Candidates and caucuses...but where are my crocuses?
Greetings, Dot Calm Readers
After Sanders' Big Win in New Hampshire, Establishment Figures Want to Scare You with Superdelegates. Here's Why It's Bullshit
1. His margin of victory was the highest for a non-incumbent candidate in any state since JFK.
2. He won almost every demographic group—male, female, young, old, moderate, liberal, college educated, high school-educated—with the exception of voters making more than $200,000 per year.
3. He became the first Jewish candidate to win a state primary in U.S. history.
4. He became the first non-Christian candidate to win a state primary in U.S. history.
Sanders isn’t one to emphasize his religious affiliation—his political beliefs make him enough of an outsider as it is—so you won’t read much coverage about the historic nature of his win. What you will read about is how it’s going to change his primary battle against Hillary Clinton. The path to the nomination is still difficult for Sanders, and Clinton should still be considered the favorite, but winning New Hampshire in a blowout will give his candidacy a new kind of credibility and momentum. Sanders was polling below five percent nationally when he joined the race, and to come this far in such a short time, against an overwhelming favorite, is a bit staggering—so staggering that a frustrated Clinton “might “shake up her entire campaign.
The narrative has changed, which means that establishment figures are duty-bound to change it back. If you’re an avid follower of politics, you may have seen statistics like these:
Sanders won 60 percent of the vote, but thanks to the Democratic Party’s nominating system, he leaves the Granite State with at least 13 delegates while she leaves with at least 15 delegates.
New Hampshire has 24 “pledged” delegates, which are allotted based on the popular vote. Sanders has 13, and Clinton has 9, with 2 currently allotted to neither.
New Hampshire has 8 superdelegates, 6 of which are committed to Hillary Clinton, giving her a total of 15 delegates from New Hampshire as of Wednesday at 9 a.m.
The state’s 2 remaining superdelegates remain uncommitted.
In the overall delegate count, Clinton holds a commanding lead after a razor-thin victory in Iowa and a shellacking in New Hampshire. Clinton has 394 delegates, both super and electorally assigned, to only 42 for Sanders.
Oh no, you might be thinking, look at those delegate totals! He’s getting killed! The New Hampshire primary is meaningless! He didn’t even really win! On the Sanders Reddit page this morning, users were asking whether the whole primary process was a Sisyphean task, and if victory was impossible.
Make no mistake: That’s the point of this kind of messaging. To discourage, dismay, and dishearten, in the wake of something that should feel really positive for Sanders supporters. Reality check: The system is bigger than you, and you can’t change it, so go home.
I have no clue if Timothy McBride has any affiliation or even affection for Hillary Clinton, and he was certainly not alone in advancing this talking point. (Update: Surprise, surprise, the two are connected.) What I do know is that he tweeted these statistics out last night and again this morning, and whatever his intentions—and those like him—Clinton herself could not have written a better media script.
So what’s happening here? Are those delegate counts right?
Well, no—McBride’s math is wrong, but I’m assuming that wasn’t a malicious mistake. The actual count is 394-42.
So technically, yes, the count is close to accurate. He’s not overtly lying. But are they illustrative of some critical, insurmountable problem for Sanders? Not at all. Are they even relevant to the primary race? Barely. Certainly not now, and probably not ever. Are these messages deceptive, even subtly?
Yes. Absolutely. And they’re propagated by people who are withholding the full story in the hopes that people like you and me are too stupid and complacent to find out on our own.
McBride’s sneaky tactic is to count “Superdelegates,” which is how he arrives at his imbalanced total. Accept the numbers blindly, and you might feel an impulse toward panic. My message to you: Chill. It’s a clever trick, but a silly one, and it won’t affect anything. To counter this narrative, let’s examine the political reality behind Superdelegates, and explain how they really work, Q&A style.
Q: You say Superdelegates don’t matter, but I don’t even know what they are. How does Hillary have 300+ already?
A: Let’s make it simple: The Democratic nominee for president is decided based on which candidate wins the most delegates. You will find conflicting information about how many there are in 2016, but according to the AP, the delegate total is 4,763. It takes 2,382 of those to secure the nomination. And of the 4,763, 712 are “Superdelegates”—about 15 percent of the overall total.
Q: Okay, but what’s the difference?
