Has the Democratic Race Changed?

Is there a new frontrunner?

Photo by Charles Krupa/AP/Shutterstock (10551205j) Andrew Yang, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Tom Steyer. From left, Democratic presidential candidates former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former Vice President Joe Biden, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., on stage, before the start of a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by ABC News, Apple News, and WMUR-TV at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H Election 2020 Debate, Manchester, USA – 07 Feb 2020

On the morning of the Iowa Caucuses, I noted that the race for the Democratic nomination stood almost exactly where it had at the beginning. That, while the debates and fundraising fights had eliminated several third-tier candidates, Joe Biden has led the race since the beginning and either Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren had been second, with the other third, the whole time.

But, predictably, Biden’s poor finish and Pete Buttigieg’s strong one has changed the narrative going into New Hampshire. Maybe more than I thought.

An otherwise unremarkable roundup in The Hill about last night’s debate twice takes as a given that the field has been reordered:

There were some tense moments — particularly between the two front-runners, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D).

[…]

The one key outcome from Iowa was the way the caucuses separated Buttigieg and Sanders from the rest of the field.

Indeed, a header in the piece lumps Biden and Warren in with the “second-tier” candidates.

This strikes me as bizarre. While I’ve been around long enough to understand the Iowa-New Hampshire two-step narrative, we all know how unrepresentative those states are. We’re running a national campaign these days, and one that’s more front-loaded than ever.

Pete Buttigieg has been mired in the single digits in the national polls and Biden in the high 20s and low 30s. And suddenly the erstwhile mayor of South Bend is the frontrunner and the former vice president is second tier?

The RealClearPolitics average still has the race as it was before Iowa, but there have only been two national polls added this week and the slow Iowa tally has likely delayed whatever perception shakeup will occur. But it would be crazy to me if a few people shifting from one set of bleachers to another in high school gymnasiums was really going to be a major factor in who faces off against Donald Trump in the fall.

(And, to be clear, I’d be perfectly happy to vote for Buttigieg in November. I may well prefer him to the 2020 version of Biden, even though I’d far prefer 2016 Biden.)

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Bernie Sanders, Campaign 2020, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Scott says:

    I was a little down when Biden was up. I am admittedly an ageist. I don’t want Biden, Sanders, Warren, Bloomberg or any of the baby boom generation. We need to go away and ride into the sunset. I know it’s kind of categorical but there I am. I was depressed when we went from Obama up in age to Clinton and Trump. Of the ones that are still in the mix, As a soulless technocrat, I like Buttigieg but would be happy with Klobuchar.

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  2. de stijl says:

    I eventually caucused for Pete. I thought about Warren a lot. It was a close call. Would have gone to her had Pete not validated.

    I would happily vote for either. Would vote for *any* D against Trump.

    Prefer Trump withdrew due to incompetence and failure to meet suitability threshold. I am optimistic at heart.

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  3. de stijl says:

    @Scott:

    I hear you.

    I like Joe. I prefer someone else. It’s not because he’s old. I prefer Biden was not the candidate at the end of the day. Still would vote for him.

    I am an early X’er. I almost caucused for Warren. I really like her a lot.

    Walking to the joint I had to pick. Warren is a better candidate, but Buttigieg could be more effective if elected.

    Hopefully, they are smart when picking veeps. Final two pledge, if this were Big Brother.

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  4. Gustopher says:

    I think Trump’s crazy allegations about Biden have actually hurt Biden with the low information voters.

    We know that it’s bullshit made up my crazy people, grifters and Russian intelligence, but most people don’t.

    And to the extent that it has hurt him, it shows why he shouldn’t be the nominee — he’s getting in front of things, he’s not defining himself, he’s not stomping down bullshit.

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  5. gVOR08 says:

    @Gustopher: And it’s going to get a lot worse. Looks like the GOP senators are going to be an oppo research arm of Trump campaign, with subpoena powers.

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  6. Gustopher says:

    I think Buttigieg will fade quickly when people see pictures of him eating. It sounds trivial, but it looks like he’s letting his guard down and revealing his true self — a very angry, savage man who has somehow never been around food before.

    https://twitter.com/katearonoff/status/1226010928686211074?s=21

    That first picture, which looks like he’s eating wings — that’s a cinnamon bun. He has cut and torn that thing to shreds and is holding a piece up and is gnawing on it like a rodent. An angry rodent.

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  7. de stijl says:

    @Gustopher:

    I’m fairly certain pic 2 was what we call “pork chop on a stick”.

    This is not your culture so withhold judgement until you understand the full context.

    America wants a leader. A person willing to eat the crap out of a Cinnabon should that be required. All the bread, all the cinnamon, all the icing. Aggressively, so our enemies are subservient. He ate that Cinnabon so hard! I’m scared!

    You, sir, are casting shade on the most prevalent desire of middle class, middle-America: eating stuff. Deep fried stuff covered in Ranch dressing.

    (That was fuckin awesome pics!)

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  8. EddieInCA says:

    I’m with Carville. The Democratic Party has already forgotten what gave them so many victories in 2018.

    The Democrats should be hammering Trump and the GOP on income inequality, record corporate profits (very little going to workers) with historically low tax rates, gutting thr ACÁ, and corruption.

    Instead, they are arguing about who can give people the most free stuff. What does it say to those people that played by the rules, as rigged as they were, who paid off their student loans or paid them off for their children, that are now being told that the government is going to pay off those loans for other people? That’s NOT a winning argument.

    And a few are proposing to get rid of private health insurance? Really. I love my insurance. I don’t want to give it up. It’s good insurance. Again. Not a winning g argument.

    Who is talking about a realistic path to citizenship for undocumented workers other than open borders?

    Who is talking about taking on Corporate tax reform?

    Instead we are arguing about who can give away the most.

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  9. de stijl says:

    @Gustopher:

    Pic 1 is clearly ribs. A wing would not have a visible bone of that length.

    Pic 2 – Pork chop on a stick. Very poorly cooked. No sear. Too blonde. Unless it was confit or sous vide. Unless that was intentional, that was poorly cooked and an inelegantly presented pork chop on a stick.

