Would Bernie have won?

Reply Wed 16 Nov, 2016 02:38 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Coming from a guy who wants to build a border wall that wouldn't have worked too well IMO. The economic part of the debate (the decreasing economic power of the blue collar American worker that is inevitable due to globalization) would have been interesting to see play out. Not sure how that would have worked against each other.

Most conservatives and republicans look at security issues differently than health care or educational issues. On that basis, I am not sure Trump wanting to build a wall would have resonated the same with republicans and/or conservative leaning independents of whom Bernie would have had to court in order to beat Trump.

On the issue of trade, they both felt the same, that issue would have been a wash. Or at least Trump pretended to feel the same. I somehow always doubted it.

The benefit Bernie would have had which Hillary didn't is keeping those Bernie or busters who didn't give up after Bernie lost and come to Hillary side. That might have made the difference and Bernie might have won if Trump didn't manage to turn the narrative and mood the country and paint Bernie has a tax and spend "democrat." What I am saying, it seems to me a lot of people go with current political trends.

Unless the Bernie movement was real, if so, then, Bernie might have won. By the same token, if the supporters of Bernie had come to support Hillary, she very well might have won, handily.
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Reply Thu 17 Nov, 2016 07:26 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I'm not majorly disagreeing with the overall thrust of your argument... I, too, think Hillary Clinton was an extremely flawed candidate. Personally: the lack of charisma, the inability to project warmth to larger crowds and in the media; the defensiveness and mistrustfulness. Some of that was well understandable, some of it unfair, but there you go. Ideologically: though she actually didn't demonstrate much of her past neoliberal and interventionist inclinations during this campaign, the image still stuck with her to some extent. In terms of how what she stood for (continuity, experience, mainstream moderate/liberal values) clashed with the mood of the time: after two terms, the default tendency of voters is to switch parties, and the thirst for change that erupted after the 2009 crisis never really went away. And, well, being a woman, when there is still an awful lot of sexism around. (It should be noted, though, that in terms of her campaign's discipline and structure, she improved immensely on 2008, when her campaign was just one unending drama of infighting, falling out, leaks, clashes and rapid switches in messaging.)

I do think Bernie had his own major flaws, however -- or to be more precise, things that would be seen by the US electorate as major flaws (I'm fine with them, personally). I never got on board with his campaign, even though he's the one I liked and agreed with more, for that reason: I didn't think he would do better. I saw those flaws across several dimensions too. Ideologically (the socialist thing, and the historically limited appeal in the US of old-school social-democratic rhetoric). Personally (the crotchety but principled old guy thing may have played perfectly with 43-Year-Old White Men yearning for authenticity, but would have played a lot worse with main street suburbia). In terms of experience: as was said endlessly, Bernie had great ratings but also had never faced a concerted attack from the Republican machine when Clinton had faced off with it for two decades. His campaign worked in the context of the primary, but was a lot more haphazard, less professional, less disciplined.

Looking back, I'm still not sure if Bernie would have done better. I think he would have done better in parts of the US and with parts of the electorate, for sure, for some of the reasons you mention. But I think he would probably have lost out in other parts and with other constituencies. People of colour, non-43-Year-Old White Man women, white-collar / suburban / upper middle class voters, #NeverTrump Republicans ... you know the list. Though I do acknowledge that many of those latter groups didn't come out as strongly for Clinton as I (and the Clinton folks, apparently) expected.

Speaking purely in demographic terms, I still think it might have been a wash, at least in total vote count. What does in hindsight make Sanders look better is the electoral college. In line with her "future Obama coalition" strategy, Clinton made gains in Arizona, Georgia and Texas - though not in the more crucial Florida and North Carolina. Meanwhile, that future Obama coalition is not what's going on in exactly those key swing Rust Belt states that ended up delivering the election to Trump. So in those (narrow) demographic-strategic terms, Clinton fought tomorrow's election and lost today's.

