ChrisWeigant.com

2020 Democratic Primary Dynamics Will Be Different

[ Posted Wednesday, February 20th, 2019 – 18:17 UTC ]

When looking ahead to the 2020 Democratic primaries, many pundits are suffering from a lack of imagination. Either that, or they just don't remember the 2016 Republican primary race, for some reason. Because unlike the last two close-fought Democratic primary seasons (in 2016 and 2008), this time around it will not be a binary process. There will not be a single frontrunner challenged by a single underdog. The field is already too big for that to happen. What this means in practical terms -- the thing that most haven't grappled with -- is that the winner of the early primaries and caucuses could win not with a majority of the votes but with a smallish plurality of the votes. Even winning 30 percent might be enough, with so many others in the race splitting the remaining votes among them.

How this will play out has yet to be determined. But my guess is that it could mirror the 2016 Republican primary season in a fundamental way. One frontrunner may emerge while the others fight for votes and dilute the anti-frontrunner total. This is how Donald Trump won the GOP nomination, after all.

Here's a pretty stunning fact to consider: Donald Trump didn't win a single state by a simple majority of the votes (over 50 percent) until his forty-second primary. It took him until late April to do so. OK, technically he had won one U.S. territory (Northern Mariana Islands) with a big majority, but even that didn't happen until the 33rd contest on the calendar. By the time Trump won his home state of New York, only Ted Cruz and John Kasich even remained in the GOP field with him (all the others had dropped out by then).

Trump racked up delegates before then by winning with percentages that at times hit the high 40s, but many times were down in the 30s. In other words, only a third of the GOP primary voters voted for him while two-thirds voted for other candidates, but Trump still walked away with the win.

These are important facts to consider when contemplating what the 2020 Democratic primary process is going to look like, but few in the media seem to have yet done so. Trump won the GOP nomination by effectively splitting up the anti-Trump vote and diluting it among his many challengers. Will the 2020 Democratic nominee win by charting a similar path?

The 2020 Democratic field is already pretty big, and it will likely get even bigger. Last time around, there were 17 Republican candidates to choose from, and this time the Democrats may match or even exceed that total. What so big a field means is that similar candidates will be fighting for similar voting blocs.

Added into this mix is the fact that the 2020 Democratic field is going to be the most diverse in history. Meaning identity politics won't be cut and dried (it never really is, but it should be even more obvious this time around). There won't be "the woman candidate," "the African-American candidate," "the progressive candidate," or "the centrist candidate." Each subdivision (and all the others not listed) will likely have at least two (if not more) candidates to choose from.

In 2008, Hillary Clinton made history by being the most successful female presidential candidate of all time. Then in 2016 she beat her own record by becoming the first major-party female presidential nominee. But this time around, out of a field of (so far) ten declared serious candidates, fully half of them are women -- Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, and Elizabeth Warren. Which means it will be almost impossible for any one of them to wrap up "the women's vote" in the way that Hillary was seen to have done.

African-American primary voters will have (so far) Cory Booker and Kamala Harris to choose between. Progressives will have multiple choices as well, including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and probably a few others as well. The youth vote will have Pete Buttigieg, Julián Castro, and perhaps Beto O'Rourke to consider. Centrists already have Amy Klobuchar and they may also soon get Joe Biden or Michael Bloomberg as well.

Political commentators have developed (in large part, in response to the GOP race last time) the concept of "lanes." I think this is a flawed way of looking at things, because of the false conclusions that are usually drawn from such a model. In 2016, there was supposed to be a "Republican establishment lane" and a "conservative lane" and an "evangelical lane" and all the rest. What was supposed to happen, according to this flawed model, was that the horses in the race would all jockey first to win their own lane, and then in the later days of the primaries the lanes would take each other on directly. So we'd wind up with one conservative running against one establishment GOP candidate, and so on. Then, in the end, whomever could convince the voters in the other lanes that they were the best would emerge victorious.