    Pic 3 – no idea. Maybe eggroll?

    Pic 4 – I think the cool kids call that “pizza”.

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  10. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl: 1 is a cinnamon roll. There are no bones. You just want there to be bones so the picture makes sense.

    2 may be very tough. I would give him the benefit of the doubt if there wasn’t a pattern.

    3 is a deep fried Oreo Zeppoli — delicious and delicate. He is assaulting that thing.

    4 is pizza, but he’s eating it from the side.

    The android does not need to eat, and has never eaten before. I assume that he goes into a private location, open an access panel, and just scoops this food into a compost bin.

    Or he is eating in the traditional Maltese manner, as he was taught by his parents, and never lets his lips touch the food.

    Anyway, see what happens when we don’t have our daily open thread?

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  11. Mister Bluster says:
  12. de stijl says:

    @Gustopher:

    Pic 1 – no freaking way! That looks like flesh! We have to trust the metadata.

    Pic 2 – Pork chop on a stick. Do not judge us! A really blonde, probably undercooked one. Not that I dislike medium rare pork. The pro’s prefer medium rare. Trichinosis is not extant anymore.

    Pic 3 – Oreo and Zeppoli should not be combined. Incongruent. Tho, yes, I could see why you would attack it to remove it from this world quickly and violently.

    I have some paczki in my kitchen right now with Bavarian creme from the hipster bakery and omfg!

    Pic 4 – I eat pizza, and cheesecake, and pie, etc from the outside in. Crust first, work towards the middle. The best bit is obviously the point closest to the middle so you save that bite for last, to savor and truly enjoy.

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  13. de stijl says:

    Everybody dings hipsters so hard.

    Nine times out of ten, they are doing traditional stuff better than your grandma did. The one out of ten is too niche for you, but might apply to someone else’s life.

    Entreprenurial hipsters get a bad rap. They are working hard, making goods for a willing customer base. Rock on, candle makers!

    The beer scene has markedly improved because of them.

    I love my hipster bakery.

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  14. al Ameda says:

    My read of the NH Debate last night: I thought Klobuchar showed well, and Joe was … clunky.

    It’s really beginning to look like Bloomberg made the smart strategic decision to completely avoid the Iowa and New Hampshire food-fights, to see who’s standing by the time they reach South Carolina.

    Look at what Iowa (not withstanding that failed app) gave us: a year of campaigning, a field of about 20 whittled down to 8 or 9, and millions of dollars raised and spent, in most cases, for absolutely nothing. No popular vote, just bogus cheeseball caucus numbers.

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  15. Jim Brown 32 says:

    I repeat….these debates are nothing but self licking ice cream cones that have little to do with revealing who has the best and most attributes required to be an effective executive. This is like drafting College players into the NFL based on combine results. The combine isn’t Football. If you want to handicap good football players…watch em playing the game. Biden clearly has the most translatable success but votes crave entertainment value so he’ll have problems because voters are shallow. None of the Senators has any record of demonstrating they can operate above the level of regional Senators.

    As for Pete, he’s got some chops as an executive…albeit a small town one. However, he’s got a rattlesnake in his campaign, the officer involved shooting of a black man in South Bend. Sure, its negligible in lily white Iowa and NH…but when he hits states where black people live….the attack ads will write themselves.

    I think Democrats are overlooking the real swing voter this cycle–Black and Latino MEN. Alot of them will stay home if they feel slighted by the candidate chosen by Dem primary voters. Some of them will vote for Trump…again. Why? Trump kept the Fed pumping out cash longer that normal which allow economic activity to penetrate deeper into the social hierarchy. God forbid the poors erode the value of rich people money. Normally… by the time Blacks and other POC get to the punch bowl..the party is about to get shut down. Last hired first fired.

    I’ve yet to hear any candidate speak to anyone who isn’t already going to vote for the Democratic nominee even if it’s a aardvark. This must change if they hope to beat Trump. The only group outraged that he’s a racist are liberals. Everyone else either approves or, like me, assumes white boomers to be that anyway.

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  16. EddieInCA says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Yep.

    To me it’s lining up way too similarly to McGovern and 1972.

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  17. Gustopher says:

    @Jim Brown 32: I agree with a lot of what you’re saying, but I also think you have one thing very wrong

    I repeat….these debates are nothing but self licking ice cream cones that have little to do with revealing who has the best and most attributes required to be an effective executive.

    The first job of the nominee is to be a compelling candidate not an effective executive. It’s who can paint a pretty picture of what America should be, with the nitty gritty of how we get there being secondary.

    But, I think all of your complaints are pretty accurate even with that adjustment.

    I don’t think campaigning on promises of the most free shit is the right way to go about it. I do think Warren’s mix of big vision and pragmatism has a chance, if she leans into the pragmatism after the primaries.

    I really don’t like wiping out student debt, not without at least tossing a bone to the people who have paid off their debt, or worked through college. It feels unfair.

    (On student debt, I think a winning argument might be to make state colleges much cheaper with federal grants (matched by states?), and allow federalizing the student debt and restructuring it — pay it with your taxes, over 30 years, with artificially low interest rates)

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  18. Gustopher says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    As for Pete, he’s got some chops as an executive…albeit a small town one. However, he’s got a rattlesnake in his campaign, the officer involved shooting of a black man in South Bend. Sure, its negligible in lily white Iowa and NH…but when he hits states where black people live….the attack ads will write themselves.

    Mayor Pete’s VP choice would have to do a lot of heavy lifting on race — I don’t think he can do it himself.

    My lily-white-outsider view is that Stacy Abrams would be good, or Joe Biden, but my lily-white-outsider view also recognizes the limitations of a lily-white-outsider view.

    And, speaking of attack ads…
    https://twitter.com/joebiden/status/1226189752598171648?s=21

    Wow.

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  19. Scott F. says:

    @EddieInCA:

    The Democrats should be hammering Trump and the GOP on income inequality, record corporate profits (very little going to workers) with historically low tax rates, gutting thr ACÁ, and corruption.

