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Sanders Continues To Cause Trouble For Clinton, Biden Could Cause More

 

Clinton Biden Sanders

New polling out of New Hampshire and Iowa shows that Bernie Sanders continues to pose problems for Hillary Clinton, and we’re starting to get some data about what impact Vice-President Biden would have if he entered the race:

Bernie Sanders has a solid lead over Hillary Clinton among New Hampshire Democrats five months ahead of the Granite State’s first-in-the-nation primary, and the Vermont senator is also gaining on Clinton in Iowa, according to NBC News/Marist polls released on Sunday.

In New Hampshire, Sanders had the support of 49 percent of Democrats when Joe Biden’s name was not included as a choice, with Clinton in second with 38 percent support.

Sanders maintained his lead when Biden was included as a choice, with 41 percent picking Sanders, 32 percent choosing Clinton and 16 percent picking Biden, who is still weighing whether or not to enter the race.

None of the other Democratic candidates — former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee and former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb — attracted more than 1 percent support in the poll.

(…)

In Iowa, Clinton’s lead over Sanders has narrowed significantly. The former secretary of state now leads Sanders, 48 percent to 37 percent, down from a 29-point lead in an NBC News/Marist poll earlier this summer. (With Biden included as an option, Clinton earns 38 percent, compared to 27 percent for Sanders and 20 percent for the vice president.)

Sanders’ lead in New Hampshire isn’t really a surprise at this point, of course. For the better part of the summer, we saw the Vermont Senator’s poll numbers in the Granite rising consistently and in early August he overtook Clinton for the lead in that state, a lead he has maintained in subsequent polling. Right now, RealClearPolitics shows Sanders ahead of Clinton at 42.3%, with Clinton in second place at 34.7% and Vice-President Biden in third place at 12.5%. For most of the summer, the conventional wisdom about Sanders’ rise in New Hampshire was that it was a result of a combination of his populist appeal and the fact that he was well-known in the state thanks to having spent some three decades in Vermont politics. The fact that we weren’t seeing Sanders make any moves against Clinton anywhere else in the country seemed to support that conclusion, but that theory largely had to be abandoned when we saw Sanders starting to close the gap in Iowa, something that is confirmed in this poll. Clinton still leads in the Hawkeye State, of course, with an average of 42%, with Sanders at 24.3% and Biden at 15.8%.  The trend in that state, though, is starting to match what we saw in New Hampshire starting in June. Whether it means that Sanders will overtake Clinton in Iowa in the coming months is something that only time will tell.

Perhaps the more interesting thing about these polls, though is what they show about what impact Vice-President Biden would have on the race if he actually get in. In New Hampshire, Sanders actually sees his lead over Clinton increase with Biden in the race. In Iowa, the gap between Sanders and Clinton is unchanged with Biden in the race but it nonetheless seems clear from the raw numbers that Clinton would be hurt more by Biden entering the race than Sanders, something that Patrick Egan found when looking at other polling as well:

Polling averages show Biden as currently the first choice of about 15 percent of Democratic voters, and it’s likely that this number would climb higher following an official announcement of his candidacy.

Which of the current contenders for the Democratic nomination has the most to lose from a Biden run? Front-runner Hillary Clinton and her main rival for the nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, could both conceivably find their supporters defecting to the vice president.

(The three other candidates in the race—Lincoln Chaffee, Martin O’Malley and Jim Webb—are polling at such low levels right now that it’s hard to say much about the votes they might lose to Biden.)

To the extent that Sanders is relying upon “anybody but Hillary” voters for his support, an entry by Biden — who would be a much better-known alternative to Clinton — could cause Sanders’s poll numbers to decline.

