Clinton And Sanders Clash In Advance Of High Stakes New York Primary

Just days before a high stakes primary in New York, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders clashed over familiar themes in their latest debate.

Clinton Sanders 414 debate

In what may well be one of their final debates of the primary season, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders clashed sharply ahead of a New York primary that seemed likely to put Clinton in an any even stronger position in the race for delegates to the Democratic National Convention while putting that goal even further out of reach for Bernie Sanders:

Senator Bernie Sanders, seizing on potential vulnerabilities for Hillary Clinton in the coming New York primary, repeatedly savaged her ties to wealthy donors and Wall Street banks during their debate on Thursday night, delivering a ferocious performance that Mrs. Clinton countered with steely confidence and her own sharp elbows.

Mr. Sanders, hoping to humiliate Mrs. Clinton in her adopted home state in Tuesday’s primary, bluntly challenged her fitness for the presidency, saying she had the experience and intelligence for the job but adding, “I do question her judgment.”

He listed her most controversial actions over the years, from voting to authorize the American invasion of Iraq to supporting some free-trade deals and taking $675,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs. While he did not repeat his recent remark that she was unqualified to be president, he constantly edged up to the line.

“Do we really feel confident about a candidate who says she will bring change in America when she is so dependent on big money interests?” Mr. Sanders asked. “I don’t think so.”

Mrs. Clinton fought back hard, especially in a fierce exchange over Israel, as the two candidates played to a rambunctious and roaring audience at the Brooklyn Navy Yard: a classic New York crowd that interrupted, booed and cheered in sports arena style, creating a highly charged atmosphere.

The forum also revealed the increasing animosity between Mr. Sanders and Mrs. Clinton, who no longer offer each other the polite rejoinders and carefully couched criticisms that characterized the early part of the campaign.

Feisty and frequently sarcastic, Mr. Sanders could barely contain his disgust with Mrs. Clinton’s ties with Wall Street, a ripe target among liberals in New York City and in economically depressed upstate regions. After Mrs. Clinton said she had stood up to bankers and “called them out” on their shaky financial practices before the recession, Mr. Sanders delivered his retort with the flair of a veteran Broadway actor.

“Secretary Clinton called them out — oh my goodness, they must have been really crushed by this,” Mr. Sanders said. “And was that before or after you received huge sums of money by giving speaking engagements?”

Mrs. Clinton, who is comfortably ahead in polls of New York voters, seemed to relish taking swings at Mr. Sanders.

“Make no mistake about it — this is not just an attack on me, it’s an attack on President Obama,” Mrs. Clinton said about the criticism of her use of a “super PAC” and her acceptance of big-money contributions. As many audience members booed, Mrs. Clinton grinned a little before saying, “This is a phony attack that is designed to raise questions when there is no evidence or support to undergird the insinuations.”

Mr. Sanders needs a landslide victory in New York to improve his slim chances at the Democratic nomination, and throughout the debate he appeared on the hunt for any new advantage. He highlighted a recent report about the failure of banks to plan for their own demise as evidence that his regulatory plans, and not Mrs. Clinton’s, were tough enough to rein in bank executives. He pointed to some polls indicating that he would be a stronger opponent than Mrs. Clinton in a general election against Donald J. Trump if he wins the Republican nomination.

Mrs. Clinton showed a determination to deal a devastating blow to Mr. Sanders in the New York primary, and she sought to lay the groundwork on Thursday night with the issue of Israel, which evolved into one of the more memorable exchanges of the evening.

In New York, where candidates traditionally compete with one another to align themselves with Israel’s interests, it was startling to see a major Democratic candidate, Mr. Sanders, unapologetically challenge the actions of the Israeli government and call for evenhanded treatment of Palestinians.

“If we are ever going to bring peace to that region,” Mr. Sanders said, “we are going to have to treat the Palestinian people with respect and dignity.” He added, “That does not make me anti-Israel.”

Mrs. Clinton jumped on her rival. “I negotiated the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in November of 2012,” she said. “They do not seek this kind of attacks. They do not invite rockets parading down on their towns and villages.”

(…)

Mr. Sanders came in for some of his toughest treatment from the debate moderators, led by Wolf Blitzer and Dana Bash of CNN, who questioned him aggressively about his grasp of banking regulations and his struggle to provide policy details during an interview with The Daily News’s editorial board.

Ms. Bash also challenged Mr. Sanders to give an example of how Mrs. Clinton was unduly influenced by big banks, to which he cited the financial excesses and greed that led to the recession.

“The obvious response to that is that you’ve got a bunch of fraudulent operations and they’ve got to be broken up,” Mr. Sanders said. “Now, Secretary Clinton was busy giving speeches to Goldman Sachs for $225,000 a speech. So the proper response, in my view, is we should break them up.”

Mrs. Clinton drew strong applause when she bluntly said her opponent had dodged the question, adding, “He cannot come up with any example because there is no example.”

The debate was in many ways the sum of the previous eight. Mr. Sanders has grown steadily more assertive and combative since the Democrats’ first debate in October, when he passed up opportunities to attack Mrs. Clinton over her Iraq war vote and her speaking fees from Goldman Sachs.

He now raises those issues almost daily in an attempt to win over voters by drawing sharp contrasts between his and Mrs. Clinton’s policy records. He has also been trying to appeal to a broader audience, including African-Americans and Hispanics, beyond the liberals and young people who were his focus in the early debates.

More from The Washington Post:

NEW YORK — Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders traded testy accusations and open scorn over policy differences and personal judgment in a debate Thursday that put on full display just how much the once-genteel Democratic presidential contest has turned ugly.

Days before the all-important New York primary, the longtime front-runner and the persistent underdog did little to disguise the resentment and dislike that have taken root as Sanders has eroded Clinton’s national lead and laid claim to a hold on the Democratic Party’s populist heart.

Sanders opened the session by charting the startling success of his insurgent campaign. The reason for it is simple, he said: “We’re doing something pretty radical; we’re telling the American people the truth.”

Clinton fired back that Sanders has demonstrated that his own qualifications for the job are thin — and cited an interview with the New York Daily News editorial board in which he stumbled over how he would accomplish a signature goal of breaking up big banks.

The tension, which crossed over to open hostility, was apparent from the first moments of the debate. Well before the halfway point of a two-hour broadcast, the candidates had accused each other of being unprepared, misguided and confused and had engaged in a shouting match where each refused to cede the floor to the other.

(…)

With time running short, Sanders was fiercely critical of Clinton and willing to be far more provocative than in the previous eight debates. He accused her of using a “racist” expression when she said, as first lady, that some young black youths were “super-predators.”

“Everybody knew it was a racist term,” Sanders said.

Clinton has apologized for using the expression.

Both candidates ducked and weaved when presented with tough questions about parts of their records and positions that are at odds with progressives in the party.

Sanders struggled to defend a vote to grant immunity to gun dealers and manufacturers but also sought to express sympathy for the victims of the Sandy Hook school shootings in Connecticut, who are pressing their case in court.

Clinton stood by her advocacy of a $12 federal minimum wage — less than the $15 Sanders advocates — yet touted her support from unions that take Sanders’s position.

Both candidates struggled to square their support of a 1996 crime bill that liberals in their party blame for a large increase in the jail population — which both of them repeatedly have spoken out against on the campaign trail.

Sanders zinged Clinton for giving paid speeches to Wall Street firms and suggested she is beholden to the financial industry.

Pressed to cite an example of Wall Street’s influence on Clinton during her tenure as senator, Sanders said “the obvious response” to the financial sector’s excesses would be to support breaking up the banks, as he has. But he didn’t cite a specific piece of legislation, instead turning to a common line of attack on the campaign trail.

“Secretary Clinton was busy giving speeches to Goldman Sachs for $225,000 a speech,” Sanders said, referring to speeches given following her departure from the State Department.

“He cannot come up with any example, because there is no example” of her doing the bidding of Wall Street, Clinton said, adding that she had “called out” wrongdoing. “It may be inconvenient, but it’s always important to get the facts straight,” she said.

Sanders mocked her answer.

“Secretary Clinton called them out? Oh, my goodness, they must have been very upset by this,” he said sarcastically.

Clinton glared, as they both did throughout the debate, then sought to turn the tables by noting that she had released decades of tax returns but Sanders has not followed suit.

Sanders said he would release his 2015 tax returns on Friday and asked for understanding for not doing so sooner.

“Jane does our taxes,” Sanders said, referring to his wife. “We’ve been a little bit busy lately. You’ll excuse us.”

Sanders said there would be no major revelations.

“They are very boring tax returns,” he said. “Not big money from speeches, no major investments.”

Previously, Sanders has only released part of his 2014 return.

In a discussion over Social Security, Clinton expressed exasperation as Sanders pressed her on whether she supports his position on expanding benefits.

“If Senator Sanders doesn’t agree with how you are approaching something, then you are a member of the ‘establishment,'” Clinton said.

