Category Archives: Democrats

Liberal Cannibalization Update

First, let’s get this out of the way: Congress has a low approval rating. Why? The main reason is partisan gridlock.

So what would happen, as a congressperson, if you voted in such a way that you might be perceived as less partisan? It might go something like this:

The Intercept: “Fourteen senate Democrats joined all but one Senate Republican in confirming Rep. Mike Pompeo as the new CIA director on Monday evening, failing a crucial first test of whether Democrats would present a united front to defend human rights and civil liberties in the Trump era.”

Common Dreams: “With Help from Dems, Torture Supporter Pompeo Confirmed for CIA Chief”

A bit of reality (not mentioned in either of the above articles) from Vice:

Democrats do not have many tools at their disposal other than delays. Even if Democrats embraced a strategy of unified resistance, the 52 Republicans don’t need any of the 48 Democratic votes to confirm all of Trump’s nominees. In 2013, Democrats changed the rules requiring a 60-vote majority for such confirmations to only needing a simple majority.

The article goes on to say how much many liberal activists love Kirsten Gillibrand for not bending to the will of Trump. Of course liberals should vote for her in 2020 if she’s the candidate. If left-leaning people want to take back the government, though, they need to vote for the most liberal candidate who can get elected, even if that’s someone they don’t agree with 100% (which, face it, isn’t possible). Moreover, they should focus their criticisms on that person’s opponent rather than on the candidate (at least until that candidate is elected).

From Elizabeth Warren on why she voted to confirm Ben Carson: 

Can we count on Dr. Carson to keep [his] promises? I don’t know. People are right to be skeptical; I am. But a man who makes written promises gives us a toehold on accountability. If President Trump goes to his second choice, I don’t think we will get another HUD nominee who will even make these promises – much less follow through on them.

From Vox:

There’s also the strong institutional pull for Democrats to follow historical precedent and let the president choose his Cabinet nominees. In its history, the Senate has only voted down nine presidential Cabinet nominees, according to Josh Huder, a congressional scholar at Georgetown. Almost all of President Obama’s picks sailed through in 2009 without much resistance. And that was at a time when Republicans in the minority could still filibuster them — meaning they could have blocked them, but didn’t.

It may be helpful to revisit a bit more of the Intercept/Common Dreams thinking that helped elect Trump. Here’s Jill Stein on October 12th last year:

It is now Hillary Clinton that wants to start an air war with Russia over Syria by calling for a no fly zone. We have 2000 nuclear missiles on hairtrigger alert. They are saying we are closer to a nuclear war than we have ever been. Under Hillary Clinton, we could slide into nuclear war very quickly from her declared policy in Syria. I sure won’t sleep well at night if Donald Trump is elected, but I sure won’t sleep well at night if Hillary Clinton elected. We have another choice other than these two candidates who are both promoting lethal policies. On the issue of war and nuclear weapons, it is actually Hillary’s policies which are much scarier than Donald Trump who does not want to go to war with Russia.

As a reminder, if everyone who voted for Stein had instead voted for Hillary, Hillary would have won the election:

Yes, it’s possible (probable?) that those Stein voters would have stayed home and not voted at all, but this doesn’t change the fact that they still failed to vote for the most liberal candidate who actually had a chance of winning.

By allowing differing degrees of ideological commitment to divide them, left-leaning people helped invite in a president who hopes to do everything in his power to undo or undermine decades of global diplomatic progress as well as environmental and energy progress.

Hillary advocated for a no-fly zone to help ameliorate what António Guterres, the former UN High Commissioner for Refugees called, “the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era.”

Why do you think Stein left that part out? Yeah, I don’t know either. And where on earth would she have gotten that terrifying idea? Tough to say for sure, but maybe it came from Russian ultra-nationalist and Putin ally Vladimir Zhirinovsky who said the same thing she said the same day she said it.

Just to sum that message up briefly: “Don’t elect the candidate who wants to stop us from killing thousands of children and other civilians and displacing millions of people. If you do, you’re going to start a nuclear war with us.”

Sounds like something a bully would say, right? Well, it convinced Jill Stein apparently. Stein, being extraordinarily highly ideologically aligned with Bernie could have recognized the stakes of the election as Bernie did:

Perhaps the worst offense that one can level at Obama was his use of drones. Obama used drones a lot. And civilians were killed. Drones will probably continue to be used. Is this justified? It’s difficult to say. The individual cases appear to be classified. So it must come down to whether or not we trust Obama. Is he the type of person who would sign off on drone strikes likely to kill civilians just for the hell of it? I would submit that no sane person would do so.

