-5 Biden-Sanders ratio of fivethirtyeight seems excessive. Of course their "no majority" estimate is 3 in 5, which is 36 in 60, twice the 18 in 60 estimate for Biden. I see Bloomberg is endorsing Biden.. That could help, especially if it comes with some money. Or maybe his money would not help. People are getting wary of all this money.

And just looking again at these odds, 5+18+36=59, almost 60, which certainly seems right. Biden, Sanders, no majority. That seems to cover it.

Ken
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#14842 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2020-March-04, 11:35

I think “no majority” might in practice mean Biden wins. The super-delegates can vote in the 2nd round and Sanders is not that popular with party elected officials or insiders. Of course, it will be better if someone gets a majority of delegates so supporters of the losing candidate don’t feel robbed. Probably the worst case is Sanders having a plurality and some combination of superdelegates and delegates from candidates who have dropped out (and endorsed Biden) put Biden over the top.

But I think Biden wins unless Sanders (+Warren?) has a true majority.
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#14843 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-March-04, 11:43

I'm starting to think that maybe the participants as well as the electorate are beginning to see this election cycle as critical for one reason only: the removal of Trump and his administration. These are not normal times and it is not the time to argue ideological differences. Biden is probably the best bet the Democrats have.

This does not mean that Sanders and Warren are not correct in their arguments, but now is not the time.
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#14844 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-March-04, 13:22

From Gregory S. Schneider at WaPo:

Quote

Roughly 1.3 million Virginia voters cast ballots, about 21 percent of the electorate, according to unofficial results. That’s up from the previous record of about 986,000 votes and 18 percent of the electorate in 2008, when Barack Obama was challenging Hillary Clinton for the party’s nomination.

From German Lopez at Vox:

Quote

When Sen. Bernie Sanders talks about his presidential campaign, he emphasizes that it’s a movement — the start of a “political revolution,” which he says will drive typically apathetic voters, particularly the young, to turn out and vote.

But if Super Tuesday was anything to go by, Sanders’s political revolution isn’t happening — and it’s former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign, or perhaps general opposition to President Donald Trump, that seems to be driving turnout.

Consider Texas: According to NBC News’s exit polls, the Democratic electorate actually skewed older in Tuesday’s primary compared to past primaries. In 2008 and 2016, 13 and 18 percent of the electorate, respectively, was 65 and older. In 2020, it was 24 percent.

Texas is getting older, but not at a rapid enough rate for that increase to be tied solely to state demographic trends. In fact, the share of the population that’s 65 and older is just 12.6 percent. Given Biden’s strength with this group of Texas voters — 46 percent support Biden, while just 16 percent support Sanders — that surge in older voters helps explain Biden’s narrow victory in the state.

It seems like Texas wasn’t an outlier. Domenico Montanaro at NPR found that, from the start of the primary elections to Super Tuesday, we just haven’t seen a surge in younger voters:

Before Tuesday, voters younger than 30 were not keeping pace with the overall increase in voter turnout. In fact, young voters’ share of the electorate went down in three of the first four states compared with 2016.

On Tuesday night, not a single state saw an increase in young voters’ share of the electorate, according to exit polls conducted by Edison Research and sponsored by several of the television networks.

It’s really hard to overstate how bad this is for Sanders. It’s not just that his campaign relies on these voters, although it does. It’s that a core driving philosophy of his campaign is that he will inspire a political revolution, one led, in particular, by a surge in young voters. That’s how he has envisioned defeating Trump in November. If that’s not happening, then how is the Sanders campaign a movement at all?

Political analyst Dave Wasserman put it in blunt terms on Tuesday: “Sanders’s pledge to bring new voters into his movement seems fairly empty in the results we’re seeing so far. His coalition has shrunk since 2016, not grown.”

That’s not to say it’s all bad. On Tuesday, Sanders did win in Vermont, Colorado, and Utah, and, as of Wednesday morning, he has a significant lead in California. He has made inroads with Latin voters, who fondly call Sanders “Tío Bernie.”