One of the sharpest exchanges occurred over gun control, with Clinton accusing Sanders of helping gun manufacturers get unique legal protections. They also clashed over climate change, with Clinton saying that Sanders has unrealistic notions about what can be done within the confines of the U.S. political system. She accused Sanders of discounting progress that President Obama has made on both fronts.

“It’s easy to diagnose the problem, It’s harder to do something about it,” she said.

To a large degree, of course, the issues on which Clinton and Sanders clashed last night are the same ones on which they have clashed throughout the months of their battle for primary and caucus voters and convention delegates. In all honesty, in fact, there isn’t anything that either candidate said during the course of this debate that they haven’t already said during the course of any of the other debates they’ve engaged in, during media appearances, or during the numerous stump speeches. Given the fact that both of these candidates have done so many of these debates already, neither one of them made any real mistakes that would be likely to hurt their campaign or change the course of the election. The major difference this time is that there is a sense from both campaigns that the outcome of Tuesday’s primary in New York could have a significant impact on the future course. A big win by Hillary Clinton would likely mean the effective end of the race since it would mean that it would put her much closer to getting the majority of delegates, and put Senator Sanders close to the point where it would be mathematically impossible for him to win the nomination at all. A win by Sanders, on the other hand, would keep the Sanders insurgency alive even if it didn’t do much to slow Clinton’s seemingly inevitable momentum toward the nomination. Given those stakes, and the fact that the race has become increasingly acrimonious, it’s not surprising that the two candidates clashed as sharply as they did last night.

Heading into last night’s debate, it seemed clear that Clinton seems to be poised to pull off a win in New York that will go a long way toward closing the door on this race. Recent polling shows her sustaining the double digit lead that she’s had in her adopted home state for months now to the point where RealClearPolitics now shows her with a 13.8 point lead over Sanders, while Pollster gives Clinton a twelve point lead over the Vermont Senators. If these numbers hold up, then Clinton will likely score a major win on Tuesday that will bring her even closer to the 2,382 delegates she needs to win the nomination outright. One week later, we’ve got a series of primaries in Mid-Atlantic states, including Pennsylvania and Maryland, where Clinton has similar double digit leads. This sets Clinton up for a series of wins that is likely to effectively mean the end of the race, especially if Clinton’s wins cause many of the Superdelegates who have been sitting on the sidelines to start lining up behind her. In that case, the race will indeed be effectively over regardless of what Sanders and his supporters might think.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
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. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. KM says:

    “If Senator Sanders doesn’t agree with how you are approaching something, then you are a member of the ‘establishment,’” Clinton said.

    This is actually a good point. Sanders is part of the establishment and has been for decades. This gets glossed over but he’s benefited from the existing system and used it to get ahead. He’s not some nobody for the corner of No and Where; he’s Bernie Sanders, he’s establishment too but uses it as a deprecation the way “librul” has become one – all-purpose insult for “I don’t like them”

    It’s like Trumpkins who worship a (supposed) billionaire famous for firing people and claim he’s going to bring all the jobs back. The cognitive dissonance is a little startling. If you’re running for President, you’re trying to join the highest ranking of the Establishment and want your changes to be the new face of it.

  2. Ben Wolf says:

    Sanders’ best debate performamce, Clinton’s worst.

  3. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    Sanders’ best debate performamce

    Based on aggressivenes, I’d agree.
    Based on substance, he offered nothing new. Just rehash of inferences and implications.

    IMO Clinton held her own without alienating Bernie’s supporters.

  4. Tyrell says:

    Lots of hype, histrionics, drama, and somewhat over done. Not much substance or discussion of some of the real issues.

  5. MBunge says:

    @KM:

    Let’s not be silly.

    Sanders is a freakin’ socialist. He’s part of the system, but just like Obama was part of the system. To suggest either of them constitute members of “the establishment” is ridiculous, especially when compared to the Clintons, who have essentially run the Democratic half of “the establishment” for nearly a quarter century.

    Sanders is and always has been a weak candidate. The Democrats so aggressively cleared the way for Mrs. Clinton, however, that they left a huge hole into which he could expand. It probably won’t matter because of the debacle on the GOP side.

    Mike

  6. Andre Kenji says:

    I know lots of Socialsts and Communists. Sanders is clearly a Left-Liberal, not a Socialist. He is convincingly as a Socialist as Bill Maher is as a Libertarian. His positions are something conventional.

  7. Tillman says:

    @Ben Wolf: No. He fumbled the question on connecting the dots between Wall Street donations and a change in position, when all he had to do was mention bankruptcy reform. He instead went back to stumping. Missing that sort of question allows her to promote the idea that corruption/buying influence only exists if it’s a provable quid pro quo, as the Roberts court decided some years back. As someone put it better on Twitter, “This position we’ve taken now that huge amounts of cash have no impact on politicians is extremely good.” This is at least the second time he’s done so on national television when all he has to say is bankruptcy reform in 2005, and have her try to explain it. (The whole nonsense about if you’re explaining, you’re losing applies there.)

    Besides, the people who’d vote for Sanders in the primary would have had to register Democrat back in October.

  8. Tillman says:

    @KM:

    Sanders is part of the establishment and has been for decades.

    In the sense of being an elected politician, certainly. In the sense of being a party insider, not remotely. Several commenters here have spent weeks crowing over how Sanders isn’t a real Democrat, which directly contradicts the idea he’s any part of the Democratic establishment. This isn’t an insight on Clinton’s part, but an attempt to change narratives from some weeks back.

  9. Hal_10000 says:

    Sanders won on style, but were I a Democrat, I’d be voting Clinton. She had a much better grasp of what’s possible in Washington, rather than what the Left Wing wants.

    I think Clinton is going to put this away and I think she’s going to win in November. Every election cycle, I get an intuition of who is going to win. I got that intuition last night while watching Clinton. Not that I’m happy about it.

  10. jukeboxgrad says:

    “This is a phony attack that is designed to raise questions when there is no evidence or support to undergird the insinuations.”

    Link:

    in the 2008 Democratic primary campaign, Clinton harshly criticized then senator Obama for accepting donations from oil and gas executives … It was less money than Clinton has accepted from people working for fossil fuel companies so far this campaign season.

    At the time, Clinton said Obama “cut some deals behind closed doors.” She made this attack even though there was “no evidence or support to undergird the insinuations.” It is classically Clintonian of her to take the position that insinuations are OK but only as long as the insinuator is her.

    Tillman:

    Missing that sort of question allows her to promote the idea that corruption/buying influence only exists if it’s a provable quid pro quo, as the Roberts court decided some years back.

    Exactly. From the same link:

    And by taking this position that only quid pro quo equals corruption, Clinton supporters are essentially adopting the reasoning of the Roberts court that they claim to abhor – that unless there is direct evidence of overtly trading money for votes, corruption doesn’t exist. … Democrats have been slowly embracing this stance for years, but the Clinton campaign seems to cementing it as the party’s policy. No one has made this point better than Clinton surrogate and former representative Barney Frank – or should I say, the 2012 version of him. Last week, Frank accused Sanders supporters of engaging in McCarthyism by suggesting that politicians, and Clinton in particular, are influenced by big money contributions from wealthy backers … However, Frank sang an altogether different tune about the influence of campaign contributions when he was leaving Congress in 2012. “People say, ‘Oh, it doesn’t have any effect on me,’ … Well if that were the case, we’d be the only human beings in the history of the world who on a regular basis took significant amounts of money from perfect strangers and made sure that it had no effect on our behavior.” I guess we can assume Clinton is the first person in the history of the world to avoid this problem altogether then.

  11. gVOR08 says:

    @Tillman: God I miss Molly Ivins. As rich a trove of humor as it was, the Texas lege never provided material like she’d have to work with this election season. She used to quote an old Texas line,

    As they say around the Texas Legislature, if you can’t drink their whiskey, screw their women, take their money, and vote against ’em anyway, you don’t belong in office.

    There are several other quotes on the WIKI page linked above. If you remember Molly, read them for old time’s sake. If you are so cursed as to have never read Molly, you owe yourself a taste.

  12. Mikey says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    Sanders is clearly a Left-Liberal, not a Socialist.

    Indeed. Here in America, he’s the far-left fringe. Pretty much everywhere else in the world, he’s a bog-standard centrist Social Democrat.

  13. Moosebreath says:

    This piece from Balloon Juice summarizes my view on the state of the race:

    “Last night’s debate was nasty, sarcastic and personal. I think Sanders realizes New York is his last stand, and I don’t blame him for trying to win. But if he loses, a grownup needs to pull him aside and tell him to dial it back before he damages our chances in the fall.

    Debbie Wasserman Schultz certainly can’t be that grownup. Maybe it’ll fall to our designated national adult, President Obama. But someone damn sure better do it. The Democrats lost the debate last night.

    I’m not saying Sanders should drop out if Clinton clobbers him in New York as polls indicate she will. But both candidates need to stop trading accusations of corruption and cluelessness right about now.”