Egan went on to examine all of the national polls that have been conducted of the Democratic race since May, only 11 of which did not include the Vice-President as an opinion, and the data resulted in the production of this chart:

Clinton Sanders Biden Chart

What this shows us, of course, is that Clinton consistently polls worse in polling that includes Vice-President Biden as an option. Given the fact that she and the Vice-President both come from the same wing of the Democratic Party, this isn’t entirely surprising, of course. Notwithstanding the pundits who talking about Joe Biden’s “working class appeal,” he obviously has more in common with Hillary Clinton than he does with Bernie Sanders. Additionally, to the extent that Clinton is benefiting from her association with the Obama Administration, Biden would obviously draw some of that same support himself. Add into all of this, Clinton’s ongoing problems regarding the stories about her use of a private email server and her declining favorability numbers, and it’s easy to see why the Clinton campaign would be nervous about the idea of Biden getting into the race. Obviously, if he does run the Vice-President’s polling numbers might not hold up. In addition to the fact that Biden is obviously benefiting from the same “non-candidate” factor that Clinton did before she actually entered the race, Biden’s own weaknesses as a candidate and his long history of malapropisms on the campaign trail would likely come pack to haunt him. Even taking that into account, though, if Biden did enter the race he would likely have a negative impact on Clinton’s campaign at least temporarily, and that’s not good for her only because she’s been dealing with a lot of negative news lately.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Ron Beasley says:

    I still don’t think Biden will run but so far in this election cycle I have been wrong about nearly everything . There are a lot of Democrats who don’t like Hillary Clinton primarily because of her hawkish foreign policy. Can Bernie beat her? As I said my prognostications have not been that reliable recently so I will pass on the question I don’t really like pro football so I think I will stream a movie this afternoon. It is cool and and wet here in Western Oregon today. May have to turn on the heat.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  2. Gustopher says:

    Sanders might be able to pull off a win in Iowa, which would get everyone in the media very excited about a horse race, and write about Clinton’s weakness, but there is no way he can win in enough states to be a real threat. I do want Biden to get in, so we have a real option if Hillary proves to actually be weak. I’m enjoying the rain in the Pacific Northwest and am cuddling my cats, but perhaps I should go across the street, get some breakfast, come home, meditate a little and then practice my banjo. My timing on my two finger roll is pretty off.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  3. Joe says:

    @Ron Beasley: If you like pro football just a little you would know there is no pro football this weekend, so enjoy your movie.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Pinky says:

    Do Joe and Hillary come from the same wing of the Democratic Party? If so, by what standards? I would have placed Biden far to her left on foreign policy, and I think he’s much more of a populist on economic policy. I’d think he’d be closer to Sanders.

    Second point – Polls can’t show the impact of Biden’s entry into the race. It’s impossible for them to do so. All they can do is tell how people think they’d vote if given the choice between Sanders, Clinton, and possibly Biden. They don’t describe how things would change if Biden entered the race. This is a really important point. Polls can’t show the worry that would enter the Democratic Party without a sense of a presumptive candidate, or the impact of moves that Clinton would have to make if Biden entered the race, or the change in the flow of money with a Biden entry. The press would change their approach to the email story. President Obama’s every statement would be scrutinized. Bill would have to enter the fray. Republican candidates would respond differently. The whole scenario would change.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  5. Ben Wolf says:

    Hillary’s achilles’ heel is relatively muted enthusiasm among her supporters. They like but don’t love her. Those are voters open to changing horses if Sanders can show enough momentum through both New Hampshire and Iowa. If the Sanders campaign can establish enough of a presence in southern states to do respectably through Super Tuesday then Clinton’s nomination is not assured.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  6. An Interested Party says:

    If the Sanders campaign can establish enough of a presence in southern states to do respectably through Super Tuesday then Clinton’s nomination is not assured.

    Sanders doing well in the South? How likely is that to happen…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  7. michael reynolds says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Yeah, that’s why Hillary is only in trouble if you don’t look at the map. Sanders can win both IA and NH and still get nowhere. Biden is more of a threat, in part because he’d take Obama out of the race.

    Hillary has money, organization, experience, large natural constituencies, and Bill and Barack. I think she’s hanging back, waiting for the email thing to wear itself out and for Sanders to start to wear out his welcome – the college kid voters tend to have a short attention span.