The problem with this model was that the sorting process didn't happen in time to stop Trump. Candidates were still fighting within their own lanes instead of dropping out in gentlemanly fashion so the stronger of them could carry the lane's torch forward against Trump. This split the anti-Trump vote very effectively. The conservatives couldn't agree on one single conservative candidate, the establishmentarians couldn't settle on one candidate, and Trump reaped the spoils of all this vote-splitting. The only one would could have challenged Trump in the "blowhard who says what he thinks, unlike other politicians" lane was Chris Christie, but he never really came all that close. So Trump rode his 30s-40s percent wins all the way to the nomination.

This could happen to Democrats in 2020, although it's impossible to see at this point who could pull off such a feat as the frontrunner. The race may be run solely on the metric of who the voters think can defeat Trump, which kind of blows away the concept of all the lanes. That is more of a personality trait than an ideological trait or identity politics, after all. And, again, that's in large part how Trump won -- he was certainly the largest personality on the Republican stage.

At this point, the two Democratic candidates who seem the most likely to match Trump's feat are Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden. But it's laughably early to make such predictions, so perhaps in a few months Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren (or any of the others, for that matter) could emerge as the candidate-to-beat. We'll have to wait and see, because it really could be anyone at this point. If one candidate gets in an epic Twitter war with Trump and emerges the perceived winner, that could enthuse the Democratic base far beyond anyone else's qualifications for the job. Before Trump, such a concept would have been unimaginable, but we are where we are. Any Democratic candidate who wins the 2020 general election is going to have to counter Trump's style effectively in one way or another. So seeing how they do so while still primary candidates is indeed a valid measure of their electability -- and perhaps the most important one.

This time around, at least we all know how Trump is going to campaign. It will come as no surprise to anyone. Playground taunts will be the norm. Simply "not dignifying it with a response" is flat-out not going to work.

But to get back to my main point, whomever emerges the victor in the Democratic primary fight may win not by beating any one fellow candidate. It's not going to be "Hillary versus Barack" or "Bernie versus Hillary." There will be a whole slew of candidates, and that means most of the early races will likely be won with very small pluralities instead of majorities of the vote. Donald Trump didn't win a single state's primary with a simple majority until the forty-second such contest, when he was running against only two remaining challengers.

We'd all do well to keep all of this in mind, when thinking about the 2020 Democratic primary season. Because my guess is that it's not going to be a one-on-one boxing match. Instead, it's going to be an absolute free-for-all -- and all the former rules and conventional ways of looking at the fight are probably going to be thrown out the window very early on.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

45 Comments on “2020 Democratic Primary Dynamics Will Be Different”

  1. [1] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I just hope that candidates that get less than a few percentage points of the vote in the Iowa caucuses will have the good sense to say, 'point of privilege … I am withdrawing from the race and will work very hard to ensure that the next president will be a Democrat.

    Hopefully, that will narrow the field. Ahem.

  2. [2] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Okay, okay … candidates who get less than a few ...

  3. [3] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Off topic, but I had an “Ah-ha!” moment this afternoon...

    Like most people, I have wondered just what it would take Trump doing/saying to get Republicans to stand up to him. Trump projects his twisted, dishonest version of reality on the world... and the GOP remains silent. But today I realized that the Republicans cannot call out Trump for his dishonest version of reality that he bases his decision making on — because to do so would be to admit that they’ve been pitching the same dishonest version of reality on the American people for decades!

    Denying climate change, claiming that tax cuts to the rich create more jobs, blaming illegal immigrants for increasing violent crimes.... there isn’t any part of their platform that is based in truth!

    Trump simply took the reality bubbles that the GOP had created and counted on over the last few decades and amped them up to new, frightening levels.

    There is no emergency at our southern border, but the GOP cannot really say that because they have successfully used fear-mongering about illegal immigrants to win elections for the last thirty plus years — and they will need to use this “go-to” campaign tool in 2020!

    Face it, when they lost being able to attack gays on the marriage equality issue, they lost one of their best campaign tools. Scary illegals and abortion are all they have left to distract their base from realizing how badly they are being screwed by the GOP!

    This also led me to realize why GOP voters have been willing to support a habitual liar like Trump... they are used to being lied to all the time by the politicians they support. Trump isn’t as big of a shock to their system as he is to ours!

  4. [4] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    So, Russ, what you are saying is that there is really on one political party in America, such as it is or could be ...

  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    on = only, of course.

    I'm going to call it a night.

