Clinton Grabs Big Endorsement A Week Ahead Of The Battle For California

Hillary Clinton is hoping to avoid an embarrassing loss in California to Bernie Sanders, and she just got some help from an unlikely source.

Sanders Clinton

With the California primary a week away, Governor Jerry Brown has endorsed Hillary Clinton:

LOS ANGELES — Gov. Jerry Brown endorsed Hillary Clinton for president on Tuesday, intervening in the highly contested Democratic primary and telling voters she has the “tenacity and skill to advance the Democratic agenda.”

“Democrats have shown, by millions of votes, that they want her as their nominee,” he said.

But Mr. Brown’s endorsement, which came one week before next Tuesday’s primary in his state, also offered strong praise for Senator Bernie Sanders, who has been campaigning nearly full-time in California in an attempt to post a victory that might lift his long-shot battle to defeat Mrs. Clinton. In doing so, Mr. Brown took note of the similarities between the campaign the California governor ran for president in 1992 and Mr. Sanders’s own appeal.

“He has driven home the message that the top one percent has unfairly captured way too much of America’s wealth, leaving the majority of people far behind,” he said in an open letter to Democrats and independents, who are permitted to vote in the primary. “In 1992, I attempted a similar campaign.”

Mr. Brown lost that race to Mrs. Clinton’s husband, Bill Clinton, in a contest that left lingering bitterness between the two men. Mr. Clinton met with Mr. Brown in his office in Sacramento last week, suggesting any remaining strain between the two political figures is easing.

But the governor, who is now 78 and midway through his fourth and final term as the state’s chief executive, made it clear that more than anything, his decision was driven by his concern about Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee.

The endorsement comes at a particularly important time for Clinton. While she presently leads Sanders in the polls out of California, the Vermont Senator has been quite a lot of time there recently and continues to promise that he will win the the California Primary as part of a plan to take his campaign against Clinton all the way to the Democratic National Convention in July where he seems to believe he would be able to convince Superdelegates to back him even though Clinton will walk into the convention with the most pledged delegates, the most popular votes, and seemingly the most credible case for Superdelegate support at the convention. As things stand, Clinton will formally clinch the nomination with a win in New Jersey, where Clinton has an overwhelming lead over Sanders, but it would obviously be somewhat of an embarrassment for her campaign if she were to lose the primary in the biggest state in the union, and one that her husband is largely responsible for turning blue thanks to his win there in the 1992 Presidential Election. Additionally, if Clinton is able to win in the Golden State it may well be the final straw necessary to convince Sanders that it’s time to speak reality to his supporters and get them to rally to Clinton’s side much as Clinton herself did eight years ago when her race against Barack Obama finally came to an end.

Brown’s endorsement is likely to help Clinton’s campaign if only because he remains relatively popular in the state after his victory in his re-election fight in 2014 and any edge that Clinton can get over Sanders in the Golden State is likely to help her. In the end, though, my guess is that Clinton will end up winning California rather easily even if the percentage difference between her and Sanders could end up being closer than expected. This victory, along with the fact that she will have clinched the nomination earlier in the evening ought to be the best signal available to demonstrate to Sanders that it’s time to throw in the towel.

Incidentally, Brown’s endorsement of Clinton is somewhat ironic considering the long-standing bad blood between him and the Clintons:

The endorsement was not easily won. Jerry Brown’s relationship with the Clintons has been strained since his bitter primary race against Bill Clinton in 1992, when Brown called Bill Clinton “the prince of sleaze.”

It was that year that Brown played a role not unlike the role Sanders is playing now, running as the outsider against the establishment, demanding the Democratic Party move in a more leftward direction and refusing to yield to the front-runner at a time party leaders were eager for unity.

At the party’s 1992 national convention in New York , Brown supporters roamed Madison Square Garden with tape over their mouths, protesting what they said was the muzzling of their candidate by party leaders. They interrupted a speech by Hillary Clinton with shouts of “let Jerry speak.”

“I’ve never known Jerry not to speak when he wants to speak,” Clinton said at the time. “He’s always speaking, near as I can tell.”

The uneasiness still had not subsided by the time Brown had launched his campaign for governor, in 2010. His GOP rival at the time, Meg Whitman, quoted Bill Clinton to make her case that Brown had raised taxes during his first stint as governor.

Brown responded by pointing out that Bill Clinton lied about his philandering in the White House, mocking Clinton’s notorious “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” line.

“Clinton’s a nice guy, but who ever said he always told the truth?” Brown told a crowd at the opening of a Democratic Party office in East Los Angeles in 2010. “You remember, right? There’s that whole story there about did he or didn’t he. OK, I did — I did not have taxes with this state.”