But just winning a few states isn’t enough here. Sanders has promised that his campaign would bring all sorts of new voters into the Democratic Party. And so far it seems to be struggling to do so.

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#14845 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-March-04, 16:08

A couple of words about young voters probably I've said it before, from my perspective. I voted in 1960 when I was 21 and in all presidential, gubernatorial and senatorial races since then. However! I got married in June 1960, I started graduate school that fall. During the summer we came out to Maryland where I worked at NASA Goddard. To say we were hard up for money would be severely understating things. I took all of the overtime they would give me and they gave me quite a bit. Then back to school. As an undergergrad I had learned well those things that interested me, but some things, actually several things, didn't much interest me so now, in grad school, I had some gaps to fill. I filled them. It took time. So I voted. And I tried to do it right. But I was busy.

This did not and does not make me unique at all. I have a grandson now who is in his third year of engineering at UCLA. If he has any spare time, I haven't heard about it. I am confident that he is not a Trumpee, he shows no signs of insanity, but did he vote for Biden or Sanders? Dunno. But I bet he was not out campaigning for either. He wants to do right in voting, as did I, but time is at a premium.

By nature I am not all that much of a revolutionary, but in my early 20s?. Please. I had other things to do. I was coping with the world as it was, and that would be easier w/o a revolution. Now, at 81, I can lean back in a chair and chat with you all online, read some opinion pieces, and so on. Not then . I never saw the film Start the Revolution Without Me, but I would probably have liked it or at least agreed with the sentiment. A revolution doesn't appeal to everyone, and that includes many of the young. Solid progress is good.
Ken
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#14846 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-March-05, 08:25

From Ross Douthat at NYT:

Quote

Eleven days and an eternity in political time ago, I offered some advice for Democrats seeking to stop Bernie Sanders, drawn from the failed experience of #NeverTrump. Losing candidates need to drop out, I suggested, unconventional alliances need to be considered and hanging around hoping for a brokered convention is a fool’s game if you’re ceding a plurality of delegates to the insurgent candidate you want to stop.

The tone of my column, like the evidence of the polls, suggested that the stop-Sanders effort would meet the same fate as the stop-Trump movement and that the Vermont socialist would complete his takeover against a divided opposition.

But instead, in a whirlwind few days, the Democrats took my advice, and it worked. Instead of a divided field of moderates headed into Super Tuesday, there was a rapid consolidation. Instead of defeated candidates limping off to lick their wounds, Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg were on a stage with Joe Biden within a day of their decisions to drop out. And now, instead of sticking around John Kasich-style and playing for the convention, Michael Bloomberg has thrown in with the Biden team as well.

This combination of events has not guaranteed a Biden nomination, but it has made it very likely, and it suggests that the Democratic Party still has some institutional potency, some ballast as a political organization, some capacity to make decisions as a party that the Republicans in 2016 lacked. And while obvious credit for the anti-Sanders consolidation goes to individual political actors, to Buttigieg and Klobuchar especially, it’s worth considering three other reasons it was possible for Biden to consolidate support more easily and quickly than any of the non-Trump Republicans in 2016.

The first reason is that the Republican base’s relationship to the G.O.P. leadership in 2016 was more toxic, hostile and disillusioned, relative to the relationship between Democrats and their establishment in 2020. This difference has many sources, but a crucial one is the divergent legacies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The Bush presidency ended in failure, unpopularity and crisis, which meant that even among Republicans who still liked Bush personally, there was a palpable sense — or a latent sense, waiting to be activated by Trump — that the official establishment of the party didn’t really have any idea what they were doing and needed to be ignored or rejected or thrown out.

Obama’s presidency, on the other hand, is regarded as a failure by only a small faction of left-wing activists and writers. A somewhat larger constituency, the core of Sanders’s youth support, think of the Obama era as a mild disappointment, a missed opportunity for bold progressive change — but in the broader Democratic electorate even this is a distinctly minority position.

