Could Sanders Win? Why Is Clinton Whining?!

Hillary ClintonWith Bernie Sanders’ better than expected finish in New Hampshire, I decided to go and look at the road ahead. And what I found really confused me. I mean: really. Why the full freak out? Why did Gloria Steinem go off on the youngins? Why is there now apparently a whole industry for psychoanalyzing the youth of today and why they totally don’t get it? Because the road ahead looks bad for Sanders in terms of winning the nomination. Really bad. So why so much whining from the Clinton campaign?

Look: I understand that things can get out of hand. I know that Bernie Sanders is going to get a bump because of his win in New Hampshire. But have you looked at the polls in the upcoming states?! They are not good for Sanders. Here are the Real Clear Politics averages for the next few states:

The only one that Sanders has any kind of chance at is Nevada because it is a caucus state and there isn’t much polling and it is old. If Sanders does manage to win that, it will look bad for the Clinton campaign. But I just don’t see it changing things in Texas and Georgia. I don’t see how Bernie manages to win the nomination. The odds are stacked badly against him.

Has Clinton Campaign Harmed Itself?

At the same time, various Clinton surrogates have done much to alienate Sanders supporters — most especially young ones — and even more most especially young female ones. And for what?! Because even the smallest chance of Clinton not getting the nomination is totally unacceptable? It strikes me as total madness. And I know: some will say that I’m naive. They will say that Sanders has “momentum.” And I would say to those people: you don’t understand much about political science. There is no such thing as momentum. That’s a myth that was created by people on television so they could sound smart when talking about contests they really know little about.

Last summer, I found myself on a lot of liberal blogs with Clinton supporters and I talked a lot about how they should calm down. So this whole thing has been going on for a long time. And it doesn’t speak well of the Clinton campaign nor the Democratic Party. I think the Republicans have actually been better about Trump. At least they spent most of their time attacking him and not his supporters. What’s more, Trump is actually winning. He got twice as many votes as his nearest competitor in New Hampshire. And he looks poised to do it again in South Carolina.

What it reminds me of is the old saying, “Republicans fear their base; Democrats hate their base.” And I’m not just talking about Sanders supporters here. There’s this overriding idea that primary voters are idiots and can’t be trusted. They must be told what is for their own good! And the interesting thing is that the Democratic Party treats its base very much in the way the Republicans stereotype them treating the people of the nation. But as elected officials, Democrats do not do that; it’s the Republicans who try to control the lives of everyone who isn’t rich. But when it comes to campaigning, the Democrats seem to be lost.

If Sanders suddenly jumps ahead in South Carolina, then clearly I have misjudged the situation. If not, I don’t want to hear it. No whining from people 30 points ahead in the polls!

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

35 thoughts on “Could Sanders Win? Why Is Clinton Whining?!

  1. *sigh*
    I will leave this here:

    “That’s the blessing and the curse and the frustrated sigh of her: she thinks about not alienating Republicans even as she works to win over as many progressive Democratic voters as possible. She thinks about the votes it will take to get elected, and the votes it will take to pass a law, and she tries to figure out how to get those votes and stay on brand and make progress that will improve American lives before she commits to anything.

    Meanwhile, she also has to think about her hair and her pantsuits and her freakin’ cleavage, and how to project warmth and passion without actually having an emotion in public and how to convince voters that a woman is tough enough to be commander in chief without seeming too “hawkish” for the left.”
    As for the stuff about the youth vote…you were the one who a few short months ago was saying that it was all the fault of the youth vote not showing up. I know you changed after I provided the numbers though.

    This idea that the young are naive and just supporting whoever is popular is a perennial idea that is always brought up with every election. It happened with Obama, it happened with Generation Dean, it will always happen.

    I think the youth vote have thought through the issues for the most part. But I don’t think they actually paid any attention to history-one of them just said on Facebook that Clinton has never done anything for women therefore there never should have been a Planned Parenthood endorsement. O.o

    A classmate, 20, told me she knows nothing about Clinton but thinks she is a bad person anyway because “like she has been investigated.” This from a student on her way to law school.

    As for Sanders supporting Captain America:

    A series of posts that examine the legal issues that having superpowered creatures running all over the place would bring up. How come we can’t debate on this?

    • I want to be clear that I’m not attacking Clinton — although Bill Clinton is very much included in the mix. Not that I blame him in a personal way. I’ve always been very protective of my wives, even when they didn’t need it.

