Back to the “Winning” Question

There was not a singular "winner" last night, so we need to stop talking like there was.

Like with Iowa, I would rather stridently argue that it is inaccurate to speak of a singular “winner” of the contest. Yes, Bernie Sanders won a plurality of the vote, but treating that as an absolute win, as our media approach does, over-simplifies the outcome. There is not a singular seat/office to win in these contests, hence talking about a “winner” is using the wrong paradigm to discuss these events.

The semi-proportional* system that the Democrats use to allocate delegates means that there is more than one prize. Specifically, the goal is to win delegates. The votes are just needed to purchase the delegates, so to speak.

Indeed, Sanders and Buttigieg are currently projected to win the same number of delegates (9). So, in regards to the actual prize of significance, Sanders and Buttigieg tied.

For that matter, Klobuchar, who won the third most votes, will win 6 delegates.

There were three winners last night and a whole list of losers (and the most prominent losers were Warren and Biden).

It is worth noting, too, the simplistic “Bernie won” narrative glides over the fact that he only won about a quarter of the vote (25.9% with 97% of the vote counted). That means ~74% of the participants voted against him. This is a useful metric to know to understand what the shape of the contest actually is (as is the fact that Buttigieg trailed him by ~1.5% and Klobuchar by just over 6%).

There were three winners last night, not one. And simplistic narratives that treats the contest like a single seat plurality contest to elects a singular officeholder is a disservice to the reality of the process and serves, often, to confuse the public.


*The 15% threshold, as well as the way in which districts v. state-level distribution functions means outcomes are not fully proportional.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Campaign 2020, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Sleeping Dog says:

    +1

    Bernie mired in the mid 20% range will be a meme in the coming weeks.

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  2. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    The Democratic turnout beat the 2008 record…and nearly 10% of the Republican vote went to people not named Trump.
    So who won? I don’t know…but it sure as fuq wasn’t #IMPOTUS3.

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  3. James Joyner says:

    But the sheer numbers would tell us that Iowa and New Hampshire are completely irrelevant. Declaring winners and losers at all is silly. But we do and that wildly changes the perception of the viability of candidates.

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  4. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @James Joyner:

    Declaring winners and losers at all is silly. But we do and that wildly changes the perception of the viability of candidates.

    This x 10.
    The media has completely sidelined Warren…not even taking her speech live. Combine her 3rd place coverage after IA with Klobachars 3rd place coverage after NH.
    This is the same media that did everything it could to elect Donald Trump.
    The 4th Estate continues to fail this Country.

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  5. Guarneri says:

    “Declaring winners and losers at all is silly. But we do and that wildly changes the perception of the viability of candidate.”

    Agree with all that you and Dr Taylor point out here, but would remind you that perception should not be underestimated, especially at this stage. Mayor Pete is the semi-liked mayor of a small college town and limited accomplishments; and Amy Who? just a few weeks ago. And yet, perceptions change and here they are……..for now.

    Joe Biden never had it, even before age exposed him. He ran on “I was Tiger Woods caddie.” And the Dems, as I pointed out from the very beginning, effectively assassinated him with the whole bogus Ukraine effort.

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  6. KM says:

    @James Joyner :

    But we do and that wildly changes the perception of the viability of candidates.

    Sadly, this is so true. Candidate Trump benefited enormously from low expectations but even more for the media going after the “winners” for not “winning” by their standard. Rubio and Cruz got hit with the (completely understandable) question: “Why aren’t you doing better against Donald freaking Trump?” and it was a torpedo they didn’t need. Similarly, Warren and Biden getting hit with “Why aren’t you doing better then Sanders or Buttigieg?”. It never occurs to people that maybe there’s a ton of people in tiny NH that just *love* them some Sanders but that’s not representative of the whole. No, now we’re seeing people mourning Warren’s “lost chance” and Biden’s listlessness like it’s the end for them when we just started.

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  7. Guarneri says:

    “This is the same media that did everything it could to elect Donald Trump.”

    And with this belly laugher, I have a tee time to catch.

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  8. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Klobuchar has been mired in single digits the entire campaign, whereas Warren was a front runner for most of it. In the minutes and hours after the polls close, a come-from-way-behind, completely unexpected third place finish is just more interesting than the slow and continuing deflation of Warren’s support. I have a feeling if Klobuchar placed third, but just barely ahead of Biden and Warren (say, 9.5% to 9%), she wouldn’t be garnering any headlines. Her third place finish was shocking, so it’s newsworthy.

