Monday, 7 March 2016

Bernie Sanders is more electable

The bias in the American mass media are driving me crazy. So let me get onto my little soap box.

You can see the bias when they add the super-delegates to the pledged delegates to pretend that Clinton has a higher lead. If these super-delegates would actually vote against the wish of the primary voters, the disgust will be large enough to make sure that the Democrats would lose.

You can see the bias in that the media hardly speaks about money in politics. A main topic in both primaries.

What I want to talk about today is that the media generally assumes that Hillary Clinton is more electable in the general presidential election than Bernie Sanders. Often in the dismissive implicit way of the establishment. That can be a real opinion, but the evidence goes into another direction.

Money in politics

I am happy to admit that I am also biased. For me Bernie Sanders is clearly the best candidate, mainly because he wants to get money out of politics. Money in politics is bad for the public debate, for democracy, for the environment and for the economy.

Politicians who have to do what their donors tell them have no flexibility to compromise and get things done; they have to defend indefensible positions. This leads to a childish political debate. Nearly all Republican representatives in Washington reject basic scientific findings on climate change. This is childish. It is equivalent to putting your fingers in your ears and singing la, la, la, la. It matches the donor's preferences, but does not match their voter base. Half of the Republican voters support policies to reduce greenhouse gasses.

Just look around the globe, democracies have cleaner air and water. Progress in climate policies will be very slow as long as money determines US politics. On so many topics the positions of the politicians do not fit to what the population wants according to the polls. Even if money had no influence, the appearance of influence alone makes people cynical and hurts the American democracy.

The evidence

So okay, I have a bias. Let me give you the evidence I have. Do your due diligence and check them. Compare that to the lack of evidence provided by the media.

It would be great if everyone could just vote for the candidate of their liking, but as long as the election system is what it is, it is reasonable to want to elect a Democrat that can beat Donald Drumpf and make sure that 2016 is not the last election. It is reasonable to want to elect someone who can beat Ted Dogma Cruz who is beholden to four donors from the fossil fuel industry.

The most quantitative evidence is from the head to head polls. Clinton beats Trump by a few percent, but Sanders beats him clearly. Clinton would lose an election with Ted Cruz, which would be a catastrophe, while Sanders would beat him by 10 percent. Marco Rubio would beat Clinton by 5%, while Sanders would win.

Polls are not elections and it is still early, but the difference is clear. At the very least these polls certainly do not show that Clinton is more electable.

Polls also show much better favorability and honesty ratings for Sanders. In fact, Sanders is the only candidate on both sides that has positive a favorability. People do not only vote for policies, they also vote for personality. These ratings are a big help in the general elections.

More in general, the American people is fed up with establishment politics, with bought politicians that do not represent the population. This is clear in the approval ratings of Congress and government, which is at historical lows. You can see this clearly on the Republican side were people vote for candidates without any political competence because they are at least not establishment politicians (Donald Trump, Ben Carson). That category includes Ted Cruz, who is actually a life-long politician and worked for Bush, but in this election benefits from being able to piss off every politician he ever worked with.

There are people who argue that the American people is not ready for a political revolution. I would argue they were already proven wrong eight years ago by the campaign of Barack Obama. He campaign for change and won. Obama did not deliver, but he won the election promising change. With the long track record of Sanders people can be sure the will try to get change. It won't be easy and you never get all you want, but at least he will try.

In such a climate, it is not helpful to have an establishment candidate on the Democratic side. Count on Trump and Cruz emphasizing this.

If you look at the demographics supporting the candidates, Sanders also looks more electable. Clinton does well because of the African Americans. I see no reason why they would not vote for Sanders as well; his policies and past record are fine, if not better. Sanders does well with independents, they may otherwise go to the Republicans. Sanders does well with people who are fed up with bribed politicians; they may well not vote if Clinton becomes the candidate. There are also conservatives for Bernie, who like that he will not start wars quickly and will fight the symbiosis of state and corporations. I have yet to see a group "conservatives for Hillary". Although noting is too crazy, to not exist in the USA.