    The Democrats are hammering/will hammer Trump on these things. Your pitch here is basically Warren’s stump speech. (As opposed to the lazy pundits’ bumper sticker interpretation of her message.)

    You are tuning out the parts of these candidates’ messages that you agree with in order to remain pessimistic about their chances. The corruption of both Trump and his Republican enablers are now on full display with his acquittal and every Democratic candidate already has the clips they need for their campaign videos to make the corruption clear.

    Once the Democrats settle on their candidate – and regardless of who it is really – the general election will offer one of the most stark choices between the major parties in history. If the Democrats lose, it will be because of misinformation, or because the Republicans will have succeeded in cheating, or because the electorate has made the choice that general economic prosperity is worth accepting profound corruption. Or, if we’re honest of course, they could lose due to gross Democratic malpractice. But, they aren’t going to lose because one universal health care policy being proposed is a marginally different than the other.

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  20. CSK says:

    @de stijl:
    Never trust anyone who eats pizza sideways.

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  21. de stijl says:

    @CSK:

    I eat pizza crust in, pointy bit last. Because the pointy bit is the center, and the center is obviously the best, and one should save it for last, obviously.

    I might be a weirdo.

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  22. EddieInCA says:

    @Scott F.:

    Your pitch here is basically Warren’s stump speech. (As opposed to the lazy pundits’ bumper sticker interpretation of her message.)

    Oh bullshit! Warren, when asked how she would pay for her myriad of programs… completely whiffed. Where the f**k is she going to get the 32 Trillion it would take? Until a candidate can put a realistic plan on that cost of the “free shit”, they’re conning the pubic – just like the orange haired bozo in the White House. Sanders isn’t much better in that regard. Taxing the wealthy alone woudln’t cover it. It’s math.

    There is already an ad cut, waiting for the general election on an Iowa father confronting Warren about her (and Bernie’s) plan to forgive student debt. It will be so easy to demonize them both.

    But… I’ll keep saying this. I’ll crawl over broken glass to vote for either of them if they’re the nominee…. with the expectation they’re going to lose.

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  23. Raoul says:

    I saw the debate. All of them would beat Trump. For me Kobluchar did the best and then Pete, but like Steyer said, most hold similar positions on most issues. I wish Bloomberg had been on the stage.

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  24. An Interested Party says:

    I think Democrats are overlooking the real swing voter this cycle–Black and Latino MEN.

    And which candidate appeals to those MEN?

    Oh bullshit! Warren, when asked how she would pay for her myriad of programs… completely whiffed. Where the f**k is she going to get the 32 Trillion it would take? Until a candidate can put a realistic plan on that cost of the “free shit”, they’re conning the pubic – just like the orange haired bozo in the White House.

    Funny how that works…Republicans can and do promise all kinds of shit and then when they blow up the deficit, there’s a collective shrug…it seems like it is only Democrats who have to be/act fiscally responsible…

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  25. CSK says:

    @de stijl:
    That makes a certain sense. Eating pizza sideways does not.

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  26. charon says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    According to Rachel Bitecofer, chasing swing voters is poor strategy, in a highly polarized electorate there are few switchers. Victory depends on turnout – turnout your voters.

    https://twitter.com/RachelBitecofer

    http://cnu.edu/wasoncenter/

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  27. Scott F. says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Where the f**k is she going to get the 32 Trillion it would take? Until a candidate can put a realistic plan on that cost of the “free shit”, they’re conning the pubic – just like the orange haired bozo in the White House. Sanders isn’t much better in that regard. Taxing the wealthy alone wouldn’t cover it. It’s math.

    I’ll just note that the orange haired bozo got elected conning the public. Like @An Interested Party says, the Democrats could also avail themselves of aspirational policy objectives. The difference being the Dems will at least do the math, not keep selling the tired old supply side voodoo. And Warren has done the math. You may not agree with her numbers, but she’s laid out enough to carry the idea to the inevitable horse trading that would have to happen as the idea worked its way to law.

    There is already an ad cut, waiting for the general election on an Iowa father confronting Warren about her (and Bernie’s) plan to forgive student debt. It will be so easy to demonize them both.

    Any candidate with a D after their name will be easy to demonize by Trump and the right wing noise machine. You may not have noticed, but that whole cabal just makes shit up. Dead Saint Ronnie Reagan could run as the Democrat and they’d assault him as an appeaser of the Russians without even pretending there was data to back it up. (And the Iowa father who has kids with mountains of student debt may not be as discomfited with loan forgiveness as you are surmising any other Iowa father may be.)

    But… I’ll keep saying this. I’ll crawl over broken glass to vote for either of them if they’re the nominee…. with the expectation they’re going to lose.

    Why do you presume yourself to be such an outlier? You’d vote All of the Above before Trump for a reason. That reason is beyond the understanding of the MAGA hat wearer, but that reason can be made obvious to the 7% of other voters Trump needs to get re-elected. There’s a great deal of work to be done, but there’s no need to fear the fight.

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  28. EddieInCA says:

    @Scott F.:

    Why do you presume yourself to be such an outlier?

    Are you feeking kidding me? Is your memory so short? Susan Sarandon. Michael Moore, and a whole bunch of feeking Bernie Bros WOULD NOT vote for Clinton, and said so publicly, so excuse me for not trusting those people. 10% of Bernie voters ended up voting for Trump, per NPR.

    https://www.npr.org/2017/08/24/545812242/1-in-10-sanders-primary-voters-ended-up-supporting-trump-survey-finds

    A later, more detailed study, put the actual number at 12%, including more than the winning Trump margin.

    In several key states — Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan — the number of Sanders to Trump defectors were greater than Trump’s margin of victory, according to new numbers released Wednesday by UMass professor Brian Schaffner.

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

    So, No. I don’t trust they will support the nominee.

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  29. Gustopher says:

    @EddieInCA:

    A later, more detailed study, put the actual number at 12%, including more than the winning Trump margin.