    “The 4th Estate continues to fail this Country.”

    While I think I share many, many of your criticisms with the media in general, I don’t think it’s a failure of the fourth estate to not give equal time to two 3rd place winners.

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  9. @James Joyner:

    Declaring winners and losers at all is silly.

    I think it demonstrates that Americans have a very hard time thinking beyond single seat plurality elections (even Nate Silver was doing it on Twitter last night, and he should know better).

    I do think that that the “winner” narrative is a huge problem. I do think that the outcomes do matter in terms of not only the media narrative but in testing the case of certain candidacies.

    I think we didn’t learn a lot about Bernie, but there was some useful information about Biden, Warren, Klobuchar, and Buttigieg.

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  10. @Neil Hudelson: Agreed.

    Further, Warren’s problems are not media coverage. She does not appear to be holding her own against Bernie for the leftward part of the selectorate (and that is reflected in the national polls, not just these results).

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  11. Jen says:

    @KM: I think Biden’s listlessness is more damaging than Warren’s surprising finish. He very much looks like a husband who has been dragged to the mall against his wishes. Warren could come back strong in short order.

    @Guarneri: I agree that it’s a stretch to say that the media “did what it could to elect Trump,” but it is NOT a stretch to say that what the media did do had the effect of electing Trump. It was not intentional support, but when your goal is to get eyeballs on a story you end up chasing the crisis du jour rather than focus on objective reporting.

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  12. @Jen: Indeed: Trump got a remarkable amount of media time in 2016.

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  13. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Guarneri:

    And with this belly laugher, I have a tee time to catch.

    I bet that you cheat…just like your Dear Leader.

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  14. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Guarneri:
    If you had a shred of decency, a shred of patriotism or honesty you would be hiding under a rock after what that orange pig you worship did yesterday. Sickening.

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  15. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    @Jen:

    I agree that it’s a stretch to say that the media “did what it could to elect Trump,”

    Between the sheer volume of the free coverage during the Primary race, which helped Trump win the nomination…and the overwhelming volume of negative press Clinton received over the email non- story…I’m not sure what more the media could have done to get Trump elected, and still maintain their shallow veneer of journalistic ethics.
    And I say this as someone who spent 15 years in Broadcast Journalism, and has 3 EMMY’s on his shelves.

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  16. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Remember how Drew et al whined about Bill Clinton simply talking to the AG on the tarmac?

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  17. @Daryl and his brother Darryl: I think it is wholly fair to note that the media, writ large, helped Trump out. I think that the free coverage cable new gave him was huge. The obsession over her e-mails was also very important.

    I think that the main media bias is the bias towards the story that gets eyeballs at the highest ROI (so showing endless Trump rallies fit the bill). I am not lionizing the media.

    The only critique I have of your statement is that you make it sound like “the media” (which is already a problematic conflation/reification wanted Trump to win (or was consciously helping him).

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  18. Michael Reynolds says:

    The rationale of the Sanders campaign is that it will inspire new voters and young voters. Yesterday it did neither. In fact Sanders got half as many votes as he did in 2016. And this in his neighboring state where he’s quite well-known. I don’t buy the explanation that, well, there were more choices this time. If you’re fired up and inspired to follow Bernie you don’t stop and shop for alternatives.

    Where are the Sanders voters? He beat Buttigieg by a point and a half. The Senator from Vermont, who last time swept the state, beat a mayor from Indiana by 1.5%. It was very weak victory. Very weak.

    Biden’s strategy is apparently to win SC and what, change the narrative going into Super Tuesday just three days later? As IIRC @Kathy pointed out on a previous thread, how do you get a bounce translated into votes coming out of SC going into CA in just three days? Biden’s done. He’s dead man walking, and we have Trump to thank in part for shanking Biden. Maybe Trump can come clean out my garage next.

    Warren did not carry women. In her neighboring state. That’s not a problem of narrative, she did not break through in Iowa or NH, despite plenty of money and a supposedly tight organization. Why? Something cut her balloon. Where’s she going to recover? Nevada caucuses? Will she even take MA on Super T? I think she’s done.

    As for Buttigieg and Klobuchar, I like them both, they both outperformed, but as long as they split the moderate vote neither will break through.