So there was always an opportunity for a campaign like Biden’s to consolidate a lot of Democratic voters with a message of restoration and continuity, in a way that simply wasn’t true for a literal Bush relative like Jeb Bush — or even a figure like Marco Rubio, who was positioned, in certain ways, as W.’s ideological heir. It’s not that Democrats love their party’s elite, or that there isn’t strong anti-establishment discontent on the left as much as on the right. But there is clearly more Democratic support for Obama-ism than there was support for a Bush restoration in the 2016 Republican Party, and in South Carolina and on Super Tuesday that made a big difference.

But so did simple political contingency. Bloomberg’s campaign, for instance, looked like it was helping Sanders by dividing moderates and siphoning away Biden’s African-American support. But in hindsight what it actually did was draw attention and fire away from Biden across two critical debates, so that the former vice president could lurk as the fallback choice and then get a rush of returning voters when Bloomberg’s onstage performances disappointed (and made Biden look charismatic by comparison). The outcome over the last four days might have been different if, say, Elizabeth Warren had felt an incentive to attack Biden instead of demolishing the billionaire mayor; instead, Biden went from being an afterthought to a big winner without absorbing any significant attacks.

Likewise, as much as Biden was hurt by having extremely white states like Iowa and New Hampshire go first, the combination of favorable demographics and pre-Super Tuesday timing made South Carolina perfect for his anti-Sanders consolidation. Ted Cruz won a similarly thumping victory over Trump in Wisconsin in 2016, but it came much later, after Trump had built a big lead and there was no chance of denying him a plurality of delegate support. Give Cruz that kind of victory earlier, and maybe there would have been a rush to his side, maybe Marco Rubio would have accepted a role in a unity ticket, maybe Trump could have been defeated.

Or maybe not, because alongside the shape of party opinion and the role of luck there’s a third factor that helped Biden do what NeverTrump could not: His fellow Democrats and especially his fellow politicians clearly just like him more than Republicans liked any of the NeverTrump candidates. Jebworld and Chris Christie loathed Rubio as an upstart, Kasich offered a cuddly persona but had alienated colleagues for years, and almost every powerful Republican in Washington simply hated Cruz. So the idea of rallying around any one of them for the greater good was a tough ask, in a way that it simply isn’t that tough for most Democratic politicians to sign on with Uncle Joe.

It’s in this sense that Biden himself deserves particular credit for yesterday’s consolidation. He wasn’t just in the right place at the right time; he was the right-enough person, because across years and decades he succeeded in building up good will among both his allies and rivals — a political resource worth husbanding, and one that on Super Tuesday definitely proved its worth.

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#14847 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-March-05, 09:27

View Posty66, on 2020-March-05, 08:25, said:

From Ross Douthat at NYT:




A very interesting analysis that is probably about right. I think there was also another feature. As Sanders started to look like the nominee, voters started to ask themselves "Is this what I want?" and, for many the answer was "No". Sanders gives a forceful presentation, it's exciting to watch a person of strong convictions presenting his ideas forcefully, but when it started to look as if he might win more tha just a few people got a bit uneasy. sanders accurately said that he and Joe Biden see the future of the country differently.


Of course it ain't over 'til it's over.

I was thinking of the following from my Minnesota childhood of the 1950s: Hubert Humphrey organized the DFL, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. So a farmer would say "I am a farmer, if those guys mean what the name suggests, I'll vote for them" Similarly for a laborer. How about Sanders? He identifies not as a Democrat but as a Democratic Socialist. Would a farmer, or a laborer say "I am a socialist, if that guy means what the name suggests, I'll vote for him" ? Some maybe, but fewer I think.


I think the above is not trivial. If a guy does not want to be considered a socialist, with or without an adjective, he should not call himself one. If he does not want to be considered a revolutionary, he should not keep harping on revolution. Or one could look at some specifics such as free college. Well, someone has to supply the money, and that someone will have a good deal of control. Someone has to build the buildings, pay the faculty, buy the research equipment and so on. Well, of course, we tax the rich. So the money, pretty much all of it, will come through the federal government. Which means the federal government will be directing the choices for the structure of universities. This will not appeal to everyone.