  6. [6] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    … or a month

  7. [7] 
    Paula wrote:

    [3] Listen:

    But today I realized that the Republicans cannot call out Trump for his dishonest version of reality that he bases his decision making on — because to do so would be to admit that they’ve been pitching the same dishonest version of reality on the American people for decades!

    You got here!!!

  8. [8] 
    neilm wrote:

    This is going to be an interesting primary - the one that it reminds me of most (and even it isn't a good match, and I'm also only counting ones I've paid personal attention to) is 1992.

    I'm expecting a "most Americans" candidate to emerge. By that I mean somebody who reads the Pew Research polls on major issues and says "I'm with most Americans", and sells that well to the public.

    E.g. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/02/04/state-of-the-union-2019-how-americans-see-major-national-issues/

    This is why I think it will be like 1992 - a Bill Clinton will emerge.

    My best guess: Amy Klobuchar. This is not an endorsement or an announcement of support, however she is definitely an interesting candidate and I'm glad she is running.

  9. [9] 
    neilm wrote:

    One observation about Amy Klobuchar - her website is dreadful - it is all about her and laden with hackneyed "we all need to work together" motherhood and apple pie. This is a 1990's website in a 2020 world - not cutting it.

    If she is overseeing the web presence personally then she needs to learn how hire good people. If she has people, and she is happy with the result, she needs a professional campaign manager - bloody hell, I could do a better job myself.

  10. [10] 
    Bclancy wrote:

    “The youth vote will have Pete Buttigieg, Julián Castro, and perhaps Beto O'Rourke to consider”

    Let’s not assume young people always prefer a young candidate. In reality, the youth vote will probably have Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and possibly some other candidate who catches fire with their charisma and progressivism. Pundits often make the mistake of assuming younger candidates are necessarily more in touch with the future of the party. Think of how much of the punditry in 2016 was just *sure* Marco Rubio would catch fire any day now. After all he was “the future of the Republican Party”! Youth is also conflated with charisma. The reality of course is that Rubio was neither especially charismatic, nor particularly clued in to the changing political zeitgeist. He was just as out of touch with what Republican voters wanted as Jeb Bush.

    People remember young Barack Obama’s appeal in 2008, and they forget that much of his appeal was his natural charisma and rhetoric that appealed to the political zeitgeist. Those aren’t qualities you can only find in the under fifty crowd, AOC notwithstanding. His good looks didn’t hurt to be sure, but being 45 doesn’t make you inherently more relatable or appealing to millennial voters than being 70.

  11. [11] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @bc,

    it seems you've noticed a general oversimplification on cw's part. not just with youth but most demographics, voting blocs won't necessarily vote for someone who looks like themselves.

  12. [12] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    "When looking ahead to the 2020 Democratic primaries, many pundits are suffering from a lack of imagination."

    Not a new development and not limited to the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries. And not excluding you, See Bubble You.

  13. [13] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Some of this comment applies to the previous column of CW.com, but for economy of space I'll just spill it all here.

    Like Paula, I had serious reservations about Sanders acting as a spoiler in the last Presidential Election. I think there was a bit too much ego driving it. I voted Clinton, since it offered the better change of not having President Trump. We all know how that is working out.

    That said, it is history. Compared to any of his rivals Sanders' political resume is exceptional. Putting aside his early activism, Bernie is a very well seasoned politician.

    Executive experience:

    8 years as a small city mayor.

    Legislative experience:

    8 terms in the House of Representatives, beginning his 3rd term in the senate.

    Real World Work Experience:

    teacher
    carpenter
    media production and distribution (goes a long way to explain his grass roots funding success in 2016).

    You have to wear a lot of hats as President and be good at a lot of things to succeed. I think Bernie's cred is higher than anybody in the announced pack. If Biden goes in, his resume rivals that of Sanders.

    Trump is an unmitigated disaster. The prime objective should be to defeat him. By the 2020 roles around, I suspect a ham sandwich could suffice (maybe even PB&J), but Bernie is more than that. He really has a lot of experience that is necessary to both win the job, know what you can and can't/shouldn't do with the job, and finally, put it all into practice on the job. Maybe. Politics is always a crap shoot.

    I don't really worry about the fact that he isn't a life long Democrat. As a practical matter, your party is who you caucus with.