    And part of the problem with Bernie not being part of the Democratic establishment is that there’s no authority figure who is close enough to him to say this. Maybe someone like Elizabeth Warren could.

  14. Tyrell says:

    @Tillman: The powers that are controlling this process certainly tilted the ramp and lowered the drawbridge for Hillary. Sanders was seen as an outlier, but harmless and not a threat. Trump – maybe was put in to stir the pot, stoke the fire, and create a lot of disorientation and disorganization in the Republican Party.*
    Notice that no candidate has questioned or challenged the Federal Reserve decisions, monetary policies, powerful media, military/industrial/government complex, and Washington insider influence ? Except maybe Ron Paul.
    * Who would have thought that Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio would be done and out at this point ? Or that Dr. Carson would have been
    a big player ? Or the Freddy Kruegerish behavior and comments ?

  15. DK says:

    @Tyrell: Voters are controlling the process, and they prefer Hillary. She leads Sanders by nearly 2.5 million votes. I understand that this is an uncomfortable fact for Bernie fans.

    Bernie’s campaign ended this week. For all his talk about breaking up the banks, when asked how he had no answer. For all his insinuation about how Hillary is influenced by Wall Street, when asked for examples he couldn’t name a single example.

    That’s Bernie: cheap slogans signifying nothing.

  16. Mister Bluster says:

    @Tyrell:..The powers that are controlling this process…

    Stop hiding what U know! We want NAMES!

  17. al-Ameda says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Sanders won on style, but were I a Democrat, I’d be voting Clinton. She had a much better grasp of what’s possible in Washington, rather than what the Left Wing wants.

    I agree with every word.

  18. Ben Wolf says:

    @Tillman: Sanders didn’t need to connect the dots. Viewers will do that for him because no one with half a brain thinks business gives cash in exchange for a specific vote; they give for influence on policy and access. I suspect Warren has asked to be left out of it which explains why Sanders doesn’t play the bankruptcy flip.

    Clinton spent nearly the length of the debate playing defense on global warming, fracking military interventionism, her transcripts and the minimum wage. She’s always been easy to read and was clearly rattled, not recovering her balance until the gun control segment and then losing it again when under attack for Libya. She doesn’t handle pressure well.

  19. gVOR08 says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    no one with half a brain thinks business gives cash in exchange for a specific vote; they give for influence on policy and access.

    Is that a nice thing to say about John Roberts?

  20. Monala says:

    In our recent discussion of the Vox Presidential Tax Calculator, we debated whether the American public would be willing to pay the additional taxes needed to implement Bernie Sanders’ plans. Well, Vox has now surveyed Americans to find out. It turns out that a majority of both Sanders and Clinton supporters are willing to pay more in taxes to achieve universal healthcare and free higher education (Sanders supporters at a higher percentage), but neither group is willing to pay as much in higher taxes as would be required. In fact, Sanders supporters are only willing to have their taxes go up about a fourth of what they would need to to implement Sanders’ agenda. Read more here.

  21. HarvardLaw92 says:

    This pretty well sums it up, IMO ..

  22. Mikey says:

    @Monala: People want a lot of nice stuff but don’t want to pay for it? Who knew?

  23. MBunge says:

    @DK: Voters are controlling the process, and they prefer Hillary. She leads Sanders by nearly 2.5 million votes. I understand that this is an uncomfortable fact for Bernie fans.

    If we’re going by vote totals, voters must prefer the Republicans to the Democrats since they’re racking up far more votes in these primaries.

    Or are facile comparisons only allowed when they benefit Hillary?

    Mike

  24. jukeboxgrad says:

    neither group is willing to pay as much in higher taxes as would be required

    Are you aware of any poll regarding any policy, that goes into detailed numbers as this one does, that shows that voters are willing to pay the full cost of what they want the government to do? I’m not aware of any such poll.

    I realize this is just another way of saying what Mikey said.

  25. Pch101 says:

    @Mikey:

    The point is that the Republicans would hammer on this “Bernie Sanders the commie who wants to jack up your taxes” message if he was the Democratic nominee.

  26. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @MBunge:

    If we’re going by vote totals, voters must prefer the Republicans to the Democrats since they’re racking up far more votes in these primaries.

    Apple to oranges – the Republicans have a multitude of candidates and the outcome of their primaries is regarded as being uncertain. That drives turnout.

    Democrats, in contrast, have two candidates and the outcome is pretty widely regarded as already having been determined. It depresses turnout.

    Let Sanders withdraw, for example, and Dem turnout would drop though the floor – for the primaries anyway. The linkage between primary turnout and general election turnout is extremely weak.

  27. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Pch101:

    The worst part of that is that they’d be right.

  28. PJ says:

    @Moosebreath:

    But if he loses, a grownup needs to pull him aside and tell him to dial it back before he damages our chances in the fall.

    Debbie Wasserman Schultz certainly can’t be that grownup. Maybe it’ll fall to our designated national adult, President Obama. But someone damn sure better do it. The Democrats lost the debate last night.

    I have serious doubts that this would work.

    Sure, 2008 was really ugly, but both candidates were Democrats. Both wanted the Democratic Party to win every election possible. The Presidency, Senate and House elections, and state elections. Every election. So, Clinton did endorse Obama, campaigned for him, and got a lot of doubting voters to vote for Obama.

    But this year is different.
    Sanders isn’t a Democrat, he’s not a member of the Democratic Party, and he doesn’t fundraise for down-ballot Democrats. He seems to take a lot of things personally, like being snubbed by almost every superdelegate. Facing the fact that the probability of him winning the nomination is closing in on 0, he goes negative and he does almost nothing when his surrogates and supporters go even further.

    So, I have serious doubts that he cares about the Democratic Party winning the Presidency or retaking the Senate, or that he will do anything to actually heal the rift he’s creating.

  29. MBunge says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Apple to oranges

    Hmm. I think someone didn’t know what “facile” meant.

    Mike

  30. jukeboxgrad says:

    Voters are controlling the process, and they prefer Hillary. She leads Sanders by nearly 2.5 million votes.

    “Prefer Hillary” is a statement about the present. The primary voting total tells you something about voter preferences at the time they voted. People change, so what they were thinking at the time isn’t necessarily what they’re thinking now.

    The first primary voting took place 74 days ago. At that time, Clinton’s favorable vs unfavorable was 9.2%. Now it’s 14%. At that time, Clinton’s lead over Sanders in national polling was 14.4%. Now it’s 1.2%. Those changes tend to suggest that thinking has changed somewhat, since the voting started.

    The votes counted so far are not a balanced sample of D voters nationally, and they also don’t necessarily reflect what voters are thinking right now. National polling tries to address those two issues. All this should be taken into account when trying to predict how voters are going to behave in November.

  31. jukeboxgrad says:

    Republicans would hammer on this “Bernie Sanders the commie who wants to jack up your taxes” message if he was the Democratic nominee

    And they are going to do the same, or worse, to Clinton. Clinton, not Sanders, is the one who told a black audience that she likes “the idea of giving every baby born in America a $5,000 account.” Clinton, not Sanders, is the one who is closely associated with two Democratic presidents who both raised taxes. One of those presidents was the first black president, and the other was a president who was sometimes described as the first black president.

    The only thing Americans hate more than higher taxes is higher taxes being used to help people they don’t like. This is going to be more of a problem for Clinton because she is closely associated with black voters and will probably be nominated as a direct result of black support.

  32. PJ says:

    I wonder what Sanders’ “favorable vs unfavorable” would look like if Clinton had attacked him on his tax hikes.

    But Clinton isn’t the Democratic candidate set to destroy the Democratic Party’s chances in November, so we’ll never know.

    I wonder what Sanders’ “favorable vs unfavorable” would look like if Trump/Cruz/etc had attacked him on his tax hikes.

    But Sanders will not win the Democratic primary, so we’ll never know.

  33. Ben Wolf says:

    @gVOR08: Touche.

  34. jukeboxgrad says:

    I wonder what Sanders’ “favorable vs unfavorable” would look like if Clinton had attacked him on his tax hikes.

    Consider these two possibilities:

    A) Clinton has refrained from attacking the Sanders tax plan because she has a principled desire to avoid doing any possible harm to someone who has any chance at all of running against the Republicans.

    B) She has refrained from attacking the Sanders tax plan because she knows that he plans to raise taxes mostly on the rich, and she knows that most voters, and even most Republicans, support this. Also, she does not want to be asked to explain why she intends to tax the rich less than he will. In particular, she does not want to explain why she won’t tax Wall St the way he will.

    Which of those two do you think is closer to the truth? And what do you think Clinton’s numbers would look like right now if interviewers had been pressing her to explain why she won’t tax Wall St the way Sanders will?

    Hypotheticals are fun, aren’t they?

  35. Tyrell says:

    Sanders is going to Vatican City. What’s up with that ?

  36. PJ says:

    @Tyrell:

    Sanders is going to Vatican City. What’s up with that ?

    Well, he doesn’t have a prayer of winning the nomination, so he decided to go to the Vatican and ask them for a Hail Mary.