So I’m inclined to take him at his word:

As commander-in-chief, I must weigh these heartbreaking tragedies against the alternatives. To do nothing in the face of terrorist networks would invite far more civilian casualties—not just in our cities at home and facilities abroad, but also in the very places — like Sana’a and Kabul and Mogadishu — where terrorists seek a foothold. Let us remember that the terrorists we are after target civilians, and the death toll from their acts of terrorism against Muslims dwarfs any estimate of civilian casualties from drone strikes.

Cory Booker Admonished by True Libs

Summary of outrage:
Cory Booker, potential Democratic candidate for president in 2020, did a bit of grandstanding recently at the confirmation hearing of Jeff Sessions. Many libs/progressives were like, “Yeah!”
Then the True Libs piped up and said, “Nope. This guy’s nothing more than a Big Pharma shill who voted to take down Bernie’s bill that would have saved the world from high drug prices by allowing us to legally get drugs from Canada.” (Booker, incidentally, is a “Left Liberal” by voting record.)

Key points of Vox’s defense of Booker:
1. Senators generally vote based on their state’s interests rather than national sentiment. (Maybe because they want to keep their jobs.)
2. A decrease in local news coverage nationwide has led to increasing focus on national issues.
3. Because NJ has a major pharma and Wall Street presence, their politicians are going to appear “in the pockets” of those industries to a greater degree than reps from states without those influences.
-Not mentioned in the article is the fact that 97.5% of his contributions from “Wall Street” are from individuals who just work for financial firms. (This was true of Hillary too. Detractors seemed unaware or unfazed by this fact.)

Other points possibly worth consideration:
-A 2007 report from the Journal of Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management notes that “Canadians oppose legalization of reimportation in the US as it could exacerbate the problem of medication shortage in Canada.” The same report notes, “While these drugs are manufactured in the US, the storage and packaging conditions in countries where drugs were exported cannot be monitored by the FDA.”

Consumer Reports has a great and very detailed study on the prescription drugs issue. They do advocate for “limited importation of drugs from legitimate Canadian and European sources,” but there’s not a lot of detail on what “limited” or “legitimate” mean. They also say that the government should:
-Set a limit on out-of-pocket costs.
-Approve more generic versions of common drugs.
-Use government’s existing “march-in” rights: If there is a problem with the public’s access to a drug (a supply shortage or an exorbitant price), and if a drug was developed using taxpayer money, the Department of Health and Human Services has the right to force the company to allow another manufacturer to make generic versions that are cheaper for the consumer.

Responding to Hillary-Related Misinformation

“Hillary denied hundreds of security requests prior to the Benghazi attack.”

False. There are “requests” and “concerns.” We don’t know how many of those requests got elevated to the level of concerns. And, some requested security updates to the compound were made the same year as the attack. Also, here are all of the Bush embassy attacks that you don’t know about because the GOP hasn’t thrown millions of taxpayer dollars into investigating them ad nauseum. Could it be because not one of them involved a Clinton?

“She has taken millions from countries that allow for the abuse of women and gays.”

False. The Clinton Foundation, not Hillary, took that money that might otherwise have gone to oppressing women and gays and then used it to, among other things, help get AIDS medication to millions of people all over the world.

“In 2014, The Clinton Foundation gave 6% to charity.”

False. About 87% of its expenses go toward services it provides directly. Which is standard for public charities.

“The FBI hasn’t dropped the investigation into The Clinton Foundation.”

Well, if this one turns out like the previous two, what we can expect to find is, at worst, no indictable offense. And, please don’t go asking yourself why the FBI isn’t investigating the Trump Foundation or Trump’s ties to Russia, who we know worked with WikiLeaks to damage Hillary in the polls. It is unnecessary for us to know such things. However, it was always in everyone’s best interest to investigate the minutia of Hillary down to the atom.

“She deleted thousands of emails.”

Sort of true. Number one, she didn’t personally delete them. Number two, “The FBI found no evidence that the emails were deleted deliberately to avoid the subpoena or other requests. Clinton’s team requested for the emails to be deleted months before the subpoena came.”

“She lied about the classification of many emails and was careless with national security.”

