Democrats Take First Step Toward Reducing Power Of Superdelegates

Democrats are on the verge of reducing the power of superdelegates to the point where they will essentially become meaningless in the nomination process.

The Democratic Party is one step closer to making a major change to the role that superdelegates will play in future Presidential nomination contests:

The Democratic National Committee’s two-year debate over its presidential primary rules came closer to resolution Wednesday, as its key rulemaking body voted to curtail the power of unpledged delegates — so-called “superdelegates” — at the next convention.

At the end of a three-hour conference call, which was opened to the public, the Rules and Bylaws Committee adopted a compromise that grew out of lengthy negotiations between supporters of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

In the past, superdelegates were able to vote on the first ballot at the convention, for any nominee. The new rule would prohibit superdelegates from voting until a second ballot, or in the event a candidate arrived at the convention with enough pledged delegates — earned in primaries and caucuses — to secure the nomination.

“It fulfills our mandate without disenfranchising the people who have built the Democratic Party,” DNC chairman Tom Perez said near the start of the call. The reform, he said, would “rebuild the trust among many who feel, frankly, alienated from our party.”

Within an hour of the call’s conclusion, Sanders said the negotiations had done the trick.

“This decision will ensure that delegates elected by voters in primaries and caucuses will have the primary role in selecting the Democratic Party’s nominee at the 2020 convention,” Sanders said in a statement. “This is a major step forward in making the Democratic Party more open and transparent, and I applaud their action.”

On the call itself, dissent was largely limited to one rules committee member: former DNC chairman Don Fowler. In a series of back-and-forths, Fowler argued the reform would devalue the party activists and elected officials who made up the superdelegate pool.

Superdelegates, of course, have been a powerful force in the Democratic nomination process for the better part of the past thirty years or more. To some extent, the idea for such a process stemmed from the 1972 primaries that led to the nomination of George McGovern as the party’s nominee and a landslide victory for Richard Nixon that wasn’t even close to being a contest. Eight years later, the party was faced with an extended battle for the nomination between President Jimmy Carter and Senator Ted Kennedy that went a long way toward exposing already existing rifts in the party that threatened to pull the party apart, and which in part contributed to the disarray that led to Ronald Reagan’s landslide win in 1980 as many Democrats broke ranks to vote Republican After these disasters, Democratic Party insider moved to make reforms to the nominating process to prevent both the circumstances that led to the nomination of a longshot nominee like McGovern and the kind of protracted nomination fight that they saw between Carter and Kennedy in 1980. Part of those reforms involved changes to the primary process itself, but the biggest change came with the introduction of ‘superdelegates.’ These delegates mostly consist of elected officials on the state and Federal level. Unlike delegates selected via the primary process that are bound to the candidate who wins the primary or caucus, superdelegates are free agents who can shift their support from one candidate to another at will and, at least theoretically, use their power to end a divisive primary fight or block a McGovern-like nominee from rising up as he did in 1972.

In reality, though, superdelegates have not really played a decisive role in selecting a nominee in the time that they have existed. Each nominee from Jimmy Carter in 1976 forward to Hillary Clinton in 2016 has had enough support from the regular delegates to win the nomination outright, and while the party has faced hard-fought primary campaigns (See e.g., 1988, 1992, 2008, and 2016), it has not faced anything like the Carter vs. Kennedy fight that went all the way to the convention in 1980. This hasn’t stopped superdelegates from being controversial, though, especially as the Democratic Party has become more diverse and the base has perceived the superdelegates as being part of the party elite. In 2008, for example, many Obama supporters were upset by the fact that Democratic superdelegates continued to support Hillary Clinton even as their candidate continued to rack up primary victories. In the end, of course, a good number of those superdelegates ended up shifting their support to Obama and there was no controversy by the end of the process. Nonetheless, the seeds for a revolt over the superdelegate issue were planted.