    But, how do those Bernie-Trump voters feel today? Trump got their attention by saying that people like him should be paying more taxes, and he followed up with a massive upper class tax cut. He lied to them about economic populism. Do they realize that? Can they be made to realize that?

    If the Bernie-Trump voters stay home, or vote third party, that’s the difference needed for a Democrat to win, assuming all else remains the same*.

    ——
    *: The only assumption I feel confident of is that not all else will remain the same.

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  30. Gustopher says:

    @CSK: Eating a pizza is like free speech. Lots of things are allowed, but you have to accept that there are consequences.

    Eating pizza from the side is like going downtown and protesting that there are no horses with tiny legs like corgis — there’s no law against this protest, but everyone will think you’re crazy.

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  31. CSK says:

    @Gustopher:
    I rest my case.

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  32. Scott F. says:

    @EddieInCA: Who is kidding whom? You’re the one who’s lost the thread. You realize not trusting the Bernie Bros to vote for anyone else (a lack of trust I share BTW) is an argument in favor of nominating Sanders if you want to better the chances of beating Trump, right? The Bernie Bro’s are more likely to vote for Biden than Warren or Klobuchar? What’s the logic there?

    Besides, I’m not talking about Bernie’s revolutionaries, I’m talking about winning over Independents, winning back Obama-then-Trump voters and inspiring young liberals to GOTV. The Independents shouldn’t like corruption any more than you do and the GOP has cornered the corruption brand these days. (Those campaign ads write themselves.) And while I have no “feeking” clue how a sentient being could pull the lever for Obama, then pull it for Trump, I know with absolute certainty that decision wasn’t based “realistic plans for the cost of sh*t” or any other policy consideration for that matter. Then, finally, young liberals are sick of the status quo and are ready for big, structural change. They’re not going to get that from the Orange Buffoon.

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  33. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Gustopher: Joe off the top rope. It’ll get worse when black people start leading the charge on his record on race and the QOL of Black people living in South Bend. Joe’s ad is just a face slap.

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  34. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @An Interested Party: The only one left with a chance in Biden….an thats only if he appears onstage with Trump and is clearly the Alpha male of the two. If he looks weak next to Trump….I don’t think the men that hadn’t voted since 2016 or voted for Trump instead pull the lever for him in November. As it stands now…he won’t make it to be the nominee.

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  35. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @charon: According to me that’s a dumb strategy. There are millions of Never Trumpers that could be brought into the fold. These are people that Trump humiliated and marginalized out of the party. You think these people don’t want to serve Trump and Cult45 humble pie? Of courses they do. A right center Democrat would do the trick…you know, like Clinton and Obama. The last 2 Nominees to WIN.

    I don’t think you fully understand the meaning of turnout elections. It also means turning our first-time and infrequent voters….which Obama did in droves and so did Trump. Only Sanders has shown this ability on the Democrats side. Democrats will not win by only turning out their regular voters. They either have to bring play people off the couch or persuade disaffected Republicans.

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  36. Kurtz says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Instead, they are arguing about who can give people the most free stuff. What does it say to those people that played by the rules, as rigged as they were, who paid off their student loans or paid them off for their children, that are now being told that the government is going to pay off those loans for other people?

    Yeah, unless those loans you paid off were taken out after 2000, it ain’t even the same ballpark, league, or sport. From 1999 to 2017, the student debt in the average household grew 828%.

    US fossil fuel subsidies in 2015: $649 billion.

    US Department of Education appropriation in 2015: ~$88million

    I get that’s not entirely fair–gas prices inflating would fuck the economy. But the point is that fossil fuel subsidies are the definition of “free shit.” More accurately, it is free shit that benefits all of us (at least in the short term) just like healthcare and education.

    Last thing, bud. Your assumption that the cost would be too high is exactly that, an assumption. Economic studies are all over the map–no one really knows. What we do know is that a.) the current system is inefficient and makes economic inequality worse, and b.) we are the only wealthy country that hasn’t figured out how to deliver quality healthcare for everyone.

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  37. EddieInCA says:

    @Scott F.:

    Who is kidding whom? You’re the one who’s lost the thread. You realize not trusting the Bernie Bros to vote for anyone else (a lack of trust I share BTW) is an argument in favor of nominating Sanders if you want to better the chances of beating Trump, right? The Bernie Bro’s are more likely to vote for Biden than Warren or Klobuchar? What’s the logic there?

    Lost the thread? WTF does that mean? You asked me why I felt I was such an outlier. I told you.

    So you’re saying support Bernie, the self-avowed socialist, over other candidates (because his 25% national polling will somehow lead to 270 electoral votes) to not piss off Bernie Bros? F that. I’d rather look at Clinton and Obama, the last two Democrats that have won (and gotten re-elected) by being pragmatists and understanding the electorate. Bernie and Warren have not shown that ability.

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  38. Kurtz says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Go to the right, and you risk losing some portion of the 50% of Democrats who identify as liberal or very liberal. Reaching toward the center because the GOP went off the rails since Gingrich (or maybe Reagan… huh, Goldwater?) is the strategy that allowed the Republicans to do what they did.

    WJ Clinton sold the economic Left out, and where are we now?

    Bitecofer’s argument about swing voters is that different swing voters turn out in different elections–not the typical view that swing voters choose between candidates.

    Her idea is that the choice a swing voter makes is whether to vote or not.

    This implies that moving to the center is exactly what the Dems shouldn’t do. Pick a candidate with big ideas. Not a buffoonish former Veep. Not a center-left Rubio. Not a terrible boss who throws things at her staff. Not another fucking billionaire businessman.

    That leaves two. I prefer the wonk. But if Sanders is the guy, then he’s the guy. People are angry. People feel left behind. The Dems would be wise to channel that anger.

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  39. Scott F. says:

    You’re just cussing at me now, so I’ll leave it at this. I am very much NOT saying “support Bernie, the self-avowed socialist, over other candidates to not piss off Bernie Bros.” I don’t trust the Bernie Bros to do anything and the fact that Bernie won’t set them straight is the reason I can’t support Sanders unless he’s the nominee I’m left with when this all plays out.