This bad blood in turn is rooted in comments Brown made during a debate with then Governor Bill Clinton during the race for the 1992 Democratic Presidential nomination:

Here’s a longer view of the exchange:

Brown’s allegations, of course, eventually became part of the myriad of real and alleged scandals that plagued the Clinton White House and Hillary Clinton’s time as First Lady for the next eight year. The fact that Brown is endorsing Clinton now is, to say the least, very interesting.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Hillary Clinton, 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. C. Clavin says:

    Speaking of endorsements….North Korea’s state run media has endorsed Trump.
    So he’s got that going for him, which is nice…

  2. Kari Q says:

    That’s the endorsement of someone who isn’t thrilled, isn’t it? Short on warm words, but long on pragmatism. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    Brown was right about the dispute in ’92, in my opinion. It’s water under the bridge at this point, but It is clearly wrong for the state to direct business to the law partnership that the governor’s spouse is a partner in, and it clearly did happen. It quickly got lost in the “could have stayed home and baked cookies” response, which gave me a pretty good idea of what to expect from the Clintons. It was politically clever and completely non-responsive to the issue.

    But I’m voting for her any.

    Thanks Republicans. Couldn’t you have found someone sane?

  3. Todd says:

    I’m obviously not in the camp of Sanders’ supporters who thinks the primary was “stolen”, or even particularly “unfair” (I generally despise that word). Instead I’ve come to the conclusion that Democrats are just hopelessly inept. A majority of Democrats have convinced themselves that a candidate who is nearly incompetent when it comes to running an effective campaign (how many slogans/tag lines have they tried out now?) is somehow the most “electable”. In a normal year this would just be sad. But this year, it’s truly dangerous. Donald Trump is someone who should never have a prayer of getting near the oval office. But thanks almost exclusively to fact that he has Hillary Clinton (someone nearly as unpopular as he it) as his likely opponent, there’s a legitimate chance (albeit still a long shot) that he could win.

    Look, I totally get that Hillary Clinton might be a better President than Bernie Sanders … I’m honestly not sure what type of President he would be. But it’s bordering on delusional to say that she somehow has a better chance of winning against Trump than Sanders would. And in a year we’ve been told over and over is possibly one of the most important elections in our lifetimes (due to SCOTUS vacancies), picking the candidate who is most likely to win should have been the first priority. Again, I get that many Democrats have convinced themselves that Sanders’ popularity nationally is merely an “illusion”; the problem is, there’s absolutely no objective evidence to support that theory.

  4. stonetools says:

    Look, I totally get that Hillary Clinton might be a better President than Bernie Sanders … I’m honestly not sure what type of President he would be. But it’s bordering on delusional to say that she somehow has a better chance of winning against Trump than Sanders would.

    Or maybe you are just wrong about this. The truth is what we have no idea whether Sanders can take a punch, because he has never had to.

    It is true, as Sanders pointed out, that polls show him doing better than Clinton against Republicans in November. But it is also true that Clinton has not hit Sanders with a single negative ad. Not one. Initially, her campaign didn’t take him seriously. Later, it couldn’t figure out a way to go after him where he’s weakest—on the flakier parts of his far-left past—without alienating his supporters. A source close to the Clinton campaign tells me that because Sanders has high favorability numbers with Democrats, Clinton would have damaged herself by attacking him, especially since she didn’t have to in order to win. The source points to the New York primary as confirmation of this view, arguing that Sanders hurt himself by going negative on his opponent.

    The right, meanwhile, had no incentive to rough up Sanders, a candidate who, by all accounts, Republicans would love to run against in the fall. And the mainstream media often failed to treat Sanders as a plausible contender, which would have entailed a much greater degree of scrutiny than he received.
    As a result, issues that, fairly or not, would be obsessively scrutinized in a general election have gone almost entirely unexamined…..

    He has never been asked to account for his relationship with the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party, for which he served as a presidential elector in 1980. At the time, the party’s platform called for abolishing the U.S. military budget and proclaimed “solidarity” with revolutionary Iran. (This was in the middle of the Iranian hostage crisis.) There’s been little cable news chatter about Sanders’ 1985 trip to Nicaragua, where he reportedly joined a Sandinista rally with a crowd chanting, “Here, there, everywhere/ The Yankee will die.” It would be nice if this were due to a national consensus on the criminal nature of America’s support for the Contras. More likely, the media’s attention has simply been elsewhere.

    Read the whole article, and the linked Saletan article. The Republican attack machine, with the collaboration of MSM, would come down on Sanders like the Furies if somehow he became the nominee.Could he withstand such attacks? Honestly, nobody knows. But I for one would not like to run that experiment in the middle of a crucial and so far unpredictable Presidential election.

  5. Gustopher says:

    @Todd: if Sanders cannot beat Clinton in the primaries, I don’t think that a serious case can be made that he is the better candidate for the general election. As weak a campaigner as Clinton is, that’s all the more reason why Sanders would have beaten her if he was a good candidate.

    His negatives are lower, but no one has really attacked him yet.

    There’s no evidence that Sanders can appeal to people outside the base — he does well in caucuses where intensity of support is more relevant than breadth of support. He does better in Appalachia, but Appalacia votes for the closest they can get to a white man.