    The person I’d like to be right now is Elizabeth Warren. She can get whatever she wants from Hillary – any legislation, any cabinet post. Warren is the counterweight to Sanders if Hillary can corral her.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  8. elizajane says:

    @Ben Wolf: I’m sure there are some Hillary supporters who would switch to Sanders, but not as many as you think. There’s a moderate center in this country who are NOT represented by the Republicans but who could be represented by Hillary and would not be by Sanders. Also, I’m sorry to say that Sanders 1) could be taken down by the R’s much more easily than they’ve been able to do with Hillary and 2) is really very old — will be 75 at time of election in 2016, hence 83 by end of possible second term. That’s six years older than Hillary and it does make a difference.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  9. An Interested Party says:

    There seems to be a lot of longing out there for Biden to run…I can understand why some Dems feel this way as they aren’t excited by Hillary…but then I look at others…pundits and those in the media want this to have a horse race…and then I notice conservatives/Republicans who seem to want him to run…perhaps they loathe an eventual Clinton presidency, especially considering the freak show they’re a part of at the moment…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. michael reynolds says:

    @elizajane:

    Women need to start speaking up for Hillary.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 5

  11. Tyrell says:

    Sanders is coming on like it is the last lap at Daytona. Hillary is going down faster than Frazier !
    But Sanders will not be the nominee. That is certain. Meanwhile the president goes to Alaska to rename a mountain, and Chinese naval warships decide to show up off the coast . Strange..
    “Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier !” (Cosell’s most famous words)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  12. Tillman says:

    @Ben Wolf: In many cases, they don’t like her at all but are forced to approve of her over Republican alternatives. The fact that the best argument for supporting her around OTB tends to be “but Republicans would love it if we nominated Bernie Sanders” (red herring) or “attacks against Clinton are straight from Republican talking points” (false causality or guilt by association) shows to me how thin her support is.

    Every other argument that promotes her viability in other states versus Sanders’ poor showing is a hasty generalization as there’s no state-based polling that isn’t in an early primary state. They’re reading tea leaves from national polls and extrapolating with no evidence.

    @elizajane:

    Sanders…could be taken down by the R’s much more easily than they’ve been able to do with Hillary

    How so? I thought the consensus here was Republicans were sexist bigots. You think they’d be more willing to vote against an old white man versus a woman? I think you underestimate how willing Republicans would be to turn out just to defeat her.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  13. Tillman says:

    @Tillman: Actually no, strike out the sexist bigot tact as that wasn’t what elizajane was talking about.

    My counterpoint is the Republicans have cried wolf about Obama’s alleged socialism too much to credibly attack an actual socialist. It’s regarded as derogatory only among old people, and college kids have proven willing to vote in presidential elections, contra mike reynolds. It’s the midterms they tend to skip. Polling tends to divide 18-24 and 25-29 while treating the other categories by decade, even though the distinction between the two votingwise is almost nothing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  14. Pinky says:

    @Tillman: If you’re looking for sexist bigotry, look no further than Michael. He’s a factionalist. Why doesn’t he say that people should start voicing their support for Hillary? Because he thinks in terms of packs. It’s natural that the OTB left accuse others of thinking in terms of race, sex, and class, because they assume it’s everyone’s default position. It seems like most Democrats think in terms of group identity, and helping groups rather than helping everyone. That’s not to say that they wouldn’t like to see everyone doing better, but that they think in terms of shares of the pie. Each group gets their slice, and the guy who cuts the pie has all the power. Many Republicans think that way too, unfortunately, which is why I’m concerned that Trump would turn the Republican Party into the Democratic Party for whites (as I’ve said before). But the Republican Party still stands for success for everyone. Even by the race/sex/class game, the black guy, two Hispanics, Asian guy, and the woman are outpacing Trump, although it’s tighter than it should be.

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  15. anjin-san says:

    @Pinky:

    But the Republican Party still stands for success for everyone.