False. Straight from PolitiFact: “Clinton frequently dealt with sensitive and classified information as secretary of state, and the amount that the FBI found in her email server is minuscule in comparison. It appears that she generally dealt with classified information in an appropriate way.”

“She lied about the cause of Benghazi.”

False. Again from PolitiFact: “There simply is not enough concrete information in the public domain for Rubio or anyone to claim as fact that Clinton did or did not lie to the Benghazi families.”

“She colluded with the DNC to steal the primary.”

Sort of true. Yeah, the DNC was supposed to be impartial, but we also knew that Hillary already had more superdelegates than any Democratic candidate in the past 30 years prior to the start of the primaries. So, uh, impartial? Nah. But, Bernie and every other Democrat knew that going in.

“She colluded with Donna Brazile.”

True. Brazile gave Clinton a single question in advance. I’m sure that made all the difference, eh?

“She prefers open borders.”

Nope: Again from PolitiFact:

Clinton has praised work already done to secure the border, and she said she supported a 2013 bill that would have invested billions more in border security while creating a path to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants. Her plan calls for protecting the border and targeting deportation to criminals and security threats. Her plan would make it easier for many undocumented immigrants to avoid deportation, but that’s not the same as ending all enforcement.

“She was complicit in disrupting Trump rallies.”

False. This claim appears to stem from heavily-edited anti-Hillary propaganda videos created by James O’Keefe of Project Veritas. From Wikipedia:

When his videos of ACORN workers allegedly aiding a couple in criminal planning hit the 24-hour cable news cycle, the U.S. Congress quickly voted to freeze funds for the non-profit. The national controversy resulted in the non-profit also losing most private funding before investigations of the videos were conducted. In March 2010, ACORN was close to bankruptcy and had to close or rename most of its offices. Shortly after, the California State Attorney General’s Office and the US Government Accountability Office released their related investigative reports. The Attorney General’s Office found that O’Keefe had misrepresented the actions of ACORN workers and that the workers had not committed illegal actions. A preliminary probe by the GAO found that ACORN had managed its federal funds appropriately. One of the fired ACORN workers sued O’Keefe for invasion of privacy; O’Keefe issued an apology and agreed to pay $100,000 in a settlement.

“She gave weapons to morocco in exchange for money.”

False. The money went to the Clinton Foundation which, as stated previously, used the money for, among other things, helping millions of people get easier access to AIDS medicines. The weapons sales have been going on since before Clinton and Obama and are an attempt to fight terrorists. The Clintons don’t draw a salary from the foundation.

“She was keen on rigging the Palestinian election.”

False: This is an obscure one and rightly so. I think you’re referring to some “leaked” audio where she says of the 2006 Palestinian election, “if we were going to push for an election, then we should have made sure that we did something to determine who was going to win.”

Focus on the word “determine” here. Notice that she doesn’t say that we should’ve tried to influence (aka rig) the election’s outcome; she’s saying that, before we pushed for an election, we should have done more research to try to figure out (aka determine) who was likely to win so as to avoid the victory for Hamas. This is an example of the logical fallacy of equivocation.

“She colluded with the DOJ regarding her investigation.”

False. The “collusion” occurred two months prior to the investigation.

“She prays that shooters are white in order to boost her campaign position.”

I don’t know what she prays about.

“She rigged the primaries against Bernie.”

This may refer to Hillary’s supposed voting machine rigging.
One, if she could rig voting machines, how’d she still lose the general election? Did Trump just rig better?
Two, there’s no actual evidence of rigging.

“This was an anti-establishment election cycle but the DNC chose to go with the ultimate DC insider in Clinton. That backfired on them.”

Yes, Bernie was the ultimate outsider even though he voted with the establishment nearly 100% of the time:

He was handled with kid gloves throughout the primaries.  And, I’m sure that the first nonreligious, socialist president would’ve fared great when the GOP stopped supporting him and actually started doing everything they possibly could to destroy him.

“Clinton has decades of baggage attached to her.”

Sure, like Whitewater, which, like the Benghazi and email investigations, were both designed, not to actually pursue truth but as political tools to negatively impact both Clintons.

And, despite this, before the start of the Democratic primaries, Hillary was one of the most well-known and well-liked politicians in the country:

March, 2015

“She made speeches at Goldman Sachs.”