In 2016 there are seven super-swingy states: Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia, Iowa and New Hampshire.

Sanders won Colorado and New Hampshire. Iowa was a tie. Clinton won Virginia and Nevada.

These battle ground states are important in a general election.

People will have to turn out and actually vote. I may be biased, but I see more enthusiasm of the supporters of Sanders. Partially you can give numbers for this. The rallies of Sanders are a lot bigger and Sanders has twice as many donors.

The longer the election runs the more people get to know Bernie Sanders. For the general election even more people will inform themselves about Sanders and a lot of evidence shows that people who know him, like him and his policies.

He started with no name recognition in 2015 and made up a difference of 60%. I have the impression that Sanders election results more often than not beat the expectations based on polling, but could not find numbers on that. Also informative is that Clinton won her home state Arkansas by 66.3% over 29.7%, but in his home state Vermont Sanders won much bigger by 86.1% over 13.6%. A more than 70% difference. If you see New York as Clinton's home state, in the polls she only has a lead of 21% there.

Imagine how the debates will go. Trump will surely point out that Clinton took money from him. If only to demonstrate power. Trump will use his position as an outsider that is beholden to no one. Sanders would be able to answer that he is his own man and wants to get money out of politics.

Both candidates have their liabilities. Sanders will be attacked for being a socialist. I do not think that scares many people any more. And Sanders can simply refer to successful social democratic market economies in Europe. Socialism or capitalism is not black and white, many popular policies in America are already socialist. In every election the Republicans accuse the Democrats of being socialists; the Democrats are clearly more social and it may look better own it than to be apologetic about it.

I am not sure if Clinton has less liabilities that would be attacked in the general election. Next to the Republican Clinton evergreens, we have a possible indictment over her private email server. The content of those emails may be more important. Also the money of foreign governments and shady corporations flowing into the Clinton Foundation while she was secretary of state can be made into a scandal. Clinton keeps on refusing to release the transcripts of the speeches she gave to Goldman-Sachs for 200,0000 dollar a piece. She seems to think there is something in these speeches that would hurt her. Cruz' wife works at Goldman-Sachs; you can be sure these transcripts will be leaked in the general election.

Does anyone have evidence that Hillary Clinton is more electable? More than just a gut feeling?

Related reading

English professor Seth Abramson explains the above so much better than I could and even comes to 12 reasons why Bernie Sanders is more electable than Hillary Clinton. And why the media is not telling you the truth about this. A Dozen Reasons Sanders Voters Are Justifiably Angry at the Media Right Now

Salon: Hillary Clinton just can’t win: Democrats need to accept that only Bernie Sanders can defeat the GOP.

Many polls can be found on Real Clear Politics.

FiveThirtyEight also gathers many polls and tries to predict primary outcomes.

The Hillary Clinton-Bernie Sanders clash over the auto bailout, explained. I am not sure whether Clinton's flexibility with the truth is appreciated by Democrats.

The difference between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton on climate change? I don't care. The difference on climate change is small, especially compared to Republican positions. The real difference is about ending crony capitalism and preventing the next banking recession.

* Caricature at the top by DonkeyHotey, which has a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.


numerobis said...

My bet: Clinton's talks at Goldman-Sachs are sightly embarrassing but mostly just boring, so the content will *not* be leaked, because the whiff of scandal is far more powerful than the truth.

The Clinton email "scandal" is pure bogosity as far as I can tell. The worst the GOP has been able to pin on the Clintons is that Bill had an affair with Lewinsky.

Anonymous said...

Head-to-head polls are largely meaningless this early in the year. There's a reason conservatives are nice things about Sanders.

If he were the Dem nominee, the Republicans wouldn't need to attack him personally (although they would certainly dig deep for anything resembling a scandal in his past). They could simply go to town on his tax plan, calling it extreme, far-leftist, job-killing, whatever. You could argue about that until you're blue in the face, but enough people will buy that bs.