      I try to avoid blaming people for not voting — especially the poor given they have other things that need to get done. But I do slip up, and I definitely remember that exchange. But it is quite a different thing to complain about the youngins not voting and effectively saying they are just not mature enough to vote properly. I think Matt Bruenig is correct in the one article I linked to: young people are voting for Sanders because young people are more liberal. That’s not exactly a shock.

      As for the Marvel thing, I’ve seen some actually legal analysis on it. I didn’t read it because that kind of stuff makes my brain hurt. But Sanders’ taking a side is indicative of the great freedom he has. He has nothing to lose and Clinton has everything to lose. And most of the media would love to see just that — not because they hate her (at least not all), but because it would be dramatic.

      I wrote this because I really was shocked at just how poorly Sanders looks in the rest of the campaign. I know things could change, but I truly think that’s unlikely.

      • Since I am not campaigning, I have no idea what the person on the street thinks. But I get this “you have to like Sanders or you are not cool” vibe online which always gets my hackles up.

        • But so much of online is “you must X or you are not cool.” I was walking home from the bank today at the unfortunate time when the high school was getting out. I felt very uncool. But I hardly noticed it because I was too focused on hoping that none of them would attack me. I survived unharmed! (They might be afraid of me, given that I do tend to look like a crazy homeless person.)

          • Just remember crazy homeless looking Frank, they are more scared of you then you are of them.

            Although they probably would think you are cool. Old men can be cool in a way that most old women cannot be. :-D

      • Oh and re: Avengers: Civil War…I was tempted to write an essay tying it to a real world example of being a wet or dry back in the 1920s then pestering you to publish it along with a couple other things James and I come up with so you get a damn day off.

        But you would never do that.

        • Well, I will take a couple days off next week. Of course, I’ll front-load work here. And I’m going away to work to try to stop the cover of a second edition of an old book of mine from totally sucking.

          But James has a couple of things I need to get to. The problem is that it takes as much time to edit an article as to write it. It’s not that it needs a lot of work. But editing takes time. And I don’t edit my own stuff. I hardly even read it at this point.

          But I like the idea for the article. Why don’t you do it? You’ll have to explain the basic issue, because I don’t even know what it’s about. I hate Marvel, as everyone should know by now.

          • You do?!


            I am not even going to ask. I am sure it would take a lot of explainin’ to do.

            I will write something up. It may need a series of articles to explain everything.

          • Don’t worry about those. I type them for my own amusement. If I ever do anything I really am excited about sharing with the universe, I’ll let you know.

            Personally I just basically hate the idea of superheroes. Let’s say I had super-strength. And I decided to be a hero. How could I? Maybe once every ten years I might stumble on a situation where I could help anyone. To accept superheroes you either need to buy the notion of criminals all over (deeply offensive) or the idea of superheroes selflessly saving us from (the always much more interesting) supervillains.

            I kinda liked the first “X Men” movie, but the Marvel formula rules quickly made that story disposable.

            • As a genre, superheroes are all vigilante fiction. I’ve written about this in the past quite a lot. They are good because they are defined as such. They are the ubermensch: they create their own moral universe. See the end of the most recent Superman film where he destroys a satellite because he can’t have the government checking on him. This is a man who would, in actuality, kill people because he’s having a bad day. If Superman existed, the real story would be how we could either kill him or get him to relocate to another planet. It’s a sad and dangerous replacement for Achilles and Hector.

              I want to get to your articles. It’s good to have variety.

              • I tried watching a “Marvel” TV series about a detective with super-strength. And the premise was kinda cool. That would actually be one way to use a superpower to do good. You could track down, say, violent parents who abduct their kids and rescue the kids, turning them over to the proper protective agencies. You could be like Sherlock Holmes and, I dunno, solve mysteries.

                But the whole damn thing had to be set in the “Marvel” universe where The Hulk exists and we’re supposed to take the internal woes of superheroes seriously. Plus secret Good Guy government agencies and Bad Guy nefarious hordes and gee whiz.

                People who make this Marvel stuff are more terrified of offending the precious Marvel canon than a filmamker doing a biopic cares about the accuracy of history. God forbid Radioactive Boy says a line that counters what happened in issue #48 of “Wolverine On Mars.”

                I suppose, like anything else, if you follow it closely enough, you see the beauty within the constraints of the genre. Writers I respect are doing work in the field, so it can’t be as shallow as the Marvel TV/movie product makes it seem.

                And if I have to sit through one more f***ing movie where the plot is “get the magic gimcrack before Bad Guy destroys the universe with it” I’m going to go back in time and step on the first paramecium that evolved into humanity.