  14. [14] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @ts,

    if you ran a ham sandwich, you'd lose the jews AND the muslims.

    i also voted for clinton in the primaries. bernie was running hard to win, and i don't hold it against him. however, many hillary voters really do hold it against him, and would be very grudging in their support should he be the nominee. they'd vote for him, but probably wouldn't donate. having successfully moved the overton window, it may be time for bernie to take a bow and step aside.

    JL

  15. [15] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    poet

    Re "If you ran a ham sandwich you'd lose the Jews AND the Muslims."

    So, if you ran a Jew, would you lose the Muslims AND the ham sandwiches?

  16. [16] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    ham sandwiches may be eligible to run for office, but they can't vote.

  17. [17] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    anyhow, wouldn't most people rather vote for pie?

  18. [18] 
    Paula wrote:

    [13] TS:

    If BS cared about the welfare of the country he wouldn't have thrown his hat into the ring at all.

    He has years of experience representing a state of 650 residents so he's been in a nice little bubble where he can be a gadfly without producing results on the big stage.

    And his not-being-a-Dem except when he can take advantage of Dem party infrastructure is also a statement about his fundamental selfishness. He takes, but doesn't give. Indeed, in 2016 he treated the fact that HRC raised money for other Dem candidates as something dirty.

    His candidacy and fans devolved into blackmailers in 2016 and that's literally what his candidacy is now: "vote for me or my people will make you miserable and will throw the election to DJT/GOP."

    BS: ick, yuck, bleah.

  19. [19] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Paula-

    I didn't expect to actually win you over to Sanders, but I still think his long career would allow him to be an effective President. He knows how the game is played and wouldn't have a long learning curve...or no learning curve like Trump, who seems to have a pretty steep forgetting curve.

    If it comes down to a Sanders vs Trump Presidential contest, what are you going to do, go with Sanders, write in a spoiler, or abstain from voting? I'm am assuming you won't vote for Trump.

    Anyhow, Sanders does not have a lock on the nomination, so it's very likely he won't be the Democratic nominee. For all we know, Trump may have skipped town to Russia or North Korea by 2020! :-)

    My own personal demon is that the upcoming Democratic Primary has as many contenders as the Republican's had for their 2016 Presidential Nomination process. Trump would like that kind of circus....if hasn't fled to Russia or North Korea for assisted living in a hastily built/refurbished Trump Tower. :-)

  20. [20] 
    TheStig wrote:

    nypoet-14

    I had almost used Rubin Sandwich or Mutton Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich instead of ham to avoid the Kosher implications.

    I believe that a Kosher Observant Jew can, in principle, vote for a pig or sow - although said voter might have to ritually purify themselves afterwards. It would be even more burdensome in the extremely unlikely event that a pig or sow were invited or wandered uninvited, into a Kosher household for a political meet and greet (lots and lots of ritual cleaning there).

    I believe Halal works in much the same way.

  21. [21] 
    Kick wrote:

    TS
    13

    Wow, TS. That BS dude sure has quite a resume for a candidate who postures himself as an "outsider." ;)

    There are videos of Bernie Sanders and his new wife Jane on their honeymoon in Yaroslavl, something along the lines of "Singing with the Soviets." If Bernie actually does become the nominee of the Democratic Party, there could quite literally be no end to the talk of who is Russia's favorite candidate in 2020, and we'll have officially entered the Twilight Zone.

    I don't really worry about the fact that he isn't a life long Democrat. As a practical matter, your party is who you caucus with.

    Dosvidaniya.

  22. [22] 
    Kick wrote:

    JL
    17

    anyhow, wouldn't most people rather vote for pie?

    Especially if Al La Mode is his running mate. ;)

  23. [23] 
    Paula wrote:

    [19] TS: I said previously if it comes down to BS vs. DJT or some other Repub I'd hold my nose and vote for BS. It would be bitter but I'd do it.

    So my hope is that he gets shut out early and my fear is he'll win via a plurality a la Blotus, or he'll lose and his toxic followers will throw the election to GOP out of spite.

    As for his "experience" most of the other Dems have as good or better experience to offer.

    But now we're stuck with him so I can only hope that the damage he does is contained.