    And then there’s Mike.

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  19. Jen says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    My point was to note the absence of intent on the part of the media. They did not collectively set out to elect Trump; I think most of them are horrified by him. That doesn’t change the fact that the media focus unquestionably helped Trump.

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  20. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    The only critique I have of your statement is that you make it sound like “the media” (which is already a problematic conflation/reification wanted Trump to win (or was consciously helping him).

    Not consciously. And yes, “the media” is a problematic conflation…but their group-think is a danger to the nation. Whether it is specific issues like the lead-up to the Iraq War, or Health Care Policy, or Elections…or more meta-issues like Both-Siderism…the media is analogous to an ant-mound; lacking a collective consciousness, but acting en-masse nonetheless. I’m not willing to give them a pass simply because they lack centralized coordination.

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  21. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    Yeah, but that was a black president. Everyone knows that black presidents and white presidents have very different rules.

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  22. gVOR08 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: In 2016 I’d watch Morning Joe a lot while getting ready to go to work. (There isn’t much on that time of day.) Although he’s now a rabid #nevertrumper, it seemed like he had at least a phone interview with Trump twice a week. He was doing it to boost his own ratings, not to get Trump elected. But the effect was the same as if he was supporting Trump.

    I don’t think @Daryl and his brother Darryl: was implying pro-Trump motivation, just commenting on net effect.

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  23. Fortunato says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Spot on.

    Although I like Amy a lot, I think she’ll fade from here. It doesn’t appear she had a plan or a team for anything post NH. Biden is clearly done (been obvious for a while) and I don’t see Warren regaining her stride.
    My picks when the race opened were Michael Bennett, Pete and Amy, so I’m largely happy.
    I’m of the opinion Pete will continue to excel, but it will be Bloomberg that will ultimately lead the ticket.
    Either will defeat Trump. (and Trump won’t go peacefully, turmoil awaits)
    Also – I’d like to see Amy complete the ticket. She’s folksy in just the right way, smart, politically savvy and can wield a shiv when necessary.

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  24. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Jen:

    They did not collectively set out to elect Trump;

    I understand that.
    They also did not intend to help Bush/Cheney sell the Iraq war, or paint Obamacare in a negative light. But they did.
    35 years after Reagan they, collectively, are still treating Trickle-Down economics as a credible theory.
    Just because a colony of red-ants lacks a central consciousness doesn’t mean that it isn’t a hazard.

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  25. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Fortunato:
    A perhaps amusing note re: Bloomberg, he clearly needs a woman or POC as his running mate. But not someone who’ll look odd standing next to him. He’s 5’8″ and elfin. A picture of him and say, Stacy Abrams, would be comical. Klobuchar, OTOH, is 5’4″. Maybe Deval Patrick? He’s shorter than Obama was.

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  26. Fortunato says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Alas, I think Amy is 5’8″. Nevertheless, she’d fit the bill nicely in that she strikes me as a ‘flats only’ gal anyway.

    Plus, ever prescient Amy appears to have already laid some groundwork for the undercard – from the Dec 19, 2019 Washington Examiner:
    Amy Klobuchar: 5 feet, 4 inches is a ‘pretty good size for a president’

    “What James Madison once said when he was speaking out at the Constitutional Convention — and, by the way, I think he’s a pretty good size for a president; he was 5-foot-4 — and what he said, he said the reason that we have these impeachment articles in the Constitution, that the provisions are in there, is because he feared that a president would betray the trust of the American people for a foreign power,”..

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  27. Gustopher says:

    There were three winners last night and a whole list of losers (and the most prominent losers were Warren and Biden).

    The Iowa fiasco resulted in better reporting — Bernie and Buttigieg tied, Biden disappointed, Warren was there. Less of a focus on the exact winner, since we had no clear idea.

    I guess I suggest all states screw up just as badly for a while…

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  28. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Maybe we really need to be talking about Tom Perez…
    It’s not just the IA debacle…but I’m not sure anyone is feeling confident about this entire process.

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  29. Michael Reynolds says:

    One more point on Bernie and Mike. If Bernie’s the nom, how many Democratic office-holders will shun him? How many will shun Mike? Would Manchin switch parties over Bernie?

    We took back the house with suburban moderates. How many of them will be hurt by Bernie vs. Mike? Which of them helps us beat Collins, Gardner and McSally?