    Well sure. In the GOPverse, average people can have successful careers cleaning the bathrooms of plutocrats…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  16. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:
    So the republican party just happens to protect white, male, hetero, christian privilege. The GOP also just happens to garner support by a wide margin from white hetero christians (more male than female) and just happens to garner rather small fractions of the vote from non-whites, non-christians, LGBTQ and single females. It’s the democrats that are the real racists and sexists and homphobes. You can see that because they act like this greatest of nations has a history of systemic discrimination against non-whites, non-christians, LGBTQ and women. The democrats act like that systemic discrimination has pervasive effects that continue today, though to a lesser extent, and try to ameliorate those effects. That is the real ™ racism, sexism, and homophobia.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  17. Pinky says:

    @Grewgills: See that? If you could step outside your race/class/sex warfare paradigm, you’d realize that that was the most accurate comment you’ve made on this site. You know some of the words, and you haven’t got the tune right, but you’re at least trying to sing along.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 11

  18. Tyrell says:

    @Tillman: Hillary won’t take any junk off Putin – she’ll show him who’s boss.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  19. An Interested Party says:

    But the Republican Party still stands for success for everyone.

    Yeah sure…that must be why Republicans are doing everything they can to make sure that mostly older white people can vote while making it harder for young people and minorities to vote…oh and showcasing that tokens are outpacing Trump hardly proves that the GOP is some kind of diverse party…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  20. Stan says:

    @Pinky: “But the Republican Party still stands for success for everyone.”

    To my mind the biggest economic problem the US faces is that many of the consumer goods Americans buy can be manufactured more cheaply in low wage countries than here, and since they can be made more cheaply abroad they will be made there. That’s the nature of capitalism, and it’s why many blue collar Americans can’t make a decent living. Some of the countries in northern Europe, Germany, for example, have managed to avoid our catastrophic loss of well paying jobs. The Democrats may not understand how the Germans do it, but at least they’re trying to shield our poorest citizens from the consequences of our decline. What are the Republicans doing? As far as I can see, their program consists of the same mix of tax cuts for the wealthy and elimination of social welfare programs they’ve been pushing since 1980, and nothing else. If you can explain how this will promote “success for everyone”, enlighten me.

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  21. Grewgills says:

    I’ve got ya Pinky, it’s the party that is overwhelmingly composed of and supported by older white christian men and the women they are married to that is the party of inclusiveness and equality. The party that virtually every minority supports by a wide margin is the party of divisiveness, racism, sexism and homophobia. I hear you loud and clear. If only the republicans were better at messaging African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, LGBTQ, non-christians, single women, and young people would flock to their inclusiveness. If only all of those groups weren’t so blinded by their class/race/sex warfare paradigms (and or greedy grabbing for goodies) and could see things as clearly as you they’d be republicans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  22. Tillman says:

    @Pinky: My beef with Reynolds and Hillary supporters isn’t a matter of political worldviews, it’s a matter of strategic ones. I don’t think they’re blinded by the consideration that women will vote heavily for the first woman president (complain all you want, identity politics exists), but I think they’re wrong about how winning an advantage it’ll be if it drives up Republican turnout as well. The research done about the effect of racism on Obama’s vote percentage suggests it was a significant net loss, and Obama was a really neat guy. Hillary doesn’t have the Obama charm, has more issues with the press than anyone can shake a stick at, and has to overcome what is likely a sexism-caused disadvantage. If one of the former two weren’t a factor, I’d think she was more electable and you’d hear me agreeing with everyone about her being a sure bet.

    I’m curious, what is it about “factionalism” you don’t like?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  23. Pinky says:

    @Tillman:

    I’m curious, what is it about “factionalism” you don’t like?

    Pro football season is starting up again. It’s the only sport I follow regularly – I’m sure this analogy would hold true in any team sport, but right now I’ve got the NFL on my mind. Over the next few months, you’re going to see some teams come together and succeed, and you’re going to see some tear each other apart and fail. The momentum of winning makes it easier to pat another player on the butt, and the momentum of losing makes it easier to trash the other players off the record to the local press. It seems like there are only two paths that human nature can follow: unity and prosperity, or factionalism and failure. And unity is not something that people do instinctively. People are naturally dirtbags who try to weasel out a little more from his neighbor than his neighbor takes from him. And when I say unity, I mean it in the “we are all Americans” kind of way, not the “we are all one race” kind of way.