This 2008 battle reared its head again eight years later as Hillary Clinton and Berne Sanders battled for the nomination notwithstanding the fact that Sanders was not at the time, and still not is, actually a member of the Democratic Party. Even before the first votes had been cast in the Democratic primaries, though, the vast majority of Democratic superdelegates had pledged their support to Clinton. For the most part, this was due to the fact that Clinton had widespread support inside the Democratic Party and that the Democratic field viewed as being quite weak while Clinton appeared for all the world to be the most electable candidate willing to run that the party could put forward. Even as Senator Sanders won party caucuses and some primaries, he was unable to gain much support among the superdelegates, who continued to remain loyal to Clinton. This, of course, led many of his supporters to claim that the primary process was rigged against him even though it was clear that, while Sanders was winning in some races, he was utterly failing in the seemingly simple task of winning states that actually matter or, most importantly, attracting support from African-American and other minority groups. In the end, of course, this superdelegate support did not make a real difference in the race. Clinton ended up winning support from “regular” delegates to win the nomination outright, and the support of the superdelegates once again proved to be non-decisive. Despite that fact, the ground was laid for a revolt over superdelegates.

The debate over the role of superdelegates began before the 2016 campaign was over. On the eve of the Democratic National Convention, for example, it was reported that the party was considering a plan that would required superdelegates to vote according to the outcome in their respective states on the first ballot at the national convention. After that, they would be free to toss their support to any candidate they chose. More recently, in anticipation of the summer meeting at which the final rule changes will be adopted, Democratic officials have been considering another plan under which the role of superdelegates on the first ballot would essentially be non-existent. For rather obvious reasons, these proposed changes were objected to by Congressional Democrats in no small part because it would significantly reduce their power inside the party.

This current plan, which would bar superdelegates from voting on a first ballot unless a candidate arrived at the convention without sufficient support to win the nomination outright seems rather pointless to me, though. Mostly this is because it’s unclear what purpose superdelegates would serve going forward given the fact that a national convention that goes beyond the first ballot has not happened in quite some time. It has also been quite some time since an eventual Democratic nominee has arrived at the convention without sufficient support from regular delegates to win on the first ballot. Given that, the superdelegates would be left essentially powerless in the nominating process to the point that one wonders why they would need to continue to exist in the numbers that they do.

Jazz Shaw suggests that this change could lead to more instability in the nomination process and possibly lead to a greater likelihood of a brokered convention:

It’s pretty early to be discussing such a fringe possibility, but the idea of a brokered convention is already being raised. If the party splits too evenly between a couple of establishment candidates and one of the new breed from the ranks of the Berniecrats, they may not have a clear winner. Of course, people were saying that about the GOP convention two years ago also and we somehow sorted it all out.

But that’s where the second ballot caveat in the rules change might come in. They could be stuck without anything close to a majority after the first ballot, but then the floodgates of the superdelegates would open and they could put an establishment candidate over the top. Of course, then they’ll just tick off the progressive wing of the base yet again, just when they’ll need every voter to show up if they hope to hold Trump to one term.

I suppose this is possible, but it strikes me as unlikely. As I said, we have not seen a truly brokered convention in quite some time, and neither major party has had a real brokered convention in the modern primary/caucus era. If there is a huge field of candidates in 2020 and they divide the delegate allocation sufficiently, it’s possible that the party could face that possibility. Again, though, this strikes me as unlikely. The natural tendency in these races is for voters to eventually unite behind a smaller group of candidates and for the eventual nominee to emerge from that group. I suspect that this is what will happen in 2020, but I guess we’ll have to wait to see what happens.

As I’ve noted before, though, if Democrats really want to reform the nominating process they ought to consider other alternatives:

If Democrats wanted to reform their process, they ought to be considering issues that go far beyond the rather irrelevant issue of superdelegates. For example, one of the main reasons that the primary battles in 2008 and 2016 were so drawn out is because current party rules require all states to award delegates on a proportional basis. This means that the candidate who wins the primary doesn’t really get much of an advantage from doing so and the process ends up getting dragged out longer than it ought to be because it becomes harder for a nominee to get the majority they need to win the nomination. Additionally, it seems to be long past time for both national parties to take a long and hard look at the whole idea of caucuses selecting delegates rather than primaries. As I’ve stated before, caucuses are a highly deficient means for selecting a nominee because they tend to lead to far lower participation by voters, don’t allow for early or absentee voting, and require people who may not have the means to do so to attend long party meetings at times that may be inconvenient for them. This is something that both national parties ought to look to, although in the end there isn’t much they can do about it since it’s an issue determined by state law and the preferences of state parties.