    We don’t have the muscle for a transformative leap forward. I fear Bernie is a George Pickett or a Douglas Haig. He always thinks it’s time to charge. That’s not how I read the national mood. The country will be more attracted to simple normalcy and a return to decency.

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  30. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I don’t think Bloomberg would look odd next to Abrams at all. She might look a bit bigger than she usually does, but powerful black women are often coded as heavier in media.

    He should get John Kerry to be his running mate for sheer comic appearances. Or go for a celebrity, like Michael Jordan.

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  31. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    The country will be more attracted to simple normalcy and a return to decency.

    As Matthews said;

    What voters want is a designated driver right now. They don’t want a revolution, they just want someone who is sober to get them home. Nothing should unite Democrats more than wanting to defeat Donald Trump.

    According to NH Exit Polling 63 percent of voters prioritized beating Trump.
    Among that 63%:
    Buttigieg 28%
    Sanders 21%
    Klobachar 20%
    But of course Bloomberg wasn’t on the ballot and so was not included in the polling.

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  32. Moosebreath says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    “According to NH Exit Polling 63 percent of voters prioritized beating Trump.
    Among that 63%:
    Buttigieg 28%
    Sanders 21%
    Klobachar 20%”

    Which means Sanders finished about 5 points higher overall than with this group, and Buttigieg about 4 points lower. Klobuchar hit it on the nose. So in other words, support among those who prioritize electability is not very far off from support among the population as a whole.

    Which reflects that in most people’s minds, the person they support is the most electable.

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  33. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:
    My money’s on Deval Patrick for Mike’s Veep if we get there, who just dropped out today. He ticks the diversity box, he’s an Obama guy, he won’t scare anyone.

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  34. @Moosebreath:

    Which reflects that in most people’s minds, the person they support is the most electable.

    Exactly.

    (A phenomenon I have noticed in various threads here at OTB of late…).

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  35. DrDaveT says:

    @Guarneri: Thank you; that was the most coherent and reasonable thing you’ve posted in years. No idea why the downvotes.

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  36. wr says:

    @Guarneri: “He ran on “I was Tiger Woods caddie.””

    Wow. Even when you have a reasonable point, you need to destroy it by expressing it in the most racist way possible — because of course all them black guys are the same to you.

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  37. wr says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: “I’m not sure what more the media could have done to get Trump elected, and still maintain their shallow veneer of journalistic ethics.”

    How about run a front-page story claiming that the FBI was not investigating Trump’s ties to Russia when they were?

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  38. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “If Bernie’s the nom, how many Democratic office-holders will shun him? How many will shun Mike? Would Manchin switch parties over Bernie?”

    Remember all those Republicans who would never have anything to do with Trump?

    It’s amazing how people change once there’s a nominee.

    Do you really think that Democratic office holders in a time of Trump are going to walk away from their own party because the Democratic voters nominated someone they don’t approve of?

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  39. Jen says:

    Someone needs to explain to me how Mike Bloomberg’s problems with minority voters aren’t enough to harm his electability, while Buttigieg’s problems make him unelectable.

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  40. DrDaveT says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I fear Bernie is a George Pickett or a Douglas Haig. He always thinks it’s time to charge.

    Ever read The Mote in God’s Eye by Niven and Pournelle? The alien cutlure in that one has a pessimistic folklore character, whose name is translated into English as “Crazy Eddie”*. He’s the guy who is always doing the right thing at the wrong time. During the famine when people are starving, Crazy Eddie leads the teamsters on strike for higher wages. During the quarantine caused by a pandemic, Crazy Eddie is organizing mass demonstrations. Etc.

    I’ve been thinking of Bernie as Crazy Eddie for a while now.

    *It’s an in-joke for NYC residents of the day. “Crazy Eddie” was a car dealer who plastered the airwaves with silly ads. “His prices are… insane.”

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  41. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “The country will be more attracted to simple normalcy and a return to decency.”

    And what happens after a year of Bloomberg returning to the economic policies of George W. Bush? When he addresses the inevitable Trump crash by cutting taxes for his fellow billionaires and cutting entitlement programs? We’re going to be back in 2016 all over again, only this time the Democrats will have proven there’s no point in ever voting for one of them.

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  42. Andy says:

    Added to the mix is there is early primary voting in some states. I received my Colorado primary ballots yesterday. This could be a factor that makes “momentum” and winning these early states matter more than it otherwise would.