  6. Todd says:

    @stonetools: First off, your bolded statement that Clinton never went negative against Sanders was refuted by Politifact. Also, while her campaign might not have hit him very hard directly, her surrogates, both in the political world, and certainly in the press didn’t hold back. I suspect that at this point in the campaign there are very few people in the country who don’t know who Bernie Sanders is … and that he’s called himself a “socialist” … except the way he explains it, that’s not a “bad word”. BTW, it’s baffling to me that so many Democrats so readily accept it as a pejorative term.

    Finally though, I said there is no objective evidence that Sanders would become significantly less popular if attacked. That statement holds true. The article you linked to is an opinion piece. Furthermore though, the argument might make more sense if the two Democratic candidates were roughly equal in their levels of appeal (or lack of appeal). But in this case, even if we accept the premise that Sanders’ favorability would fall once he’s in the spotlight, it’s a bit harder to believe that he would end up with higher disapproval than Hillary Clinton already has. That’s where the Democrat’s electability argument has some holes (IMO).

  7. Todd says:

    @Gustopher:

    if Sanders cannot beat Clinton in the primaries,

    LOL, are you serious?

    Sanders voters have been told since before voting even started in Iowa “why even bother”, she’s already WAY ahead (look at all those super delegates). Even now, when it really is pretty all over but the crying, a fair percentage of Californians are going to turn out to vote for someone other than Clinton.

  8. Todd says:

    … to try to spin that as anything other than Clinton weakness is ludicrous.

  9. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Todd:

    The problem is that entire theory is based on the Sanders who has enjoyed an almost complete freedom from attack thus far.

    You and I both know that the current oddly lovable “Uncle Bernie” Sanders wouldn’t bear any resemblance to the bloodied “he’s a communist!l Sanders who would be on the stage after months of unending Republican attacks, quite a few of them of the “he wants to raise your taxes!!” variety (and which would have the unfortunate quality of being accurate, and thus difficult to defend against).

  10. HarvardLaw92 says:

    OT: the 4th Circuit denied en banc review in Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board.

  11. Todd says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    You and I both know that the current oddly lovable “Uncle Bernie” Sanders wouldn’t bear any resemblance to the bloodied “he’s a communist!l Sanders who would be on the stage after months of unending Republican attacks

    Actually, no, I wouldn’t say that’s something I know.

    The way I see it, even if Sanders became less popular due to attacks, there’s still a major difference between him and Clinton. Sanders would be attacked for positions he holds … positions which he is happy to explain and defend. Clinton on the other hand is unpopular not because of positions that she can explain/defend, but due to character issues that she (and many of her supporters) deny even exist.

    There’s just a poll out this morning, and one of the questions was who is more honest and trustworthy …. Trump scored higher than Clinton. In a rational world, I agree that is ridiculous. But Presidential politics is not rational. The reality is that Clinton is going to face significant headwinds between now and November, that her campaign will be able to do very little, if anything to compensate for.

    As we’ve discussed before, Trump has enough problems of his own that she’ll likely still win. But this just keeps reminding me more and more of Al Gore in 2000. For any Democrat to be essentially tied with Donald Trump is just horrifying. This really should be as “easy” of a blowout as many Democrats imagined it would be … except that so far it’s not.

    lol, for pure fantasy, I kind of like the Wall Street Journal’s suggestion … if Clinton continues to sink (especially if something happens with the email), instead of Sanders getting the nomination, a Biden/Warren ticket is nominated at the Democratic convention. 😀

  12. Tyrell says:

    I feel it is unwise and inappropriate for high level elected officials to endorse candidates while they are still in office. That would be governors, senators, and representatives at the federal and state level. There could be a perceived pressure on government workers, and certain conflicts of interest. They need to stay above the fray. It would not be as much of a factor at local elected positions, such as a small town council member, recreation director, or dog catcher.

  13. Davebo says:

    @Tyrell:

    Do you have an elected dog catcher or recreation director in your town?

  14. Jen says:

    @Todd:

    BTW, it’s baffling to me that so many Democrats so readily accept it as a pejorative term.

    I don’t know that it’s necessarily Democrats accepting it so much as understanding that it is considered a pejorative by the general public. The vast, vast majority of voters in this country would not be able to provide a correct distinction between a Soviet-style socialist and a democratic socialist–thus, the Pew polling that showed that voters would be least likely to support a self-described socialist for president. It literally was at the bottom of the list, following atheist and Muslim, etc.

    And “socialist” is really just the tip of the iceberg for the Republican opposition research. They would have had a field day with Sander’s fiction writing too.

  15. Todd says:

    @Jen:

    And “socialist” is really just the tip of the iceberg for the Republican opposition research. They would have had a field day with Sander’s fiction writing too.