  37. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @PJ:

    This. These discussions always get lead off onto the tangent of what Sanders will/would do as president, when he has no hope of even being nominated.

    Why we keep humoring & enabling BernieBro denial escapes me.

  38. al-Ameda says:

    @Tyrell:

    Sanders is going to Vatican City. What’s up with that ?

    He’s always wanted to meet an Argentine Pope in The Vatican – finally, it’s going to happen!

  39. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Nah. AFAIK Sanders won’t be meeting the pope. The Vatican took the step of releasing a statement that there would be no meeting.

  40. Monala says:

    jukebox, Sanders doesn’t just plan to tax the rich, he plans to tax everyone, and extensively. And even Sanders supporters don’t want tax increases anywhere near as great as he proposes.

    Do you really think the average American would be cheering about Sanders soaking the rich, when they themselves are drowning in tax bills? Even, as I have already pointed out more than once, Sanders supporters don’t want to be taxed as much as he would do.

  41. Monala says:

    And btw, jukebox, are you suggesting that white people will support Sanders’ tax increases (which again, are huge increases for everyone, not just the rich), because they think Sanders’ plans are just going to benefit white people, not people of color?

  42. Pch101 says:

    If Sanders were the nominee, that tax-you-to-death message would turn some purple and mildly blue states into red states for 2016. Instead of 270+ being something close to a done deal for the Dems, it would become a struggle.

  43. jukeboxgrad says:

    are you suggesting that white people will support Sanders’ tax increases (which again, are huge increases for everyone, not just the rich), because they think Sanders’ plans are just going to benefit white people, not people of color?

    White working class voters are picking Sanders over Clinton. They are probably convinced that he has a sincere desire to help working people. Regarding Clinton, what many of them probably believe is that she will be most inclined to help whoever gets her elected. This might be unfair and divorced from reality, but if it’s what they believe, it will influence how they behave in November.

  44. David M says:

    There’s a lot of denial here of the fact that Sanders primary chances are over. For me, the most important question is which candidate is likely to do more to help elect Democratic candidates to other offices? Pretty sure the answer to that is Hillary Clinton, so that’s the obvious candidate to support if people actually want progress. If people want to be disappointed and see larger GOP majorities, then Sanders seems like he will deliver. (Not on anything else of course.)

  45. jukeboxgrad says:

    There’s a lot of denial here of the fact that Sanders primary chances are over.

    I think I’ve read every word on this page, and I can’t find any words expressing the belief that Sanders will be nominated. So can you show me where you see those words? Probably there are many such words I have missed, since you said “a lot.”

    which candidate is likely to do more to help elect Democratic candidates to other offices?

    The candidate who gets more votes, and pretty much every general election matchup poll shows Sanders getting more votes.

  46. Rafer Janders says:

    @Pch101:

    The point is that the Republicans would hammer on this “Bernie Sanders the commie who wants to jack up your taxes” message if he was the Democratic nominee.

    Right, and they wouldn’t do the same to Hillary Clinton if she was the Democratic nominee….

  47. Pch101 says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    The GOP will accuse Clinton of being a socialist. Sanders would admit to it and defend it.

    The GOP will accuse Clinton of wanting to increase taxes. Sanders’ plan would be analyzed by the mainstream media and it would conclude that Sanders would indeed increase taxes.

  48. Andre Kenji says:

    The point about Hillary is that she has very high name recognition. There is no one, other than sitting presidents, that have her level of name recognition. In fact, I always argued here on OTB that her name recognition meant that she was much more vulnerable than her polling numbers suggested. Remember that she had high polling numbers among Democrats?

    It would be very difficult to raise her negatives. Everyone knows her and has a opinion about her. On the other hand, Bernie Sanders is the classic Generic Democrat that could be trounced by negative advertisement a la Dukakis.

  49. PJ says:

    The candidate who gets more votes, and pretty much every general election matchup poll shows Sanders getting more votes.

    So, the primary is over and we move on to fully focus on general election denial?

    Sanders would be able to fully explain being a socialist and wanting to hike taxes for everyone without it putting a dent in his numbers?

    This because, well, 30% of Drudge Report readers would pick him as their _first_ pick! After Trump, but before Cruz.

    Also, magical woodland creatures.

  50. jukeboxgrad says:

    It would be very difficult to raise her negatives.

    The election is in about 200 days. Her unfavorable rating is currently about 5 points higher than it was 200 days ago. Would you have made your claim 200 days ago? Do you have reason to believe that the current trend will change, and that the next 200 days will be different from the last 200 days? Do you think the coming GOP attacks against her will be less effective than the attacks so far from Sanders?

    Sanders would be able to fully explain being a socialist and wanting to hike taxes for everyone without it putting a dent in his numbers?

    I have explained why I think she is more vulnerable than he is. I haven’t seen anyone try to explain how she is going to respond when voters are reminded of what she told a black audience about $5,000 gifts. She has no answer that people are going to trust, because she is not trusted.

  51. David M says:

    Talking up Sanders *and down Clinton* is implicitly not acknowledging the primary is essentially over. Of course Sanders is a general election liability for the Democrats. He is a socialist who wants to raise their taxes and take away their health insurance. He’s an even worse liability in 2018, as his supporters are both unreliable voters and going to be massively disappointed.

  52. PJ says:

    The election is in about 200 days. Her unfavorable rating is currently about 5 points higher than it was 200 days ago. Would you have made your claim 200 days ago? Do you have reason to believe that the current trend will change, and that the next 200 days will be different from the last 200 days? Do you think the coming GOP attacks against her will be less effective than the attacks so far from Sanders?

    Depends, is Sanders going to continue to run against Clinton until November? Or is he going to start mending and campaigning for Clinton? Like Clinton did for Obama in 2008?

    If it’s the former, then no, it won’t change.
    If it is the latter, then yes, it will change.

    The GOP has attacked Clinton since what? 1992? Sure, if you have been marooned on a deserted island since 1990 you may have missed them.

    Has Sanders ever faced any attacks by the GOP outside of Vermont?

  53. An Interested Party says:

    The candidate who gets more votes, and pretty much every general election matchup poll shows Sanders getting more votes.

    As important as it is for the candidate at the top to actually win an election, that candidate also needs to help down-ticket Democrats and the party as a whole…so which of the two is actually raising money for other Democrats as well as the party? There’s no feeling the Bern there…why would superdelegates support someone who is doing more to help himself than he is to help the party…

  54. HarvardLaw92 says:

    I have explained why I think she is more vulnerable than he is.

    And yet you’re probably going to be stuck voting for her anyway, unless you just get a chubby for Donald Trump that is. That’s a spicy piece of schadenfreude.

    Tidbit of information for you – if you’re expecting some massive wave of Sanders supporters to register as Dems in NY in order to vote for Sanders, the odds are against it. The number of active, registered Democratic voters in NY has dropped by 12,709 since November.

    Oh, and no early voting here. Sorry. The beginning of his end is next Tuesday.

    Then queue up PA, MD, CT, and DE. 🙂

  55. PJ says:

    @An Interested Party:

    As important as it is for the candidate at the top to actually win an election, that candidate also needs to help down-ticket Democrats and the party as a whole…so which of the two is actually raising money for other Democrats as well as the party? There’s no feeling the Bern there…

    It’s even worse.

    Hundreds of Sanders supporters protested outside a fundraiser for down-ballot Democrats held in California…

  56. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @PJ:

    Hundreds of Sanders supporters protested outside a fundraiser for down-ballot Democrats held in California…

    Let’s not forget the Superdelegate (Hit)list, and the apparently unending harassment of superdelegates by nutjob Sanders supporters. In one case a 12 year old child was subjected to threats when she answered the phone. Another guy reports getting calls on his home phone at all hours of the day & night, including calls at 2:30 in the morning. Another one had his personal cell phone number published, and gets calls nonstop on that device. There are many more examples of this out of control behavior.

    That’ll certainly convince them to switch their support to Sanders. Tea Party, Left Wing edition indeed …

  57. David M says:

    @PJ:

    It’s like they’ve learned nothing while Obama was in office. Comparing what could be done with Democratic majorities to the shit sandwiches served up after the GOP took over ought to be easy to anyone paying attention to politics.

  58. Andre Kenji says:

    @jukeboxgrad:

    The election is in about 200 days. Her unfavorable rating is currently about 5 points higher than it was 200 days ago. Would you have made your claim 200 days ago?

    No. 200 days ago I was pointing out that Hillary had high name recognition, and that´s why she seemed unbeatable on the polls. I even pointed out that she was losing to Christie before Bridgegate.

    In fact, I think that Hillary is a horrible candidate. I just happen to think that it would be much more easier to raise Bernie´s negatives, and that the fact that Hillary is a weak candidate does not make Sanders´electable.

  59. Ben Wolf says:

    @Andre Kenji: But her negatives are continuing to rise.

