Thursday, March 03, 2016

State of the Democratic primary, part 1: Post Super Tuesday evaluation

Here are a few brief comments about what I think of the state of the Democratic primary so far.

  1. Bernie Sanders is a fine candidate who would make a good president.
  2. Hillary Clinton is a fine candidate who would make a good president.
  3. Neither candidate is perfect. They both have strengths and weaknesses.
  4. They are, however, both miles better in almost every way than Donald Trump, the likely Republican nominee.
  5. With a few exceptions, both candidates have run generally positive campaigns, and most likely the losing candidate will be gracious and endorse the winner.
  6. Hillary Clinton has moved to a better and more openly liberal platform due to Bernie Sanders' involvement in the race. Whether Sanders wins the nomination or not, he has been an extremely good influence overall and I appreciate that.
  7. Looking at the Super Tuesday results, and the polling of upcoming states, I think there is a very strong likelihood that Clinton will be the nominee. It's not a sure thing, but I give it good odds.
  8. ...And that's just fine.

I know I have many liberal friends who will disagree with me on several of those points. No problem.

I have a lot of concrete reasons for thinking that Hillary Clinton is a decent candidate, and my fellow Democrats should be proud to support her in the general election. I also know that many reasonable Bernie Sanders have not yet conceded my point #7, so I'm a little wary of making them defensive by posting them right now. The question will probably be resolved one way or the other in the next few weeks, or by July 25th at the latest, and I've already voted. So while I do think Clinton will be the nominee, I don't feel strongly about arguing for it right now.

Regardless, I've heard a few Bernie Sanders supporters say they feel very depressed when they contemplate their candidate possibly losing the primary. I understand this disappointment, but I don't share the feeling that Sanders is the one and only candidate who can do the right thing in office for the next four to eight years.

For those people, I will be posting a follow up to this post in the near future, discussing my thoughts on Clinton as the nominee. Should Sanders turn the tide in the meantime, that's fine too; my arguments will not be needed.


  1. Thing is, there's a large push towards "non-establishment" candidates, Bernie on one side, Trump on the other. Given the huge margin by which Trump is winning the rep nominations and the comparative tiny margin by which Hilary is winning makes me wonder how all the ones who won't get their primary candidate choice are going to vote. If they don't vote in the general election, that's a huge chunk out of Hillary's potential voter base, but a small one out of Trump's. Add to that the seething hatred most of the south has for Hilary makes me suspect the current Rubio/Cruz supporters will bite the bullet and vote for Trump just so they don't get Hilary, despite the raging buffoon that they'll end up supporting.

    TYT posted a video recently making a similar arguments where they cite a CNN poll.

    Found it:

    Unless Bernie can turn the tide in the primaries, the election pretty much becomes an exercise in damage containment.

  2. If Sanders does turn the tide, will you share your arguments anyway?You've piqued my curiosity.

  3. @Julian: I think being "anti-establishment" is a very silly reason to refuse to vote for Clinton, particularly since Bernie Sanders has been a member of government since almost longer than Marco Rubio has been alive.

    1. Didn't say it wasn't silly, but I still think it'll be a factor. It's true that Sanders is pretty much a career politician, but his nonstandard policies and track record have mobilized people who would otherwise not have voted ("another 4 years of the same, who cares").
      Whether the disdain for trump will overpower the disdain for Hillary and mobilize the aforementioned demographic remains to be seen. I really hope I'm wrong.

  4. @Neverstatic: Sure. Even if Sanders wins, Clinton will still be a good Senator for the same reasons.

  5. I’ve heard the argument bandied about that while Sanders’s aspirations are laudable, Clinton’s more of a deal-maker and will actually get stuff done, even if (or because) she compromises.

    I understand this concern, but at the same time, I’m not worried: a president Sanders would give a sharp tug to the left (rather than the gentler pull of president Obama or Clinton II). And then Congress would say no, checks and balances will come into play, and all will be well: no one will get everything that they want, but there’ll be some improvement.

  6. I also Clinton's competence at the game of politics is one of her strengths. But again, I'm not here to argue for voting for Clinton over Sanders. I'm just trying to make sure Democrats don't fool themselves into apathy because they don't consider Clinton the best possible candidate.