Victor Venema said...

numerobis, I hope you are right and it is possible. I really worry that Clinton may lose to those extremists. That would be such a catastrophe for America, but also for us in Europe. That would seriously delay solving climate change, may well be the end of NATO, Trump would likely start trade wars that cripple the world economy and if that does not happen the next banking crisis would cause a global recession.

Anonymous, they could also say a lot about Clinton's policies, especially when you admit that they are not bound by the truth. You can play lot's of scary number games, but there is no reason why a rich country like America could not pay for things that are normal in any advanced nation. Health care for everyone, a healthy work force and the ability to switch employers is good for the economy. Free college and a large well educated work force is the foundation of a modern economy.

Especially the Republicans will not able to claim that they are better at budgeting. Their fake tax plans would destroy the federal budget and lead to enormous debts. Somehow the media does not like asking them how they are going to pay for all their wars, but they get really upset about who is going to pay for health care.

When I left home, I never bought a TV. The best decision I have ever made.

Kevin O'Neill said...

Anonymous writes: "Head-to-head polls are largely meaningless this early in the year. "

This is a truism that everyone seems to believe - and it's wrong. Head-to-head polls conducted one year in advance of the general election have been correct in 12 of the last 14 Presidential elections. That's a very high success rate and conveys a lot of meaning. Perfect? No, but much better than most people would think.

What polls can't tell you in advance is the final percentage totals. They can tell you the winner, but the final margin is where they err.

Victor Venema said...

Kevin, that is interesting. Especially given that the leads of Sanders over Cruz is quite large and thus may be quite robust.

Victor Venema said...

Anonymous, if you want to smear someone using guilt by association, the least you can do is make an argument. Especially if you use the privilege of anonymity to attack a named human and all you have are your arguments, use them.

Anonymous said...

"Head-to-head polls conducted one year in advance of the general election have been correct in 12 of the last 14 Presidential elections"

Citation please? I read an article recently which suggested that predictive power of general election polls doesn't really start kicking in until after the conventions, but I can't find it right now: however, I did find this article from April of 2012, suggesting that polls in April were about fifty-fifty in the 10 previous elections (which is hard to reconcile with 12 out of 14 correct a full year ahead):

Also, of the 7 "super-swingy states": Clinton has now won Virginia. Also, Clinton won Nevada - I'm not sure why you listed it as a Sanders state? And Clinton is running well ahead of Sanders in Ohio and Florida. So that's 2.5 to Clinton, 2.5 to Sanders, and 2 more likely for Clinton. (I would add Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and North Carolina to the swingy-list, I think they are more in-the-air than New Hampshire is)

I agree that adding in the super-delegates to delegate counts is not a good way to compare, but Clinton has a substantial lead in delegates without that, and in total votes cast.

A final note on electability: Predictwise has Clinton at 96% (democratic), 70% (general), with Sanders at 4 and 2 - 70/96 is likely better than 2/4, though obviously I'd like more precision in the Sanders numbers to be sure.


ps. I'm rather liberal myself, and think the Sanders campaign has been good for moving Clinton in the right direction, but I'm definitely not representative of the US population, and think that Clinton's policy positions are closer to those of the median American than the positions Sanders holds.

Victor Venema said...

MMM, Sorry for getting the swing states wrong, you are right and I have corrected the text. That shows my bias and that multiple honest people with a bias have less bias together.

That makes the swing states argument a tie; still not bad for someone who is considered not electable.

The explained variance in April is 50%. You could also say the correction is 70%. That is not bad. That is the explained variance for the percentage of votes, if I interpret Kevin's argument right. The explained variance for winning or not could be higher, especially for a case like Cruz versus Sanders were there the difference is large (especially relative to the small margins with which elections are typically won). Would also love to see a link by Kevin O'Neill.