Or, put another way, she took money from rich Republicans that might otherwise have been spent on Republican things like conversion therapybathroom billsconcealing factory farm conditions, and doing anything possible to help degrade the environment.

“She has an ongoing FBI investigation that her and her people thought they could handle.”

An investigation that ended with Comey concluding, unequivocally, that she not only should not have been indicted, but that her case was wildly different from Petraeus’s and that no average American, having done what she did, would have been indicted.

“She had extreme unfavorability numbers.”

The numbers always averaged 10 percentage points more favorable than Trump’s. And, her numbers were dragged down, in no small part, by Bernie supporters:

“She let Trump and his campaign dominate media coverage.”

Uhhhh. You can let your opponent do that?

“She also failed to easily explain her policies and how they could benefit working class voters.”

A close family member of mine is a working-class voter. My entire life, their top concern has not been deporting all the “fucking job-stealing spics” (and their “little spic babies”), but eradicating the “cockroaches.” Can you guess why that person voted Trump? I’m sure Bernie could’ve better appealed to that person.

“When she openly condemned Trump supporters throughout the summer/fall, she was further enraging a voting bloc she did not want to turn out in big numbers.”

Are you talking about the “basket of deplorables”? No one knows what that means. You think bigots know what a “basket of deplorables” is? It may have confused them, but there’s no way it “enraged” them. (Incidentally, I don’t believe that all Trump supporters are bigots; I do, however, believe that all or nearly all bigots are Trump supporters.)



Updated 1/20/2016

Fake News Case Study: The Defecating Democrat

Updated April 23rd, 2017

Take a look at this screenshot of a page from

Take a closer look at the views on that video shared on Facebook:

Now take a gander at this tweeted image:

Now note that, at present, this has been viewed 6 million times. Isn’t it amazing how disgusting and depraved all liberals are? In fact, is that … is that Hillary Clinton defecating on that photo of Trump?! Who would put it past her? She is, after all, a disgusting, depraved monster. And, let’s be honest, obviously also the Antichrist.

Now take a look at this screenshot uploaded to YouTube July 10th, 2012:

I know what you’re thinking: how did Hillary Clinton travel back in time to go number two all over that picture that … uh … now that I look at it, may or may not even be of a human being….

Well, it turns out that this is actually a Mexican performance artist named Rocío Boliver (aka, The Frozen Grape) and it was filmed in Zócalo, Ciudad de México on July 7th, 2012. Hmm. What was Trump doing at that time? If you said, “grabbin’ someone by the pussy,” give yourself a pat on the back. And, what wasn’t he doing? Yep: he wasn’t winning a presidential election (via the electoral college alone).

Over 2,000 people have shared this Tweet which includes a link that takes you to where you can watch the video along with this message: “This is evil. Pure evil and that is what we are dealing with and that is what we are up against – the hatred of the good for being the good.”

Besides the fact that Geller’s Tweet is pure fantasy, there’s the fact that this could actually happen. Somewhere in New York or California, there probably are some people defecating on pictures of Trump right this very moment. Maybe somebody will even snap a video of it and share it. But, guess what? That will still not have become “what we’re dealing with.” You see, that will be a single, isolated example of this one thing that we maybe dealt with one time if we chose to watch that thing happen. And, what if it happens a second time? Well, that will be two isolated examples. “Surely,” you say, “two examples must be sufficient for me to now say that this is ‘what we’re dealing with,’ right?” No. No, it won’t.

So, what is the threshold for “what we’re dealing with”? I’d argue that once or twice a year might be sufficient. Not “once or twice every time the least impressive human specimen in the history of the world gets elected to public office.”


I’ve been tracking the YouTube spread of this viral lie as best I can. Over 200,000 views and counting.


“Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it.”
—Jonathan Swift

Glenn Geenwald, Failed Thinker, on this Election’s Outcome

Some of the latest smug drivel from Glenn Greenwald:

Democrats have already begun flailing around trying to blame anyone and everyone they can find — everyone except themselves — for last night’s crushing defeat of their party. You know the drearily predictable list of their scapegoats: Russia, WikiLeaks, James Comey, Jill Stein, Bernie Bros, The Media, news outlets (including, perhaps especially, The Intercept) that sinned by reporting negatively on Hillary Clinton.