    And you guys still cling to the idea that there was no negative campaigning against Sanders. This is not totally dissimilar to what the Clinton campaign did against Obama in 2008 with things like the Rev Wright story. Her allies in the press bring up subjects that “Republicans would likely exploit”, then her supporters run around the Internet citing these stories as “evidence” that Clinton’s opponent is the one who would really be less “electable”.

  16. MarkedMan says:

    There was nothing resembling a hard hit from Clinton or her surrogates. Not even close. My god, can you imagine Donald Trump parading around family members of Americans who died in Iran, or the hostages themselves and then talking about how Bernie declared solidarity with the hostage takers while they were being held? Just how do you think that will play with the American voter? And there isn’t one episode like that, there are literally dozens. Find an aged American who survived torture at the hands of the Soviets and then show pictures of Bernie and his wife honeymooning in Moscow at the height of the cold war. Show picture of 9/11 and then roll tape on the many, many times Bernie talked about drastically cutting our military. You think Bernie is going to be able to “explain” those proudly held positions?

  17. grumpy realist says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Which one was that one? I’m too lazy to use my Google-Fu at present….

  18. grumpy realist says:

    @Jen: The vast, vast majority of voters in this country wouldn’t be able to state Newton’s Law F=ma.

    Oh the heck with it. Let the Chinese take over.

  19. stonetools says:

    @Todd:

    I said there is no objective evidence that Sanders would become significantly less popular if attacked. That statement holds true.

    OK, you didn’t click through to the linked Saletan article so let me do so now.

    Republicans would rip Sanders as a big-spending, big-taxing socialist. They have plenty of ammo. They could quote the 2015 letter in which Sanders urged President Obama to “raise revenue” through “executive action.” They could dig up quotes from decades ago, in which Sanders called himself “clearly anti-capitalistic,” complained that U.S. interventions in Latin America “have been for the benefit of large corporations,” and praised communist countries as culturally superior. “Contrast what the young people in China and Cuba are doing for themselves and for their country as compared to the young people in America,” Sanders argued in 1976.

    Republicans could hammer the back-seat foreign policy Sanders conducted as a mayor in Vermont: going to Cuba to seek a meeting with Fidel Castro, visiting Lenin’s tomb in the Soviet Union, and traveling to Nicaragua, where he met with Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega and praised the country’s cultural minister as a “hippie” whose government was “teaching poetry not only to peasants and to workers but in the military.” They could go after Sanders’ countercultural mockery of “respectful clerks, technicians and soldiers.” They could rehash his attacks on compulsory schooling, dairy laws, and fluoridation, or his Freudian analysis of napalm use in Vietnam, or his advocacy of public toddler nudity and genital touching as cures for porn, or the sexual quackery through which he attributed breast cancer and cervical cancer to orgasm deficiency and capitalist conformity.

    Basically, if you were designing the perfect target for Republicans—a candidate who proudly links socialist economics to hippie culture, libertinism, left-wing foreign policy, new-age nonsense, and contempt for bourgeois values—you’d create Bernie Sanders. Clinton could have attacked these weaknesses in the primary—her supporters had an opposition research file on Sanders’ “associations with communism”—but she didn’t. In a general election, Republicans wouldn’t hesitate.

    Would a GOP assault along these lines hurt Sanders? Absolutely. Start with his spending plans. Two months ago, an Associated Press-GfK poll asked Americans about Sanders’ proposal to replace “the private health insurance system … with a single government-run and taxpayer-funded plan” that “would cover medical, dental, vision, and long-term care services.” A 39 percent plurality favored the idea. Then the poll asked people whether they’d still support the plan if it meant “your own taxes would increase.” Suddenly, the plurality disappeared: Only 28 percent still favored the plan; 39 percent opposed it. When the poll mentioned that people would have to “give up other coverage like employer coverage” as part of the government-run system, again, 39 percent opposed it, while only 28 percent supported it.

    Read the whole thing. There actually is data saying that such attacks against Sanders would hurt him.
    I think your problem is that you honestly think that Sander’s unfavorability ratings could not sink as low as Clinton’s , because thanks to the kid gloves’ treatment of Sanders, you are unaware of his vulnerabilities. But those vulnerabilities exist, and the Republicans would rip into those like sharks at a feeding frenzy.
    Could Sanders defend against that? I’m sure he could explain his views on child porn and whether sexual frigidity causes cancer if given enough time and the right setting, but he would have lost the election by then. Compared to those views, Clinton’s email problems pale into insignificance.

  20. Ratufa says:

    @Todd:

    Relative to what the Republicans would do in the general election, the smear campaign against Sanders during the primaries has been minor, and for good reason: Hillary does not want to totally alienate Sanders supporters.

    As to exactly how the Republicans would attack Sanders, I don’t know. But, I’m also somebody who initially thought in 2004 that Kerry’s military record would be an advantage for him, and didn’t anticipate it being swift-boated away.

    That said, Hillary is an uninspiring (to be nice about it) candidate. Her main advantage is her opponent, who provides rich opportunities for negative campaigning. This election is going to be like a 5 month long televised version of Spy magazine back in it’s heyday, but without the wit.