A: The 4,051 “normal” delegates are allocated based on the votes in each state. That’s why we have primaries and caucuses in all of them, eventually—the will of the people decides where each of these delegates goes. In New Hampshire last night, Sanders won 13 delegates to Clinton’s nine, with two left to award when the last precincts report (in all likelihood, based on current percentages, it will finish 15-9 for Sanders). In Iowa, where Clinton won a narrow victory, the current delegate count is 23-21 in her favor. This process will repeat in every state until all 4,051 “normal” delegates have been allotted.
On the Democratic side, these delegates are rewarded proportionally in each state, rather than on the winner-take-all basis most states use in the electoral college. Those delegates are “pledged” to the appropriate candidate, and will not change affiliation at the national convention.
Q: That makes sense, but what are Superdelegates?
A: The remaining 712 delegates are not decided by each state’s popular vote, but rather by individuals who are given a vote by the Democratic party. They are free to choose whoever they want at the national convention, regardless of how the vote went in their home state.
Q: Who gets to be a Superdelegate?
A: Every Democratic member of Congress, House and Senate, is a Superdelegate (240 total). Every Democratic governor is a Superdelegate (20 total). Certain “distinguished party leaders,” 20 in all, are given Superdelegate status. And finally, the Democratic National Committee names an additional 432 Superdelegates—an honor that typically goes to mayors, chairs and vice-chairs of the state party, and other dignitaries.
Q: So they have way more importance than an ordinary voter?
A: Oh yeah. In 2008, each Superdelegate had about as much clout as 10,000 voters. It will be roughly the same in 2016.
Q: How did this system come to exist?
A: I’ll make this history lesson brief: In 1968, after the riots at the Democratic national convention in Chicago, party leaders knew they needed to change the nomination process to give ordinary people more of a say in how the potential president was chosen. Thus, the state-by-state primary/caucus system was born. By the 1980s, the party elites felt left out of the process, bereft of all influence, and they thought their absence had hurt the party with weaker candidates like George McGovern and Jimmy Carter. Jim Hunt, Governor of North Carolina, was commissioned to come up with a new system, and by 1984 the Superdelegate system was implemented. Democrats thought that by giving more power to party leaders, it would prevent “unelectable” candidates, beloved by the populace, from costing them the general election.
Q: Why does Hillary Clinton have so many more Superdelegates this time around?
A: Because Superdelegates are the establishment, and Clinton is the establishment candidate. Period.
A quick look at the chart below, courtesy of Wikipedia, shows how insanely imbalanced the Superdelegate race is at this point in time:
In Congress, Hillary Clinton has 39 of the 47 Senators, with seven uncommitted. Bernie Sanders has an endorsement from just one Senator. That Senator’s name? Bernie Sanders. In the House, Hillary leads 157-2, and her advantage in the DNC is 138-10. Even among the “distinguished party leaders,” which includes Bill Clinton, Howard Dean, Dick Gephardt, and Walter Mondale, she leads eight to one. Overall, the total is 355-14, with 341 uncommitted.
So when you see tweets like McBride’s above, where he cites Clinton’s 431-50 edge, he’s adding these “pledged” Superdelegates. We’ve already seen that his math is wrong—per the New York Times, the actual updated total is 394-42. But when you look at actual popular votes that have taken place, Sanders leads 34-32.
Q: From everything you’ve told me so far, I can’t understand why you’re calling Superdelegate votes “irrelevant.” It seems to me like they have the same voting power as a normal delegate, and this puts Sanders in a tremendous hole from the word “go.”
A: Here’s why it doesn’t matter: Superdelegates have never decided a Democratic nomination. It would be insane, even by the corrupt standards of the Democratic National Committee, if a small group of party elites went against the will of the people to choose the presidential nominee.
This has already been an incredibly tense election, and Sanders voters are already expressing their unwillingness to vote for Clinton in the general election. When you look at the astounding numbers from Iowa and New Hampshire, where more than 80 percent of young voters have chosen Sanders over Clinton, regardless of gender, it’s clear that Clinton already finds herself in a very tenuous position for the general election. It will be tough to motivate young supporters, but any hint that Bernie was screwed by the establishment will result in total abandonment.
Democrats win when turnout is high, and if the DNC decides to go against the will of the people and force Clinton down the electorate’s throat, they’d be committing political suicide.
The important thing to know here is that Superdelegates are merely pledged to a candidate. We know who they support because they’ve stated it publicly, or been asked by journalists. They are not committed, and can change at any time. If Bernie Sanders wins the popular vote, he will be the nominee. End of story.
Q: But it’s not the end of the story, is it? Hasn’t the DNC pulled some shady shit already?