These changes to the nominating process would go much further to fixing the problems that the DNC seems to want to address than these rather meaningless changes to how superdelegates are used.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, 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. Michael Reynolds says:

    The Sanders people are still unable to face reality, they still cling to fantasies of how he would have won if only. . . This is salve for an imaginary injury, the equivalent of kissing a boo-boo.

  2. Kylopod says:

    Whenever I’ve read about the history of the Democratic nomination process, one thing that has struck me is how much each wave of reforms has usually been a reaction to some recent debacle, and in effect it’s been a cycle of periodically increasing and decreasing the amount of popular involvement in the process. The 1972 reforms that established the modern primary system were a reaction to the debacle of the 1968 convention, which chose a nominee that had not participated in the primaries at all. Then, after candidates like McGovern and Carter managed to win the nomination under the new system by simply winning primaries, without getting any previous support from party elites, it led the party to introduce superdelegates to serve as a check on the whims of the masses. (Of course, in practice their role up to now has simply been to rubber-stamp the results of the primaries; the supers have never ultimately chosen a candidate who was not the leader in pledged delegates, even though that possibility hovered over the 2008 and 2016 races.) Now, the party is reining the supers in in response to the unhappy results of 2016.

  3. Michael Reynolds says:

    Our Constitution in its original form did a pretty good job of limiting the powers of government. It failed to effectively limit the voters. No democratic system can compensate for the misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance of voters.

    What we had in 2016 was voter failure. That’s why it scares me. Almost half of the American people signed on to a cult of personality. The Nazi party in Germany 1932 (their last vote) got 37% of the vote. Erdogan got 52% of the vote in Turkey. Duterte took a plurality of 39%. Marine LePen 34%. Trump got 46% and is holding onto almost all of that.

    The fault is not in our stars but in ourselves. Humans are hierarchical. They want to be led. They want to be told. They have no interest in thinking, quite the contrary they enjoy the intellectual auto-castration of cult membership. They don’t want their representatives fighting for freedom or rights or the Constitution, they want to dominate others. The notion that a desire for freedom is universal is nonsense, it’s always been nonsense. The freedom these people want is the freedom to deny freedom to others.

  4. James Pearce says:

    The reform, he said, would “rebuild the trust among many who feel, frankly, alienated from our party.”

    As the non-official spokesman for those who feel alienated from the party, more will be needed to rebuild trust.

  5. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Superdelegates already are immaterial to the nomination process. Can anybody point out a single instance where superdelegates, in and of themselves, have ever created a situation where the candidate with the largest number of regular delegates wasn’t nominated?

    This is about trying to placate the Sanders-type nuts, nothing more.

  6. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    It’s more accurate to say that about a quarter of the American people signed on to a cult of personality, and roughly another half of them didn’t give enough of a damn to even voice an opinion.

    I agree otherwise. The fundamental weakness of democracy is that it depends on the premise of an engaged, informed, and serious electorate. When you stop to consider that – by definition – half of the country is of below average intelligence, debacles like Trump eventually happening when the masses are directly making the selection shouldn’t surprise anyone.

    The framers originally concentrated the real power in their ostensibly democratic government (calling it, as originally designed, a benevolent oligarchy would be closer to to accurate) into the hands of a non-elected elite for a very good reason – they didn’t believe that the people were entirely capable of directly participating in a contributory manner. History is proving them right.

    Trump is an argument FOR superdelegates.

  7. MBungr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: They have no interest in thinking

    Something you prove regularly around here. How’s that Trump money-laundering fantasy doing?

    Superdelegate are an obvious problem because they’re clearly a mechanism for rigging the primary process even if no such rigging occurs. The systemic problem for the Democrats in 2016 wasn’t superdelegates, however. It was that there campaign financing process, cultural obsessions, and quarter-century dysfunctional marriage to the Clintons limited their options. You can only choose from what’s on the menu and has there ever been a weaker and sparser lineup of candidates when a party is looking to take back the White House after eight years?