  21. Todd says:

    @MarkedMan: So basically it would seem that the only people who are currently even aware of these “devastating” stories about Bernie Sanders are Clinton supporting Democrats.

    Because of course, all the people in polls who say that they would vote for Sanders over Trump obviously have no idea that he’s a “damned socialist” … and of course if they did, that would change everything.

    In fairness, if the situation was reversed, with Sanders the likely nominee running even in polls against Trump, while Clinton was doing better in the hypothetical matchups, then all of these concerns about Sanders would be totally valid. But as it is, we’ve got one candidate who is in reality already unpopular and struggling, while her opponent is only imagined to be potentially more problematic as a candidate.

    See where I’m going here?

    Everything you guys point out about Sanders could possibly be true. But right now, you’re making it all up. There’s no objective evidence to support it.

    On the flip side, there is already ample evidence to support the very real concerns about Clinton’s ability to defeat Donald Trump.

  22. Todd says:

    @stonetools: I did read the whole thing, it’s all conjecture.

    Also, you guys keep attacking me as if I think Sanders is some sort of “ideal” candidate. I do not think that at all. I’ve stated numerous times that I think that Democrats would have been much better off if Joe Biden or especially Elizabeth Warren had gotten in the race last fall. But of the two candidates we have, Clinton is the one who is going to have a harder time changing perceptions that many voters already have of her … it’s those pesky “honest and trustworthy” numbers.

    Call me a risk taker, but I’d still prefer the candidate who “might” have problems dealing with Republican attacks vs. the one who definitely already does have significant issues dealing with the negative way in which the public views her.

  23. Todd says:

    Also, talk about double standards. You guys regularly defend Clinton against legitimate concerns about her relatively recent ethical lapses (email server) and questionable judgement (Wall Street speeches) as being unfairly attacked. Yet then you turn around and cite stuff such as where Sanders went on his honeymoon or things he wrote or said 50 years ago as topics that the American people would take “seriously”, and would likely make him “unelectable”, even against Donald Trump. Get real.

  24. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @grumpy realist:

    The transgender school bathroom case out of Virginia

  25. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Todd:

    Sanders would be attacked for positions he holds … positions which he is happy to explain and defend.

    Understood – the problem is that the practical implication of his proposals (tax increases) is deeply unpopular. As much as some voters might hate Clinton, I’m willing to bet that they hate higher taxes a great deal more.

    Sanders standing there saying “but you get all this “free” stuff (it isn’t really free if your taxes have to go up to pay for it)” won’t help the matter. It’ll make it worse, because the Republican response will be “See, even Sanders admits he wants to raise your taxes”. It’s the problem of the purist who can’t see beyond the halo of his dreams to the pitchforks and torches down in the street.

  26. An Interested Party says:

    You guys regularly defend Clinton against legitimate concerns about her relatively recent ethical lapses (email server) and questionable judgement (Wall Street speeches) as being unfairly attacked. Yet then you turn around and cite stuff such as where Sanders went on his honeymoon or things he wrote or said 50 years ago as topics that the American people would take “seriously”, and would likely make him “unelectable”, even against Donald Trump. Get real.

    This doesn’t mean that those same people who are defending Clinton now wouldn’t defend Sanders in the general election…but you are incorrect to dismiss how the GOP would effectively attack Sanders…how they attacked Kerry in 2004, turning what was supposedly a strength into a weakness shows how effective they can be…hell, there are many Democrats who would be unhappy with the tax increases Sanders wants, you don’t think a majority of voters won’t be turned off by that? To quote you, get real…

  27. Jen says:

    @Todd:

    So basically it would seem that the only people who are currently even aware of these “devastating” stories about Bernie Sanders are Clinton supporting Democrats.

    In short, yes, along with Republicans who are interested in running against Sanders.

    People who are deeply interested in politics seem to forget that most people just don’t care as much as we do. I live in New Hampshire, where we are assaulted by every possible means of candidate connection from November through primary day. It is everywhere. In January, my husband and I were talking with friends and mentioned something about seeing John Kasich at a town hall. They said “who?” These friends aren’t dumb. They eventually got around to checking out candidates. They’ve heard of Trump and Clinton, but if pressed probably couldn’t get into detail about any of the big, heavily-covered controversies surrounding either of them–and even less so with Sanders.

    They just don’t care right now, and they are not unusual. There is practically zero chance they’ve heard of any of the stuff listed at that link. Our experience and depth of interest is not something that should be assumed to be the case across the board to the general public.

  28. Todd says:

    @HarvardLaw92: To some extent I do see the problem with the tax proposals. But in reality this is a much a Democratic party problem as anything else. There’s a mismatch between what most Democrats say they want as far as government services and safety net programs and the amount of revenue the government takes in to support those goals. Most people recognize how unrealistic and even disingenuous Republican gimmicks such as dynamic scoring (tax cuts magically increase revenue) are. But where especially those on the left have their heads in the sand is this continual fantasy that we can have everything we want … but it will always be paid for by someone else.