    Personally, I don’t plan to make a choice until the day before Super Tuesday even though I could send my ballot in today.

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  43. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @DrDaveT:

    *It’s an in-joke for NYC residents of the day. “Crazy Eddie” was a car dealer who plastered the airwaves with silly ads. “His prices are… insane.”

    Minor quibble…Consumer Electronics, not used cars.

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  44. DrDaveT says:

    @wr:

    And what happens after a year of Bloomberg returning to the economic policies of George W. Bush?

    Are you predicting that the Democrats will lose the House, or that House Democrats would blindly vote for Reaganomics policies under a Dem President? I’m pretty sure my rep wouldn’t.

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  45. DrDaveT says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Aha! Yes, thanks for the correction. TVs and stereos. It all comes back to me now… damn you. 🙂

    (Too many years of watching Mets and Yankees games on WOR and WPIX…)

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  46. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Yes, but he’s from MA, whereas Klobuchar is from MN, which Trump almost carried last time.

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  47. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Guarneri: An unusually insightful comment compared to the incoherent drive-by snark that comprises your usual offering. One note: the “Tiger Woods caddie” comment will sound vaguely racist to some of the audience here. While I’m sure you meant nothing untoward by it [eyeroll emoji here], your previous and frequently expressed umbrage at being thought of as racist prompts me to advise you to more carefully consider the unintended consequences of your attempts at figurative language and imagery. The power is yours–as Captain Planet used to say when you (probably) were a child.

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  48. Teve says:

    @wr: he’s a Trumper, of course he’s racist.

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  49. wr says:

    @DrDaveT: “Are you predicting that the Democrats will lose the House, or that House Democrats would blindly vote for Reaganomics policies under a Dem President? ”

    I’m saying that Bloomberg is a moderate Republican who will do nothing to solve the nation’s underlying problems and will leave us worse off in the end.

    Which is not to say I won’t vote for him if he’s the nominee. I just think that all this rushing to Bloomberg because we need a big conservative Daddy is not really a solution to a lot of problems. Yes, a band-aid is good when you’re bleeding, but I do believe we can do better.

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  50. wr says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: “the “Tiger Woods caddie” comment will sound vaguely racist”

    Or possibly even not so vaguely. And you know he’s experiencing a frisson of pleasure at the knowledge that he’s really saying Biden was a servant to the black guy. It’s his version of “cuck.”

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  51. Guarneri says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Haven’t you figured it out? Its an act. I respond to a point with the commensurate sincerity it is owed. Just look at the pathetically stupid comments about my reference to Tiger Woods. I was going to use Jack Nicklaus but I figured few people would recognize the name relative to Woods. But what do the drooling slackjaws come up with? Racism. From an educated, thoughtful point of view, of course………

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  52. Guarneri says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Michael. Hmm. Michael. That’s an odd name for a 16 year old high school girl going off on a juvenile rant….…….

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  53. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Nah, Drew is an old fart of a boomer who has (I think) retired to someplace warmer. (Unless his claim that he was off to play golf earlier today was a lie. It’s currently 33 and rain/snowing here in Indiana, which I believe is from where Drew hails.)

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  54. Guarneri says:

    Well, here’s one to get the blood boiling here. I’m going to a meet and greet with George W Bush tonight. I’ll give him your regards.

    xoxoxo

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  55. Sleeping Dog says:

    The exit polling is coming in and one item of note, is that participation by the 18-34 segment is down from 2016, 19% > 14%. Raising doubt on Bernie’s claim he’ll bring in new voters.

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  56. Mike in Arlington says:

    @Guarneri: Dude, nobody cares.

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  57. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    In fact Sanders got half as many votes as he did in 2016. And this in his neighboring state where he’s quite well-known. I don’t buy the explanation that, well, there were more choices this time. If you’re fired up and inspired to follow Bernie you don’t stop and shop for alternatives.

    I mean this is the best of all possible ways, but that is a profoundly bad take.

    2016 tells us that running against Hillary Clinton, one of the most unpopular major party nominees in our lifetimes, a majority of NH Democratic Prinary voters preferred Bernie. But, we know nothing about how much it was a vote against Clinton as a vote for Bernie. Or how much was a vote for anything to the left of Clinton.

    You are assuming data on voter motivations that just is not there.