    Mike

    2
    7
  8. MBunge says:

    Whoops! Got 2008 and 2016 mixed up, THEN forgot about ’92 when it was just Bush the Elder and Buchanan.

    No more staying up late watching “Conan the Barbarian” for me!

    Mike

  9. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @MBungr:

    How’s that Trump money-laundering fantasy doing?

    Since you brought it up, it’s actually going well. You’re confusing “they haven’t moved yet” with “they have nothing to move on”.

    Allow me to disabuse you of that notion 🙂

  10. James Joyner says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Our Constitution in its original form did a pretty good job of limiting the powers of government. It failed to effectively limit the voters. No democratic system can compensate for the misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance of voters.

    What we had in 2016 was voter failure. That’s why it scares me. Almost half of the American people signed on to a cult of personality.

    I agree with your premise that this was ultimately a voter problem but there was also a systemic problem in our election system that awarded the most powerful seat in our government to someone who finished 3 million votes behind the plurality winner.

  11. TM01 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    What we had in 2016 was voter failure. That’s why it scares me. Almost half of the American people signed on to a cult of personality. The Nazi party in Germany 1932 (their last vote) got 37% of the vote. Erdogan got 52% of the vote in Turkey. Duterte took a plurality of 39%. Marine LePen 34%. Trump got 46% and is holding onto almost all of that.

    And what was Obama’s vote percentage again?

  12. TM01 says:

    Of course, the big question here is, Why is Bernie or his supporters even involved in this discussion at all?

    If he wants the Democrat nomination, make him join the Party to have a say in how it runs itself.

    1
    2
  13. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James Joyner:

    there was also a systemic problem in our election system that awarded the most powerful seat in our government to someone who finished 3 million votes behind the plurality winner.

    It’s called the electoral college, and it’s indefensible outside of the desire for partisan advantage. You’ll recall that I argued in favor of abolishing it.

  14. Michael Reynolds says:

    @MBungr:

    How’s that Trump money-laundering fantasy doing?

    You realize when you write things like that it’s like handing me your intellectual biopsy. I can immediately see the level of your ignorance, the degree to which you’ve walled yourself off from actual reporting, right?

    Your cult leader’s campaign manager is in jail – for money laundering. His deputy copped a plea. We know for a fact – email intercepts – that Manafort immediately upon getting the job contacted his Russian master and proposed using his position to pay off his debts. We know that Trump abruptly shifted from ‘King of Debt’ to ‘King of Russian cash.’ We know that Trump’s idiot kids verified that this mystery cash was Russian.

    And of course Trump has been caught money-laundering before, copping a plea as his casino was washing Russian cash. And Trump refuses to release his tax returns, citing an absurd lie that you of course gobble up. And we know that whenever Trump meets with Putin he refuses to have a record made and insists on using only Putin’s translator.

    If Hillary had done one tenth of this you’d be screaming for a lynching. But you’re a cultie and cutie’s don’t think. When the Kool-Aid jug comes by you’ll take a nice big swig.

    But Hannity told you it’s all a fantasy. Fine by me kid, have all the fantasies you like.

    10
  15. Kylopod says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    The Nazi party in Germany 1932 (their last vote) got 37% of the vote.

    A few nitpicks: While the Nazi Party did get 37% of the vote in mid-1932, it wasn’t their last vote, though it was the largest share of the vote they got before their seizure of power. Later that year there was another election in which their vote dropped to 33%. Then Hitler managed to get himself installed as Chancellor and began to suspend civil liberties while the Nazis engaged in a wave of terror in the country. They hoped it would enable them to get an outright majority in the next election (March 1933), but they only got about 44%–and that was the last election with any other parties participating.

  16. george says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    That’s the nature of big tent parties. In 2008 a higher percentage of Clinton supporters refused to vote for Obama (or even voted for McCain) in the presidential election than the percentage of Sanders supporters who refused to vote for Clinton or voted for Trump. It was ignored because Obama won anyway – partly because Obama is exceptionally charismatic and likable (not always the same thing), partly because the GOP had been in power the last 8 years and its incredibly difficult for a party to win the presidency three consecutive terms (as in its only happened once since WW2).