I am not sure whether "days before election" is the right metric. I could imagine that the polls become more predictive the moment the candidate is chosen.

This will likely become a long campaign on both sides. The Republican establishment will keep on trying to get rid of Trump. Sanders is supported by small donations. Thus the corporate donors, who hedge their bets by supporting all candidates, cannot tell him to stop to help the candidate they prefer.

The betting market results are dominated by the expectation that Clinton will win the Democrat nomination. That is not the question of the above post.

Betting markets mostly represent the opinion of the rich of people who do not want to see change to a rigged system that benefited them so well.

numerobis said...

I don't quite get how PA is a swing state; it's voted for the Democratic candidate since Bush 1, and that was close whereas nationally Dukakis got crushed (by US standards of crushing).

The countryside is mostly white conservatives, and I presume Trump will sweep that area. But the two cities are not, and the cities have most the population.

Ohio, on the other hand, does flip, as do Florida and South Carolina.

Dan Riley said...

In a Gallup poll last year, 50% of those surveyed (about 40% of democrats, 50% of independents, and 70% of republicans surveyed) said that they would not vote for an otherwise well-qualified socialist candidate. Socialist is still a scary word in the US, especially for ages 50+. Pointing to European social democracies is unlikely to help, there are a lot of ingrained misconceptions about socialism and Europe.

Sanders likely would get less turnout from minorities, but greater turnout from younger voters. How that balances out in swing states I dunno.

Sanders is still relatively unknown (lots of voters don't engage until after the conventions), while Clinton has been under constant attack for the past 25 years. Conventional thought is that the republican establishment believes Sanders is less electable, so they're keeping up their attacks on Clinton while giving Sanders a free ride.

I don't believe Sanders's proposals are realistic. His plan to get money out of politics doesn't address issues like the lobbying problem. His financial regulation plans ignore the shadow banking system. His budget numbers don't add up. I'd rather vote for a candidate with realistic proposals and numbers that add up, and AFAICT that leaves Clinton.

Victor Venema said...

Dan, if you ask it like that Gallop poll, people likely answered whether they want to introduce communism in America. In this election they know what the term "socialism" means. In Europe the real social democrats complain about his abuse of their label and we find it quite funny that in America socialism and communism are used interchangeably.

The plans Sanders calls "socialism" would be supported by conservative parties in Europe. Only breaking up the banks is something the conservatives would not do because they do not actually believe in the free market. Socialists and communists would love big banks and nationalise them. Lovers of free market economies should be against their abuse of market power and their socialisation of the loses.

Al the separate parts of his policies have very high approval ratings.

Why do you expect less turn out from minorities? Just because they prefer Clinton in this primary, does not mean that they would like to elect the total radicals the Republicans have to offer.

Ii is not related to the above post, but is there an African American reading this post who can explain to me why Clinton would be the better candidate for them? I am unable to understand why, it seems to make no sense whatsoever.

That Sanders is relatively unknown is why I expect Sanders to do great in the general election. Much better than anyone expects. We see again and again, yesterday in Michigan, that when people get to know Sanders they like him. If many people do not know him yet, that can only make his numbers better.

Do you expect that Sanders will not also try to limit other aspects of crony capitalism such as lobbying in general? He just sees money as the main problem, I tend to agree. Also in Europe we have lobbying, but nothing near as corrupt a system as the USA.

I would be surprised if Sanders would not also do something about shadow banking. I agree that that is important. It is a pity he does not simply reply those claims of Clinton by simply answering that he will do the same. But maybe he does not want to make up a plan on the fly given how much the lobbies and press are waiting for a mistake they can abuse for a campaign against him.

Are you satisfied with Clinton's answer that she will break up the banks IF they are too big too fail? While they are bigger now than when we had to bail them out because they were too big to fail? I am expecting a next banking crisis and global recessing under her watch (or the Republicans), which will again mainly hurt the poor and will as always be used as excuse to reduce social security.