    I AM saying I could support any of the other top four, because none of them are Democrats who are only running on giving people “free stuff” and who are ignoring what you rightfully claim are the real issues of the day like income inequality, corporate profits at the expense of the workers, and corruption. Obviously, you see through a different lens, but I would add that the most progressive of those other 4, Senator Warren, is more pragmatic than you give her credit for and that she understands the electorate (if you mean the persuadable, gettable electorate that is Independents, disaffected populists, and younger voters) better than you do.

    The 2020 election will be like none other in our lifetimes. The old models used by Clinton and Obama will not apply. Trump ain’t gonna play by those rules and neither should the Democrats.

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  40. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Raoul: You may need to keep up better; Bloomberg is an ex-Republican and a plagiarist. We can’t care what he has to say. It would be disloyal.

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  41. charon says:

    @Kurtz:

    Not a terrible boss who throws things at her staff.

    She is only my second preference, but I think you overestimate how many and how much people give a phuk about that.

    But if Sanders is the guy, then he’s the guy.

    He admittedly energizes a lot of people who do not usually vote. But he is also pretty inflexible about many easy to demonize positions. Maybe he works out ok, but I think he is a big risk

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  42. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @EddieInCA: @An Interested Party: @Scott F.: To be honest, I’m not sure how important it is to figure out how to pay for a proposal that isn’t even likely to get to the house floor. Either way the Dems have to get out their vote. In the interim, keep fighting about it. By all means. Nothing builds party unity like these kinds of fights.

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  43. An Interested Party says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: These kinds of fights lead to the eventual nominee…maybe some people are right and any of the Democratic candidates can beat Trump, but is that a bet you’re willing to take? People fight because they believe in certain candidates, they fight because they believe certain people are more capable of beating Trump than others are…hopefully, party unity will eventually be achieved, but at this point it isn’t achieved without hashing out the issues and finding out which candidate can fight through all of this and eventually win in November…

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  44. Kurtz says:

    @EddieInCA:

    because his 25% national polling will somehow lead to 270 electoral votes

    Regardless of who you support, you need to stop with this nonsense. By that logic, none of the Democratic candidates have a chance at 270, because nobody is polling much higher than that.

    Also, R-E-L-A-X.

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  45. de stijl says:

    A candidate who does not have aspirational goals is a bad candidate. We want a touch of magical thinking. The wall will be built how, exactly?

    Workers at large companies have to invent two or three “stretch” goals every year for the review process. Subsequently ignored. (Waves from the sidelines,) good luck with that.

    You want on-time, within budget, and larger scope? When the project plan is already unrealistically tight? That was why I billed by the hour.

    Failure is not an option? Of course it is. Don’t be an idiot. Roughly half of projects fail to deliver on scope or go long. 20% go death spiral and everyone works 90 hour weeks pushing at unrealistic goals.

    Again, why technical workers should be paid hourly. I used to tell salaried people to go home. It’s 11 pm, you have a toddler, go the fuck home!

    As a candidate with big aspirational plans, Warren has probably done more than anyone before her to justify and show her work. Will it cost more and take more time? Of course it will; Don’t be an idiot.

    Has she been required to show her work to match up goals with resources more so than any other candidate before her? Of course she has, she’s a girl, and girls make emotional decisions and are lousy project managers, amirite?

    Warren isn’t even my top choice, but she has done more to identify exactly how she will fund and accomplish her stretch goals more so than any presidential candidate *ever* has. Dinging Warren on preparedness or fudging numbers is hypocrisy.

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  46. de stijl says:

    @Kurtz:

    This is meant as positive, constructive feedback.

    Telling someone to relax never works. You are both claiming control and implying that your interlocutor is out of control.

    It comes from a good place – de-escalation. Totally on board, great idea.

    Spelling out “relax” is the opposite of de-escalation. It is waving the red cape directly in front of the bull. It will result in a headlong charge.

    This assumes you want engagement and dialog.

    If you don’t, that’s cool. Passive-aggressive has a name because it works. I use it all the time.

    Spelling out relax at someone is a sure way to spark aggression.

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  47. Kurtz says:

    @de stijl:

    It seemed better than what I had originally typed, “Calm the fuck down.”

    Thank you. To be honest, I don’t think Eddie is going to calm down no matter what anyone says.

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  48. de stijl says:

    @Kurtz:

    It depends on your goal with the interaction.

    If you want dialog, de-escalate. Emphasize common ground. Ask questions. Actively work towards understanding.

    If you want to score points, do so. There is absolutely no wrong in that. This a blog’s comment section. It’s main purpose is to have people argue about ephemera. Better here than irl.

    Honestly, your first, gut instinct to type out “Calm the fuck down” might have been less provocative than “R-E-L-A-X.” Both are imperatives.

    Make considered use of imperatives in a give and go. (Or so says the guy who just now employed a series of imperative statements at you.)

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  49. Kit says:

    Is it the predictable but nonetheless disappointing end to the impeachment? Is it the start of actual voting in the primaries? Whatever it is, people here seem unusually ill tempered lately.

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  50. James Joyner says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    This is like drafting College players into the NFL based on combine results. The combine isn’t Football. If you want to handicap good football players…watch em playing the game.

    Tons of players who were superstars at the highest levels in college fail spectacularly in the NFL, whereas quite a few guys who didn’t even dominate small college football become star NFL players. I think that’s becoming less true as the nature of the college and pro games converge but the combine was invented for a reason.

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  51. James Joyner says:

    @Gustopher: I can’t imagine someone who’s running for President based on his record as a small-town mayor would significantly bolster his creds by adding a running mate whose top job had been state legislator. And, frankly, while adding a black woman to the ticket might help bring out parts of the Democratic nominating electorate, I’d think a Kamala Harris makes a lot more sense. Abrams is going to turn off a whole lot of the Bernie Sanders crowd.