This is like saying, “The dam technicians have already started blaming the many cracks in the dam for the fact that the dam broke.” Yeah, all of those things did contribute! Of course they did. And, yeah, the Democratic leadership was also partly to blame. They were so cavalier as to put their early support behind the candidate with both the highest familiarity and the highest net favorability:

March, 2015
And, yeah, they already knew that this would cause her favorability to suffer, as Nate Silver wrote in 2012:

But if Mrs. Clinton runs for president in 2016, one thing is almost certain: she won’t be as popular as she is right now. Recent polls show that about 65 percent of Americans take a favorable view of Mrs. Clinton, while only about 30 percent have a negative one. Those are remarkably high numbers for a politician in an era when many public officials are distrusted or disliked.

And, keep in mind that, despite that suffering favorability, she still beat Bernie by nearly 3.7 million votes, mainly because she did so much better with non-white voters:


Now, onto tackling Greenwald’s list in the order given:


Russia was behind the cyberattack that led to the most recent major WikiLeaks DNC email bounty:



Maybe you wonder why WikiLeaks only publishes shit about Hillary and the Democrats. Well, wonder no more. Here’s none other than The Intercept to expand on that:


James Comey

The fact that Comey’s investigation apparently damaged Hillary’s polls quite starkly contrasts with some important conclusions:

Elijah Cummings: Do you agree with the claim that General Petraeus, and I quote, ‘Got in trouble for far less,’ end of quote? Do you agree with that statement?

Comey: His conduct, to me, illustrates the categories of behavior that mark the prosecutions that are actually brought. Clearly intentional conduct, knew what he was doing was a violation of the law, huge amounts of information that even if you couldn’t prove he knew it, it raises the inference that he did it, an effort to obstruct justice. That combination of things makes it worthy of a prosecution. A misdemeanor prosecution, but a prosecution nonetheless.

* * *

Blake Farenthold: How do you respond to people who are saying that this is not how (the) average American would be treated. This is only how Hillary Clinton would be treated?

Comey: When people tell you that others have been treated differently, demand from a trustworthy source the details of those cases because — I’m a very aggressive investigator, I was a very aggressive prosecutor — I have gone back through 40 years of cases, and I’m telling you under oath that to prosecute on these facts would be a double standard, because Jane and Joe Smith would not be prosecuted on these facts.

Jill Stein

Stein was a vocal opponent of Hillary at a time when, as Bernie was well aware, she needed every bit of support possible:

I join millions of Americans who see Hillary Clinton’s campaign as the opposite of what they and Bernie Sanders have fought for. Despite her penchant for flip flopping rhetoric, Hillary Clinton has spent decades consistently serving the causes of Wall Street, war and the Walmart economy.

Maybe Greenwald is also reluctant to criticize a supporter:

And this:


Of course, we should note (as Wasserman did) that we don’t know if Stein voters (or Johnson voters) would have voted at all if a third-party candidate weren’t available.

And this:

Under Hillary Clinton, we could slide into nuclear war very quickly from her declared policy in Syria. So I won’t sleep well at night if Donald Trump is elected, but I sure won’t sleep well at night if Hillary Clinton is elected. Fortunately, we have another choice other than these two candidates, who are both promoting lethal policies. But on the issue of war and nuclear weapons, and the potential for nuclear war, it is actually Hillary’s policies which are much scarier than Donald Trump….

Bernie Bros

It was among Bernie Bros that I first heard the slogan “Hillary for Prison”:

Snapshots Taken by Me February of this Year

What do you think? Did this help Hillary or hurt her?

The Media

From a study by Thomas E. Patterson of the Harvard Shorenstein Center:

Bernie Sanders’ campaign was largely ignored in the early months but, as it began to get coverage, it was overwhelmingly positive in tone. Sanders’ coverage in 2015 was the most favorable of any of the top candidates, Republican or Democratic. For her part, Hillary Clinton had by far the most negative coverage of any candidate.

Whereas media coverage helped build up Trump, it helped tear down Clinton. Trump’s positive coverage was the equivalent of millions of dollars in ad-buys in his favor, whereas Clinton’s negative coverage can be equated to millions of dollars in attack ads, with her on the receiving end. Of the eight news outlets in our study, Fox News easily led the way.



Updated 1/26/17

Was Bernie Cheated Out of the Democratic Nomination?

Question: Didn’t Democratic superdelegates, the media, and the DNC cheat Bernie out of the Democratic nomination?