Budgets are hard to judge, especially with the industrial production of political misinformation in the USA. I find it hard to believe that it is not possible to finance his main spending proposals (infrastructure, college, health care) because every advanced nation has this and is able to pay for it.

Dan Riley said...

Victor, I really, really, really wish I could believe that in this election voters will know what socialism means, but this is a country where people look at me funny for calling Obama center-right. Sanders is left of Obama, ordering is transitive.

Turnout is about the marginal voter; minorities are less enthusiastic about Sanders, so at the margin I'd expect less turnout. No, it isn't rational. Lots of voting patterns aren't rational.

wrt breaking up the big banks, I think the better answer is to make big banks less profitable. Dodd-Frank does some of that, Clinton would do more by increasing reserve requirements, which will encourage the big banks to separate their riskier operations from the socially insured ones.

I do think it is great that Sanders is doing well and pushing the dialogue a little to the left. Perhaps I'm getting old and cautious, but I don't have confidence in the specifics of his policies or how he'd perform in the general election, which will (especially this year) be very different from the primaries. Clinton is far from perfect, but I have more confidence in her facing Trump--she has decades of practice.

Tonyb said...

Victor, you might find this analysis of the 2015 uk general election to be interesting as it shows the mountain bernie sanders has to climb

Firstly, younger people tend to be much more left wing than their older peers with the oldest age group being the most right wing of all. Unfortunately for left wing candidates left leaning younger people are less likely to vote than right leaning older people.

It seems unlikely to me that bernie sanders can overcome that basic fact of life as his support is predominantly from the young. Socialism is anathema to many older people.

Let us also not forget that sanders will be 75 by the time of the election and would be the oldest first term US president ever. Very few of the other leading candidates are spring chickens but I would be amazed if the age of sanders does not become a significant campaign issue as we move towards the election.

The candidates in general are dreadful, both Clinton and trump fill me with despair


Victor Venema said...

That young people vote less is nothing new and already included in those polls. There has been a decline in turnout since for decades, which is also partially fueled by governments not working for the people and the transfer of power from democratically legitimized bodies to corporations.

Also Clinton and Trump would be the oldest presidents, if I recall correctly. They all look healthy enough.

It is an amazing field of candidates. Hard to say whether Trump or Cruz would be more dreadful, but the risk of Trump is larger because the uncertainty is higher.

Victor Venema said...

More than a decade ago, someone like Sanders was not electable because he would be too socialist for the USA. My assessment of the situation is that the reason he is electable this election is because people are fed up with the corruption and want their democracy back. You never get your ideal candidates and you have to set priorities.

Older people have found their place in society, no longer have big plans and are thus not held back that much by a rigged economy. Young people do. They start from zero, from their parent's basements. They want to have a fair shot at a good life.

Kevin O'Neill said...

Anonymous: You may wish to reconsider even your own citation. Who won the 2000 election? Per your cite the April polls got it wrong since they predicted Bush would win. Note my writing about qualitative versus quantitative results.

538 is also what I was looking at:

The very article title says to ignore polls one year out - but the data table doesn't support that POV unless one is simply looking at final percentage results. Qualitatively they were very good.

Just from a common sense POV we would expect polls to get better as the time until the general election gets closer. This is indeed what polls show. One year out the R-squared is about 0.6, 250 days out it's about 0.7, and it just keeps getting progressively better until election day itself. See Figure 7- Adjusted R-Squareds for Presidential and Parliamentary Elections Taken Separately, page 35, The Timeline of Election Campaigns: A Comparative Perspective, Jennings and Wlezien, 2013.

Rattus Norvegicus said...

This is a fairly standard argument in favor of Bernie Stalin. But it ignores a couple of important factors -- Bernie is largely unknown to people, and Bernie is a self proclaimed socialist. Right now Republicans like Karl Rove (Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Adviser to George W.) singing the praises of Bernie and what a formidable candidate he would be in the general election. Republicans are running lots of negative ads about Hitlery Clinton right now, but nothing about Bernie.