    This country, for all of its faults, has promoted the kind of unity through liberty and equality under the law. The Republican Party, for all of its flaws, holds closest to that vision. Factionalism eats away at that vision. Teddy Roosevelt put it this way:

    There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all … The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality, than with the other citizens of the American Republic.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyphenated_American

    Grewgills asks why the less-prosperous don’t rally to the Republican cause. One reason is because of people like him who say falsehoods about it. But I think a more basic reason is that the “rising tide lifts all boats” way of thinking is easier when you’re boat is already pretty high up. If I had very little, it’d be hard for me to trust in that American ideal.

    We talk about how fascism will come to the United States, and it strikes me that there was no word for fascism a century ago, and there is no consensus on what the word means. I think people didn’t have a word for fascism for the same reason that fish don’t have a word for water. Nearly every political movement has involved pitting some people against each other, promising a new way to split the pie. We’re all an hour away from becoming Guelphs and Ghibellines. That English classically-liberal of equality under the law can’t coexist with factionalism. It’s precarious. You say that identity politics exists – so does herpes. It’s just as persistent, and just as unwelcome. The Republican Party is Valtrex – which cannot prevent the spread of identity politics, but is the closest thing an infected person can get to a cure.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 11

  24. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:

    Grewgills asks why the less-prosperous don’t rally to the Republican cause. One reason is because of people like him who say falsehoods about it.

    If I and people like me are lying, why is it that our supposed lies are so effective in convincing every group other than white christian men and their wives, yet so ineffective at reaching those white christian men and their wives? What is it about my siren song that reels them in, while the white christian men and their wives see through my web of lies? Why is it only the white christian men and their wives that can in large numbers see that republicans are the ones that have their best interests at heart? After all, we’re not good enough liars to fool you. What makes you so much less susceptible to our lies than the overwhelming majority of virtually all minorities and single women (even the ones that are well off)? Are you smarter than them? Less greedy? More clear headed? What is it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  25. Pinky says:

    @Grewgills: Not lying, just false.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  26. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:
    Then replace lying with false in the above and answer.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  27. Pinky says:

    @Grewgills: I addressed a lot of that in my last comment to Tillman.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  28. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:
    So the GOP with the current statements of prominent representatives about immigrants, particularly from the South, its statements about same sex marriage etc are the ones promoting unity over factionalism?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  29. Moosebreath says:

    @Pinky:

    ” It seems like there are only two paths that human nature can follow: unity and prosperity, or factionalism and failure. And unity is not something that people do instinctively. People are naturally dirtbags who try to weasel out a little more from his neighbor than his neighbor takes from him. And when I say unity, I mean it in the “we are all Americans” kind of way, not the “we are all one race” kind of way.”

    And even more unfortunately, the people who have proven to be the most successful at weaseling more out of their neighbors in the last few decades have been the rich. The same ones that the Republicans try their hardest to shovel more and more to.

    In other words, Democrats read something like what you wrote and think there are only two possible conclusions, either you think Republicans have been trying to keep everyone prosperous when reality says otherwise, or you think that if you say enough platitudes like those, people will ignore what Republicans have actually been doing over the last few decades. In other words, you are either fooling yourself, or you are trying to fool everyone else. Which is it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  30. Tony W says:

    @Pinky:

    People are naturally dirtbags who try to weasel out a little more from his neighbor than his neighbor takes from him.

    This has not been my experience – not even close. I think we know where your crushing fear comes from now. Without fear, Republicans have no argument.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  31. Stan says:

    @Pinky: “This country, for all of its faults, has promoted the kind of unity through liberty and equality under the law. The Republican Party, for all of its flaws, holds closest to that vision.”