That's just one example. The Dems are having an identity crisis, and this leads to choices.
Ken
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#14848 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-March-05, 10:24

View Postkenberg, on 2020-March-05, 09:27, said:



A very interesting analysis that is probably about right. I think there was also another feature. As Sanders started to look like the nominee, voters started to ask themselves "Is this what I want?" and, for many the answer was "No". Sanders gives a forceful presentation, it's exciting to watch a person of strong convictions presenting his ideas forcefully, but when it started to look as if he might win more tha just a few people got a bit uneasy. sanders accurately said that he and Joe Biden see the future of the country differently.


Of course it ain't over 'til it's over.

I was thinking of the following from my Minnesota childhood of the 1950s: Hubert Humphrey organized the DFL, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. So a farmer would say "I am a farmer, if those guys mean what the name suggests, I'll vote for them" Similarly for a laborer. How about Sanders? He identifies not as a Democrat but as a Democratic Socialist. Would a farmer, or a laborer say "I am a socialist, if that guy means what the name suggests, I'll vote for him" ? Some maybe, but fewer I think.


I think the above is not trivial. If a guy does not want to be considered a socialist, with or without an adjective, he should not call himself one. If he does not want to be considered a revolutionary, he should not keep harping on revolution. Or one could look at some specifics such as free college. Well, someone has to supply the money, and that someone will have a good deal of control. Someone has to build the buildings, pay the faculty, buy the research equipment and so on. Well, of course, we tax the rich. So the money, pretty much all of it, will come through the federal government. Which means the federal government will be directing the choices for the structure of universities. This will not appeal to everyone.


That's just one example. The Dems are having an identity crisis, and this leads to choices.


I don't think ideology has anything to do with it. The exit polls show that anywhere from a majority to a strong majority of voters, depending on state, said that beating Trump was their number one concern, not that the candidate shared their views.

Biden is the pragmatic choice. It is still a shame that Sherrod Brown did not run as I think he would have won in a cakewalk.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14849 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2020-March-05, 12:03

View PostWinstonm, on 2020-March-05, 10:24, said:

I don't think ideology has anything to do with it. The exit polls show that anywhere from a majority to a strong majority of voters, depending on state, said that beating Trump was their number one concern, not that the candidate shared their views.

That was my reasoning. I voted for Bloomberg, but my second choice was Biden, even though I share the progressive views of Sanders and Warren. But only a moderate has any chance in the general election, since it's not enough to get out the youth vote, we also need to get a decent number of Republican voters in the flyover states to switch sides.

The 538 numbers worry me because neither candidate has a strong shot of beating Trump, but the choice between Sanders and Biden is clear.

#14850 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-March-05, 13:22

View PostWinstonm, on 2020-March-04, 11:43, said:

I'm starting to think that maybe the participants as well as the electorate are beginning to see this election cycle as critical for one reason only: the removal of Trump and his administration. These are not normal times and it is not the time to argue ideological differences.

Trump Claims Thousands Could Still Go To Work With Coronavirus And Get Better
OMG

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President Donald Trump suggested during an interview on Fox News Wednesday that many people with mild coronavirus symptoms could still go to work and get better. This goes against advice from medical professionals around the world who say that infected individuals should remain in isolation.

“A lot of people will have this and it’s very mild. They’ll get better very rapidly. They don’t even see a doctor, they don’t even call a doctor. You never hear about those people,” Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity. “So you can’t put them down in the category of the overall population in terms of this corona flu and or virus. So you just can’t do that. So, if you know, we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work. Some of them go to work, but they get better.”

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#14851 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-March-05, 16:01

View Postbarmar, on 2020-March-05, 12:03, said:

That was my reasoning. I voted for Bloomberg, but my second choice was Biden, even though I share the progressive views of Sanders and Warren. But only a moderate has any chance in the general election, since it's not enough to get out the youth vote, we also need to get a decent number of Republican voters in the flyover states to switch sides.