A: Oh yeah. They totally rigged the debate schedule to limit Sanders’ exposure, and now that he’s gaining ground on Clinton, they’re desperate to add more. Sanders probably won the popular vote in Iowa, but the party elite there are refusing to release popular vote totals, even though that’s exactly what they did in 2008. It’s been an embarrassment of Clinton protectionism from the very beginning.
However, that doesn’t mean they’ll overthrow the will of the people when it comes to the presidential nomination. Assuming Sanders wins the popular vote nationwide, and assuming the Superdelegates put Clinton over the top, let’s consider the consequences:
1. Sanders supporters abandon Clinton completely, cutting off a huge portion of her base.
2. Massive protests at the convention, and a party split in half.
3. Republicans have the easiest attack in presidential election history: “Her own party didn’t even want her!”
4. The perception that Clinton is a dishonest politician grows wings, and even if people are reluctant to vote for the GOP nominee, an independent like Bloomberg could strip away an awful lot of votes.
All of this spells disaster for the Democrats. It may not be too corrupt for the DNC to imagine—they’ve got good imaginations—but it’s too transparent to execute. The winner of the delegate count from state primaries and caucuses will win the nomination, and the Superdelegates will fall in line. Just as they have in every single election since the system was implemented.
(Including in 2008, when this same concern was raised—would Superdelegates cost Obama the nomination?)
Even the Democratic power structure isn’t so short-sighted that it would cut off its nose to spite its face.
Q: If Superdelegates can shift allegiances, and if going against the people’s will is so unthinkable, why don’t the pundits ever mention it?
A: It’s almost like there’s an agenda, right? Not to keep picking on McBride, who is a very minor figure in all this, and who had the bad luck to appear on my timeline yesterday, but what purpose do those numbers serve other than to discourage Sanders supporters? They’re essentially meaningless, but when presented without context, they give the impression of an unbeatable juggernaut, and tacitly encourage outsiders to give up all hope. On a smaller level, it’s the same when you see charts like these, from Politico:
Sanders wins, but still loses the delegate count? How? Why?
It’s enough to provoke despair, if you don’t understand the system, and none of these outlets are bothering to explain. The reader is left to draw his or her own conclusions, and it can seem overwhelming. I don’t know if the explicit goal is to have a chilling effect on participation, and to discourage passionate people from participating in our democracy, but it certainly feels that way.
So, do yourself a favor and ignore the Superdelegates. If Hillary Clinton wins the most popular delegates, she will be the party nominee. If Bernie Sanders wins the most popular delegates, he will be the party nominee. And anyone who tells you otherwise—even by implication, and even armed with misleading statistics—is selling you a bill of goods. Don’t buy it.
Remember, the Get Obama Party does not tolerate deviations from the party line. And whoever is elected in November will be appointing SCOTUS judges, who could find themselves hearing challenges to the Bill of Rights and other parts of the Constitution that make America what it is. Republicans bitch and moan that Obama is "changing America" (i.e., taking away everyone's bibles and guns and making us all Muslims living under Sharia law, which makes Obama the Worst. Muslim. Ever.), but it's really Republicans who want to change the country at its roots, by turning back the clock on civil rights by 150 years and by instituting Christianity as the official state religion. Bait and switch anyone? Projecting, anyone? Hypocrisy, anyone? Bueller? BUELLER?!
No Obamacare with no replacement,
No marriage equality...
We could lose our public schools,
A LOT more restrictions on women's rights.
Pay raises only for Congress and the corporations.
Did I mention pay raises only for Congress and the corporations? Yes, a whole lot more of those. And tax cuts. A whole lot more tax cuts. Hell, the Republican government will probably just skip the middle man and have you hand your money over directly to the corporations and the rich. Including your salary, if you work for one. You should be honored just to have a job! Who needs to be paid (unless you're already rich)? You should be grateful they allow you to pollute their sanctified air by breathing it. You should be honored they don't use you as a skeet-shooting target.
Repeal of the 1st Amendment, which means
a CATHOLIC nation.
Mass incarceration and deportation of
Radically increased income inequality
Radically decreased individual rights--
More wars of aggression; less diplomacy.
More terrorism--foreign and domestic.
A LOT less funding for science...
Strong commitment to global warming...
More government corruption;
Reduced consumer protections;
Oh, and did I forget to mention
Well, last night, anyway:
Bernie wins NH primary; so does Money Boo Boo.
Frankly, I'm relieved (such as it is)
Cruz and Rubio lost.