  24. [24] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    "And if the band you're in starts playing different tunes,
    I'll see you on the dark side of the moon."
    -Pink Floyd

  25. [25] 
    Kick wrote:

    Roger Stone testifies today... under penalty of perjury... that he is "having a hard time putting food on the table."

    So... no pie for Roger. *laughs*

  26. [26] 
    Paula wrote:

    Bernie was interviewed tonight by Chris Hayes - I don't watch Cable TV - but often see the shows online later/next day - so I didn't watch. But ppl watching thought it went very poorly - basically that Bernie was very vague in his answers. Chris Hayes has him on frequently so people were anticipating a softball interview but apparently it was solid - real questions - not "gotcha!" - but substantive.

    Anyone else see? We're they biased and he did alright?

  27. [27] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    LizM [1, 2] -

    That's exactly what DIDN'T happen with the GOP in 2016, so you are right, if it happens this time around it will make everything a lot easier.

    However, with many candidates relying solely on small donations, they may never have "the rug yanked out from under them" from big donors (which is often the reason campaigns fold) and may continue to campaign as long as they have money coming in. Sorry to interject a downer note, but I do worry about the possiblity...

    ListenWhenYouHear [3] -

    You're right about the gays. And about how abortion will re-emerge as a big honkin' deal with Republicans, because that's pretty much all they have left in the "culture wars" cabinet of options.

    Watch the Senate, in the next few weeks...

    neilm [8] -

    That is interesting. I was in France in 1992, so I missed much of the dynamics of Clinton's race (and victory). But it was indeed a wide-open race among Democrats, that much is the same.

    I'll be interested to see how it plays out, but I'm betting that Klobuchar gets eclipsed by an even-more-favorite centrist before it is over. Just a gut feeling, no more...

    Bclancy [10] -

    You are right, of course. Identity politics is really a fool's game all around. Just because there's a woman or young or black candidate doesn't automatically mean all voters of similar type will vote for them.

    But then again... who do you think the frontrunner would be among the youth vote if AOC were old enough to run?

    :-)

    I know I'd put my money on her, personally.

    nypoet22 [11] -

    Hey, c'mon you guys... from the article:

    Meaning identity politics won't be cut and dried (it never really is, but it should be even more obvious this time around).

    Note that: "it never really is" please...

    Hmmph.

    [22] -

    Dunno. But, according to popular sayings, ham sandwiches are indeed indictable by grand juries!

    Heh.

    TheStig [20] -

    I believe John Steinbeck addressed this already:

    http://sits.sjsu.edu/curriculum-resources/the-long-valley/plot-synopsis/index.html

    [scroll down to "Saint Katy The Virgin"...]

    Kick [21] -

    That sound you hear in the distance is J. Edgar and Ronnie Reagan rolling over in their graves...

    Heh.

    Don Harris [24] -

    "There is no dark side of the moon, really...
    ...as a matter of fact, it's ALL dark..."

    Heh.

    -CW

  28. [28] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Paula-26

    The Hayes-Sanders interview was about 17 minutes and Hayes basically asked hin to:

    1: Define Democratic Socialism

    And

    2: Explain how you implement it with divided government and an effective 60 vote threshold in the senate..

    Sanders defined D.Soc. as government centered on the needs of the majority of citizens, not on the wants of an aristocracy. Not mentioned: The framers of the US constitution were aristocrats working from a Roman Republic Model.

    Sander's answer to the second question was that you build a popular political movement that elects enough like minded representatives to push through what you can within the existing rules of government and where that fails, you focus the public pressure expressed thru the movement to reform the system of government. It's a logical approach, FDR sort of pulled it off with the help of 2 World Wars.

    Sanders expounded in his Bernize dialect which is not exactly music to the ear.

    Hayes sounded a bit rushed and peeved, but his questions were on point.

  29. [29] 
    Kick wrote:

    Paula
    26

    As noted, Bernie is perpetually "vague in his answers," generally choosing to not answer the questions asked by anyone but rather respond by repeating his BS talking points over and over as in the "seen one/seen them all" 2016 debates... multiple complaints ending with the words "millionaires and billionaires." Oh, wait... he actually did stop blaming "millionaires" when it was pointed out that he was one of them.