    I suspect its almost always the case that some supporters of the losing candidate in a party nomination fight are bitter enough to refuse to support the winning candidate. As I said, it comes with having a big tent political party.

  17. george says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    The fundamental weakness of democracy is that it depends on the premise of an engaged, informed, and serious electorate.

    Yup. As Churchill said, democracy is the worst of all political systems, except for every other system. The other systems require engaged, informed, serious, and benevolent elites – which is even less common than engaged, informed and serious electorates, because while elites tend to be engaged, informed and serious, historically they’ve also tend to govern in a way that puts their own welfare far above that of the rest of the population. Plato’s philosopher king is great in theory, and sometimes you get one, but succeeding generations of elite watchdogs tend to regress to the norm of power corrupting.

    There’s no way to make a fool proof system, the best you can hope for is to make one that can stay upright during rough weather.

  18. Ben Wolf says:

    @Michael Reynolds: That attitude, of deeply embedded entitlement and social narcissism, reminded me of something. Of liberals “capacity for high-minded fervor for the emptiest and sappiest platitudes; their tendencies to make a fetish of procedure over substance and to look for technical fixes to political problems; their ability to screen out the mounting carnage in the cities they inhabit as they seek pleasant venues for ingesting good coffee and scones; their propensity for aestheticizing other people’s oppression and calling that activism; their reflex to wring their hands and look constipated in the face of conflict; and, most of all, their spinelessness and undependability in crises.”

    Yes, that’s an excellent description of the soulessness you routinely display as you spew bile in all directions. I’d say you shoukd be ashamed of what you’d written, but given the moral perversity you put on display in that comment I doubt you can feel the emotion.

    3
    4
  19. James Pearce says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    This is about trying to placate the Sanders-type nuts, nothing more.

    You wouldn’t have a problem with those “Sanders-type nuts” if it weren’t for that “quarter-century dysfunctional marriage to the Clintons,” among other things. (Good phrase, Mike!)

    @Michael Reynolds:

    If Hillary had done one tenth of this you’d be screaming for a lynching.

    Actually….if Hillary had done one tenth of this, she’d lose her presidential campaign.

  20. Kylopod says:

    @george:

    I suspect its almost always the case that some supporters of the losing candidate in a party nomination fight are bitter enough to refuse to support the winning candidate.

    In the study of Sanders voters who switched to Trump in the general election, there was one particular tidbit that I found very telling, but which got relatively little attention: 50% of this group had voted for Romney in 2012, and only 25% of them supported a Democratic candidate for Congress in 2016.

    https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/8/24/16194086/bernie-trump-voters-study

    In other words, this group was comprised heavily of voters who were already Republican-leaning (Reagan Democrats is my guess) and who for whatever reason were drawn to Sanders in the primaries but who tended to vote Republican in general elections regardless. I find this fascinating, because it contradicts the narrative that the Sandernistas who didn’t vote for Hillary in the general were all left-wing purity trolls stamping their feet at not getting the candidate they wanted. That surely describes some of them (and of course this study doesn’t deal with those Sanders voters who stayed home or voted third party in the general election), but it suggests the phenomenon was overblown.

  21. Ben Wolf says:

    @James Pearce: Two years and these ignoramuses are still focused on bashing an old jew. They don’t have the mental capacity to adapt and instead rationalize failure.

    The atrophy of political imagination shows up in approaches to strategy as well. In the absence of goals that require long-term organizing — e.g., single-payer health care, universally free public higher education and public transportation, federal guarantees of housing and income security — the election cycle has come to exhaust the time horizon of political action. Objectives that cannot be met within one or two election cycles seem fanciful, as do any that do not comport with the Democratic agenda. . .[e]ach election now becomes a moment of life-or-death urgency that precludes dissent or even reflection. For liberals, there is only one option in an election year, and that is to elect, at whatever cost, whichever Democrat is running. This modus operandi has tethered what remains of the left to a Democratic Party that has long since renounced its commitment to any sort of redistributive vision and imposes a willed amnesia on political debate. True, the last Democrat was really unsatisfying, but this one is better; true, the last Republican didn’t bring destruction on the universe, but this one certainly will. And, of course, each of the “pivotal” Supreme Court justices is four years older than he or she was the last time.