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  52. mattbernius says:

    I don’t necessarily agree with everything @Jim Brown 32 wrote but he raises a key point. The fact we are talking about the Democratic race like it’s largely over/sorted prior to reaching any State with a significant population of voters of color is…. Well it’s a great example of how VoC are still treated like second class citizens within the party.

    I’m not arguing a bothsiderism here (let’s face it, VoC have yet to hit third-class status in the current GOP). But hopefully this is the year that forces Democrats to rethink the primary structure to make early voting (and, if we haven’t learned our lesson, caucusing) more representative of the coalitions that the party claims to care about.

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  53. Teve says:

    @de stijl:

    A candidate who does not have aspirational goals is a bad candidate. We want a touch of magical thinking. The wall will be built how, exactly?

    Yeah, some numbnuts want Dems to give up on the big stuff before negotiations even start.

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  54. EddieInCA says:

    @Kurtz:

    Also, R-E-L-A-X.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1972_United_States_presidential_election

    “Those Who Do Not Learn History Are Doomed To Repeat It.”

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  55. Jen says:

    NH voter here, and Pete has been drawing crowds here for much longer than people seem to realize. It’s not a reordering of the race, it’s that people are just now paying attention to IA and NH, and some of the lesser-known national candidates (like Buttigieg) have spent a LOT of time here. It’s not remotely surprising to me that the national polling and the early state polling differs. The race will reorder significantly after SC.

    I think Pete will do decently here (he has my vote). Sanders will probably win, because Biden/Buttigieg/Klobuchar are splitting up the moderate vote, and Sanders’ supporters are quite firm in their support. He won here in 2016, and many of his supporters from that time are bound to vote for him again. It’s basically the Republican/Trump dynamic from 2016–solid, vehement, dedicated supporters for one candidate, and a fractured field for the rest.

    I’m not wild about Klobuchar, and yes it’s the throwing things at staff that bothers me. I’ve worked for several toxic bosses who threw things, and it’s childish tantrum-throwing. IMHO, leaders don’t behave like that. In fact, it’s Buttigieg’s cool level-headedness that is part of why I’m supporting him. I was a fan of “no-drama Obama” too. Keeping your sh!t in check is a big deal for me.

    That said, if Klobuchar is the nominee, I will support her.

    I’m wondering about what turnout will be on Tuesday. I talked to a friend yesterday who was thinking of skipping voting–she doesn’t feel strongly about any candidate–she said she’d be fine with any of them–and will simply take anyone who wins the nomination. I wonder how widespread that feeling is.

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  56. Moosebreath says:

    @EddieInCA:

    “Those Who Do Not Learn History Are Doomed To Repeat It.”

    In the words of Bucky Katt of Get Fuzzy, that’s true of any school subject. If you don’t learn Math, they make you repeat it, too.

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  57. wr says:

    @Gustopher: “I think Buttigieg will fade quickly when people see pictures of him eating.”

    Anyone who chooses a candidate based on crap like this deserves to have Trump for all eternity.

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  58. wr says:

    @Jim Brown 32: “’ve yet to hear any candidate speak to anyone who isn’t already going to vote for the Democratic nominee even if it’s a aardvark.”

    Um, yes. Because they’ve all been running in the Democratic primary, and the only people who vote in the Democratic primary are Democrats (in most states, anyway). When we have a nominee, that person will campaign for the general election.

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  59. Kurtz says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Mistake #1: You are using your feelings as a proxy for how everyone else feels.

    Mistake #2: You are adopting the Republican line of criticism as a means of trying to control the Democratic nomination process. Kind of like when putative liberals use the phrase “virtue signaling,” without realizing it is an attempt to discredit (rather than constructively criticize) left wing politics.

    Mistake #3: You’re assuming that the same socieconomic and political factors that existed in 1972 exist in the same way now. They don’t.

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  60. jim brown 32 says:

    @Kurtz: @ You mean, the very people that would vote for an eggplant over Trump? Not happening. I’ve had to live with the Dem Party chalking the Black vote as in the tank for most of my life. Its the white liberals turn now. Lets be honest–Liberals (minus Bernie Bros) and Very Liberals are a faction of the overall coalition and have little to no chance of staying home. Potential voters like our own Doug and Andy, however, will. They are in play–I think people underestimate how very little attention MOST people pay to this stuff. The commenters here are the exception and not the rule. The casual voter who will start looking at who to vote for in October will apply a very different calculation of who to vote for than the people that show up here. The typical american voter of either party applies very shallow logic to their choice.

    Bill Clinton presided over one of the largest economic booms in history… but the Left feels sold out? The Left also feels sold out by Obama and bypasses no opportunity to trash him–they are a noisy faction that no one (except their mothers) likes–but have to be tolerated because of convenience. They are the reason why half the state legislatures in the Country are Red and why Trump is President with a 49% approval rating and an excellent chance of re-election. These people couldn’t strategize their way out of a brothel. They’re exactly like the Tea Party–

    James Joyner: @ I spent about 15 years as a hobbiest “draft nick”. I can honestly say that there are very few surprises amongst people in the craft about which successful players in college can be great pros and which will struggle. The majority of times….how you get those failures is that NFL owners under-invest in scouting professionals and give the scouting jobs to non-professsionals who are connected to them socially that will take less money than an actual professional. These people look at stats which are results of outcomes rather than the actual skill attributes of the player. I thought Tom Brady should have been a 3rd round pick when the was drafted which is a round where you are still project a player to be an eventual starter. Why? Forget his Yards, Touchdowns, and Interceptions. If you watch his tapes–he knew where to throw the ball lightning fast the snap. He rarely ever threw into double coverage–threw very catchable balls–and most of his throws where placed in an area the defender had no chance to make a play on it. Attributes he is still showing off today. Most Alabama running backs–despite their eye popping numbers have weak professional RB skills—namely, vision and quickness to the hole. They are products of the Alabama O-line. I thought Mark Ingram and Travis Henry were exceptions. Ingram has had a great career and Henry looks poised to have one. The Combine was invented to determine who had stats their athletic prowess could not validate— to see if they were products of their college system or studs in their own right. In Biden, Warren, Sanders, Klobachar’s case–this would be like having a Combine for existing NFL players. We already know they can play on the big stage. The Combine is good for Pete–to see if he’s athletic enough to even have a shot on the Big stage. If the star running back for South Bend U runs a 5.0 forty-time (and I suspect we will when the primary electorate gets less white)–he’s wasting your time.

    mattbernius:
    They need to have the first primaries in states with representation populations that aren’t true blue so they can actually get a preview of who can have success in a battle ground state. e.g. NC, OH, FL, VA. This should actually change over time so the party can have the best sampling of where they stand in terms of crafting a resonating message with voters across their various coalitions. Perhaps the Iowa and NH moves were great for their times but the Party and country are in vastly different places than they were 50 years ago.