                • Growing up, I didn’t much like comics. That is, until I discovered EC comics. The art and the consistent revenge plots appealed to me. Then I got into people like Bernie Wrightson. And then the underground comics. Now, it is an amazing business. I mean, someone did a Marcel Proust graphic novel! But still, it is the stupid superheroes that get all the attention.

                  • I’ve come Johnny lately to some great stuff. The comic “Economix” is a great textbook. Joe Sacco’s war-zone books are brilliant reporting and beautifully drawn. There’s such so much that I’ll never get to before I croak.

                    • Yes. God is evil. That’s clear enough. There never should have been more books than can be read in a lifetime!

                    • I actually had about a quarter of a script done on this. Personal ego immortality is terrifyingly dull; the idea of having more time to keep learning from others, for as forever as you like, is thrilling. In my version, both types were stuck in the same afterlife.

                      Then I had to update my OS and it ate my script. And you know how it is when something eats work you put some heart into; fuck it. I’m never getting that much personal feeling into a goddamn script ever again. A wise person is as stoic as Hemingway and as sarcastic as the modern Internet craves.

                    • A script?

                      I do know what you are talking about. But here is a secret: if you start all over, what you write will be even better. I’ve had the experience of finding something I lost. And you know: all Indians walk in single file; at least the only one I ever saw did.

                    • Yeah, a script. I wanted to make movies when I was a kid (I did make terrible ones) and I guess old fantasies die hard.

                      The BBC had a template you could download for free and plug into Word, rather than buying that garbage scriptwriting software. And typing in script “format” is such a royal bitch. It was actually easier to do on an old typewriter than a modern word processor. The BBC’s thing worked pretty well, and it was encouraging to know the BBC didn’t think it was stupid for amateurs to try learning a new craft.

                      Maybe someday I’ll go back to it (again, life too short.) I’ve had fits and spurts of writing in that format and it’s usually topical, so it ends up dated before I can plod my way through completion. But the afterlife is never dated.

                      Although I hate with a fierce hate Tim LaHaye for his (probably ghostwritten) “Left Behiind” series. What a great idea for satire! The Rapture happens via Poof! Cars crash, clothes collapse in piles on empty chairs, and all the assholes are suddenly gone without the rest of us having to feel one whit of guilt (the assholes are happy, they’re in Heaven, playing harps eternally to God, or whatever assholes do in Heaven.)

                      There’s so much to be done with this! And, alas, that great idea had nothing remotely interesting done with it, so it’s broken forever. Rats.

                    • I like that. After all the “good” Christians are gone, there is finally peace on earth.

                      I use TeX for screenplays. It makes it so much easier. You don’t have to think about anything. But you do have to know a little (Very little) LaTeX.

                    • Fan? Not really. But I enjoyed them. Funny, a friend of mine had that Vampirella issue 019 cover on his wall — not, I assume, because of the horror aspect of it.

  2. It’s not just Democratic officials who think primary voters are idiots; so do political ‘scientists’. At the end of the Vox “6 political scientists” piece you linked to a couple of days ago, we were told it is “blindingly obvious among political scientists” that what voters say about head-to-head contests is “essentially illusory”; that such a poll is “absolutely worthless”. Instead, the political ‘scientists’ pontificate in the rest of the article about how they know what people will do, whatever they say their preferences are.

    The idea that this is a form of science is laughable. At best, it’s a vague forecast; it’s a vague estimate, or even a guess. It’s nothing like actual science. It’s more like William Goldman’s estimation of Hollywood knowledge – “nobody knows anything”.

    • In general, I’m with Goldman when comes to all matters of taste. But there is a lot of good quantitative political science. Although I do question even some of it. But from a practical standpoint, it’s a lot like economics: it can tell you some very basic things — which are important. But there is so much noise in the system that it’s hard to say too much. But there is a big difference between asking people what they are going to do later this month and what they are going to do 9 months from now. But there is always a tendency (most certainly including me) to collect data that confirms my opinions. But I really was surprised here. I knew that Clinton was leading in these places, but I didn’t realize it was that uneven.

  3. The over-reaction makes me more hopeful about a Sanders miracle. It feels like the more they make a big deal about it, the more it will drive voters to him…… bad press about Nike can drive sales.

    • I wouldn’t put it past the Democratic Party establishment to drive voters away from Clinton. They seem to be good at that kind of thing. I certainly don’t think we’ve been seeing this freak-out because they are smart and think that Sanders is this huge threat. There’s a reason why they hate and don’t fear the base: because the base really is reasonable. I’m just not willing to become unreasonable to teach them a lesson. But the argument can be made.

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