The current superdelegate rules have been in place since 1982. Over that time, superdelegates haven’t mattered much to any Democratic race:

In fact, even without superdelegates, Hillary beat Bernie by over 3 1/2 million votes:

Bernie’s not an idiot, so he had to have known when he officially announced his candidacy on March 27th, 2015, that Hillary already had an unprecedented superdelegate endorsement advantage, compared not just to him but to any candidate since the current system began:

The Media

As for the media cheating Bernie out of the nomination, the best evidence is mixed. According to a study by Harvard’s Shorenstein Center, the media didn’t initially give Bernie adequate attention to up his name recognition in the crucial early stages of the campaign. However, when he did begin to get media coverage, that coverage was the most positive of any candidate, Republican or Democrat, while the coverage of Hillary was the most negative of any candidate:
Month-to-Month Tone of Sanders’s Coverage
Month-to-Month Tone of Clinton’s Coverage

Another study, by Jonathan Stray of NiemanLab, found that the media’s average coverage of a candidate tracked very closely with that candidate’s position in the polls:



Much has been made in alternative liberal media circles of a supposed DNC conspiracy to sabotage Bernie. The evidence is fairly thin, though. One example is this email from DNC rep Eric Walker: “If she outperforms this [Rhode Island] polling, the Bernie camp will go nuts and allege misconduct. They’ll probably complain regardless, actually.” It’s apparently outrageous to make such a prediction even though Bernie supporters and his campaign reps complained frequently and loudly about many aspects of the primary. One supporter, Tim Robbins, is mentioned in the same email exchange after posting the following tweet:

Robbins has since deleted this Tweet, but not before Joshua Holland of Raw Story got a snapshot and investigated the numbers. He summed up his findings like this:

So there you have it. They say a lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots on, and that’s especially true of the internet. Here we have an example of an actor citing a comedian who picked up a claim from an anonymous Reddit user citing preliminary exit poll data put together by a JFK conspiracy theorist. Bringing it all full circle is The Hill, which ran a story titled, “Actor Tim Robbins blames Sanders losses on ‘voter fraud,’” which will no doubt be shared thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter.

It took hours of copying, pasting, and calculating for me to put together this compilation of all of the primary exit/entrance poll results (all data from here, which, ultimately, means from here). Once I had this info, though, I could update that Tim Robbins meme:

Still convinced of malfeasance? At the very least, you should be questioning the strength of these claims.


A friend asked me to clarify why poll results get adjusted, so I’m adding some extra info about exit polls.

Short version: Bernie supporters skew young. Young voters are more likely to respond to exit polls. Polling orgs like Edison Research then have to adjust the stats to fit known demographics.

Long version: To start with, let’s say you want to try to get a good, representative sample of feelings from Massachusetts Democratic primary voters.  From the 2008 MA Democratic primary, you have the following age breakdown:

You must now confront people and ask them to fill out a survey for you. You try to get roughly equal numbers of all of these groups of people. In the 2008 Dem primary, about 1.26 million people voted. According to the central limit theorem, the number of randomly-sampled responses you need for a representative sample is about 30. But, it’s impossible to get a random sample in this situation. So, you try to get a good variety of about 30 people from each of those age groups. But, you’re eye-balling it and only about 45% of people will fill out your survey. So, really, you just do your best.

You pool your collected data with the data of 50 other pollsters with each pollster trying to get 30 responses from each age group for a total of 6,000 results (30 responses * 4 age groups * 50 pollsters). The demographics you end up with resemble this:

Now, these are the unadjusted results. Let’s see how these results work out with age results we got from Iowa:

Now, let’s apply these figures to our unadjusted responses:

OK. Now, let’s adjust these results to conform better to 2008 Massachusetts Democratic primary demographics. This is called “weighting” and, to do this, we divide the known variable into the sampled variable:

Now, we end up with the following:

Updated 11/16/2016.

Hillary, Bernie, and Trump: Favorability and Honesty

Question: Given Hillary’s low favorability, wouldn’t Bernie have been the better candidate for establishment Democrats to get behind to secure a presidential victory?

Response: I don’t think so. I’d say that the two factors that have impacted Hillary the most are implicit bias against women in leadership roles and the attacks that come along with running for any high-level political office.