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  61. de stijl says:

    @jim brown 32:

    That was very red and half was bolded. How do you do that?

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  62. Bill says:

    @de stijl: Hardly surprising from somebody who could do this.

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  63. de stijl says:

    @Bill:

    That was a cool clip, and on point. (The audio on that was atrocious! Recorded in a gym during a riot.)

    Jim Brown had a half-assed “acting” career after football. It went as well as you would could predict.

    —-

    OJ did well, until that incident: a slight contretemps with Johnny Law.

    I like Vinnie Jones. I know English football, but go with it. He has a rough charm, a good guy vibe with thuggish looks. He kills in action movies.

    Good lord! Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock was a U Miami player. Perhaps the most instantly likeable, most charming man alive.

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  64. Kurtz says:

    @jim brown 32:

    On liberal to very liberals being a “fraction:”

    Try the largest share 47%. we will return to this later.

    On Obama:

    If you must know, after Obama’s 2004 speech at the convention, I called my dad and said, “That guy is going to be President one day.” Why? Because he is brilliant, genuine, and makes people believe in the promise of America. He is the only recent President that embodies all three of those things.

    But criticizing is not “trashing.” I still consider myself an Obama supporter. He was limited by an archaic political system and an opposition that abandoned good-faith commitment to democratic principles in favor of Machiavellian power politics.

    The best example of this is the ACA. Obama pushed hard for a public option. The stated reason the Republicans gave for their opposition was that it would put private insurers at a market disadvantage, and as an extension, lead to a government run healthcare system. This may be true on the surface.

    In my view, the actual reason that the GOP opposed the public option is that the ACA would have significant problems without it. If the ACA worked well, their philosophy would be discredited, and more importantly to a Machiavellian, they would lose a major campaign plank that they have relied on for ten years to garner votes in red states–repeal Obamacare.

    In fact that whole episode points to a hidden tension in the Republican ideology–if government is too inefficient to deliver quality healthcare, then it would have absolutely zero chance, even with unfair price negotiation leverage, to win a competition with private insurers. But I digress.

    In the end, Obama’s committment to pragmatism and his belief in small-d democracy isn’t a criticism of his legacy. He was the right person, at the right time who faced a test that would be impossible for anyone to ace.

    On Clinton: economic boom you say? And where did all those gains go? Continuing the Reagan strategy of deregulation and tax cuts has left us with worsening economic inequality, stagnant social mobility, and balooning costs for education and healthcare.

    All of those things fall disproportionately upon POCs. But to pretend it doesn’t affect white people is playing the same game you are decrying.

    You know who gives no fucks about social issues except as political leverage? People in sound financial situations. Fix economic inequality and you solve a lot of social friction. There is a reason why the most virulent anti-immigrant views comes from regions that have lower populations of immigrants–they also happen to be the very regions that have become hollowed out economically.

    On blaming liberals for Red States:

    There are a ton of reasons for this. One of the most prominent is party centered gerrymandering, which has a direct effect on the state government and the US House. It indirectly affects statewide races via electoral rule-making at the state level.

    Some of the blame goes to the national party not expending resoures to develop talented politicians and policy makers at the state level, a strategy that has worked extremely well for the GOP. Right-to-work laws, budget cuts to education and healthcare, etc. benefit the wealthy at the expense of the working class, no matted what race or ethnicity.

    Remember when the GOP championed federalism–the idea that the states are policy laboratories? They are against any government, period. And we see the outcome of that in Red States.

    All of this is to say that you are dead wrong about blaming it on the Left. Third Way Dems traded economic policy for social policy “wins.” Shit, Clinton couldn’t even get a policy change allowing gay people in the military, he could only get a ridiculous on its face Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy.

    And the outcome of that third way is a bunch of angry people with massive debt and shitty job prospects pointing fingers at each other instead of looking at the people who won a rigged game and saying, “give some back or we will take it.”

    On Dems taking the Black vote for granted:

    I agree with you. But your solution to tell white liberals to shut up is absurd. I alluded to this before, but this is exactly what the party structure wants.

    The irony is that if Republicans abandoned the racist section of their base and became economic moderates, they would actually have a more diverse coalition. As a whole, the black population is more religious and more socially conservative than the Democratic Party, at least among the older black voters.

    But that ain’t going to happen, because the anti-government propaganda outfits like Cato, Heritage, AFA, et al. as well as the business schools teaching economics are all bought and paid for by people whose self-interest dictate that they dismantle all regulation and government intervention. They believe they earned the right to rule, and persuade the working class on the right that they have the little people’s best interest at heart.

    Keep doing their work for them by blaming your political allies out of spite for being taken for granted by party leadership. It has worked wonders for us. Referring to half the party as a “fraction” just gives us more reason to ignore the centrists. If you want to be center-right, fine, go fix the nominally Conservative party. Don’t take the Liberal party down with you. That is exactly how we go into this mess.

    One last thing. The last month or so, I have toyed with not even voting in November unless it is a candidate whose agenda I can get behind. This isn’t sour grapes–I happily voted for Clinton in the general. It is because the Dems moving to the center is what allows the GOP to do what they do and they will move further to the right. Keep in mind that Nixon started the EPA, the NEA, and almost tried to pass a UBI. He would be decried as a communist if he ran now.