    So I watched with that in mind and noticed there was less of that routine but still the same basic drivel, which is a whole lot of talk complaining about what is wrong but with almost zero talk about policy and how/what he would do to change any of it.

    TS is right on point with his answer and his perfect observation about the "Bernize dialect." I wasn't impressed. #SSDD

  30. [30] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    The "BS" man isn't the least bit vague in his redistributionist politics - it's all basically "Take from the high earners, transfer to the low earners".

    You can nit-pick him over a lack of specifics on the mechanics of the system, but do the specifics really matter? Aren't the mechanics all pretty much equivalent?

    We can call it "income tax", "wealth tax", "estate tax", or what-the-hell, it's all pretty much equivalent to Lewis Carroll's Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-Dee, right?

  31. [31] 
    TheStig wrote:

    kick -29

    In defining wealth, it is important to distinguish total assets from working capital that can be used to generate a regular stream of income. Sanders net worth includes multiple, but small, homes in very pricey real estate markets. He does not appear to be flipping them.

    Chittenden County, Vermont home $405,000 ('09 sale price)

    DC 1bdrm town house $488999 ('07 sale price)

    Lake Champlain house $575,000 ('16 sale price)

    Total property value roughly 1.47 million dollars.

    Sanders had two good years in 2016 and 2017 earning about 1.75 million in book advances and royalties. A lot of this seems to have gone into the Champlain purchase.

    Ballpark estimates by several sources suggest Sanders has a total worth of around 2 million dollars, which suggests a much lower working capital of around .5 million. This is not exactly extraordinary wealth, and he has come to it rather late in life. The border line between upper middle class and wealthy is ill defined, but I think Sanders closer to upper middle class.

    How little money do you have to have in order to qualify as a socialist?....and who makes this rule?

    https://www.businessinsider.com/bernie-sanders-net-worth-assets-house-salary-book-sales-2019-2

  32. [32] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Kick 29 - "almost zero talk about policy and how/what he (Sanders) would d"o to change any of it."

    As I see it, Sanders policy is so simple that it doesn't register in the brain and most people simple look beyond it...like the Huge Pink Mountain in Hitch Hikers Guide to The Galaxy Books. It's to weird to be there, just ignore it.

    Sanders reform policy is quite simply to organize voting blocks and financing that will elect reform minded senators and congress people into the Federal System and their equivalents down the State and Local food chains. He sees political parties as organization & funding machines.

    This is a very old idea in US (and other) politics. He sees the Presidency as the best place to supervise and implement the reform movement. This an ancient idea in US politics. The Republicans have done it twice (Lincoln & Reagan) and the Democrats once (FDR) and maybe twice (Wilson?). Throw the old rascals out, put new reformers and reformed rascals with skills into play who will eventually All become rascals and require a new reform movement. Circle of Political Life.

    This seems to me a potentially valid strategy. He tested elements of it in the 2016 primaries. It had some distinct successes, even if it didn't win the nomination. There are potential problems. Big ones. Does Bernie really have the leadership chops to pull this off? Does enough of the public feel this is in their interest to get off the couch to 1) send money and 2 )vote and 3) talk with their friends? Will serving politicians see reform as a good career strategy? Is mass political messaging and organization even possible in an age of disinformation and fragmented electronic media?

    I really don't know the answers, but let's see how Sanders handles the primaries. If he pulls it off, he has really changed American Politics by putting old wine in a new bottle. Or, if as cynical wags might put it, "old nasal whine* in a new bottle."

    * Lincoln wasn't that old by modern standards, but he have a nasal whine according to many contemporary accounts.

  33. [33] 
    Paula wrote:

    [32] TS:

    Sanders reform policy is quite simply to organize voting blocks and financing that will elect reform minded senators and congress people into the Federal System and their equivalents down the State and Local food chains. He sees political parties as organization & funding machines.

    Eh?

    I don't get it.

    How do you "organize voting blocks and financing that will elect reform-minded senators..."?

    Isn't that just another way of saying: "try to get people who agree with you elected?"

    Is the difference supposed to be that you do it somehow outside the 2 parties? And/or that somehow, from position as POTUS he abolishes the 2-party system?