The 538 numbers worry me because neither candidate has a strong shot of beating Trump, but the choice between Sanders and Biden is clear.



I have never yet done this. I have always voted for the person that I think is best. I can see the logic, but I like to keep things simple. There are candidates, I decide who I like best, then I vote for that candidate.


Here is one plus for my approach: After the voting is completed, people can understand who the voters thought was best. Having the analysis go as "Well, the voters have spoken, sort of, they like Sanders but they voted for Biden" is discouraging. And, of course, nobody will really be able to confidently judge the extent of the explanation. .If everyone votes for the candidate that they like best then we get some clarity about what it is that people like best.

Ken
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#14852 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-March-05, 16:08

View Postkenberg, on 2020-March-05, 16:01, said:




I have never yet done this. I have always voted for the person that I think is best. I can see the logic, but I like to keep things simple. There are candidates, I decide who I like best, then I vote for that candidate.


Here is one plus for my approach: After the voting is completed, people can understand who the voters thought was best. Having the analysis go as "Well, the voters have spoken, sort of, they like Sanders but they voted for Biden" is discouraging. And, of course, nobody will really be able to confidently judge the extent of the explanation. .If everyone votes for the candidate that they like best then we get some clarity about what it is that people like best.



And there are times when "Stamp the Rooster" is the only appropriate choice.
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#14853 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2020-March-05, 16:14

Wouldn't you love having an election system in which tactical voting was moot? Everybody just vote for whom they consider the best candidate.

Sorry for flogging the dead horse again.
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#14854 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-March-05, 16:55

View Posthelene_t, on 2020-March-05, 16:14, said:

Wouldn't you love having an election system in which tactical voting was moot? Everybody just vote for whom they consider the best candidate.

Sorry for flogging the dead horse again.


That would be attractive. And I suppose not entirely realistic. But, nonetheless, attractive.


There have been more opinion pieces than I can count, let alone read, on how awful the nomination process is. I think most of them were written by those who were worrying that this awful process would lead to a Sanders victory. Now that it looks like there will be a Biden victory, no doubt we will be hearing from Sanders supporters about how awful the process is.
Ken
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#14855 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-March-05, 18:30

From Charlie Savage at NYT:

Quote

WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Thursday sharply criticized Attorney General William P. Barr’s handling of the report by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, saying that Mr. Barr put forward a “distorted” and “misleading” account of its findings and lacked credibility on the topic.

Judge Reggie B. Walton said Mr. Barr could not be trusted and cited “inconsistencies” between his statements about the report when it was secret and its actual contents that turned out to be more damaging to President Trump. Judge Walton said Mr. Barr’s “lack of candor” called “into question Attorney General Barr’s credibility and, in turn, the department’s” assurances to the court.

The judge ordered the Justice Department to privately show him the portions of the report that were censored in the public version so he could independently verify the justifications. The ruling came in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking a full-text version of the report.

“It would be disingenuous for the court to conclude that the redactions of the Mueller Report pursuant to the FOIA are not tainted by Attorney General Barr’s actions and representations,” wrote Judge Walton, a 2001 appointee of President George W. Bush.

A Justice Department spokeswoman had no immediate comment. The case centers on requests by the Electronic Privacy Information Center and by Jason Leopold, a BuzzFeed News reporter.

Mr. Barr’s public rollout of the Mueller report has been widely criticized. He issued an initial four-page letter he issued in March 2019, two days after receiving the 381-page document, that purported to summarize its principal conclusions. But Mr. Mueller himself sent letters to Mr. Barr protesting that he had distorted its findings and asking him to swiftly release the report’s own summaries. Instead, Mr. Barr made the report public only weeks later after a fuller review to black out sensitive material.

Still, it was striking to see a Republican-appointed federal judge scathingly dissect Mr. Barr’s conduct in a formal judicial ruling and declare that the sitting attorney general had so deceived the American people that he could not trust assertions made by a Justice Department under Mr. Barr’s control.