Why do you think that might be? Could it be that they are aware that being a socialist is almost as toxic as being an atheist to the American electorate? That 47% of Americans regularly state that they would NEVER vote for a socialist? [NB, I am happily surprised that the number is less than a majority, perhaps there is hope for the future]. Given this environment and the present American allergy to collective action it will be simple for the Republicans to paint him as an acolyte of Karl Marx, just as they have been trying to do the same, albeit unsuccessfully, to Barack Obama. But with Bernie they have an advantage: he accepts the label.

Rattus Norvegicus said...

I noticed that DanM made the same point that I made about the relative popularity socialists in the US. Gallup's question was fairly open ended "if your party nominated a well qualified candidate who was a [blank], would you vote for them". This allowed the person to place their own idea of what socialism is into the interpretation. In the US we have lots and lots and lots of "low information voters" who get their information about a candidate from ads, or FOX, CNN or MSNBC. I've even run into a fair number of low information Bernie voters who for example didn't know that he voted for the 1994 Crime Bill, something the Berniebots are currently beating Hillary up for, or that he voted for the Commodity Futures Modernization Act which bears a lot of the blame for the recent economic unpleasantness, and he did it twice!

I like what Bernie has to say, really I do, I am much closer to him than I am to Hillary on most issues. If I thought the country was more receptive to the ideas he is promoting I would vote for him in the Democratic primary. But the country is still largely hostile to the label socialist (even though he is really more of a classic FDR Democrat), which makes me leery of him as the standard bearer for our party.

Victor Venema said...

Rattus Norvegicus, please moderate your language here.

Then you also read my response to DanM. Mind to reply? This evening the chance of a presidency of Trump or Cruz became larger and that chance should be zero.

No idea why having half of the population trained to hate Clinton is a positive.

I am not American but even I knew about that vote. Bills are big packages. Clinton has used such rhetorical tricks for other bills. He did not call black kids super predators, he does not get campaign funding from the private prison industry who want a larger market and are not charities. You will have a hard time trying to claim he voted for that bill because he did not care what that would do to black communities.

Anonymous said...

Kevin: Your statement: "Head-to-head polls conducted one year in advance of the general election have been correct in 12 of the last 14 Presidential elections."

1) From your own 538 link, the actual count is either 10 out of 14, or 11 out of 14 if we give you Bush v. Gore (and given that the polls are of national data not electoral college simulations, I think the proper apple-to-apple comparison would be 10 out of 14).

2) In at least two of the elections that were "right", polling actually swapped signs at some point in between the year-ahead and the election: i.e., in my April link, the Dems were ahead in polling in April, though they were behind in both year-ahead and the actual election results. In your own link, the text talks about Dewey being ahead in polling a month before the election, even though he was behind a year before and eventually lost. So, I'm going to move those two to the "loss" column, so now we're at 8 out of 14.

3) The year ahead polling link skipped 1976, but the April poll got 1976 wrong, so I'm going to add that one to the loss column too. That brings us to 8 out of 15... and 8 to 7 is no better than flipping a coin. (3 other election years were also skipped for lack of year-ahead polling data)

So I don't care if you are talking "qualitative" or "quantitative", I think your claim that year-ahead polling has "a very high success rate" doesn't hold up when scrutinized.

I think that your paper on R^2 values in interesting, but I read Figure 7 to be about party preferences, not individual candidates, so wouldn't really be accurate for a Sanders comparison. (actually, now I'm wondering whether the 538 analysis combed through polling data and found polls that did head-to-head match ups for the eventual nominee from each party even when that nominee wasn't known a year ahead of time?)

Rattus Norvegicus said...

Sorry if I offended with the references to dark figures from the past. It is just basically how the attack ads are going to roll once the nominee has been decided upon.