If I had to vote for a Republican,
I'd vote for Eisenhower.
I still like Ike!
Sign the petition from CREDO and Daily Kos to Congress: Repeal immunity for the gun industry by passing the Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act.
I really need to research whether this is true or not.
It would be Very Cool if it is!
with waterboarding as just the start...
Will he make prisoners listen to Sarah Palin
until their brains ooze out their ears
trying to escape...?
A word and a request
from Bernie Sanders
Greed, fraud, dishonesty, and arrogance: these are the words that best describe the reality of Wall Street today.
We can no longer tolerate an economy and a political system that have been rigged by Wall Street to benefit the wealthiest Americans in this country at the expense of everyone else. While President Obama deserves credit for getting this economy back on track after the Wall Street crash, the reality is there is a lot of unfinished business.
That's why I announced my plan for taking on Wall Street. We must break up the banks, end their casino-style gambling, and fundamentally change the approach of the financial industry to focus on helping the American people.
When I am president, we will reform Wall Street and our financial system to make it work for all Americans. I want to tell you about what I will do, then ask you to add your name to endorse our plan.
To those on Wall Street, let me be very clear. Greed is not good. In fact, the greed of Wall Street and corporate America is destroying the fabric of our nation. And here is a promise I will make as president: If Wall Street does not end its greed, we will end it for them.
As most people know, in the 1990s and later, financial interests spent billions of dollars in lobbying and campaign contributions to force through Congress the deregulation of Wall Street, the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, and the weakening of consumer protection laws.
They paid this money to show the American people all that they could do with that freedom. Well, they sure showed the American people. In 2008, the greed, recklessness, and illegal behavior on Wall Street nearly destroyed the U.S. and global economy. Millions of Americans lost their jobs, their homes, and their life savings.
Meanwhile, the American middle class continues to disappear, poverty is increasing, and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider and wider by the day. But the American people are catching on. They also know that a handful of people on Wall Street have extraordinary power over the economic and political life of our country.
We must act now to change that. Our goal must be to create a financial system and an economy that works for all Americans, not just a handful of billionaires.
There are eight points to my plan, and I want to go through each of them here because I think it's important for our campaign to discuss specific policies with our supporters. Some of this may seem a little in the weeds, but I trust our supporters to be able to handle this kind of policy discussion.
Here's my plan for what I will do with Wall Street when I am president:
Break up huge financial institutions in the first year of my administration. Within the first 100 days of my administration, I will require the Secretary of the Treasury to establish a “Too Big to Fail” list of commercial banks, shadow banks, and insurance companies whose failure would pose a catastrophic risk to the U.S. economy without a taxpayer bailout. Within one year, my administration will break these institutions up so that they no longer pose a grave threat to the economy.
Reinstate a 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act to clearly separate traditional banking from risky investment banking and insurance services. It is not enough to tell Wall Street to "cut it out," propose a few new rules and slap on some fines. Under my administration, financial institutions will no longer be too big to fail or too big to manage. Wall Street cannot continue to be an island unto itself, gambling trillions in risky financial instruments. If an institution is too big to fail, it is too big to exist.
End too-big-to-jail. We live in a country today that has an economy that is rigged, a campaign finance system which is corrupt, and a criminal justice system which often does not dispense justice. The average American sees kids being arrested and sometimes even jailed for possessing marijuana. But when it comes to Wall Street executives — some of the most wealthy and powerful people in this country whose illegal behavior hurt millions of Americans — somehow nothing happens to them. No jail time. No police record. No justice.
Not one major Wall Street executive has been prosecuted for causing the near collapse of our entire economy. That will change under my administration. “Equal Justice Under Law” will not just be words engraved on the entrance of the Supreme Court. It will be the standard that applies to Wall Street and all Americans.
Establish a tax on Wall Street to discourage reckless gambling and encourage productive investments in the job-creating economy. We will use the revenue from this tax to make public colleges and universities tuition free. During the financial crisis, the middle class of this country bailed out Wall Street. Now, it’s Wall Street’s turn to help the middle class.
Cap Credit Card Interest Rates and ATM Fees. We have got to stop financial institutions from ripping off the American people by charging sky-high interest rates and outrageous fees. In my view, it is unacceptable that Americans are paying a $4 or $5 fee each time they go to the ATM. And it is unacceptable that millions of Americans are paying credit card interest rates of 20 or 30 percent.