Among the issues Judge Walton flagged: Mr. Barr initially declared that the special counsel had not found that the Trump campaign had conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election.

While Mr. Mueller did conclude that he found “insufficient evidence” to charge any Trump associates with conspiring with the Russians, Mr. Barr omitted that the special counsel had identified multiple contacts between Trump campaign officials and people with ties to the Russian government and that the campaign expected to benefit from Moscow’s interference.

Judge Walton wrote that the special counsel “only concluded” that the investigation did not establish that the contacts rose to “coordination” because that term “does not have a settled definition in federal criminal law.”

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#14856 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2020-March-06, 03:27

I guess Judge Walton should have checked with our own rmnka - then he'd known Bill Barr is a straight shooter!
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#14857 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2020-March-06, 03:33

View Postkenberg, on 2020-March-05, 16:55, said:



That would be attractive. And I suppose not entirely realistic. But, nonetheless, attractive.


There have been more opinion pieces than I can count, let alone read, on how awful the nomination process is. I think most of them were written by those who were worrying that this awful process would lead to a Sanders victory. Now that it looks like there will be a Biden victory, no doubt we will be hearing from Sanders supporters about how awful the process is.

I am ok with either Biden or Sanders (though neither of them were even close to my top choice in the field).

I still think it is an awful process. Basically Democrats spend a year dividing themselves. Donors burn money so Democrats can attack each other in a negative-sum gain. Activists organise for Warren, Sanders, Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar instead of organising to get public support for impeachment, corruption investigations, climate change, better handling of coronarivus, ... Bloomberg spent 500 million on the most sophisticated online/advertising campaign in order to get shredded by Warren in the debate, instead of spending it on one of the worthwhile causes above (which he has in the past).

If Putin were to organise the Democratic primary process, he could hardly choose a better system.
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#14858 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-March-06, 06:09

View Postcherdano, on 2020-March-06, 03:33, said:

I am ok with either Biden or Sanders (though neither of them were even close to my top choice in the field).

I still think it is an awful process. Basically Democrats spend a year dividing themselves. Donors burn money so Democrats can attack each other in a negative-sum gain. Activists organise for Warren, Sanders, Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar instead of organising to get public support for impeachment, corruption investigations, climate change, better handling of coronarivus, ... Bloomberg spent 500 million on the most sophisticated online/advertising campaign in order to get shredded by Warren in the debate, instead of spending it on one of the worthwhile causes above (which he has in the past).

If Putin were to organise the Democratic primary process, he could hardly choose a better system.


Yes. I agree that the system is pretty awful. My thinking was more that who wrote the opinion pieces was very dependent upon whose ox was being gored at that [particular time.

Ken
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#14859 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-March-06, 07:53

Jumping the gun a bit, let's assume for discussion Biden will be the nominee. There is a good article by David Ignatius about the Hunter-Ukraine problem . I quote:

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Biden's denials of wrongdoing have been entirely accurate, but they don't acknowledge a dimension that's clear to many Republicans and Democrats: Hunter Biden should have quit the Burisma board, or his father should have withdrawn from the lead role on Ukraine. The two didn't mix. Biden didn't do anything corrupt, but his patchwork of careful statements doesn't address perceptions.


I offer a personal variation, although the money involved was infinitesimally by comparison. As a prof I served three years as the undergraduate chair of the department. From time to time textbook publishers ask faculty to review a textbook. The pay is very small but if I found the book interesting I would sometimes do it. After I became undergrad chair a publisher, on about my first day, asked me to review a book at about three times the normal rate. I said sure. About two days later someone else showed up with a similar offer. Huh? What's up? It was easy to see. My position gave me influence over which books were used in various. courses. So I declined, and then I called the first guy and said, no, I had changed my mind. Yes, I felt confident that I could keep my objectivity but even I could see that the optics were bad.


As I said, the amount of money was of a very very different order of magnitude. But that just makes the optics worse for JB.