  60. jukeboxgrad says:

    Talking up Sanders *and down Clinton* is implicitly not acknowledging the primary is essentially over.

    I have previously explained why I think this claim is incorrect.

    Of course Sanders is a general election liability for the Democrats.

    It’s a good idea to ignore inconvenient polling. Just ask President Romney.

    If it’s the former, then no, it won’t change.

    You’re essentially saying that Sanders is the main reason that Clinton’s unfavorables are up. But that number isn’t just up 5 points since September. It also went up 7 points in the 7 months prior to September, during a period when Sanders either hadn’t announced yet, or had announced but was barely visible. For example, notice this headline from 6/2/15:

    Clinton unfavorable numbers highest in 14 years

    That was just 33 days after Sanders entered the race. You think he was the cause of that headline? Really? So I think you’re putting the blame in the wrong place.

    She just isn’t good at campaigning and being a candidate, and when people see her in that role, they don’t like what they see. It’s possible to think of her as a good person who would make a good president, while also noticing that she is not comfortable and convincing in the role of candidate. Mitt had a similar problem. It has to do with personality.

  61. Tony W says:

    @Monala:

    Do you really think the average American would be cheering about Sanders soaking the rich, when they themselves are drowning in tax bills?

    I keep hearing things like this – look, you’re already ‘drowning’ in medical bills. Part of those taxes are to pay for your health care coverage. What do you care who you pay it to, especially when the amount will be far lower?

    Another part of those taxes are to prevent you from having student loans saddling your entire career. Again, wouldn’t we be better off if kids could go to college on the merits of their academic work, rather than their parents’ ability to pay for it?

    Sanders has a vision of America that we all used to have. Sanders believes we are still capable of big things like the Interstate Highway Program or the Space Program. America used to lead the world, now we are mediocre at best. You can thank the Republicans for changing the conversation and embracing the “Me First” ethic, but you can thank Sanders for calling BS on that with his vision – one that will actually “Make America Great Again”.

  62. Andre Kenji says:

    @Ben Wolf: More or less. She always had high negatives and if you consider that we are in the middle of a heated Primary campaign her negatives have risen relatively little:

    http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/pollster/hillary-clinton-favorable-rating

    She is a horrible candidate, and Democrats should be worried if the Republicans manage to nominate John Kasich in a broken convention.

    On the other hand, it would be easy to apply the Dukakis treatment on Sanders. But I think that there are still people that are certain that Gary Hart would´ve beaten Reagan.

  63. Andre Kenji says:

    @Tony W:

    Another part of those taxes are to prevent you from having student loans saddling your entire career.

    Nope. Sanders plan would create incentives to the states to provide tuition free-college on Public Universities. Private Universities would not be free. That´s the dark secret of countries with free college: in the end you have rich white kids studying with the taxpayers dime while poor people have to pay tuition to study in a Private University.

  64. Guarneri says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    You mean the parents of those rich kids, paying those dimes. Seeins how they pay the taxes.

    I left out the white part, not wanting to be a racist like you.

  65. Andre Kenji says:

    @Guarneri:

    You mean the parents of those rich kids, paying those dimes

    Everyone pays taxes. Poor people, people that don´t have kids, etc. Tuition free College is regressive, and no wonder, almost all of the Best ranked universities in the world charge tuition. And I was pointing out to that regressivity when I wrote about White Kids.

  66. stonetools says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    But her negatives are continuing to rise.

    Well,why is that? Answer: She is subjected to an unending tidal wave of right wing propaganda every day.Those right wingers give Bernie a pass, because they (rightly) think he won’t win, and if he won, would be the weaker general election candidate.In addition, she is being fiercely attacked from the left as a “corporate whore”(Actual quote). On top of that, there is this:

    The biggest news outlets have published more negative stories about Hillary Clinton than any other presidential candidate — including Donald Trump — since January 2015, according to a new analysis of hundreds of thousands of online stories published since last year.

    Clinton has not only been hammered by the most negative coverage but the media also wrote the smallest proportion of positive stories about her, reports Crimson Hexagon, a social media software analytics company based out of Boston.

    Note that the MSM gave Sanders’ program little scrutiny until a couple of weeks ago, when he started his winning streak. Since then we have found out that he has no detailed plan about how to achieve one of his major policy goals, and we have seen all sorts of negative coverage about his tax returns and his Vatican trip.Suddenly, his unfavorables have begun to rise. Funny how that works.
    Now just imagine what would happen to Bernie’s unfavorables, if the full force of the MSM and the right wing propaganda complex focussed 24/7 on Sanders, including his rather spotty personal history (which Clinton has scrupulously avoided mentioning. Fox News would have no such scruples).
    I think Sanders supporters have been living in a kind of bubble until recently, when they really thought of their candidate as some kind of pure white knight, with no weaknesses (Heck, Ben Wolf and JBG still think that way). As we are seeing already, that isn’t the case.

    Also relevant. The reason why Sanders has such good general election numbers is the same reason why Kasich does. TL;DR: they are both least known

  67. stonetools says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    In fact, I think that Hillary is a horrible candidate. I just happen to think that it would be much more easier to raise Bernie´s negatives, and that the fact that Hillary is a weak candidate does not make Sanders´electable.

    While I agree with the second part of this quote, I think the the first part is overdone. Hillary is a good (not great) candidate with some weaknesses, who was beaten in 2008 by a great candidate. In basketball terms, she is a Scotty Pippen compared to Obama , who is a political Micheal Jordan, but she is still far superior to the amateurs and semi pro types that are her current opponents.
    I think HRC will make a competent (but not great) President who will govern as a pragmatic center-left liberal. This will not set liberal nether parts a-throbbing, but it’s the best we can hope for , given the current political configuration.Bernie Sanders does a better job of setting out liberal aspirations, but they are unfortunately unachievable in the foreseeable future.
    This quote sums it up perfectly:

    Hillary Clinton is not a secret Republican. She’s not a witch. She’s not going to jail. She’s a hawkish left-of-center policy wonk. She believes in incremental change and compromise. She’d rather pass a crappy law that has some positive outcomes than watch a great law die in committee. She believes in government, she thinks it does work and can work.

    That’s not particularly inspiring. Bernie is sitting there telling us that if we clap really hard, Tinkerbell will live. Hillary is like, “That bitch is dead, I shot her. It’s time to grow up.”

    (Actually, I think maybe Mitch McConnell shot Tinkerbell. But otherwise, this quote is spot on).

  68. Monala says:

    What’s with all this “Clinton is a terrible campaigner” stuff? I think she has done rather well this go-round. I went from leaning Bernie to leaning Hilary to solidly Hilary in part because she has started to impress me. She has learned a lot since 2008 and has become both better prepared and more natural.

    Otoh, Bill Clinton, the supposedly gifted politician, has made me cringe every time he’s opened his mouth this campaign season.

  69. al-Ameda says:

    @jukeboxgrad:

    White working class voters are picking Sanders over Clinton. They are probably convinced that he has a sincere desire to help working people.

    Sanders’ is the beneficiary of the feelings of those to the left of Obama that he (Obama) sold them out and failed to implement a strong progressive agenda.

    White working class voters are not now Democrats, and if Sanders is the nominee there is no way they vote to have their (currently low federal income) taxes increased significantly to pay for Sanders’ ‘desire to help working people’.

    Bernie Sanders is a mirage, this is not a center-left country, Sanders would be destroyed in a general election.

  70. Tony W says:

    @Andre Kenji: The dark side is that poor kids get to go to public university? That sounds quite a bit ‘lighter’ than the situation we have today.

  71. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Why we keep humoring & enabling BernieBro denial escapes me.

    Because watching guys like you burn up what could be billable hours arguing trivialities has some entertainment value to lesser mortals such as myself? Other than that, I got nuthin’.

  72. MBunge says:

    @stonetools: She is subjected to an unending tidal wave of right wing propaganda every day.

    That was certainly true in the past but not now. Right wingers simply haven’t had the time to trash her, what with their own party going down like the Hindenburg crashing into the Titanic.

    Mike

  73. Tony W says:

    @al-Ameda: I don’t, by the way, harbor any illusion that Sanders will be nominated, much less elected. My point is that his ideas would make America better. And before Guarneri jumps in here criticizing me for wanting free stuff, I am a rich white guy – Sanders election would injure my financial position considerably, but I’m also a liberal which means that I want what’s best for the country – not just what’s best for me personally.

  74. stonetools says:

    @Tony W:

    Bernie Sanders is great as a leftist sheep dog snapping at Clinton’s heels and urging her to keep left, left, left. But as a general election candidate for the Democratic Party in 2016, he leaves a lot to be desired.
    The best thing about the Sanders candidacy is that it shows that the Democratic Party nowadays is proudly and unabashedly liberal. There is really no conservative Democratic wing to the Democratic Party any longer, for good or ill. The Great Sorting of political parties is over.
    The bad side to all this? It’s not clear if “liberal ” side of America outnumbers the “conservative side.” Maybe this election will answer that question.