    The problem is that Democrats still take the conventional wisdom “hit” that they are the party who will raise everyone’s taxes … except that for the most part, timid Democrats are only willing to actually do it for those earning the seemingly arbitrary income of $250K or more.

    I’ve noticed something about Democrats, many of you seem to think that reality matters in politics. That average voters would likely perceive the difference between one candidate who actually says he’d raise taxes and one candidate who denies it, but who they’re pretty sure really wants to, and would if they got the chance.

    Short version: regardless of her actually positions, Clinton will be attacked by Republicans as a “tax and spend liberal” this fall too … and most voters who would have held such positions on taxes against Sanders will also likely vote against Hillary Clinton for the EXACT SAME REASONS.

  29. MarkedMan says:

    @Todd:

    Everything you guys point out about Sanders could possibly be true. But right now, you’re making it all up. There’s no objective evidence to support it.

    Wait, are you saying there is no evidence that Bernie said those things? Or that there is no evidence that they would hurt him in an election? If the former, there is adequate public record of his statements. And if the latter, well, I think we just disagree there.

    I think you are also saying that since this stuff is in the public record it is already “out there”. At least in my circle of friends and family, who are way more politically aware than average, it definitely isn’t. Many of my friends are favorable to Bernie’s ideas (as am I) and they have a vague idea that he is a socialist, but certainly not a communist. If they were made aware of the things I mentioned above, I’m pretty sure they would question their favorable impression. And for those who are not liberal or progressive to start with I’m pretty sure that they would write him off at that point.

    And that is not even accounting for the Slate reporting about genital touching and so forth, which I admit, was news to me and unless there is a lot more context, would make me question supporting him even over Trump.

  30. stonetools says:

    @Todd:

    The article says that Sanders positions were explained in detail to actual prospective voters, who then rejected them. That’s not conjecture.

    Also too, do you really think it’s conjecture that the average voter would reject Sanders’ positions on pornography and the causes of cancer?
    Sanders voted against the Amber Alert law. How popular do you think that stand is? Heck, the attack ad virtually writes itself.

    Would Sander’s favorability rating drop sharply against a sustained Republican attack? History tells us it will .

    Scholars and journalists are familiar with other notable collapses in popularity when candidates came under assault. One of the most notable examples relates to the fast descent of Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis during the 1988 presidential campaign. Shortly after the Democrats chose Dukakis at their national convention, 55% of Americans surveyed by Gallup favored Dukakis for president, while only 38% preferred Republican George H. W. Bush. Then the GOP’s opinion-shapers went to work. Led by a clever tactician, Lee Atwater, spots on television raised questions about the Democrat’s supposed strengths (Dukakis presented himself as a skillful administrator). Ads claimed Governor Dukakis allowed pollution to foul Massachusetts’s waters and reported that Dukakis backed a furlough program for prisoners that enabled a brutal rape and assault.

    Republicans were not entirely to blame for the Democrat’s defeat. Michael Dukakis stumbled during the campaign. He gave an unconvincing response to a question about rape during a televised debate. The Democratic candidate looked ridiculous in a campaign photo that showed him smiling in a tank. These and other mistakes as well as criticism from the Republicans helped George H. W. Bush to secure a strong electoral victory, 426 to 111.

    Bernie Sanders might experience a rapid, Dukakis-like decline if the GOP aims its media weapons at him. Republicans have been subjecting Hillary Clinton to unrelenting political fire over several months, but they have not offered much criticism of Bernie Sanders. This neglect reflects a calculated strategy. Republicans hope Sanders’s extended primary campaign will continue to harm Mrs. Clinton’s approval ratings. Some GOP leaders refrained from attacking Sanders because they hoped, up until a few weeks ago, that he could secure the Democratic nomination. They considered the Vermont senator an easier target in the general election than Hillary Clinton.

    To a certain extent, the Democrats have been ill served by Clinton’s gentle treatment of Sanders. Had she launched anything like the all out assault the Republicans would launch, we might have some idea of Sanders’ resilience. As it is, we just have no idea about how Sanders could stand up to a full scale Republican assault. We would be rolling the dice on a candidate that looks , IMO, weaker than either Dukakis or Kerry-two candidates who were dismantled by Republican attacks.

  31. Todd says:

    It’s all good. This is really just another case of an academic argument … at least the part that pertains to Sanders (who will probably not be the Democratic party nominee … even if something happens to Clinton between now and the convention).

    Unfortunately, the parts about how weak Clinton is as a candidate are all too real.

    It’s going to be a long, scary summer and fall. :-/

  32. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Todd:

    At which point Clinton would simply point to her tax proposal and gleefully mention that her tax plan (at least as it was laid out prior to now) doesn’t impact the middle class & below. Sanders plan does (ignore the “but you’ll get all this cool stuff” argument. They’ll hear tax increase and tune the rest out).