Insisting that Hunter Biden should not have taken the job is not the right approach. No doubt the job offer related to who his father was, but HB can do as he chooses. It's JB who had to look at this clearly. He had to tell Obama "Look, my son has just taken a position at this company, maybe a shady company maybe not, in Ukraine and I need to not be involved, and it needs to be clear that I am not involved, in any way with this". JB did not need not tell HB what to do, he just needed to realize that this was not going to look good and he had to create enough distance so that not only would he not be having any influence but also it would be completely clear, immediately clear, that he had not had any influence. Yes, smears will happen. Hillary Clinton really was not running a child sex ring out of a pizza place. You can't stop the crazies from being crazy. But you can take steps to make sure that those who are not crazy but still legitimately a bit mistrusting will be able to immediately say "Yeah, JB did the right thing there".

So he needs to acknowledge an error in not seeing what was in the offing here. And then, as long as he kept it straight, the non-crazies will accept that.

Those of us who have lived for a while are very willing to accept the simple "I should have seen that coming, I made a mistake".
Ken
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#14860 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-March-06, 09:15

From Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg:

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As the coronavirus spreads, it’s increasingly clear that the U.S. government has made mistakes. This is a difficult time to assess those mistakes, however; it’s not yet clear, and won’t be for some time, either the extent or the responsibility for things that have gone wrong. We’re going to see more articles about how things went awry, and that’s part of how democratic accountability works — moreover it’s an important part of how, in a democracy, governments are able to adjust course and get closer to successful policy.

So keep in mind when reading or viewing such stories that they’re necessary, healthy and also probably at least a little sensationalized. They typically also fail to take into account that no response will ever be perfect.

What’s easier to assess are the public actions and statements of the president, and wow, is Donald Trump bad at this. Let’s take three recent examples.

One was Trump’s false claim on Wednesday that an Obama administration policy had made testing more difficult, a claim that was apparently just made up. So many things are wrong here. First of all, it’s important that people can believe the president during this kind of situation; obviously saying false things undermines that. Also, presidents are usually better off acting as if they are in command, as opposed to throwing blame elsewhere. And then there’s Trump’s choice to inject partisanship into the discussion. It’s very simple: A president’s big advantage in difficult times is that he can claim to speak for the entire nation. Using partisan rhetoric squanders that asset.

The second episode? Trump went on Fox News on Wednesday night and gave multiple rambling answers to questions about the outbreak, at one point mentioning people who might go to work while mildly sick. As my Bloomberg Opinion colleague Justin Fox points out, Trump was wrongly said to have advised people that they should go to work sick. He did not. He also didn’t give the important message that people should stay home if they’re sick, and he botched other parts of his answer, too.

This is typical Trump: He’s “Donald from Queens,” the guy calling into a radio show to share whatever's on his mind or whatever opinion he’s come up with. Trump simply refuses to accept, and probably doesn’t understand, that he forfeited his right to mouth off on whatever he wants when he was hired by over 300 million bosses to take the job of president. And then on Thursday instead of correcting his inelegant answer, he instead lashed out at the media.

And the third one: Trump is still bragging about how successful he’s supposedly been at stopping the spread of the virus, even as the numbers grow and it’s increasingly clear that what’s happened is a lack of testing, not a lack of infections. Thursday morning he boasted there were “only 129 cases (40 Americans brought in).” By Thursday night, there were more than 200 reported cases. At least George W. Bush stopped at one Mission Accomplished rally.

This isn’t harmless. While again I’d caution against blaming the president for everything that goes wrong, and judging the government by a standard of 100% effectiveness, it’s still true that when a president downplays an issue it takes the pressure off officials to act as if it’s an emergency. And it’s not just federal officials: State and local governments, private parts of the health care system and ordinary citizens also take their cues from the president. If he says, in effect, that there’s nothing to worry about, and that they shouldn’t trust what they hear through the news media, then unfortunately a lot of people are going to believe him — and make bad, and perhaps horribly dangerous, choices.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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