The Bible has a term for this practice. It's called usury. And in The Divine Comedy, Dante reserved a special place in the Seventh Circle of Hell for sinners who charged people usurious interest rates. Today, we don't need the hellfire and the pitchforks, we don't need the rivers of boiling blood, but we do need a national usury law.
We need to cap interest rates on credit cards and consumer loans at 15 percent. I would also cap ATM fees at $2.
Allow Post Offices to Offer Banking Services. We also need to give Americans affordable banking options. The reality is that, unbelievably, millions of low-income Americans live in communities where there are no normal banking services. Today, if you live in a low-income community and you need to cash a check or get a loan to pay for a car repair or a medical emergency, where do you go? You go to a payday lender who could charge an interest rate of over 300 percent and trap you into a vicious cycle of debt. That is unacceptable.
We need to stop payday lenders from ripping off millions of Americans. Post offices exist in almost every community in our country. One important way to provide decent banking opportunities for low-income communities is to allow the U.S. Postal Service to engage in basic banking services, and that's what I will fight for.
Reform Credit Rating Agencies. We cannot have a safe and sound financial system if we cannot trust the credit agencies to accurately rate financial products. The only way we can restore that trust is to make sure credit rating agencies cannot make a profit from Wall Street. Under my administration, we will turn for-profit credit rating agencies into non-profit institutions, independent from Wall Street. No longer will Wall Street be able to pick and choose which credit agency will rate their products.
Reform the Federal Reserve. We need to structurally reform the Federal Reserve to make it a more democratic institution responsive to the needs of ordinary Americans, not just the billionaires on Wall Street. It is unacceptable that the Federal Reserve has been hijacked by the very bankers it is in charge of regulating. When Wall Street was on the verge of collapse, the Federal Reserve acted with a fierce sense of urgency to save the financial system. We need the Fed to act with the same boldness to combat the unemployment crisis and fulfill its full employment mandate.
So my message to you is straightforward: I’ll rein in Wall Street's reckless behavior so they can’t crash our economy again.
Will Wall Street like me? No. Will they begin to play by the rules if I’m president? You better believe it.
That is our plan to create an economy that works for all Americans, not just a handful of billionaires. If you agree with what we want to do, add your name to say that you stand with me.
No president alone, not Bernie Sanders or anyone else, can effectively address the crises facing the working families of this country without a powerful grassroots movement. When we stand together, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.
Thank you for standing with me.
God or Allah?
That's like asking which color is prettier:
blue or azul?
The National Prayer Breakfast
is a wonderful opportunity
for Americans to gather together
and tell Jesus
to kindly stick a sock in it!
PETITION: Denounce climate change deniers >>
|The evidence is hard to ignore: Climate change is very real.
But some extremists like one of Dr. Raul Ruiz’s opponents won’t even acknowledge that this dire threat even exists!
Please add your name now to stand with Dr. Raul Ruiz and a solution for climate change >>
If we don’t take action immediately, the effects of climate change will be irreversible.
But some extremist politicians -- including one of our opponents -- not only block action, but they refuse to even acknowledge that climate change exists!
We need to keep climate change deniers out of political office. Will you sign on to denounce climate change deniers this election?
Just last month, this same opponent claimed that the impact of carbon emissions was “hardly a settled science.”
We already knew he was out-of-touch with the needs of Southern California’s hard-working families.
But these latest remarks on climate change show just how radical his views are.
So please, sign your name today and denounce the views of climate change deniers:
Thank you for your support,
if you hate government,
you're not allowed to run for government!
Tea Party Republican Crescent Hardy wants abortion banned, favors a $2.75 minimum wage, and supports
- Hardy echoed Mitt Romney’s remarks about 47% of Americans not paying taxes, saying, “Can I say that without getting in trouble like President…err…Governor Romney?” Give $5 if you stand with working families.
- Hardy co-sponsored an abortion ban that could have put doctors in prison. Give $5 if you support Planned Parenthood.
- Hardy voiced his opposition to raising the federal minimum wage by stating that he once worked for $2.75 an hour … in the 1970s. Give $5 if you want to raise the minimum wage to $15/hr.
- Hardy called unions “somewhere between a mob and a gang” and has tried to cripple teachers unions. Give $5 if you support unions and teachers.
- Hardy stood side by side with extremist rancher Cliven Bundy and called BLM workers who protect America’s national monuments “an example of federal overreach.” Give $5 if you want the violence on public lands to stop.
OK, this is all fun and games, but don't forget Snopes!
mean anyone any harm.
Then here is a treat for you!