I agree that Bernie is pretty weak tea as a socialist, which is why i mentioned that I see him as more of an FDR (Franklin Delano Reoosevelt) Democrat, or of a more recent example of that style of politics in America, LBJ (Lyndon Baines Johnson). Both of these presidents passed large public welfare programs which benefited many, many Americans. Bernie wants to do the same, but would likely be unable to get his plans through even a friendly congress. Too many Democrats would come from swing districts and would be prevented from giving support to his unalloyed plans for fear of the reelection campaign coming up in the next year. It is often said that nothing gets done in even years by congress because they are all busy running for reelection. Even in the odd years, it is always on their minds.

And while single payer may poll well in the abstract, as soon as the implications become clear people may well become less supportive. For example there are still lots of people in the US who have very generous employer provided health insurance. I work for a state supported university and, as all other employees of the state, have very good health insurance provided through my employer, gratis. It does not cost me a penny, in fact the monthly allowance provided is more than I can spend on insurance. There are a lot of people like me who work for large corporations, in unionized occupations or government who would be hurt by this because we would be, at the very least, taxed some amount (for me about $1.5K/yr under the Bernie plan) for something which does not currently cost us a penny out of pocket. How well will that poll once these simple and obvious aspects of the plan are made clear in attack ads? [NB: I still support single payer, it is vastly more efficient and holds some promise for being able to impose some real cost control on the system]. So while most elements of Bernie's program poll well, once subjected to the Republican noise machine those results will be much less tenable. Anything, even those things which can be beneficial to the economy, can be cast in a dark light -- witness the charges against Obamacare, all of which are demonstrably wrong but which a large number of people continue to believe.

When you say " Lovers of free market economies should be against their abuse of market power and their socialisation of the loses" you fail to grasp an important aspect of US politics: the ostensible lovers of free markets, the Republican Party, are all in favor of the privatization of profits and socialization of losses. It is just the way they roll. Both Bernie and Hillary have good plans on reigning in the power of big banks (the reason they got bigger was as a result of TARP and the resulting pressure from Treasury to acquire weaker banks during the bailout). I think that Hillary's plan is more specific and meets the question of the shadow banking sector better than Bernie's.

Lots to chew on here, but the main thing Bernie has going for him right now in general polling is that he is relatively unknown. This is also his greatest weakness. It will be easy for Karl Rove and his band of merry men at Crossroads GPS, or the Koch brothers (who have pledged to spend $900M on this election) to paint him whatever shade of red they please. Believe me, by the time they get through with him many, many people will perceive him as Bernie Stalin. Hillary is well enough known that pretty much all lines of attack by the opposition are known to everyone so attack ads will be of more limited effectiveness.

Rattus Norvegicus said...

And that last one was mostly an answer to your reply to Dan's post.

The 94 Crime Bill was a huge hodge podge of both good and bad proposals. Clinton spoke in favor of it, but was unable to cast a vote on it. Sanders, as a member of the house was able to vote for it, and he did. Yes she did use the term superpredators, which sounds odd 20 years later, but at the time as a popular (although later proved wrong) theory in criminology circles about the cause of a lot of the violent crime which was happening in inner city neighborhoods. At the time inner city neighborhoods were experiencing what later proved to be the peak of what proved to be a declining crime wave, everybody was scared, and especially people who lived in those neighborhoods. Here is a good, if pro Clinton view of what happened which comports largely with my own recollections of what happened at the time:

You state "Clinton has used such rhetorical tricks..." if you are referring to the auto bailout it is important to remember that there were two votes. The first was the standalone vote for an auto bailout. The second was to roll it into TARP. Bernie voted yes on the first and no on the second (his "millionaires and billionaires" rant at the Flint debate on the Sunday before the Michigan primary). Voting against the second amounted to as much a repudiation of auto industry workers as voting against the first would have. Same with Commodity Futures Modernization Act -- which exempted the sorts of securities which actually caused the meltdown from all regulation -- he voted for it both in the pure form as a bill reported out from the house, and in the final appropriations bill as reported out form conference committee.