    Hillary-haters this year have the advantage of many more candidates on the ballot, and none of them being Hillary. People who want something to the left of Clinton also have most of the field to choose from.

    2016 and 2020 are very different races. You have to be careful comparing them.

    (I would say that the lack of a competitive primary on the Republican side this year also likely pushed more independents into the Democratic Primary, but at first glance, the numbers don’t seem to bear that out… which surprises me)

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  58. Gustopher says:

    @wr:

    I’m saying that Bloomberg is a moderate Republican who will do nothing to solve the nation’s underlying problems and will leave us worse off in the end.

    He’s a NYC Republican. And barely even that. He switched parties when running for Mayor because the Republican primary was ripe for the picking.

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  59. restless says:

    @DrDaveT:

    I didn’t downvote (I prefer positive reinforcement 🙂 ) but while the ‘Tiger Woods’ jab was trollish (and yes, racist – the only trait in common is their skin tone), the ‘whole bogus Ukraine effort’ smear against Democrats was truly pitiful.

    I don’t even know where to start to unpack that phrase – the Democrats didn’t accuse Biden of anything, the accusations against Biden are themselves bogus, and promulgated by Trump and his adherents, the effort to hold Trump accountable for his illegal activity is not something to sneer at.

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  60. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Mike in Arlington:
    It’s so desperately needy. He gets to meet George W! He must be important!

    You all laugh at me and think I’m a clown, but look! I get to meet someone important!

    Let me cast a glance at my email. Hmm, let’s see, all kinds of still-active, influential politicians who really, really want to meet me and hear my views. Gosh, you don’t think it’s just because they want me to write a check, do you?

    Duh?

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  61. Michael Reynolds says:

    @restless:
    @Guarneri thinks that Trump blackmailing Ukraine into interfering to save his ass in the 2020 election is proof that Trump didn’t take Russian help to save his ass in the election of 2016.

    Because he are smart, dontcha know?

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  62. Michael Reynolds says:

    Oh no, now I have a Hollywood invite to support causes with movie stars! I think it’s ’cause I’m IMPORTANT.

    Or they found my name on Open Secrets and think I might be good for a few thou.

    It’s one of those two things.

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  63. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Guarneri:
    I’ve been to meet and greets with every President since Carter, except W…plus Charles and Diana. So what?
    Just remember that when you meet W….no matter how dumb he seems, Trump is infinitely dumber.

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  64. Kathy says:

    IMO, a small state primary/caucus at a time makes for one hell of an availability heuristic mixed with recency bias on steroids.

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  65. Teve says:

    @Kathy: yep.

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  66. DrDaveT says:

    @restless:

    while the ‘Tiger Woods’ jab was trollish (and yes, racist – the only trait in common is their skin tone)

    Sorry, I have to disagree.

    If you’ve read my past comments here you know that I’m sensitive to racism, and ready to pounce on (e.g.) James for being tone deaf in this regard. But in this case, the analogy is actually quite apt — both were the first black men to reach the top of their professional world, and Barack Obama’s blackness is very much an issue in this current election — as I am reminded daily by comments about how Biden is or isn’t getting a coattail effect with the African American community.

    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar — especially in a discussion about tobacco.

    (Note: none of this in any way implies that Guarneri is not a flaming racist. It’s just that, in this one case, what he said does was not inappropriate.)

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  67. restless says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Ah, OK, I can see that point of view. I was paying more attention to Wood’s career ups and downs and scandals, compared to Obama’s squeaky clean image. His impulse to call Biden a caddy to Nicklaus made more sense to me.

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  68. Kathy says:

    @DrDaveT:

    I downvote all their posts unread, which as much consideration as they give others.

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  69. Guarneri says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Naples, currently. And Asheville, NC. Mountain living.

    But buying property in Bluffton, SC. Low country and beautiful. Probably vacate Naples.

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  70. Guarneri says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Thank you Michael, for once again displaying your high school psychology skills, starting with projection. But I’m used to it.

    I really can’t take seriously commenters here who are so petty, partisan and self unaware that they can’t acknowledge that a former POTUS, any of them, has experience and insights worthy of a session. You beclown yourselves with your comments.

    The obviously troubled Reynolds is a therapist’s dream case study. I’m sorry your demons still haunt you.