    Right on, Pinky. Ronald Reagan did a lot for unity when he gave his speech lauding states rights in Philadelphia, MS, near the place where Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaney were lynched. George H.W. Bush furthered the cause with his Willie Horton commercial. And now we have Trump talking about Hispanic rapists.

    Yeah, I know that Woodrow Wilson was a racist, that Robert Byrd was in the Klan, and that Lyndon Johnson’s civil rights legislation wouldn’t have passed without a lot of help from the Republicans in Congress. But that was a long time ago, and the Republican party you’re talking about is gone with the wind.

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  32. Pinky says:

    @Grewgills: See above.

    I can only write my comments, I can’t make you read them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  33. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:
    I read what you wrote and compared it to the real life policies of republicans and the statements of the most prominent republicans and it simply doesn’t wash.
    You say that “People are naturally dirtbags who try to weasel out a little more from his neighbor than his neighbor takes from him,” yet you won’t acknowledge the continuing effects of dirtbag racists, sexists, and homophobes that has the effect of limiting choice and freedom much more for people not white, male, hetero, and christian. You say a rising tide lifts all boats and acknowledge that that argument is harder to buy when you are underwater rather than sitting on a luxury yacht without acknowledging that when the method for rising the tide is tax cuts the yachts are all lifted far more than any of those hole riddle dingies currently underwater. You fail to acknowledge when the prescription for rising the tide also includes cutting social spending that effect is multiplied.

    This country, for all of its faults, has promoted the kind of unity through liberty and equality under the law. The Republican Party, for all of its flaws, holds closest to that vision.

    At its best that first statement is true, but for most of this country’s history that has only been true if you are white, christian, male, property owner. I will agree that the republican party does hold closest to the vision of promoting the rights of white, christian, male, property owners. Whenever voting rights for people that don’t fit that mold come up in the past 30 years republicans aren’t there to champion that unity and equality under the law. Whenever equal pay for equal work comes up they are also notably absent. The only time they seem really fired up about equality under the law is when it comes to dismantling affirmative action programs or weakening social welfare programs.

    Grewgills asks why the less-prosperous don’t rally to the Republican cause. One reason is because of people like him who say falsehoods about it.

    What are these supposed falsehoods? Can you name any?

    I think people didn’t have a word for fascism for the same reason that fish don’t have a word for water.

    It seems that here you are saying that our government for its first 130 years was a fascist state along with every government in the world for the past 5000 plus years. I can agree that most of those governments at least had some of the worst elements of fascism, but no, they were not fascist in the sense of Mussolini’s Italy or Hitler’s Germany.

    Nearly every political movement has involved pitting some people against each other, promising a new way to split the pie

    In what way to you see republicans by their rhetoric or policy being less involved in pitting groups of people against each other? I can only see one way in which the above statement is true: the republicans aren’t promising a new way to split the pie, they are proposing to split the pie in the old way (like the 1950s, but with much lower taxes for the wealthy).

    We’re all an hour away from becoming Guelphs and Ghibellines.

    That carried me back to my days in catholic school.

    That English classically-liberal of equality under the law can’t coexist with factionalism.

    Yet, English classically liberal equality under the law such it has ever existed coexisted with factionalism. I guess you could argue that we’ve never had English classically liberal equality under the law, but I don’t think that’s what you were trying to argue.

    The Republican Party is Valtrex – which cannot prevent the spread of identity politics, but is the closest thing an infected person can get to a cure.

    The republican party of today and the last few decades has been largely about white christian identity politics. See the tea party, the war on xmas, the war on easter, etc etc etc The republican party isn’t the Valtrex for the herpes of identity politics, it’s the horny college spring breaker with no condoms and a full bottle of Jose Cuervo.

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  34. stonetools says:

    @Grewgills:

    I read what you wrote and compared it to the real life policies of republicans and the statements of the most prominent republicans and it simply doesn’t wash.