    Explain.

  34. [34] 
    Paula wrote:

    [28] and [29]: TS and Kick - thanks for descriptions of the Chris Hayes interview.

  35. [35] 
    Paula wrote:

    [31] TS:

    Sanders had two good years in 2016 and 2017 earning about 1.75 million in book advances and royalties. A lot of this seems to have gone into the Champlain purchase.

    Yeah, among other things running helps you make dough. You get exposure and book deals etc. and your campaign can pay others around you.

  36. [36] 
    Kick wrote:

    CRS
    30

    The "BS" man isn't the least bit vague in his redistributionist politics - it's all basically "Take from the high earners, transfer to the low earners".

    On what planet are you living where that spew of yours quoted above wouldn't be considered indeterminate? Define "high earner," old man; otherwise, you're shit is as vague as BS.

    You can nit-pick him over a lack of specifics on the mechanics of the system, but do the specifics really matter?

    Yes.

    Aren't the mechanics all pretty much equivalent?

    Hell no! Are you blissfully unaware that "equivalent" means equal in value?

    We can call it "income tax", "wealth tax", "estate tax", or what-the-hell, it's all pretty much equivalent to Lewis Carroll's Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-Dee, right?

    No. Idiot. :)

  37. [37] 
    Kick wrote:

    TS
    31

    In defining wealth, it is important to distinguish total assets from working capital that can be used to generate a regular stream of income. Sanders net worth includes multiple, but small, homes in very pricey real estate markets. He does not appear to be flipping them.

    I'm not really concerned at all with how many houses or how much wealth that BS (or any other candidate) has collected. But... really big but... when a candidate has spent nigh on three decades vilifying "millionaires and billionaires" as evil incarnate, it sort of rings hollow when that candidate becomes the living embodiment of it.

    This is not exactly extraordinary wealth, and he has come to it rather late in life.

    So he has become that which he vilified for approximately half his lifetime. Pity that.

    The border line between upper middle class and wealthy is ill defined, but I think Sanders closer to upper middle class.

    The "flyover states" will see him as a millionaire... because he is one, but more importantly, they'll see him as a fraud and hypocrite of epic proportions: The wealthy old man with multiple homes who whines about rich people, and the candidate who has spent three decades in Washington, DC, yet fancies himself an "outsider."

    How little money do you have to have in order to qualify as a socialist?

    You'll have to ask Bernie. I have no quarrel with "millionaires and billionaires," but I do take issue with hypocrites.

    ....and who makes this rule?

    Bernie has... and he's been making that "rule"... the vilifying of "millionaires and billionaires" and "Washington insiders" for quite awhile now, and therein lies the glaring hypocrisy.

  38. [38] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Democratics 9and other folk of limited understandint) think people go into politics our of altruism and the desire to serve their fellow men.

    Might have been true of Geo. Washington and Dweight Eisenhower, but by and large, most people pursue political careers because it's more lucrative than honest work, at least for those without special talet or skills.

    LBJ entered politics as a pauper and died a gazillionaire.

  39. [39] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Oops - forgot to proofread!

  40. [40] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Paula-33

    Free moment here, so explanation time:

    Sanders is heavily influenced by principles of the American Community Organization Movement, which is diverse and hard to characterize precisely. Wikipedia does a pretty good job of summarizing basic principles of the movement, from which I have lifted the following:

    ..."community organizers generally assume that social change necessarily involves conflict and social struggle in order to generate collective power for the powerless. Community organizing has as a core goal the generation of durable power for an organization representing the community, allowing it to influence key decision-makers on a range of issues over time. In the ideal, for example, this can get community-organizing groups a place at the table before important decisions are made.[2] Community organizers work with and develop new local leaders, facilitating coalitions and assisting in the development of campaigns."

    Sanders defines himself as a Democrat Socialist, but he is not a socialist, which actual card carrying socialists in Europe and elsewhere are very quick to point out, while grimacing.

    Sanders politics focuses on what might be termed "the new unalienable rights of all Americans."