    Trust me “I want to raise their taxes” plays a great deal differently with the average American voter than “I want to raise YOUR taxes”. Americans love free stuff that somebody else pays for. They get pretty hot under the collar about being tasked with helping to pay for it themselves.

  33. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @stonetools:

    Some GOP leaders refrained from attacking Sanders because they hoped, up until a few weeks ago, that he could secure the Democratic nomination. They considered the Vermont senator an easier target in the general election than Hillary Clinton.

    Exactly. Dem PACs didn’t spend by some accounts close to $1 million helping Sharron Angle win her primary fight because they liked her. They helped her because she was easier for Reid to beat in November.

  34. Todd says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I think you missed my point. Clinton’s actual tax proposals won’t matter. She will be stuck with the “tax and spend” label every bit as much as she would if she had no joke tax increases for everyone in her plan. In the minds of many of the “not really paying attention yet” Americans that Jen alluded to above, just having a (D) after their name on the ballot makes any such candidate a “damned socialist” .. whether they’ve admitted to it or not.

    Virtually every issue that you guys are sure would doom Sanders will negatively impact Clinton too, to at least some extent. Plus she has the even bigger “honest and trustworthy” problem.

    But again, I’m not here to necessarily argue pro Sanders (I think at this point if he did end up with the nomination, he could lose as many spiteful Clinton supporters as she might lose of his now). The way this is ending is not “ideal” for either of them.

    Democrats have made their bed. Hopefully we don’t all end up having to lie in it.

  35. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Todd:

    That’s just MY point – Republicans flinging that label at Clinton opens a door for her to explain how her tax plan (flawed as it is) doesn’t impact the middle & lower class, and gives her a wedge issue to inject.

    Their flinging at Sanders only leaves him the opportunity to point out that what they’re saying about him is accurate. He has no room to maneuver in response to that attack.

    The issue isn’t that the same attack wouldn’t affect them both – it’s the degree to which it would affect them. Sanders is simply more vulnerable than Clinton is to the same attacks – because at least with respect to Clinton they’d be partially inaccurate. With respect to Sanders, they largely wouldn’t be. He’d be a sitting duck.

  36. Todd says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    flinging that label at Clinton opens a door for her to explain how her tax plan

    Except that many people will not believe a word she says. There’s no benefit to getting the opportunity to explain your proposals if you’re upside down on the honest and trustworthy question.

  37. Todd says:

    By the way, not that anybody really cares about such triviality, but I have not personally given “thumbs down” votes to any comments on this thread. 🙂

  38. al-Alameda says:

    Jerry Brown is the pre-eminent pragmatist in California politics today, but, to be honest, I’m somewhat surprised that he did not decline to endorse either one.

    He’s surveyed the Democratic Party campaign landscape and he sees two flawed candidates, and he is definitely not excited by either of them.

    One, Hillary Clinton, is a clunky campaigner,has the baggage of 25 years of constant opposition investigation, and has 9 recent investigations hounding her right now. The other, Bernie Sanders, is a self-defined democratic socialist, and he openly wants to raise taxes to socialize health care and public university education.

    I think his endorsement is a nod to senators Boxer and Feinstein, both of whom support Clinton.

    If Bernie manages to defeat Clinton, and do so by, say 55%-45% then Clinton will have an interesting convention to say the least.

  39. Todd says:

    @al-Alameda:

    If Bernie manages to defeat Clinton, and do so by, say 55%-45% then Clinton will have an interesting convention to say the least.

    Here’s where my realism comes through. If I had to bet my own money right now on a 55-45% result in California, I’d have to say it will be in Clinton’s favor. If Sanders does pull it out, it will more likely be another razor thin squeaker.

  40. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Todd: And friends of mine are asking if Trump is the end of the GOP/conservative movement/Evangelical political strength/and so on. To which I reply, “well, we can always hope.”

    The Dems are not the only injured party in this one. And there is that pesky “nations get the governments they deserve” thing.

  41. Todd says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    The Dems are not the only injured party in this one.

    I absolutely agree. As screwed up as the Republicans are, it should not even be conceivable that the Democratic nominee might potentially lose … but it is, conceivable.

    And there is that pesky “nations get the governments they deserve” thing.

    That we most certainly do.

  42. stonetools says:

    @al-Alameda:

    He’s surveyed the Democratic Party campaign landscape and he sees two flawed candidates, and he is definitely not excited by either of them.