    I think a big problem with Pinky, James, Doug and many old timers in the press is that they are nostalgic toward the somewhat sensible, “daddy party” Republican Party of 1975 or even 1985. Unfortunately the Republican Party has evolved into the malignant racist, bigoted, anti-science stage it has attained today-and it’s not even certain that this is its final form.
    I wonder how far things have to go before Pinky et al. finally repudiate the current Republican Party…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  35. Tillman says:

    @Tony W:

    “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”
    –James Madison

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  36. Moosebreath says:

    @stonetools:

    “I think a big problem with Pinky, James, Doug and many old timers in the press is that they are nostalgic toward the somewhat sensible, “daddy party” Republican Party of 1975 or even 1985. Unfortunately the Republican Party has evolved into the malignant racist, bigoted, anti-science stage it has attained today-and it’s not even certain that this is its final form.”

    And similarly, think of the leadership of that era’s Republican Party in Congress. Men like Howard Baker, Bob Dole, Bob Michel, and Jack Kemp. Which of them would not be the object of a furious primary challenge today?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  37. Tillman says:

    @Pinky:

    This country, for all of its faults, has promoted the kind of unity through liberty and equality under the law. The Republican Party, for all of its flaws, holds closest to that vision.

    How?

    It’s one thing to talk about the unity a society needs to flourish, it’s another entirely to work towards it. What have Republicans done in the last two decades that strengthened the nation’s unity? The Bush administration openly questioned the patriotism of its critics after September 11th, and instead of debating things moved unilaterally, torture being the gravest of mistakes in this regard. More recently, the minority under Mitch McConnell in the Senate since Obama’s election waged a nonstop obstructing action that badly harmed the functioning of our justice system by delaying federal judgeship appointments as long as possible, among other things. Republican messaging has been to describe Democratic policies as illegitimate and un-American, not ideas from fellow Americans to be debated. Just in the last couple of years, the aggregate Republican response to concerns from black Americans that law enforcement treats them differently (leading to worse outcomes for the black community) has been dismissive, as if the problem doesn’t exist.

    How does the Republican party represent unity?

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  38. anjin-san says:

    @Tillman: @Tillman:

    How does the Republican party represent unity?

    By having really attractive white women on Fox new in really short skirts say it does?

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  39. George Wallace says:

    @Pinky: Your Teddy Roosevelt quote, far from defying the worst of factionalism, actually embraces it. It shifts all blame for the othering/dehumanizing of certain groups on those groups themselves, for having the audacity to distinguish themselves by name.

    A modern equivalent — which has really happened, repeatedly — is the conservative who explains that he has no problem with gay people, and even supports their right to marry, provided that the marriage is heterosexual. Everything else, from pride parades to simple hand-holding, is dividing the country, you see, by rubbing their differences in the face of us normals.

    Anyway, you really think that if only Mexican illegal immigrants called themselves Americans (sans hyphen or ethnicity) and spoke perfect English, Trump wouldn’t have so much support from a very nontrivial faction (heh) of Republicans?

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  40. gVOR08 says:

    Conservatism is largely a game of make-believe. It’s matter of confusing the way they think the world should be and the way it is. It’s let’s pretend:
    – letting rich people have more money helps the rest of the country,
    – Iraqi’s will greet us as liberators,
    – the Earth isn’t warming, or if it is there’s nothing to be done about it,
    – G. W. Bush was somehow qualified to be President,
    – Eisenhower was a typical Republican,
    – and so on.
    Pinky’s doing the flavor that goes – Let’s pretend minorities are treated equally and have been at least since Republicans pushed through the Civil Rights Act.

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  41. Monala says:

    @Pinky: I agree with this:

    This country, for all of its faults, has promoted the kind of unity through liberty and equality under the law. … Factionalism eats away at that vision.

    but not this:

    The Republican Party, for all of its flaws, holds closest to that vision.

    What I hear, again and again, are comments from the mouths of Republicans that say that women, immigrants, non-Christians, and people of color don’t belong, are less than (men, native born Americans, Christians, whites), are not part of their vision for this country.

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