But all of that leaves a lot of questions unanswered. The obvious ones: how well would Bernie have weathered all the attacks that piece above previews? How well would an insurgent Bernie campaign, and Bernie himself, have weathered the insane burden of the high-octane presidential campaign? The latter, I don't know. Clinton seemed a steelier, more professional, more disciplined choice, more ready to fight back (dirty if needed) and to not let all the BS get to her and lead her off track. Then again, Trump was anything but professional and disciplined, and was led off track by his personal resentments and annoyances all the time, and he still won. So who knows.

Going back to more demographical concerns: Bernie promised a break from the status quo too, obviously - more so in my mind than Trump, the billionaire who promised to lower wealthy people's taxes most of all. But would Midwestern voters have seen it that way as well? It'd have been pretty damn hard to out-rabble rouse Trump. Faced with two nominees railing against the establishment, who's to say how many of those angry anti-establishment voters would really have gone with the old-school socialist over the national-populist? Trump's rhetoric and electoral appeal are very similar to those of nationalist-populist, far-right parties here in Europe, and attempts by leftist parties to steal their thunder (or rather, take it back) with an equal dose of populism haven't been greatly successful. I mean, I applaud them, and I still think they are our only hope to keep the working class from falling to the far-right once and for all, but they have a decidedly mixed track record.

Vice versa, there is still a substantial minority of Americans who are not angry, and who are actually quite turned off by Trump's anti-establishment rhetoric. How many of those turned out for Clinton, but would have rolled their eyes at two old angry men yelling populist slogans at each other?

I don't know. Of course part of me regrets that it wasn't Bernie. I don't think, in the end, a candidate like Bernie can win in America - but maybe it was exactly Trump's nomination that would have given him a chance. And now you missed it (because of people like me!). Then again, who would have thought in, say, September 2015, that Trump was going to win?
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Reply Thu 17 Nov, 2016 07:44 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

Hillary was someone who before the campaign even started was already one of the most hated liberals around.

Actually, it's striking to look up the numbers and see that Clinton's favorability rating was net positive until April 2015.

When Hillary Clinton formally entered the primary on April 12, 2015, her favorability/unfavorability rating was exactly 47%/47%. It wasn't until June-August 2015 that her favorability rating dropped significantly underwater.

By ways of points of reference: (a) Hillary's email troubles first emerged in March 2015, though they didn't again seem to have made ripples in the news until August 2015; (b) Bernie formally entered the Democratic primary in May 2015, though he really only seems to have started making waves in August 2015. Probably no way of knowing which of the two things helped drive her numbers down to what extent.

Then Hillary's favorability numbers dropped again precipitously in December 2015-March 2016, when the Dem primary really erupted. And they never really recovered (though interestingly, they also don't seem to have gotten worse during the general election campaign. They just languished.)

So she definitely ended up as a uniquely unpopular Democratic nominee in presidential history. But back when the campaign started, this was no given.

N.B. About those Google Trends links above ... boy. Those Democrats who argued that the email thing wouldn't be able to hurt Clinton much anymore, since it was all old hat anyway and regurgitating it wouldn't work? Man, did they underestimate how little attention voters pay to political stories until close to the election.
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Reply Thu 17 Nov, 2016 09:40 pm
Bernie. America. Perfect fit.

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Reply Sat 19 Nov, 2016 09:20 am
I am pretty sure Bernie would have won against Trump. I really wished that happened.
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Reply Sun 20 Nov, 2016 03:18 am
Bernie kicks reporters ass. This is how it should be done. To hell with the corporate media.

Reply Sun 20 Nov, 2016 03:24 am
Should have asked how he felt about losing the nomination.
Reply Sun 20 Nov, 2016 03:44 pm
I recently saw a cnn interview with Bernie after the election and what he said in it really changed my opinion of him towards the negative. He mentioned fixing the "pay gap" between men and women but the silly thing is this whole idea is based off people misrepresenting data.

For one thing there is only an issue with top exects, and there is no wage gap in lower positions. The reason there is a gap is because the daya is based on average hours worked. Women generally on average work fewer hours thus their pay reflects this.

Any way Bernie says giving all women 20 cents more per dollar an hour over their male counterparts is the solution. No thats now a pay gap. Its silly that people lack the ability to properly anaylze data and come to a proper conclusion.

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