Now, consider that, at the time Democratic leadership was deciding which candidate to get behind, Clinton was clearly the easiest choice:

March 2015

And, consider that Clinton’s worst favorability in the past, besides during the Whitewater investigation (which, incidentally, came to nothing) were during her bid for the senate and during her first bid for the presidency. As Nate Silver put it back in December of 2012, “Over the course of her long career, the public’s views of Mrs. Clinton have shifted along with her public role. When she has been actively engaged in the hand-to-hand combat that characterizes election campaigns and battles in Congress, her favorability ratings have taken a hit, only to recover later”:

In the same article, Silver also correctly predicted, “if Mrs. Clinton runs for president in 2016, one thing is almost certain: she won’t be as popular as she is right now.”

To my thinking, implicit bias against women in leadership is sufficient to explain Hillary’s this dip in popularity, especially when we consider that her numbers aren’t outrageously different from figures for the Democratic party itself. Silver, though, suggested back then that her favorability suffered when running for office because that’s when she was being most attacked by various opponents.

If that’s the case, then we should expect this to have happened to other candidates. In fact, it looks like it did happen to Obama to a degree:

Bush’s figures are pretty much downward except for 9/11. Interestingly, though, he seems actually to have experienced an uptick immediately leading up to the 2004 election:

I haven’t been able to find enough data on other female candidates to try to tease out how political attacks and gender affect bids for political office. Still, I feel fairly satisfied that Hillary’s issues, which don’t seem extraordinary compared to other politicians’, are probably not the source of her favorability figures.

One final thing I’d point out are PolitiFact’s ratings of candidates’ truthfulness:

When I compare these figures, the only systematic (though, not scientific) study of candidate honesty, I can’t help scratching my head over why Hillary has been so widely singled out for dishonesty. Clearly, the fact that not one of these three candidates do better than 51% in truthfulness is, to quote the silver-tongued Trump, “sad.”

A CNN poll from last month found that, “Trump has his largest edge of the campaign as the more honest and trustworthy of the two major candidates (50% say he is more honest and trustworthy vs. just 35% choosing Clinton).” Huh?

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, also from last month, yielded a rating of 31% for Hillary and 41% for Trump for “being honest/straightforward.” Huh?!

Now, finally, compare the candidates in this YouGov poll from February:

Notice that, despite having the same record for producing honest statements by PolitiFact’s lights, Hillary and Bernie are basically the inverse in terms of perceived dis/honesty. Only Trump approaches Hillary’s degree of perceived dis/honesty despite the fact that he only apparently tells the truth by accident.

It’s tempting for me to regard this as further evidence of sexism in the US public, conscious or unconscious. However, there’s also the fact that the Republican attacks on Hillary have chiefly targeted her honesty and transparency in the interminable Benghazi investigations.

So, maybe Nate’s right….

Voting Green vs. Democrat in Arizona

Question: This is the first time I feel I am voting party platforms. I have actually come to like Hillary as a politician but I hate bringing the Clinton family back to the White House and she has serious entanglements with foreign governments and businesses. We are long overdue for that revolution we wanted with Obama and the planet needs our attention more than ever. Why not use my vote to support the Green Party?

Response: Regarding Hillary’s “entanglements” with foreign governments, the Clinton Foundation takes donations from anyone and has never been shown to have engaged in bribery. The Clintons also do not draw a salary from the foundation. If I donate to your charity expecting something in return and I don’t receive that and there’s no record that you ever promised something in return, are you guilty of bribery? To me, that’s an easy, “no.”

Now, consider this from another angle. Let’s say that you can go speak at a conference with wealthy people who could donate to your campaign. One conference is full of union people who are probably going to support you no matter what; the other conference is full of corporate bankers who are more likely to support a Republican presidential candidate. Which event do you speak at?

Well, if you want to maximize your impact, I’d argue that you would want to speak at the bankers conference. You may be getting the same amount of money either way to put toward your own campaign, but you’re also simultaneously taking money from people who might otherwise have spent it on Republicans. Well done, I say.

Remember that the Green Party is still incredibly weak in the US. They hold few positions in local government and zero seats in national government:


We would probably need decades to get Green candidates sufficient local and congressional support in order to have the necessary impact.

Electoral votes are winner take all. So, if Arizona does go Dem, Hillary gets all the electoral votes and that makes Trump all the less likely to win. Trump deserves an enormous, crushing defeat.

Finally, as someone who always liked Bernie, I’m glad he said this thing that I couldn’t agree with more:
Bernie Vote Hillary