  75. Ben Wolf says:

    @Andre Kenji: I don’t think that’s necesarily true. Dukakis was a terrible campaigner and a liberal in a time of liberal decline. Sanders is a strong campaigner in an era of conservative decline and isn’t really a liberal himself.

    This appears to be the hole Clinton is in: with consequences of the Reagan Revolution in mind she has done everything expected of her to win both a nomination and election; continuing Third Way policy positions, strengthening Democratic ties to monied interests to compete with Republican big money, championed the end of big government and behaved as a warhawk and American exceptionalist. Clinton has been the model New Democrat.

    Now she finds the world has shifted out from under her. Policies which for nearly four decades were assumed to be inevitable and inalterable are suddenly unsustainable. A politically comatose electorate has become energized and engaged. The culture has now turned against everything Clinton’s experience told her she is supposed to be. At the moment of securing her legacy, the forces of history failed to cooperate.

    If elected she will be broadly and deeply unpopular, with the very real threat of Republican impeachment within the first term. They hate her, mostly for stupid, venal and vengeful reasons. Half her own party sees her as a symptom of bigger problems. Her allies are loyal only to themselves and will jump ship quickly when they feel the heat.

    I do feel sorry for her because a lot of it isn’t her fault. She is what her environment shaped her to be, told her to be. Now it’s suddenly all bad and she’s in a cage without exits.

  76. stonetools says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    Sanders is a strong campaigner in an era of conservative decline and isn’t really a liberal himself.

    Everything about that sentence is wrong . To pick out the most important thing, Republicans today control both houses of Congress, the majority of state governorships, and the majority of state legislatures. Until recently , they were the majority on the Supreme Court and are one Presidential win from restoring that majority. Like most typical liberals, you measure political struggles in terms of the rightness of ideas and not the realities of political power.In terms of political power, conservatives are by no stretch of the imagination in decline.
    This is to a certain extent, why liberals can’t have nice things. They have this silly idea that if their ideas are right, then ta da! they win.Look , wake up and smell reality, Ben. We don’t live in Liberal Fantasy Land. Sorry to burst your bubble.

  77. PJ says:

    So, the Sanders campaign lies about the “meeting” Sanders “had” with the Pope, ends up being corrected by the Pope himself.

  78. MBunge says:

    @stonetools: Republicans today control both houses of Congress, the majority of state governorships, and the majority of state legislatures.

    And who played a HUGE role in creating that Republican dominance?

    Bill Clinton.

    I can only hope that win or lose, this will at least be the end of the Stockholm Syndrome that afflicts so many Democrats whenever the Clintons are involved.

    Mike

  79. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    Attorneys are magicians. Who else could make there be 35 hours in a day?

  80. Katharsis says:

    I support HRC as the D party nominee. I like Bernie, but HRC is a team player. If I’ve learned anything from the Obama administration, it’s that the POTUS can’t do it alone. Benevolent dictator is not a position available in this country; Benevolent Oligarchy is.

    That being said, that Vox article is not the final holy word on your hypothetical financial future under a Sanders administration (which, again, isn’t happening because he won’t be the nominee anyway).

    Mother Jones

    Bitching about taxes is like complaining about the two party system; adults learn to accept certain unfortunate inevitabilities. And speaking of adults, Bernie needs to recognize when he’s turning into Nader and do his due diligence. If he doesn’t help bring the party together, then all that holier-than-thou posturing was as full of it as anybody else to whom he dared to wag his finger. His moment to show his true colors is coming, let’s hope it doesn’t include a petard.

  81. stonetools says:

    @MBunge:

    And who played a HUGE role in creating that Republican dominance?

    Bill Clinton.

    I’m sorry, I’m a bit slow. You are going to have to diagram for me how and why Bill Clinton did this. Since this is an extraordinary claim, I’m going to require extraordinary evidence, so have at it.

  82. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Katharsis:

    Yea, the impact to my financial position (according to your calculator) is about $200,000 less than the Vox tool.

    But it’s still roughly $600,000 more than I currently pay in taxes per year. I’m not sure that’s much of an improvement.

  83. Katharsis says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    For those who scoff at getting another $200,000, maybe paying more in taxes is an improvement. Perhaps not for you, but for the country. 🙂

  84. HarvardLaw92 says:

    LOL, I wouldn’t be getting $200,000 more. I’d be getting $600,000 LESS, with comparatively little in return to show for it.

  85. charon says:

    @PJ:

    I did not see a linkie – here is one:

    http://www.cruxnow.com/church/2016/04/16/pope-francis-calls-sanders-greeting-only-common-courtesy/

    Sanders was staying at the same residence, because that’s where all participants in the Vatican conference he attended on Friday were spending the night. The only exceptions were Presidents Evo Morales of Bolivia and Rafael Correa of Ecuador, who stayed at their country’s embassy in Rome.

    “This morning as I was leaving, Senator Sanders was there,” Francis said. “He knew I was coming out at that time, and he had the kindness to greet me.”

    “When I came down, he introduced himself, I greeted him with a handshake, and nothing more,” the pope added. “It’s common courtesy, this is called common courtesy.

    “If someone thinks that greeting someone is getting involved in politics,” he said, “I recommend that they find a psychiatrist.”

  86. charon says:

    Here is Bernie putting his campaign logo on to a photo of the Pope:

    https://twitter.com/ZekeJMiller/status/720991032523894784/photo/1

  87. Todd says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    It would be very difficult to raise her negatives.

    This couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the fact that her negatives are already at 55%?

    The only upside to Democrats nominating such an unliked and flawed candidate is that Republicans are very likely to nominate someone with even worse favorable/unfavorable ratios.

  88. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @charon:

    I wonder how long Sanders sat there on stakeout in order to make sure he’d get to run into the holy father?

  89. Todd says:

    @stonetools:

    To pick out the most important thing, Republicans today control both houses of Congress, the majority of state governorships, and the majority of state legislatures.

    This all happened because Democrats suck at politics. They are too risk averse, and much too worried about “giving the Republicans ammunition”. The result is that they nominate these bland, boring candidates who spend entirely too much trying not to offend constituents who will NEVER vote for the them anyway due to the (D) after their name, and not nearly enough time giving voters who are inclined to support them a good reason to put up with the burdensome BS that is voting in 21st century America.

    The vast majority of candidates (especially for Senate) that Bill and Hillary Clinton supported over the past couple of cycles lost. And to add insult to injury, many of these Senators were the very ones who demanded changes to the PPACA that made it less progressive. They lost their reelection bids anyway, and now Democrats are left to defend a sh*t sandwich of a compromise that a whole lot of people don’t really like very much.

    Hillary Clinton will most likely win the nomination, and the Presidency. But that will be only slightly less of a disaster for the country than if I Republican occupies the oval office in 2017. We will continue to perpetuate the myth that this is a “center-right” country … primarily because the Democratic party is too politically inept to figure how to turn out the voters it would need to run and win on what almost all polling shows would be a relatively popular progressive platform.

  90. Katharsis says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Oh, I get the math even if you don’t want to understand the assumption. Compared to what you thought you would pay, you would have $200,000 more to work with. I concede that you would ultimately being paying more in taxes, I’m just saying that’s a good thing.

    I usually agree with you 98% of the time, but on this I see we won’t be friends. Taxes are too skewed in your favor, and statics say even those on the left become less and less interested in inequality as their educational advantages push them into higher income brackets. I think Upton Sinclair had something to say about that.

  91. MBunge says:

    @stonetools: Since this is an extraordinary claim

    It is, in fact, an extremely ordinary claim. ANYONE who was around for the Clinton years should have a complete understanding of it. For those too young or too deeply in denial, there’s this wonderful thing called “the Internet.” It allows one to check what happened to Democrats electorally under Bill Clinton, and not just the 2nd midterms. It would help you understand things like “triangulation” and “the era of big government is over” and how, if Bill Clinton was just so gosh darn wonderful, just about half the country wanted anything except a third Clinton term.

    If one bothered to educate oneself, one would appreciate that Bill Clinton did as much or more damage to the Democratic Party and the liberal movement as anyone in the last 50 or 60 years…even while arguably doing a good to great job as President.

    Mike

  92. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Katharsis:

    Thats fine. It’s realistically a philosophical debate to begin with. I have a better chance of being made King of England than Bernie’s tax proposals do of becoming law (or he does of being elected).

  93. PJ says:

    @charon:
    I think that photo may have something to do with what the Pope said, which, frankly, paints Sanders as a liar, I doubt the Pope wants to be used as campaign material…

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I wonder how long Sanders sat there on stakeout in order to make sure he’d get to run into the holy father?

    His supporters stalk superdelegates and Sanders wanted to connect with them, so he stalked the Pope.

  94. Mikey says:

    @Todd:

    primarily because the Democratic party is too politically inept to figure how to turn out the voters it would need to run and win on what almost all polling shows would be a relatively popular progressive platform

    It’s already been well-established that while such a platform might be relatively popular, the taxation necessary to pay for it would be anything but.