    Quite honestly, if somehow it was Romney vs. Biden, I would probably pull the lever for Romney. I don’t like him. I think he represents exactly the ideology that I rail against everyday. But at least he is more or less honest about it. Biden, who I genuinely like, is not dishonest, but he represents what the Democratic party has largely become–the worst of both worlds.

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  65. Bill says:

    @de stijl:

    Keep in mind that Nixon started the EPA, the NEA, and almost tried to pass a UBI. He would be decried as a communist if he ran now.

    You forgot wage and price controls and the opening to the People’s Republic of China. Commie lover!

    But I agree with Mr. Spock’s take on things.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_gwnFSFzv0

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  66. Just nutha ignint cracker says:
  67. Bii says:

    @Gustopher:

    I think Buttigieg will fade quickly when people see pictures of him eating.

    William Casey was head of the CIA though Robert Gates said “watching Casey eat was not for the squeamish.”

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  68. Kurtz says:

    @jim brown 32:

    I think you’re overplaying the notion that owners like Snyder and Jones put the wrong people in charge.

    First, with the exception of a few teams–New England being the most prominent example–teams subscribe to third party scouting services,of which there are only two. They compile lists of senior prospects for teams.

    This is only the starting point, but there is a reason why Logan Mankins going in round 1 to New England was considered a reach. Most teams were working from the same starting point, and graded him well below what he turned out to be. This has nothing to do with organizational structure or hiring practices. It only vaguely has to do with the lists compiled by scouting services. It has much more to do with the difficulty of scouting.

    Second, football people as GMs are a mixed bag. Newsome was considered excellent at picking players, but still had wildly differing results between different draft classes. Lynch is so far so good in San Francisco, but it’s a small sample size. Elway can’t seem to find a decent QB.

    The Ravens and the Pats are examples of organizations who put a premium on scouting and development and neither win the draft year after year.

    The tricky thing about the draft is that optimal decisions aren’t solely based on picking the best player that fills a need.

    Your Brady example is perfect here. If everyone knew what his career would be, he would be the consensus overall #1. But if a team thinks that only a handful of organizations have him graded highly, it would be a mistake to pick him too early. It would be optimal to pick him as late as possible, so you don’t miss out on players with a broader consensus.

    I should also note that grading him as a third round pick is only right in comparison to how teams graded him. If scouting was as conclusive as your point requires, then he would have been a higher pick and you would have had him as the best player.

    In the end, if it was all on mismanagement by owners, the teams who do not organize their front office the way you describe would be more successful in the draft in the long term. But that isn’t the case.

    A likely more accurate view is that bad organizational structure has a larger negative effect than a good structure has positive.

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  69. Kurtz says:

    @de stijl:

    He failed to properly open and close the bold and link codes. I’ve done it many times. But it bugs me, so I check once I post and edit as needed.

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  70. Kurtz says:

    @Bill:

    That was a quote from my post. And yes, I didnt include other Nixon policies that fit.

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  71. Grewgills says:

    @Gustopher:
    Everybody looks weird eating unless they practice eating in the mirror. If someone doesn’t look odd eating then they have spent too much time practicing how they look eating.
    Bernie generally looks like the food took him by surprise when he’s eating.
    From the looks of the comments on the twit you posted, it is Bernie people pushing this because they got a scare. Already they are trying to work the google search algorithm to show Pete when someone googles rat eating pizza. It is dirty, reminds me of 2016, and is another reminder of why I’ll never vote for Bernie unless the alternative is Trump.

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  72. EddieInCA says:

    @Kurtz:

    R-E-L-A-X.

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  73. Kurtz says:

    @EddieInCA:

    😉 thanks for the smile, I’ll have a coke and shut the fuck up.

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  74. Gustopher says:

    @Jen:

    I’m not wild about Klobuchar, and yes it’s the throwing things at staff that bothers me.

    Have you considered the possibility that she hires horrible people who deserve to be pelted with garbage?

    Not that this wouldn’t also be a problem…

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  75. EddieInCA says:

    Awesome…

    Full Sanders: ‘I am in good health’ won’t release additional medical records

    https://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/video/full-sanders-i-am-in-good-health-78421061929

    Another way Trump has changed the rules. I’d love for Bernie, Biden, Warren, to all release their medical records.

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  76. EddieInCA says:

    @Kurtz:

    You’re very welcome. You have good insights, and I appreciate your comments – even those with which I disagree.

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  77. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @de stijl: Be an Android user and use your Wife’s Mac. Lololollll

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  78. de stijl says:

    @Grewgills:

    I’m fairly certain Gustopher was goofing off the notion we can judge someone by they way they eat, which is frankly stupid. Meta commentary.

    I cannot see into Gustopher’s head, but that what was I took away.

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  79. de stijl says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Well played.

    I have no horse in your guys’ beef, but that well done and echoed back.

    Alternate:

    Frankie Says Relax

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  80. de stijl says:

    @Bill:

    Pretty sure that was mix up on your part, but the quote you attributed to me was Kurtz, not me.

    We’re cool. Done it myself by accident. Started a comment. Thought better, erased the stupid comment and forgot to backspace through the link.

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  81. de stijl says:

    Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s Relax is sorta goofy and kinda profound.

    It is notable because of the frank way it treated ejaculation and the transmission of STIs. At that time, it was a very daring song with an almost taboo lyric and subtext.

    It was dodgy music, but it was great art. Hat tip to Holly Johnson.

    Plus we got awesome oversized tee shirts with Relax emblazoned.

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  82. de stijl says:

    Hit me, Hit me with those laser beams!

    (I like the dude with stupid tiny baseball cap. He’s having fun with it.)

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  83. Kurtz says:

    @de stijl:

    Yeah, that really made me smile. When I am in full-on thought mode, that is extremely hard to do. Damn right Eddie played it well.

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  84. Tyrell says:

    @de stijl: Brown was fairly good in “The Dirty Dozen”. I liked “100 Rifles”, especially Raquel. But Jim Brown the player for Cleveland was great. I read a book about famous football coaches that said that Brown and the legendary Coach Paul Brown did not get along well. I had never heard that before.

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