    Let’s be clear-nobody should be excited about either of these candidates. I was kind of in love with Barack in 2008.With Clinton, it’s a calculated decision to do the grown up thing and choose the best candidate, or if you like, the candidate with the least flaws. I want her to the accomplish what I consider the greater good of locking in a liberal majority on the Supreme Court and extending the Obama legacy on HCR and the economy. I don’t expect her to do much more than that, because realistically, we probably won’t see a House majority until 2022 at the earliest (and even more likely 2024). No House majority, no liberal legislation. (Bernie’s plan that demonstrations would force Republicans to pass liberal legislation is one of his many unlikely fantasies).
    In short, I expect Clinton to hold the fort, no more. The good thing is, she has lots of practice playing defense. Whatever the offense she plays will be in SCOTUS nominations and executive actions. To accomplish a lot with executive actions, she’ll have to push the limits of the law. She has experience doing that that too.
    All of this doesn’t thrill me or any liberal I know. But it’s the hand we have been dealt.

  43. Tyrell says:

    @Todd: Thanks.

  44. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Todd:

    Except that many people will not believe a word she says

    I’m of the opinion that those people were never going to vote for her to begin with, so I’m not really that concerned whether they believe her or not.

  45. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Todd:

    Triviality is indeed the best term to apply to it. For my own comments, I’ve seen an interesting trend for several days now of folks surfing around and downvoting anything I post. It’s the classic case of passive/aggressive butthurt.

    Now part of that is BernieBots sullenly downvoting anything which isn’t uncategorical praise for their messiah, but I think that’s a minority of it. The bulk of it IMO is something (or more aptly put, someone) else entirely.

    It’s amusing in its futility, to say the least, but on another level (i.e. the hypercompetitive side of the personality) it’s quite satisfying as well – it’s somebody who either can’t or won’t compete sending up a clear signal that I got under their skin and have taken up residence in their head.

  46. PJ says:

    @Todd:

    By the way, not that anybody really cares about such triviality, but I have not personally given “thumbs down” votes to any comments on this thread.

    It’s quite clear that the the thumbs downs, and also the thumbs up for your comments, are from some Sanders supporters who don’t seem to be interested in actually participating in the discussion.

  47. michael reynolds says:

    This is a very clear signal to Bernie and his bros that it’s time to wrap it up. If Jerry Brown – who effing hates the Clintons – knows it’s time, it’s time.

    To misquote Rumsfeld, “You go to war with the candidate you’ve got.” Hillary is who we’ve got. To put it into WW2 terms (because the only history Americans even kind-of know is the Civil War, WW2 and Vietnam) this is our “13th largest army” moment. We need to find a way to turn Hillary from weak, aimless and under-weaponized, into the army that takes Omaha Beach.

    This will take a widespread movement, not one motivated by love of Hillary, but motivated by necessity. The time has come for the ‘on the one hand, on the other hand,’ mentality of thoughtful liberals and progressives to give way to ‘whatever it takes.’

    To correctly quote Patton, “Compared to war all other forms of human endeavor shrink to insignificance.” This is war. We are rescuing American democracy. We need to unite, to volunteer, to spend money, and to be strong and determined.

    After November 8 we can all hate on Hillary as much as we like. But right now, she’s the army we’ve got. And the enemy is quite real.

  48. grumpy realist says:

    @michael reynolds: I’ve never liked Hillary that much, considering her someone who always tried to triangulate up the wazoo and someone who was far too close to Wall Street, but at least she has a grasp on reality.

    Bernie has been one of those “storm ahead on enthusiasm” types. I voted for him in the primary, but will quite happily vote for Hillary in the general. I wanted to use my vote for Bernie as a way to send a message to the DNC, but I certainly don’t want to tear the freakin’ entire system down. (Mainly because historically revolutions are Not Good for most of the people who live through them, and are Definitely Not Good for those who don’t.)

  49. MarkedMan says:

    For all the “hold my nose and pull the lever for Hillary” gloom and doom, I thought her attacks on Trump today were dead on and exactly what is needed to energize the campaign. Unlike Trump’s primary opposition, she is not trying to point out that he’s not an orthodox Repub/Conserv/Christian. Instead, she’s attacking him on his strengths. Rich? Yeah but a miserly SOB that was trying to pocket money meant for our veterans. Knows how to make money? Yeah, just think of every sleazy b*stard that took money from you and put an orange wig on them – that’s Trump.

  50. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @MarkedMan:

    There seems to be an interesting narrative going on up in NH about allegations that Sanders used his position to pressure a lender into agreeing to extend a loan to Burlington College during his wife’s tenure as president. I’m not sure how much substance there is to it, but it’ll be informative to see where, if anywhere, it goes.

  51. Jen says:

    @HarvardLaw92: More of the discussion is in VT, but yes, one of the GOP party officials in Vermont is alleging that and it’s been getting coverage on a number of New England news outlets.

    Sanders’ campaign has strenuously denied the claims (said it was a lie that he pressured anyone), and I doubt that the national media will pick it up since they have been focused yet again on Trump and his hissy fit over being mildly scrutinized for his $6 million for vets claims.

  52. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Just an aside – that legal action filed by Sanders supporters out in California – the one seeking an emergency injunction and all sorts of preferential adjustments to the California voting process – got laughed out of court yesterday (as expected …)