    That’s the huge elephant, right there. Everybody loves the concepts of universal health coverage and public universities that are free at the point of service, but nobody wants the 20% VAT that would probably be necessary to pay for them.

  95. Todd says:

    I also kind of have to laugh at these assertions that Sanders would be vulnerable to Republican attacks, but that Clinton is somehow at her “unfavorable ceiling”. Even now, when the supposed “gloves have come off”, Sanders criticisms of Clinton pale in comparison to the daily drubbing she will take from Donald Trump about her email server, releasing her Wall Street speech transcripts, oh, and being every bit as “socialist” as Bernie Sanders, just not willing to admit it.

    If she is elected President, it’s going to be limping across the finish line in November, then likely to be inaugurated in January as by far the most unpopular new President in American history.

  96. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @MBunge:

    McGovern and Jimmy Carter essentially destroyed the political viability of a leftist platform / position. Because of them, we spent 12 years wandering in the political wilderness. I suspect that the reflexive backlash against a world progressing beyond their comfort level, coupled with coordinated marketing to a low information audience, is responsible for much of the current trend at the state level.

  97. al-Ameda says:

    @Tony W:

    I am a rich white guy – Sanders election would injure my financial position considerably, but I’m also a liberal which means that I want what’s best for the country – not just what’s best for me personally.

    I hear you. I’m not rich, but I’m a top 13% doing-well white guy myself, and while I can appreciate some of Sanders’ sentiments and ideas, I also broker in what’s desirable and in what is probable – I do not see any part Sanders’ agenda as anything near possible.

    I’m voting for the Democratic Party candidate most likely to be inaugurated on January 2017, and who will be making nominations to the Court for the next 4 years. I have a hard time imagining that that person is Bernie Sanders.

  98. PJ says:

    @Todd:
    Here’s the thing.

    We will never be able verify what the result would be of nominating someone who is happy to call himself a socialist, would hike taxes for everyone, seemingly hates the party which nomination he seeks, refuses to fundraise for down-ballot candidates, and so on.

    And I am so happy for that.

    But we will be able to verify most of the things you write about Clinton. And we will be able to verify my concerns that Sanders won’t be very interested in healing the rift he has created during the primaries.

  99. Monala says:

    @Katharsis: according to the Mother Jones calculator, my family’s take home pay would increase by about $3000. That matches with the Vox candidate’s estimate that my family’s taxes would go up by about $10,000, but accounts for MJ’s assumption that the roughly $13,000 our employers are currently paying for our health insurance would be passed on to us as salary increases. The problem is, I think that is a very big assumption, and hardly guaranteed. Again, I would love it if that were the case, but if the salary increases don’t happen, Bernie ‘s tax plan would impoverish my family.

    And please stop assuming that concerns about Sanders’ tax plans are due to anti-tax sentiments (not just you but other Sanders supporters here). Not wanting my family to be impoverished is not the same thing as opposing taxes or even tax increases. In fact, I just voted for a tax increase to support municipal parks in my local primary.

  100. Pch101 says:

    @MBunge:

    It’s good that you’ve heard of Google. Now you need to type “Strom Thurmond”, “George Wallace”, “Civil Rights Act”, “Lee Atwater” and “Southern strategy” into it.

    The South began shifting to the GOP when the Democrats punted on segregation. The Republicans began to attract those voters when they created a home for them. If anything, Bill Clinton was able to slow down this process because he was able to win

    I’ve noticed that you have a bizarre sense of history. This is no exception.

  101. Monala says:

    @Monala: impoverish is probably too strong. But my family would be hurting. We’d either have to stop saving for retirement, or we’d find several of our bills difficult to pay.

    I realize that we currently are and would still be better off than many Americans. But I have experienced financial hardship and I don’t want to go back there. I’m guessing that a lot of middle income Americans are a lot like me.

  102. MBunge says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Bill Clinton certainly didn’t start the political realignment in this country and likely could not have done much to stop it. What he did do, however, was act for his personal political benefit and actively to the detriment of the Democratic Party and liberalism in general.

    Defensible? Perhaps. Defending it and either being ignorant of or in denial about it are different things.

    Mike

  103. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Not sure if anyone has shared this yet. If so, apologies for the duplication, but it’s very interesting.

    It appears that even Sanders supporters (in fact, especially Sanders supporters) are not willing to pay what his proposals would require them to pay …

    This has been my suspicion from the outset – that their support of this free ponies for everyone nonsense is directly contingent on the premise that someone else would be paying for them.

  104. MBunge says:

    @Pch101: Southern strategy

    And what was Bill Clinton’s “Sister Souljah moment” if not a deliberate and enthusiastic embrace of the “Southern Strategy?”

    And to be clear, is your position that stuff that happened in the 60s mattered in the 90s but that stuff that happened in the 90s doesn’t matter today?

    Mike

  105. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @MBunge:

    to the detriment of the Democratic Party and liberalism in general

    I’ll buy the contention that the swing back towards the middle has been detrimental to the interests of the far left, but I’m fine with that. Much like their brethren on the far right, they’re outliers, and government is never effective when it’s catering to the whims of extremists.

    For the interests of the Democratic party though? Nah. We’ve held the presidency for 16 of the last 24 years, controlled both houses of Congress for a while in there, and generally set ourselves up to increasingly run the table (thanks to our overwhelming advantage among minorities) going forward as the Republicans reflexively trend more and more towards throwing their lot in with the angry old white people.

    The problem seems to be that, for the far left anyway, Democrat = liberal. That’s just not the case, however much they might want for it to be.

  106. Pch101 says:

    @MBunge:

    It’s as if you’ve never bothered to look at an electoral map. Compare the 1992 and 1996 maps to 1980, 1984 and 1988, and notice how Clinton’s has a lot more blue in the southeast than his predecessors.

    Clinton managed for a time to bring back some Southern states to the Democrats. He not only didn’t cause the loss of the South, but he slowed it down. This should not be difficult to see.

  107. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Monala:

    The problem is, I think that is a very big assumption, and hardly guaranteed.

    That IMO is unlikely. Sanders proposes to smack employers with an additional 6.2% in taxation to fund his Medicare for all proposal. Presumably this is in addition to the FICA taxes they already pay, and it doesn’t take into account the tax benefits related to expenditures on employee health coverage which would be lost to them under Sanders proposal.

    It seems to me that if you put employers into the position of having to pay higher payroll taxes, while simultaneously exposing more of corporate income to direct taxation, which Sanders absolutely proposes to do, the first place they’re going to look to reclaim the lost economic benefit is on the backs of their labor force, either through lower wages, relocation of labor to more beneficial jurisdictions, or probably both.

  108. MBunge says:

    @HarvardLaw92: We’ve held the presidency for 16 of the last 24 years

    And been destroyed at virtually every other level of governance in the country.

    Mike

  109. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @MBunge:

    Yea, that’s what happens when post-industrialism torpedoes a standard of living which most Americans considered to be the norm (and their birthright), instead of the product of a period of aberrant prosperity, and social progress outstripped their capacity to cope. This is a generational phenomenon, exacerbated by the fact that those most likely to fall into that description are also the most likely to vote – especially given that the majority of states like to hold their state & local elections in presidential off years. It magnifies that effect.

    Short version: older people are disproportionately mad, and they disproportionately vote in state & local elections. Toss in gerrymandering, and none of this should remotely be surprising.

    It’s also nothing the Democratic Party platform or policy proposals caused, outside of the fact that they got caught with their pants down with respect to Republican marketing & wedge tactics and were slow to react.

    Time will solve it. A reflexive swing back to the left will exacerbate it.

  110. MBunge says:

    @Pch101:

    What part of “”Bill Clinton acted to benefit himself” do you not understand?

    Putting aside the fact that Clinton never got 50% of the vote, what happened to the rest of the Democratic Party as he was winning those “victories?”

    Mike

  111. Pch101 says:

    @MBunge:

    Putting aside the fact that Clinton never got 50% of the vote, what happened to the rest of the Democratic Party as he was winning those “victories?”

    Er, it kept supporting affirmative action and opposing segregation.

  112. An Interested Party says:

    I am curious about this claim that the Clintons helped Republicans to control so many parts of the government…look at how much they control and have gained since our current president has been in the White House…I understand why those who don’t like the Clintons think the way they do but how did Obama help Republicans to control so many parts of the government?

    Meanwhile, the Mother Jones calculator is a complete joke…to assume that the savings that companies get from not having to pay for healthcare will be passed on to their employees is living in fantasy land…

  113. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Meanwhile, the Mother Jones calculator is a complete joke…to assume that the savings that companies get from not having to pay for healthcare will be passed on to their employees is living in fantasy land…

    Agreed – I’m wondering where my firm is going to achieve the savings required to result in a net benefit to me (as predicted by MJ’s calculator) of $200,000 per year. We have over 150 other partners who earn roughly as much as I do, and I can assure you that the firm does not spend > $30 million per year on our healthcare …

  114. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Tony W: That’s whats wrong with liberals like you You’re always concerned with what’s best for the country instead of what’s best for the individual! As long as “I” come out ahead, isn’t that what really matters?”