    1
    4
  22. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kylopod:
    You are correct. That’s what I get for trusting my memory.

  23. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Ben Wolf:
    Tell you what, Ben, why don’t you make the historical case for revolution? Because they always works out well. Who do you think forms the defense of minority rights in this country? African-Americans are 13% of the population, Latinos are a bigger share of population but a smaller share of voters. Gays maybe 4%. Trans maybe 1%. Any rights those minorities hold come from their liberal allies because only the despised liberals have the numbers and the money.

    The main contribution of righteous radical commissars has been to be so smug, intolerant and contemptuous that they contributed to Trump’s rise. Go look at the polling data some time, see how many Trump voters cite the high-handedness of the Left as a motivator. You helped Trump savage Hillary. You were co-conspirators in Trump’s rise, but then that is the usual track for radicals, isn’t it? In 1968 they helped elect Nixon and prolong the Vietnam war because Humphrey wasn’t quite special enough.

    You’re an angry Sanders voter, I get it. He lost. He wasn’t cheated, he lost. Had he beaten Hillary he’d have lost to Trump. He’s not going to be nominated this time, either. But Sanders got his token victory over the evil super delegates, so you should be happy.

    BTW don’t ever call me entitled. You’re the college boy, I’m the high school drop-out who used to clean toilets. I actually am one of those working people you imagine yourself championing.

    3
    1
  24. Kylopod says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    Two years and these ignoramuses are still focused on bashing an old jew.

    A word of advice: if you’re going to play the anti-Semitism card, it helps not to forget that the “J” in “Jew” is capitalized.

    Oh, and while we’re on the topic:

    “If you don’t believe this election is important, take a moment to think about the Supreme Court justices that Donald Trump will nominate, and what that means to civil liberties, equal rights and the future of our country…. While Hillary Clinton supports making our tax code fairer, Donald Trump wants to give hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to the very wealthiest people in this country. His reckless economic policies will not only exacerbate income and wealth inequality, they would increase our national debt by trillions of dollars.” — Bernie Sanders, 2016

  25. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James Pearce:

    Clinton was a flawed candidate, no doubt, but Sanders would have lost in a landslide once the attack machine actually engaged his plethora of problems.

    Sanders acolytes remind me of the kids in the 60s trying to levitate the Pentagon. In other words, ridiculous idealists who don’t understand that winning > principles.

  26. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Just don’t bother. About the only thing more obnoxious than the holier-than-thou right is the purer-than-thou left.

    I do want to know where he keeps his statue (of himself) though.

  27. drj says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Go look at the polling data some time, see how many Trump voters cite the high-handedness of the Left as a motivator.

    Oh, come on.

    I agree that this Ben Wolf character isn’t the sharpest tool in the box, but to assume that holier-than-thou lefties is what made people vote for Trump appears to be, at best, unlikely.

    A large proportion of Trump voters bog-standard Republicans already get pissed off whenever confronted with actual expertise. They don’t need left-wing intellectual purity to set them off.

  28. teve tory says:

    Yeah it’s not like Trumpers were originally smart people with good values who were corroded by foul leftists. The people screaming at and spitting on little black girls walking into the schoolhouse in 1963 weren’t driven to it by a smug Bill Maher, and the cops unleashing dogs at the Edmund Pettus Bridge weren’t pushed there by a condescending Michael Moore.

  29. Kylopod says:

    @teve tory:

    The people screaming at and spitting on little black girls walking into the schoolhouse in 1963 weren’t driven to it by a smug Bill Maher, and the cops unleashing dogs at the Edmund Pettus Bridge weren’t pushed there by a condescending Michael Moore.

    I agree, but it should be remembered that the crowd you mention did frequently rail against smug leftists–remember George Wallace’s “pointy-head college professors who can’t even park a bicycle straight”? In fact there’s a pretty straight line from Wallacism to Trumpism.