    * Access to quality health care provided by the government and paid for by taxes

    * Minimum wage of 15$/hr

    * Progressive taxation with very high rates for a few hundred very high earners

    * Size limits on financial institutions

    * Four year college education free of charge to the student, paid for by taxes

    * Addressing Climate Change

    All the above are tangible ways to provide real durable power to all US citizens. As long as these goals are met, Sanders is willing to negotiate on the means used to achieve them, and the cost benefit functions that result. The process is not intended to make all Americans equal, that's a PR canard; the goal is to compress the income curve and tax curves back to something more like that seen during the Post WWII boom years. Cap at the top, cap at the bottom. Tangible accessories to pursuit of Life Liberty and Property, no wait make that last one Happiness, it sells better.

    Sanders' political career suggests his Presidency would be an open and rancorous process, and Sanders views this as his most important function as Chief Executive. Citizen participation will be encouraged at all, running for office, getting the word out, helping pay to get the word out, organizing the vote. If Republicans want to get board, fine. If Republicans balk at constructive participation, Sanders will do what he can to make their political cost high.

    If this sounds a bit like FDR's new deal, or LBJ's Great Society, well, it is. These Guys were crafty trench fighting politicians who knew how to herd cats in the House and Senate.

    Would it work? I don't know, but I don't deem it completely unfeasible. Almost every fashion is cyclical.

    Can Sanders sell it in the Primaries? We'll see. I'm a bit skeptical.

  41. [41] 
    Paula wrote:

    [40] TS: Thanks.

  42. [42] 
    Paula wrote:

    [37] Kick:

    I have no quarrel with "millionaires and billionaires," but I do take issue with hypocrites.

    True.

    I think for me, though, in the end I want BS to release taxes because he doesn't want to: why? I want to know what he's trying to hide.

    It could be just a desire not to appear "rich". It could be a desire not to have suddenly gotten "rich" after running for POTUS. It could be snaky stuff about his wife's income. It could be nothing at all.

    But since he doesn't want to do it I want to know why.

  43. [43] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Sanders' failure to release his taxes is puzzling. I doubt he's done anything illegal, but why not come clean? Information about the an office holder's finance empowers the decision making of the voter at election.

    So what gives with his coyness on this particular personal subject? Public servants should expect to give up more privacy than the average citizen.

  44. [44] 
    Kick wrote:

    Paula
    42

    I think for me, though, in the end I want BS to release taxes because he doesn't want to: why? I want to know what he's trying to hide.

    Yes! This should be a requirement for ALL candidates running for POTUS, Senate, or House in the age of offshore tax havens, slush funds disguised as charitable foundations, and candidates who've spent decades laundering money illegally for America's foreign adversaries and inflating their worth in public while screwing the public in private by deflating the value of their properties and thereby underpaying their taxes.

    I have an ignorant cousin who continues to whine unabated that "no one asked Hillary to release her taxes" despite the fact I have explained to him that no one had to ask because decades of said taxes were already public record and others were voluntarily released, amounting to multiple decades of tax returns in the public realm.

    As you know, many of those living inside the "conservative" bubble have their talking points they won't let go despite demonstrable facts to the contrary, and, sadly, I have observed this trait in many supporters of Bernie Sanders who "facts be damned" believe the rhetoric, which Bernie's rhetoric (although not his policy) isn't too far off from Trump's, where you place blame on a class of "others" and claim they are the key to combating the problem.

    It could be just a desire not to appear "rich". It could be a desire not to have suddenly gotten "rich" after running for POTUS. It could be snaky stuff about his wife's income.

    It's likely all of the above.

    It could be nothing at all.

    Nothing? I know, right!? "The Bern" is still just too busy to get those taxes released. Him and Trump are busy guys. *laughs*

    But since he doesn't want to do it I want to know why.

    Yes... make it 10 years' worth too. I would wager he didn't release them in 2016 because his more recent tax returns didn't exactly match that decades old "blame millionaires" rhetoric of his and that this fact thereby makes his entire rote and repetitive routine a pile of unadulterated BS. :)

  45. [45] 
    Kick wrote:

    TS
    43

    Sanders' failure to release his taxes is puzzling.

    In the past, he's whined incessantly that his tax returns are "boring" and that they're prepared by his wife, and they're just too busy to release them.

    I believe the American public is okay with that type of tedium; I'm certainly willing to "risk" it... so bore me. ;)

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