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  71. Guarneri says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Race was the absolute last thing on my mind. I pity those for whom race seems paramount. What a dismal state of mind to inhabit. But everyone knows Tiger Woods because of recency bias. Perhaps not so much Nicklaus, even though he remains the greatest of all time, with Woods a close second.

    PS – some would say Hogan. But this ain’t a golf blog.

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  72. Michael Cain says:

    It looks like Biden is betting everything on South Carolina. I came across a list of scheduled events by candidate in Nevada from now until the caucuses. Biden’s schedule looks like one trip, two days. Hardly seems like enough to reverse his recent polling plunge there. The other major candidates are all spending much more time.

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  73. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Guarneri:

    No one respects you. No one thinks you’re interesting. But you insist on coming where no one wants you. Why is that, Drew? Why do you need to come here and be rejected and humiliated, rejected and humiliated, rejected and humiliated, over and over again? Why?

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  74. Teve says:

    @Michael Reynolds: weird humiliation fetish?

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  75. Modulo Myself says:

    I really can’t take seriously commenters here who are so petty, partisan and self unaware that they can’t acknowledge that a former POTUS, any of them, has experience and insights worthy of a session.

    They weren’t mocking George W Bush, dummy. They were mocking you for not understanding he only wanted your money. Do you actually do this around living human beings? You must be entertaining as hell for about 5 minutes.

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  76. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Teve:
    Call me crazy, but if I feel no one wants me around, I leave. It’s basic manners. There’s always somewhere else to be. It’s a big old world.

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  77. grumpy realist says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: One of my friends (unfortunately died from a heart attack several years ago) told me that he had worked with Dubya Bush in business and considered him the stupidest individual on two legs that he had ever met.

    Don’t remember his opinion on Trump, but I don’t imagine it was any better.

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  78. James Joyner says:

    @wr: Honestly, I found “Tiger Woods’ caddy” a pretty good and amusing analogy. Yes, both Woods and Obama are biracial. But they were also far and away the best at their chosen field of endeavor for a time, crowding out people who might otherwise have excelled. Although, in that context, maybe Biden is more a Davis Love III or Tom Kite than a Stevie Williams.

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  79. Teve says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Manners are foreign to Trumpers. “Fuck your feelings.”

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  80. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @grumpy realist: Yeah, your friend’s comment reminds me of something I once read about Douglas MacArthur. Some nameless individual supposedly said that he thought MacArthur’s father (Civil War hero, Lt. General in the Army) was the most vain individual he’d ever met – until he met Doug in person.

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  81. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Guarneri:

    I really can’t take seriously commenters here who are so petty, partisan and self unaware that they can’t acknowledge that a former POTUS, any of them, has experience and insights worthy of a session. You beclown yourselves with your comments.

    We weren’t mocking W…we were mocking you, and your Dear Leader…whose butt-plug you long to be.

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  82. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Guarneri:

    I lived in both Asheville and the low country for a spell. Beautiful places, beautiful people.

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  83. Guarneri says:

    @James Joyner:

    Hey. Hey. Hey!! Hold on there. Davis was a hell of a golfer. Won a major. So did Kite. Biden is more Brad Faxon or Billy Andrade.

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  84. Guarneri says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Yes. Looking forward to Bluffton.

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  85. Guarneri says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    That’s a badge of honor, here, quite frankly. I remember when you were touting how you had more thumbs up than me. One can only shake their head in pity. What a pathetic, angry life you must lead.

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  86. @Guarneri: US Senator and Vice President qualify as majors, TBH.

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  87. @Guarneri: BTW your protestations would be more noteworthy if you ever actually made a positive argument about much of anything (the interchange about golfers is the most substantive and evidence-based set of comments I can recall from you).

    And while I would prefer if MR would dial back his taunts of you, the reality is that he actually posts actual positions and argument while all you do is mainly taunt (and then tell us how you don’t care what anyone around here thinks, which is manifestly contradicted by the fact that you constantly comment here).

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  88. An Interested Party says:

    …all you do is mainly taunt (and then tell us how you don’t care what anyone around here thinks, which is manifestly contradicted by the fact that you constantly comment here).

    It really is amazing how someone who is allegedly so wealthy, allegedly so educated, and allegedly so worldly, just turns into one of the Mean Girls when he comes here…and can someone tell me why a person would care so much about the opinions of anonymous strangers? Thanks in advance…

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