  30. James Pearce says:

    @Ben Wolf: That’s a great quote. I used the Google to read more of it. I have become increasingly comfortable being a bad Democrat while keeping my liberalism largely intact.

    @Michael Reynolds:

    You were co-conspirators in Trump’s rise, but then that is the usual track for radicals, isn’t it?

    C’mon, man. Don’t tell people who held their nose and voted for the candidate that was foisted on us that we’re co-conspirators. Seriously?

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Clinton was a flawed candidate, no doubt, but Sanders would have lost in a landslide once the attack machine actually engaged his plethora of problems.

    Other Dems besides Bernie might have gotten involved had Clinton not thought it was her turn.

    1
    1
  31. James Pearce says:

    @Ben Wolf: That’s a great quote. I used the Google to read more of it. I have become increasingly comfortable being a bad Democrat while keeping my liberalism largely intact.

  32. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James Pearce:

    I see. So if we’d just taken that left turn at Albuquerque, everything would have been great.

    There were no less than six candidates at the start of the Dem primary season. The primary voters didn’t want them. They wanted – and got – Clinton.

    Who are these mythical Democrats who actually had a legitimate shot at winning, but chose to sit it out instead because “it’s her turn”? Names …

  33. Monala says:

    @TM01: Damn, I actually agree with you for once.

  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @HarvardLaw92: This, times
    1.000,000,000,000. This is much ado about nothing. And yes, Bernie’s hurt fee fees are nothing.

  35. James Pearce says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    The primary voters didn’t want them. They wanted – and got – Clinton.

    Slight correction: They wanted Clinton. They got Trump.

    The Democrats who refused to challenge Clintonian domination are not in fairytales. They’re in office.

  36. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James Pearce:

    You didn’t answer the question.

  37. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Monala: Now you see, I missed that comment because I regularly just skip over to the next comment as soon as I see TMo1. I guess what they say about blind hogs and truffles is true.

  38. teve tory says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: That’s nearly always the correct move. I only see the comments of TM01/JKB/John420/Pearce/Bunge when someone else quotes them, and it makes for a much better reading experience.

  39. george says:

    Ultimately, I think Clinton lost because its extremely difficult for a party to hold the presidency three consecutive terms (happened only once since WW2).

    This is true for just about every country in the world (whatever their form); grievances start to build up, people blame the gov’t for personal difficulties (even if the economy in general is good, if you’re out of a job or stuck in a low paying job that doesn’t soothe you much), and people just get bored and want to try something different.

    People who follow politics think this should have been an election where the normal rules wouldn’t apply, but it turns out the normal rules applied very well. Most people don’t follow politics, they can’t tell you anything about anyone running, and an election is just an election. That is, for them it was just another election. If the GOP had been in power for eight years and Clinton was running against Trump she’d have won the electoral college easily. But that wasn’t the case.

  40. James Pearce says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    You didn’t answer the question.

    It was a rhetorical question. You answered it already.

    (Joe Biden.)

    @teve tory:

    I only see the comments of TM01/JKB/John420/Pearce/Bunge when someone else quotes them, and it makes for a much better reading experience.

    A better reading experience, sure, but with a side of political atrophy.

    Not exactly what liberalism needs right now…

  41. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James Pearce:

    I love Joe Biden. If he was a religion, I’d convert, but the man was 74 then, still reeling from the premature death of his son, and profoundly tired.

    As he had every right to be.

    By his own statement, he was still deeply in mourning and didn’t feel he could give the job the level of effort required, and he’s in a better position to know than any of us are. I take him at his word.

    Anybody else in this stable of winners who opted out solely because it was “Clinton’s turn”?

  42. Michael Reynolds says:

    @drj:

    I didn’t say ’caused’ I said ‘contributed to.’ I never believe single bullet theories in politics, it’s always E) All of the above.

  43. James Pearce says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Anybody else in this stable of winners who opted out solely because it was “Clinton’s turn”?

    Elizabeth Warren.

    How many more names do you need before you’ll acknowledge that Clinton’s “inevitabity,” assumed to extend even to the general election, was an actual thing and not just something I pulled out of my ass to argue about in OTB’s comment section?