  115. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    The top 5% of wage earners in this country earn 34.73% of overall AGI, but pay 58.72% of all federal income taxes.

    Of course it’s to my advantage to have an educated workforce which has access to healthcare, but I don’t think many of you would seriously argue that the degree of advantage is proportional to the additional tax burden I’m expected to shoulder in order to fund it.

    But the expectation seems to be exactly that, as demonstrated in the survey that I linked to above. “I should have this, and you should be happy to pay for it because you have more than I do and I really want it”.

    Calling us selfish for questioning the desirability of paying more when we’re already paying more than our fair share to begin with probably isn’t the best approach.

  116. Andre Kenji says:

    @stonetools:

    While I agree with the second part of this quote, I think the the first part is overdone. Hillary is a good (not great) candidate with some weaknesses, who was beaten in 2008 by a great candidate.

    Candidates with high negatives are always vulnerable. The high unfavorability of Ed Milliband that killed Labor in Britain during the last election. There is also her vote and her support for the Iraq War.

  117. Andre Kenji says:

    @Tony W:

    The dark side is that poor kids get to go to public university?

    No. The dark side is that Sanders is not promising “free college”, he is promising “free *public* college”. You´d have upper and middle class students going after the Public Universities because they would be free while lower income students would have to go to Private Schools.

    Pell Grants and scholarships are a much better idea.

  118. Monala says:

    @Andre Kenji: You might be interested to know what 2000 presidential candidate Ralph Nader is up to these days. He is part of a group called, “Free Harvard, Fair Harvard,” that is pushing to make Harvard tuition completely free. (Nader is a Harvard graduate) Sounds good, right? Not so fast.

    First, his fellow members of the group are suspect, several of them being conservatives who have strong ties with white nationalist groups.

    Second, Harvard (along with several other Ivy League schools) has been free for about a decade for students from families with incomes less than $65,000, and students from families with incomes up to $150,000 pay no more than 10%. That’s for all costs, tuition, fees, room and board.

    The Free Harvard movement would get rid of this, making tuition free for everyone, but putting everyone on the hook for room and board. So, now the kid $200,000 who might have gone somewhere else because she’d have to take out loans for Harvard, can go for free and push out the kid from a family earning $50,000, who can’t afford the room and board. Yup, more fair. (And btw, from what I understand about countries with free college tuition, there are often much higher academic barriers to entry than for colleges in the U.S., and students often still have to go into debt to pay for room and board costs).

    The group is also trying to get rid of all considerations of race or ethnicity in admissions decisions. Actually, all considerations of any personal factors. They want a cutoff based on SAT and grades, and then have students randomly picked from the group above the cutoff. One more interesting fact: one of the members of the Free Harvard group thinks Harvard has too many Jews.

  119. Monala says:

    @Monala: I love this image as an illustration of why “equal” isn’t always fair or just.

  120. Todd says:

    @PJ:

    … my concerns that Sanders won’t be very interested in healing the rift he has created during the primaries.

    And it starts already. If Clinton is the nominee, it’s her responsibility to heal the “rift”. If the rift doesn’t heal, and some non-right-wing citizens choose not to vote for her in the general election, that’s not Bernie Sanders’ fault.

    I think one of the biggest mistakes Sanders made in this whole campaign was the line in that first debate that most of you loved him for, where he didn’t want to talk about her “damn emails”. Sanders started out trying to stay “positive” and “about the issues”, all the while the Clinton campaign had people like Claire McCaskill on TV every chance she got using the word “socialism!” in Republicaneque scare quotes.

    Bernie Sanders is merely the vehicle for expressing the widespread discontent with the Democratic party. There is a rift, but it’s primary cause is Hillary Clinton, and the Democratic party apparatus that she and her husband thoroughly control. If the rift doesn’t heal enough, and by chance Hillary Clinton is not sworn in as President in January 2017, don’t blame Sanders supporters, who many of you have spent months denigrating, look in the damn mirror.

  121. Tyrell says:

    This is interesting, and it is something that you probably won’t hear Hillary or Sanders talk about: ” IRS encourages illegal immigrants to use false social security numbers on tax returns ” (Forbes, Washington Examiner). This is done, of course, to probably help them get a refund. You probably won’t see this on a lot of the news media.
    How about this, Bernie ?
    Maybe they will let me use a phony ss number and I can claim one of those refunds ! Nah, no way. A legal citizen would get locked up and they would throw the key away.

  122. Monala says:

    @Tyrell: the IRS requires undocumented immigrants to apply for an ITIN (individual taxpayer identification number). It’s not a fake Social Security number-it starts with a 9, which no SS numbers do, so it’s easily recognizable. Btw, the ITIN number is also used by US service members who marry non-citizens while serving overseas (the ITIN is for their spouse). In addition, taxpayers with ITINs can’t claim any tax credits, so a refund, if any, would only be of withholding. And if they later want to apply for citizenship, the INS wants to see that they have behaved like good citizens including filing taxes.

  123. Monala says:

    @Todd: what would “healing the rift” look like to you? What would Clinton have to do to win your vote?

  124. al-Ameda says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    McGovern and Jimmy Carter essentially destroyed the political viability of a leftist platform / position. Because of them, we spent 12 years wandering in the political wilderness.

    Dead on, exactly right.
    To me, Bernie Sanders is the first step on the path to another walk in the political wilderness.

  125. Katharsis says:

    Imagine a website—maybe one that seems to have a pronounced pro-Sanders tilt—creating a “Benefits Calculator” that promises to tell you how each candidate’s benefits plan affects you. The calculator guesstimates how much your employer will save with a single-payer plan and, using the same dubious economics, implies that that savings is money in your bank account. What about your employer’s big tax hike? It’s a benefits calculator—it can’t show the effect of tax changes!

    Fair.org

    The above is essentially what Vox did with their calculator, and a lot of that is because of the Tax Policy Center. All they did is add up how much everything would presumably cost and leave out any benefits that you would get for that cost. They also combined employer based taxes with your taxes and just called them your tax liability. While I would agree with those that are skeptical that employers would pass off their savings straight to their employees as the Mother Jones/The Nation calculator does, it’s also doubtful employers could just cut your pay to pass off all their costs to their employees as the Vox calculator assumes.

    Like Harvard92 alluded, much of this is moot since Bernie won’t be the nominee anyway. I would argue it’s even more moot since Single Payer wouldn’t happen even if Bernie was elected President. ACA was a tough haul with a single party in control of 3/4’s of our government–the SCOTUS could really have just aborted all that work. Reworking our entire healthcare system while virtually eliminating a whole sector of the economy–health insurance–is a unicorn proposition at best. Therefore, much of both the tax-hike and the benefit analysis is doubly without grounds.

  126. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Dude, you’re in the wrong party for this issue. Limbaugh has been selling that line for roughly 30 years.

    But more importantly, I’ll need to adjust the snark setting on my responsarometer.l

  127. harvardLaw92 says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    The tax figures are accurate.

    Ironically, from a fiscal standpoint (fiscal conservative), I should be a Republican. Were the party still the same one that existed around the time of Eisenhower, I probably would be registered and voting as one.

    I’ve been left with the sad reality that neither party will ever give me fiscal sanity and prudent spending policy, so the determinant becomes the social issues. Given that I’m pretty much a social liberal, I’m a Democrat by default.

    I will say that the far left easily annoys me just as much as the far right does.

  128. An Interested Party says:

    If Clinton is the nominee, it’s her responsibility to heal the “rift”. If the rift doesn’t heal, and some non-right-wing citizens choose not to vote for her in the general election, that’s not Bernie Sanders’ fault.

    Yes, I’m so sure that if Hillary had not made up with Obama back in 2008 and he lost the election to McCain, it would have been all of Obama’s fault for not healing the rift with Hillary…those people who are trashing her now would have held her totally blameless in 2008…oh please…

  129. KM says:

    @Todd:

    And it starts already. If Clinton is the nominee, it’s her responsibility to heal the “rift”. If the rift doesn’t heal, and some non-right-wing citizens choose not to vote for her in the general election, that’s not Bernie Sanders’ fault.

    At least partially, it will be. See, it takes two to quarrel, but only one to hold a grudge. Not being a sore loser is just as important as being a gracious winner. It is both of their responsibilities to make sure the Democratic Party wins in the November election. The party is a team working to get their chosen person elected and Sanders has been running as part of that team. He has just as much responsibility healing a rift he’s been widening with his increasingly aggressive remarks. In the face of virtually inevitable defeat, he’s become increasingly hostile; since he is the one continuing the fight to the bitter end, he should be the one to “apologize” afterwards when he is not the victor. However I sincerely doubt, that if Sanders came out and wholly endorsed Hillary as his BFF, that people who tossed dollars bills at her will suddenly be enthusiastic voters.

  130. Andre Kenji says: