Vast Majority Of Sanders Supporters Backing Clinton

Ignore the focus on discord, most of Bernie's supporters are supporting Hillary.

Clinton Sanders 414 debate

Heading into the evening and, thanks to the revelations regarding DNC emails and the subsequent resignation of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the first day of the Democratic National Convention looked like it was headed for chaos thanks to rebellions by Bernie Sanders supporters still upset by the outcome of the primary fight. As it turned out, though, the night went fairly well and was highlighted by speeches from Cory Booker, Michelle Obama, and, of course, Bernie Sanders, who once again gave a full-throated endorsement of Hillary Clinton’s campaign for President and urged his supporters to unite behind her in order to defeat Donald Trump. As it turns out, notwithstanding the fact that much of the coverage of the Democratic convention is on the handful of Sanders supporters and protesters who are still vehemently against Clinton, the vast majority of Sanders supporters are doing just that:

Pew Research has been polling on the 2016 campaign for months, allowing it to track attitudes among voters over time. Nearly half of the Democratic electorate, 44 percent, changed their preference over the course of the three surveys Pew conducted. About 3 in 10 supported Clinton, wire-to-wire; about 20 percent Sanders.

Pew asked those consistent Sanders supporters whom they support in the general election. Ninety percent said they back Hillary Clinton.

(…)

There are plenty of Bernie Sanders supporters who are frustrated at Hillary Clinton, and some chunk of those voters will back Donald Trump in November. Most Democrats — even those who consistently supported Bernie Sanders in the primary — plan to back Hillary Clinton. Those Democrats are more likely to be moderate and, Pew’s data suggests, more willing to accept compromise.

That, it seems clear, isn’t the sort of person who would applaud a “Hillary Clinton for Prison” billboard.

On some level, it’s not surprising that some sub-group of Sanders supporters are still stubbornly clinging to the idea of a viable Sanders campaign, or at least harboring resentment toward the opposition. This is especially true for people who volunteer or work on political campaigns, something I can attest to as someone who’s been involved with winning and losing campaigns at various points in the past. Once you’ve spent the better part of a year working toward a goal, the fact that it all comes to an end so quickly and suddenly on Election Night quickly is something that it often takes some time to accept. This is as true of the supporters who show up at the rallies as it is of the volunteers and campaign workers. For many people, getting behind a candidate and getting caught up in a movement like the one that developed around Sanders over the course of the past year causes people to become emotionally invested in the outcome of the election to the point that it often takes some time for people to put those emotions behind them and change focus for a General Election Some small portion of people will never get over the outrage that supporting a candidate like Sanders stirred up for them, but for most people it’s just a matter of time.

As the quoted article goes on to note, it’s also important to note that the protesters and delegates at the convention this week aren’t necessarily representative of Sanders supporters as a whole. Throughout the Democratic nomination process, Sanders received some twelve million votes, and the vast majority of these people clearly aren’t the type of people inclined to take the position that they’d never vote for Hillary Clinton, or to adopt the political slogans of the Republican Party in a protest march, Instead, many of them are mainline Democrats who were attracted to Sanders largely because he was saying things that a lot of Americans have felt for quite a while when it comes to inequality, imbalances of power, and the perception that the government isn’t working for the ordinary American the way that we’ve been told that it’s supposed to. People like that aren’t going to vote for Donald Trump and Mike Pence in November, instead as the polls indicate they are going to support the Democratic nominee. Anyone who expected otherwise just doesn’t understand how politics works.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Hillary Clinton, Politicians, 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. gVOR08 says:

    Vast Majority Of Sanders Supporters Backing Clinton

    Well that’s a surprise. Not.

    But I’m sure the supposedly liberal MSM will continue to root out and interview every disgruntled hold out Sanders supporter they can manage to find.




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  2. SKI says:

    The nutpicking on MSNBC last night after Bernie’s speech was horrific. I get one but three (or 4?) in a row of these delusional unicorns?




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  3. MBunge says:

    Most Sanders supporters will wind up supporting Hillary and most non-Trump Republicans will wind up supporting him. What a shock.

    Mike




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  4. MBunge says:

    @SKI:

    That’s bad but nothing can top Brian Williams acting like viewers are complete and utter morons who think TPP is a brand of toilet paper. These are people watching political convention coverage on “The Place for Politics,” not Mennonites who wandered into their neighbor’s living room.

    Mike




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  5. Todd says:

    I got beat up in the comments section here for a few months in a row for opposing Hillary Clinton. Predictably, as soon as it was obvious she’d be the nominee I came around, and now regularly “debate” rationality with some of my Bernie or Bust friends.

    In this comments section, there were also quite a few who wrongly predicted that Bernie Sanders himself was a burn the bridge down kind of guy. After his speech last night, can some of you admit that maybe that wasn’t a terribly well informed prediction?




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  6. Pch101 says:

    Pew asked those consistent Sanders supporters whom they support in the general election. Ninety percent said they back Hillary Clinton.

    The remaining ten percent seem to have discovered OTB’s comments section.

    The media invariably fails to mention that there are always some voters who vote across party lines, for whatever reason. No one should be surprised if about 10% of registered Democrats end up voting for the Republican this year, as that sort of defection rate is fairly typical.




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  7. Kylopod says:

    For comparison, eight years ago at this stage in the race, about 80% of Clinton supporters said they’d vote for Obama in the general election.




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  8. Todd says:

    @Kylopod:

    For comparison, eight years ago at this stage in the race, about 80% of Clinton supporters said they’d vote for Obama in the general election.

    To be fair, at this point 8 years ago, the Republican alternative was John McCain … who was still over a month away from announcing that he’d selected Sarah Palin as his running mate. 🙂




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  9. Moosebreath says:

    @Todd:

    “After his speech last night, can some of you admit that maybe that wasn’t a terribly well informed prediction?”

    Yes, Bernie gave a great speech last night. I still am frustrated about the things he was saying in May and June, but the comparison between Bernie and Ted Cruz at the conventions is like night and day.




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  10. al-Alameda says:

    @Todd:

    In this comments section, there were also quite a few who wrongly predicted that Bernie Sanders himself was a burn the bridge down kind of guy. After his speech last night, can some of you admit that maybe that wasn’t a terribly well informed prediction?

    I did not predict that … however I will admit after-the-fact, now that we know with certainty, that Bernie, evidently, is not a ‘burn the bridge down’ kind of guy.

    I think that Al Franken and Sarah Silverman started the so-called healing process, and Michelle and Bernie wrapped it up nicely.




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  11. Tillman says:

    As the quoted article goes on to note, it’s also important to note that the protesters and delegates at the convention this week aren’t necessarily representative of Sanders supporters as a whole.

    I’m told the California and Michigan delegations were particularly obnoxious and were the source of most of the jeering.

    But it’s not that much of a surprise. People who go to political conventions are either activists or pretend muckrakers. They feel more than we normal people do about this stuff.




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  12. KM says:

    @Todd:

    After his speech last night, can some of you admit that maybe that wasn’t a terribly well informed prediction?

    I concur with Moosebreath that I’m still irritated he fed the nuts unnecessarily for far too long but in the end Sanders understands what needs to happen. He lives in this world unlike some of his fanatics. Maybe he got caught up in his own hype but he’s smart and dedicated enough to make the right choice. I’m woman enough to apologize to him for any snark otherwise.

    I felt bad for him that his own people booed him on stage – you could see it cut him that they call for him and curse him at the same time. They don’t want HIM, never really wanted him. They want an imaginary Bernie the Iconoclast, the Crusader for Justice from their dreams. When the real-life one stood before them and presented the path forward that would give them the best chance for their hopes to blossom, they boo and call for his avatar. That’s gotta sting.




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  13. Jen says:

    @Tillman: Susan Sarandon huffing and rolling her eyes was a bit much for me, I’ll admit.

    Convention-goers are definitely not representative of the whole–but they are some of the hardest workers. I do hope that some of them eventually come around. Given the number of states that have enacted voter ID laws or had them take effect since the last presidential election, I’m more convinced than ever that GOTV is going to matter, especially for Democrats, this year.




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  14. Tyrell says:

    @Todd: Bernie had little choice but to follow the script and the plan in this orchestrated coronation.
    The participation of the media in all of this is not surprising to most people, who saw this parade from the beginning last summer.
    Close to 70% of both parties are dissatisfied with their nominees. There is a third party opportunity if there ever was one.
    “There is nothing wrong with your television set….we are controlling transmission –
    we will control the horizontal … we will control the vertical
    For the next hour sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear …. we repeat there is nothing wrong with your television set”
    see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCcdr4O-3gE
    Prophetic ?




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  15. Tillman says:

    @Jen: Someone interviewed on the BBC this morning put it best. No one can sympathize with a Sanders supporter more than an ’08 Clinton supporter. It’s like having a bad break-up and being forced on a blind date a week later.

    This is why these things are held months before the election. They’ll come around. Hell, if Sanders has as much of a cult of personality as has been claimed, it’ll be weird if they don’t.




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  16. Tillman says:

    @Tyrell:

    Bernie had little choice but to follow the script and the plan in this orchestrated coronation.

    You realize that calling a political convention an “orchestrated coronation” is redundant, right? That’s the whole point. The thing is orchestrated, and at the end there’s a nominee. That is its purpose.




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  17. MBunge says:

    @KM: They don’t want HIM, never really wanted him.

    That’s sort of been the point all along. The opposition to Obama in 2008 was based on little besides “He’s not Hillary.” The opposition to Hillary in 2016 was never because “She’s not Bernie.”

    Mike




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  18. MBunge says:

    @Jen: I’m more convinced than ever that GOTV is going to matter

    I’ve stated this before and I will again. If you need GOTV to beat Donald frickin’ Trump, you’ve already lost. Hopefully the country won’t have to suffer too much for it.

    Mike




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  19. Kylopod says:

    @KM:

    I’m still irritated he fed the nuts unnecessarily for far too long

    Agreed, but as I mentioned a couple of months ago, there are striking similarities between the way he acted toward Hillary and the way she treated Obama eight years ago–and I think that overall her behavior was worse.




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  20. Pch101 says:

    @MBunge:

    The opposition to Obama in 2008 was based on little besides “He’s not Hillary.”

    Where do you get this stuff?




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  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Pch101:

    No one should be surprised if about 10% of registered Democrats end up voting for the Republican this year, as that sort of defection rate is fairly typical.

    I’ve said this before, I will say it again: Those aren’t Democrats in any meaningful way, and they never have been. Not in this election year.




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  22. wr says:

    @MBunge: “I’ve stated this before and I will again”

    And what do you know? It doesn’t sound any less ridiculous the second time around!




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  23. Gustopher says:

    At least no one was on stage screaming “The end is nigh! This will be the last election!”

    I mean, for all the disruptions, the Democrats began to lay down a positive vision for America, which is something the Republicans didn’t do in four days.




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  24. Pch101 says:

    @wr:

    If a false statement is repeated often enough, then it eventually becomes true. Or something like that.

    Goebbels would have loved the internet.




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  25. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Jen: Convention-goers are definitely not representative of the whole

    Not to pick on you in particular, Jen, but that one statements needs attention.

    The duly-selected representatives of the electorate are not representative of the electorate?

    Doug, I want to commend you on doing a fantastic job of pretending this cluster-fark of a convention is actually better than the GOP’s. And I really enjoyed your dispassionate analysis of the Democratic platform, especially when you contrasted it with the GOP’s.




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  26. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Pch101:

    The remaining ten percent seem to have discovered OTB’s comments section.

    You noticed?




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  27. Mikey says:

    @Pch101:

    Goebbels would have loved the internet.

    I can recommend a film titled “Look Who’s Back,” based on the German book “Er Ist Wieder Da” (“He’s Back”). German with English subtitles. It’s on Netflix.

    The premise: Hitler wakes up in a vacant lot in Berlin in 2012 with a headache and no idea what’s going on or what year it is. Everyone thinks he’s an actor who never breaks character. He discovers social media and becomes a YouTube sensation.

    It’s pretty funny, actually, until the end. Then it becomes very dark indeed.




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  28. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    The duly-selected representatives of the electorate are not representative of the electorate?

    Speaking from my experience the behavior of political convention-goers is not representative of the behaviour of those that selected them.




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  29. JohnMcC says:

    The hard feelings exposed and exasperated during this campaign are nothing compared to the Democratic primaries and convention in ’68. Sen Gene McCarthy exposed the weakness on the Democratic president with a small army of idealistic kids. Sen Robert Kennedy promptly announced his own entry into the race. That infuriated the ‘clean for Gene’ side of the party. Pres Johnson announced he wasn’t running for re-election so the choice became suddenly extremely important. The McCarthy side never reconciled themselves to the greater vote-getting by the Kennedy side, reviling him as a carpetbagger and opportunist.

    That division has strong echoes with the present one; McCarthy’s supporters were caucasion and young and doctrinaire liberals. Kennedy’s included strong African American support and unions.

    When RFK was shot down VP Humphrey went on to the nomination with the blessings of Mayor Daley whose police had rioted and smashed the McCarthy and associated protesters.

    Yet still, Humphrey came within a whisper of beating Nixon in the general.

    Faced with a horrible R-party candidate who claims to represent the ‘silent majority’, Democrats came home and pulled the D lever in almost enough numbers to win. They will come home again and they make up a larger slice of the American pie than they did 50 years ago.

    Small disclosure: I was a follower of Wm F Buckley in those days and cast my first vote for Nixon. I’ve regretted that ever since.




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  30. JohnMcC says:

    @Mikey: Watched the movie ‘ Z ‘ the other night. Another movie with subtitles that contains a banquet of food for thought.




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  31. stonetools says:

    Day 1 of the convention started badly and ended quite well, with the Party looking ass if its moving on to unity. Kudos to Bernie, for stepping up and putting the cause first. I was one of the doubters, but he came through big time with a ringing endorsement.
    He truly has a devoted following and I’m glad he decided to move them toward Hillary.There were some great speeches before him, too.
    On to Day 2!




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  32. Jen says:

    @Jenos Idanian: I meant in terms of party commitment, zeal, dedication to the cause, etc.

    Have you ever been to a convention, or worked in party politics? I have; I worked for a state Republican Party in the Midwest for several years. Party loyalists and/or activists, the ones who give up weekend after weekend to do unpaid and largely thankless tasks are indeed different than your average, run-of-the-mill party member/voter.

    The level of dedication I’ve seen (from these folks on both sides) is definitely a cut above even those who donate money or a weekend to knock on doors. Most of the people who attend conventions do so by using vacation time. They pay for a great deal of the events out of their own pockets.

    So yes, while they are selected to be representative of the voters in their state/district, I stand by my statement that they do indeed bring a different level of commitment to the cause–again, on either side. I never attended a national convention, but I did attend state-level ones–I was an employee and being paid to be there. I was, and remain, impressed by the level of commitment they bring to the collective table.




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  33. Neil Hudelson says:

    @MBunge:

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. If you think you need all four tires on your car just to drive, well you’ve already lost that race.

    Wait, whut?




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  34. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Tyrell: Oops. The author who writes Tyrell’s Dispatches from Mayberry forgot to switch logins this time.




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  35. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    this cluster-fark of a convention

    You mean the “cluster-fark” where Democrats righted a floundering ship in a single day, with Michell Obama delivering one of the great convention speeches ever, both cutting Trump up with the skill of a champion fencer and stating the case for President Hillary Clinton brilliantly?

    A lot of my Facebook friends are intensely committed to Bernie Sanders. About 90% of them are posting today that it’s time to get behind Hillary.

    I kind of feel sorry for you dude. You think you watching the Democrats immolate themselves, when in fact you are a lonely little boy off in a corner by yourself holding a sparkler…




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  36. anjin-san says:

    Oh, and Jenos – I’ve been meaning to ask you. Are you officially behind the Trump/Putin campaign now?




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  37. Neil Hudelson says:

    @anjin-san:

    This is the same guy who took a look at Michelle Obama’s impressive resume, described it as “paper pushing jobs” and claimed that her experience didn’t hold a candle to Melania’s ability to walk a catwalk and turn left.

    So yeah, I’m sure he saw a dumpster fire of a convention where everyone else saw success. The dude clearly lives in his own reality.




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  38. Pch101 says:

    @anjin-san:

    You think you watching the Democrats immolate themselves, when in fact you are a lonely little boy off in a corner by yourself holding a sparkler…

    Jenos is convinced that Emailswhitewatervincefosterlewinskyghazi will eventually vindicate him.

    Don’t stop thinkin’ about tomorrow, Jenos! Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here!




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  39. Pch101 says:

    @Mikey:

    Thanks, I’ll look for that.

    Not the same subject matter, but you may appreciate another German film called “Goodbye Lenin”, which is a Rip Van Winkle style comedy, but involving a devoted communist party member after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Very entertaining if you have enough of the historic and cultural back story to get the jokes.




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  40. Mikey says:

    @Pch101: We just saw the trailer for “Goodbye Lenin” the other day on one of the German-language cable channels we’re subscribed to. It looks really good.




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  41. steve s says:

    Michell Obama delivering one of the great convention speeches ever,

    Boy howdy that was well done.




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  42. steve s says:

    You know how they say that if black people want to do something, they have to be three times as good, just to be considered half as good?

    Well damn if Michelle Obama ain’t some kinda good.




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  43. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @steve s: If you thought Michelle did that speech right, just wait until Melania gives it next week. You ain’t seen nothing yet.




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  44. Jenos Idanian says:

    In all my decades on this planet, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people demanding to have their own noses rubbed in their own feces before.

    All those familiar names… Ozark Hillbilly, michael reynolds, cliffy (as “Hey Norm”), anjin-san, An Interested Party, Al-Ameda…




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  45. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Two things:

    1. I’m going to give you the benefit of a doubt that you posted on the wrong thread, rather than assuming you’re so desperate for attention you are trying to restart a fight from 4 years ago.

    2. Regardless of thread propriety, you clearly spent a decent amount of time looking at OTB articles from 4 years ago in order to pick a fight, and one that (if history is a guide) you’ll most likely lose embarrassingly.

    When you reflect upon these points, how do you feel about your choices in life?




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  46. Paul Hooson says:

    Even though I’m a fan of mainstream conservative George Will and moderate David Gergen, and don’t really agree on much with Bernie Sanders on the issues, I voted for him in the Oregon primary because he is decent and honest man and sincere about his views. I appreciate his gentlemanly nature to recognize that he lost, and his support for Clinton, who is a far more reasonable candidate than Donald Trump, despite many serious reservations I have about her.

    Donald Trump’s relationship with Russia’s strongman Vladimir Putin is deeply unsettling. George Will believes that Trump refuses to release his taxes publicly because of his close ties to Putin and those that surround him. Further, Trump’s outlandish views to weaken NATO are only a greenlight to Putin to undermine democratic states like the Ukraine as Putin seeks to rebuild the old Soviet Union empire with the help of his business associate, Donald Trump.




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  47. Mushtaq Dean says:

    Mushtaq Dean

    Discordance between Bernie Sander and his supporters would inflict incurable wound on the Democratic party which could clearly be their losing the election. Repentance over the imprudent conduct would do them no favor. It is a time to act prudently.




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  48. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Neil Hudelson: Actually, it took almost no time at all. I knew that a lot of people here had mocked and denigrated Romney for saying that Russia was a threat, and now they’re all up in arms about how bad Russia is.

    But they shouldn’t feel too bad, because it was all part of the liberal groupthink of the time.




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  49. Kari Q says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Russia is no threat to the U.S. or our allies as long as we have a reasonable sane president who won’t casually endanger our long standing alliances with NATO and Japan. If Trump decides to casually break the NATO alliance and give Putin a green light to invade the Balkan countries,

    The hacking is a serious issue and we need to take cybersecurity more seriously, but it is the unique candidacy of Donald Trump that makes Russia a possible threat to the West.




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  50. An Interested Party says:

    It’s just sad to see such a pathetic attempt at “gotcha”…ridiculing Romney for arguing in the past that Russia was our chief enemy isn’t inconsistent with wondering about the dangers of Russia now possibly interfering in our presidential election…there is feces here alright but it is this idiot playing “gotcha” who keeps spewing it…




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  51. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Tillman:

    Good commentary on California liberals at Washington Monthly by Michael O’Hare

    When you’ve lost George Will… The DNC email dump/Putin interfering with the US elections contretemps has legs, the drumbeat for Trumps tax returns will raise doubts among swing voters.




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  52. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Russia was a threat,

    Russia is a threat? Well, your boy Trump seems to be in bed with Putin. What do you have to say about that?




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  53. Pch101 says:

    And here I was under the impression that we are all supposed to be terrified of Mooslims, Mexican rapists and Nee-grows. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to keep up with the entire list of who I am supposed to hate.




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  54. MBunge says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    I’m not surprised you missed the point. People tend to react without thinking when you poke their core beliefs.

    But I’ll try again because heaven knows people aren’t going to get more reasonable as we get closer to the election and it seems likely it will actually get worse afterwards this time.

    1. GOTV is really important in really close elections and because it’s a machinery that takes a lot of effort to build and maintain, it’s important to work on it even when you have an election that isn’t close.

    2. GOTV is not magic. In the thousands and thousands of elections in the modern Democratic age, the number of times the candidate with substantially more support lost because the other guy had better GOTV can probably be counted on the fingers of one hand with at least a thumb left over. If the other guy is five points up on the day before the election, and that’s an accurate reflection of the voters, you are going to lose. GOTV also doesn’t size up very well. The larger the voting populace, the easier it is for GOTV to be swamped by a hundred other factors.

    3. This is not supposed to be a close election. You’re running against Donald Trump. He’s supposed to lose by such a massive margin that it not only flips the Senate to the Democrats but actually puts GOP control of the house in jeopardy as well.

    If GOTV matters in this election, it will mean that we’re dealing with a race where the candidates are separated by maybe 1% or less in the polls. That would mean the Democratic candidate and the Democratic campaign were so incredibly awful that they couldn’t do better than to virtually tie the most unpopular candidate in the history of Presidential general elections. It would also mean, as I previously mentioned, that the race was so close that any number of things could happen to push Trump to victory, no matter how wonderful your GOTV might be.

    But let’s imagine that GOTV wins the day for the Democrats. That would mean Hillary Clinton would begin her administration as the most unpopular winner in the history of Presidential elections. All available evidence indicates such a close race would guarantee the House and Senate remain under Republican control. And if Trump loses by that small a margin, there will be no GOP civil war. You need the epic blow out for that. A loss that close will simply mean that every anti-Trump Republican will, within 12 hours of the election, morph back into an anti-Hillary Republican. Oh, there may be a few fools like Cruz sacrificed in the name of party unity, but unity is what it will be.

    So, we’ll be starting out with a historically disdained President facing an opposition-controlled Congress that hates her guts even more than the public at large. And while it’s possible that peace and prosperity will break out around the world, it’s far more likely we will continue to face a…let’s say challenging environment, and we’ll be facing it with a President whose political skills are so terrible she barely managed to beat Donald Trump. How does that make you feel? Think much good will get done? What about those 2018 midterms? Or 2020, when Republicans will probably not be running Donald Trump again?

    And yes, much the same will be true if Trump wins a squeaker, except we’ll get the added “bonus” of Donald Trump actually being President.

    Of course, Hillary could win this by 8 points. I’m not sure I’d bet against it. But no sensible person can possibly be comforted by the thought that GOTV is going to make the difference.

    Mike




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  55. Jen says:

    @MBunge: One caveat to what you’ve laid out above: we have no idea if third-party support will strengthen over the coming months, remain the same, or shrivel to the level it usually commands during presidential elections.

    Add to that the potential effects of voter ID laws that by design suppress Democratic votes more than Republican, and I remain convinced that GOTV matters.

    I’ve seen the reverse too many times, albeit on a local level. Most voters are not, generally speaking, all that motivated to get to the polls. If we have a bout of crummy weather over a region or any other number of pressing issues, turnout can decline substantially. It is not unreasonable to assume that a candidate in a weird year needs to make sure that every voter supporting him or her be present and accounted for.

    Hopefully it will be an unnecessary component for Clinton. But you never leave something like that on the table. It will be interesting to watch and see what the RNC does for Trump. He is, to my knowledge, relying on them 100% for his voter effort. That was not part of their 2016 plan–they assumed they’d have a candidate with their own effort up and running. He’s counting on his voters turning out due to sheer force of personality. I’m not certain that’s a winning strategy.




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  56. Mikey says:

    @MBunge: GOTV is something that falls under the category “it’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.” Elections are sometimes unpredictable, voters have varying levels of motivation, and as @Jen mentions, even the weather can have an impact.

    Does GOTV always, or even often, make a difference? Well, I’m not sure of any counterfactuals, since the overwhelming majority of political campaigns consider it a necessity and pursue it. But if they didn’t do it, and barely lost, they’d certainly wish they had done it.




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  57. Guarneri says:

    @anjin-san:

    You are confusing Trump and Putin with Bill Clinton and Gennifer Flowers, and…and…..and………..

    Ah, yes. Marrying your best friend means never having to stay faithful, .




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  58. Kylopod says:

    @Mikey: I agree with a lot of what has been said about GOTV by you, Jen, and MBunge, but I’d just add this: I think GOTV (and other campaign operations as well) are overrated because (a) they help keep certain types of political professionals in business (b) they give candidates and their supporters a sense of control over a process that is more out of their hands than they care to admit. Saying “GOTV is important even though it probably won’t matter except in a very close race,” while true, is not exactly a great way to motivate people in a campaign.




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  59. SKI says:

    @MBunge:

    If GOTV matters in this election, it will mean that we’re dealing with a race where the candidates are separated by maybe 1% or less in the polls. That would mean the Democratic candidate and the Democratic campaign were so incredibly awful that they couldn’t do better than to virtually tie the most unpopular candidate in the history of Presidential general elections.

    While you are correct that GOTV normally has only a 1-2% impact, you seem to be confusing national polling with state by state results. We elect state by state. We could have a half dozen of states that are that close where moving each of them by a point or two towards HRC moves the election from razor thin to a landslide – while the national gap is outside the impact of GOTV.

    If Virginia, Pennsylvania and North Carolina are close and all are impacted by GOTV towards the Democratic column, that would be massive in the Electoral College.




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  60. Jen says:

    @Kylopod: As a former campaign professional, I’m watching how the Trump campaign unfolds very closely. All of the things that I learned as “must haves” are, for the most part, being tossed aside by his campaign. Message discipline, GOTV, reliable surrogates, positive messaging, state organization, grassroots organization–his campaign has virtually none of that and he’s polling well.

    However, I’ve seen candidates poll well and lose because they didn’t do the groundwork. Even if Trump breaks that pattern, I’m not sure this experience is necessarily instructive to the future of campaigning. I honestly don’t know what to make of it.

    I think there is truth in your point of campaign activities giving a candidate a sense of control. The flip side of that is that in my purely anecdotal experience, the more disciplined and organized campaigns almost always are the winning ones. As campaign people, we watched and learned what worked, and what worked for the lowest cost. Advanced targeting was more cost-effective than blanket direct mail. Much of political campaign work is now informed by highly researched advertising strategies. Corporations wouldn’t spend billions of dollars on advertising if it didn’t work. Same goes for campaigns. Sure, sometimes you get a breakout product that generates buzz and sells itself without marketing, but that’s rare. Same holds true–in my experience at least–for political campaigns.




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  61. Mikey says:

    @SKI: I sometimes wonder if some additional GOTV in the Florida Panhandle in 2000 might have made a difference. Since much of the Panhandle is in the Central time zone, people there stayed home after the networks called the election as polls in the Eastern time zone closed. GOTV could have gone around and told people “the election’s not over yet, get out and vote.”

    Speculation, of course, but it’s something to think about.




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  62. Pch101 says:

    @SKI:

    While you are correct that GOTV normally has only a 1-2% impact, you seem to be confusing national polling with state by state results.

    He’s just looking for reasons to whine about the Clintons.




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  63. Kylopod says:

    @Jen:

    his campaign has virtually none of that and he’s polling well.

    Correct. And that’s what makes it such a fascinating experiment (fascinating if our entire country wasn’t on the chopping block).

    The flip side of that is that in my purely anecdotal experience, the more disciplined and organized campaigns almost always are the winning ones.

    Well, first of all, keep in mind that we’ve been talking so far about general presidential elections. When it comes to races for Senate, House, or even presidential primaries, everybody agrees that the campaigns are crucial. What makes the presidential general election different is that everything is so media-saturated it tends to dilute the effects of normal campaigning.

    Corporations wouldn’t spend billions of dollars on advertising if it didn’t work.

    They certainly believe it works, but whether or how much it works is not totally clear. It’s hard to disentangle cause and effect when analyzing election outcomes, and a lot of myth has crept into the popular histories of the reasons certain elections went the way they did.

    For example, while Obama clearly had the superior campaign organization in 2012 (though Romney’s wasn’t anywhere near as nonexistent as Trump’s), studies indicate he would have won the election without it. His superior campaign may have accounted for his 0.88-percent victory in Florida, but he would have won the election even if he’d lost Florida.

    Of course there were points in 2012 when the election looked like it was going to be much closer than it turned out. That’s one of the reasons why it would be foolish to dismiss the value of campaign operation entirely. Most presidential elections in the past several decades haven’t been as close as 2000 or 2004, but candidates should be prepared for when they are.

    Even then, people still tend to wildly overstate the importance of campaigning. LBJ’s “Daisy” ad has gone down in legend as helping secure his landslide victory against Barry Goldwater, despite the fact that there’s no evidence it moved public opinion at all. People also forget that that was one of the least competitive presidential races in history–LBJ sometimes polled as high as 80%, and he never dipped below the high 50s at a single point in the race. Of course that was just 16 years after “Dewey Defeats Truman,” so maybe he figured you could never be too careful.




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  64. SKI says:

    @Kylopod:

    For example, while Obama clearly had the superior campaign organization in 2012 (though Romney’s wasn’t anywhere near as nonexistent as Trump’s), studies indicate he would have won the election without it. His superior campaign may have accounted for his 0.88-percent victory in Florida, but he would have won the election even if he’d lost Florida.

    I’d be very skeptical of those studies given that I have no idea how you measure the impact of sustained GOTV efforts – and we know that GOTV efforts start more than a year in advance with the primary operations.

    Let’s say your GOTV efforts activate 5,000 voters a week in a particular area starting in mid-August and they stay committed and turn out and vote. You have about 12 weeks, so 60,000 voters. But the polling has counted the bulk of them in and shows you winning comfortably by 40,000 votes by mid-October. How could you determine that GOTV mattered or not without identifying how many voters were impacted – information the campaign holds pretty close toe the vest?

    Let’s use OFA’s efforts in ’12. They went into that cycle with a pretty good model that included the 69+ Million voters they believed had voted for Obama in ’08. They used a variety of strategies to (a) make sure those voters stayed activated and (b) get new voters registered and activated. How do you draw the line between voters that were or were not impacted by the OFA GOTV efforts?

    I guess I’m suggesting that GOTV efforts aren’t a discrete aspect anymore. They are literally the bread and butter of a campaign. I don’t see how you differentiate between GOTV and the entire campaign. It is that essential.




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  65. Kylopod says:

    @SKI:

    I’d be very skeptical of those studies

    You can take a look at one of them here:

    Other things equal, Obama’s vote share was about three-tenths of a point higher in counties where Obama had one field office and six-tenths of a point higher in counties where Obama had two or more field offices. (With relatively few counties having more than 2 offices, we did not try to estimate the effect of additional field offices beyond 2.) Romney’s field offices, by contrast, had an effect that was only half this size and could not be estimated with as much statistical confidence. This is consistent with the impression that Obama’s field operation was more effective than Romney’s. Essentially, our best guess is that Romney would have needed two offices in a county to match the effects of one of Obama’s offices, all else equal….

    We simulated a counterfactual in which Obama had no field offices but nothing else changed. In that scenario, we estimate that he would have lost about 248,000 votes nationwide. Given where those votes were located, we estimate that Obama would have lost Florida by a very narrow margin in this scenario.

    Keep in mind that Obama was more than 5 percentage points or 300,000 votes ahead in Pennsylvania, and Romney probably needed that state in order to win. To ascribe that all to GOTV or superior campaign organization seems a stretch even without looking at the study. And I doubt you’re going to argue that GOTV accounted for Reagan’s 1984 landslide or George HW Bush in 1988 or Clinton in 1996. Everybody agrees there’s a point where a candidate is far enough ahead that ground game doesn’t matter; the question is what that point is. People have a tendency to think of 2012 as having been a close election, when in fact it really wasn’t.




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  66. MBunge says:

    @SKI: I don’t see how you differentiate between GOTV and the entire campaign.

    Look at the candidate. Look at the message. Look at the strategy. Look at the tactics.

    Consider this. Money is important in politics. Being able to raise huge amounts of money is a key way you demonstrate to the political establishment that you are a legitimate candidate. Mitt Romney’s winning the GOP nomination in 2012 and essentially being first runner up in 2008 was almost entire due to him having all the money. But once you got past his campaign war chest, and his profile, Mitt Romney was a bad candidate. He was lacking in some very basic political talents and skills and that was finally laid bare when he got into a situation where he couldn’t just bury his opponent in bucks.

    If Hillary can win a nail biter thanks to GOTV, Democrats would obviously prefer that to President Trump. But what happens the day after that when Trump is gone and the Republicans still control, basically, the rest of our government?

    Barack Obama won the Presidency and lost the white vote by 20 points, so you can do that…if you’re as good as Barack Obama. But if Democrats continue to lose the white vote by 20 points, they will ALWAYS lose the House, usually lose the Senate, ALWAYS lose a majority of governorships and ALWAYS lose the majority of state legislatures. And a bunch of liberals are either in denial about that or just don’t seem to care.

    I mean, we’re about three months away from an election that Hillary Clinton has been, on at least some level, thinking about for the better part of a decade. And she still doesn’t have a message, one of the most basic elements of any campaign, other than “Vote for Hillary Clinton…because I’m Hillary Clinton.” Donald Trump could win because of that. And it won’t be the Republicans fault. And it won’t be the media’s fault.

    Mike




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  67. stonetools says:

    @MBunge:

    The reason why this election is close is not because Clinton hasn’t perfected her message: the reason it’s this close is because a large percentage of the country desperately wants to believe Trump’s message, which is that he can turn the clock back to 1956.In 1956, America was ascendant, especially in manufacturing, women were subordinate, minorities knew their place, and gays were in the closet.
    Clinton’s problem is that she can’t turn the clock back to 1956 (and wouldn’t even if she could). Clever messaging isn’t going to solve that.Let’s hope getting out those that don’t believe in Trump’s message will work.(I’m not sure it will, because I’m not sure it’s a majority).




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  68. gVOR08 says:

    @MBunge:

    And it won’t be the Republicans fault. And it won’t be the media’s fault.

    Well, yeah, it will be, along with Hillary. Even his ties to Putin and his incoherent press conference this morning (or so I hear, listening to him gives me a headache) won’t be enough for the supposedly liberal MSM to continue treating him as though he were a serious candidate.




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